I bought a spider. But she needed a web. So, I made her one.

Specifically, a spider plant that had a fervent need to be hanging from the ceiling, but not a single macrame holder could be found at any thrift store. Being the enterprising young (ish) lady I am, I ventured to make one myself.

Somewhere deep inside me, there abides a perpetual 12-year-old. That 12-year-old was a friendship bracelet and hemp necklace MASTER. Macrame is just one of those life skills that has never fallen out of my repertoire, so this came together pretty quickly.

I found 100y of teal rope, rings, and wood beads in the macrame section of my local Lobby of Hobbies. I cut 24 ropes, each 6 yards long, (yes, it’s a lot) and strung one end of each one through the top ring so that the ring was in the middle of all 24 ropes. Then I took a separate 40″ rope and wrapped the ropes right under the ring in a wrapped knot.

After that I did crown knots for 2″.

Then I divided it up into 6 sections of 4 ropes and did 10″ of square knots. I taped the ends of the ropes and slid a wood bead over all four of them. After the beads I switched the ropes so that the center ones that were getting wrapped were now the ones on the outside doing the knotting. They will be noticeably longer at this point. Next I did 12″ of spiral knots, after which I put another bead on each section.

After that I did 12 square knots, and then split each set of cords in half and joined them with half of the adjacent cords to make a zig-zag, which is what will “cradle” the pot. I did more square knots after leaving a few inches “blank”, which you can see in the picture. The length will sort of depend on the size of pot you’re using, but it’s flexible. I did enough square knots that they all met in the middle under the pot. 

Finally came a wrapped knot at the bottom with the excess ropes wrapped around a ring as the finishing touch. I was going to leave it fringy but I thought I’d try a ring in case I wanted to hang something from it. A plastic monkey, for instance. Or a bug trapped in the “spiders web”. You know, important stuff.

I glued the ends and let them dry before I snipped them, as advised. To see the pattern I mostly worked from (I deviated slightly), click here

All done! I love it more than anything I would have come across thrifting, because it’s my perfect color and I made it myself! It only took me a few nights of macrame-ing and House of Cards to get it done, and was cheap too. And it keeps the cats away from my poor spider plant, who would devour it immediately.

Handmade is the best!

Pretty Little Chicago

It’s done! And framed! My dads birthday present! 

And, hey, his birthday was in January! At this point, it’s almost a Fathers Day gift.

It’s a cross stitch called “Pretty Little Chicago”, from Satsuma Street on Etsy. It’s part of her Pretty Little City series, and each and every one is just darling!

 My dad lived in Chicago for a few years after college and we used to take trips there every few years but we’re definitely due for a visit. So this is my sneaky way of saying “Let’s go soon?”

Maybe Father’s Day would be a great weekend to go visit. The weather would be good, and in the process of making this I realized there are some landmarks I’d never been to. You know, I’ve never even been to the Big Silver Bean?   

One of the reasons I’m drawn to knitting as my primary craft is, barring felting or a terrible dye job, just about everything is reversible. If I screw up, I can make it longer, rip out a few inches, or start over in the worst case scenario. When it comes to fabric or wood, though, I can measure twice, even thrice, and still somehow “cut once” wrong. This is probably why cutting fabric for sewing makes me so anxious. Case in point, cutting the Aida cloth for this project. This is the first time I’ve ever bought a “kit it yourself” cross stitch, and I wasn’t sure how big to cut the cloth. The interwebs told me three inches larger than the given finished size, so I added 6 + 3 inches to the height and width and cut a 9 inch square.
I measured, remeasured, re-remeasured, and cut. As I stitched I saw my margins were less than 3″ and I was afraid of running out of room. Well, I didn’t run out of room, but I did discover my problem. I should have added 6 inches to my finished size to get 3″ margins. (3*2=6, yeah?) I ended up with 1.5″ margins all around. Not the end of the world, and the finished piece still turned out great, but it’s stuff like that…

He’s going to love it. I love the bold color palette and I think it is going to go well with my parents’ blue-y living room.

He’ll be visiting this weekend so I’ll give it to him then. I love the feeling of giving a handmade gift! Maybe then we’ll go to the children’s museum for an awesome daddy-daughter-granddaughter afternoon!

Happy Birthday! + A Birth Story

My sweet little girl Alice turned 2 this week. 

Balloons! (“Byoons!”)

In honor of her second birthday, I’m going to share her birth story. I wrote it shortly after she was born and I realize that I’d already forgotten some of the smaller details, so it’s nice to read it again. She ended up being an emergency c-section and it turns out the cord was wrapped around her neck a few times. I’m happy we were both healthy and safe. Happiest of birthdays to you, my sweet little love.


Alice was born at 4:46am. She was 7lb, 1oz, 20″ long. It was a fast weekend, here is how it went down.

Friday the 28th at my Dr. appointment I had an ultrasound. They (OB and US tech) seemed honed in on her respiration rate; she wasn’t doing much practice breathing. My OB told me she wanted me back on Monday for another look to see how she fared over the weekend. My due date was Sunday the 30th. Something seemed concerning to her. I set up a Monday appointment and walked out to my car. As I was unlocking my door I got a call; it was my OB, and she changed her mind. She wanted to induce instead. She set up a Monday appointment at 6:30am for induction. I went home and told my fiance, “We’re having a baby on Monday if not sooner!” I texted my boss to tell him I was on maternity leave effective immediately and we went on a dinner date for Mexican for the last time as childless adults.

Sunday was my due date. I woke up at 2am Sunday morning with irregular contractions: real ones, not the Braxton Hicks I had gotten used to. Excited but wary, I tried to sleep them off. I didn’t want to wake up my fiancé so I quietly told him in the morning that I had been having contractions. They were about 20 minutes apart all morning, so we tried speeding them up. I bounced on my ball, we went shopping, we took a walk. After irregularity most of the day, we wrote off any progress and thought we’d just have to wait for induction at 6:30am the next day. I laid down around 3:30 in the afternoon to relax and watch TV, and I fell asleep.

I woke up around 5:30pm and stood up and went “Oh……” I was pretty sure I was leaking water. My suspicions were confirmed after I went to the bathroom to investigate. Contractions or not, that was a surefire sign! I cleaned up and quietly came downstairs. Brandon asked me how I was doing; he said he knew something was up when I didn’t respond. Instead, I calmly went downstairs by him and said “my water is leaking.” He said “Oh, shit….” 

We went to the hospital and checked in; my pants were soaked by the time we got to L&D. We got registered, I got changed, and was hooked up to monitors. We walked the hallways, watched some TV, and I did some more ball-bouncing. My contractions were starting to get closer together but not unbearable, but then they spread apart again, so I got the Pitocin drip to move things along. I was on a deadline with broken water. They started to get noticeably stronger and closer together, but then spaced out again. I don’t recall what time it was by now, maybe midnight.

Pitocin got dialed up some more to move along contractions, and they got really bad. They immediately jumped to intense and 1-2 min apart, but I wasn’t dilating much; maybe like 3 cm. I declined the epidural at first but four or so tear-filled contractions later I asked the nurse “if I WERE to get the epidural, how long would it take for the anesthesiologist to get here…?” The idea of something in my spine creeped me out, but the pain was unbearable and I had been in labor for 24 hours at that point. One perfect epidural later and around 3am I was in heaven. They told me to get some sleep. After all that slogging along I was only 4cm, and baby’s heart rate dipped at every contraction in an unfavorable way. I slept for about an hour and awoke to the OB there with the nurses, watching the monitors and heartbeat ticker tape. It was a little after 4am. The doc thought I was progressing too slow to hit the deadline they wanted the baby out by to mitigate infection, plus her heart didn’t respond well to contractions, which had begun to space out again. At that point, she suggested a section. I got emotional at the sound of that, having deviated almost completely from the “birth plan” in my mind, overwhelmed with the thought that we were about to go into major surgery (my first) and that in a few short minutes I was about to finally meet the little creature with her feet in my ribs. Brandon was awake now and emotional too. It was an overwhelming moment.
So they handed him some scrubs, and we rolled down the hallway to the OR. My epidural was dialed up until I was totally numb. Thankfully I could be awake and Brandon could be in the room. He stood outside as I was being prepped. I remember a nurse coming through the swinging doors and for a brief moment as the doors were swung open I could see him in scrubs pacing the hallway. Then they let him in and he held me and calmed me as we awaited a matter of short minutes to hear our daughter cry. My arms were clamped down but he stayed close to my face and we cried and waited in anticipation. It felt like forever.

I heard something like “here she comes!” And a moment of silence before the first garbled squeal. Apparently the cord was tightly wrapped around her neck three times, and it tightened like a noose as she progressed down the birth canal.
We wept with joy as we waited a few minutes for them to wipe her off, weigh her, put the goop in her eye, and whatever else they do. I had to prompt Brandon “go get a picture!!” I could see her wiggling a little and watched him cut her cord. Then finally, he brought her over and held her by my face. She didn’t really cry much once she looked at me. She had an air of familiarity to the sound of my voice as I cooed and sobbed over her. The moments of stitching me up were quick, but still took too long when all I wanted to do was hold her. Finally they were done, the epidural was yanked, and she was placed in my arms; as we wheeled back to our room, I kissed her the whole way. She was born at 4:46am, an hour and 45 minutes before we were to be induced, four hours after her due date. 26 hours of labor. She came when she was ready. 

She nursed right away and was a strong nurser the whole time. I couldn’t bear to send her to the nursery and I hardly slept; even when I had the opportunity I had a hard time not staring at her and marveling. I was so happy to finally have my baby. She is the love of my life and nothing could have prepared me for it.

When It Rains, It Pours. Or Snows.

So forget the last post complaining about this “spring” weather, because yesterday was worse. 

It snowed on and off from morning til about 6pm. When I say on and off, I mean on and off. I’d be sitting in the living room and the clouds would part for a moment and the sun would peek through. Then I’d get up, go to the bathroom, go to the kitchen, get a drink of water, look out the kitchen window, and snow would be coming down furiously like a blizzard. Then not 20 minutes later, snow stops and it’s just cloudy. Then sun. Then clouds. Then flurries. Then blizzard. Then sun. Then clouds….


I went grocery shopping for my daughter’s birthday party (she’s two whole years old!) and drove through 3 blizzards and 4 sunny days within 2 hours. I was in a blizzard with the sun behind me, at one point. It was so surreal.

And so very, very obnoxious.

This week is going to be all of 30 degrees or so. Coldddd. I could scream. (Not for ice cream, either.)


I Know Better, I Really Do.

It IS spring, right?

Yet, I continue to get excited by the prospect of an early spring every. single. year. And it just never is so.

We were under a blizzard warning and got about 8-10 inches of snow. I know it’s all going to melt next week, but still…ANNOYING! Ever since that initial warm snap it hasn’t really gotten above 55 degrees again and in fact has even gotten back down into the 30’s. 40-something degree days are just warm enough for me to step out of the house and think “Hey, its warm out!” but once I’ve spent more than 10 minutes outside my hands feel clammy and I think “….no, not that warm.” 

I am staying positive because once spring is over, summer is upon us and then over in a snap. So I’m trying to enjoy the slow warmth and blooming of spring out of the bleak winter. Time just seems to fast-forward when the weather is nice, so I do enjoy the slow buildup. 


Little Lantern Terrarium

I have a love, bordering on obsession, with terrariums. There’s just something about plants under glass that is so fascinating to me, like a miniature ecosystem. I am constantly admiring containers and vessels, wondering if they can be made into a planter. So when I was at the thrift store recently and I saw this cute little $1.99 tea light lantern, I saw potential. I’m so pleased with how it turned out! Here’s what I did…

This is what it looked like when I bought it. It had a little tealight thing in the middle.

It also had tabs on the bottom and top that held the glass panels in. (Two panels are already taken out in this shot.)

With a needle nose pliers, I gently tugged on the tealight part until it popped out. It was rusty underneath, so I scrubbed it with a wire brush to get most of it off.

I used some primer I had on hand to paint over the rusty spot. I wasn’t exactly going to be “watering” the plant, but it may get a misting and I wanted to seal it.

I then wiped the glass clean and put it back in, and used a large poking implement (yarn needle, in this case) to push the bottom tabs up so they were tightly holding the glass in. 

Then I cut out 4 little pieces of plastic from an old poster frame (the clear part; any thin plastic would do: milk jug, muffin box, etc.) and used my favorite craft glue to glue the pieces down over the holes in the bottom where the tabs are. The handy poking implement from earlier was also helpful when pushing the little pieces into place. 

(Side note on E6000 glue, it’s great for projects like this where you want a strong, permanent bond. I also saw a tip once to buy small tubes rather than the big one, so they don’t dry out on you. I did just that and it was a great idea!)

Here are all 4 in place.


 Then came the sand. I used some sand from our honeymoon in Jamaica because it was readily available and its got great texture and is coarser than play sand so if there are some gaps (and there are – more on that in a sec) it wouldn’t just pour out. It’s laying sort of strange because it’s actually still damp, even though our honeymoon was 5 months ago. Living in a Jamaican Coke bottle will do that, I guess.

Then came the most fun part – adding the plants! I already had an air plant on hand, a leftover from my bridesmaids gifts (each of them got terrariums – See? It’s my thing) and the moss is just craft moss I’ve had around. The rock was from one of our plant beds outside. A seashell, tiny pinecone, animal figurine, interesting stick, or any little trinket can go in a terrarium. The possibilities are endless and some of the best inspiration can be found right in your backyard! I feel like it could use something extra, but this is what I landed on for right now and I think it’s pretty good.

I made a label so I don’t forget where the sand came from. That’s just how I am. 

So here it is again, all put together.

Air plants are like, the best house plants. I had one for a whole year before I even knew they required occasional watering, and it survived me and my neglectful parenting. Now that I know it needs water, it’s doing even better.

No sand gets out through the bottom, but a few grains came out from the gap in the corners of the panes of glass (below). I’m not too concerned about it but if it were a huge gap I’d maybe seal it with clear caulk. But it’ll be fine. 


Not bad for a $2 lantern, eh? Considering I already had all the other stuff, this was a pretty cheap and quick project. These would make great gifts! 


But not this one…this one’s mine. 

How I Brew Kombucha

I’ve been brewing kombucha since December 2015. The first time I heard about it I was really put off by the thought of drinking tea that’s fermented by a placental blob of bacteria and yeast. Through some additional reading on the subject, my trepidation disappeared. It’s a science experiment, really, and you get to drink the results. Kombucha is brewed with a SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) which functions in the following manner according to this article from Yemoos:

Like most cultures, Kombucha consists of a balance between bacteria and yeast. The yeast uses the minerals from the tea to produce enzymes that separate sugar into glucose and fructose. Yeast creates the alcohol and small amounts of CO2. The bacteria use both the alcohol and the available glucose as a source of energy and they produce beneficial things like acetic acid and gluconic acid as well as the mushroom itself.


I had actually never drank it before endeavoring to make it myself. Many people around the world are really passionate about it, so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. I generally like things that are sour, and I like tea and had a lot on hand. It sounded like a fun experiment and turns out, I love it!

I got started with a one gallon green tea batch brew (in a spigot drink jug) for a few months, and then I recently added a one gallon hibiscus tea brew to see how I liked that. I think I like hibiscus even more than green! It has an almost-fruity essence and beautiful red color that I just love.

I bought some swing top bottles and have two Grolsch bottles in addition, and 8 bottles seems to be enough for me. Right now I start tasting around 7 days and it is ready in about 10. I bottle about a half gallon of each at a time. I never take more than 3/4 of each, to leave plenty of starter tea for the next round.

In order to brew continuously, here is what I do. First, here are my two vessels, waiting for their new tea to feed on:

They are missing about a half gallon. So I follow my half gallon recipe below as guidance for filling them back up:

I used up the last of my plain white sugar and just started using organic sugar from Costco, so we’ll see if anything changes.

I use organic green tea in bags, and hibiscus loose leaf that I got from a local tea store.

1 tbsp of hibiscus tea.

I boil water, then add sugar and the tea and let it cool to barely warm or (even better) room temperature. I don’t want to kill my culture with hot tea.

Look how eerie hibiscus looks when it brews, like a shark bite.
Once it’s cooled I pour it in the vessel right over the Scobies. If they sink, no biggie, because a new one will form on top. Mine eventually make it back to the top, usually.

Now they are back on the pantry shelf, happily brewing my tasty kombucha.

This is called a “first ferment”, which I can consume immediately, or add fruit and spices and do a “second ferment” for an additional few days to get some flavoring and fizz (if all goes well). I’ve done both, and I may share some tasty second ferment recipes at a later time. My favorite way to consume is over a cold glass of ice.

You will see the green tea (on the right) has a cute little cap, while the hibiscus (left) is just a coffee filter. I need to make my hibiscus a cap, too. (It does get that awesome pink SCOBY, though!) The cap was made by prewashing some fabric and then cutting out two coffee filter-sized circles and sewing them together, then flipping them right side out and top stitching the edge. Kombucha needs to breathe, yet be kept safe from bugs and dirt. Who says it can’t also be stylish?

In 7-10 days my kombucha will be ready! Brew baby, brew!



  “My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather.” Loire Hartwould​

Today is one of my favorite days of the year in Wisconsin. The first day (week, rather) of warm, skip-the-jacket, roll-down-the-windows spring weather. It brightens everyone’s mood, especially mine. I feel pretty sensitive to cold and am subject to Seasonal Affective Disorder, so the short, cold days of winter are torturous to me. I’m always biding my time inside like a hermit until spring appears. I can just feel my mood soaring the second I step outside and feel warm air and sunshine on my face. Ahh, it’s magical.

I took a short run today, my first in 7ish months. Ramped-up wedding planning last summer and hot weather meant falling off the running wagon. I’m no marathoner by any means but it’s one of the few forms of exercise I actually get enjoyment from, though it hasn’t always been that way. (I was one of those kids in high school who felt personally victimized by big mean gym teachers who made me run.) I aspire to run a half marathon this fall, something I’ve never done before. I suppose my running season is now officially kicked off, so I’ll need to keep at it!

My daughter is going to be a lot of fun to play with this year. She will be 2 very soon and just loves to be outside. We have a nearby park she enjoys and a quiet neighborhood to walk in. I look forward to teaching her about nature and seeing everything the way she sees it: for the first time.

I need to start thinking about yard work already, too:

  • I have a small herb garden behind the shed that I need to plant in. I had a very happy basil plant last year so I think I want to plant more of that (pesto, anyone?) and the spearmint I planted should come back in this year.
  • I would like to make a similar bed on the side of the shed that is twice as big and can fit some veggies. Someday I’d like a proper garden but, baby steps. I need to keep what I already have alive first!
  • I got an Earth Box from my mom last year for my birthday and I was very surprised at how well it did. I put a jalapeño and habanero plant in it and got at least 50 and 150 peppers off them, respectively. That’s amazing! I pickled many of the jalapeños and dehydrated most of the habaneros. This year I hope to put in a cherry tomato (my daughter eats them with the same fervency as she eats grapes) and another jalapeño. I hope this will prevent mice from stealing all my tomatoes like they did last year when the plant was behind the shed.
  • I need to finish the flower bed on the side of the garage. It needs a new brick border and to be filled in with dirt. I put two blackberry bushes in last year, as well as some Lily of the Valley, Columbine, lilies, and Alyssum. I’m anxious to see what grows back this year. I also need some bigger bushes or something over there to fill out the space. It’s still an improvement from the huge overgrown shrubs that were there when we moved in.
  • I need to plant some lilacs somewhere. I grew up in a house with a few huge lilac bushes and they were just phenomenal and are another fragrant favorite of mine.

I just love what spring does for my psyche. It gets me excited to plan the planting and cookouts and laying in the hammock and fun. Finally, winter is dead! DEAD!

(Although, it’s Wisconsin, so it could get cold and snow one more time. But I prefer not to entertain that possibility.)

Get This Party Started

Greetings, earthlings. I am Emily, Supreme Overlord of all that is random.

I started this blog as an intermittent lifelong journal-er with a love of making stuff, looking for a space to document it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an imaginative creator with projects and ideas too numerous to count. I have varied interests that include stitching (knitting, sewing, cross stitching), outdoorsy stuff (camping, hiking, biking, running, gardening), indoorsy stuff (reading, yoga, decorating, organizing, minimalizing [minimizing?], home improvement), eco/natural things (recycling, thrifting, DIY body/home care, trying to keep houseplants alive), and more, not to mention spending time with my wonderful family; my loving husband and my young daughter. There are also two cats and a turtle around here.

Here I will chronicle the thinkings and doings of a many-trick pony. I can be random, but I won’t be boring. (Not on purpose, anyway.)

So here I am, Universe. Let’s do this.