Macramé Produce Bag Tutorial


*This post is one of Scissors and Steam's most popular ever! Help support the blog and visit my Etsy shop, Retro Academic, if you're into awesome clothes!*

Today I have a new tutorial for you! Awhile ago I saw a pin on Pinterest of a mesh market bag with little pom-poms hanging from it. I thought it was just so cool, so I had to figure out how to make one. As usual, I had zero idea what I was doing, so if I can do this, so can you!

You will need: 

1 spool (50 yards) of cotton cording (I used this stuff)
1 wire coat hanger (or some other bendy thing you can make a circle out of)
1 plastic coat hanger (the kind with the clips)
Some yarn
Band-aids (trust me)
Measuring Tape

First let me explain the band-aids. I learned about three rows into this project that yanking on cotton cording repeatedly and with force is roughly equivalent to taking a cheese grater to your skin. Once you start knotting, take a second to figure out where the cords are rubbing, and put some band-aids on. Seriously. I have matching blisters on my forefingers that are so painful they woke me up last night! It's gross. It looks like I have finger herpes. BAND-AIDS people. If you don't use them and you end up with blisters, I will laugh at you. Not really. But I will sniff disapprovingly.

Not really.

Anyway. My last post mentioned chartreuse dye. This is what it was for! I used iDye, and.... Really I hate to say it, cause I don't like the idea of bashing stuff here, but I cannot in good conscience recommend this stuff. Really, it's crap. I've used it a bunch of times because it comes in some awesome colors, and EVERY time I've used it, I've been disappointed. The colors always seem to come out blaaaah, and then they bleed, bleed, bleed. And yes, I follow the directions. I've tried salt, vinegar, and even chemical anti-bleed agents. None of it worked. The man has a whole stash of pink clothes because of some red dye I used once. Fortunately he likes pink. Cause he's a real man.

Anyway, this time was no exception. I wanted chartreuse (I've been obsessed with that color lately!) but ended up with more of a... I dunno, maybe wasabi? Yeah. It's kind of a wasabi color. Luckily I like the color, so it's all good. I left a section of cord undyed, because I wanted a stripe of natural white in the bag. You can do that too, or dye it a different accent color. I think blue would look cool, or mustard yellow.

First you need to measure out the cord. Now, I was absolutely convinced when I was making this that I didn't have enough cord. Turns out 50 yards is perfect!

Measure out one 85 inch length of cord and cut. Use that piece to measure out 17 more pieces, all the same length. You'll use the remainder for the drawstring top, which is also where you'll start knotting from. So you should have 18 pieces, plus the one extra piece.

Okay, so this is the rig I used. You have to have a way to hang the bag as you make it, because otherwise you'll just cuss a lot and not get anywhere. And maybe spill your coffee everywhere when you get frustrated and slam the mug down on a shelf. This may have happened.

I took a wire coat hanger and snipped off the twisted ends. And when I say "I," you should hear "Travis," cause I have this weird phobia of wirecutters and would almost certainly find a way to lose a toe or something if I were to try to do it myself. After clipping off the ends, Travis used some pliers to bend the tips just enough so they could hook together (take a look at the picture below, the one after the next one). The reason for this is that you need to be able to slide the wire out when you're done.

So then bend the wire into the shape of a circle, about 1 foot in diameter, and hook the ends together. Then find somewhere to hang your plastic clippy coathanger from. I used the light fixture in our breakfast room. Tie a few pieces of yarn to the wire circle and then clip it to the coathanger, like in the picture above. Fiddle with it until it hangs horizontally.

Now take your remainder piece of cord and double it up, then twist it around the coathanger. This will be your foundation cord, as well as the drawstring for the bag. Tie it off in a loose knot.

This is how you make a "lark's head" knot:

That's the knot you'll use to attach all the cords to the foundation cord. Take one of your 85" cords, fold it in half, then take the looped end and put it behind the wire/foundation cord. Then bend it down over the wire, and draw the hanging end through the loop. Then pull it tight. 

Do that for all the rest of the cords, spaced an inch or two apart, until you get this:

I used a triangle knot for the rest of the bag. It's a basic macramé knot, but I'm not going to try to explain it cause I'll just confuse you, probably. Look here for some really good, visual instructions. I imagine you could also use a square knot, but I didn't try that. 

So, space your knots about an inch apart, as in the picture, and go around in rows. Pull the knots tight. They will work loose if you don't. (*sigh* this is before I realized I was getting nasty blisters. BAND-AIDS, minions!) Here is how it looks after the first row: (I swear I did not intentionally dress to match, lol)

As you get further down, start spacing the knots a little bit farther apart. You want it to be a little roomier in the middle of the bag.

These pictures are far too sane. How inaccurate.

That's better.

I made about 9 rows total.

When your rows get near the bottom, start halving the distance between knots to decrease the size of the base, until you can't any more. Then, start skipping pairs of cords to make it smaller and smaller. This will make the fringe at the bottom too. Eventually you'll just get to the end, where you can't make any more knots.

I know that's kind of vague, but really I was just winging it. This bag is very forgiving of mistakes and messiness. Here's what the inside of the bottom looks like:

And the outside, with the fringe:

Now unhook the metal ring and slide it out. You'll have a nice drawstring handle, be careful not to accidentally pull it out! Untie your original knot and retie a stronger one near the end, where you want it. Sorry I don't have a pic of this step. 

Trim the fringe ends to the length you want, and tie a little knot in the end of each one to prevent fraying. You can dab some fray-checker on the ends, or just use a bit of clear nail polish.

Now you're done with the bag!

 I made a little pom-pom clip decoration to attach to the top.

It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but the multicolored pom-pom is actually a diamond shape. Did you know you can use clippers/beard trimmers to shave pom-poms into all sorts of shapes? Now you do. And so does the man. (oops)

I love this bag! It's the perfect size for fruits and veggies, it's tough, and it looks awesome! I hope you give it a try. It really wasn't difficult; it took maybe a couple hours total and only cost about $10 to make, including the dye. 

Make sure you follow me. I am slightly off-kilter and like to spread it around like a virus. I mean the crazy. Not the other thing. Also, I am a master of the unfortunate metaphor. 

What I mean to say is, you will almost certainly get to laugh at me at some point if you hang around. You can stalk me here, by rss,on Bloglovin', twitter, facebook, and Pinterest!

Frugal Friday!
Feature Yourself Friday!
Flaunt it Friday!
Friday Favorites!
Hookin' Up With HoH!
I'm Lovin' It!
Tip Me Tuesday!
 Show and Tell!
Refresh Your Nest!
Transformation Thursday!
Taking a Timeout Thursday!
Pin It

Vintage Glass Planter *mini* Tutorial


You may recall from my last post that I bought three gorgeous vintage wine glasses, and one of them turned out to have a crack. Because it hates me. It's actually a weird thing, because ever since moving to Georgia, our glasses are constantly breaking. I almost never broke dishes before (I know, shocking, right?), but here they seem to break ALL THE FREAKING TIME. A couple weeks ago I was sitting on my couch and I heard a *POP* in the kitchen. Upon investigation I found one of my beautiful cobalt blue wine glasses that my mother had bought me for my birthday had spontaneously cracked. WTF? 

And! Not once, but twice, I was washing a tumbler with my hand inside, and it broke in a perfect circle, leaving me with a shiny blue glass bracelet. That could sever an artery and kill me. Why? Farking hell, I can't afford to keep buying new glasses! Hence the thrifting.

Anyway, I really loved these colored vintage ones. I intentionally mismatched them; I wanted a set of 6 or 8, all different, but when I went thrifting I only found the three. And now I'm down to two. Oh well, it's just an excuse to thrift more. 

And now I can make a pretty glass planter! Have you seen my Mason Jar Terrarium Tutorial? This is essentially the same, except I forgot omitted the moss. So here's what I started with:

Some Creeping Jenny (I think that's what it's called??), some cactus dirt, a handful of glass marbles, and the wine glass. Marbles first, then dirt, then plant, then water just enough to wet the dirt all the way through. You don't want to overwater cause there's no drainage. Anyway, it took me maybe 5 minutes to put together, and it looks so pretty that I'm only slightly pissed that it's holding a plant instead of alcohol.

That's it! Now you can upcycle all your glasses that crack themselves in fits of depression. Or whatever it is that dishes get. Glass fatigue, probably. (how many people are gonna get that douglas adams reference?? I will send you e-hugs if you do. and then stalk you. and then read you excerpts from the street outside your house. Just kidding! Maybe.)

What oh what could I be doing with chartreuse dye and cotton cording? IT'S A SURPRISE, MINIONS. Because I love you. Okay a hint, cause I'm SUPER excited! It's gonna involve a motherfucking badass tutorial. 

And, also because I love you, I will leave you with this. The side of our house needed some trees, so I sweetly asked the man to plant me some. He planted twelve! Twelve native Georgia Pines. So please for the love of all that is holy, maybe they will survive instead of dying from tree fatigue, or whatever.

I asked him to be sexy for all you, and this is what I got:

He's mine, mofos. You can't have him.
Don't forget about the giveaway! Like Scissors & Steam on Facebook to join and get a chance to win this totally awesome journal, handmade by me. But leave your comment on the original post here, because I can't be trusted to add them properly otherwise. 

You can follow me on Bloglovin', twitter, Pinterest, rss, and right here on the blog too. Do it and I won't read you Douglas Adams from the street outside your house.


Pin It

Frugal Friday!
Show and Tell Friday!
Tip Me Tuesday!
Transformation Thursday!
Hookin' Up With HoH!

I Am A Thrifting Rhinoceros


Don't miss out on the giveaway!

I've been on a little bit of a thrifting binge lately. It started when I saw this pin on Pinterest and I thought, "I've seen that before with vintage wine glasses." ...pause while the wheels start to crank... "I LIKE IT."

Next thing I knew I was charging around to all the local goodwills and antique shops like a thrift-crazed rhinoceros buying up all manner of little bits of awesomeness. I should note though that we have instituted a "buy something, leave something" policy in our house in order to protect from buying lots of unnecessary "stuff." So if I go thrifting, I bring a box of things to donate.

I got those three gorgeous wine glasses at a little antique shop in downtown Augusta. Frankly, I'm surprised I survived. That place was so crammed full of crap I was having a hard time navigating the narrow aisles without tripping eyeball-first into a rack of creepy old dolls. What is it about porcelain dolls that is so darn creepy? I bet those little fuckers wanted me to trip and fall, so they could feast on my organs while I was incapacitated. Assholes.

Tucked way under a table I found these vintage trays. They were way under there; probably they weren't actually for sale. Or maybe someone hid them so they could come back later and buy them. HA. YOUR PLOT IS FOILED.

I found these mugs at a couple different Goodwills. The four stacked in the back are cool cause they're oven safe! I can't wait to bake something in them. And I am in love with the mushroom mug. It's the perfect shape for me cause it's big so I get more caffeine per cup and the top is tapered so it's slightly more of a challenge for me to spill. 

And I found this skirt for $1.25. Yes it's about 8 sizes too big for me. Literally. In this picture it's folded in half lengthwise. But it's so pretty! 

And here's a pic of the whole lot. Not a bad haul. None of the mugs were more than $0.80, and the glasses were about $2 apiece. The trays were more at $8 each. That's how much I liked them. The woman who rang me up didn't get it. "I dunno. They're like cafeteria trays... Well, I guess there's some kinda ass-thetic appeal." And then she puckered her lips at me like an irritated camel. 

I actually realized later that the light yellow wine glass has a crack in it. SAD FACE. Oh well. I'm gonna turn it into an open terrarium. You've seen that tutorial, right?

Don't forget about the giveaway! It's open till February 6th. Enter and become a facebook stalker!

Pin It

Show and Tell Friday!

Holy Cow! A Giveaway!!!

~~~This giveaway has closed! Thanks for your entries, and stick around, another one is coming soon!~~~

Well, it's been a bit of a quiet week on the blog! Sorry about that, I've been super busy with real life, and with making stuff, and with waiting for a strike of inspiration. Actually I guess I haven't really been busy with that last part, so much as impatiently waiting with tapping toes and aggravated huffing. Anyway, my lazy-ass muse (just kidding my darling, I love you, please don't leave me halfway through my sentence) paid me a visit this morning, so after this post there's another one coming! Yep, it's a twofer kinda day. ;)

Soooo. Are you ready???

Today I'm launching Scissors & Steam's very first GIVEAWAY! WOOOOOOO!!!!!

Allright calm down, Me.

You're gonna get that book in the picture! It's handmade by me, so it's awesome. It's a blank journal of artist-quality paper, with blue endpapers, rigid boards hand-covered in super cute birdie fabric, with a little metal label holder on the cover. Oh and it has a pretty bird ribbon bookmark. And I have to tell you about the stitches, cause they are special. I bound it using a coptic stitch, which is perfect for artists, because it allows the book to open (and generally stay) completely flat. This is a quality book, about 4" by 6" (small enough to drop in your bag!), and 172 pages.

So how do you win this bit of bound paper splendiferousness? You may have noticed that I quietly launched Scissors & Steam's Facebook page last week! A few very cool people have liked it already (thank you! :). So, you can win by:

  • "Liking" Scissors & Steam on Facebook! (If you're one of those cool people that already liked it, don't worry, just comment that you did!)

Additional entries can be had by:

  • Sharing this post on Facebook
  • Following me here, on the blog
  • Blogging about this giveaway or tweeting about it (don't forget to follow me on twitter!)
  • Telling your cat about it. Really, I'm not that picky, so if you share somewhere (Bloglovin', Pinterest, your cat) just comment below!

No matter how you enter, please comment on THIS post with a separate comment for each entry! I'll compile entries from here, so if you don't, you won't get entered, and we don't want that! And be sure to include your email address if your profile doesn't have a contact link. I might try smoke signals otherwise.

Winner will be picked randomly. Please, only enter if you're in the US or Canada. Actually, go right ahead if you're elsewhere and feel okay about helping out with the cost of shipping via paypal. I'm a starving student, remember! 

Entries will close on February 6th. Good Luck!!! 

Pin It

Linked up at: Cure for the Common Monday! Show and Tell Friday!

I Murdered an Entire Village of Fairies by Writing This Post.


First things first. I must insist that all you minions go visit my darling lovely friend Jessica over at her new blog Philomath Momma. She's a modern-day mystic, a prophet who will crack your head open, scrape out all the shriveled parts poisoned by Jersey Shore, and pour inside the sweet watery light of an old Truth. Also she taught her tiny daughter to say "peace out" and her cat is the antichrist. So go follow her. This is not optional.

In other news, school technically started last week, but since I was in denial and refusing to emerge from the literal woods and face my reality as a grownup with things like responsibilities, it didn't actually start for me till this week. You'd think that being a grad student might mean that I have a sense of adulthood, and I do when I am up to my eyeballs in research, but most of my time is spent procrastinating. I actually have a sticky note on my monitor that says "NOW" in big bold letters. It's supposed to motivate me. It doesn't.

If I'm fair with myself I can say that once I actually start working I'm like a righteous tornado of genius that destroys every bit of lethargy and boredom in its path. And I love my work. I really, really do. Unfortunately it's usually about as difficult to get me to start working as it is to get a toddler to do calculus and like it. And, the honest-to-god truth is that one of the reasons I started this blog was so that I could do something productive when I'm procrastinating instead of turn into a lump of lukewarm clay with an arthritic forefinger from the endless click-click-click around the aimless interweb.

Point being, right now I should be working. There's gonna be a new tag on my posts. Something like, "I'm a procrastinating asshole." Or, "Every minute I don't work a fairy dies." You know, to make me feel good about myself every time I hit "publish." Or something.

I promise I haven't forgotten about Project 366, a pic a day in 2012. I've been doing it, I just haven't posted yet. I will. It's coming.

I also have a post about some cool thrifting finds in the tube, a GIVEAWAY, and two new tutorials waiting to be posted. So stick around, or you might miss out on an awesome little something handmade by me for you, and the meaning of life.

Or something.

This Was Not Stuffed With the Heart of an Orphan


Oh my god. That thing is so cute my brain just melted into a puddle of baby bunnies.

This is Hoo-Ratio. He got that name because he's an owl and he likes math. And also cause I'm a giant nerd.

You may recall from this post that I've been itching to try my hand at amigurumi, which is Japanese for "crochet that turns vital organs into fuzzy baby animals." No, I did not just make that up. Also, Hoo-Ratio has the heart of a stray orphan sewn into his cute little belly. So he's cute, but also probably evil. I didn't make that up either. Also, today I might be full of nonsense.

He was surprisingly easy to make. I started off using this pattern, but really I only paid attention for the first 2 stitches and then my ADD kicked in and I just hooked and hooked and hooked while watching Indiana Jones bitch about snakes until I decided I was done.

Then I stuffed him full of something soft (can't remember what. oh wait yes, orphan heart) and sewed the top shut, making a few extra, tighter stitches where I wanted his ears. Then I cut out circles of felt and sewed them on, then used french knots to make his pupils, then sewed his beak. Oh and I gave him some little pink felt wings, too. Because he wanted to fly and is comfortable with his masculinity.

He was really easy to make. All in all he took maybe an hour. And I didn't know what I was doing; I imagine some of you could whip him up much quicker.

Since I made him last week when I was staying at the cabin on vacation, I decided to leave him behind for whatever small adult wanted to take him. I was a little sad leaving him, but he'll hopefully brighten someone's day unexpectedly; if only for a few minutes. I wrote my email on the card, so hopefully I'll hear from his new family!

I swear we really did hear bigfoot. There's some weird shit in those mountains.

Please follow me. I am insecure and need minions. There is a shiny brand new facebook like box up there for my shiny brand new facebook page, too. I'm also on Pinterest and Twitter and probably also hiding in your garden.

Your plant garden. Not your lady garden. That would be weird.

Also I don't usually use the term "lady garden." Eww.

Feature Yourself Friday! I'm Lovin' It!

Pin It
(this button has been acting funny. if it doesn't work for you, you can go to the pin here and repin it from my page!)

The (mostly) Weekly Granny Stripe Update!


Yeah I know I said "weekly updates" for the Monster. But I've been hidden away in the remote forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the last week celebrating my five year anniversary with the man. It has been pleasant and relaxing in only the way complete and unforgiving abandonment of suburban civilization can be. This cabin in the lofty wilderness has been like a creative juicemaster, squeezing every bit of moisture and pulp out of my fruity brain.

Hmm. That was a weird metaphor. Did I mention oxygen is in short supply up here? Anyway, I thought it might be prudent to give you a real idea of just how ginormous this blanket really is. Meet the Monster:

 *SIGH*. Again. King size, at least. I think. At least, that's how it feels every time I've been hooking for hours and I find my thoughts have drifted to hooking out the parts of my brain that thought this was a good idea. And by hooking, of course I mean prostituting myself to the crochet gods. That's right. Yarn Whore. Except I get paid in carpal tunnel instead of herpes.

It's going okay though. No more frogging since the last granny stripe post. It's going a bit faster. Or, I just drift into an acrylic/wool blend stupor after the first 10 minutes.

I've also worked up a tiny, cute, googly eyed amigurumi crochet owl out of that luscious chartreuse yarn. If you follow me on twitter (and you do, right? RIGHT??) you saw a sneaky hipstamatic pic of it. A post featuring the adorableness is coming soon, I promise.

Aaaaannnd. A bit of sketching. I used to do a lot of calligraphy and still love to work with pure inks and specialty nibs. I scratched this out this morning while watching the sun rise through the storm clouds; just some scribbles as the coffee kicked in.

Don't forget to follow me. I may have promised a ray-gun, beefy bodyguard, and an official membership speedsuit to new minions in my last post, but I'm afraid the ray-guns were intercepted by customs. The bodyguards are still beefy though.

Making Monday Marvelous! Hookin Up With HoH! Transformation Thursday! Taking a Timeout Thursday! Strut Your Stuff! Show Off Your Stuff! Primp Your Stuff Wednesday! Creative Me! Craft Catwalk! Just Something I Whipped Up! Bedazzle Me Monday! Making the World Cuter! Made by You Monday! Cure for the Common Monday! DIY Showoff! Frugal Friday! Petals to Picots! Show and Tell Friday!

1,000 Pins!


How did we survive before Pinterest? Did we all just live in dark, dank, grey rooms with dull scissors and tangled bits of sad yarn languishing in disused drawers? Did we wear the same plain white t-shirt every day? Did we use jars and bottles only as jars and bottles, rather than as lamps, planters, and dirigibles? 

Pinterest! Our knight in quilted armour! Rescuing us from craftless, fashionless, unaesthetic boringness!!!

Minions, I have reached 1,000 pins. That's one-thousand. That's 10 times 100 bits of inspiration.

I figured a round up of my all time favorite pins would be appropriate. Feel free to chime in the comments with links to your own favorites! I'd love to see them! (it's an addiction)

(p.s. I will try to credit the original source. If I get it wrong and you own a pic, let me know and I'll be happy to fix it!)

In no particular order:

Apothecary Jars from apartment therapy. They remind me of my Mason Jar Terrariums:

These Crochet Owls from Haakmuts are my single most popular pin!

I love this brooch bracelet from cupcakes and cashmere:

More crochet, this time adorable rainbow fishies! These are from Annemarie's etsy shop:
Celestial bedroom, originally from Country Living:

Succulent Wall Hanging, also from apartment therapy:

DIY projects for old books, originally from the Written Word!!!

Crochet footstools by Claire-Anne O'Brien:

Love everything about this little nook, especially the blue wall!

I am in love with this photo from Kinfolk volume 2. It reminds me of the old masters of oil painting:

A solid bit of advice for all you writerly people:
And well, yeah.
Follow me here! And don't forget to scroll on up the sidebar to where it says "Minions" and click "join!" You may or may not receive a ray-gun, beefy bodyguard, and an official membership speedsuit in the mail. 

Somewhat Simple

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...