Category Archives: Crafts

Crafts Gardening

Terrariums: a DIY Love Story

I’ve got terrariums on the brain. The one pictured above? I have it on my desk. I look at it. Then I also look at the picture of the same terrarium that I have on my computer. Desk, computer. Desk, computer. True story.

I saw the most amazing hanging assortment at Grounded in Encinitas, where you can buy supplies to make your own:

and I thought: that’s what I’ve been missing my whole life!

I didn’t buy them that day though. I just let it stew inside me like…well, a stew, til it boiled over and I woke one day with an unmistakable mission: MAKE. A. TERRARIUM.

You can get the cute little 6-inch orbs (which have a flat bottom so you can set them on a table) online here in bulk for less than the $14 or so apiece at Grounded (and if you click the link my kids’ school district gets a percentage donated toward their science, tech, art and music programs!), but I had to buy some just to carry out the calling immediately.

I wanted to populate my terrariums with air plants, or Tillandsia, which can grow without soil. Grounded has the best assortment of air plants that I’ve seen locally, but again, they’re at a premium ($4-9 apiece) to what I’ve seen on Amazon where you can buy in bulk (for around $2-$3 apiece for the more common varieties — more for exotics or larger plants). Tillandsia like bright, filtered light — so within 6 feet of a sunny window is ideal. Air plants are pretty low maintenance — just soak them in a bowl of water for an hour a week.

I also wanted to fill my terrariums with colored sand and preserved moss, which I got from my local Michael’s Craft Store. The sand was $2.99 a bag and the moss, for the colorful variety pack, was $7.99 a bag.


Then, just stick the plants in anywhere you’d like:


I played around with upcycling some bordeaux glasses I have:

and conceptualized a display using some glass flower vases I have stashed in a cabinet:

The possibilities are bounded only by the number of glass containers that you have. Old jam jars, vases, whatever — they’re all good.

I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I love about terrariums. Simplicity of construction? Ease of care? Yes. But maybe, in some way, it’s the ability to have complete control of a tiny spherical universe when we live in a world that can be so hard to understand.

Now, to wrestle with the question of how many terrariums is too many.


Crafts Popular

Cable Knit Pom Pom Hat

This entry is going to be about knitting. If you don’t care about knitting, stop reading. If you don’t care about knitting but do want to learn about how to make pom poms, you can keep reading, but I’m just going to redirect you someone who can explain it better than I can.

My job’s been a little demanding lately, so I’ve been trying to unwind before going to bed by knitting a few rows every night. I started off doing pretty basic things, like 2×2 rib hats on straight needles, but eventually became obsessed with questions like “What if I don’t want any seams on my hats?” and “How do you make those twisty designs?”, and before I knew it I was knitting bad hats using 4-5 needles concurrently, cursing myself all the way. I am pretty sure that if I stayed at home full time I would be equally capable of finding things that would stress me out. Needless to say, this idea of unwinding using knitting only resulted in me staying up later than planned, determined to be able to do what seems to be somehow innate for little old ladies.

The good news is that I’ve been making progress. The hat to the right is the first one that I’ve knitted that is of my own design, without using a pattern. Except that this was supposed to be an adult hat, and as you can tell by the picture, it is being worn by a doll that is roughly 10% the size of an average adult. So I present to you: Cable Knit Pom Pom Hat for Toddlers! Nevermind the fact that my children are no longer toddlers…um, yeah, I meant to knit a hat for this knitted doll (which by the way was actually knitted by someone in England whose knitting skills are vastly superior to mine). Here’s how to make this hat:

I used:
Valley Yarns Berkshire (85% Wool, 15% Alpaca); wt 100 grams, in Lt. Blue

US Size 10 double-pointed needles (set of 4)

Cable needle (I just used a dpn from another set as the cable needle, with a rubber stopper on one end)

CO 60

Rows 1-6: *k1, p1, rep from * to end

Rows 7-9: *p4, k6, rep from * to end

Rows 10: *p4, CF6, rep from *to end

Rows 11-13: knit the knits and purl the purls

Repeat Rows 7-13 until total rows = 26

Shape crown:

Row 1:
X= if the next stitch is a knit, use K2tog; if it is a purl, use SSK
Y= if the next stitch is a knit, k; if it is a purl, p

*X, Y2 rep from * to end

Row 2: X, Y

Row 3: *k1, p1; rep from * to end

Row 4: *k1; rep from * to end

Row 5-6: *k2tog; rep from * to end

Break off yarn, thread through yarn needle and through live sts, drawing tight and sliding off knitting needle. Secure and weave off.

Making the pom pom:

Do it the cheap way:

Or do what I did if you’re too lazy to cut your own template — buy one:;=prd31838

Sew securely to the hat, and voila! Now find someone who’s willing to wear it, preferably aged 1-2.

This is pattern is free for personal, non-commercial use. Further use requires permission from the designer (me). You may not sell or distribute the pattern in any form. You may not sell the any item or items made from this pattern without my permission. You may not use this pattern or items from the pattern for commercial use.