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An Extended Break

September 9, 2013 at 10:02 amBY Joanna and Lorien

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We’ve had a wonderful year here with you at Get Along and Go, and we’ve learned so much about this blogging adventure and ourselves.  It’s been a real honor to share with you every day, and we’ll certainly miss our conversations as we take an extended break to explore new creative projects and ideas.  We’re raising a glass to new adventures, opportunities, and discovery.  Stay tuned for more to come in the future…and until then, cheers!

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Gardening Tips: When to Harvest?

July 11, 2013 at 10:00 amBY Joanna
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I’ve been asked by a few friends recently ‘when should I be picking these?’ And so I thought I’d share some pretty universal rules for harvesting from the veggie garden since it’s getting to be that time of year.
Brussels Sprouts – Trim the lowest leaves from the stalk to improve the individual sprout sizes.  Harvest sprouts from the bottom.  You can harvest late as the first frost sweetens the flavor.
Chard – Harvest throughout the season by trimming outer leaves through to the first frost.Cucumbers – Best when picked at a slightly immature level. Anywhere from 1.5″ – 2.5″ in width when 5″-8″ long.  Pickling varieties with be about half the length.  When in doubt pick earlier than later to get the best flavor.
Eggplant -Harvest when eggplants are bright in color and shiny, but not overripe.  They will begin dulling in color when they’re past their prime.
Hot Peppers -Pick as needed throughout the season.  Immature green peppers are hottest.  The pepper sweetens as it turns red.
Tomatoes -Best when the fruit is uniformly red (or colored), but before the ends get soft.  Tip – ripe fruits will sink in water.  To ripen green tomatoes off the vine – wrap them in newspaper and store in a room between 55F and 70F.  Green tomatoes stored this way should last 3-4 weeks.
Zucchini – Harvest when fruit is young and tender.  They will continue to grow large and become bitter when left too long.  Skin should easily be punctured by a fingernail.
These are general rules of thumb, and there’s so many more veggies I haven’t included, but I think I’ve covered some basics.  I’d love to see what you’re harvesting.  Take pics and share using #getalongandgoharvest and follow
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A Visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

July 8, 2013 at 11:49 amBY Lorien

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On Saturday, I was sunburned (a first for me) after an amazing day at the beach on Friday and I was having a moment of despising the heat. I was not alone, so we spent a good of amount of time thinking of different things we could go do that was in the AC (I was so desperate I even contributed the idea of going to the grocery store and hanging out in the freezer aisle, which may have been influenced by the large amounts of popsicles and fudgesicles we were eating to stay cool).

We finally came up with the idea of having an outdoor potluck brunch (frittata, mimosas, fresh veggies from a garden, homemade biscuits with whipped butter and jam) and then taking advantage of Bank of America’s free admission to museums on the first full weekend of each month (a friend who didn’t have a BOA went to the library and picked up a pass for $10. Did you know the library has several passes for different museums? I didn’t.) We headed to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which was the perfect way to spend a hot summer day.

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I loved the Blue and White Exhibit and the Samurai Exhibit, it is always special to see paintings by Monet and Van Gogh, which we did, but my favorite was the Contemporary Art Exhibit.

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A piece from the Blue and White Exhibit. It was really interesting to see and read about the global reach of blue and white, “blue and white is able to transcend cultural boundaries and be culturally specific”.

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Yes, this is a large cheese grater. This piece, Grater Divide, was about how “change something’s scale and you might change its essence’. Influenced by her experience of being an exile from Lebanon during their civil war, by enlarging the grater she transformed the cheese grater into a screen of hiding and dividing.

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This was one of my favorite pieces of the day, it unfortunately photographed very poorly. This is a portrait done using a pinhole camera. Unfortunately you see more of my iPhone then the amazing work of the artist and amazing effects of using a pinhole camera in my picture.

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There was an outstanding glass sculpture by Chihuly in the cafe, along with a touching tribute to Boston featuring all hand stitched flags from all around the world showing their support for Boston.

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Happy Bithday America!

July 4, 2013 at 12:26 pmBY Joanna

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Happy Birthday America!

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Covering Up at the Beach

July 2, 2013 at 2:00 pmBY Lorien

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Next week I’m headed to Maine to camp out for 4 days on some island (anyone have recommendations of places I should try to check out). We’ll be camping right near the water in the woods, so I have a feeling I’m going to be in my bathing suit a lot. Unfortunately. I’m not exactly bathing suit ready so I’m looking to these to cover me up.

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1. Women’s Regular Geo Cotton Voile Shirtdress Cover-up, Lands End
2. Pierside Cover-up, Madewell
3. Cotton Voile Cubist Houndstooth Tunic, J.crew
4. Vneck Tunic in Wave Stripe,J.crew

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I’m also in love with this striped towel for its pattern and for how big it is (5ft tall). I’m hoping there will be major opportunity to just lay out, I will be away for 4 days and we will be camping… not really sure what other things that will be to do (I’m still new to thing camping thing).

Lastly, A Cup of Jo featured this great invention: a bag and a picnic blanket all in one. It’s compact and is only $30. The other great thing about it? It comes in so many bright and summery colors….

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My New Favorite Salad for the Summer

July 1, 2013 at 10:57 amBY Lorien

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A variation of this salad was on the menu at Figidini and when I needed an easy dinner, I knew I wanted to make their salad at home.

While this combination of ingredients is not anything new, I love how this salad does not include any lettuce so it can sit in my friday for a few days and will it still be just as good on the first day as the second day. I also tested it out while camping it this weekend, and it held up really well. We paired the salad with hotdogs and corn on the cob, it was seriously the perfect summer meal). I add more tomatoes than cucumbers based on my own preference, but I wouldn’t leave out the celery because it really adds the perfect crunch.

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The Ladyfingers Letterpress Give-Away

June 28, 2013 at 10:00 amBY Joanna

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Hands down – this is the easiest post I’ve ever written simply because the content speaks for itself.  If you don’t know about the Ladyfingers Letterpress (and Morgan and Arley-Rose – the ladies behind the name) you certainly need to.  They are the talented couple creating so many beautifully designed invitations and stationary – and they were kind enough to allow me to interview them for Get Along and Go.  To top it off, they’re offering a special give-away to one lucky reader (details at the end of the post).

Give our readers a brief introduction to your business…What do you do, and who are you, what do you offer?
Ladyfingers Letterpress is a design + letterpress printshop, specializing in hand-drawn, custom invites and stationery. It is owned and operated by the wife + wife, designer + printmaker duo Morgan Calderini and Arley-Rose Torsone, who started the business in 2011 after having planned their own wedding and discovering the poor selection of wedding invites that were aimed towards same-sex couples. Their staff of 6 (and sometimes more) operates a studio out of the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket, RI and provides one-of-a-kind wedding invitations for all couples, as well as a brand new line of social stationery that include cards for every occasion!

Is there something behind the name Ladyfingers Letterpress?  Are there any men working with you, or just ladies?
Haha, well when Morgan and I first met, we joked about having a gay bar bakery called a Gaykery, and we’d have a press set up and we’d sell stationery and you could eat and drink and hang out. Buuut we soon learned that solvents and ink are not really the best things to have around in a place where you serve food, so we scrapped that idea and stuck with the printshop. And yes, we do have ManHands on the team: our Accounts Manager Sydney vonDembowski. Wouldn’t be here without him.

You guys seem to have many different methods of printing available to you.  What different techniques do you use and do you have a favorite?
We’ve incorporated die cutting, laser cutting, hot foil stamping, 3D techniques, moving pieces, hand-stitched leather pouches, tiny books… the list goes on. Anytime someone says “I don’t know if you can do anything like that…” our ears perk up and we stay up all night trying ti figure out how to make it possible. If we can’t do it in house, we always reach out and team up with the best to make the most unique things possible.

ladyfingers_letterpress_02You have so many sharp looking hand drawn invites on instagram.  Is hand lettering a specialty of yours, or is it a style that’s particularly in fashion at the moment?  Or maybe both?
Arley speaking here: When I went to college from 2000-2004, the digital design boom was happening. Our teachers were teaching us basic design skills using Photoshop and Illustrator, while my peers were designing things solely for digital use. As someone who has always drawn, painted and made things with my hands my whole life, I knew early on that I needed to have a physical outlet to my work. I took a typography class when I was a sophomore and it changed my life, but I was too sloppy to be your typical uptight typography nerd. I hated to read because I would just stare at the characters as if they were little people who were all waiting in line to catch a bus or mingling at a party. Each one had its own personality and deep down inside I knew there was more to them than Helvetica and standard x-heights.

My sketchbooks started to fill with type. My illustrations moved from image to image-with-caption to just-plain-caption. I wanted to read text as if it was a painting, where the feeling immediately hits you first and then you see that its a still life or a landscape painting, and if you look closer you can appreciate the nuances of color and  the way the paint sit on the canvas. I started to base my graphic design work around hand-lettering. Once, as the in-house graphic designer at AS220, I hand-lettered an entire monthly calendar that included the guide to everything AS220 does. It took me a long time, but after I saw that offset printed in a rainbow roll, there was no going back.

People ask me all the time if hand-lettering is a passing fad. In my mind I reply, “Yes, and when people get bored with it, I’ll go back to carving into stone”. I guess many people don’t fully realize that all type begins with a drawing, and to me, hand-lettering gives me more freedom on the page. I am not restricted by horizontal baselines or standard point sizes. Sometimes, designing type on the computer takes longer for me than just drawing it. I couldn’t imagine having a design business that didn’t incorporate the joy and freedom that hand-lettering allows.

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Starting a business can seem so intimidating.  Do you have any advice about how to get started?  Particularly for artists and designers looking to work independently.  What five tips would you give to someone considering going on their own?
Before we both went full time, we had been doing some smaller invites for friends and family which got very little attention. Those smaller projects helped us become acclimated to working with clients and gave us time to build our website, portfolio and marketing materials along the way while we were still under the radar. For our own wedding, as designers and printmakers, we decided to do something really bold and beautiful, and totally us. We posted images of our final invitation suite on Flickr and they caught the attention of a popular blogger who featured it which basically launched our career!

The lesson we learned from this is that sometimes the work you make for yourself is often the most beautiful, original and unique. Pretend you are a client of yourself, and then ask for the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. Make it, try to share through social networks, and soon enough people will start contacting and you asking for something just as beautiful. Having this sort of portfolio piece will establish your style and unique voice among other makers.

That being said, here are our 5 tips:

1. Start small – growing organically is not only really exciting, but smart. Don’t invest in a huge studio or the most top-of-the-line equipment at first. You’ll get there, but start with what you’ve already got and make the most of it.

2. Just do it! Don’t get stuck on thinking that you need tons of money or a huge nest egg to get started. We had just spent all our money on our wedding and had only $200 in our bank account when we took out a business credit card and put everything on that. Sure, there will be some really hairy times, but staying hungry is the best motivator to succeed.

3. Get friendly with the internets – Don’t be shy about making connections online. If advertising is not in your budget, leave friendly comments on websites that may be associated with your craft and be sure to leave your name and website. Bloggers are always looking for something to post about, so you’re doing them a favor by giving them content! Be sure to read their submission guidelines before submitting and never refer to them as “Dear Blogger”. Always do your homework and be respectful of other people’s time. Also, we’ve had terrific experience in the past with trading our services for ads on blogs and high-traffic websites, you might want to try to give that a shot. Bartering is a wonderful thing!

4. Believe in yourself! Something that we struggled with at first was knowing what to charge. Modesty is a virtue… until you have bills to pay! I know it can be hard asking for money sometimes, but if you don’t ask for it, no one will give it to you. Create a budget that outlines your monthly expenses and also research what other people are charging in your field. Obviously, don’t charge at the highest rate you can find, but also don’t charge so little that you drive down the market. If you find that your demand is going up, you can adjust your prices! You can always increase them, but you should never start so high that you have to decrease them.

5. Be nice to everybody. Whether they’re a client, co-worker, intern or contractor, treat them the way you would want to be treated. I know I might sound like your mother right now, but writing thank you notes and following up is a great way to make a great impression and build lasting relationships.

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You seem to have many different methods of printing available to you.  What different techniques do you use and do you have a favorite?
We’ve incorporated die cutting, laser cutting, hot foil stamping, 3D techniques, moving pieces, hand-stitched leather pouches, tiny books… the list goes on. Anytime someone says “I don’t know if you can do anything like that…” our ears perk up and we stay up all night trying ti figure out how to make it possible. If we can’t do it in house, we always reach out and team up with the best to make the most unique things possible.

I’ve taken a look at your instagram, and Ladyfingers Letterpress looks like a busy, but completely fun workplace…what about your ‘office’ makes it so special?  For instance – the in-office hair cuts…that’s a nice perk.
There’s that cheesy quote that says “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. We figure that if we make the workplace a respectable place while giving ourselves and our employees the room to have fun, everyone will have a better time, be happier, and make better work. It helps that some of our clients do really awesome work that we love to barter for: we’ve gotten designer sunglasses, haircuts, free advertising and delicious food! Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in trying to barter for one of our clients adorable 1 year old. This does not mean we will stop trying.

What’s on the soundtrack over at Ladyfingers Letterpress print shop?
We keep Spotify and Pandora on a pretty good rotation of Robyn, and whatever station is “hip” with our “interns” these days.

Your prints certainly make good use of fantastic colors.  We love bold colors at Get Along and Go, and I’m always matching personalities to colors….If you were a color, what would you be?
Neon Red!

Any big plans in the works for the printshop?
We’re hoping that the wholesale thing keeps up. We had a terrific response at the National Stationery show and 50 stores placed orders for our work to be in around the country. We’re excited to continue to make new ways for people to reach out and touch.. other… people… with stationery.  I guess I would say stay tuned for the release of our social stationery line which will debut on our website on June 22.

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Beautiful designs right?? Bet you would like to get your hands on some of their stationary. Well…you’re in luck because Arley-Rose and Morgan were generous enough to offer up 3 complimentary folded cards from their brand new online shop to one of our readers.  To enter to win, visit their shop, pick your three favorite designs, and come back here and tell us which you love in a comment.  We’ll announce the winner next Wednesday, July 3rd.  (to keep up with the Ladyfingers Letterpress follow them on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest) UPDATE: GIVE-AWAY IS CLOSED – WE HAVE ANNOUNCED A WINNER.  THANKS!

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That’s What She Said: Our Alt Summit NYC Recap

June 27, 2013 at 10:00 amBY Lorien

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As you may already know, Joanna and I went to NYC last week for Alt Design Summit. Since we went last year, we felt like seasoned pros going into it but Alt outdid themselves and topped last year’s conference. More bloggers came, more speakers spoke, more sponsors to interact with… more awesomeness all around. It was a whirlwind few days (especially with staying at the over the top hotel the Dream Downtown (can you say pool with a see through bottom above the lobby), and we’ve finally had a few days to let all the knowledge we learned sink in (Also if you’re ever in NYC go to the Spice Market, it was so good we had to go back again this year).

Lorien says:
1.
I’m not a good blogger as I don’t socialize well with others. Ok, this isn’t entirely true, but anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely shy so things like the Alt Conference are challenging for me.

On Wednesday night we attended a dinner with 15 other bloggers and the organizers of Alt, Sara Urquhart and Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom. Honestly, I was sort of dreading attending because of my shyness, but luckily the dinner was one of my highlights of our time in NYC.

Besides having the best ice cream of my life, the dinner was a great chance to have one-on-one time with other bloggers, pick the brilliant brian of Gabrielle Blair and have a no-frills networking experience. Low maintenance and good conversation focused around the things that really interest and matter to Joanna and I; we talked about the topics that we hoped to discuss when attending Alt. Thank you to the Alt organizers for an amazing evening.

2. “Blaze your own version of a path” and “embrace change”. Both are quotes from Grace Bonney from Design Sponge, the opening keynote speaker and someone who is a role model for us when it comes to blogging. With our blog being so personal and an extension of us, these two quotes are something I am going to lean on.

Like the first year, being around other bloggers I feel pressure to be the “perfect blogger (whatever that means). While I could go on about it, I will say that after this year’s conference I’m even more confident in doing my own thing. Doing what’s comfortable for me. Challenging myself in ways that work for me. Do me. Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing – blaze your own version of path.

Through her lecture, I feel inspired to embrace change especially with Get Along and Go. That it’s ok to have your brand evolve and change from the original mission statement. You’re not failing but you’re growing. Change scary to you too? To kickstart a change, break it into small steps.

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3. “Play is the highest form of research” – Albert Einstein. The two speakers from They Draw and Cook shared this quote with us and I 100% believe in it. I think hearing all the speakers talk about their creative endeavors they would all agree how important this is. I must remind myself to do this more, to go and seek fulfilling activities.

4.“You want your audience to have a crush on you, to seek you out”. I feel like I’m letting out a blogger secret or something, but I love when Jen Koss from Brika (a brand that I blogged about here) said this. I think this is important for any brand.

5. Thank you again ALT for an amazing experience, the conference was invigorating and inspiring. Alt, you were the kick in the butt I needed. And not to get too corny, I’m proud of myself for going in and staying true to who I am as a blogger and to really focus on what I wanted to get out of the conference. Now to take what I learned and make some changes! Hope to see everyone in 2014, fingers crossed for another Alt NYC!

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Joanna says:

1. Just like last year, we had a fantastic time attending Alt Summit.  Getting out of town and spending a few days surrounded by like minded, creative entrepreneurs is not only inspiring, but also a rewarding way to enjoy the work we do.  I have to say, this year brought many unexpected outcomes, the first of which was being invited to a special dinner Wednesday night with the organizers of the conference (the sponsored dinner we were signed up for was cancelled, so this was a surprise and a treat).  Seeing as we often organize large scale events, it was really wonderful to get some one-on-one time with the organizers of Alt.  Gabrielle Blair from Design Mom sat across from me and she was truly generous with her time – I just hope I didn’t bombard her with too many questions.  So thank you Alt for inviting us to dinner.

2. Ok – another unexpected take-away (or personal realization) from Alt…I’m not good at networking, and I’m completely OK with that.  Going into this year’s conference, I was a little nervous about how many people I’d be able to connect with, how many business cards I’d hand out, how many people would leave knowing about Get Along And Go…ugghhh.  Total nightmare for me.  Thankfully, while at the conference I found some sort of zen place about the whole networking thing when it dawned on me that one solid connection is more valuable than trying to introduce yourself to everyone.  Networking just seems empty to me unless it’s supported by concrete thought and content.  I always knew this, but hearing the closing keynote speaker Garance Dore state – ‘do not network’ (she meant in a superficial way) was some serious validation in a room swimming with possible connections that I was missing.  I was thrilled to introduce myself to a few other conference attendees who I hope to connect with more in the future, but I was completely OK with not pressuring myself to chat with everyone.  Pheeew…

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3. Alt is an amazing conference for so many reasons (it’s difficult to recap everything we enjoyed – this post would never end), but for me, the biggest take away was very personal.  For me – attending Alt was like performing in front of a mirror, in the sense that for some reason at Alt I become acutely aware of my own strengths and weaknesses.  Last year that may have freaked me out, but this year I embraced that awkward but honest realization.  And thankfully so – because this year at Alt I realized that I need to take a step away from all the social media, put the laptop down every now and again, and actually return to being creative with my hands.  At Alt I got to try out some crafty projects during the conference thanks to Martha Stewart (who has a beautiful new website by the way).  So – in the words of Grace Bonney of Design Sponge, ‘embrace change’.  That being said, Lorien and I are so excited to sit down and really examine what we love, what we hate (it’s mostly me who hates things), what this means for Get Along And Go, and where we go from here.  It’s a very exciting time and we’ll be sharing our thoughts along the way!

So thank you Alt for all the hard work.  We know these types of events take an amazing amount of time and energy to pull off, but when they’re done well, the reward is well worth the hard work.  Alt Summit 2013 was fantastic, and I was so pleasantly surprised with so many unexpected self-discoveries.  Can’t wait to see you next year.

 

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Making It: Macrame Plant Holder

June 26, 2013 at 10:30 amBY Joanna

macrameI’ve been feeling all crafty recently.  I think it’s in part a response to our recent visit to the Martha Stewart headquarters to attend the Alt Summit, and in part to the warmer weather and nostalgia for summer camp activities.  Whatever the reason, I’ve found myself at Michael’s Crafts a bunch lately, and I have a number of crafty projects going at once.  It feels good to be making things.

This past weekend I taught myself how to make a very simple macrame plant hanger.  All of my plants were removed from my living room during our recent house repairs.  Bringing them back in has been a real eye opener to the fact that I have awful (really terrible) plant hangers.  Not sure how I never realized this before, but sometimes if you stare at something long enough it disappears, and it takes a little shaking up to even notice the plastic Home Depot planters you’ve been living with for years.  That being said, it was time to remedy this long standing problem I never knew I had.  I was determined to make my own plant hanger (I’m completely stubborn about buying something I think I can make myself).  I became so involved in the project I made three – and it was so super simple I thought I’d share it with you.  The materials are inexpensive and easy to find, and the entire process takes about 30 minutes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 x 104″ strands of macrame rope (like this, this or this)
  • wooden beads with large center holes (these are completely decorative and serve no function.  If you can’t find them, forget about it – no biggie)
  • a 2″ key ring
  1. 1. Take the 4 strands, group them in a bundle so that the ends are even.  Find the center (somewhere around 52″).  Pull the stands through the key ring and tie together in a knot near the 52″ mark, securing the key ring in the center and creating 8 52″ strands hanging from the key ring.
  2. Hang the project from the key ring on a hook for better access to the strands.
  3. Divide the strands into 4 groups of 2 (group strands adjacent to one another together) and add wooden beads to each strand.
  4. Tie each grouping in a simple knot about 10″ down from the key ring, making sure the beads are between the key ring and the knot so they are secured.
  5. Take one stand from a grouping and knot it together with a strand from it’s neighboring grouping.  This will create the ‘web’ that holds the plant in place.  Tie the knot about 10″ down from the prior knot.  Continue with all strands until you have 4 new groupings.
  6. Gather all stands and tie together in one large know about 8″ down from the second.
  7. Add plant (this was actually the trickiest part for me because my plants were getting tangled with the rope.  It took a little patience, but I was able to untangle them).

So – that’s it.  The directions may sound complicated, but I assure you they are simple once you get going.  And the finished product is just what I was hoping for.  This project is highly customizable, so have fun with the rope you use and feel free to embellish with whatever you can add to a strand of rope.

 

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Style Muse: Dear Rae

June 24, 2013 at 10:35 amBY Lorien

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Two Tear Drop Brass Bangle

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Brass Hexaon Ring

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Zewi Ring

Joanna and I just got back from Alt NYC on Friday, we had the most amazing time meeting other bloggers, talking with industry people, getting advice and learning so much about blogging, social media and marketing. We’re going to share all of it on Thursday, but until then here are some pretty things to look at.

Like finding the perfect little black dresses, or being able to eat the same good pasta dish over and over again, I will never sick of looking for, and at, delicate jewelry. I love this line Dear Rae and was very happy to find out that R350 (South African Rand) is only $34 dollars!

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