Planting Sequoias

In which I blog about a life (hopefully) well lived.

1 Comment

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser (in which I make a valiant attempt at “artistic” photography with my point-and-shoot)

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed it, (HAHAHA), but all of the pictures on this blog were taken using my trusty old point-and-shoot camera.

I also have the good sense to use our ratty apartment carpet as a backdrop to these photos.

Perhaps someday when I get older I can be entrusted with a DSLR camera. Perhaps.

But I digress. Since Christmas is over (weeping/gnashing of teeth), I can now share a few of the gifts I’ve been working on. For my mother, I made a mason jar soap dispenser. IT WAS SO EASY. And bonus: I even got to use a hammer.

Here’s a picture of (some of) my supplies and our plush carpet. I got the mason jar from the thrift store for $.25, so this was an affordable craft. It’s also a sweet odd size, somewhere between a pint and a quart. Oh, and since my mom lives on our farm and actually does a lot of canning, this gift does not look out of place at all in her house.

I began with one hole centered in the mason jar lid and a closeup of the carpet.


Then I got rid of some anger by doing it a bunch more times.


Then I used my sister’s needle-nosed pliers (that I borrowed to make my brooch bouquet and have yet to return) to sort of rip the metal away. I sound like quite a beast, don’t I? But it was actually pretty easy. You can kind of see that I bent the metal downward as I ripped it off…which, now that I think about it, probably doesn’t matter at all. (Don’t you hate it when you have a thought and then you realize it is not actually a good/logical one? Yup. Happens all the time to me.)


Then I slipped the dispenser part of a lotion bottle into the hole. I had periodically checked this as I ripped apart the metal, so it is pretty snug, like you want it.

For this shot, I thought a blurry shot would be best.


Just kidding. Actually, what I was going for was the “water droplet” look like this since I’d just washed the lotion off the dispenser.

rose with water drops

Picture obviously not taken by moi.

I did have to trim the “straw” part of the dispenser to fit in the jar. If you keep it angled (which it probably was in the first place), it can still suck up almost all of the soap.

Next, I got out my trusty hot glue gun (NEW! This was it’s inaugural run!) and glued the pieces together from the underside of the lid. It’s not going anywhere soon, and it’s sort of sealing the jagged edges of metal, so my theory is that it won’t rust as easily.


Then I ditched our carpet backdrop and took these artsy photos of the dispenser in what could be its natural habitat in a bathroom.

This is actually a pretty normal photo, but the photo shoot quickly devolved from here.

Also, that drippy paint on our mirror? It drives me nuts. Don’t get me started. Our shower and counter/sink area is bright white, our walls are yellowish-cream, our outlets are almond-beige, and our industrial plastic baseboard is gray. It’s almost as if an amateur decorator like me designed this bathroom.


And here where this post derails and my artistic photography falls on its face. True confession: I can’t be trusted with any camera, much less a nice one, because I take pictures like this.


And then I gave this to my mom and she liked it.

Finally, if you don’t hear from me in a few days, it’s probably because I’ve been thrown into photography jail.


1 Comment

Mason Jar Pincushion (in which I spend an inordinate amount of time making a purely functional object look “cute”)

A few months ago, necessity and inspiration smacked me in the face. It’s nice when those things occur simultaneously, or nearly so.

Necessity: I needed a pincushion. Pins don’t like “just hanging out” in ziplock baggies.

Inspiration: I had a teeny-tiny mason jar and cute houndstooth fabric. A match made in heaven? Probably not, but cute nonetheless.

So I created this cute little guy and stabbed my pins into it. We lived happily like this for a good long while.

But then I got sick of the slightly rusted canning ring and went and spray painted it red. Here’s how I created it the second time.

I should note that, for about one blissful hour after I made this the first time, I thought I’d come up with an original idea. HA! Nope. This has definitely been done before. I don’t know what I was thinking for those first 60 minutes…

The supplies needed are pretty self explanatory but are pictured here in the hopes that I might trick you into thinking that this a “real” tutorial and that I’m a “real” blogger. Is it working?

I do realize that if I have to ask, the answer is “no.” I’ll learn someday.

As for the “tutorial” part of this post: you kind of just jam the small bit of fluff up in the round piece of fabric and shove it all into the canning ring, wedging it in there very tightly with the canning lid.

I then went the extra mile and hand stitched the round bit of fabric so that it wouldn’t hang down into the jar. My needles were very conveniently located for this project since they had been stuck into version 1.0, so I didn’t have to work very hard to complete this step. If I’d needed to reach for them, or, God forbid, stand up and go find the needles, this step very well may not have happened.

And then, once again, I stabbed all of the pins into the fluff after screwing the whole contraption back onto it’s mason jar bottom.

If you were wondering where all of the white pins are (which I’m sure you were), I can answer that–they made their way into my brooch bouquet for our wedding, masquerading as pearl pins. I’ll let them stay there indefinitely, I think. I have no plans of yet to disassemble that beast.

And here’s a fancy overhead picture for your pleasure. I’m not normally one to make such a big deal over purely functional objects, but this blog and my recent spray paint addiction have gotten the best of me. It’s the fumes, I think. The spray paint fumes, not the blog fumes. It would certainly be strange if my blog started emanating a scent.

And since I’m over-explaining things altogether too much, I’m just going to end this here.