Saturday, May 31, 2014

Gift for Thrift! Paper Boat & Map Crafts

I've always loved vintage maps and have used them in the past as wall art, drawer liners, wrapping paper, and for other sundry projects. I'm visiting my folks in the Finger Lakes area of New York State and we always stop in the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you have a ReStore in your area, it's a wonderful source of building materials and household goods for pretty reasonable prices. The inventory changes constantly based on what people donate so you never know what you'll find. Plus the proceeds go towards building houses for hardworking people who otherwise would never be able to own a home.

Today I found some fun vintage treasures, including the 1938 board game, world atlas, and children's book shown below. The checkerboard is headed for a living room wall. It's already framed so I can just add a loop of twine and hang it on a hook. It has a regular checkerboard on the back so we can take it down to play a game with my vintage wooden checkers. I'm not sure what I'll do with the picture book. I just loved the old graphics, especially of the women and dogs. I might use it to line my phone case (it has a clear back so I can insert whatever I want to change the look).

The maps will probably see many uses, but first I wanted to try an origami boat. I made lots of paper boats when I was a kid, mainly inspired by Curious George Rides a Bike. I wanted to make a different style than the old classic boat/hat design, so I gave this tutorial at Let Us DIY a shot. The folding went smoothly but I was stumped on step 8 for a while. You basically gently turn it inside out at that point as far as I can tell.

I decided my boat needed details like a mast, so I rolled up a long tube and sealed it with tape, then added a sail (just a triangle of paper with holes punched in it). There are a plethora of map projects on Pinterest and the internet at large. My all time favorite is a "butterfly" collection. You can see it here.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nautical Leather and Macrame Bracelets

In spring and summer, I just can't get enough bracelets! I love shedding the bulky sweaters and coats of winter and wearing lots of jingling bangles or soft braids and cords. So this won't be my last bracelet post of the season by any means.

I used leather colored with Sharpies as described here in my post last week. This time I wanted a ropy look so I used hemp and cotton cord for the closures. Both are easy to find. Hemp is in the jewelry section of craft stores, and you can find various sizes of cotton cord in the home dec sewing or trims by the yard section of a large craft store. It's used to form the basis of piping around cushion edges but adds great nautical flair.

In the aqua bracelet shown above, I used my leather punch to add some holes for the hemp to show through, then macramé square knots to extend the bracelet around my wrist. If you're rusty on macramé or never learned, there's an excellent tutorial at Stone Brash Creative. I used it for this project.

Since the top already has a lot going on, I didn't want to fiddle with adding jewelry findings to the bottom. A sliding knot was called for, but I've never made one before. I found Jessica Barst's video tutorial at so crafty on Squidoo and was very pleased with the results. It only took me two tries to get this knot just as I'd envisioned it.

Each whole bracelet took barely over an hour!


I added some new nautical motifs to my next bracelet, a star and compass roses. I love how they look but never drew one before. This design is pretty basic, so I'm going to explore with them more in the future.

A simple Monkey's Fist knot on one end and a knotted loop on the other give me options to wear this tight or loose.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute

 




Monday, May 26, 2014

Hedgehog Planter from Plastic Bottle DIY


Sadly, there are no native species of hedgehogs currently living in North America. I rarely saw them when I lived in England, but they were always an adorable visitor to the garden. As soon as I saw this idea on Pinterest it took root in my imagination, and I'm planning a whole family of hedgies for my flowerbed.

I can't take credit for this adorable craft. As far as I can tell, it was originally posted here. I was able to figure out a way to make them with garden or jute twine, but the article also suggests using burlap. Perhaps burlap cut in thin strips and wetted could be formed around a bottle? I can also see myself using bulky twine or acrylic rug yarn to crochet a bottle cover. If you work out a better method please share in the comments. I think this also might work well as a Chia Pet type project, so if you prefer, melt or poke many small holes in your bottle for seedlings to grow out of, and add soil through the top opening.

Nitty Gritty
Materials
  • Craft knife
  • Black Sharpie or spray paint
  • Empty drink bottle
  • 2 black buttons
  • 2 bobby pins or twist ties
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spool of tan or grey garden twine (or any color twine and grey spray paint)
  • Potting soil
  • Succulents or cacti to fill your planter
Directions
  1. Plug in your hot glue gun and if you're using it, your heated craft knife, to warm.
  2. Use a clean plastic drink bottle with smooth sides. Remove the label from your bottle.
  3. Color the cap with a black Sharpie or spray paint.
  4. Cut an opening in your bottle. I drew a rectangle in Sharpie so you can see how large I made
    mine. You can use a plain craft knife as shown in the materials photo, but a hot knife makes plastic cutting much easier. I have a Walnut Hollow Versa Tool from JoAnn's which comes with a knife attachment. I've only had it a couple of weeks and have already used it on several projects.
  5. Cut off the colorful plastic ring and if desired, the lip of clear plastic it rests against.
  6. Apply a 1/2" bead of hot glue just below the bottom thread of the screw top. Add the twine, being careful not to burn yourself.
  7. Add beads of glue on either side of the bottle a little at a time and wrap the twine around, keeping each wrap close to the previous wrap.
     
  8. Continue gluing and wrapping. As the bottle widens, glue at several points to keep twine in place.
  9. When you get to the bottle opening, you have a choice. You can either stop applying twine, cut and glue down the end, or continue as follows. If you stop, the brown soil will show through, but not be very noticeable if you nestle your planter in the mulch or grass.
  10. Make about 20 3/8" cuts along the sides of the opening.
  11. Bring twine up, slide through slit, wrap around back, and bring through the next slit to the front. Bring twine under bottle to other side and repeat. Repeat until you reach the end of the opening. 
  12. Fold down the plastic tabs created by the slits toward the inside of the bottle. Apply a thick bead of glue on the inside of the opening to help secure the loops of twine.
  13. Keep wrapping and gluing as described in step 7 until you have completely covered your bottle.
  14. Poke or cut a few holes in the bottom of your planter for drainage, and two for your hedgie's eyes.
  15. Run your bobby pins or twist ties through your buttons. Push the ends through the holes for the eyes.
  16. Screw on the cap when it's dry.
  17. Add soil and plants, and find the perfect hedgehog habitat, whether indoors or out. If using indoors, be sure to put a tray or saucer underneath. 
Different bottles and plants offer many possibilities for a variety of hedgies. You could use also cut off the screw top of the bottle and glue on a large button for a smaller nose. I just used what I had on hand, but if you don't mind buying things specifically for this project you have more options.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute
p.s. If you created this craft and you have a tutorial online, please let me know so I can give you credit.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Simple Summer Pleasures (Clover or Daisy) Chain DIY)

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day, and I was lucky to spend it with a good friend and her toddler. We had a delicious brunch at Gena's Restaurant. I haven't been there in a year or two but was a frequent visitor when I worked on the north east side of Columbus. I love their eggs benedict with well-done home fries the best, but every breakfast or lunch entrée I've ordered has been a treat. We ordered several things to split so we both got to have eggs, waffles, potatoes, bacon, and fruit. What a feast!
My friend has been searching for vintage Fisher Price Little People toys for her daughter, and since I have a couple of old sets I was thrilled to pass one along. After watching the Toy Story movies I've always felt guilty about putting toys in storage. Even though I know they don't have feelings, it still seems a little selfish to put beloved toys in a box to keep for later. But what if I have grandchildren? I want some things to pass on. It was so fun to play with the Western Town with a kid again that I had a momentary pang about letting it go. It passed quickly, however, when I looked at her cradling the bag of people and horses and smiling. I think it also helps that I still have the complete castle set stashed away.
 
After brunch we walked at Hoover Reservoir and ended up sitting in the soccer fields making flower
chains and stacking rocks. I spent countless days just messing around outside as a kid, building fairy houses and playing make believe. Don't get me wrong, I had a Nintendo I'd worked long and hard to save for, but the idyllic days of summer vacation I spent roaming outdoors left a more lasting impression than finally beating Super Mario 3.

I was surprised to find my friend didn't know how to make simple flower chains, and gladly showed her the trick. You just use your fingernail to make a split in the stem towards the end, and pass the head of another flower through. You can also make thicker braided wreaths, bracelets, etc., but this is the simplest and quickest technique. Her daughter was delighted with the result, and when the fun palled had a great time tearing it to shreds and casting them on the breeze. For some things, part of the fun is in the destruction. Happy chaining and watch out for bees!

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!

 ~Susie Qute

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Stuffed Mushrooms

I love stuffed mushrooms, but they often have seafood inside, and I'm not a huge shellfish fan. So years ago I concocted my own cheesy recipe. They've even won over die hard mushroom haters, so give them a try! Anything filled with cheese can't be bad, right?
 



Ingredients
  • 20 oz. baby bella mushrooms
  • 3/4 c. pecan pieces
  • 3/4 c. shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 3/4 c. blue cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. Italian spice blend

 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash mushrooms and remove stems, pat or lay on dish towel to dry.
  3. Blend all ingredients except mushrooms in small mixing bowl.
  4. Grease 9" round cake pan with a small amount of olive oil.
  5. Using a soup spoon, scoop up some stuffing and smoosh it into a mushroom cap. Repeat with a smaller amount of stuffing so each mushroom has a mound of stuffing.
  6. Place in greased pan and bake 20-25 minutes, until stuffing is golden brown and mushrooms are tender.
Another option is to make this recipe with only 10 ounces of mushrooms, as I did today. Follow the directions as above, then push all the mushrooms together against the side of the pan, or in a smaller pan. Add the extra stuffing as a layer across the top for a doubly delicious recipe.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute

Crafty: Leather Bracelets and Cuffs DIY


Lately I've been playing with leather quite a bit. I bought a whole hide at Tandy Leather Factory in Columbus to sole felted slippers last winter, and hardly used any of it. Leather has such a rich texture and I love the slightly furry feel of suede. This week I've tried a few different techniques to create leather bracelets and cuffs.


The first was a magic braid. It looks like it's braided from three separate strands but it's one piece. There's a great tutorial on I Still Love You, Melissa Esplin's blog, so I won't go into details here. You can make all of these in varying widths, textures, and colors to suit your taste. Thrifted skirts are a great source of thinner, soft suede if you don't want to buy a hide, and there are many places to buy leather pieces or bags of trimmings online.

To make the burned anchor and star designs, I used the Walnut Hollow Versa Tool I picked up at JoAnn's last week. It can be used for a variety of crafts and as a soldering iron. I've been experimenting with wood burning, and today I tried it on leather. It came with all kinds of small design stamps and points for freehand burning. The first thing I want to tell you is this really stinks! I knew it would smell some, but the odor of burning keratin (the same protein causing horrid burnt hair smell) was just awful, and persisted in the finished cuff. I'm hoping it'll go away if I leave it on the porch to air for a few days. Also, when I pressed the iron into the leather, the surrounding area sort of rippled. I think I could get rid of it with pressing, but just a heads up.

The tool was very easy to use and I like the branding tips it came with. I bought some Purple Cow tips on clearance at JoAnn's, too, and was pleased to find they fit my tool perfectly. I'd planned to share a tutorial on leather burning now that I've done a couple of projects, but I'm just not that happy with the results. However, I like the odor and effect of wood burning much better, and plan to make some small wooden charms so a tutorial may still happen.

A final, and very kid-friendly, technique is just drawing on leather with Sharpie markers. You can see my striped bracelet above and the zebra pattern cuff I drew for one of my sisters at right. If you're stumped on how to decorate your cuff, go to your Pinterest boards for inspiration. What animals, prints, or other themes do you love? For me, nautical is number one!

Nitty Gritty

Materials
  • Sharpie permanent markers
  • Pencil
  • Suede
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rotary cutting guide
  • Cutting mat
  • Scissors (sharp and strong enough to cut leather cleanly)
  • Snaps (rivet style or sew on)
  • Dritz snap/eyelet tool (optional)
  • Craft knife if using rivet style snaps, awl if using sew on snaps
Directions

Practice ALL techniques on scraps if you haven't done them before. Leather is tricky and unforgiving. If you're crafting with kids, adults should cut the leather.
  1. Choose how wide and long you want your cuff. When you measure, make sure to add an extra 1 to 1.75 inches for the ends to overlap and snap together. Cut using rotary cutter.
  2. I like to round off the corners, but you can leave them square or cut at a 45 degree angle.
  3. Draw! You may want to sketch your ideas on paper first, then in pencil on your cuff before moving onto permanent marker. If you draw lightly you can erase pencil marks.
  4. Apply snaps. If you've never done this before, try Sew4Home's excellent tutorial here.
    • Double check your snap placement-on a cuff the ball snap is on the wrong side and the socket snap is on the right side. See the last pic below, which is the inside of the hot pink and black zebra cuff.
    • On fabric you can usually just push the spikes on the ring part of the snap through like the tutorial shows. On leather you'll want to push down hard on the ring to make dents, then cut very tiny slits with a craft knife.
    • When using my pliers to attach snaps, I like to squeeze slowly, then rotate them 90-180 degrees and squeeze hard to finish setting. They're very tricky to remove if they don't go on right. You may want to apply your snaps, then create your design just in case it doesn't go well.
    • If you don't have a snap tool, you can buy snaps and eyelets that come with special hardware you use to apply snaps. You set up and assemble the snap, then hammer on it to push the snap pieces together through the leather. It works, but if you have a lot of snaps to apply or don't like noise, the Dritz tool is better.
  5. As always, post a pic of your project online and a link in the comments!
Personalization Ideas
  • Cut your leather with pinking shears or other fancy edged scissors. Or fringe the edges.
  • Poke holes with an awl or punch, or slit with a craft knife. Weave ribbons, cord, lace, leather lacing, etc. through. You could make your cuff look like a corset or even a sneaker.
  • Add studs, eyelets, buckles, or other hardware in any color or shape you like.
  • Make your cuff double-sided so you can change it to suit your mood or outfit.
  • Leather strips with monograms or book quotes make classy bookmarks.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute




Monday, May 19, 2014

Gift for Thrift! 70s 3 Piece Mix and Match

I had a wild, colorful fling with polyester prints in high school. I usually pass them over at the thrift store, but for some reason this 70s three piece set demanded a second look. I love the prairie inspired prints and peasant top. It still had the self-fabric belt which is so rare in something around 40 years old. I could instantly see it mixing into my current wardrobe, so for $5.99 it had to come home with me.

I can imagine a professional wearing this to the office, excited by the new opportunities women were carving out in the workforce.


         
As separates, the top easily transitions for evening with a cute pair of jeans and heels. The flowy skirt reminded me of chic mid-century outfits reminiscent of Sophia Loren's casual wear in Houseboat. All around, perfect inspiration for an independent, free-spirited woman.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute

Style File
3 piece vintage outfit - thrifted
Leather purse - Fossil Brand, thrifted
Espadrilles (heels and flats) - thrifted
White plastic wicker purse - thrifted
Jeans - Cato's
Leather belt - Talbots
Strappy heeled sandals - Cato's
Sunglasses - Kohl's
White blouse - thrifted
Bicycle - Electra Townie

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cookery: Swanky Parfaits

Parfaits are so refreshing! With infinite flavor combinations, I don't think I could ever get bored with them. I like how restaurants put them in clear plastic cups so you can see the layers, but I don't like using plastic dishes. I don't drink often so my seldom used barware gets an outing at brunch to show off these layered treats.


During a recent visit with a sister, I made the parfaits shown above using Liberté brand yoghurt. It's higher calorie than many others, but so rich and creamy, I actually enjoy eating it. I like the lemon and coconut flavors best for parfaits, but others are also available. I added fresh raspberries, and topped with Honey Bunches of Oats granola. I also especially like apples or strawberries topped with original Muesli. Dried fruits work, too. Vodka is optional. ;-)

Garnish with a citrus wedge, fruit skewer or pop a berry onto the end of your spoon like I did for a "swizzle" spoon. Swanky parfaits brighten up brunch and are a quick, nutritious breakfast option.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!

 ~Susie Qute


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gift for Thrift! Vintage Shoes

Thrift quest completed:  vintage inspired black heels.

I found an awesome pair of black suede heels at Goodwill for a few dollars.  I love the 1930s vibe. The tasseled laces remind me of Ghillie Brogues from Scotland, the traditional lace up shoe you see on bagpipers. Ghillies originated as a basic flat piece of leather with holes punched around the edges and laces to hold the whole thing on your foot, sort of a Scottish moccasin. Sounds like a good idea for a future DIY post! I'm expecting Scottish style to become a surprise fashion influence this fall/winter since Outlander is premiering on Starz on August 9th. If you haven't heard of it check out the book by Diana Gabaldon and see what you think. I love the theme of science over superstition that threads through Claire's adventures in the past.

Funny side note, for a long time I assumed everyone wore lots of dark colors and white in the 30s and 40s because old movies and photos are in black and white. When I started knitting again about 12 years ago, I searched for vintage patterns and lo and behold, it turns out that era was a riot of color! I plan to wear these with bright purple and green tights and fishnets in fall and winter.

These heels are in pretty good shape, but I'm going to touch them up with a shoe brush and some black shoe polish. You can also use products like Kiwi Leather Shoe Dye that comes with a convenient sponge applicator built into the bottle if you have a lot of wear on your shoes. If the upper is in good shape but the sole is a bit worn, you can have them reheeled at a shoe repair shop.

Nitty Gritty

Materials
  • Vintage inspired lace up shoes
  • Shoe brush
  • Black shoe polish, or if they're really worn, black shoe dye
Directions
  1. Lay down some newspaper to protect your work surface.
  2. Remove laces if possible.
  3. Clean any soiling on the upper with a stiff brush (a suede brush or old toothbrush). If your shoes are plain leather or patent you can wipe with a damp soft cloth.
  4. For suede, use a soft shoe brush to apply shoe polish to the entire upper. For leather, polish according to manufacturer's directions to the desired level of gloss.  As mentioned above, if your shoes are badly worn, you can use Kiwi Leather Dye or similar to recolor the leather.
  5. Shoe polish and dye can rub off on your feet or hosiery, so be sure to use a clean rag (an old T-shirt works best) to wipe the edges and inside where it will touch your feet.
  6. Relace shoes. If you don't like the laces or they're badly worn, replace them. Thick ribbons make jaunty bows (as always seal cut ribbon edges with heat or Fray Check to prevent fraying), or you could make mini versions of my Leather Tassels to emulate the shoes shown here. To make a mini version use thin leather cording from the craft store and instead of a marble inside, use a small wooden bead.
Enjoy your new-to-you shoes and be sure to post pics sporting them around town! Share links in the comments below.
If you're having trouble finding vintage inspired shoes, you can give a newer pair vintage flair. Look for shoes with sculpted heels and add laces yourself. Just make holes with a leather punch/awl. You can also add a pair of vintage shoe clips for an instant and reversible effect. Watch for a future post about adding some sparkle to plain footwear.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute

Style File
Hat - Kohl's
Feather pin on hat - handmade by me
Faux Fur Persian Lamb Coat - Macy's
Tights - Target
Shoes - thrifted
Brooch - thrifted
Dress - Lands' End

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Eternity Socks


I finally finished a pair of socks I've been working on for a couple of months off and on. I used Socks a la Carte to choose techniques for casting on and turning the heel. My son asked for a cozy, loose fitting pair for lounging. I used a beige heather alpaca worsted I had spun last year with fleece from my mom's alpacas.

This is the second pair of socks I've knit toe up using the figure 8 cast on method. I love the seamless toe this method provides. I wasn't very happy with the semi-short row heel, however, because the heels are a bit baggy. But my son is quite pleased and likes the Perle du Cotes pattern. It's actually a cuff pattern, but I wanted a subtle texture. I knit the cuffs in k3p2 for about an inch.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!

~Susie Qute

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gift for Thrift!

Great haul from a yard sale in Columbus! Vintage flight bag, lantern, and toolbox for $2 total. I can see the tool box becoming a tabletop herb garden. It has two trays inside that would be perfect for holding a few shallow pots or planting trays. I recently repurposed an old toolbox as a flower planter so this one will probably find a home with my mom, who shares my love of upcycling. The vinyl carryon bag has a white lining printed with blue daisies. After a bit of elbow grease it will be a very serviceable knitting or overnight bag. Whenever I buy old bags, I sniff carefully for mildew or weird smells. Happily, this one checked out.

Here's a pic of the toolbox I snagged at a Volunteers of America store in east Columbus for $7. It was an ugly brown. Bonus, it came with a removable metal tray inside, sure to be featured in a future post (as soon as I think of something to do with it).

I don't go to many yard sales these days because I've been on so many wild goose chases due to poor signage. If there's one right on the road I'll stop, otherwise, I prefer thrift stores. I know some who have a yard sale strategy, mapping out routes, etc., but I like shopping on a whim.

 Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!

~Susie Qute

Leather Tassel DIY

I love tassels in general and especially leather tassels. They look so stylish clipped onto a purse clasp or zipper pull, attached to a ribbon as a bookmark, fringing a throw, or alone as a keychain. I also love monkey's fist knots, so why not combine the two?

You can find many tutorials online for monkey's fist knots in picture or video format, so I'm going to skip ahead a bit. I like to make knots about 3/4-1" in diameter with a glass marble inside.

Nitty Gritty
 

Materials
  • About 5 feet leather lacing or cording (0.125"/3mm diameter)
  • Keychain hardware of your choice
  • Glass marble or bead
  • Awl, knitting needle, or other long slender pointy object (Clover brand awl shown in pic)

Directions



1.  Make a knot like the one shown above. I like to use three wraps per section, then tuck in the ends for a total of four wraps per side. This takes about 24" of lacing. I use my awl to loosen the wraps and push the ends through. Add your hardware at this time.


2. You can stop there if you like and have a monkey's fist knot keychain. Want a tassel? Proceed to step 3.

3. Cut six equal lengths of lacing. I cut mine 6" but you can go longer if you like. Loosen one loop on the bottom of the knot and slide the pieces halfway through.


4. Cut a 12" length of lacing. This will be used to wrap and finish the tassel. Slide it through with the rest of the pieces so one end is lined up with the others and the other end is long.

5. Starting close to the knot, use the long end to tightly wrap tree times around the tassel pieces. Push the end up through the middle. Then use your awl to loosen some of the wraps on the knit and push the long end through them until it comes around to the other side. Tighten again and trim the end.

 

6. Add to your keychain, purse, or anything that would benefit from a cute tassel.

If you have any questions about this tutorial, feel free to comment below or email me. Sometimes it makes perfect sense in my head, but loses something in translation when I'm typing.

Not feeling crafty? I have a few of these available for under $10 including shipping in my Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/SusieQute42.


Thanks for stopping by and keep living the Qute life!
~Susie Qute

Monday, May 12, 2014

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, come on in!

Thanks for checking out my shiny new blog. I love crafting, thrifting, knitting, decorating, and cooking, and I want to share the fun with you. Let's live the qute life!

cruiser bike spray painted aqua with flowers in basket
Today's featured project is something inspired by Pinterest. I've seen many adorable painted bicycles online. When I found one abandoned on the side of the road and missing a pedal, I knew it would find a new home in my side garden.

Nitty Gritty
  • Find or buy a bike (try local bike co-ops, yard sales, online classifieds etc.)
  • Purchase baskets from the thrift store for a few bucks.
  • Adjust the bike seat and handlebars to your liking (the previous owner had a low rider look).
  • Use dish soap and steel wool to wash the bike and baskets to get rid of the grease and rough up the surface so spray paint adheres better. It took about half an hour to dry and I wiped it with a soft cloth to be sure. If it's wet the paint won't stick.
  • This project used one and a half cans of Rustoleum aqua spray paint to give two coats plus a few touch-ups. It costs about $4 per can including tax. Let it dry between coats and spray lightly to avoid drips.
  • The baskets are attached with aqua ribbon I had on hand. Any ribbon or wire will do, but if yours doesn't match, you should attach them first and then paint the whole thing.
  • Line the front basket with two layers of plastic bags, poke a few holes in the bottom, and add plants from the nursery or transplant from your garden. I plan to add some phlox to the rear basket.
  • Place in your garden, step back and admire, and post a picture of the results!

Colorful bikes remind me of living in The Netherlands where so many people use bikes for their main transportation. Most of them were black, but sometimes you'd see a bright bike, like lime with yellow polka dots, parked by a café. They always made me smile, and now I feel a little happy every time I pass my dining room window and see my cheerful aqua cruiser outside.