Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Ladder of Branches • DIY

I have a tall, dark corner in my portico. It is a space calling for a decorative touch and I have shared with you a variety for different seasons. But spring is here and it is time for a new idea so I went to work. My requirements were that it be tall and skinny, and not require sunlight (north side of the house). I also wanted it to be natural and not cutesy. I am surprised at how long it took me to think of a ladder as the perfect solution, (especially since I have a board dedicated to ladder ideas over in Pinterest) but once I thought of it, the design fell into place.  I finished it up yesterday. We had family over today, and it received a seal of approval from the clan.

I built the ladder from natural saplings (gray birch I think) and from each rung I hung a bright yellow begonia planted in an IKEA pail. The begonias are covered with buds so hopefully as they open up and bloom they will create a bright display cascading in the corner.

How I Made it:
This was very easy to make, required no power tools or extra hands and all combined took only about 3 hours. It started with a walk along the woodland path we call the Eastside Highway.  I knew there were lots of little saplings (tall, straight and with a small crown) growing over there.

David and I hike this path everyday as part of our 3-4 mile woodland loop. 

I brought with me a buck saw and a pair of branch clippers, plus my camera. Using the buck saw I cut down the sapling. It was very easy to do but I was sawing so no photos.

I cut down three saplings about 2 1/2" in diameter at the base. I was impressed by the beauty of the leaves and stopped for a minute to do some artsy photography.

I then trimmed off all the branches using the clippers and lugged the branches home. They were each about 10 feet long and it must have been funny watching me meander through the woods with the three trees, the saw and clippers and my camera bag. I kept getting hung up on other trees.

Once at the house I cut the trees to length using the buck saw.

I started building the ladder in place for optimal measurement but putting it together temporarily with masking tape so I could adjust proportions as I went along. I wanted 5 ladder rungs spaced appropriately for the location.

I built the entire ladder this way. It was definitely rickety but it worked.

I kept the rungs a little crooked and a little funky for interest. Once I was satisfied with the placement I put the ladder down and screwed sheetrock screws in from the backside. I placed the ladder on a discarded paperback so as to not accidentally drill into the floor.

Once together I put the ladder back in place.

Next was the plan for what was to hang from the rungs. I have a collection of IKEA tin pails in a variety of sizes. Although I had considered covering them in bark I decided not to because they add more brightness to a dark corner. I took the buckets and punched two holes near the rim using a 10 penny common nail and a hammer.

Using a dental floss threader I threaded regular twine through the holes....

And created a rustic handle for the pails.

I then transplanted the bright yellow begonia flowers into the pails. I put some rocks at the bottom, added some potting soil and the plants. I debated on how to hang the planters from each rung but decide to simply add another screw on the backside of each rung, leaving it protruding about 1/4".

From each of the rungs I hung a pail with the begonia.....

To create a tower of brightness in the corner.........

Of the main entrance to our house......

I'll take more photos once the flowers fill in!

What did you do this weekend?

Update February, 2013
I have used this ladder all year. I have redecorated it numerous times. Check out some of the variations!

Valentines Ladder

Christmas Ladder

Christmas Ladder with Lights:

A Spring Project that will last all year!

This project inspired me to continue exploring ladders in décor. I collected them ll into a theme page with links to many, many different ways to use ladders in decor

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

I am sharing this post at the following link parties. Check them out for other interesting ideas!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Big Week for Ashbee Design

It has been a busy week for Ashbee Design and all because of a project that took me about 20 minutes to complete! I think the numbers clearly indicate that we all love a simple yet classy project! I am referring to my Monogram Altered Book post.

Yup... that's the one. Seems folks liked it. A lot. I am honored to have been featured on some fairly nifty sites this week. It started with being included in a listing of 25 great projects to make this spring over on Tatertots & Jello.

Thanks Jen! Click on over and check out the other 24 ideas as well.

That was quickly followed by a feature by Gina on The Shabby Creek Cottage and Transformation Thursday. I visit there every Thursday. You should to.

shabby creek cottage

That got followed by a feature on Be Different Act Normal. They are a Saturday stop with a Show and Tell Saturdays link party. Definitely worth a visit.

And then at the end of the week I ended up on a site new to me - The Smith Nest! This post was my favorite because it was about interesting things done with Reader's Digest Condensed books. They had some wonderful photos showing the range of colors available in these vintage books.

And some new ideas. Check them out here. I think I'll need to be collecting more of these  designer covers. And working on new ideas for using them.

Thanks to everyone for featuring these books, and also thanks to all the people that have pinned them on Pinterest.  I have a complete board over there centered on books and pages ideas.  Check it out here.

Update on 4/30/12: It just keeps spreading.  I have also been featured here:
And also at Tip Junkie here.
Decorate Tutorials

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy

Friday, April 27, 2012

Designing a Favicon for Ashbee Design

Finally I got my act together and designed a custom favicon for my blog. Did you notice?  Right up there in your url bar you'll see it. Right there in that teeny, tiny spot next to my blog's address! All 16 by 16 pixels of it.

It is a challenge to design for that size. I knew it was too tiny for clear letters and I have been searching my mind for an identifying image. I realized the answer was right there before my eyes! Ferns! I hope you saw my photographs yesterday of the ferns in my garden but additionally, I have done lots of posts about those ferns. I love watching them grow and so I started working with the fern fiddlehead image - but of course for 16 square pixels you have to simplify........

Here is where I began. Graphic and simplified......

I then cropped it to fill a square.....
 With this result.....

But then I looked at it in 16x16 size and knew it was too complicated....

I tried reversing the positive and negative space but it was still too cluttered in the tiny size.

So I simplified even more......

Made that one tiny and it had enough impact in the small scale to hold its own in that tiny corner.

Yes! I like it. I did a Google search and there are tons of sites that give the step-by-step on changing it in the blog. The only glitch I ran into was I followed the steps and nothing happened.  I refreshed, cleared my cache, tried again, gave up and decided to ask my daughter for help. Forgot about it and then a couple of days later it started appearing in my browser. So I guess they really in mean it when they say it will take awhile to appear!

My to-do list for bloggy design assignments is down one with a bunch to go.
  • I need to figure out how to get rid of the blogger nav bar to report abuse. It still has the orange blogger logo.
  • Design a site button.
  • And figure out where everyone is getting the code for the pretty social media buttons customized to your site colors.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Springtime Ferns

I am working on a project that I hope to be finishing up tomorrow (fingers crossed).  Today I'll share with your some of the photos I took in my garden yesterday. I love watching ferns grow!

©2012 Ashbee Design, Marji Roy