I want to start our adventure in the treehouse of honesty because there are no secrets between us. This post barely qualifies as a DIY and I know that. This is actually part of a much larger post about an update to the back patio but I haven’t gotten all that junk organized yet. I also know what a large and ravenous fan base this site has amassed, so rather than leave the hundreds of thousands of you in the dark I’ll give you what I have at the moment. I’m just a simple servant, really, whose actions are dictated by the will of the masses. If you find yourself cackling about the thread-bare nature of this website’s content then I suggest you turn the mirror on yourself and take a cold, hard look at the reflection, you monster, because you pushed me to do this. Furthermore, if in your inevitable state of despair over the lack of a meatier post you choose to flood the TINAH account with emails containing subject lines like, “need moar plz”, “Suspense is killing me!”, “RE can’t breathe you are like air BRB dying” or something less specific, I won’t encourage it but I also won’t stop you.
Now that I’m free from any legal liability I can remind you of this DIY trellis I once made with medieval decorative death utensils:
As far as plant ladders go I’m not mad at it. Somewhere Sandra Lee is on her seventh cocktail and is enjoying this trellis. (Like, she just finished an end-of-summer tablescape for her new book “TablESCAPES” and instead of using sugar water like her producers suggested she used real rum in The Malibu Bay Tease and now she’s ass-over-teakettle after taste-testing one too many and Andrew Cuomo’s locked himself in his study because he knows she gets aggressive when she drinks brown liquor.) So it’s not the trellis:
What I abhor is that slop bucket of a planter. IT’S DEFILING MY PEEPERS WITH ITS MEDIOCRITY, YOU GUYZ. It’s got a dumb stupid face and I don’t like it.
**RANT BREAK It’s slim pickings out there, my little goat herders. You really only have two options when searching for a planter. Your first option is Home Depot. There are lots of planters to choose from at Home Depot! They have small ones and they have big ones! They have ones with edges and ones without edges!! They come in a great many variety of colors, like orange and green!!! Most are plastic but some are terracotta, which is exotic and also fun!!!! They are very sophisticated and classy and unique AND BY NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SENSED THE IRONY THEN YOU’RE A MONSTER OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. Yes, Home Depot has what you need but they also have what your neighbor needs, too. You will find an affordable planter but it will be dull and boring and look like everyone else’s. Buy one and you will end your own life from being a basic bitch.
What’s the alternative? LUXURY MONEY. That’s right! The other option is taking out a second mortgage and investing that luxury money into a planter from Design With Reach or Modernica or some other fancy place like that. This option gives you a lot of variety and a lot of sophistication and a lot of glamor. Wouldn’t life be easier if we didn’t have a budget hhhnnnnnggggghhhh???? But that’s not reality. Reality is we’re all poor and have to stick to a budget and eat our tuna from the can by bending the lid into a spoon. THOSE ARE FACTS.**
I didn’t like the options I was left with. I could either get another ugly dump trough like the one I had before or spend an entire weekend running around Manhattan in search of a new one only to possibly come up empty. No. Not for El Jefe. I like a challenge but our public transportation system is teeming with rat kings and cockroaches looking to kiss me on my mouth place so instead of taking the train all over town I just went to this local mom & pop shop in my neighborhood called The Container Store.
For $10 and a few air kisses I got this amazing accessory basket, which looked vaguely like a planter but more importantly like something I could make definitely look like a planter. So I bought it. When the clerk handed me my receipt and thanked me for shopping I said, “OH NO, THE PLEASURE WAS ALL MINE, BETH!” and howled with laughter as I ran out sipping my venti low fat upside down caramel mochaccino.
First order of business was to prime this little dime piece so I could paint it later. Brushed nickel is just fine for your mom but this is not your mom’s website, is it? NO. So stop being a total mom and go buy a spray can of primer, you goon! I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch ULTRA because I only like to use products that sound INTENSE. I would not recommend using the half-empty can of slop primer you have laying around from one of your last projects. You won’t get as even of a finish with a brush as you will with a spray can so spend the $4 for the spray stuff, will you? I don’t want to have to call you a goon again. It hurts me more than it hurts you.
The longer you leave it the better the bond between the primer and the planter, so set it aside to dry while you scoot on down to the hardware store again. Like a goon I forgot to mention that you should’ve bought spray paint when you picked up your primer. I went with black for mine because that’s the color of everything on my patio and on this day I was feeling unoriginal and matchy-matchy. Like I said before, I’ll explain what I’m doing on the patio later SO STOP HARASSING ME ABOUT IT. Gawd.
Just like last time, let the paint dry. And just like last time walk your human legs down to the store while you wait. I intentionally didn’t tell you to pick up top coat while you were picking up spray paint because the Rule of Three suggests that things are inherently funnier when they happen three times. You should be laughing right now. Side-splitting laughter is what should be happening to your entire body at this moment. Maybe even a little pee is coming out, I don’t know.
I think I tweeted about this when it happened but–GUYZ–promise me you’ll pay attention when applying your top coat, mmmm’kay? Your top coat can looks strikingly similar to your primer can:
I know! You’re thinking BUT, EVAN, THE CAPS ARE TWO DIFFERENT COLORS. YOU’RE A DUM-DUM and you’re right! They are two different colors but if I wanted to be a detective I wouldn’t have used the pages of my Hardy Boys books to make cootie catchers when I was a kid. Keep your eyes peeled on this last step! You don’t want to spray some gray primer on your sleek black basket and have to start the process all over again.
Once you’re primed, painted and properly sealed, it’s time to line the inside of the basket so it can be filled with dirt and plant corpses. The weave of the accessory basket I got is large so I bought a $3 roll of vinyl-coated aluminum; that’s Spanish for screen door material. (You can use chicken wire if the weave of your basket is smaller.)
I’m going to attempt to explain this next step but words and I don’t really get along too well with math. To get a snug fit between your basket and lining measure the bottom of the basket–the length and width. Now measure the height of the walls. Hopefully you’ve picked a basket with even sides. If not, may God have mercy on your soul. The size of the square of material you need to cut for your lining will be:
[(2 x Height) + Bottom Width] by [(2 x Height) + Bottom Length]
Make sense so far? Once you have your rectangle of lining cut, you have to cut into the corners to make them fold up and join together. Measure, from each corner, the length of the height of the basket. Cut a small snip in the liner. That’s your marker. Carefully cut into each marker until it meets the cut from the opposite marker of the same corner. Finish and you should have some funk-looking thing like this:
How did we do? If you ended up with something resembling an oval go ahead and roll your eyes and say in a loud, sarcastic voice, “THANKS A LOT, EINSTEIN.” It’s fine. I can take it.
If by some miracle you made it out of this step with a piece of aluminum like you see above then the smell of booze probably doesn’t remind you of your childhood. Congratulations to your parents!
Next step. Zip ties. Those you should’ve also picked up at the hardware store and why you didn’t I have no idea. To save myself from having to paint again I got black ties. (If you’re swinging for a chartreuse planter, well, dude, you’re shit out of luck. I would wait to paint your wildly inappropriate colored planter until the very end.)
Jam that freshly cut liner in the basket and with the ends of the zip ties poke holes through the liner’s weave and secure it to the basket’s uprights:
Work the ties all the way around the perimeter of the basket so the liner is super secure!
A note about the liner: it should be given a generous spray of top coat so it doesn’t corrode and rust over time. I did with mine and I did it after I secured the zip ties. You’re probably screaming at the computer WHY ARE WE DOING A TOP COAT AGAIN. WHY DIDN’T YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU WERE DONE WITH THE LINER TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE YOU BIG DUMB GAY MORON and to that I say ANOTHER COAT CAN’T HURT. IT WILL LAST LONGER. I TAKE OFFENSE TO THE WORD BIG. THE REST IS FINE.
Bite your tongue, spray it again, let it dry and you’re pretty much done. Really! You’re standing before a fully operational planting mechanism. Your eyes are melting in their sockets from the beauty of it all.
For filler I used moss as a bed and then threw in some dirt…
…but you can use just dirt or rocks or empty Otter Pop wrappers or whatever else you have in abundance. I don’t know your life.
All that’s left to do is take this new invention from Apple called a screwdriver and affix it to your favorite wall-thing:
This is a huge improvement over those run-of-the-mill plastic ones, am I right?
Here’s what you’ll need:
Accessory basket $10
Rust-Oleum Primer ULTRA Cover $4
Rust-Oleum Spray Paint (matte) $8
Rust-Oleum ULTRA Cover Gloss (clear) $4
Roll of vinyl-coated aluminum $3
Pack of zip ties $2
Dirt (steal it from your neighbors)
Plant (steal that, too)
Total cost: $21
Now go make yourself a cocktail to enjoy as you sit and ogle your new beauty creation. You’ve earned it!
…wait, you’re gay?
Sometimes. I’m a chameleon. I contain multitudes.
Dear Evan, I can’t tell you how happy I am that you are back to shooting paragraphs into cyberspace. I just found you at the beginning of the year and then it seemed as though commenting on the Oscars had killed you. How happy I am you are back with your charming, literate, and informational conversation. My family is holding me prisoner in a suburb of Tucson, Arizona, and I try to stay sane by living in New York and London in my mind (thanks glossy magazines and novels!). Reading about adventures like yours reminds me that there are people having sophisticated day-to-day lives in urban America and not everyone has to worry about a pear cactus taking over one’s garden and lizards pooping on the front stoop. Good luck with that seasonal affective disorder. I’m here to tell you that even people who live in places where wearing sunglasses in the house is not out of line can contract something similar. Let’s hear from you all winter, my friend. The world cannot be told often enough that a tidy medicine cabinet is a sign of gracious living. Cheers!
It means so much to me to hear you’re enjoying it–thank you! Much more to come and THANK YOU for keeping me honest! Seasonal Affective Disorder is NO EXCUSE. You can be the one to remind me of this when in March my posts have slowed to a crawl.
But I do have to correct you on one thing and that thing is the idea that what I do (or urban America) is in someway sophisticated. That’s just untrue. I’m a filth monster like everyone else, especially right now as I type this, in a Starbucks, nursing a chai tea and a cold feta wrap.
Always good to see a new TINAH post. One day I’ll be able to move below 96th, until then I’m up on 171st vicariously living my apartment dreams through you. For your patio endeavors, ever venture into the flower district, 28th between 6th and 7th? A lot of plant and planter action down there.
Hey David! I do venture. I venture hard. I need time on my side if I’m going down there, though. It’s sort of like a fish market–you have to get there early and be ready to haggle (WHICH I’M ALL ABOUT) but, for me anyway, it takes a little planning and forethought. I have some great flowers shops in my neighborhood, and there’s always Home Depot, so if I strike out close to home I will make the TRAIL OF TEARS march on down to 28th.
Thanks for reading! Why have the Royal We not heard from you, a fellow Manhattanite, more? SHAME, DAVID. SHAME.