Respect My Journey: The Art of Mah-Crammie

In much the same way a person decides to have Mexican instead of Italian for dinner, Wisconsin finally decided it was time for Spring.

With a “yeah, I guess that’s fine.”

Though given the fact that my spirit animal is a fish taco, I’d say those people need to learn about proper dinner choices, and how it was never a choice to begin with.

Wisconsin Spring is a cruel dance that entices you with shoes that aren’t boots and clothes that don’t include down or fleece and drives that don’t require you to make deals with God as your car won’t really stop because of the ice, and then rips it away from you like a tornado. But like…a tornado you wronged. You were like “don’t worry, tornado! I’m definitely going to bring you some Mexican food for dinner.” And then you forgot because you wanted to see what happens next on Grace and Frankie, and by the time you remembered, the tornado was already mad because it had to eat applesauce and noodles because that’s all we had in the apartment.

And that’s the exact amount of metaphorical drama Wisconsin Spring deserves.

Also, I’d like to have Mexican food for dinner. 20 metaphorical bucks to whoever can make it happen. Not metaphorically.

For about a month, Wisconsin has been swinging back and forth between almost-beautiful Spring, and almost-freezing rain.

And let’s face it, that easily cracks the top ten worst types of freezing rain.

But this week, it seems finally, finally, Spring has arrived. 

Wisconsin heard our complaints and gave a “all right, fair enough. Here’s some sun.”

And with it, the grand reopening of my patio. You see, I call it a patio. It’s more of a cement patch. I’m like Brer Rabbit and his Carrot Patch, but less trickery and 100% more Herbert.

This is Herbert. He’s mostly useless, but he tries hard.

But I love my weird little cement patch. Once Spring decides to linger, my pots and plants and marginally green thumb and my will to live come out and I try my hand and growing things. I’ve had this patio for three Springs now, and this year will be my fourth. And each year my garden grows a little taller and a little less embarrassing.

The first year, I thought watering was optional. (“Rain, y’all!”)

My second year, I began my blood feud with the neighborhood hooligans: the raccoons and chipmunks. Watering was only partially optional this year. Mostly because I spent most of my time lurking in the shadows ready to chuck a bright pink snow boot at the first rodent in my eye line.

My third year, watering was not optional and plants grew, but also heat waves happen, and mark my words, they will happen when you’re out of town.

I have really high hopes for this year.

There’s one issue. My cement patch is on the ground floor. There’s no barrier between me and the normals who wander the sidewalks of my apartment complex. This is problematic for a couple reasons.

  1. Given the size of my employer and the size of the suburb in which I live, I’m going to see my coworkers, and they are going to see weekend hair. It’s inevitable.
  2. There’s a small family who lives in the apartment complex across from me. I think their parents try to shield their small kids from me and my weekend hair. (Seriously! Every time I come outside, they call their kids inside! It’s happened enough times, guys! The science is there!)

I had an idea this year. An idea to create a partition between me and the normals. Grown-ups and children alike could carry-on, free from the terror of weekend-hair. An idea to make the plants inaccessible to the rodent population of Wisconsin. An idea that, with the right amount of care, will fix everything ever for everyone everywhere. 

And better yet, an idea involving crafts.

I was going to create a partition of plant hangers. It was going to be a Pinterest fantasy!

What dreams are made of! Rope, air plants, and Instagram filters

The thing I forgot is instead of following craft instructions, I usually operate with the mottos, “I am right” and “It’ll be fine.”

Whatever, man. My crafts may not be perfect, but they follow their heart song. Don’t judge their journey.

My method of choice for Plant-Hanger-A-Go-Go was using the art of macrame.

I never macramed before. And after a certain period of time, I had the realization, “wait a minute! These are just knots! Fancy, fancy knots!” All the knots have fancy names too. Like ‘reverse larkshead’ and ‘sheep shank’ and ‘Josephine.’ And then the Australian woman whose video I was watching pronounced it mah-crammie, which made me giggle for the next 45 minutes.

Guys. They’re just knots, but the end products always look more complicated than that.

Round 1 of Operation “Weekend Hair, Outta There”

And because macrame is at the end of the day a very simple thing to pick up, it gets really really addictive really really quickly.

This was the point in my story where I said, “hey! I’m more than mediocre at this! I should write a blog post about my mah-crammie hangers.” And then I giggled for another 45 minutes.

First clue the internet did not need another how-to for macrame plants hangers: there are already so many. Seriously, give it a Google.

Second clue the internet did not need another how-to for macrame plants hangers: I’m not actually that good at them.

But it’s as they say, “I am right and it’ll be fine.” I decided to start one anyway.

I even did a sketch.

Every mah-crammie plant hangers starts with the same format, lots and lots of strands made of various materials that you thread through a sturdy ring or a carabiner. Most internet videos seems to make their hangers out of strips of jersey.

Another option is to make it out of rope. This is better for outside, and gives the hanger a more rustic look. Piece of advice: If you choose rope, you have to adapt any internet pattern to a sturdy, less-malleable material.

If Lady Australia of the House Mah-Crammie says tie ten juniper-sunset-birds-toot knots (I stopped paying attention to the actual fancy names of the knots), you probably want to see how five look. Depending on the thickness of your rope, five juniper-sunset-bird-toot knots of rope might equal ten juniper-sunset-bird-toot knots of jersey.

Sidenote: I went to Home Depot to buy my rope, and was excited to buy something that made me look like I was handy instead of just stealing paint chips for art projects I never end up doing. As it turns out, there will always be handier people at Home Depot. And my shoebox full of paint chips just looks at me smugly. From where? I don’t know. I forgot where I put it.

You don’t know my life, shoebox full of paint chips. You don’t even know.

Today, I went with yarn, and when I started cutting strands of rainbow-colored yarn for what was going to be my very great and classically beautiful macrame hanger, I went for 8 thirty foot strands of yarn. When looped through the carabiner, I’d have 16 fifteen foot long strands. Because, math. 

This project is going great! No disasters here! And it’s so pretty out, let’s do the project outside on my patio!

Here’s the thing, I brought rope math to a yarn party, and there’s nothing 240 feet of yarn loves more than the pleasant spring breeze that won’t  lay off for even a minute.

It was too much yarn. Like, objectively too much yarn.

I’m not totally sure what happened next. I got all my strands cut, and in trying to loop them through the carabiner, I ended up with 13 strands. Given the double-up method, I literally don’t know how I did this. But it’s as they say: when life gives you 13 strands of yarn for your mah-crammie hanger, sigh and say, “well, I guess we’re doing this then.”

It was at this point, and I swear this is true, as I wrestle with the increasingly evasive strands of yarn (Periodically yelling, “crafts are stupid!” while trying to pull yarn out my hair), I turn around and there is a man wearing a blue leather jacket and a Tobasco sauce bandana, sitting on a bright yellow motorcycle, watching me mah-crammie from about 25 feet.

Nothing like being watched by a man who owns Tobasco merchandise and a yellow motorcycle to make you feel uncomfortable!

I don’t know if it was the weekend hair or the aggressively mumbled “respect my journey, dude,” or the t-shirt that said, “I am brave” but he skedaddled pretty quickly after that. I choose to believe he was inspired to do some mah-crammie of his own. Or meet his friend and they cold mah-crammie together. Or chug 47 cans of Red Bull while episodes of Punk’d play at full volume in the background, which is the only thing I can picture a man who owns a yellow motorcycle doing.

I don’t know, but you know what would solve this problem in the future? A wall of macrame plant hangers.

At the end of the day, my plan didn’t pan out. (But there was a sketch!) Where there were originally braids, signified by angry scribbles, and tassles signified by angry scribbles, and twists, also signified by angry scribbles, there ended up just being knots. 

But you know what? Sometimes knots are knot so bad after all!

I only ended up trimming 220 feet of the original 240 feet of yarn.

Be right back, going to go find Senior Tobasco of the yellow-motorcycle to tell him my funny joke.

Ok, I’m back. I told him the joke. He laughed so hard Red Bull came out of his nose. We bonded. And then I told him it’s weird when he watches young women. Even ones who are causing a scene.

So let’s talk takeaways. Let’s talk about something bigger. Let’s talk about something inconceivably more important than the last important thing we talked about.

How to Actually Craft (For Real Though!)

  1. Read the instructions in their entirety before you even get started.
  2. Gather all your supplies.
  3. Follow the instructions.
  4. When you think, “I bet that I am right,” stop yourself, because you’re probably not.
  5. And if you don’t want to do that, you do you, man. Consider your journey respected.


And just so you don’t regret paying a visit, here are some suggestions for people who might know what they’re talking about:


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