Cathy Monrad

Garden Hose Guards

by cathym on March 28, 2017

by Cathy Monrad

2 foot piece of ½ inch rebar
1 foot length of ½ inch copper pipe
½ inch copper pipe cap
1 cabinet door knob; type with bolt attached

Scrap wood
Drill and bits
Hammer or mallet

1. Place pipe cap upside down on scrap wood and hold in place with pliers. Use small drill bit to create a pilot hole. Increase bit size and redrill hole until knob bolt fits.

1. Place pipe cap upside down on scrap wood and hold in place with pliers. Use small drill bit to create a pilot hole. Increase bit size and redrill hole until knob bolt fits.

2. Insert knob bolt through cap hole and add nut. Use needle-nose pliers to grasp nut inside cap while turning knob to tighten.

2. Insert knob bolt through cap hole and add nut. Use needle-nose pliers to grasp nut inside cap while turning knob to tighten.

3. Place cap on pipe.

3. Place cap on pipe.


4. Pound rebar in the ground with hammer leaving 8 inches visible.


5. Slide finished hose guard over rebar.

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and the self-proclaimed garden crafter for the Upstate Gardners’ Journal.


Arborvitae Stamped Gift Tags

by cathym on November 14, 2016


Pre-made blank gift tags, about 2 by 3 inches Ink pad in desired color; I used “pine”
Arborvitae cutting about 2–3 inches long
A few pieces of scrap paper
Piece of wax paper, slightly larger than arborvitae cutting
Fine tip marker in desired color

1. Remove a few rows of foliage from bottom of arborvitae cutting to reveal stem.

2. Place cutting face up on scrap paper. Press finger on stem to hold cutting in place, then dab cutting with inkpad until fully coated.

3. Carefully lift cutting by stem, then place inked side down on clean area of scrap paper. Cover arborvitae with wax paper to keep fingers clean.

4. Use finger to hold wax paper and cutting in place. Use other hand to gently rub cutting from bottom to top to ensure ink is transferred to paper.

5. Remove wax paper and cutting to reveal result.

6. Practice steps 2 through 5 until you are happy with the outcome.

7. Once technique is mastered, stamp gift tags as desired.

8. When ink is dry, use fine tip marker to embellish design or simply write greeting on tag.

Use arborvitae to stamp designs on plain wrapping paper, gift bags or notecards.


Potted Bench

by cathym on September 26, 2016

Looking for a place to sit down and read the latest Upstate Gardeners’ Journal?

This bench design I saw online and updated is suitable for placing on a deck/patio or on the ground. Don’t let this project intimidate you; while a bit labor intensive, it’s not complicated to build. A helper and access to the power tools listed are must-haves to complete this project.

Before building, you must choose planters for the bench seat to rest on. The pots should be sturdy, thick-walled and wide-lipped; see the materials list for height and width dimensions. High-fired, glazed ceramic planters are best, although I found two hexagonal pots made of an extremely heavy molded material that is neither plastic nor resin.

After bench is built and in use, periodically inspect pots for cracks as a safety precaution.

A special thanks to Woodcraft Supply, LLC. for supplying the beautiful cypress lumber used for this project. Also, a big shout out to my father, Leon Mundt, whose knowledge and craftsmanship were essential to make a sketch into reality. Thanks Dad—you’re the best!

Power saw

Electric drill and bits

Tape measure


Electric sander

Router (optional)



Two sturdy matching planters, 18-20 inches tall, width of outside edge no more than 18¾ inches and no less than 18 inches

2×6 dimensional lumber like redwood, cedar or cypress, cut to these lengths:

A. Two 95½ inches
B. Seven 19 inches
C. Two 96 inches
D. Four 12 inches
E. Two 48½ inches

2 pounds of 3-inch stainless steel deck screws

Medium-grit sandpaper

Deck stain/sealer



Diagram Key

A. 95½ inches: 2 boards
B. 19 inches: 7 boards
C. 96 inches: 2 boards
D. 12 inches: 4 boards
E. 48½ inches: 2 boards


Diagram 1 (overhead view of bench frame; not to scale)



Diagram 2 (side view of “A”, bench frame front and back; not to scale)



Diagram 3 (overhead view of seat boards; not to scale)


1. Using saw, cut lumber to lengths noted in materials list.

2. Layout frame boards (A & B) on a flat surface as shown in Diagram 1.

3. Measure, mark and pre-drill holes as shown by black dots in Diagram 2. Attach frame together with screws, countersinking them.

4. Sand the frame.

5. Referring to Diagram 3, place outside seat boards (C & D) on the frame (boards overhang outside edge ¼ inch; space between boards is ¼ inch). Measure, mark and pre-drill holes, then attach boards to frame with screws, countersinking them.

6. Place inside seat pieces (E) on frame using measurements as shown in Diagram 3 with
¼ inch space in between boards. Measure, mark and pre-drill holes, then attach boards to frame with screws, countersinking them.

7. Sand the seat top. Optional: use a router to round the outside edges before sanding.

8. Using paintbrush, seal the wood with a deck stain/sealer. Let dry according to manufacturer instructions.

9. Place the pots in their desired location and position bench top. Fill planters as desired.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and self-proclaimed garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Reprint: Step it up

by cathym on August 11, 2016

This wooden ladder, a hand-me-down from my husband’s grandfather, was literally on its last leg when my husband decided to throw it out, but I rescued it to reuse as a plant stand. With a little love, our old ladder was transformed into something grandpa would be proud of.



Wood ladder, painted or stained if desired

Screws, washers and nuts

Plastic containers with drainage holes Moist potting soil



Drill with a bit the same size as screws

Materials note: The length of the screws depends on the thickness of the ladder steps. The steps on my ladder were 1 inch thick, so I used 11⁄2 inch long round head machine screws.

  1. Drill a hole in the center of each container bottom. if a center drainage hole exists, you can skip this step.
  2. Mark the center of each step. drill a hole through each step where marked.
  3. Place container on step, aligning the holes.
  4. Add 1 washer to a screw, then push the screw with washer through container and step.
  5. Place a second washer on the screw underneath step, then thread a nut on. to avoid cracking the plastic container, only hand-tighten the nut.
  6. Repeat steps 3–5 until all containers are attached.
  7. Fill each pot with moist soil and plant as desired.

This project could also be brought indoors to display houseplants.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and garden crafter for Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Have you created a vertical planter you’d like to share? Send pictures and description to or post to the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal Facebook wall. We’d love to share them with our readers!


Outdoor Foot Rinse

by cathym on July 11, 2016

This summer, the gardening grime will stay outside—thanks to this handy idea I found online. The entire project took less than a half hour to build and set up. As a bonus, when placed in a sunny spot, the heated rocks feel like a hot stone foot massage.


Completed foot rinse project



Construction diagram



Four 1×4 boards (like cedar) cut to 16 inches long

Eight 1½ inch nails or wood screws

Smooth river rocks or stones


Hammer or screwdriver

Power drill and bit (optional)


1. Attach boards together as shown in diagram with either nails or screws. If using screws, predrill holes to avoid splitting the wood. A helper is recommended to stabilize the boards.

2. Place frame near water supply with hose. Alternatively, use a watering can to rinse off.

3. Fill frame with smooth stones, at least 2½ inches deep, but not more than 3” deep. The foot rinse is now ready to use.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and self-proclaimed garden
crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Purse Planter

by janem on April 21, 2015

Look what our Crafty Cathy came up with this time! A plastic purse planter…awesome.



Crafty Cathy’s Craft Corner: Warm Welcome

by janem on November 25, 2014

mittens front

Nothing says, “Welcome! Please come in!” like seasonal décor on the front door. This project will produce a warm sentiment through the whole of winter, long after the rest of your festive holiday ornaments are stored away.


2 yards of 1 1/2″ wide ribbon

8 safety pins

Assortment of colorful twigs, holly, and small pine boughs

1. Cut ribbon in half to make two equal lengths.

2. Attach the end of each ribbon to each mitten using
four saftey pins equally spaced.

mitten background

3. Tie the ribbons together with a knot and a loose about 12″ from the top of of the mittens.

4. Hang the mittens on a door by looping the knot over a wreath hanger. Insert the branches as desired.

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Cathy’s Crafty Corner: Autumn Votives

by janem on September 2, 2014

By Cathy Monrad


These votives bring fall colors and textures indoors and the project is an easy one that kids will love to help create.


Assortment of colorful leaves with stems removed

Waxed paper

Collage and decoupage medium like Mod PodgeÔ

Small bunch of dry twigs (the straighter the better)

Hot glue sticks

Ribbon or twine

Glass votives

Fall scented candles like apple, pumpkin, or spice


Heavy books

Small paintbrush

Utility knife

Hot glue gun

[click to continue…]


By Cathy Monrad

Vertical gardens are a great way save space while adding height variation to a bed. With this project, you can also utilize extra containers you may have on hand.


There are numerous ways to personalize this concept to match your style. Try painting the pots different colors, adding house numbers to the containers, placing a bowl  atop the final pot to act as a birdbath, or swapping out flowers with herbs if your planter is near the kitchen.


5 standard terra cotta pots in the following sizes:
14″, 12″, 10″, 8″, and 6″

A 2-cubic-foot bag of potting soil

One 48” sturdy garden stake (bamboo or plastic coated)

Soil Moist granules (optional)

Annual plants


1.Determine where to place the planter and insert the garden stake at 12-14 inches into the ground for stability.

2.Thread the 14″ pot on the stake and fill with moistened potting soil to just about 3 inches below the rim. Water in to settle the soil.

3.Thread the 12″ pot on the stake, angling it as much or as little as you wish. You may have to pat down the soil, or add more under the pot to achieve the desired angle.

4.Fill the 12″ pot with soil.

5.Repeat steps 3 & 4 with the remaining pots, alternating each pot’s angle until all the pots are threaded and filled with soil.

6.If the garden stake sticks up more than an inch above the final pot, you can trim it off using a saw or tin snips, depending on the type of garden stake you are using.

7.Plant as desired.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


May '14 craftBy Cathy Monrad

This hanging herb garden is a salute to my three favorite activities: gardening, building and cooking. I found many variations of this concept when Googling “indoor herb garden.” And I had a hard time picking a style: shabby chic, rustic, and modern all appealed to me. I decided on transitional.


Wood piece (an old plank or cabinet door)

Wide mouth glass canning jars

Plumbing clamps

Sturdy picture hangers

Small nails or screws

Large screws

Heavy duty staples

Wall anchors (optional)

Variety of herbs




Ruler or measuring tape

Staple gun (optional)


1.Prepare your board if necessary. I chose to strip, sand, and stain an old cabinet door.

2.Affix picture hangers to the back of the board, at least 1 inch from the top. The planter will be heavy when finished, so plan to utilize studs or wall anchors to hang. If your picture hangers do not fasten with screws, toenail or angle the nails to attach the hangers. [Toenail: to fasten (a piece of wood) by driving a nail obliquely through it.—Ed.]

3.Loosely add a clamp on each jar. Lay the board on a flat surface and place the jars in the layout you desire. Measure and record the distances from the board’s top and side edges to the center of each clamp. Remove the jars and carefully mark the board with your measurements.

4.Take the jars out of the clamps. Attach each clamp to the board in the marked locations with staples. Toenail a small nail in each clamp to ensure the staples do not loosen due to the weight of the jar.

5.Plant your herbs in the jars.

6.Hang the board on the wall. Place each jar in a clamp and tighten the screw.

7. Enjoy your hanging herb garden!

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.