I am not a very good step-by-step project person.

I want to be.

From the top of my head to the very tips of my Ripley’s Believe it or Not toes.

And if we had a giant blog yearbook and we could all vote on superlatives, I would want to be voted “Most Likely To Write a Step-By-Step Post.”

But I know that honor will always remain a distant dream.


You see, I have pin board after pin board of carefully detailed projects.  Each step photographed, numbered and explained down to the most minute detail by people who know so much more about step-by-step-project writing than I could ever hope to learn if I blogged for the next 500 years.  And when I pull up those projects on the pin boards and start to re-create them….my mind starts wandering, my eyes glaze over and I drift off for a  moment to give a silent salute to the brilliant individual responsible for Christina Aguilar’s new make-over.

I can’t help it.  I get overwhelmed because all of those steps feel like I’m at the base of the great wall of China and I’m 8,851.8 km away from ever reaching the top.

So I look at the “before” and study the “after.”

And hope against hope that somehow I figure out the all of the “in between.”



But not today.

Today we are concentrating on all of those pesky “in betweens.”

Today I am turning over a new leaf (pun absolutely, positively intended) and writing a step-by-step tutorial just for you.


How to Make a Topiary From a Coat Hanger

(I think we are off to a great start with such a clever title 🙂 )


 Step 1:  Find some wire coat hangers.  Straighten out the curved end to a point (this is the end you will put into the dirt).



Step 2:  Take coat hanger and stretch the ends into a diamond.



Step 3:  Re-form the diamond into a circle.



Step 4:  Purchase ivy from local home improvement store and remove all questionable leaves (as shown in the perfect step-by-step photo).



Here’s the tag with the description of the ivy.



Step 6:  Put ivy in an urn or other similar container.

Make sure the container is cute.

Unwritten step-by-step rule #146:   Not-cute containers are not allowed in coat hanger topiary projects.


Step 7:   Insert coat hanger into ivy.



Step 8:  Wrap tendrils of ivy around coat hanger.  Keep wrapping until coat hanger is covered.



Step 9:   Stand back and admire your topiary…..

…..then take this moment to discuss the latest episode of Mad Men with the ivy. 🙂


PS  What about you…..are you a step-by-stepper

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  1. Image for Kim Kim

    Look how talented you are. That was quite an undertaking following those step by step instructions. Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done. lol. Looks great and good luck with it. I had one and it did not do well. Don't have a very green thumb, I guess.

  2. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    NO WIRE HANGERS - haven't you seen Mommy Dearest?! As soon as our dry cleaning comes back, those hangers are tossed - guess I'll have to rescue a few so I can have a cute topiary too. And now the stress of finding a perfectly cute planter too. Who knew gardening was so stressful?! Kelly

  3. Image for Gwen Gwen

    Step by step is overrated... People that have no imagination must rely on step by step instructions. People with Tingers and Monkey obsessions are exempt.

  4. Image for Judy Judy

    When I saw the title today I thought we were going to have a discussion about "NKOTB"! I've seen those ivy topiaries and I've got 500 years worth of pins myself....glad to see someone's getting their bucket list done! Judy

  5. Image for everton terrace everton terrace

    It turned out great! I am so far from a step by step. Well, I can step by step it to other people but never follow them myself. I hardly ever read all the directions to anything and have regretted it many times, yet, I don't change. Acceptance of the things we cannot change :)

  6. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Ripley's Believe It Or Not just called...they could not believe you did a "step by step" turning that wire hanger into a round topiary with your toes...with lipstick on!

  7. Image for Angie Angie

    Cute topiary and very cute container. I think maybe even people with self-diagnosed adult ADD (like me) could follow these step by step instructions. Just have to find a wire hanger and cute container and say a prayer that a something I've planted doesn't die. Thanks for the detailed instructions! Happy Monday. Angie

  8. Image for "Auntie" "Auntie"

    Not a "step by step" blogger. Nor a "Mad Men" person. It’s one thing to be an individual; but it’s another thing to be an individual at the cost of the people around you. ~Jack Grisham

  9. Image for SheilaG SheilaG

    You've done a perfect how-to when we all want to go out and make one, even knowing we (I) will let the poor unsuspecting ivy wither and die before I remember to water. I love the urn, pretty color. You always make me smile, Karianne. :) <-- see?

  10. Image for Anne Anne

    Beautiful work Karianne! I loved the tute, but darling, if you pull off all of the leaves on your ivy plant it won't make much of a topiary, will it?? I don't get that part... and just when did Christina get a makeover???!!!! Holy, I'm under that rock again!

  11. Image for Julie @ The Family CEO Julie @ The Family CEO

    Beautiful and great step by steps! Now I need advice on how to keep ivy alive. I've killed so many of these it's not even funny!

  12. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    That looks beautiful, Karianne! I love the urn! I did an ivy topiary many, many years ago with a coat hanger. I had wanted one but couldn't afford to "splurge" on one at the time, so I just made my own. It did very well for many years and then I don't know what happened. Mine was just in a terracotta pot and saucer, but I really loved the way it looked. Nicely done!

  13. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Hi Karianne, Your topiary looks beautiful. Thanks for your step-by-step tutorial. I can't tell by the pictures the size of the urn (gorgeous) the ivy plant looks huge. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  14. Image for laxsupermom laxsupermom

    I try to take judicious pics while crafting or DIYing. More often than not, though, I have to post the disclaimer of "I forgot to take a pic of this step, but you get the idea." Your topiary looks terrific! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Image for Becca Becca

    Hey sweet lady! I was just wondering why I hadn't been getting updates from you- I resubscribed when you switched over to wordpress awhile back. But no updates? I looked through my reader and you blog didn't show up? So I did it again today...and I can see your blog listed. I hope it stays that way! ;-) I thought you may like to know of the technical difficulties. xo Becca

  16. Image for andrea cammarata andrea cammarata

    wow!!!! color me impressed! the one with the licorice thumb! ; ) i am in love with the project but i shall spare the ivy a tortured life of me watering it -- caring for it and ultimately killing it -- i shall gaze at your green thumb in action!!! : ) sending tons of hugs!!!!

  17. Image for Andrea Andrea

    You write a mean step by step! I followed ya all the way until the Mad Men part....I'm afraid I'm out of the loop on that one. Instead, I shall discuss 'how to get a baby to sleep the night', or 'how not to be starving when attempting to lose all that baby weight'....good topics like that =)

  18. Image for Amy@BuffaloRoam Amy@BuffaloRoam

    You sound like me. I am not a step-by-stepper, and I have zero patience with projects because I just cannot wait for the final product! But this is just lovely, and I think I can manage it... I'd better pin it!! ;)

  19. Image for Jo @ To a Pretty Life Jo @ To a Pretty Life

    Beautiful work! I just might have to make one like this for my friend's birthday. She's much better with keeping plants alive than I am, and has a beautiful new house to turn into a home.

  20. Image for Shannon Fox Shannon Fox

    Looks wonderful. Great tut ;) I think I can follow it! If not, I'll come steal yours so it's a win-win for me!!

  21. Image for Sunny Sunny

    How did you know this project is exactly what I needed to make? Thanks so much for sharing! And yes I struggle with the step by step, and I too am a beginning and ending studier. Glad to know that I am not alone!!

  22. Image for Stephanie C Stephanie C

    I love reading your random thoughts... don't EVER become one of those step-by-step people! They are rather boring! Pillowpalooza?!? What is this?!? I'm on a pillow-making-streak (well, I've made one and a half this week), and I want to participate!!!

  23. Image for Pam Pam

    I think you did a great job with the tutorial. I'm normally in the before/after category on my tutorials and then i can't understand why people have questions. It's clear as mud isn't it? BTW, I just watched the Mad Men episode today (recorded from last night). I have to say it's not my favorite episode and I'm finding this year a little boring. The movie theater scene was interesting though. And where's Betty? They had that one pudgy Betty episode and nothing since.

  24. Image for debbiedoos debbiedoos

    This is simply awesome Karianne! I love the look and what a great tut too. I may be able to do this. That is if I did not kill my ivy already..which I did:) Except for my outdoor planters, all is gone.

  25. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    I suck at step by step instructions why I don't know but I do no matter how hard I try to write down step by step instructions I fail and when it comes to following them I also somehow fail why because I think I know what I am doing and don't need instructions and that usually means a fail too............so why do I bother because I do................

  26. Image for Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias

    I seriously thought of NKOTB when I read your post and now I can't get that song out of my mind. I love topiaries! And I love ivy! I'm a topiary freak so this is the perfect tutorial for me. I even already have a container that looks exactly like yours and the wire hangers. How come I never think of things like this? LOVE IT! Angie :)

  27. Image for Mrs C Mrs C

    Now I have two reasons to stop by here. #1- to see your fabulous creations. #2- to see what funny comment Gwen is going to leave you. I do love your blog!

  28. Image for Pinky Pinky

    This is great!!! I have an ivy with LOOOONG tendrils so tomorrow I will do this!!!! Thanks for the step by step. I came over from WUW. XO, Pinky

  29. Image for Nancy Mueller Nancy Mueller

    Great job with the step by step....Although I always find it hard to get hangers to bend to the desired shape...you must have a gift. Thanks for the guidance... Nancy

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