My tomato garden – String Up Method

My Tomato Garden - The String Up Method

23 October, 2016 | Backyard Farm

“Gardening is
cheaper than therapy;
and you get tomatoes”

In this day, and with this post, I declare my 2016-17 veggie garden open for business. Although the work started a couple of weeks ago when my lovely husband prepared my new garden bed for my tomato garden. Thanks honey!

My tomato garden

Ihave been in New Zealand for 7 years now, and since we arrived we were amazed with how popular veggie gardens are here. This was something I never did before, and when we tried it we fell in love with it. When we bought our own house our veggie garden spaces have been evolving and growing with each season. Probably our favourite plant to grow are the tomatoes (follow by the strawberries), and I was looking around in Pinterest about tips and tricks for growing better tomatoes, when I came across with the “String Method”.

Tomato plants need some help and support to reach their full potential, they grow fast, big and wild, so if they are left as it is the leaves covers the sunlight, the fruit weights put them down to the ground and they get rotten. Stalking the tomatoes is great for small gardens as you can use the most of the vertical space, and allow the plant to get more sunlight. On my previous years planting tomatoes I used bamboo sticks stalked to the soil and next to each plant and plastic strings to attache the plant to the stick.

The String Method (or Tomatoes on a String)

I read that this method is not new, it’s used for small farmers operators, but it becoming more popular with personal gardeners. Basically, you place strings from the base up and you wrap the plant around the string as it grows. This requires to prune the plant to grow on a single steam.

First, you need to have a support for the strings… in my case I put four pine stakes of 170cm height, one on each side of my two tomato trails. I buried the stakes a few centimes into the soil and I then attached them to the garden bed with a screw. When they were nice and secure I tied the string at the bottom of the stakes from side to side of the garden bed.

I tied up a string from side to side at the top of the stakes, in this case I placed a hook on each of them to avoid my strings moving down.

Then I tied one string from the top string to the bottom one, one for each tomato plant.

And when my string frame was finished I planted my tomatoes underneath each string and I carefully wrapped it around the string. And that’s it!

Wrapping Up

I have to mention that this method is best for some kind of tomatoes, specifically those that are not bushy-like and needs stalking becasue they grow tall. This is my first summer using this method and I’m quite excited to see the results. Now I need to check the growing and wrapping of the plants at least twice a week to make sure they are well wrapped up the string and well pruned. Wish me luck! :)

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Nyan Cat Cross Stitch Pattern

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Nyan Cat Cross Stitch Pattern

05 September, 2016 | Embroidery, Geek Craft

The Nyan Cat Story

In April 2011 the original Nyan Cat video was uploaded to YouTube, and it was ranked  at number 5 on the list of most viewed YouTube videos of the year.

The GIF animation of the cat was created by Christopher Torres from Dallas, Texas, and it was influenced by his cat Marty. Then the GIF animation was combined with the song “Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya! by YouTuber user “Saraj00n” (whose real name is Sara) who uploaded the original Nyan Cat video on April 5, 2011. Once she put it on Youtube, the video had no hits and didn’t become a hit until months later. Christopher Torres said: “Originally, its name was Pop Tart Cat, and I will continue to call it so, but the Internet has reached a decision to name it Nyan Cat, and I’m happy with that choice, too.”

Inspired by his cuteness, bright colours and pixelated appearance, I’ve created a Nyan Cat Cross Stitch pattern, and you can find it on my Etsy Shop here.

If you get the pattern please share a photo of the final embroidery on my facebook page! I will love to see it :)

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Narcos is Back! – Season 2

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Narcos is Back!

02 September, 2016 | TV Shows

“The bad guys need
to get lucky every time.
The good guys just need
to get lucky once.”

Steve Murphy – Narcos

Narcos, the Netflix’s hit drama showing the parallel story of Pablo Escobar and the DEA agents Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, is coming back with its second season today!

Although Narcos first season was aired on September 2015, we just started watching it a few months ago. And because Netflix puts all episodes at once we devoured the show in a few days!. The story shows parallel stories about the Colombian “drug lord” Pablo Escobar, and two DEA agents who are after him: Steve Murphy and Javier Peña. The series is based on the real life of these characters.

The series is very well produced and I really like the fact that the show is bilingual (English and Spanish), I speak Spanish so it’s easy (and awesome) to me, so I wonder how the English speakers feels about that. Anyway, it makes it feel real and accurate.

Trailer Season 2

At the end of season 1 Pablo just escaped from “La Catedral”, his Build-Your-Own prision in Medellín, Colombia, and he is determined to re-build his empire and fight back whoever is on his way. Now comes the times when Pablo Escobar was most dangerous than ever…

Here is the official trailer for the second season!

What are we doing tonight?

So as it’s Friday, our usual “Family Night” in which we relax after work, buy take away food and watch movies or TV shows drinking wine…

you can guess what we will be watching … Narcos Marathon!

Plata o Plomo?

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Sherlock Holmes and John Watson – Custom Couples Illustration

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Sherlock Holmes and John Watson - Custom Couples Illustration

26 August, 2016 | Illustration

“I cannot live
without brain-work.
What else is there to live for?”

Sherlock Holmes

I am just so thrilled to share with you this couples illustration. I have to confess I haven’t read any Sherlock Holmes book (I know, shame on me) but I have watched the Sherlock TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, and I love it!

This illustration is quite special since is the first gay couple I do, and I can’t wait for my first order to come through. You can find this custom illustration available on my Etsy Shop.

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How I rebranded my creative business

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How I rebranded my creative business

25 August, 2016 | My Story, Design

“Don’t just be
like one of them;
be one of a kind”

Bernard Kelvin Clive

This post is an official welcome to the new La.Geek. A few weeks ago I decided to rebrand my second business and I updated my brand visuals, I re-designed my website and I split my Etsy shop into two different ones to separate my product lines. In this blog post I explain why and how I did it.

The Story Behind

In 2010 I opened my Etsy shop under the name ‘Stitch & Design’. In this shop I sold Cross Stitch patterns and, a few years after, I added Custom Family Illustrations. This was always a slow passive income for me, during the day I worked as a Graphic & Web Designer and I never really gave my shop too much attention or many hours of work. From time to time I checked my listings and added new products. This year I decided to revamp my second business, create more products, upload better images and promote it more to increase this passive income.

Why did I re-brand?

For a few months I was thinking if I should split my shop into two different ones to sell my illustrations and patterns separately, and a few weeks ago I decided to finally do it. The main reason was because both products were very different and each shop needed to be more specific to its purpose and audience. This change meant that I had to make a few decisions and redefine my brand strategy:

1. My New Brand Name

I decided to change my name from ‘Stitch & Design’ to La.Geek. This name came from a personal blog I had for a couple of years. In this blog I shared some personal and ‘geeky’ stuff, and I wasn’t really active on it so I thought it would be the perfect way to keep this blog and revamping it with this new brand.

2. New Brand Structure

La.Geek became my “Mother Brand”, under this name I created two sub-brands: La.Geek Cross Stitch and La.Geek Illustrations, this names will became my new two shops. This helped me to avoid having too many different brands and spending too much time promoting and creating different material for both of them. This also allows me to create a brand style that it could be applied to both products lines and shops, and also use only one website to promote and display all my products and my brand story.

3. My Products and My Audience

Looking at my current products I realized that what I’m more passionate about is creating geeky stuff. At the beginning I started creating different kind of cross stitch patterns, with no clear target market or any specific subject. But in the last year I decided to focus my patterns and illustrations on geeky themes (TV Shows, Movies, Science, etc). My products change over time, therefore my audience, which is now more clear and defined: Geeky people (like me): geeky cross stitchers and geeky families/couples.

Wrapping Up

Having a clear understanding of the products I wanted to focus on, who my target audience was, and how I wanted to manage my different products lines, helped me define my re-brand, choose the best name for it, a visual style and a brand structure.

Re-branding for creatives entrepreneurs can be difficult, especially when you have several products to offer. Each brand is different, and before making the decision to re-brand you have to analyse your business goals and audience first.

Are you struggling with your branding or your creative business strategy? Leave your comments below or get in contact with me, I’ll be happy to share my experience.

Etsy Links:
La.Geek Cross Stitch
La Geek Illustrations

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