The crafts discussed will be practical, easy enough for the average person to tackle and not usually not expensive.
Infused Oils and Vinegars can be found on our Harvest Site.
Start by pinning a branch to the wreath and lay another bloom over top of that stem and pin in place. Work you way around the wreath in this manner pinning and covering the stems with the bloom end of the branches. Once the wreath is covered with hydrangeas, pin the decorations in three or five locations, (odd numbers always look better.)
If the natural color of the dried blooms aren't the "look" you want, you can spray paint them to any color you prefer. You could spray lightly for a tint of color or heavier if lots of color is desired. You could even add a second color over top of a base color by lightly misting or "tipping" the second color over the first. Gold used this way looks very sharp.
I am pleased when I see little birds hopping around my garden because I know they are looking for insects; if they would only eat those squash bugs! If you also want birds in your gardens it is a good idea to make your yard a place they hang out. Provide food and water and they will use your yard as a feeding area.
Some people stop feeding birds in the summer thinking that they only need help in the winter. But birds are nesting and raising little ones through the spring and summer, so it is very helpful when they have supplemental food and water. You will also have the joy of seeing birds that aren't in your area during the winter. We have had the opportunity to see Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, an Oriole, and many Blue Birds.
Here is a way you can add a birdbath to your gardens with very little cost, make your own birdbath. It could cost as little as $3.00, a little more if you want to add some extras. It is easy and very attractive. It looks great amongst flowers, sitting on the ground.
You will need:
1 bag of concrete mix - 60 pounds (don't get quick setting)
Water - approximately 2-3 quarts of water
Something to mix the concrete in, like a wheelbarrow
A hoe for mixing
Optional ideas: decorative stones, broken pieces of pottery, aquarium stone, crushed colored glass, colored tiles, etc.
Form a shallow flat bottom "bowl" in some soil. Form should be approx. 14 to 18 inches in diameter. Finished birdbath will be from 18 to 22 inches in diameter, depending on what you desire. Birds don't like baths that are too deep or steep. I used a pile of sand that was in the yard but you can do this in soil if sand isn't available. This is only a form; it doesn't have to stay in this spot but if you are planning on moving it remember it is a 60 pound birdbath. Make sure the bottom of your form is flat.
Wet the wheelbarrow and tools before you use them; this helps with the cleanup. Pour concrete mix into the wheelbarrow. Mix with water being careful not to add too much. Start out on the dry side and increase water by small amounts. You want it to be easy to mold but not runny.
Shovel the wet concrete into the mold. With gloved hands, spread the mix around the form trying to keep the bottom and side uniform in thickness. (Top edge will probably be thicker.) It doesn't have to be perfect; this birdbath has a "quaint" look. Add any stones or other items by pressing into the concrete.
Cover with plastic for 5 to 7 days and do not move it. Keep it moist during this curing time; water helps the curing process of cement.
Wash out the wheelbarrow and clean up your hoe.
If you want to add some little critters to your birdbath, such as a frog or turtle, use a silicone caulking to attach them after it has cured and dried out.
Bird Bath or Birdfeeder
One new tomato cage (not bent up like old ones get)
Plastic pot saucer that fits into top ring
Seeds or plants to grow around bottom; plant a fast growing vine that can grow up the cage, nasturtiums or morning glories would work well.
Put cage securely in ground. Place saucer in top ring. Plant your seeds or plants around base of cage. If you are going to use as a feeder, drill holes in saucer for water to run out so seeds will not sit in water when it rains.
Forcing Branches to Bloom
You can force spring blooming branches to bloom early to cheer up the inside of your house even when it is still cold and yucky outside.
You will need:
Floral preservative or chlorine bleach
Flowering branches - Trees or shrubs that will bloom:
forsythia, spirea, witchhazel, fragrant honeysuckle, quince, wintersweet, apple, crab apple, cherry, azalea, rhododendron, flowering dogwood, pear and redbud.
Cut branches with lots of plump buds, trying to preserve the shape of the tree. Recut the branch at a sharp angle to ensure as much exposed surface as possible for water uptake. Put newly cut branches into pail of lukewarm water with either floral preservative or bleach in the water to fight bacteria. Set in a cool place for 1 to 2 weeks. (basement, garage if not freezing, etc) Change water when necessary. When the buds begin to swell put the branches in fresh water with preservative and bring into bright light but not direct sunlight. The warmer the room, the faster the buds will open. For a longer display put into cool area when possible.
Gardener's Gift Set
You will need:
Terra Cotta Pot (for a real treat get one of the new light weight imitation terra cotta pots)
Packing material: shredded wood, straw or Spanish moss
Gardening soap or special lotion
Sisal string and gift tag
Fill pot with packing material, making sure you have enough so the tools will stand up. Position gloves with fingers poking out. Tie piece of sisal string around the pot in a crisscross fashion with tag secured on top.
Optional: Seeds, Gift certificate to an area nursery
Aged Terra Cotta Pots
There seems to be many methods for this, but I will give you three that I know work and look good.
The real stuff:
Find some moss and rub it in your hand to break into small pieces. Stir into yogurt or buttermilk. "Paint" the goo on your pot. Put in a shady spot, north side of house is good and kept out of rain.
Also real stuff:
If you live in the south you have it easy. In the fall set your pot on its side in the garden, best if out of the way. Partially cover with soil and keep there until spring. You can't do this in the north. Never leave terra cotta outside in the freezing weather. Terra Cotta is porous, water will soak into the material and when it freezes, it expands and breaks the pot.
The Fake (but looks very good)
Sponge or smear on shades of green, beige, pink and a little lavender acrylic paint. Rub and wipe to get the effect you like. If you want to preserve your artwork, spray with a protective sealer.
This broom looks very quaint and would look good out on a country porch. If this idea sounds interesting now is the time to plan for your crop of broomcorn.
1. Harvest the broomcorn when the seed heads are ripe and the stalks turn yellow. Hang upside down to dry.
2. Remove the seeds from the tough brushy stems by pulling a ruler or board across the heads.
3. Broom handle can either be a tooled handle or a very straight stick from a branch or tree.
4. Attach one end of a 4 to 6 foot length of wire to a small nail in the broom handle and secure the other end to a wall hook, door handle, or tabletop.
5. Surround the broom handle base with a layer of broomcorn stalks. Turn the bundle, wrapping the wire around it as tightly as possible to bind the stalks securely to the handle.
6. Add a second layer of stalks and repeat the wire wrap, securing the wire tightly by threading it back through a portion of the stalks.
Broomcorn can be purchased form R.H. Shumway's Seeds, phone: 803-663-9771; www.rhshumway.com I have looked at several other sources but to no avail.
You will get better results from cattails if you pick them early when they are small, so now is the time to be looking for where you are going to pick them and watch for the best time, not waiting until they get big and fat. (Unless you think it would be fun to have them explode in your house!)
After you have picked your cattails, you can spray them with cheap aerosol hair spray, really stiff icky cheap stuff is the best.
Or you could spray paint them any color you want. That's it!! Beautiful!
Pussytoes also called pussywillows
Pussytoes that you want to bring indoors for decorations need to be cut as soon as you see that they are "furry". They quickly get to the point when they loose that "furry" look, then you will have wait until next year and hopefully catch them on time. So this is your reminder to get ready to pick them.
Look in any decorating magazine or go to an antique shop and you will notice that all the rave now is furniture that is loosing it's paint whether naturally or artificially. Here are some ideas to help you get that 'look'.
Crackle spray paint - It can be a little hard to find but worth the effort. Easy to use, just follow the directions on the box. You can make a picture frame or mirror look old in a short time. Furniture is real popular also this way.
Weathered Wood - Sand the wood with medium sandpaper. Rub the surface randomly with a candle making sure to put in on thick at corners and edges, (this is where the greatest wear would be naturally.) Paint the wood with white latex paint, thinned with water, using random brush strokes. With steel wool, rub over paint to remove paint from waxed areas. If you want to protect the paint further, cover with a flat clear coat, either spray or brush on. You can use this method with colored paint also.
Worn Away Paint - I used this process on a little old bathroom space heater and it turned out lovely. Spray paint surface. I used a creamy white. After paint is dry, rub corners, edges and high spots with steel wool to rub away the paint. The metal on the heater was all ready a dark color, so this is what showed underneath the worn areas. If you don't start with a darker color as a base, you will need to paint a base coat in a dark color.
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