Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handcrafted Christmas: Seashell Ornament

This ornament was a snap to make. I made it for my step-sister who grew up on an island in Florida. I think it looks pretty and is a nice reminder of a special place. This would also be a nice ornament to commemorate a beach vacation.

-glass ornament ($3.99/4, not on sale at JoAnns)
-two strands of souvenir seashell necklaces

Take the lid off the ornament, insert the seashell strands. Replace lid, hang a ribbon on top.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fall Leaves Kirigami

When I saw the beautiful fall leaves kirigami at Zakka Life I had to give it a try. There are four templates available for download and easy instructions to follow. Although I had never heard of kirigami before, it was very similar to making paper snowflake decorations.

For the project I used 12x12 scrapbooking paper that I cut down to the suggested size. I enjoyed the project, and had I found it earlier in the fall, I would have enjoyed making enough of them to decorate our windows or string a garland. Its a project I might return to next year. It definitely helps to have a sharp but small pair of paper scissors on hand for cutting the angles of the leaves.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Send Plant Cuttings by Mail

My mother has a very green thumb. Each year she takes cuttings from one of her wandering jew plants and plants them in the front garden. By the end of the summer, they have gone gangbusters.

Since my mom lives near Chicago, any plants left out after the first frost die off. My mom is always able to grow enough plants indoors to start over outside in the spring, but when possible we like to make cuttings to share with others.

My mother-in-law in New York had been on the hunt for this variety of plant for several months without success. So I decided to send her some cuttings in the mail to transplant.

First, I took the garden clippers and cut some clippings. I wanted to make them reasonably long (sometimes below the first set of leaves) but not too long to fit into a small USPS Priority Mail box.

Then I soaked some paper towels in water and wrapped a soaking wet paper towel around each stem. I then put each stem + paper towel combo in a small plastic baggie (not a ziplock, because I figured they'd need some oxygen).

I then packed them up and shipped them off to upstate New York! I made sure to give each of the ladies at the post office a clipping as well.

They arrived a few days later generally no worse for wear. My mother-in-law repotted and watered them and they have held up nicely.

A few caveats: some states, like California, may have rules against importing cuttings. Also, I sent this during fall when the weather wasn't too hot in any of the states it traveled through, and luckily none of the states had freezing temperatures, but take the weather into consideration before you put plants in the mail.

Photo credit: Final photo courtesy of Margo Downes.