Friday, 24 March 2017

Low-cost/No-cost Upcycled Seed Starting Kits

It seems like spring is taking forever to get here, doesn't it? Not to worry though, there are some things you can do to get started on your garden early. The best part is that you can use common items found around the house or at the Reuse Centre. I use these techniques every year to get my tomatoes and flowers started indoors with no outlay of expenses other than the potting soil.

Cardboard Tube Seed Pot 

Photo Credit: Sarah J.

What you will need:
  • Clean cardboard tubes (toilet paper, paper towel, or wrapping paper rolls)
  • Scissors
  • Shallow plastic tray
  • Potting soil *sterilized through microwaving or store bought to reduce the risk of introducing molds that may harm your seedlings. Packaged potting soil is already sterilized.
  • Yogurt container
  • Water
  • Seeds

  1. Find a clean cardboard tube (trim longer tubes to about 7-10cm) and cut four slits into the bottom of the roll a quarter of an inch long.
  2. Press cut sections of toilet paper rolls inwards to create the bottom of the seed pot. Don't worry if it doesn't stay completely shut on its own, the soil will hold everything in place. 
  3. Fill the cardboard seed pot with soil. I like to fill a yogurt container with soil first and then scoop the soil with the cardboard seed pot.
  4. Once the seed pot is filled with soil, stand it up in a shallow plastic tray. The tray will collect any extra water.
  5. Make as many as you need and follow the directions on the seed packet for planting.
  6. Keep the seed pots damp and warm to sprout the seeds.
  7. When the sprout gets large enough, replant it in the garden or a larger pot. 

Pastry Container Seed Starting

Photo Credit: Sarah J.
What you will need:
  • Plastic pastry container
  • Scissors
  • Yogurt container, to scoop the soil
  • Potting soil *sterilized through microwaving or store bought to reduce the risk of introducing molds that may harm your seedlings. Packaged potting soil is already sterilized. 
  • Seeds 

Steps :
  1. You will need to make some drainage holes; use one side of the scissors and poke some holes in the bottom of your pastry container. 
  2. Cut the lid off. 
  3. Fill the bottom portion of the container with damp potting soil. 
  4. Plant the seeds according to seed package. 
  5. Place the lid on the top of the bottom of the pastry container to keep the moisture in the soil while the seeds germinate. 
  6. When the seeds sprout place the lid underneath as a tray to prevent water from leaking onto your table.
  7. Water as needed, to keep the soil damp.

Starting seeds inside will give you a jump start on the summer gardening. Most of the supplies are easily found around the house and whatever you're missing can be found at the Reuse Centre. This will save you money on buying new supplies and starter plants from the garden centers. If you have little ones, let them get dirty, let them see something grow! 

- Sarah J. (Volunteer)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Foreign Coins: DIY Projects

I don’t know about you but I love travelling – I can’t get enough of it. It’s always exhilarating to go to a brand new, exotic place, and take in all the local culture. This includes using foreign currency.

Although it can be difficult at times to mentally figure out the approximate conversion to Canadian dollars, it’s also lots of fun to use fascinating looking coins of all different shapes, weights, colours, and sizes. The only problem when coming home is that you usually end up with a handful of coins in small denominations that you simply couldn’t use up. So what do you do with these unusual coins?

Mine have been sitting in a jar, out of sight. I’ve always been intrigued by decorations that display aspects of travelling, and thought that perhaps I could make something out of all the extra change I collected throughout my travels.

Recently, I created magnets using some of my foreign coins. This was pretty easy.

If you have old magnets, for example one with an expired calendar on it, you can cut it up into small pieces so they fit onto the back of the coin. Then you just glue the magnet to the coin. I used a hot glue gun but other craft glues may also work. You can also use inexpensive magnetic tape, instead of glue. This might be a good idea if the magnets you currently have are not very strong or the coins you’re using are heavy. The hardest part about this little craft is selecting which side of the coin you’d like to display! My magnets look something like this:

Photo Credit: Tamara

Another idea that I recently found and am really excited to try, is to use an old vase and decorate it completely with foreign coins. This example from Bob Vila shows what the vase looks like with only pennies but you could easily replicate the idea with foreign coins. A great thing about this craft is it is not very complicated, and the result looks fantastic. Depending on what background you want, you can spray paint the vase to a different colour before gluing the coins. In this example, the vase was spray painted black, which contrasts nicely with the pennies and gives it an elegant, modern look. This is a superb idea especially for those Canadians who may have a surplus of pennies lying around since the cent was phased out. 

Image Source: Bob Vila

Do you have any craft ideas to use extra foreign coins? Share them in the comments section.

                                                                                                                                 -Tamara (Volunteer)

Saturday, 11 March 2017

For the love of Green!

March 17th is rolling in. Why not share in the celebration of Saint Patrick, be it having a green beer, eating a large Irish feast, watching the parade, or simply wearing green? There are many ways to get into the spirit and here are some craft ideas to show your love of green.

St Patrick's Wreath

Shamrock Wreath Photo Tutorial ~ Step-by-step instructions showing how to make this grapevine wreath decorated with shamrocks and different kinds of ribbon. Very easy to do with fabulous results specially made for St. Patrick's Day! /
Image Source: Time with Thea

Image Source: Punkie Pies

Dig out those Christmas wreaths and with any luck, there will be some greens and golds already incorporated, so little will need to be changed. Any of the neutral colours can stay, such as white, blacks, browns. Then all that is left are the finishing touches of shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of golds.  Check out the instructions for the two wreaths shown above at Time with Thea and Punkie Pies.

Nordic Leprechaun Gnome

St Patrick's Day Gnome, Nordic Leprechaun, Irish Felt Gnomes, Fairy Gnome, Scandinavian Gnomes, Irish Gnome, Gifts, Ireland, Gnome Makers

Image Source: Etsy: NORDIKatja Shop

These little leprechaun Nordic gnomes will be a delight to have as decoration and would also make a great addition to the garden as we head into spring. Instructions on making your own mini-felt gnomes can be found at Spool and Spoon Blog. You can make the leprechaun variation of the Nordic felt gnomes by adapting the hat to be flat top instead of pointy and using green coloured scraps.

Happy St. Patrick's Crafting!
                                                                                                                                    - Siao (Volunteer)