Posts Tagged ‘ gifts ’

DIY Frozen Suncatcher Mobile A DIY for kids

Posted on: June 9th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

With winter in full chilly swing, let’s catch some sun kids! Besides, the Grinch stole Christmas so we’re sure that borrowing the sun for a while will be in order. Life is a Garden is inviting kids of all ages to come and explore the curious science of water, temperature, and the sun. Time to turn liquids into solids and make a glistening frozen art piece for the garden.

 

Sciencey things

Before we get started, here are some chilled frozen facts for your kids to think about:

  • Water can occur in three states: solid (ice), liquid that you drink, or gas (like steam).
  • The freezing point for water is 0°C, while the boiling point is 100°C.
  • Water freezes when the liquid molecules get so cold that they slow down enough to “hold” onto each other, forming a solid crystal, which we call ice.
  • Dry ice isn't made of water, it is actually frozen carbon dioxide.

Try this: For the next really cold day, you can make instant snow form by throwing boiling water into the air.

You will need:
  • Treasures from the garden such as fruit slices, herbs, flowers and interesting leaves (citrus and rosemary are in-season sensations now).
  • Shallow, round containers in which your water will freeze, such as lids or flat plates. These discs will become the main features, so you may want to use different sizes to enhance the visual intricacy and appeal of your mobile.
  • A medium-sized stick or wooden rod to hang your frozen discs from. You can get fancy here and cross two sticks/rods for a traditional mobile look.
  • Any colour food colouring (optional).
  • Pieces of string or twine.
  • A pair of scissors, winter gloves, and water.

Top tip: Visit your GCA Garden Centre for gorgeous cool-season flowers and citrus trees. Take the little ones for an outing and let them choose their blooms to use in the ice discs of their suncatcher. Garden Centres are also stocked with wooden rods and paint for your hanging and décor needs.

 

Assembly time
  • Choose a good spot where you will be leaving the discs overnight to freeze. Bring all your goodies to this area and work as close to it as possible to avoid needing to move, and potentially spill, your creations.
  • Beautifully arrange your collected garden treasures inside your chosen containers/plates.
  • Pop in the pieces of your string or twine, making sure that one end rests inside the water and that it is long enough to be tied onto the stick later.
  • Carefully fill the containers with the necessary amount of water. If you’re using food colouring, now’s the time to add your different colours to the various containers.
  • This is perhaps the most challenging step – go to bed! Your mobile will be ready and waiting for you in the morning.
  • Wake up and dash outside to check if your art has successfully frozen. If it has, hooray! And if not, try a different spot in the garden, or many spots, and see which one gives you that freezing power.

 

  • With your winter gloves on, remove the frozen discs from their containers. You may need a prying tool here or even a little warm water along the edges to get the discs out.
  • Make sure the strings are nicely secured, and then tie the loose ends onto your wooden rod(s). Have fun here and arrange your art with all the different shapes and colours.
  • Using a new piece of string, hang your mobile somewhere in the garden where you’ll be able to catch some sun! A tree branch or even the washing line will make a good place.
  • Time to catch that sun! This part is easy – simply recite these magic words:

Dear yellow star

We call for your heat, although you are 150 million kilometres far

Thank you for being the centre of our solar system

Made of awesome hydrogen and helium

Please come and see our mobiles today

And let the ice slowly melt away

  • Enjoy marvelling over your DIY Frozen Suncatcher Mobile. Can you see the sparkles of the sun, dancing inside and reflecting off the ice? Don’t forget to take pics!

Top tip: Use purified water or cooled-down, boiled water from a kettle for clearer ice. Try other interesting shapes instead of discs and explore to what depths the water will freeze in your area.

Did you know? The surface of the sun is 5600°C with a core temperature of 15,000,000°C – wow!

Have a blast creating your eco-friendly, icy suncatchers! You can use the melted garden treasures as mulch, add them to the compost, or give the fruit to the birds. This DIY is a great opportunity for homeschool learning and independent investigation. Who knows, this might just be the spark your child needs to unlock their love for science and nature. Life is a Garden, be inspired by it!

DIY Father’s Day Pallet Tool Hanger A gift for father's day

Posted on: May 11th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

This month we’re celebrating all dads and father figures in our lives. Get the family involved with this practical, thoughtful, and fun DIY project. Give dad a hand and let’s get those tools sorted, in true gardener style. Who knows, this DIY may as well give poppa that little boost he needs to get his handy-man on and complete those outstanding projects! #Weloveyoudad

You will need:
  • A pallet
  • Paint or wood varnish and brush
  • A drill
  • Wood hooks (to hang pots)
  • Bucket-style pots with handles (make sure that your wood hooks are large enough to support the pots and fit the pot handle size)
  • Pot plants (choose non-creeping/climbing plants and go for an upright beauty instead)
  • Potting soil from your GCA Garden Centre
  • U-type double hook tool hangers and matching screws. Choose hooks that are coated with plastic/rubber to protect dad’s tools from scratches (available at hardware stores).

Top tip: Your GCA Garden Centre has a variety of bucket-style pots and baskets to choose from, and of course, a glorious selection of pot-perfect plants. Take the kids along for a fun family outing!

Plant picks: If you have a sunny spot in mind, choose Succulents and cacti as no-fuss greenery that will thrive off a little neglect (they look super rugged too!). Visit your GCA Garden Centre to discover what other semi-shade and full shade plants are available now.

 

Go-go MacGyver:
  1. Give your pallet a coat of paint or wood varnish in the colour of your choice. Encourage kids to paint some pictures for dad or little messages on the panels.
  2. Decide where you would like to hang your pots and look at what kind of tools dad uses the most. We recommend a line of 4 hanging pots along the second panel, leaving space for larger tools to hang below.
  3. Drill 4 holes, evenly spaced, across your panel. Choose a drill bit that is slightly smaller in diameter than the wood hooks so that you can twist your hooks into the drilled holes by hand.
  4. Twist the wood hooks into the ready-drilled holes.
  5. Half-fill your pots with nutritious potting soil. Transplant your new babies into the pots and give them a good watering. Let them drain completely.
  6. Hang your plants on the hooks by the handle-end of the pot.
  7. Now it’s time to gather dad’s most used tools and pop ‘em on the panels. Drill holes for the fancy U-type double hook tool hangers and fasten them using screws. Placement of the hooks will depend on the size of the tools you are planning to hang. Give it some thought and arrange the hooks to best suit dad’s handy-man essentials.

Top tip: Use the open compartments of the panels for dad to store other hardware accessories and perhaps a couple of beers too. You may even want to line the insides of the panels with a plastic material for easy cleaning and grab-and-go convenience.

This DIY is perfect as a heartfelt gift to any person in your life that’s your go-to MacGyver. Enjoy helping dad out this Father’s Day and show him that you support all of his hard work around the house. Thanks for all the lightbulb changes, picture hanging, shelf-assembling, and those much-loved dad-jokes!

DIY African Mamma Planter A gift for mothers day

Posted on: April 12th, 2021 by Cassidy No Comments

Here's the perfect gift for the eco-mom this Mother's Day! Give like a gardener with this stunning DIY planter made from an empty bottle, some South African flavour, a cute creeper, and a splash of creativity. Whether the mom in your life is an auntie, sister, cousin, or guardian – this home-made act of gratitude is sure to show them just how much you adore their presence in your life.

You will need:
  • A clean, empty 2l milk/juice carton (remove any labels and glue, keep the lid).
  • Waterproof paint.
  • A permanent marker.
  • Knife or scissors.
  • An African-inspired cloth for the kopdoek/headband (larger piece) and neck (small piece).
  • Rope for hanging.
  • Potting soil (available at your GCA Garden Centre).
  • A cute creeper (as hair) from your GCA Garden Centre. Go for a fun outing and check out which creepers are in season now.

Plant picks: Pilea glauca bowl, String of beads, Philodendron selloum and other Philodendron varieties, Guzmania varieties, Spider plant, and Pathos.

Making your Mamma
  • Turn your carton upside down and conceptualise: the opening serves as the neck of your character, the handle becomes the nose, and the bottom end becomes the top of her head where the plant will go.
  • Cut off the “head” quarter of the carton (not the lid end).
  • Cut a few drainage holes/slits in the lid cap of your carton (her neck). Cut holes for the rope from which to hang your planter and then thread it through.
  • Paint or draw on her lips above the neck, create her eyebrows just above the ending of the nose, and then her eyes, either opened or closed with luscious lashes, of course! You can play with the facial features of your mamma – perhaps add a nose ring or earnings, a little blush or eyeshadow. You could even make an African pappa or a few kids to accompany her.
  • Carefully fill your container halfway with nutritious potting soil. Make sure the lid is on!
  • Pop in your cute creeper as the hair for your mamma. Add more potting soil and tuck your new baby in.
  • With your gorgeous larger cloth in hand, consult tannie Google on how to wrap a traditional kopdoek. Alternatively, you could go for a bandanna or headband style too. Arrange the leaves of your creeper as desired to give her that wild and untamed look.
  • Using the smaller cloth, cover her neck and the lid.
  • Water her up!
  • You can either hang your creation with rope, or use her as table décor, allowing her hair to hang off an end.
  • Remember to check what light conditions your creeper needs to choose the best spot for her to flourish.

Enjoy warming your mom's heart this Mother's Day with a daily reminder of your appreciation. Put your gardening passion and upcycling creativity to work!

Hero your harvest this holiday Holiday Gardening

Posted on: December 1st, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

The holiday season is a gardener’s time to shine, an opportunity to show off the goods, and the perfect occasion to “uithaal en wys”, as they say in Afrikaans. This month, you’ve got full bragging rights, so make sure you’re ready to be the gardening host with the most! It’s time to let those home-grown veggies and herbs take the spotlight.

Braai buddies

With the family on their way and the charcoal ready – it’s braai time with some buddies from the garden to bring out the flavour of your food. Highlight your hard work by making veggies and herbs the hero of your dish. Here are some tantalising ideas to please every pallet:

  1. Brazilian braai broodjies: Put an exotic twist on our local favourite by adding these herbs to your broodjies with a little olive oil – oregano, rosemary, bay leaf, basil, and thyme.
  2. Sweet and sticky pumpkin pockets: Make little parcels from foil to pop straight onto the grill, filling them with ginger, marjoram, tarragon, and a little honey or sugar. Kids will love this one!
  3. Creamy black mushrooms: A delicious sauce to baste on as you braai, using melted butter, garlic, dill, and lemon balm. Garnish with fresh chives.
  4. Watermelon wanderlust: Explore your tastebuds and impress everyone with groovy grilled watermelon! Cut your watermelon into wedges, season both sides with a mixture of salt, sugar, and a hint of chilli. Season well to get that charred look and flame-grilled taste, garnish with lots of fresh mint.
  5. Tomato hot pot: Hollow out the inside of your big tomatoes, mix the pulp with the following herbs, put it all back inside and then pop them over a gentle flame: parsley, fennel, coriander, sage, with a little salt and black pepper.

*Match your meat: Pair the flavour profile of your veggie dishes with your chosen meat for a well-balanced, complimentary dish.

Leaves are lekker

Time to ditch store-bought lettuce heads and go for leaves that say “festive and fabulous”.

Your garden centre has ready-to-go packs of mixed gourmet lettuce with gorgeous leaves to make the fanciest of salads.

Personalised salad jars are a grand gesture and a sophisticated way to hero your harvest. Find out which greens your fussy eaters enjoy, then layer a medium-sized glass jar with the chosen ingredients. Your guests will not only be impressed by your effort and presentation but will also enjoy tuning over their special salad onto their plate.

*Tip: Make your own salad dressing by blending up mixed herbs, olive oil, lemon juice and love!

Cocktails and mocktails

  1. Basil smash with gin: A shot of gin, a can of cucumber-favoured soft drink, and a handful of basil.
  2. Mint soda float: A can of cream soda, a scoop of ice cream, and a handful of mint.

*Tip: Bruise your herbs to release their full flavour!

Valentine’s Day Cards that Grow DIY Edible wetlands

Posted on: January 21st, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
Grow your love even more this Valentine’s day with this DIY seed card

Bring your gifts to life this Valentine’s Day with a personal and unique gift for your loved one. Don’t just send a card, send a card that keeps on giving in the form of herbs, vegetables or flowers. Stand out from the ordinary with this step by step DIY Valentines’ activity by making biodegradable plantable gift cards with embedded seeds in them.

How it works

This DIY activity is fairly easy to make as it does not require any use of special equipment. Seed paper is paper that has small seeds embedded into it. When the paper is placed on soil and watered, the paper decomposes whilst the seeds germinate and sprout seedlings which will grow into mature plants.

Let your Valentine know how much they have grown on you by making them something special.

You will need

  • Assorted types of recyclable paper which may include but are not limited to tissue paper, egg cartons, newspapers and scraps of unprinted paper.
  • Flower seeds
  • Mixing bowl/dish
  • Towel or cloth
  • An old picture frame
  • Pantyhose
  • A tray
  • A blender (Preferably use an old blender)
  • For natural ink/paint consider using beets, carrots, berries, or other strong pigmented fruits/vegetables
  • Ruler/Scissor

Method for activity
Step 1: Prepping your paper

Collect your assorted paper scraps, cut or tear them into small pieces and place them in a covered bowl/dish with hot water. Ensure the level of water does not allow the paper to dry out, and soak for at least 8 hours.

Step 2: Blending

After your paper has soaked, blend it with some of its soaking water until its completely pulp. Should you decide to work with a lot of paper, make sure to blend the paper in batches.

  • Pour your pulp into a mixing bowl and add enough water to make it settle 10 centimetres deep.
  • Add your natural dye to your pulp,(we chose to use beetroot juice) and stir well.
  • Sprinkle about a teaspoon of flower seeds into the mixture. DO NOT BLEND! Stir them only.
Step 3: Prepping the Frame

Clean your old frame by removing any excess material like glass, staples or any nails carefully. Take your pantyhose and stretch 1 leg over the frame. Stretch and adjust it until it's tightly and evenly pulled across the frame. Tie a knot to keep it in place.

Step 4: Forming the paper
  • Sprinkle a few more seeds on onto your screen then pour the paper pulp over the screen.
  • Use your fingers to spread the paper around into a rough rectangular shape. How thick you make the paper is up to you. Keep in mind that the thicker it is, the longer it will take to dry. If it takes too long to dry, there's a chance your seeds could sprout or get ruined.
Step 5: Absorb the excess water

Place a towel underneath your screen and firmly press down on the back of the pantyhose to further remove excess water.

Step 6: Allow the paper to dry

Now leave these to dry completely! This takes different lengths of time, depending on how hot and humid it is where you live. Once your paper is dry, peel it off the screen. You may need a knife or other thin object to help get the edges started.

Step 7: Make your card

Using a ruler to help crease these makes it a lot easier to fold, since they're thick and sometimes have seeds in the way of the crease. Trim the edges as desired using a scissor or ruler. Decorate the card as desired and share the wonder of seed paper & reduced paper waste.

Growing your card

To grow the card: Dig a hole large enough for the card to be flat. You can tear the card into pieces to fit smaller areas such as a pot.  Water the card thoroughly, cover with soil, and then water again. The paper will compost into the soil and help hold moisture until the seeds start to grow.

Depending on your what seeds you used, you should start seeing sprouts within 7- 14 days and flowers after 8- 12 weeks.

Benefits of plantable gift cards

Seed-embedded paper has both social and environmental benefits.

Socially, seed paper plays a pivotal role in creatively changing the way people think of trash. Plantable paper is a sustainable means of reducing waste and repurposing used products.

Environmentally, seed paper is made from recycled materials, making it biodegradable with zero waste. It also encourages people to start planting home gardens and improves soil quality be it in the garden or in a small pot.

Visit your nearest GCA Garden Centre for advice on what seeds would work best for this DIY activity, for more gardening trends and inspiration visit the Life is a Garden website www.lifeisagarden.co.za

A3 Gifts from your garden (with marks – for printing at a print shop)

Posted on: December 3rd, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

A3 Gifts from your garden poster for your Garden Centre – with marks (for printing at a print shop)

Read more on which Gifts you may give from your garden here:

Learn to build a mini Terrarium: http://bit.ly/2qGlQ2K

Learn more on Gifts from your garden here

Preview

A2 Gifts from your garden (with marks – for printing at a print shop)

Posted on: December 3rd, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

A2 Gifts from your garden poster for your Garden Centre – with marks (for printing at a print shop)

Read more on which Gifts you may give from your garden here:

Learn to build a mini Terrarium: http://bit.ly/2qGlQ2K

Learn more on Gifts from your garden here

Preview

A2 Gifts from your garden (with no marks – for printing at a print shop)

Posted on: December 3rd, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

A2 Gifts from your garden poster for your Garden Centre – with no marks (for printing at a print shop)

Read more on which Gifts you may give from your garden here:

Learn to build a mini Terrarium: http://bit.ly/2qGlQ2K

Learn more on Gifts from your garden here

Preview

A3 Gifts from your garden (with no marks – for printing at a print shop)

Posted on: December 3rd, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

A3 Gifts from your garden poster for your Garden Centre – with no marks (for printing at a print shop)

Read more on which Gifts you may give from your garden here:

Learn to build a mini Terrarium: http://bit.ly/2qGlQ2K

Learn more on Gifts from your garden here

Preview

Festive escape in your garden An abundance of gifts from your garden

Posted on: November 18th, 2019 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

It’s December and gift giving and celebrations are the highlight of the month. This often requires spending time searching for parking spots at busy shopping centres and wandering endlessly through crowded stores in search of the perfect gift to show appreciation to those you love.

This year, why not give a heartfelt and special gift that you’ve spent months growing in your own garden? And while you’re enjoying the outdoors, invite your friends and family over to soak up the sun and enjoy the season in your festive garden.

Gifts from your garden

Our gardens flourish in December, often producing more than we need. This is impeccable timing to give gifts from your garden. These gifts are not only kinder on your wallet, they are also more personal and are greatly appreciated for their thoughtfulness.

Herb jars with herbs grown from seed are an ideal gift for those who love to cook. Herbs are a great addition to any meal, particularly fresh herbs that are bursting with flavour.  If you have someone special in the family who loves to spend time creating delicious dishes, give the gift of fresh herbs.

Use fresh vegetables that you are growing in your vegetable garden to make some fresh pasta sauces, pickled vegetables or relishes. Place in glass bottles with personalised gift labels and include them in a gift hamper. These will be enjoyed for weeks after they’ve been received. Homemade pamper products are a real treat and often suitable for even the most sensitive skin. Make a body scrub from sea salt or raw sugar, mix it with an oil of your choice, add some lavender, mint or rose petals picked from your garden and place into a jar for hours of pampering and grateful, glowing skin.

Flowers are always a welcome gift for every occasion. Pick an array of flowers from your garden and arrange them in a beautiful bouquet before placing them into a vase as a gift for friends and family to brighten up their day and their home.

Festive gardens for great festivities

Summer is in full swing and the garden is a wonderful escape from the indoors. With flowers in full bloom, the combination of bright colours and delightful, delicate aromas is an invitation to spend more time outdoors.

Add some festive cheer to your garden with red and white flowers that can be grown in pots and flower beds around the garden. Decorate trees with festive coloured fairy lights which will not only look dreamy in the evenings it will also add some ambience while entertaining. Complete your festive garden look by placing red, white and green floating candles and flowers to water features and pools and dotted around the garden for a beautiful, tranquil setting.

Let the festivities begin

‘Tis the season to be festive and we are blessed with wonderful hot summer days and warm evenings. Invite your friends and family over, put a table under the trees and decorate it with red and white flowers from your garden to add some festive cheer. Be sure to use some of the flowers to create a Christmas wreath for the door and delight your guests when they arrive. As long lazy afternoons roll into the evening almost unnoticed, scatter some red and white cushions onto seats around the garden to keep your guests lingering for longer and enjoy hours of each other’s company.

For more inspiration and ideas on Christmas gifts and garden entertainment, pop into your nearest GCA Garden Centre. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.