Posts Tagged ‘ projects ’

DIY Succulent & Rose Flower Crowns for Kids A little something special for the girls this October

Posted on: September 23rd, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Life is a Garden is calling on all the fairies, princesses, queens and creatures of the garden to come out and DIY with us. We’ve got a little something special for the girls this October - drum roll, please… enter the flower crown! In celebration of October rose month as well as Garden Day on 11 October, we’re blushing shades of pink and green to bring you these lovely flower crown ideas using succulents and roses.

Here’s a step by step to creating your upcycle can masterpiece.

You will need:

  • An Alice-band and/or pliable craft wire
  • A few glorious succulents, roses, and some viney plant strands (Ivy may work nicely)
  • Green insulation tape, twine or ribbon
  • Superglue
  • Scissors and maybe some pliers
  • Bits and bobs of pretty arts and crafts goodies like shells and beads if you like
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Getting started

The first thing our DIY fairies need to decide on is whether they would like to decorate an existing Alice-band or if they would like to create a crown from scratch. Secondly, have a look in the garden at what kind of succulents, roses, and other vine-type plants are available. Head off to your local GCA Garden Centre for those special flowers and vinery you may want to add. Gather your arts and crafts goodies and prep your creation station.

 

Preparing your headband

If you are using an existing Alice-band, we recommend you choose one that is a little wider to give you more of a surface on which to stick and wrap your goodies. Alternately, if you’re creating a headband from craft wire, we recommend using at least two strands of wire together for more stability and also for more surface area to work with.

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Breathing life into your creation

  • Step 1: Single out your centrepiece succulents and roses. Make smaller bouquets with your additional greenery for added texture, variety, height, and a personal creative touch
  • Step 2: Shape your handmade wire crown to size, leaving a little extra room for the decorations. Connect the circle crown with a little insulation tape. You may also wish to completely cover your crown with ribbon or twine before you move on.
  • Step 3: Wrap your vinery around the crown/Alice-band. Use some twine or super glue to secure the greenery.

Terrific tip: Use a whip-like stem from a willow tree, or similar sort, to make a bow. Intertwining the stem will hold your flowers in place nicely.

  • Step 4: Place your focal point roses and succulents around the crown/Alice-band. You may want them all in front or perhaps spread around the crown. You can secure them by weaving the stems through the wire, or by using a mixture of superglue and twine for Alice-band crowns.
  • Step 5: Arrange your mini-flower bouquets and any additional decorations such as shells and beads to all remaining open spaces. Once again, secure your flowers and décor goodies with a little super glue, craft wire, ribbon, or twine. You may want to use some tongs here if you’re working with wire.
  • Step 6: Make sure your crown has fully dried and set. Place on top of your head and parade around like a magnificent fairy princess, Earth goddess!

Terrific tip: Store your living floral crown in the fridge to keep it fresh. Lightly spray your blooms before you wear it to pucker them up a little.

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This DIY floral crown is a fabulous opportunity for the girls to engage with the garden and get some hands-on education about crafting with flowers. The best part is - there’s no right or wrong, just the perfection of creativity married with the flawless creations of Mother Nature. Life is a Garden, so create away!

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Upcycle Cans Can you dig this DIY upcycle?

Posted on: August 27th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

We love upcycling almost as much as we love gardening – and that’s like, allot! For this month’s DIY, Life is a Garden is inviting you to accept our eco-friendly, trash to treasure project, all about cans, creativity, and décor. If you also get that funny feeling whenever you throw away a can, that’s probably because: A – you care about the environment and just can’t bear the thought of a turtle choking on baked beans packaging, and B – like us, you can see the exciting, uncharted, open canvas of that baked beans tin that just screams “decorate me”.

Here’s a step by step to creating your upcycle can masterpiece.

You will need:

  • Some empty washed cans with a few holes made in the bottom (time to put that buying in bulk stage to good use)
  • String/twine/ribbon (natural fibre string or coloured string, depending on your vibe)
  • Some pebbles (store-bought or from the garden)
  • Moss (real moss available at your GCA Garden Centre or visit your local craft shop for fake moss sheets)
  • Arts and crafts accessories you have lying around
  • Super superglue or double-sided tape

How to decorate:

  • Start by thinking about which cans will be for outdoor and indoor decoration to determine which décor accessories would work best.
  • Have a look at all your goodies and think about the theme/colour scheme you’re going for to spice up your chosen area.
  • Use the superglue or double-sided tape to secure your string/twine/ribbon around the can.
  • If you are using pebbles or shells, pop them on too with some superglue.
  • Add a little texture to your can by tying a different piece of string/twine/ribbon around it. This will also help to keep your design together.
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Décor tip: You could always decorate half of the can one way, and the rest with a different accessory. For example, try decorating the base of the can with pebbles or shells, and the top half with moss or twine. This will give you added texture and bonus points for creativity!

 

Plant picks:

Indoors

  • For an easy to maintain, low light tolerant, and occasional neglect forgiver, we recommend the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia).
  • Vriesea varieties are a great choice if you’re looking for a colour-poppin’ plant with interesting foliage and texture.

Outdoors

  • Wild iris (Dietes grandiflora) is a lovely flower choice for a spot on the patio with sun or semi-shade.
  • The Mickey-mouse bush (Ochna serrulata) is a charming can contender and will flourish on your stoep in sun or semi-shade.
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Upcycling cans is all the talk of the town and for good reason. There are infinite ways you could go about decorating cans to use as pot plants and other DIY projects too. We’d love to see how you turned your trash into treasure. Share your creations with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages and join the Life is a Garden community.

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Upcycle Doll Planter Upcycle fun

Posted on: July 20th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
Life is a Garden

No doubt some of you organised and de-cluttered over lockdown, but there are some items that we just cannot bear to part with. We’ll show you how to transform your sentimental doll into something functional with a new look to exhibit the beauty of the memories. After all, it’s not considered clutter if it brings you joy.

For this upcycle planter project, you will need:

  • An old doll
  • One and a half cups cornstarch
  • One cup white liquid school glue
  • One tablespoon vinegar
  • One teaspoon body lotion
  • One tablespoon glycerine or baby oil
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Start by mixing the cornstarch and the glue. Add the vinegar, body lotion and glycerine, keep mixing. Warning: it will be messy! But mission on, the texture will improve the more you combine the ingredients. If you find at this point that the mixture is too flimsy, add a little extra cornstarch until the mixture is smooth, soft and squishy. Prepare a clean countertop with a little cornstarch and spread out the mixture. Knead it as you would dough for bread.

Top Tip: dust your hands with a little cornstarch to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands. Once the clay mix is firm but still soft and pliable, you can cover it with plastic and set it aside while you prepare the doll.

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Wipe the doll clean and remove any clothing or accessories. Take a craft knife and cut the head open. Make sure that the doll you choose can sit upright without any help, otherwise the planter might be too top-heavy and topple over.

Once the doll is prepped you can now cover it with thin layers of clay. We’ve covered the one side and let it dry overnight before we flipped the doll over and covered the other side. The drying time is about 12 hours but may be more depending on the thickness.

Let the clay dry completely. We’ve let ours dry over a weekend before we painted the doll with white spray-paint. This is optional, but it gives the finished product a bit of shimmer.

Top Tip: Cover the doll with one or two coats of clear varnish. This will ensure that the planter is more durable and water-resistant.

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We’ve planted Sedum Little Master, a hardy succulent that makes for an excellent spiller plant. Their beautiful heart-shaped leaves with red edges give our doll a trendy green hairdo. Sedums are low maintenance and will thrive in a sunny spot. Be careful not to over-water them. Only water when the soil is completely dry.

Other beautiful spiller plants to consider are String-of-Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), Hen and Chickens (Chlorophytum comosum), also known as the Spider plant. For a more whimsical look, try Peace-in-the-Home (Soleirolia soleirolii). This delicate-looking, evergreen loves low to medium light areas. Keep the soil moist, so find a spot where you see them often such as the kitchen or bathroom.

As we try to minimise our plastic waste, upcycling has become the cool new norm. We would love to see what you’ve done with your old toy collection. Show us your creation by sharing photos to our Facebook or Instagram pages. Have fun!

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Growing Spinach in a Jar Experiment

Posted on: July 6th, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Our gardeners from Life is a Garden conducted this family-friendly, insightful little seed germination experiment during the lockdown days. Our gardeners set out to grow some spinach in a glass jar, allowing them to enjoy every step of the growing show, from above to below ground. Our gardeners watered each jar differently to determine how much water is too much, too little, and just right. The results may surprise you!

What you need:

  • Large spinach seeds
  • A glass jar
  • Kitchen roll
  • Water
Setting up your seed experiment:

STEP 1:  Get your little-handed scientist to assist you here, by folding and scrunching up a few pieces of kitchen roll. Place the folded kitchen roll inside the perimeter of the glass jar, then stuff the scrunched pieces into the middle.

STEP 2:  Carefully push seeds down into the paper towels around the edge of the jar so they can still be seen. Make sure they are firmly held in place.

STEP 3:  Gently water your seed jar to wet the paper towels. Be careful not to flood it as this spells certain disaster for our seeds.

 

What do you see in your seed jar?
  • You are looking for a root to pop out of the side of the seed.
  • Next, you are looking for roots to push down into the towel.
  • Also, you are looking for root hairs.
  • Next, you are looking for the seed to push up while the root hairs push down.
  • Lastly, you are looking for the shoots to come up.
Our watering findings:

Our gardeners wanted to see how much water would be best for the spinach seedlings. They set up their three jars and measured the same amount of water to be given to each jar. The water quantities were the same; however, the frequency of watering is what made all the difference:

  • Jar one: Watered once a week.
  • Jar two: Watered twice a week.
  • Jar three: Watered three times a week.
What would you guess are the different watering results? Our gardeners concluded that the seedling stems grew the following amounts during 12 days:
  • Jar 1: 6 cm
  • Jar 2: 5 cm
  • Jar 3: 3 cm

As you can see folks, the spinach seedling grew the most when watered only once a week, with twice a week watering coming in second place. In jar 3, there was half the growth and the roots were over-watered, beginning to rot.

You can also try growing sunflower seeds, peas, and beans in a glass jar. Try out this little experiment for yourself and get to know your greens up-close and personal. You could also investigate whether seeds need water at all to germinate by setting up 3 jars and measuring how much water goes into each so that one is fully wet, half wet and one has no water.

Good luck and happy experimenting!

For more fun DIY projects, click here.