For a while there, I was fearful for the daffodils sprouting up around the city—sure, it’s been a mild winter, but a last-minute snowstorm could crush their little blooms! But it’s going to be a downright balmy 70 degrees tomorrow…they’re probably home free.
Even though we’re apparently skipping spring and jumping right into summer, I can’t help but crush on this sweet, citrusy tulip arrangement (via Angela Hardison). The paper flowers look so lovely suspended above the lush blooms. Inspired to recreate this look at home? Snag some lanterns from pearlriver.
Maybe hedgehogs aren’t known for being cuddly, but don’t you just want to cozy up to this little guy? I think my terrarium could quickly become a comfortable habitat for this dude and his ‘shroom.
I think there’s something really rejuvenating about sinking my hands into soil, but dirt’s definitely not a prerequisite for happy plants. Last weekend, I checked out a presentation by Windowfarms, a company that designs hydroponic growing systems designed to help landless urban farmers harvest produce.
Here’s how it works: aspiring growers build (or buy) a contraption rigged up with recycled plastic bottles, plastic tubing, and an air pump. Water travels throughout the tubes and deposits liquid nutrient solutions to the plants, which are nestled in mesh containers surrounded by clay pellets. A pre-fab setup will run you back about $100.
Think that hydroponics is only synonymous with pot? It’s actually at the forefront of the “farm-to-fork” movement, which champions locavore eating habits. Just pluck a basil leaf from your window and wrap it in some fresh mozz. The Times published a piece about trendy soil-less methods last summer.
Windowfarms might be a great option for cramped urban dwellers, but are they better than planting in a container or a bed? Yields for small crops like herbs are pretty comparable to other growing methods, but—at best—you can coax some dinky squash and tomatoes: anything else is too heavy for the frame.
Have you tried hydroponic growing techniques? What did you think? Any converts?
Mason jars are one of the most versatile home décor items around—and, at about $1 a pop for used jars, they’re a great tool for a budget crafter to have in her arsenal. I’ve rounded up a few ways to turn your jar into a garden.
This hanging vase craft couldn’t be easier—or yield a prettier product. All it takes is a little Modge Podge, a sweet image, foam brush, and wire or twine. Check out the how-to on GardenMama.
Any kind of glass jar can be transformed into a terrarium. Toss in some pebbles, activated charcoal, potting soil, moss, and a wee plant, and you’ve got a gnome home on your hands. Some friends and I made these out of recycled pasta sauce jars, but you could easily use a pretty blue mason jar for something a little more special.
Spray painted mason jars make great party centerpieces. Find step-by-step instructions over at Lovely Little Details.
If you’re a little wary of retina-searing metallics, try a different hue. I painted some jars a buttery yellow, which has been great for everyday use.
Mason jars also make great planters—just make sure you throw pebbles in the bottom to help drain water and prevent the roots from rotting. These pastel-colored jars with bunny decals are perfect for spring, and look great holding delicate alyssum.
Do you have any genius uses for these all-purpose containers?
DIY Jar Lids
Even though I haven’t finished unpacking our boxes (…oops), I’m looking to add the decorative flourishes that turn a bare-bones room into a lived-in space.
Today, I cozied up our kitchen with a simple DIY craft. These simple jar lids make a kitchen counter pretty and functional.
- mason jars with lids
- rubber cement
- a pencil
- patterned paper (downloaded a free template from lovelydesign)
- Modge Podge
- a foam brush
- Unscrew the mason jar and trace the lid on a piece of paper
- Cut out
- Glue down with rubber cement
- Seal with Modge Podge (if you cut the paper circle a little too big, no worries: just use Modge Podge to smooth the edges down underneath the bottom of the lid)
Easy! I filled these with flour and sugar, but they’d also look great filled with textured grains like lentils or couscous.
A Mite-y Pain
I know that parents aren’t supposed to play favorites, but I do. My golden child? My gorgeously-varigated croton, veined with rich orange and red hues. After 11 months of good behavior, it’s been throwing some tantrums lately.
In my old apartment, it perched proudly on the windowsill in my living room, where it basked in streams of bright light all afternoon. My new apartment is draftier and much less humid, and the plant seems slightly stunned by the change. The only window with light bright enough to coax out the dramatic stippled leaf pattern is also so freezing—the plant, which flourishes in balmy tropical conditions, looks dusty, sparse, and spindly. It’s pretty sickly—over the last few days, 5 leaves have dropped off in my hands. These fluttering leaves are reminders that change is hard, and the plant is having some separation anxiety.
This afternoon, as I bent down to water the plant, I noticed a tiny maroon critter scuttling across its leaves. The red spider mite is definitely not a welcome addition to our new place. Here’s how I’m kicking it to the curb:
Tips for Slaughtering Spider Mites:
- Isolate the plant from its comrades (move it 3-5 feet from other plants to minimize the chance that the mites will travel)
- Rinse the leaves with soapy water (use dish detergent, and make sure to squash any webs or colonies of eggs; check the undersides of leaves)
- Blast the plant with cold water
- Repeat for about 12 days, or until there are no more signs of the invaders.
YEAH, SHE’S GOOD LOOKING, I GUESS. NOT REALLY MY TYPE. I LIKE A BIGGER WINGSPAN.
THERE WE GO. PAGE 236. LOOK AT THE PLUMAGE ON THAT ONE. SWEET JESUS.
Check out my first post for Parents.com to learn how to make these delightful waterless snow globes!