Indoor Home Garden

Winter in the midwest is the time for everyone to stay inside and wait until April before venturing outside, it’s too cold to go outside and play.  In the southern hemisphere winter is the time for people to be outside and enjoy the nice weather. Over winter break I was lucky enough to take a 10 day trip to Ecuador and learn all about food sustainability.  The winter season for them is when they start to plant their crops so that they will grow nice and large for picking season in the late summer.

This got me thinking about planting in the midwest in the winter.  It is too cold to go outside and enjoy gardening, but it is the perfect time to start a small indoor garden of your own.  Some very good indoor plants that are hard to kill are string of pearls, succulents, and prayer plant. Succulents are already very popular and famous for not needing much attention, but these other plants are also easy to keep alive and they will add some color to your room/house.

Other plants are nice to have in your home because they have a purpose.  Some purify the air, some can calm you down. The Peace Lily and Snake plant are great for purifying the air, and they  only need minimum light to keep alive, which is great for winter months when there isn’t much sunlight. Other plants like aloe and lavender are great to have to calm down and help you sleep.

The last type of plants that are great to have indoors all year round are edible plants.  Some herbs that are easy to grow, and can be useful very often are basil, thyme, and parsley.  These plants are easy to grow, and will be very useful when cooking. Another good plant to grow is mint, but that is a little harder to grow inside.

While winter is a time to stay inside, it doesn’t have to be the time to stop gardening.  These are just some of the easiest indoor plants to grow, but there are almost unlimited options to start growing an indoor home garden.

Spring DIY

Spring officially started March 20th of this year, but it does not feel like it.  The weather is still cold and occasionally Ann Arbor gets some snow. Until it starts to feel like spring, here are some DIY crafts to do to at least make it feel like spring in your house.

Succulents have been a big trend over the past couple years.  Even though you only have to water them once a week or so, that can be easy to forget.  To solve this problem, and to always have a succulent in your house to remind you of spring you can make one yourself.  All you need is a flower

 pot, pebbles, five or six normal size rocks, and some green and white paint. First decorate the flower pot however you want.  Then you paint the big rocks in the green paint, you can also buy several different shades of green to have a variety of succulents in your pot. Once the paint dries, draw small diagonal lines on the rock to make it look like the prickles on a cactus.  On other cactus’ you can draw polka dots and stars to have a variety. Then you place the pebbles in the flower pot as a base and arrange the cactus rocks in the pebbles to make them look like succulents. Then the only thing left to do is to find a spot in your house to display this wonderful spring reminding diy.

Another diy to make your house more springy, is to make a wall fixture of a mason jar string art flower vase.  This sounds much more complicated than it is. The supplies you need are: a small piece of wood, white string, nails, and fake flowers.  This first thing to do is to hammer the nails into the wood in theshape that you want your flower holder. You can make it any shape, like a wicker or wire basket, or the easiest being a mason jar.  If you need to, you can look up a stencil of a mason jar and nail into the spots that it tells you. After the nails are in place, you wrap the string around each nail once or twice like your playing connect the dots.  Once you reach the end, you can tie a knot with the string so that the entire picture won’t fall apart. The last thing to do it to staple your fake flowers so that the stem is inside the jar and the top flower part is sitting just on top of the jar.  Then you just move the stem to be under the string that you just wrapped around the nails, and your done! You can hang this on your wall and pretend like the real flowers outside have also bloomed.

Personalize Your Holiday Gift Giving

When people hear the word “art” they think of paintings, photographs, sculptures, music, or maybe movies.  But not paper.  People commonly think of paper as a mode to transport art, or a medium that art is displayed through, but they don’t think of the paper itself as art.  Cards a common form of a present to loved ones, whether they are store bought or handmade.  This holiday season make cards extra special by creating the whole thing by hand,  even the paper.

The kerrytown bookfest in Ann Arbor teaches people that paper itself is creative and can be a form of art.  There were stands that were dedicated to making paper.  The paper that these stands were selling looked vintage, like the paper you would see a medieval letter written on.  Each piece was different and they all varied in colors, size, and even texture.  The texture, thickness, and color of the paper depends on what it is made out of.  Paper can be made out of different materials; the easiest material to make paper out of is other paper.  But it can also be made out of leaves, grass, flowers, or even a wasps nest.  Keep this in mind while making a card, and use the materials and colors that the recipient will love.  This uniqueness will translate well into a nice holiday card for a loved one, because they will see all of the effort and love put into it and appreciate it even more.

The people who worked at the Kerrytown bookfest were so passionate about there craft of making paper, they wanted to show and teach every person that worked by how to do what they did so that they could share in their happiness with this overlooked artform.  These people were more enthusiastic about their craft than most other professionals are about there job, and that is because they make paper because they loved it, and it is something they are truly passionate about.  It is no longer a necessity to make paper from scratch, it is much easier and less time consuming to go to the store and buy whatever size and color paper you want than to make it yourself.  But the paper we all buy at the store lacks the uniqueness of the paper that the people at the kerrytown bookfest put into their paper.  This passion and compassion will come through a handmade Christmas card, the loved one it’s made for will love the gift made with love.

Link to learn how to make paper:

DIY Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the middle holiday between Halloween and Christmas, that most people choose to skip celebrating besides take the day off and eat food.  As soon as Halloween is over people start decorating for christmas and wishing for snow.  Most don’t go all out on decorating the house for Thanksgiving, but they do put a lot of effort into making the food.  This year, instead of having no decorations when family comes over for Thanksgiving, decorate the house with fun last minute Thanksgiving decor.

An easy way to decorate for Thanksgiving is to just re-use your Halloween decorations.  The best way to do this is to repurpose pumpkins.  You can just keep mini pumpkins and gourds around the house and kitchen area as decor.  The only pumpkins that won’t work for Thanksgiving is jack-o-lanterns.  You can also take a pumpkin and gut it, then put flowers and other other decorations in the top of the pumpkins to create a centerpiece for your dinner table(pictured up top).  You could also paint the pumpkins or paint some festive words on the pumpkin to create a more festive Thanksgiving environment.

A good craft that most people know about and children do in school is a

turkey made from a hand.  Either by putting paint on your hand or by tracing it on a piece of paper and cutting it out, which makes the turkey’s body.  Then, you cut out feathers from construction paper and staple or glue them to the hand/turkey body.  There are other turkey crafts as well.  You can make a turkey windsocks out of a can, paint, googly eyes, and streamers.  You paint the can brown, and glue the eyes on.  Then the last step is to glue long strings of confetti that hang downfrom the can.  This also a nice decoration because you can put it outside so that others see your Thanksgiving decorations and get inspired.  Another turkey craft that is fun and easy is a rock turkey.  All you need is rock, feathers, and construction paper.  There is two easy steps to make this: first you choose which side of the rock to be the front, and second you just glue the feathers on the back to stick up and the eyes and nose construction paper pieces on the front.

An easy way to decorate for Thanksgiving is to just decorate the house for the fall season.  This is much easier because there are many options to decorate for fall, and many of the crafts only require leaves, which are very easy to require.  One easy craft is to modge podge some leaves to a mason jar and put some candles in it to put on the table or throughout the kitchen and living room.  Another easy leaf craft is to glue some leaves to a wreath made from twigs that you can put on any door throughout your house.

You can now take your Halloween decorations down and put up these new, fun, and easy decorations for Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving!