Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation week is Monday, May 8 through Friday, May 12. National Teacher Day is May 9. Show your appreciation with one of these fun and simple flowering gifts.


Thank you for helping me grow – Shanty 2 Chic

Thanks for helping me bloom – Skip to My Lou

Ruler planter with “you rule” pencil tag – Tilly’s Nest

Painted flower pot – My Happy Place

“I totally dig” summer planter – Bren Did

Thanks for helping me grow – Three Kids and a Fish

You were mint to teach – Such the Spot

Thanks a bunch for all you do – Simply Kierste

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Teacher Appreciation Week

Homemade Seed Paper

SeedPaper

Seed paper is a beautiful and thoughtful way to share gardening with your friends and family. Whether it is used to make cards, gift tags, or other crafts, it is a sentiment that is most appreciated when torn up and buried in the earth!

Seed paper is made by using traditional papermaking techniques, during which seeds are embedded. Use handmade seed paper as you would any other craft paper: to make cards, gift tags, wrapping paper, bookmarks, envelopes, bows, or flowers. This disposable gift doesn’t just get tossed in the garbage after it has served its decorative purpose; instead it gets planted and begins a new life as flowers, vegetables, or herbs. The garden that seed paper grows will be enjoyed year after year, creating beauty and nourishing those who receive it.

Materials

Two artist canvases, with wood frames at least 1″ thick
Window screen
Scissors
Utility knife
Staple gun
Shredded paper (see Note)
Blender (an old blender or a dedicated craft blender is best)
Plastic tub large enough to comfortably fit the frames inside
Sponge
Seeds
Decorative items (optional)
Towel
Nonstick surface (such as granite, glass, Plexiglass, or silicone)

Note: What paper makes the best paper? Try using these items: shredded bills and junk mail; gift wrap and tissue paper; printer paper, magazines, and newspapers; toilet tissue, paper towels, and napkins; paper bags and nonwaxed cardboard packaging; card stock and construction paper.

Instructions

To make paper with a uniform thickness and size, you first need to make a papermaking mold and deckle. Remove the canvas from both the artist canvases, leaving two wooden frames. Cut the window screen so that it is larger than the wood frame, wrap it around the edges of one of the frames, and staple in place. Pull the screen quite taut around the frame while stapling. You will end up with one frame with a firm screen across the front (mold) and another wood frame the same size (deckle). With the mold on the bottom (screen mesh side up) and the deckle on top, you have made your very own papermaking screen. (Photos 1, 2, 3)

Grab a handful of shredded paper including some bits of tissue paper, craft paper, wrapping paper, or whatever paper you can find with some dye in it. Add the paper to the blender so that it is one half to two-thirds full when gently compacted. Fill the blender to the fill line with warm water and let it sit for an hour or until the paper breaks apart easily when touched. A thicker-weight paper will take longer to soften than tissue paper.

When the paper is thoroughly softened, whir it in the blender until you have a thick, pulpy slurry. (Photos 4, 5, 6)

Fill the plastic tub with enough warm water to allow the mold and deckle to be submerged. Now float the papermaking screen in the water, deckle side  up. (Photo 7)

While holding the mold and deckle together, pour the slurry onto the screen (Photo 8)

Swish and wiggle the mold in the water to level the slurry and achieve about a one-quarter-inch thickness. Keep the top frame of the deckle out of the water so the slurry doesn’t spill into the tub.

Now is the time to add your seeds and decorative elements. Sprinkle seeds on the level slurry, gently press them in, and cover them up with some of the pulp. If you accidentally create a hole in the paper, wiggle it in the water to once again create a uniform thickness. Be creative in decorating your paper. The best items to use are flat and light such as flower petals, leaves, or grasses; seed catalogs and magazines (torn into smaller pieces); foil or glittery wrapping paper (torn into smaller pieces); waxed paper products like milk cartons and coffee cups; string or yarn; dryer lint. (Photos 9, 10, 11)

Hold both sides of the frame and slowly lift it from the water, allowing excess water to drain. Remove the deckle, turn the screen over, and press (paper side down) onto a smooth nonstick surface. Sponge away the moisture by pressing down on the back of the screen and squeezing the sponge out into the tub. (Photos 12, 13)

Repeat until not much moisture remains on the sponge. Gently remove the screen, leaving the paper on the nonstick surface. (Photo 14)

Gently shape and clean up the edges with the sponge, then set the paper aside somewhere that it will be undisturbed while drying, which could take up to a few days.

When the paper has dried, the edges may have curled. To flatten, simply stack all the dry sheets under a heavy pile of books and leave for a few days.

Making Paper Roses

To make these cheerful paper roses, cut the paper into a circle. Cut the spiral into the circle without cutting through to the end. Begin the spiral with a fairly thin width (about a quarter of an inch) and gradually get thicker. Don’t worry if the cuts aren’t uniform; a varying thickness along the spiral will just add to the organic appearance of the petals. Leave a 1 1/2 inch diameter circle in the center of the spiral.

Roll the spiral around itself starting at the outside edge continuing all the way to the center.

Add a few dabs of nontoxic glue where needed to hold the rose petals in place.

Planting Instructions

If you have made paper roses, they can be planted directly in the soil as is. For larger sheets of paper, tear them into half-inch pieces and scatter them on moist soil. Cover with a thin layer of soil and water. Keep moist until the seedlings emerge, then care for them as instructed on the seed packet. Seed paper can be grown in pots or directly in the garden. The instructions on the seed packet will be the same for seed paper, although for some types of seeds germination rates may be lower. Generally the seeds are placed in the wet paper pulp briefly, so this shouldn’t damage the seed as long as the paper is stored in a dry location and used within a relatively short period of time. Germination rates decline as seeds age so it’s best to use them within the year they were purchased.


Garden Made: A Year of Seasonal Projects to Beautify Your Garden & Your Life by Stephanie Rose

 

Homemade Seed Paper

DIY Liquidambar Wreath

LiquidambarWreath

Star-shaped leaves and bright berries form a petite ring of autumnal fireworks.

25 liquidambar leaves
15 sprigs of callicarpa berries
8 asters
10 stems of rose hips
wire wreath frame
paddle wire

1. Start with the wire wreath frame. Gather a variety of the listed ingredients to create a small bundle.

LiquidambarWreath22. Attach the bundle to the frame with paddle wire. Gather a second bundle and attache it on top of the first with paddle wire.

3. Continue making and attaching bundles, slightly varying the number of each ingredient. Trim any stems that extend too far off the frame.

4. Tuck the stems of the final bundle under the first bundle.


The Wreath Recipe Book by Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo

DIY Liquidambar Wreath

DIY Gourd Swag

GourdSwag

Get your gourds off the ground and present them in a new light as garland.

9 gourds of various colors and shapes
Long heavy-gauge needle
Heavy-gauge fishing line
Hammer
Nails
Six 1-yard-long pieces of ribbon

1. Drive the heavy-gauge needle threaded with heavy-duty fishing line through the gourds, using a hammer to tap it through if there is too much resistance. Leave 6 inches of fishing line at each end.

2. Attach the garland to the wall using nails, and tie three pieces of ribbon to each end of the garland to conceal any exposed fishing line.

DIY Gourd Swag

DIY Pumpkin Planter

diypumpkinplanter

You can do this fun DIY with any plant you wish! Your neighborhood Johnson’s has has hardy fall mums, asters, pansies, cabbage, and more!

What you’ll need:
A fall plant of your choice
A pumpkin a little wider than your plant, but about the same depth
Gardener’s Gold Organic Potting Soil

Just remember to:
1. Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of your pumpkin, and
2. Spray lemon juice or rub petroleum jelly around the inside of the pumpkin to prevent it from rotting as quickly


Photos by Lucas Greenhouses and Laura Pachucki

DIY Pumpkin Planter

DIY – Coat Hanger Wreath

CoatHangerWreath

You will need: wire coat hanger, floral tape, white spray paint, ribbon, scissors

  1. Shape the bottom part of your coat hanger into a circle. Spray paint it white outdoors or in a very well-ventilated area. Paint one side and let it dry, before flipping over and painting the other side.
  2. After the paint is completely dry you are ready to add the flowers. Make a very small bouquet using a few flowers in varying sizes, then add a couple sprigs of greenery. Trim stems to a similar size, leaving about an inch of stems. Wrap all the stems together with floral tape.
  3. Using floral tape, wrap the bouquet to the hanger. In this example we went with the bottom left of the circle. If you like, you can fill the whole circle or add flowers only to the bottom center with delicate ribbons hanging down for a sweet finishing touch.
  4. Continue making little bouquets and overlap them to cover the wrapped stems of the previous bouquet. Attach each bouquet to the hanger using floral tape. For the last bouquet flip the direction in order to finish off the end of the flower display and cover any wrapped stems.
  5. If you spot gaps, collect a few buds. Push fine wire through the base of your buds, twist the wire, and attach the buds to the hanger.

Find more ways to decorate with flowers:

Decorate with Flowers by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

DIY – Coat Hanger Wreath

DIY – Market Arrangement

MarketArrangement

No matter what time of year, there is always a flower, herb, vegetable, or fruit that can inspire you to make a fun “garden-to-table” arrangement. Choose a simple vessel such as an empty tin can with a cool label, a mason jar, or a vintage vase from your own collection, and go to town clipping in your yard! Build the arrangement with a sturdy base using a variety of greenery and herbs, nestle in a few choice blooms that pack a visual punch, and then layer in some fruit for textural interest. For example, we’ve used grapes, dahlias, mint, lemon verbena, feverfew, jujubes, yarrow, zinnias, and heuchera in the arrangement above.

As florist, one of the simplest tricks of our trade is skewering fruit or vegetables to include in our arrangements. You can do this by taking a small apple, pretty pear, or cute jujube fruit and inserting a bamboo skewer into one end, making sure not to push the skewer all the way through it. Cut the skewer down to size and nestle the fruit into the arrangement just like the stem of a flower. A bright bunch of grapes or crab apple-laden branch can make a surprising impact cascading down the front of your arrangement.


Find the book at Johnson’s

Bennett, Leslie and Stefani Bittner. (2013). The Beautiful Edible Garden. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Arrangement: Studio Choo

Photo: Jill Rizzo

DIY – Market Arrangement