DIY: Celebrate Earth day by sprouting your own seeds

Around this time of the year, kids get to learn a lot about recycling, planting and trash clean up in celebration of Earth day. I think it’s important to let them know we must do these things all year around and Earth should be celebrated every day.

So, it doesn’t matter if you do this project on Earth day, this week or next month as long

as your kids experience the joys and wonders of watching their own seedlings emerge. Plus, they’ll get a little lesson on recycling and composting on top of it all!

You will need:

* An empty egg carton (the

molded pulp

ones, not plastic or

polystyrene)

* Potting soil

* Seeds

* Plastic wrap or bag

* Pen or pecil

* Tooth picks and paper to make labels

Tip: to make the germination process a breeze, pick seeds that germinate easily such as beans, pees, carrots, squash, cucumber and pumpkins. Hard to start seeds might not even sprout and you’ll end up having a frustrated kid!

Get started:

1. Separate the bottom part from the lid of the egg carton. Take the bottom part and poke holes in each cell using the tip of a pen or pencil.

Those will be the drainage holes. Place the lid of the egg carton under the bottom part, nesting one under the other. Now you have your seedling tray.

2. Place small amounts of soil in each cell and plant the seeds making sure the seeds are lightly covered by soil (follow package directions)

3. Water each cell. Be mindful not to over water the seeds, a spray bottle comes in handy.

4. Use tooth picks and paper to make labels.

You can also use rocks or clothes pins to label the seeds.

5. Cover your tray with plastic wrap or a bag to create greenhouse conditions.

6. Place the tray by the window and watch your seeds grow! Keep soil watered and remove the plastic wrap when the first leaves appear.

7. When your plants have more than two leaves, separate each cell and plant it directly into the ground (or pot). The pulp that the egg carton is made of will decompose and become

compost

.

Doing this project is a great way to teach kids about the importance of planting and re-planting, recycling and composting. Explain to them why we should plant trees, how you are recycling the egg carton and how it becomes plant food. Let them have fun while you guide them.

Make a photo journal, they’ll enjoy comparing the growth of the plants and making observations later on.

 I know I did when I was little and now I pass the experience on to my kids.

Natasha K.

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Prong Setting Tutorial

Spring has arrived and with it comes the obligatory cleaning…sigh. Motivated by the warm weather, I decided to organize my workspace to make room for new projects. As I was cleaning, I stumbled across a pair of tiny white geodes. “These would be great earrings”, I thought to myself…and that, dear readers, was all it took for me to begin my latest project…all attempts to clean were swept aside in order to allow time to set these fair stones into prong settings:

This project assumes basic soldering knowledge as well as access to a soldering station.

What you’ll need:

  • A pair of stones of similar color, shape and size
  • 22g silver round wire cut into six (6) 20mm pieces*
  • Earring posts (without pads) & backs
  • Tiny drill bit or center punch
  • Ring clamp or vise

*The 20mm length is based on the geodes, which are 8mm x 10mm x 3.6mm high. Your length can be modified based on the size of your stones, keeping in mind that excess wire will be clipped off

Step 1: Making the setting

Each prong setting will use three pieces of the silver wire. Bend two into a U shape and place the bends facing one another. Place the third straight piece between the two U’s making sure they touch. Using hard solder, solder the pieces together.  Repeat this process with the remaining silver wire and pickle.

Step 2: Soldering the earring posts

Using a tiny drill bit or center punch, make a divot in the center of each piece where the three wires are soldered together. I lightly taper the soldering end of the post with a file so that it fits into the divot. Using a piece of soft solder, attach each earring post and pickle.

Step 3: Adding the stone

Place the earring post in a vise or a ring clamp. Gently push the prongs up, creating a basket shape large enough for your stone. Place your stone and gently bend one prong up at a time so that the prongs are vertical.

Before cutting the excess metal down, ensure you allow enough of the prong to bend over the stone to hold it in like a claw. Once the prongs are at the desired length, file the ends flat and push each prong over the stone, one at a time using a burnisher or other small steel tool. Hold the stone in place while you do this because it will move. Bending opposite prongs helps during this process.

Step 4: Finishing the prongs

To finish, use a grinding bur to flatten the bent prongs. I chose to oxidize these for contrast, but they are just as beautiful left un-oxidized. Tumble for a little shine or wear as is!

Rachael

www.etsy.com/shop/mezzestudios www.mezzedesigns.com

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DIY: April showers tees

“April showers bring May flowers” or so they say. Well, I say make April showers fun with a rain inspired D.I.Y project. The weather is slowly warming up and my kids are longing for those special hours of outside play. While the clouds resisted to cooperate, we spent some time creating these great t-shirts. Kids love getting crafty, so take your little ones, nieces, nephews or cousins (or just your inner child!) and gather your supplies!

You will need:

* A pre-washed t-shirt

* Freezer paper

* Acrylic paint in colors of your choice

Textile medium

* A foam or spouncer brush

* Exacto knife

* Cardboard

* Surface for mixing colors (I use the cover of a take out container)

* April Showers stencil

1. Make your stencil. Click on the link to get the April Showers stencil. Cut a piece of freezer paper to  fit the image's 8.5" x 11" size. Feed the piece of freezer paper through the printer manually as you print the image, making sure the artwork gets printed on the dull side of the paper. Carefully cut out the drops and cloud shapes with your exacto knife. You have made your stencil.

2. Iron the stencil onto your t-shirt. Place the stencil shiny-side down on the center of the t-shirt and press with your iron on the hottest setting. Do not use steam.

3. The part the kids love, mixing colors and printing! Mix 2 parts acrylic paint/ 1 part textile medium. Textile medium is great because you can use acrylic paints to paint, stamp or print on fabric without having to spend a big budget on textile inks and your project will be washable. Place the piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt, under the stencil, so that the paint doesn’t transfer to the back. Take your sponge brush and dab it on the cloud area. Make sure you cover the whole thing. If you’re letting kids do this part, let them have fun while guiding them.

4. Move on to printing the drops. Mix different colors and dab your sponge brush. For lighter colors, you may need two coats of paint. Let the first coat dry before doing the second one.

5. Let the paint dry for at least an hour or so. Gently remove the stencil off of the t-shirt. Your stencil can be re-used a few more times so don’t throw it away!

6. Heat set the design on the fabric. Using your iron in the hottest setting, iron over the printed area for 20-30 seconds. Do not use steam. Wear and enjoy!

My kids are very happy with the results and are proudly saying “I made this”. Now they’re thinking to make them as gifts for all their friends but I’m not so sure about that... Remember to supervise children while doing this project, only adults should do steps. 1. 2. and 6.

Have fun and please share pictures of your April showers tees!

Natasha K.

*on Etsy*

*on Facebook*