Earth Day Digging in the Dirt
Don't you just love the smell of Spring . . . the sweet scents of the never-ending variety of blooms - lilac, honeysuckle, hyacinth, lily of the valley, tulips, daffodils, lupine, sweet violet, clematis, roses, apple and cherry blossoms, to name a few - and the earthy smell we often associate with rainfall? There are actually words for that smell - Geosmin, which literally translates to "earth smell" and is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma, is responsible for the earthy taste of beets and a contributor to the strong scent (Petrichor) that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather or when soil is disturbed. Who knew?
For more beautiful images like the one above, check out NixBlog. He says he's only an amateur photographer! You be the judge!
As for my personal Earth Day project, I went into recycle/reuse mode. Since my move out to the country just outside Nashville six years ago, I have had some unfinished outdoor plans I'm been itching to complete. We recently had our annual Nashville Herb Society sale at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds and I was anxious to get some of new herbs planted. With so much shade on the property, I had an experiment in mind for my over-sized front deck, which required portable planters to find the sunniest areas.
To get motivated, I decided to start small and tackle some older terracotta-colored planters that had seen better days. Scrub, prime, prime, paint, paint, PLANT! That's all there was to it!
Planter placement on front deck. This deck is about 30 X 18 feet. I also have two back decks, each 44 X 20 feet. The jury is still out on whether they will get enough sun. (Click image for larger view.) And, yes - my deck needs staining! Want to volunteer? :) I'll show you the furniture on the other side of this shot when I get them recovered!
These are just a few of my plants. Most of mine are in the ground, but I wanted to have some easily accessible for my kitchen witchery brews.
What did you do on Earth Day? Are you a gardener and if so, what type of plants do you grow? Feel free to share your ideas, plans and tips and you are welcome to share this blog post!
Easy Peasy Handmade Paper
Handmade paper on a skin care site? Why not? It's a wonderful craft, like natural and organic skincare, that screams green!
Ancient Egyptians invented the first substance like the paper we know today called Papyrus. Papyrus scrolls were made by taking slices of the inner part of the papyrus stem, flattening then pounded into a hard, thin sheet. The word "paper" comes from the word "papyrus". The Paper that we know today was invented by Ts'ai Lun in A.D. 105, It is believed that he mixed hemp, mulberry bark, and rags with water, mashed it into a pulp, pressed out the liquid and hung it to dry in the sun. Paper was born and this humble mixture would set off one of mankind's greatest communication revolutions.
Today there is a revival in homemade papermaking crafts. Not only is it a fun experience for you and the kids, but also it's a good way to recycle waste into wonderful possibilities.
Below you will find a simple papermaking recipe to get you started. If this is the first time you are making paper, don't be afraid to experiment with different fibers, you don't have to stick with paper related products. Add whole flower heads to the pulp mixture after it has been through the blender. You can add scraps of yarn, tin foil, even seeds. Its all comes down to what you want. Experiment with different textures and colors after all Ts'ai Lun did! Remember, some of your ideas will turn out while others may not. Have fun with it; express your creativity.
You will need:
paper – newspaper, junk mail, wrapping paper, egg cartons, old cards, paper bags, pre-soaked non-wax boxes, tissue paper, napkins, construction paper
plastic basin or tub
picture frame without the glass (deckle)
staples or tacks
felt, fleece, pellon, cotton material or old t-shirts
work table or counter
1. Stretch the screen around one of the frames and staple in place like a canvas.
2. Tear paper into small pieces, enough to fill the blender 1/3 full.
3. Place the torn paper into the blender.
4. Fill the blender with water and secure cover to the blender.
5. Turn the blender on and pulverize the paper until you get a nice consistency, about 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
6. Pour the contents of the blender into the tub or dishpan.
You may add bit of herbs, flowers, pine needles, grass, glitter, etc. to the blend mixture or you may add it after it’s been blended.
Repeat 2-6 until you fill the tub 1/2 full.
1. On a table or counter, place some scrap cardboard (or something so your work area will not get wet).
2. Place the felt (or other material) on the table.
3. Now hold the frame so the screen is on the bottom.
4. Take the frame and place it on the edge of the tub, dip it in, keeping the frame towards the bottom of the tub, and level it out.
5. Slowly pull the frame up. There should be a lot of pulp on the frame.
6. Hold it over the tub and let it drain for about 30 seconds.
7. Carefully take the frame over to the table or counter with the felt on it.
8. Flip the frame over, with the pulp facing down towards the felt.
9. With the frame on the felt, press gently and use your sponge to soak up the extra water.
10. When most of the excess water is removed, slowly lift up the frame. The pulp (now wet paper) should stay on the felt.
At the point, you can let the paper air dry, which can take a day or two. When they have dried peel them off the fabric and voila, you have paper! Or to speed up the process, you can iron it between a paper napkin. When it has turned a shade or two lighter, it’s done.
Here are a couple videos that give instructions. The sky is the limit! Have fun!
Paper Alice Paper Studio
Welcome! I'm Stephanie (Jo to close friends), founder of EdenSong. Aside from my university studies, I have a natural passion for all things organic. I enjoy living and learning about natural ways, all things health related, cooking, gardening with herbs and flowers, photography, DIYing, yoga, bicycling, ballet, traveling and being with family and friends. A quirk of mine is my near obsession of Asian culture, particularly Korean history and its language. Would you like to know more? Find out about us.
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