November 17, 2009

Moss gathering and other projects...

I love moss, lichen and miniatures. It started with collecting some moss from my neighbor's yard (with her permission, of course).
Here is a plant that even I can't kill, right? Definition of moss and lichen here and here. It's one of those things they say is as old as dirt, evolutionary wise. So...I am thinking it can probably survive my feeble attempts at making it thrive (read: die). Anyhow, I am enamored of the miniature nature of these tiny, vertically growing, green lovelies. Terrariums here we come. A perfect excuse to felt more rocks, mushrooms and acorns for decoration. Throw in some little deer, bunny and gnome figurines and well, it's a party in a glass container. A trip to the dollar store, T.J. Maxx and the Home Depot and we were ready to make some terrariums. 

Materials, not so many really. Find a container, covered or not. I used a variety of them, covered glass, uncovered glass and ancient looking terracotta(T.J.'s) pots. Purchase rocks, (dollar store) charcoal bits, (home or pet store), and potting soil. The fun part is finding little items to add to your tiny forest. I had a myriad of those little figurines that come in the boxes of Red Rose tea. I even used a few cupcake decorations. Grape vine, twist in a covered container could look like a tree? I'll have to try that in my tall terrarium. Moss and lichen are found in damp, darkish spots in your yard. I found this site on Etsy, that sells a gallon bag of mixed mosses and lichens. It was very reasonable and there are enough plants for a small army of terrariums. Christmas gifts anyone?

Layer like this: 
rocks, about an inch or two
charcoal, a half inch (it will keep it sweet smelling)
potting soil
moss and lichen
decorative items

Water lightly, if covered it will stay moist and create a micro environment, misting at night and cool!
Keep out of direct sun and water lightly as needed to maintain a damp environment...not too much, though.

Oh, and if you decide to add a gnome, fairy or two, be sure to include some of these

Have you spotted the imposter yet? One of these terrariums is not like the others! Check out this link and the lovely embroidered
moss and lichen that Keyka Lou makes. I could not resist them. I think my faux moss looks wonderful next to the real thing. The only stitch you need to know is the french knot. I hope you will give one of these a try, they make terrific hostess gifts!

Natural Treasures Garland

When it was time to take down my "witches garland" after Halloween it looked a little bare. We had gotten use to having something 
seasonal hanging in the doorway to the family room. I had some beautiful hand tail spun wool and my own novelty spun wool and I came up with this idea.  A Natural Treasures Garland! I love how this turned out. It is delicate and subtle. More or less woodsy items can be added as desired. Here is a short tutorial if you'd like to make one yourself. You can do this before Thanksgiving, trust me it is quite easy!

Natural Treasures Garland


1 chunky home spun or purchased wool yarn (several yards)in an earth tone
1 novelty coordinating yarn (a few yards)
Size N crochet hook or larger (you could alternatively, knit (13 needles) a couple of long rows to span doorway)
2 small finish nails for top of casing in doorway
various natural treasures (the backyard was a "gold mine") I used:
pheasant feathers
cinnamon sticks
sedum blossoms
rose hips
chive seed heads
small pine cones
small cedar roses
acorn caps
dried seed pods
add whatever is in your backyard, even colorful leaves would be easy to include.

First I crocheted along chain of the tail spin yarn and double crocheted a second row. I strung it up on the same tiny nails from the previous garland and then added my novelty yarn to it, letting it drape a little below. Gather up your natural treasures and tuck them as you please into the little holes created with the crochet. A spot of hot glue may be needed here a there. I used the grapevine on top of the casing, tucking the ends around the tiny finish nails. It would look equally nice as part of the draping wool. You could use small ornament hooks to hang other items. I found it was easier to add things after the wool was hung, stepping back to check to the progress. Easy, right? I would love to see what you create! Have fun.

I am working on a Christmas version of this that is quite fun...I will post a how to when it is finished!