With Christmas coming up, it's fun to make your own gifts. A gift for someone you love is all the more special if it's made by you. Here are three garden craft projects to keep you busy in the holidays.
Mosaic garden art
A mosaic is a pattern or picture made by using small pieces of coloured tiles, stones, glass or even just coloured paper. People have been using mosaics for thousands of years to decorate walls, buildings and furniture. The earliest mosaics that we know about were made about 5000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq).
Make a pretty mosaic for your garden, or as a gift for someone special.
You will need:
A big stone with a nice flat surface.
Colourful glass marbles, pieces of broken tile, or old plates with pretty colours.
Mix 1 cup of cement with about 1/4 cup water to make a thick paste.
Spoon some onto the top of your stone.
Press the pieces of tile or marbles into the cement mix to make a pattern. Cover as much of the cement as you can.
Leave it to dry in a shady place for about a day.
Polish your mosaic masterpiece with a dry cloth.
Up-cycled gift trug
A trug is an old fashioned garden carrier, usually made from wood, that is useful for carrying plants, fruit and veges and flowers. This mini trug is easy to make from an ice cream container. Fill it with herbs, flowers or vege plants. You can grow them yourself from seed.
You will need:
Ice cream container
4 small pots, about 10cm diameter (we used peat pots)
Seeds or small seedlings
Seed raising mix
Paints (We used Resene Lumbersider testpots)
Marker pen, scissors and stapler.
If you want to grow your own herb plants from seed, get these started first. You can sow straight into little pots filled with seed raising mix.
Use the iceblock sticks to make labels.
Keep the pots in a sunny spot and water carefully to keep the potting mix damp.
Cut the ice cream container into a tray shape, as shown in the picture. Use a ruler and pen to draw the cutting line first.
Make a handle from the left over part (rim) of the container and staple it to the sides of the tray.
Paint your trug and leave it to dry overnight.
Hanging bird feeder
You will need
A 1 litre empty milk carton, washed.
String or thin wire.
A sticks for the perch.
Leaves, bark, flowers for decorating
Non toxic paint and brushes
Cut openings on opposite sides of the carton.
Staple the top back together, attaching the string or wire for hanging.
Paint and decorate your bird house. We used pieces of bark for the roof. Ice block sticks or thick leaves look good too.
For the perch, poke holes below the openings and push a stick through the holes.
Fill the bottom of the feeder with birdseed mix or sugar water (see below) to attract tuis.
Hang your feeder where you can easily see it, but away from windows where the reflection of trees in the glass may make a bird fly into it. And where a cat cannot pounce. When the birds feel quite safe they will fly over for a treat.
Make a sweet drink. Nectar seeking birds, tuis, bellbirds and waxeyes will love this when their usual nectar trees are not in flower. Dissolve half a cup of sugar in 500ml of warm water. When cool pour it into a container or bird feeder.