Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Easy 4th Of July Dessert Recipe: Patriotic Berry Trifle

This Patriotic Berry Trifle is perfect for your 4th of July picnic or party and is so quick and easy to make! It's created by layering pieces of torn angel food cake, strawberries, blueberries, and a cream cheese mixture (or you can use cool whip mixed with cream cheese, that works too!) 

The best part is that you don't even have to turn on your oven! Use a premade grocery store angel food cake to save time. 

Have a bit more time? Then a box mix angel food cake works great too! This recipe is quick and easy and the only thing you really need to plan ahead for is to make sure that it has at least one hour to sit in the fridge before serving (longer is better but one hour will do in a pinch.)

Here is the recipe:
  • Ingredients
  • 1 premade angel food cake 
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pound room temperature cream cheese 
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced

Heat 1/4 cup sugar, the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

Slice a premade angel food cake in half horizontally through the middle of the cake, creating two pieces. Brush both sides of each slice of cake with the syrup. Cut or tear the cake into 1-inch cubes.

Beat the remaining 2/3 cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Slowly add the cream and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and the consistency of whipped cream.

Arrange half of the cake cubes in the bottom of a 13-cup trifle dish or other similar dish. Sprinkle evenly with a layer of blueberries. Pour half of the cream mixture over the blueberries and spread gently. Top the cream with a layer of strawberries. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top of the strawberries, then top with more blueberries and add the remaining cream mixture. Finish with the remaining strawberries and blueberries, arranging them in a decorative pattern if desired. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

How To Make A 5 Minute Recycled Seed Starter

You can make your own seed starter in just five minutes with a few basic materials that you probably already have on hand at home. 

These seed starters act like mini greenhouses, creating just the right environment to help sprout your seeds into little seedlings and help them grow into little plants that you can later transfer to your garden or into plant pots.

This project only takes five minutes! 

For this project you will need:
  • Recycled plastic clamshell containers that are see-through, such as those that you buy fresh fruit in. I love to use the ones that my strawberries come in because they are a nice size and they have some holes in them so that air can circulate. 
  • A few sheets of old newspaper
  • Water
  • Peat moss
  • Potting soil or garden soil
  • Seeds

Use insert-sized newspaper, or cut full sized sheets down to be just a bit larger than the plastic containers you will be using.

These plastic clamshell containers work perfectly. The lid is attached and folds over. The lid can then be snapped into the base to keep the container closed. 

 Step 1: Wet your newspaper by running it under your water spigot.

 Step 2: Place the wet newspaper into the bottom of your plastic container and then use your fingers to press the newspaper down so that it takes the shape of your container and makes a nice, fitted liner. It is possible to line the container with dry newspaper, but wetting the paper makes the paper more pliable, allowing it to be shaped exactly to the contours of the container. 

Step 3: Add one or two handfuls of peat moss to the bottom of your container on top of the newspaper liner. Add enough to cover the bottom of your container and so that it is 1 to 2 inches deep.

Step 4: Now cover the peat with one to two handfuls of potting soil or garden soil, adding another one to two inches of soil on top of the peat.

 Step 5: Gather your seeds and decide what you are going to plant. Read the directions on your seed packets. There you will find information for how deep the seeds need to be planted.

Step 6: Now you are ready to plant! I just use my finger to poke holes for my seeds, add the seeds, and then lightly cover them with soil. 

Step 7: Use a spray bottle to lightly water your seeds. Close the lid and place in a sunny window or outside in warm weather away from birds and chipmunks.

That's all there is to it! Happy planting!

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Wine About Your Garden: How To Use Recycled Bottles In Your Garden Decor

Do you like to wine about your garden? I do!

Why not add a unique and unusual touch to your garden by using wine bottles as a garden border? You can easily create your own recycled wine bottle garden edging, all you need is a little bit of time and work. 

Recycled wine bottles can really add a touch of charm to your garden. Where to get them? Collect them from friends and family, and ask your favorite restaurants for their castoffs and in no time at all you'll be on your way to a one of a kind, unique garden! 

Feeling even more inspired? Then consider using recycled wine bottles in more a sculptural form in your garden. Read on and be inspired...

Brighten up your garden with colorful cobalt blue bottles. These bottles have only the bottle necks buried, and their bright color creates quite an impact against the grass and greenery.

Helpful Hint: 
To prevent water from collecting on the "top" of the buried bottles (in the divot that is on the bottoms of the bottles that will be facing up once buried,) use a drill and diamond bit to drill a small hole (about 1/4") in the center of each of the bottle's divots before burying the wine bottles. This will allow the water to drip through the wine bottle instead of collecting in the divot, which could create a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  

Here a mix of green and blue bottles are used, some planted deeply, others just the necks. 

Leaving the wine bottle labels on the bottles adds interest and creates more of a "winy" look.

Use different color bottles to create contrast when creating a wine bottle garden pattern, as in the ambitious project! Here, the bottle necks are only planted and the areas in the butterfly's wings are filled with garden soil, hence creating a raised wine bottle garden!

In this photo, wine bottle garden borders are created to separate different garden areas.

Another beautiful example of an ambitious raised garden bed project created with upcycled wine bottles - these are all green!

A sculptural wine bottle planter

How To:
To create a wine bottle garden edging or wine bottle path, simply dig a trench with a garden shovel and then "plant" your bottles upside down, filling the areas around the bottles with dirt. Some people use sand or sand with dirt to create a garden path with recycled wine bottles but be advised: a wine-bottle-bottom walking path can be slippery when wet and land you on your own bottom!  

Wine bottle garden border completely buried and cemented in concrete

Raised wine bottle garden border

Succulent garden with wine bottle garden border.

Taking things to a new level!

What do you think?

Looking for more recycled wine bottle ideas?
Then you will also like:

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Friendship Bracelets As Textile Arts: Maturing A Childhood Trend

Multicolored bracelet array

I'm super happy to share with you a guest blog post today from my daughter Erica, who is an amazing weaver! She is also a member of the class of 2020, and with her school year cut short, has gotten in a lot of practice making her beautiful woven bracelets.

I grew up spending time with my cousin, Andrea. Being a few years older than me, she would always be the one who was up on trends first, either from the big kids at school or summer camp. 

I was about 8 years old when she taught me how to make friendship bracelets in my grandmother’s sunny living room.

Simple twisted and green variegated "carpet" bracelets

Bright Aztec-inspired bracelet

Andrea showed me over and over again how to make a forward knot with embroidery thread, the most basic building block for a bracelet. From there, I mastered what we called a “carpet” bracelet. Soon enough, I amassed a collection of rainbow threads to knot with for the duration of that special summer.

Double arrowhead with natural color palette

Now at 18, I’ve taken up this craft again, finding now more than ever how meditative and rewarding knotting friendship bracelets is. Working through a pattern to create a beautiful and unique textile clears the mind and helps you relax like no other creative hobby.

You can create an endless variety of color combinations and different patterns

Like many of you, my town had been under stay at home orders for over three months during the Covid-19 pandemic. I spent this time building my repertoire of bracelets and opening my own small business through Instagram.

I'm glad to have used this tough and uncertain time to channel my energy and put something beautiful into this world!

Pastel sunset chevron

Weaving friendship bracelets is a hobby that transcends childhood. As I spent more and more time knotting these bracelets, I found new and complex patterns that could challenge me and take my skills to the next level. The simple knots can be expanded from forming bracelets to bookmarks, or even more ambitious projects like belts, guitar straps, necklaces, or even wall hangings.

My favorite bracelets!

It is never too late to create friendship bracelets! I’d suggest that a beginner should purchase a plastic box for storing string, paper or plastic bobbins to wind the sting onto, and multicolored embroidery thread. 

The great thing about handwoven bracelets is that they are accessible. Even the most beginner-level knotter can create a fantastic, wearable piece and personalize their projects.

One-of-a-kind key chains

Hogwarts house inspired bracelets

All of the bracelets shown are available for purchase through my Instagram shop rickweaves.

Looking for a special custom bracelet with you own favorite colors? Message me @rickweaves and I'll make a special one just for you! Come and see all of the other styles and patterns I have to offer! ~ Erica

What do you think?

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Upcycled Garden Volume 14: Using Recycled & Salvaged Materials In Your Garden

Old spring frame with discs of stained glass and wine glasses

Hi friends! It's already June and I'm late with my Upcycled Garden blog post! Here it is! 

It's obvious that with Covid19 so many people have picking up new hobbies and the skills that go along with them while they learn how to make all different types of DIY projects, crafts, and home improvement projects. I think that's great! Especially when I see more people embracing the use of recycled and salvaged materials. 

Whether you are a new reader to my blog or a returning fan, this is my 9th year of doing my Upcycled Garden blog posts (wow time flies!) and with each one I chose some of my very favorite Upcycled Garden inspiration. I hope you enjoy this collection and be sure to check back for more. 

Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know which is your favorite, and I want to know, what have you been working on lately?

Recycled wine bottles create a garden fountain

Create a container pond in an old tin tub

Use bricks to elevate plants inside the tub

Metal garden art birds nest. Photo by Karl Gercens

Fill a sparse area with something bright and unexpected, like this section of fence and half-basket.

Handy with woodworking? Create a handcarved wooden bird bath from a log.

Recycled can windchimes decoupaged by Jeanne Hildrew

Use a vintage table to create a stylish lettuce table like this one by Tara at Savvy Gardening

A painted & distressed old door is always a great way to add color to a garden. Here a wimple wreath was formed using tin kitchen molds.

Create a herb dryer like this one by Stephanie S using frames, chain, and window mesh screening

Old wine corks, acorn caps and bits of copper are transformed into these cute little wine cork birdhouses that are perfect for fairy gardens or as  plant pics. (above and below) From Simon's Grandaughter

Use old galvanized buckets as planters. Drill a hole at the bottom of each bucket and thread a metal rod through each to get this look.

Bird's nests by Gail Hyde from Metalsome

Rusty metal barbed wire and moss garden art from Lottes Vita

Wrap and old ladder in chicken wire to create a charming trellis for your garden.

Create a stone throne to rule your garden by

Multitask with a canopied clothesline turned-hammock

Sweet & simple handmade bird feeder for your garden

Teacup and saucer bird feeders

What do you think?

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.
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