Posted by Lesley on November 23, 2010
At the risk of looking like a complete alcoholic, I wanted to post some pictures of my new garden border made entirely of recycled bottles, mostly wine and beer bottles but at least one vinegar bottle snuck in.
It’s a simple project. The most time-consuming aspect will be collecting the bottles. I almost made John walk the neighborhood with me on recycling night, but luckily I’m a full-blown hoarder when it comes to anything crafty. I get it from my mother…you do remember her marble obsession, right? For anyone who’s seen The Aviator, picture her as a crazed and female Howard Hughes except the bottles are filled with marbles instead of pee. Thanks, Mom – the insanity lives on in me. There’s a cabinet in my kitchen dedicated to any sort of glass bottle or jar that could be reused as a vase, storage, watering device, or now garden border. I had so many bottles stored that it only took me one book club to finish the row!
It’s best to remove all labels from the bottles. Otherwise the sun will fade them, and the rain will slowly peel them. My system is to soak the bottles in the sink with Mop N Glo. The labels are easy to peel, and then I mop the floors. It’s the perfect multi-task, and it really does save time and trouble. Water alone will work easily with some labels, but others are more stubborn. It took 15-minutes of scraping a label with my fingernail to try the Mop N Glo.
The idea for the garden border came from the Sarasota Children’s Garden, an adorably ecclectic little spot tucked into the corner of 10th Street and Orange Avenue. It’s one of those local treasures that not everyone knows about but should. This link will take you to a Google map: View Map The garden is a lesson in creative recycling. Beyond garden borders, recycled glass is worked into the sidewalks and structures. There’s a big cement fort embedded with bottles and other recycled trinkets. Old-fashioned claw bath tubs have been recycled into planters that overflow with flowers, and a mountain made of tires serves as a jungle gym. The tires are filled with mulch making it easy and safe for children to climb. I’ve been there twice now, each time for a little girl’s birthday party. They even have a room full of costumes for dress-up – adorable!
Posted by Lesley on June 25, 2010
Sorry to make you Wait. Let’s just pretend it’s Wednesday since my Wednesday felt more like a Monday and my Week felt more like a month, Which in my Weird World makes this post right on time. I’ve finally figured out the Wine Bottle Waterer. It can be made from 100% recycled materials – Wine bottles (or vodka bottles as recommended by vodkaandgroundbeef) and Wire hangers.
First, unscrew the top of the hanger.
Just hold the base of the hanger and pull the hook around. It unwraps in seconds. The hook, with a slight modification, will hold the neck of the bottle in place. Either squeeze with your hands or use plyers to tighten the hook around the neck of the bottle.
Then you need to wrap the body of the bottle. Follow the curve of the hanger. One corner of the hanger will meet up with the bottom of the bottle.
From here, you’ll wrap the wire back up to the top of the bottle and thread the wire underneath where the original hook is around the neck.
Again, follow the curve of the hanger. The opposite corner, pressed together, will form the stake. And after the stake forms, the two squiggly pieces of wire will meet up again. The wires will catch on each other at the squiggly parts; use the pliers to twist the end and secure in place.
That’s it, but here are a couple tips I learned along the way: Save your cork. It’s much easier to control the water flow by poking holes in the cork than by measuring out marbles. Although the marbles make a clear bottle look much prettier. The second tip is to buy Lucky Duck chardonnay. It only costs about $4 at Walmart, and when you flip the bottle upside down, the lucky duck turns right side up!
Posted by Lesley on May 28, 2010
Last night’s empty bottle of Malbec and my mother’s obsessive crafting have inspired me! The Irish sprinkler system, first discovered when my sister lived and blogged from Ireland for a year, has been upgraded again. This time with the help of two small items - glass marbles and wire from a hanging candle holder.
As I stood over the sink rinsing out the wine bottle, I started to channel my mother, the MacGyver of marbles. In the first year after discovering flat-backed marbles, she Gooped them onto everything within a ten-foot radius - mirrors, frames, hot plates, napkin holders, you name it, it’s now covered in marbles. Anyway, it dawned on me that marbles solved my earlier problem of making the plastic bottle look prettier; why couldn’t they solve this problem too? So I started shoving them down the bottle neck one by one and voila!
It may take a few tries to get the marbles positioned properly, so make sure to place the tip of your finger into the neck before flipping the bottle upside down. Then add or subtract marbles to get the drip right; my bottle is a little less than a quarter full. Positioning the marbles was easy; positioning the bottle got a little tricky. If you push the bottle into the soil, the soil clogs the neck. If you tilt the bottle on its side, you have to jiggle it every once in a while to keep the water flowing. Fortunately for me, I’m a bit of a craft hoarder and was able to pull the wire candle holder straight out of my cabinet. For those of you non-hoarders, a wire hanger would probably work. I’ll try it over the weekend and let you know. Whatever you choose, the point is to keep the bottle slightly elevated above the soil. I wedged the wire into the side of the pot to provide some stability.
Here’s the final product, and it works great! The Plumbago is now as perky as I am after a bottle of wine!
Posted by Lesley on May 25, 2010
My sister is living and blogging in Ireland for a year. Her blog is Family Hiatus, and she sent me this picture today:
The subject line of the email read: Irish Sprinkler System. It’s a great idea: a recycled water bottle turned into a mini soaker hose. All you have to do is poke tiny holes in a bottle. Pins work well; tacks are a little too big.
As clever as the idea is, it needs some American flair to lose the litter look. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of recycling in the garden:
It just has to be pretty and colorful, so here’s my American twist on the Irish sprinkler system:
The first step was to find a better bottle. Easy-there was a pomegranate tea in my fridge with a cute red heart in the logo and a mint green cap. But it still looked like trash lying around the garden, so I added a handful of red marbles to finish it off. Much better!
Posted by Lesley on January 22, 2010
$10 Publix flower bouquets are great; they last close to forever. But it is nice every once in a while to get a bouquet from a florist that has one more zero in the price. The flowers smell better, and each stem is always perfectly placed. This is the bouquet John brought home from Beneva Flowers – one of the best florists in Sarasota – on New Year’s Day.
The flowers are Gerber daisies and green Cymbidium orchids. Visually, they are a knockout match but endurance-wise – not so much. Orchids are long-lasting while Gerber daisies are quick to wilt. This was taken a week later.
There’s no reason to trash perfectly good and rather pricey flowers because their playmates are tired out. It was time to ditch the droopers and downsize.
Then there was the vase; I love the extra touch a florist adds. Of course, I could simply wrap leaves around the inside of a vase, but I never actually do.
The green filler still looked good too. It seemed a shame to dump them either, so instead I paired them with a thrifty $10 Publix bouquet.
Here’s the result:
Not bad, right? I finally had to throw everything out today. But after a 22-day stretch, I feel satisfied that John got his money’s worth.