Hands at Home

Growing Pansies for Winter Cheer


The first time I heard of planting pansy seedlings in the fall, to winter over, I thought, "Say what?! How can they possibly withstand the cold?" After all, pansies have such delicate petals. Surely the frost would do them in?

Well, yes, and no. While frost may indeed wither individual blossoms, the amazing thing about pansies is, the hardy plants keep on making buds.

Gotta Love Garlic!


Garlic is wonderful, and part of the wonderfulness is, it's pretty easy to grow. The main difference from many other crops is, this is one to plant now, in the fall, and to winter over.

Fall planted garlic builds a strong root system, and when spring rolls around and the ground warms again, it kicks into a growth spurt, well ahead of spring planted cloves. (Still, if time got away from you, or your cloves arrived late, spring planted cloves will grow. You'll get a more modest crop, but even a modest crop of garlic is something good to have.)

Five Organic Gardening Must-Haves


For any gardener who still hasn't been convinced about the need to garden organically, here are some statistics that may help change your mind. In March of 2001, the American Cancer Society published a report linking the use of the herbicide glyphosate (commonly sold as Round-up) with a 27% increased likelihood of contracting Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Basics of Container Gardening


Anything can be grown in a container; there aren't many magical secrets to it. With the proper plant, soil, location and care, you can grow anything from trees to cacti in containers.

Containered plants can seem a tiny bit fussy. Not so. They just need the proper place and attention at critical times. If container gardening is new to you, here are a few simple starting tips.

Super Simple Tea Cosy Pattern Generator

Here it is, the Super Simple Tea Cosy! I've knit a few versions; this pattern is both easy to memorize, and easy to customize.

Scrapbooking Your Family's History


Are you buried beneath a mountain of family photographs? Is your kitchen bookshelf teeming with recipe books inherited from grandmothers, great aunts and other long-dead ancestors? Do your children beg for bedtime stories detailing Uncle Manny's adventures as a crop duster pilot or Great Grandma Sylvia's days as a suffragette?

Genealogical research and scrapbooking are tremendously popular pastimes. Combining the two creates a lasting, archival record of the past to which every member of the family may contribute and enjoy for generations.

Painting Pressboard Furniture


When my husband and I first married, the only furniture we had was three assemble-it-yourself TV stands, a desk, two dressers and a small bookshelf. Coming straight out of college with no funds to buy 'real' furniture, and yet wanting to set up a household that didn't look like a dorm room, I had to use my creativity to make do with what little we owned.

Making Books with Children


When my second son was in a hurry to start reading, we made a book. He was very proud of his first book, and would read it to anyone who would listen. It encouraged him to work on his reading skills and to continue writing stories. Making a book with your child is a pleasure and a learning opportunity.

Make an Herbal Hoop Sachet


For many centuries, herbs have been used in craft and decoration. Not only are herbs versatile, they are almost all very easy to grow in your own garden no matter how small or large. The majority of the herbs you will use in your crafts and decorations will be dried.

How to Start a Crafts Circle


Today, Wednesday, is Knitting Circle Day, one of the highlights of our week. Many of our friends come over. The moms work on projects and the children play. Our circle is a little community, without which our lives would be a lot less full.

We help each other out with projects, problems, life and its inconsistencies, and boss each others' kids around to the point that we all got invited to the eldest boy's bar mitzvah last year because he couldn't imagine the Knitting Circle Ladies not being there.


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