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4 botanical themed projects to get you ready for spring

Published March 13, 2016, by Stina Axelson

Has the cold weather kept you indoors all winter and all you want is sun and green foliage?

If you live in Scandinavia like us, then there are still a few months before the trees will blossom and it’s still too cold to have a lazy picnic in the park. To replenish those energy levels, we have gathered a few creative project ideas with a botanical theme to get you ready for spring. If you’re short on space and time, here are 5 simple ways to flex your green fingers without breaking the bank.

1. Add plants and greenery to your home

Plants and greenery are great for decoration and they can also help with everything from cleaner air to noise control. Because they release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, plants can help to purify the air in your home. They are also excellent for reducing stress and can contribute to a variety of health benefits. One fun way to decorate with plants is choosing what containers you put them in.

Using plants as part of a room’s overall design can give you new ways to incorporate plants into your home. Plants add life to a room, give it movement and texture, and make the room feel very natural. Strategically placed plants in a home or office can actually help to reduce noise as well and will make your home a quieter and more peaceful place.

2. Host a plant swap

The best plants aren’t always from your local garden center; instead, they might be from a friend or a family member. Some plants might even have a story of being generations old dating back from your grandma’s childhood.

To save money, and at the same time have a nice day with your friends, invite them over for a plant swap. Many common houseplants root easily from cuttings, giving you full-grown plants in half the time it takes to start from seed.

Make sure to give at least 3 to 4 weeks notice so they have plenty of time to plan and prepare. Ask attendees to share special stories about the plants they brought and provide snacks or a light meal to add to the mood. Your guests will leave with new plants and new memories to grow in their garden.

3. Visit a botanical garden

Plan a visit to a green oasis in your city – relax and enjoy botanical variety and diversity. Flowers are full of color, depth, and texture, which make them a perfect subject for artists and photographers. Transform yourself into Georgia O’ Keeffe for the day and immerse yourself in the lush colors, shapes, and textures that you will find in the garden. Once you are in the mood and feeling creative grab your camera and sketchbook. Here are a few exercises to get you going:

  • Capture the essence of the plant by depicting it from all different angles.
  • Work on your composition and framing of the subject.
  • Study the “The golden ratio” and incorporate it into your art.
  • Create a series of images by choosing a color or pattern scheme.

4. Make your own dye using plants

Making your own dye is one of those practical skills that will impress your fashionista friends. It is possible to find a spectrum of colors in the garden (or at the supermarket for that matter) and anyone who can make a pot of tea can dye a piece of fabric. It is easiest to start with wool, so you should leave cotton for later. Begin with something that weighs about 100g, like a hank of wool. Heavier items, such as a jumper, may require an impracticably large saucepan.

Here’s an easy project that even the least crafty person can do using onion skins. Consider this your base recipe. As you continue on your dyeing adventure, you’ll have to adjust the amount of water and mordant to suit the material used, but the basic steps are the same. Metallic agents called mordants are needed by some fibers to help the dye adhere. Alum and

iron are the two mordants considered safest by many natural dyers. (Keep equipment used in dyeing separate from that used in cooking.)

You will need

  • 100g wool yarn
  • 1 teaspoon alum
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 100g red or yellow onion skins

To make the dye solution

Put the onion skins in a pot with water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. Strain. Now you can add your fabric to be dyed. For a stronger shade, allow the material to soak in the dye overnight.

Getting the fabric ready for the dye bath

You will have to soak the fabric in a color fixative before the dye process. This will make the color set in the fabric.

Colour Fixatives

  • Salt Fixative (for berry dyes) 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups cold water
  • Plant Fixatives (for plant dyes) 4 parts cold water to 1-part vinegar

Add fabric to the fixative and simmer for an hour. Rinse the material and squeeze out excess. Rinse in cool water until water runs clear.

Dye Bath

Place wet fabric in dye bath. Simmer together until desired color is obtained. The color of the fabric will be lighter when it’s dry. Also, note that all dyed fabric should be laundered in cold water and separately.

We hope that these ideas have inspired you to do some green projects to kick-start spring. If you have any additional project ideas to share with us, we would love to hear about them! Don’t hesitate to comment below, or send us pictures so we can showcase your work across our platforms.

Love, Stina

Stina Axelson

Stina Axelson

Always making and creating and fun to hang out with. She finds it hard to follow instructions and keeps a box of treasured papers.