Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Seedy Valentine

First of all, look what I got for Valentine’s Day! 

Yep, bragging. Sorry, I have to give my hubby credit. I got two books and a chocolate strawberry, too, but I ate that already!

So, off of bragging and on to blogging. What’s crazier than doing a craft project with three kids 10 and under? Doing one with twelve kids 10 and under! But, intrepid crafter (read crazy) that I am, that’s just what I did.

I am in charge of the Garden Club at the girls’ elementary school. Once a month I meet with a group of girls from kindergarten to fifth grade and we plant bulbs or vegetables or do a garden-related project.

This month, it was raining on Clubs day. It is tough to plant lettuce in rain and cold wind. I admit that I was a bit bummed out, since we were planning to pick and eat some of the broccoli that was finally ready out in the garden. I was also a little excited though, because it meant I would get to try a new twist on a project I have done before.

Once with my three here at the house and once with the oldest child’s third grade class, we have made homemade paper. We took scraps of recyclable paper, soaked them in water and blended them until a pulpy mix resulted. We then poured the mix over window screens and patted it around until we had rectangles. After the mix sat to dry overnight, and flattened down, we had unique, handmade note cards.

That alone sounds pretty ambitious, right? Well, hold on to your hat because it gets better.

Before the pulp had a chance to dry fully, we sprinkled flower seeds on top. Any seeds will work, but if you aren’t using dye-and-chemical-free paper, it’s best not to use herb or veggie seeds.

When our cards had fully dried, we had note cards embedded with seeds that could be written on and then planted by their recipients. Bonus!

Back to the rainy day and 12 Garden Club kids waiting to be wowed.

Clubs only last for about 40 minutes so the note card project was out. I have also made seed bombs before and thought about making those:

Same basic approach as the note cards but instead of finishing with a blender, you just soak shredded paper in water. This results in a chunkier mix. Grab a handful of pulp, squeeze the water out and roll into a ball. Let it dry a little bit and then roll in flower seeds like a truffle in cocoa powder.

After they sit overnight, you have little seed bombs. They are called bombs because you use them in guerrilla-like beautification warfare! Ugly, vacant lot nearby? Toss a few seed bombs in there and wait. They even foil razor-wire topped fences!

Well, as appealing as that project is to me, it probably was not as appropriate to be telling these kids to roam the mean streets of Highland Village, tossing seeds in people’s yards. I combed the Internet for alternatives and found one on one of my favorite blogs. MADE had a tutorial for heart-shaped seed planters made from paper pulp. Perfect since it is Valentine’s Day!

I shredded some paper in red, pink, cream and white and got it presoaking in big Ziploc bags.

Next, I tossed those bags, some colanders, bowls, paper towels and a ton of heart shaped cookie cutters in a bag, added some flower seeds and headed off to school.

We had been assigned a big table in the hallway for our impromptu indoor work. I strained all the pulp through colanders and placed each batch in a big bowl on the table.

I explained the project and started the girls off, breaking them into groups to make it go quickly. One group picked out seeds, one wrote their names on paper towels and one picked out what cookie cutter they wanted and got in line.

We have a pretty together group of girls in Garden Club. I have been very lucky there. They grouped up and got started. The group with the cookie cutters placed the cutter flat on the bottom of the colander, placed over a bowl. They then got to pick clumps of paper pulp in the colors they wanted and smash the clumps into the cookie cutter forms, mashing them well to push out the excess water.

Once they had the desired finished product, I helped remove the cookie cutter slowly and ease the heart out of the colander and onto paper towels. We set these aside to dry a few more minutes.

When all twelve had cycled through, we moved the hearts onto the paper towels with their names and they got to sprinkle the hearts with flower seeds. In the nick of time, too, since Club time was over. I gave them each a piece of candy and promised to get them their hearts once they dried.

The next school day I bagged up their hearts and delivered them to their teachers. I hope we see some beautiful flowers from this project. We are going to take the rest of the paper pulp and make seed bombs at home. I am definitely not above taking my own kids to go flower-up the ugly spots!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

1 comment:

Lizzeh said...

What a great idea and an awesome project for the kids! I love this, great job!

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