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If you like the look of handmade garden pots, but don’t have access to pottery wheels or kilns, this is the project for you. Hypertufa pots are a great DIY project to try during winter since it takes a few weeks for the pots to fully cure; just in time for Spring planting!
The word hypertufa comes from “hyper” (excessive) and “tufa” (volcanic rock); these pots look like “very rocky” cast stone vessels. The pots are lightweight and porous, a perfect home for many different types of plants. Succulents especially love hypertufa pots. Read ahead for a full how-to. Happy winter crafting!
example of finished pots. image via 33shadesofgreen.blogspot.com
The main ingredients are very simple and can be found at your local hardware store or large gardening store:
- peat moss
- Portland cement
Hunt in your recycling bin for clean food packaging or look for reusable plastic tubs/ buckets to use for molds. I found a few cardboard food containers that worked perfectly. For each pot, try to find two containers that nest inside each other, leaving ¾” to 1 ½” wall thickness between them. For one pot, I used a ½ gallon square cardboard milk container and a small half and half container. For the other two pots, I used a few standard ice cream cardboard containers in round ½ gallon and quart sizes.
You’ll want to have some basic tools on-hand:
- protective gloves
- dust mask
- a mixing tub or bucket (plastic works well)
- a trowel, cultivator or gardening fork (to stir the mix)
- cooking spray
- wire brush, microplane, rasp or similar hand tool (after the pots cure for a couple of days—to clean up the surfaces and edges)
What you do:
Spray a thick coat of cooking spray onto the inner/ outer surfaces of your molds.
Put on your dust mask and gloves. In a large tub or bucket, mix your dry ingredients: 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, 1 part Portland cement. I used two quarts of each.
Add water slowly and stir until the mixture becomes the consistency of cottage cheese. You may want to use your gloved-hands to mix it up thoroughly.
Put a base layer of mix about ½” to 1” deep in the bottom of your mold.
Place your smaller (nesting) container on top of this base layer, and begin filling in the wall thickness. Be sure to pack it in tightly to reduce air pockets. Tap on the sides of the container to help get rid of bubbles.
Repeat with all of your molds
Cover your pots with plastic bags and set aside for 24 hours.
After curing for 24 hours, carefully remove the inner molds.
Re-cover with plastic bags and set aside for another 24 hours.
After curing for a second 24 hour period, carefully remove or peel away the outer molds.
Re-cover with plastic and let sit for another 24 hours.
After curing for a third 24 hour period, the surfaces of your pots should be hard enough and ready to be finished.
Using a wire brush, microplane or rasp, smooth the top edges of your pots and any other imperfections that may have transferred from your molds.
Using a drill or a similar tool, create holes in the bottom of your pots for drainage.
Re-cover with plastic and let cure for a few weeks. Check on them in 3-6 weeks. At that point, the cement should have cured, and the pots will be a much lighter gray color.
Now your pots are ready for plants! (Bonus tip: moss or lichen will grow directly on your pot, if desired! Mix some moss, sugar and buttermilk in a blender, paint it onto the pot's surface, and watch it grow. More info on that technique here.)
example of finished pots. image via 33shadesofgreen.blogspot.com
There are a few things I’ll do differently next time I try this project.
First, I would change the ratio of ingredients: instead of equal parts, I’d reduce the amount of Portland cement (try 2 parts cement, 3 parts peat moss, 3 parts perlite). This would keep the pots strong and sturdy but lighter in weight.
Second, I would try using just one mold on the outside, with no nested container inside; I would pack the mixture along the bottom and up along the sides, since it’s fairly sticky and stays put if you pack it tightly. This would give me more freedom in the size/ shape of the vessel I choose to use as a mold, since I wouldn’t have to find a smaller one to nest perfectly inside. I would still try to use plastic or cardboard molds, if possible.
Finally, I would want to experiment with color. There are masonry stains that you can mix in, but I've read that it works best with white cement mix rather than the standard gray.
Hello everyone! Happy Friday! It is my pleasure to round up this week at Thursday's for you all! I have had kind of a crazy week myself, I have been interning at my old high school in order to get teaching experience. At first it was so strange to be back and it made me feel like I was a freshman again but now it feels totally natural to be back on the other side of things.
How has everyones quests to keep their new years resolutions going? I'm not going to lie I havent been great about getting to the gym this week, so my goal is to turn over a new leaf on monday and really kick things off right! I wish all of you good luck in keeping your new years resolutions!
Have a wonderful and delicious weekend!
This Week We Posted:
Wow I had no idea that makeup could expire, after reading this post I had to do some major make up buying after I realized that most of my stuff was expired!
I shared with you all a delicious pot roast recipe that I made for my family. It is so good everyone should try it plus it is perfect for a cold winter night!
Yummm, is about all I have to say when I look at the picture of Colleen's delicious looking potato soup. A must try this weekend!
Those cards that Steph created are so cute! I want to do this for my own christmas thank you cards! Thanks for the inspiration!
This Week They Posted:
Wow, these look amazing. I dont know how great these will be for my waistline but they look delicious!
So kale has become one of my favorite veggies, and I have always loved spinach and artichoke dip. I cannot wait to see what kale brings to this delicious party!
I used to knit when I was younger and I think I want to take it back up again! Martha Stewart has great guides to help you knit your best!
1. Give Back - I don't think that I would have ever had the strength and energy to conquer last year so successfully without my family and friends and this year I want to give back to them. I suppose we all go through a period where we just need to focus on getting one foot in front of the other until eventually we can look up and see a big, bright future. I'm excited to be feeling a whole lot more like me again and am truly looking forward to focusing on all of my relationships and simply being present.
2. Physical Challenge - I've been a runner for years now and I must admit in 2012 I got a bit lazy when it came to challenging myself. I stuck with the same routes and distances which kept me in shape, but certainly didn't push me to get even better. This year I've decided to sign up for more races to work on my speed and distance a bit. I've signed up for the NY Half and after running two when I was in college I'm setting a much faster goal for myself. Wish me luck!
3. Cook Something New - Good lord did I get into a boring cooking rut last year! This year, I'll be making at least one new recipe per week (which also means a lot of new recipes here!).
4. Photo Website - I've been lucky enough to get a nice even flow of work through word of mouth without having to update my website, but it's high time that I make this a priority. I have a bad habit of putting tasks like this on the back burner for months at a time, but this year I've decided to make this one of my top priorities.
5. Budget - It's funny, I've actually seen this on quite a few bloggers' sites for their resolutions. Perhaps it was the fiscal cliff giving us all anxiety, but it seems that we're all determined to make new budgets this year and really stick to them. I'm determined to cook more and eat out less, take fewer cabs, and really just get rid of some of my unnecessary spending.
To help kick off goal number one, I'm sharing these DIY Thank You Notes that I made for my family. I picked up my stamp from Paper Source, where I also miraculously stuck to goal number five. Have you popped into one of the stores? It's a little bit of a crafting and gifting heaven. It took all of my will power not to stock up on glitter, fancy paper cutters, and handmade paper.
DIY Thank You Cards
What you need:
- Plain greeting cards
- "Thank You" stamp
- Washi tape
- Patterned card stock
- Circle paper cutter
- Modge Podge glue
- Cheap paint brush (for glue)
What you do:
1. Many Thanks - Apply a generous amount of ink onto your stamp and simply follow along and let the ink run out. Repeat until you've accomplished your desired pattern. Note: This could be really beautiful using different colored inks too!
2. Circle Thank You's - Using your circle cutter, cut out multiple sizes of circles from the patterned card stock. Make sure the biggest circle fits your "Thank You" stamp. Stamp the largest circle and carefully glue onto greeting cards.
3. Thank You Post-it - Stamp onto card stock. Cut and attach to greeting card using washi tape.
If You Need Me, I'll be with my Potato Soup
by essie reilly
What you need:
- 10-12 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes
- 6-8 green onions, chopped
- 1 medium white onion, diced (you can use 1 1/2 onion if you don't have green onions)
- 4 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3 vegetable bouillion cubes
- 1 onion buillion cube
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp pepper (more or less to taste)
- 4 cups warm water
What you do:
Melt 1 tbsp butter in soup pot and sauté onions & celery until soft. Add four cups warm water and vegetable and onion bouillon cubes to soup pot and stir to dissolve. (If the bouillon cubes are unsalted, add 2 teaspoons of salt and increase amount incrementally to taste). Add pepper. Put potatoes into soup pot and boil until potatoes are soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Lower heat to medium low.
Remove half the soup and mix in a blender until you have a mashed potato broth (or use a potato masher in the soup pot). Don’t blend entirely— you want the broth to remain chunky. Add the mashed broth back to the soup pot and return to a boil. Add the cream. Spoon remaining butter on top of the soup and stir throughout once it has melted. Serve immediately or lower to simmer until serving. (Photo by Stephania Stanley).
Top with chives, sour cream, and or chopped bacon pieces. For a vitamin A boost, add chopped carrots when you add the potatoes to the soup pot. Make sure the carrots are chopped really tiny because they cook very slowly.
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Smashed Baby Potatoes With Green Harissa Sauce
Devour: 5 Ways to Cook Potatoes
Haute Apple Pie: Twice-Baked Southwestern Sweet Potatoes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Warm Potato Salad With Onion and Vinegar
Red or Green?: Spicy Baked Sweet Potatoes
And Love It Too: Sweet Potato Hasselback Potatoes
Virtually Homemade: Twice-Baked Potatoes With Cheddar and Caramelized Onions
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Crispy Potatoes With Baked Eggs and Pesto Yogurt
Cooking With Elise: Vavos Stewed Potatoes
The Heritage Cook: Potato and Sweet Potato Gratin With Bourbon-Laced Cream Sauce
The Cultural Dish: Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Thursday Night Dinner: If You Need Me, I'll Be With My Potato Soup
Feed Me Phoebe: Baked Sweet Potato Fries With Rosemary
Add a Pinch: Loaded Smashed Potatoes
From My Corner of Saratoga: Garlic and Herb Infused Cheesy Potatoes
FN Dish: Well-Loved Potato Sides
Hello everyone and happy new year! It seems like it has been forever since I have posted anything, and that is probably because it has. The end of my year got so busy with finals and christmas shopping. I was lucky enough to spend my christmas and new years in beautiful sunny florida. We flew jetblue down to florida and of course once on the plane I immediately flipped to the food network. The episode airing was Giada's Christmas with Raffi. Now I love Aunt Raffi because she is so sassy and I love watching Giada try to keep her cool! Anyway they made this davine looking Italian pot roast and polenta. My mom was seated the row above me and after the episode she turned around and told me that I had to make it for everyone!
So I made this for my family the day before Christmas Eve and let me tell you it was a hit! The beef cooks low and slow and has a beautiful texture that can only come from that type of cooking. The beef does become relatively salty due to the beef stock but the creamy polenta offsets it beautifully.
I suggest everyone try out this dish because it is not only delicious but also relatively simple! Everyone thought I had been working for hours when actually the oven did most of the work for me!
Happy New Year!
PS. what is your new years resolution? mine is to make sure I work out everyday and stick to my gluten free diet!!
Italian Pot Roast
By Giada De Laurentiis
Recipe for the Polenta (I recommends halving the recipe, I served 7 hungry people the full amount and we had about half left over)
What You Need:
- 1 5 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 (15 oz) can of beef broth
- 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then season the beef with salt and pepper. In a duch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, you want to get a nice caramelization! Set the beef aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the remaining oil and onions. Stir them frequently until tender, then add the garlic. De-glaze the pan with the wine and scrape all of those delicious brown bits of the bottom with a wooden spoon. Stir in the broth and the mushrooms bringing the liquid to a boil. Return the beef to the pot, cover it and transfer it to the oven.
Cook until the beef is fork tender, around 3-4 hours depending on your oven. Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Pour the vegetables and juices into a blender and puree until smooth. Add the rosemary and thyme. Bring to sauce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Then serve with the beef and enjoy!!
A Resolution to Ditch the Expired!
Happy New Year! A new year means a fresh new beginning, and what’s more promising than that? For the first time in a few years, I made a few resloutions. I guess nothing changes unless we decide to make the change. My first resolution is to simplify. Mainly to focus less on the things and more on the people in my life; to de-clutter- physically and emotionally. I had already been thinking about this resolution, but was sort of forced to start it this year. The night before Christmas Eve, I slipped on the ice and broke my right arm! In all honestly, you have no idea how much you use your dominant arm/hand until you can’t, use it that is. Since I broke it 2 weeks ago, so much of my normal routine has been forgotten. I can't really do my hair (which is horrifying for a hairstylist), I can only put makeup on with my left hand, no matter how cute my outfit is, it looks silly with my giant sling, and I have worn nothing but Uggs outside whilst reminding everyone to look out for hidden ice every 2 seconds. It has made me realize that you can only control so much, then you just have to roll with it.
In trying to simplify my life, I decided to simplify my makeup bag. I always think about getting rid of some of my old makeup; then I start to go through it and remember how expensive each item was. And maybe one day I’ll need that shimmery green eye shadow I bought 6 years ago (sadly, as I write that, all I can think is, “I do, I do really need that!”). But since my makeup regime is currently lip gloss, it's the perfect time to start tossing things. I did a lot of research to find out just how long we should keep all of our cosmetics. Turns out, it’s not an exact science. There are a lot of different opinions, so this is the average of the estimates. Remember that makeup isn't required to have an expiration date, so even though it doesn't have one, it still does expire and can harbor all kinds of bacteria! I was amazed at just how overdue my makeup was for an overhaul- seriously, a year for nail polish?? I think I still have the polish I wore to my senior prom. Seriously. Here goes…
Should it Stay or Should it Go?
Eye shadow- 2-3 years
Powder and blush- 2 yrs
Concealer and foundation- about 1 yr
Eye and lip pencils- 2 yrs- sharpen them regularly to clean
Lipstick/gloss- 2 yrs
Mascara 3 months- when it dries out it can contain bacteria and won’t go on or stay on as well. Also if you have an eye infection, throw it out.
Cleansers and creams- about 1 yr
Nail polish- 1 yr- look for separation, fading, and weird consistency
Clean brushes frequently with a gentle shampoo, replace shonges, sharpen your pencils to clean them, and throw away anything that dries out, changes color or smells weird.
Hair products sometimes have an expiration date stamp, but many don’t. The general rule is about 2 years once opened- about three if unopened. As with your cosmetics, if you’re unsure open it up, if it smells off or has a weird consistency, toss it.
Do you all make New Years Resolutions each year? Personally I've never partaken. I've always figured if I identified something about my lifestyle worth changing, why wait until Jan. 1st to do it? But this year I decided to give it a go... my resolution is to stop jumping to conclusions until I know all the details of the situation at hand (in other words, I copped out).
Seriously though, like everyone else, I too resolve to eat healthier. And yes, watching what you eat is an absolute nightmare over the holidays. BUT, it's a new year & I have the perfect recipe to help you stay on track with your resolution without compromising flavor.
This quinoa salad is a great side dish for salmon or chicken. It is chockfull of protein and healthy fats, plus it is gluten-free and can easily be made vegetarian and/or vegan.
Have a wonderful Thursday!!
Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad
Adapted from: The Diva Dish
What You Need:
- 2/3 C dry quinoa
- 1 1/3 C chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for a vegetarian option)
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- 1 C cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 2 avocados, diced
- 2 C spinach
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/4 C onion
- 2 small cloves garlic
For the dressing
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp honey (or agave nectar, for a vegan option)
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- Dash of salt & pepper
What You Do:
- Make quinoa according to box instructions, set aside to cool
- In a food processor, add the spinach & cilantro, set aside in a bowl
- Finely dice onion and garlic (in the food processor as well, if you'd like), stir into spinach and cilantro mixture
- Add tomatoes, avocado, and chickpeas to the green mixture, and then add the quinoa. Pop in the fridge for 10 minutes or more to allow the flavors to set before serving. Add salt & pepper to taste
I had the incredible luxury of having all last week off to savor all of the holiday-ness. I spent a lot of time with family, the husband and I got to meet up with friends we rarely get to see, and, to my great pleasure, I spent a lot of time reading. Oh, and sleeping. Lots of time sleeping. I feel so lucky when I am able to take a week or so off at the end of the year to re-energize myself for the new year. I'm feeling like 2013 is going to be a good one for a lot of the people I care about. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone accomplishes. So, all that said. I've been kind of lazy, so I'm going to show you some of my favorite photos of the last week. I personally love seeing photos of people's holidays because they always look so cozy and nice.
What are you most looking forward to in the new year? Any grand plans or events on the horizon?
Happy new year to each of you!
Happy Christmas Eve! Well after a car service, shuttle, taxi, three security check points, two planes, and one more car service, I finally made it back home to Indiana to celebrate Christmas with my family. Suffice it to say, I was one cranky mcgee by the time I reached my beloved Hoosier state. But now I am here, fully rested, and well stuffed from my mom's homemade blueberry pancakes and am ready to enjoy Christmas with my giant Greek family. My sisters and I have our Christmas movies cued up (I'm hoping to sneak in Home Alone, before Hillary can put on White Christmas), our wine poured, and our wrapping stations prepped. It's go-time at the Stanley-Dunn residence and I for one could not be happier.
Colleen and I will be taking the next week off and will be back January 2nd full of fresh ideas to take on the new year.
But before we take off, here are a few of our favorite holiday recipes and crafts to bring you a little Christmas cheer.
Merry Christmas and a very happy new year!
(my personal favorite!)
I am very excited to announce the winner of the Dirty Bandits' giveaway....
Congrats to Kathryn!!!!
Who said, "I "lol"ed at the "I'm a love pirate and I'm here for your booty" print! Super cute!"
Thanks to everyone who participated!!
Boys Like Thursdays Too
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Textile and Sewing Projects
Boys Like Thursdays Too
Our Favorite Things