Private Screening

As you may have seen from previous posts (like when our toilet exploded), life here at Elizabeth is more often than not fraught with peril.  And now, with two small boys and a wee dog running around, the grown-ups here have to be extra vigilant.

And of course, being boys, they like to get themselves into trouble.  One of their favourite things to do is attempt to climb under the back porch, which is full of rubble and sharp bits of re-bar and all sorts of nasty things.   Once they’re under there, it’s a job getting them back out.

As a solution, I am going to staple a plastic screen around the whole thing.  Subtle and yet effective.  I found a roll of plastic chicken wire at Canadian Tire for $11.

If I have any left, I’m going to go around the railings as well.  Both Gren and IP have a disturbing tendency to hang off the edge.  I hope the screen will act as a deterrent.  And I found some extra in the shed the other day.  BONUS.

So here I go.  I only used two tools here: a staple gun (with staples, of course), and a sharp knife for cutting through the screen.  You could even use scissors on this stuff.

Our staple gun isn’t particularly powerful, and my hands are quite small, so I had to grip the gun near the top and therefore didn’t get as much stapling *oomph* as I wanted.  There are certain drawbacks to being a woman with tiny hands.

Basically I just tried to get the screen as tight as possible and then stapled the crap out of it, leaving no space for small fingers (or noses) to get in.

Even under the steps, where I folded the screen in half to fit.

Now, this is only plastic chicken wire, which isn’t very strong.  It’s more of a mental deterrent than a real physical barrier. In an attempt to make it stronger than it was, I kept it all as one long piece for as much as I could, and, of course, stapled the crap out of it.

I did the top as well, hiding the raw edges on the outside where il Principe couldn’t see them.  Of course the first thing he did when he came out was stick his fingers through the holes and try to push his brother’s stroller through one of the panels.  The screen works better in deterring Gren from wreaking havoc.

I did run out, and there is a hole about two feet wide next to the steps, but we can just put a large potted plant there.

We might end up ripping it out (the top stuff at least) and using real metal chicken wire, just because when il Principe is determined about something, he’s really determined.

Newspaper Plant Pots

I have a baby spider plant here for S that I am trying very hard not to kill.

I am also trying to root a cutting of my parlor palm for Kª.  I’m dubious about this, because apparently it’s impossible the way that I am doing it.

Anyway, today I decided that the day had come to introduce them to the earth for the first time.

I don’t have any spare small pots lying around so I surfed the internet for a while on making pots out of paper. These are biodegradable, of course, and can be planted right into the soil outside if that’s what you’re into.  Just make sure if that’s what you’re planning you use a newspaper with soy-based ink.  Because the newspaper is porous, you can put lots of seedlings close together and they will absorb each other’s water.

I found two versions that I liked.  One is the origami version and the other is the jar method.  Both need one half of a full broadsheet of newspaper (as in, not the whole square piece but the half-piece that is the individual page you turn).  Fortunately newspapers tear easily along this fold so you don’t even need scissors for this project.

Origami Method

Fold your paper in half vertically so that the two short edges match up and crease.

Fold it in half again, this time horizontally.

Aaand again, this time vertically.

Take one of the (now square) flaps of paper and turn it out into an upside-down isosceles triangle.  Flatten and crease the edges.

Flip it over.

Do it to the other side.

Now ‘turn the page’ of your new upside-down triangle to the left.

Flip it over and do the same to the other side.

Take the edge of the top flap of your triangle and fold it to meet the centre crease.  Grab the opposite edge and do the same.

Fold those edges in towards the centre one more time.

Make sure to crease your folds good and sharp.

Flip your paper and do that whole rigmarole to the other side as well.

Take the little bit of paper hanging over the top of your folds (the length of it will depend on the size of the newspaper sheet you used) and fold it down over your folds to hold them in. 

Mine were super short, so I actually used a single staple to hold things in place. 

I figured, what’s one staple to the thousands of nails and screws buried in my garden?

Now open out your box and flatten out the bottom.

Fill it up with soil or just admire your handiwork.

Jar Method

This is less complicated but less sturdy.

Fold your newspaper sheet in half, bisecting the short end.

Take yourself a jar, a can, or a glass and place it at the edge of the paper.  There should be enough paper sticking out from the bottom of the jar to fold up and cover the bottom of the jar.

Roll up the paper around the jar.

This works best on jars or cans or glasses that have a depression in the bottom.

Fold the bottom of the paper to the bottom of the jar and use the jar to squish it down.

Pull out the jar.  This version is not freestanding so you need to fill it immediately with soil to keep it steady.

Two pots.  Two minutes.