Self-Watering Recycled Bottle Planters

Self-Watering Recycled Bottle Planters

Remove the label from the bottle. Remove Label_desperategardener 005

Poke Holes Near Neck_desperategardener 014

Carefully poke or cut holes into the bottle, near the neck, to help water seep into the soil.  A soldering iron, awl, knife or scissors can be used.  (Note to parents: This step should be completed by adults or older children.)

Bottle Neck Almost Touching_desperategardener 013

Carefully cut the bottle in half.  If using scissors, it helps to pinch the bottle slightly to allow the scissors to grip the plastic.  Trim the base down until the mouth of the bottle nearly touches the bottom, when inverted inside the base of the bottle. (Note to parents: This step should be completed by adults or older children.)

Paper Towel_or_Coffee Filter_desperategardener 015

Place a piece of paper towel to cover the hole in the bottle, or use a coffee filter to line the bottle opening – both methods help keep the soil from escaping.

Fill Base_Add Soil_desperategardener 017 DesperateGardenerCredit17163900166

Add water to the base, add soil to the top, plant desired seeds, and place the top into the base.  You’re ready to grow!

There are many variations of this project on the interwebs!  Many thanks to for the photos you see here!


Crochet is in the Genes

There is history in my family with fiber arts – sewing, stitching, latching, knitting, hooking.  My mom’s family immigrated to the U.S., settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and made quiet history as most people do.  Part of the family eventually moved to the West coast and settled, and all of us West coasters have come around to crochet, one way or another.  My grandmother crocheted a bit, but was more into cross-stitch and latch hook.  But my mom crochets.  My sister crochets.  We  have cousins who crochet.  Now I crochet.  Even my young niece crochets!  It somehow became ‘hooked’ into our DNA.

I re-taught myself how to crochet a few years back, thanks to a beginner’s granny square kit gifted to me one winter.  I’m not prolific, and I wouldn’t even consider myself in the league of those with the mad skillz, but I have a couple projects I’m proud of, nonetheless.  One such early project is the monster bag.  I morphed a pattern for a (was it Lion Brand?) monster pillow into a bag, complete with shoulder strap.  Only two were ever made.  This was so difficult for me, crocheting in rounds, keeping track of where one row ends and the next begins, identifying the stitches and where to poke the hook….  I was such a tight stitcher, I even broke the tip of my acrylic hook!


As it turns out, most newbies to the craft crochet tight.  You need to learn to relax and have fun with it.  If your hobby is difficult and frustrating, re-approach it from a different perspective, give it some time, then give it another go.

I’ve also tried out amigurumi in the form of a fulled, or more commonly called felted, gabu.  Little roundy stuffed creatures, with eyes and antennae.  Super cute.  The fulling/felting process was unique, where the results were better with the most rough handling of the wool – hot water, soap and a lot of friction.  On the other hand, some endeavors have been a real struggle – like I once tried several versions of an iPod case.  I never got it quite right, but my friend graciously accepted my gift and even tried using it for a while.

Most recently, I’ve been wanting to try out crochet overlay, which is really intricate and tiny and complicated – but that’s yet a bit out of my league.  What I have been developing are necklaces, bracelets and anklets that incorporate beads, and sometimes pendants, using crochet thread.

Crochet is just a really great way to get yourself into a different mindset, get your brain working in creative and technical patterns.  And you can make some really neat and useful stuff.  Oh, but there’s so much neat stuff you can make, the projects can really pile up.  In fact, I still owe my son a beanie I offered to make him last year.  I use a pattern from one of my favorite crochet books by Debbie Stoller.

Her pattern offers a guy-friendly beanie that is simple, stripey and fun.  Good stuff….