How To Make Seed Mats

Seed mats are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Instead of scattering seeds then thinning later, creating seed mats allows you to space out the seeds according to the suggested spacing on the back of the seed package or Square Foot Garden spacing recommendations.

Instead of scattering seeds then thinning later, creating seed mats allows you to space out the seeds according to the suggested spacing on the back of the seed package or Square Foot Garden spacing recommendations.

The inspiration for making seed mats came from Granny at Annie’s Kitchen Garden. I have used seed mats for sowing carrots, lettuce, and spinach with good results over the years. This year, I prepared seed mats for carrots, lettuce and succession plantings of spinach.

Seed mats or seed tapes are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Also a great project for a rainy day when you can’t get out to the garden.

Seed mats made with napkins work particularly well for the Square Foot Gardens because one napkin fits into one square. Even if you garden in rows, strips of napkins or even bathroom tissue can be used to make your seed tape.

How to Make the Seed Mats:

Seed mats or seed tapes are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Also a great project for a rainy day when you can’t get out to the garden.You’ll need:

12 x 12 inch cardboard square
Marker
Ruler
Thin napkins
Flour and enough water to make a paste
Toothpicks
Seeds
Tweezers

Make a Template:

Check the back of the seed package for the recommended seed spacing or refer to the Square Foot Garden’s guidelines. This example is for carrots which are 3-inches or 16 per square foot.

Measure 1.5 inches (half of 3) in from the upper left corner, then measure 3-inches across and mark along your cardboard. Do the same along the other edges and then draw your lines. Place a dot with your marker where the lines intersect. There are 3-inches between each dot.

Seed mats or seed tapes are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Also a great project for a rainy day when you can’t get out to the garden.

Make Your Seed Mat:

-Mix the flour and water together to make a paste. It should coat a toothpick without dripping off.
-Open up the napkin and layer it on your template.
-Using the dots as a guide, dab a drop of the paste onto the napkin with your toothpick.
-Use tweezers to place two seeds into each dab of paste.
-Write the name of the variety on each mat and allow it to dry completely.

Seed mats or seed tapes are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Also a great project for a rainy day when you can’t get out to the garden.

Once the seed mats are dry, they can be folded up and stored in a zipper bag until ready to plant.

Seed mats or seed tapes are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Also a great project for a rainy day when you can’t get out to the garden.

When planting time comes, it is easy to place the seed mats in the beds, cover with soil, and water.

Seed mats or seed tapes are helpful for planting tiny seeds, such as lettuce and carrots that are hard to sow one at a time. Also a great project for a rainy day when you can’t get out to the garden.

At first it seems like extra work to make the seeds mats compared to sowing the seeds directly in the garden. But having the seed mats prepared ahead of time to plant when the soil is ready will save some time. I find it easier to make seed mats at my leisure inside rather than hovering over a garden bed trying to space out tiny seeds evenly.

Granny says: “…it takes a lot less time to make the mats than it does to plant a row of seeds and then have to thin out half of them. And the wind doesn’t carry my seed away when I’m sitting in my kitchen!”

Source: growagoodlife.com/homemade-seed-mats/
Image: Same

Painted Play Mat Tutorial

My Inspiration: With a kitchen remodel nearly done, I’ve been looking for an accent rug for in front of the kitchen sink and stove area. I haven’t been able to find something I like but one I did spy several painted foam mats on Pinterest

and knew it was a project I wanted to try. I considered a chevron pattern and even a floral one, but since the kitchen is Mr. DIY’s domain, I finally decided on a design that he would enjoy. I also wanted to incorporate red and turquoise and stumbled across this poster from Zazzle…

My Painted Foam Playmat Tutorial

Materials I used:

2 sets of Edushape playmat tiles (with border)
Gorilla Tape (or duct tape)
Primer
Base paint color (I used leftover interior latex in eggshell finish)
Sharpie
Pencil
Glaze (dark gray/brown watered down paint)
Rockler TransTint dye (as another dark glaze)
Craft paints watered down to create glaze (Deco Art): dark and light turquoise, red and white
Minwax Polycrilic

1. I started by putting together the puzzle pieces and used the dining room table as a work space (use a drop cloth to protect furniture).

2. Next, I taped over the puzzle joints using Gorilla tape. This is the back side.

3. Flip and apply two coats of primer using a foam roller and allow to dry.

4. Roll on two coats of base color (I used gray), drying between coats.

5. Using a yardstick and Sharpie, I created even “planks” (approximately 5 1/2 inches apart). If looking at the mat in a “landscape” view, planks are vertical. I randomly spaced lines for ‘cuts’. I also scribbled in the ‘craters’ in the foam to mimic knots.

6. With a pencil and looking at the image I wanted to use, I drew a large lobster (correction: crawfish). No need to erase pencil marks where mistakes were made (this will be covered with ‘aging technique’). This was the hardest/scariest part – I’m not an artist!

7. With my acrylic craft paint, I traced my pencil marks, outlined then filled in my crawfish with red craft paint. and let it dry.

8. Next I used my dark glaze (watered down brown/gray paint) and working in “planked” sections, applied with a dry brush (dipping in glaze, then dabbing on paper towel/cardboard) and brushing long vertical strokes. In some places, I wiped or dabbed the glaze with a paper towel.

9. Using my Silhouette, I created vinyl stencils for the words “Try Our”, “Gumbo” and “New Orleans Style”. I applied the vinyl and rubbed down for a good seal. (If you don’t have a vinyl cutter, use letter stencils, freehand or shop Etsy for custom vinyl.)

10. Using turquoise, white and red craft paints, I painted in my stenciled words, let dry then removed vinyl.

Aging technique:

11. Next I used my TransTint dye and working in “planked” sections, applied with a dry brush (dipping in glaze, then dabbing on paper towel/cardboard) and brushing long vertical strokes. In some places, I wiped or dabbed the glaze with a paper towel.

12. Next I brushed on red, light and dark turquoise and repeated step 11.

13. Once that was dry, I went over a few spots with a white glaze (white craft paint + water) to create lighter and darker distressing, following with a paper towel to ‘pat’ or wipe. Let dry.

14. Last step was brushing on at least two coats of Polycrilic to protect it. The first coat went on vertical and the second horizontal. Allow to dry.

*All paints/glazes and Polycrilic dried super fast.

All done! Isn’t this super cute? We love it. It looks almost as good as the poster inspiration – like an aged, vintage restaurant sign. Fun!

Nice and cushy for the cook’s feet, easy to clean!

Don’t have a floor to paint? This is a great option! Looking for an affordable HUGE canvas for some DIY art? This works! In fact, this is too cute for a kitchen floor mat, so you’ll be seeing it moved somewhere else by summer!

Check out the whole article with images from the source link below.

Source: diyshowoff.com/2012/03/08/painted-play-mat-and-the-pinterest-challenge/
Image: Same

Tips On How To Capture Great Photos Of Your Cat

We all love sharing photos of our beloved furry friends on Facebook and Instagram. But getting the perfect shot can be tricky. Check out the following list to find out how you can capture professional quality cat photos without any fancy equipment!

1. KEEP YOUR CAT ENGAGED.
Think about the toys and household items your cat can’t resist and use them to your advantage! Does she love unraveling toilet paper rolls? Staring out the window? Exploring empty cardboard boxes? Invite her out to play and in no time you’ll be capturing some excellent action shots.

2. USE SIMPLE, COLORFUL STAGING.
Simple backgrounds make for the best pet photos because they let your subject shine! Blank walls, neutral furniture, solid-colored blankets and colorful rugs are all great options. If your surroundings aren’t ideal, consider hanging a sheet from the ceiling or draping a blanket over a chair to create a solid background.

3. TURN OFF THE FLASH.
Use natural light whenever possible. Doing so is the number one way to take your photos from dingy to professional. Aim to schedule your photo shoot for early morning or late afternoon when the sun is low — that way you’ll have soft, allover light which will prevent unsightly shadows.

4. ENLIST HELP.
The best photographers know that an assistant is essential. Your hands will be tied when you’re behind the camera, so consider keeping a family member or friend nearby with treats and toys at the ready. With an assistant by your side to help direct your cat’s attention, you’ll be much more likely to capture those adorable ears-up moments.

5. GET ON EYE LEVEL.
Avoid shooting your cat from above or below as this can create awkward angles and shadows. Your best bet is to get up close and on eye level. Think of it as an opportunity to get into your cat’s world and show things from her perspective.

6. MAKE YOUR CAT COMFORTABLE.
This one sounds obvious, but pet owners often try to force their pets into unnatural (though adorable) situations to get a great shot. Be patient and respect your subject — never force your cat to do something against her will. Trust us, your photos will be much better (and more authentic!) if you let her do her thing.

Source: blog.theanimalrescuesite.com/great-cat-photography-tips/6/
Image: publicdomainpictures.net

Perfect Kitchen Gifts

Equipping your kitchen is much like assembling your wardrobe. You can get a lot of bang for your buck by buying high-quality, versatile staples that will last you for years to come. Whether you’re gifting yourself upgraded kitchenware or looking for the perfect splurge-y gift for a loved one, these items show their value in their versatility, quality and long-lastingness.

Upgrade your slow cooker with KitchenAid’s versatile Multi-Cooker (pictured at top). Whereas regular slow cookers operate on the “dump and heat” methodology, the Multi-Cooker allows for more nuance with stages of cooking (sear, saute and more) at precise temperatures, while still saving you from hovering over a stove.

The classic, French-made Le Creuset Dutch Ovens come with a lifetime warranty, although we’ve heard that these sturdy and beautiful pots last for generations. Quality matters in terms of distributing heat evenly and having an easy to clean, chip-resistant interior. It’s so pretty it can go from stove to table.

Having a mandoline makes shaved fennel salad and potatoes au gratin attainable. The Swissmar Borner V Power Mandoline‘s three different blade attachments let you carve potatoes and sweet potatoes into perfect matchsticks for oven-baked fries, shred cabbage for coleslaw, cube carrots, and thinly slice potatoes for the perfect au gratin dish.

Reusable Silpat silicone baking mats are a great replacement for parchment paper. These heavy-duty mats are made in France and will last you for years!

This cushiony GelPro mat is a great addition to the cook’s kitchen. There’s an option to design your own mat, and, seeing as how they make you feel like you’re stepping on a cloud, they are worth the splurge. Cooking, washing dishes — make everything cozier with one of these bad boys.

A Vitamix is the ultimate blender; it perfectly blends smoothies (even if you’re adding fibrous stuff like kale and seeds!), and it can also be used to cook soups. It is the only blender you and your giftees will ever need.

Source: blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2015/12/13/kitchen-gifts-that-are-worth-the-splurge/
Image: Same