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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Permaculture Garden Beds Created From Salvaged Scraps! on: April 22, 2010 07:25:33 PM
I live at Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia, an intentional community and farm where we are practicing permaculture design. If you've never heard of this concept, follow http://www.permacultureactivist.net/intro/PcIntro.htm and prepare to be amazed and inspired. My husband and I both received our permaculture design certificates in February and we were anxious to get to work on some new projects.

This spring we were ready to start installing more garden beds in our yard, and rather than buying edging and pavers, we looked around for free materials on our very own property. Here is some of what we came up with.


Since our farm is also an intentional community, we had lots of help from nearly 100 spring break visitors over the course of a few weeks busting up old concrete slabs and moving dirt from place to place. Hauling wheelbarrow loads of dirt and moving these huge hunks of concrete, called "urbanite" by permaculturists, is no small task!

This one is a giant keyhole bed, so named because of the small entry into a large and versatile planting space:


Everything we planted here is either edible, attracts beneficial insects, or is useful as mulch or animal feed. Plants in both large beds include: apple, pear and fig trees; blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, strawberries, cranberries; mesclun salad mix, cabbages, collard greens, kale, lettuce, violets (did you know you can eat violet flowers and leaves?); comfrey, rosemary, lavender, poppies, and various flowering ground covers.

Close-ups of the comfrey in bloom and the mesclun mix seedlings:




We also decided to use glass bottles to finish off the ends of some existing beds. I simply dug a trench, then pounded the bottles in with a rubber mallet and filled in around them with soil. You can make all sorts of curved edges and shapes, plus they're pretty in the sunlight, they're free, and of course it's always better to reuse something than to send it away for recycling:


We moved the rabbit hutch, constructed entirely out of salvaged materials and scrap wood, right into a central part of the garden so we could feed weeds to the bunnies and make good use of their fertilizer:



Happy, well-fed bunnies!

And, finally, last year we tore the walls off of a rotting, unusable shed that is just a few yards from our back door and turned it into a greenhouse. It's now home to hundreds of sprouting seeds, soon to be yummy veggies and sweet-smelling herbs:


Thanks for looking, feedback and comments welcome! I'd especially love to meet any fellow craftster permies!
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / "Love is..." Triptych collage on: January 09, 2010 08:30:57 PM
I posted this in recon paper crafts because I have rules for myself about collage...I always use second-hand materials. I aim for items that are free, but thrifted things and used books are ok too. I like it when the parts had a life somewhere else before they make up a new piece.

I made this for a friend of mine who is bipolar and is currently struggling with depression. I'm hoping it will give her encouragement, or at least make her smile on a dreary day. The larger words come from a really cheesy poem based on 1 Corinthians 13. The teeny words are the text of that verse from a pocket-sized Gideon Bible that my kids ripped the cover off of, so now I use it in lots of my collages. The frames were thrifted, and the pictures come from a used book about caring for exotic goldfish.









The words are hard to read in Craftster's photo uploader, so if you want to see more detail there are larger photos on my blog http://dreamsintodeeds.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/love-is/. It's not a very crafty blog...yet. Most of the posts are about the intentional community I live in. I hope to add some of my other collage and sculpture projects soon, both there and here.

Thanks for looking!
3  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Stashbuster Afghan *first post* on: January 04, 2009 08:20:16 PM
I like to knit.  And I don't like to spend a lot of money on yarn.  So I pick up random yarns at thrift stores, and a while ago I started buying big, ugly sweaters so that I could salvage the lovely fibers in them.  It brings me a great sense of satisfaction to rip out the stitches in a horribly designed, huge sweater and give the yarn a higher purpose than haunting a rack at the local Salvation Army for decades to come.

So I had piles and piles of salvaged yarn sitting around, and lots of single skeins of varying colors, fibers and weights.  I live in a fairly small space with two little girls and a packrat husband, so it was well past time to clear out my stash.  I researched patterns online, and wanted to try something random, but not too random, similar to the idea behind the magpie scarf posted on craftster by aliastriona_angerboda.  I decided to use two strands of yarn held together on a long size 15 circular needle, with a "pattern" that allowed for enough randomness in colors while maintaining uniformity throughout the piece.  I used certain yarns at regular intervals, while grabbing others blindly out of a bag, with the rule that I couldn't use any of the random yarns more than three times in a row.  I wanted the afghan to be reversible so I did a very large basket weave stitch (27 stitches x 24 rows for each block) with a garter stitch border around the whole thing.  Since I hate weaving in ends, I just left the ends of each row about 6 inches long and then tied them into a lovely irregular fringe that didn't need to be trimmed.

I started this project just after my second daughter was born.  She turns two in a little over a week, and I just finished it a couple of days ago, to be sent home as a Christmas gift with my mother-in-law.  I call it the Stashbuster because it used up a helluva lot of yarn.  And it's super warm too!

So, without further ado, here are the pics...
(my walls are yellow and green, and I didn't use a flash, so the colors are a little bit warmer than in real life)


I love the way the "random" yarn choices still create distinct paths of color.


Detail of the basket weave squares.


Close-up of one of the squares.


Did I mention it's long?


Happy (and warm) mother-in-law, catalog shopping for seeds under her new afghan!

Thanks for looking!
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