Looking back on the best of Garden Therapy in 2018. Sharing the big and small changes as well as the news and highlights. Read on to see the most popular articles from the year.
Last January, my husband predicted this was going to be a year of big changes.
He was right. Sort of.
Big changes were REALIZED this year, but they came from many years of groundwork being laid. They came in with less of a bang and more Shade Sails & Nets of the sweet melody of a songbird that fills up the background and puts a smile on your face.
I kicked off the year with a brand new adventure, the , a series of that are available exclusively through GardenTrends. I worked with GardenTrends to develop each kit to bring a DIY garden to life with specially selected seed varieties, supplies, growing instructions, and a few fun extras in each one. From the Indoor Herb kit that grows right on your window in Livi Pots to the Ornamental Edibles kit that comes with the innovative Roo harvesting apron, each collection included everything you needed to bring Garden Therapy home.
I had so much fun growing each of the eight themed gardens but I think my very favorite thing was connecting with other gardeners and seeing how their gardens grew.
- You can see each of the .
- Tour the hosted by a collection of inspiring women who love plants as much as me!
- And if you are in the US, you can and see what we have in store for 2019.
In case growing eight gardens wasn?t enough, I also wrote two new books this year. The first one came out in the summer and it?s all about making your own plant-based beauty products and packaging them up for gifts. was such a joy to write (um, dream job!) and I just love all the photos and emails I have been getting showing off the super-easy-to-make-yet-stunning projects from the book.
- Check out the that Kelly from My Soulful Home and her daughter Lara made.
- You?ll be in stitches when you see Erin?s reaction at the end of her video making .
At the end of the year, I took my love of blabbing on about how easy AND worthwhile it is to make natural beauty products and focused it into an online course. The Botanical Beauty Holiday Gifts Workshop was created so we could craft up bath salts, tub teas, lotion bars and bath bombs together while having some laughs and making homemade gifts we can all feel really good about.
The Workshop has now closed for the year but I had such a great time working with the students and LOVED seeing the beautiful things they created. I know I will be launching another series again soon!
This year, above all else, has been marked by a feeling of gratitude. Throughout the years that I was disabled, I found that being thankful for what I had served me more than feeling down about what I had lost. I know that is not true for everyone, and we all deal with change, loss, and grief differently. No judgement here, just love. But for me, as I regained my health, I was bursting at the seems with love for all of the people who touched my life in small ways.
Throughout the year, I tried to find a way to make small, ongoing gestures of kindness in hopes that they might make a difference as well. You may have noticed this weaved throughout my blogs, social media, newsletters and . Planting seeds of kindness by donating, volunteering, and encouraging is at the very top of my list of things to grow more of in 2019.
10 Best of Garden Therapy 2018
Along with all of those projects, I published 175 new posts on the blog this year! Wow. It?s always blows me away a bit when I count them. Even more exciting is to see what posts YOU liked the most. So here they are: the 10 Garden Therapy blog posts that YOU liked best this year.
And the #1 most popular post was?
That?s a wrap!
Wow, looking back on the year I?m amazed by how much Garden Therapy has grown into a community. I?m grateful for the hundreds of emails, comments, and notes on social media I get and I try to respond to each one.
As you can imagine, I have plenty more brewing for 2019. If you have ideas, questions, or comments that you would like to share, please do leave them here for the community to see. I look forward to growing with you in 2019.
Take a Trip Back in Time?
Want to see my wrap up posts for previous years? Here you go!
I hand stamped these cocktail napkins with an evergreen tree as they were intended as Christmas gifts. I found a great set of beautiful white 100% cotton cocktail napkins with a nice detail around the edge. They were simple and neutral but needed just a little something extra. The evergreen stamp is part of a stamp set that I borrowed, and this tree was just the right size. They turned out so pretty?simple but elegant?and I thought they would be just the right thing to serve alongside tapas and cocktails.
These hand-stamped fabric napkins are great for a dinner party, but they are so easy and inexpensive that you could use them every day. I personally like to use cloth napkins at every meal. Even with a messy kids at the table. Well, especially with messy kits at the table. I need a new napkin each time we sit down at the table and they get used. Hard.
Which is actually a really good thing. The more you wash good quality fabric napkins, the softer they get. They even seem to become more absorbent. I?m not sure what the science is behind that last one but I?m always reaching for my older napkins first, for every day use.
As I said, I intended to give them away to friends and family, but I brought them to a craft fair over the weekend and they sold out almost right away. I suppose I?m not the only one who thought they would be a great gift!
I?m glad that I took a few photos of the process first so I can share the DIY instructions.
- Cotton napkins
- Plastic lid or paint palette
- Roller brush
- Scrap fabric
- Rubber stamp (like , , or even )
- Iron and ironing board
- Press cloth
Start by washing, drying, and ironing the napkins to ensure that any chemical finishes that are added to the fabric are removed before stamping. Chemicals are often used in finishing to give fabric a wrinkle-free look and to prevent mildew.
Pour a small amount of paint on the plastic lid or paint palette. For this project I used a shimmery green-gold that feels very festive, but there are many color options. The key is to use paint made for fabric, not a regular craft paint. This will ensure that the print is permanent once it is heat-set.
NOTE: If you are using a light-colored fabric, then choose either dark-colored transparent or opaque paints. A light-colored transparent paint will not show up well on a light fabric, but opaque will cover any color. If you are using dark-colored fabric, then it is best to choose opaque paints because even the light-colored transparent will not show up well.
Use the roller paint brush to absorb the paint, then roll it onto the stamp. Test the stamp on a scrap piece of fabric until you get the feel for how much paint to use to get a clean but complete stamped design. When you have the confidence to stamp the real thing, unfold your napkin and stamp away!
Set aside to dry and finish stamping the rest of the set.
Once they are dry, the fabric paint needs to be heat-set with an iron to ensure that it won?t wash away. Set the iron to the highest setting allowable for the fabric and turn off the steam. Iron the backside of the stamped area for 3-4 minutes. Use a press cloth to protect your ironing board.
I know, I know, ironing each one for 3-4 minutes seems like torture! So set up in front of the TV and put on a good movie. It will be worth it in the end (promise!) as your personalized napkins will last through many a meal.
Now here is a case of a moment on the lips means NOTHING on the hips! A completely calorie-free indulgence that?s lip-smacking good, and, hey, it smells great too: candy cane lip balm. This is one holiday treat that you?ll be pulling out all year round.
Now this would make a great stocking stuffer wouldn?t it?
Here is the recipe:
Makes 12 tubes
Ingredients & Equipment
- 4 tbsp
- 4 tsp
- 1 tsp
- 16 drops
- 10 drops
- Double boiler
- Small spatula or metal spoon
Melt the oil and waxes in the double boiler. Remove from heat, add essential oils, and stir well.
Line up lip balm tubes on a level surface and carefully pour the melted oil and wax into each tube, filling only halfway (if you pour it all at once you may get a hole in the top of your lip balm once it cools).
It really helps if you have a double boiler where the top pot has a pour spout. If not, you can transfer the hot liquid into a measuring cup with a spout for easier pouring. Once the half-full lip balm has set, top up the rest of the tube. If you still get an uneven top when the balm has cooled completely, you can use a heat gun or lighter to level it out. Just be sure not to melt the tube!
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