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Terrarium + Cocktail

This week I had so much fun when I went to a terrarium making class at Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals in Fitzrovia, London (https://www.mr-foggs.com/house-of-botanicals/). The class was hosted by Darren and Adam from the Botanical Boys (https://botanicalboys.com/). I was a bit early so I got an opportunity to talk to them before the class started. You could tell that they are both really passionate about plants and caring for them. Darren is one of the founders of the company and one of his main aims in doing so is to bring people back to nature and encourage them to protect the environment. Adam is an extremely creative person who likes to dabble in craft just like me, but when he realised that he had a passion for plants he got in touch with a Botanical Boys and eventually went to work for them.

We started the class off with Darren giving us a talk about the best way to care for indoor plants and some handy hints and tips about why our plants might not be looking their best or responding how we thought they should our ministrations. He said he hoped by the end of the class we would all feel like we could throw off the self-proclaimed ‘plant killer’ title!

After this we began to build our terrariums. Adam took us through how to add each layer to ensure proper drainage and encourage the jar to be self-sustaining, although it does still need watering occasionally. Luckily there is a helpful care guide on their website for clueless people like me! Once we had added all our drainage layers in and then the soil we could choose our plants. Adam showed us how to remove them from their pots and carefully release the roots so the plants were separated and then how to plant them inside our jars. Even though the class was quite large he still managed to give each of us individual attention and made sure we were planting correctly. Once we had finished that we then added some small rocks.

Darren then gave us some instructions on how to care for our new terrariums as well as directing us to the website. Then it was up to us to get our terrariums home upright and in one piece!

I booked the workshop through Obby (https://obby.co.uk/). It cost £45 and included all the materials plus a cocktail! There were twelve people in the class and it took place in one of the private dining rooms inside the bar. The only negatives I found were based on the venue. The space was a little tight for so many people and because it was in the evening the noise level from the bar was really high and sometimes I found I really had to concentrate to make sure I heard what Adam and Darren were saying.

The Botanical Boys have several locations where they sell their terrariums and host workshops including London, Birmingham and Norwich, but they were really excited to be opening a new store in King’s Cross. It opened last week, the day after the workshop, and I wish them the best of luck with it and hope I can get up there to visit soon.

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‘Painted Ladies’ MakeBox

When I started this blog celebrating creativity one of the things I wanted to do was subscribe to a monthly craft box that gets delivered to your door, bringing a new project each month. I started researching which ones were out there and found out that there are loads! I narrowed it down to a few I liked the look of and checked out their Instagram and website to have a look at past boxes. In the end I decided to go with MakeBox+Co (https://www.makebox.co/), so each month I’ll be reviewing what’s in their box.

I received my first box a couple of weeks ago and was very excited to open it up and get started. MakeBox+Co share the content of their boxes on social media and their website before it gets sent out, so if you are looking for a surprise this is probably not the box for you. The theme of the June box was ‘Painted Ladies’. The idea was to make three flower pots out of plaster of Paris, paint faces on them and then use them to grow succulents using the seeds provided. There was also a mini project to create a flower ring.

Inside the box was:

• Plaster of Paris
• Paper cups
• Mixing pot
• Flower pots
• Clear round stickers
• Two types of glue
• Paintbrushes
• Practice sheet
• Stirrer
• Sandpaper
• Acrylic paints
• Mosaic tiles
• Ring base
• Succulent seeds

The instructions were clear and each stage of the project was well laid out with good photographs. MakeBox+Co also provide helpful videos on their website and YouTube demonstrating some of the trickier parts.

This is not a quick project you can finish in a couple of hours, it’s a nice big project that actually took me several days to complete. Each step required drying time for the plaster to set or the paint or glue to dry, but I quite liked coming back to it and working on it a little bit each day. It was nice to see it progressing. The drying times varied between half an hour to an hour and a half, however my things took a lot longer to dry than that. Perhaps because I was working on them down in my studio, which is a bit damp, but if you had a nice warm place to dry your pots then you probably could complete this project in a day.

The box costs £19.99 (plus shipping) a month and renews automatically each month unless you stop it. There are also ‘prepay’ options where you can choose to pay upfront for three, six or twelve months, which includes a discount compared to the monthly rate. You can also order past boxes if you see one you missed that you like the look of.

The thing I like most about the monthly subscription box is that it brings something new to try each month. These pots are not something I would have thought to make by myself, but I really enjoyed doing it and that’s the idea behind my journey; to be creative everyday, but also keep learning and trying new things.

I’m looking forward to receiving July’s ‘Over the Rainbow’ kit!