I had Shane pull the tree out of the garage attic last night and I spent the morning fluffing it so I could decorate it with some of the ornaments I made this week. Last week I made mini letterboard ornaments but this week I am sharing one of my favorite mediums to work with…resin! I have two versions of snowflake resin ornaments for you This is a fun DIY projects that your kids could help you with. You could also come up with your own versions! I’ll walk you through the steps and give you my tips for working with resin, including my secret weapon to ensure you don’t get bubbles!
This post is sponsored by Wagner Spray Tech but all ideas and opinions are 100% my own!
Clear Cast Resin Ornaments With Snowflakes
White Resin Snowflake Ornaments
Supplies for Snowflake Resin Ornaments
The resin will come in two bottles. Measure equal parts into a container and mix well. If you do not mix long enough, the resin will not set up. Don’t ask me how I know :/
Once the resin has been mixed thoroughly, you can pour the resin into the molds.
Add the snowflake confetti to the clear resin ornaments. They will sink slightly.
Use the Wagner HT400 Heat Gun to get rid of any bubbles that formed while mixing. This is my secret weapon to getting super clear resin projects. It is so fun to watch them pop!
TIP: I opted to do two thin layers so the snowflakes were at different depths. To do this, add a thin layer (1/8″-1/4″) and add a snowflake or two. Wait for at least 6 hours (so the first layer has hardened) and then add another thin layer of resin with more snowflakes. The clear resin takes 24 hours to dry enough to remove from molds.
The white resin sets up much faster than the clear resin. I mixed up small batches (enough to do three at a time) to prevent it from starting to harden before it was poured.
Once the snowflake resin ornaments have completely cured and are hard, you can drill small holes in the tops.
The clear resin ornaments almost look like they have been etched. I love the look! And even though it was hard to photograph them to show the different depths of the flakes, I am really happy with how they look in person.
In the past I have used the snowflake molds to make white chocolate snowflakes and I love that these look almost good enough to eat 🙂
Speaking of using heat guns to make ornaments, several years ago I made these icicles. They are easier than you might think! And they won’t shatter and break if they fall. Even better 🙂
Do you have a tradition of making ornaments? What are some of your favorite kinds?
Wagner is offering to giveaway one of their HT400 Heat Guns! They are perfect for your holiday crafting. You can use them to shrink wrap gift baskets as well.
You must be at least 18 years old to enter. You must be a resident of the USA to enter. The giveaway will go from November 21, 2019 until November 28, 2019. A winner will be chosen by random.org and will be notified by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen. The shipping of the prize is the responsibility of the company, in this case, HomeRight.
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If there is a “most polarizing species” when it comes to garden-worthy plant selections, Natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) might be it. Some gardeners love it and some feel precisely the opposite about it. It shows lush green foliage throughout the year, fragrant white flowers in spring and summer, as well as deep red, edible fruit in fall and winter. A bonus is its drought tolerance. Once it has been growing for a year or two, it may as well be a cactus for all the water it requires. And it does not need fertilizer either.
Yet some gardeners find natal plum to be annoying, if not positively standoffish. The first issue is its two-pronged thorns, highly irregular among thorny plants. You may want to get close but the thorns convey a message of “No, I want to be left alone.” These thorns are actually an asset, however, should you be thinking in terms of property protection since Natal plum may grow up to 12 feet tall, making a row of them serve admirably as a living security fence. Some people may not be aware than there are compact, dwarf, and creeping Natal plum cultivars that are highly ornamental, require only occasional, if any pruning, hide their thorns rather well, and do a great job of deterring neighborhood pets from encroaching on your garden space.
Creeping Natal plum photo by Joshua Siskin
The other knock against Natal plum is its white latex sap. Some people find it problematic because it’s prone to send out long shoots in all directions that beg to be pruned, but you would be advised to do your snipping in a dilapidated long-sleeved shirt and gloves. The sap is mildly dermatitc for some people and it will also stain your clothes. There is also an objection that consumption of the fruit is accompanied by some latex sap ingestion, but the same is true of eating figs, that are similarly flecked with latex, so there is nothing to worry about here, as long as the fruit is ripe.
Natal plum is named for the region in South Africa that it calls home. Its scientific name, Carissa, has nothing to do with the girl’s name but is instead the Sanskrit word for a related species that is native to India.
The taste of the fruit is sour-sweet and has been compared to that of a cranberry. Like a fig, you can eat the entire fruit, skin and seeds included. Should you wish to germinate the seeds, you can do so easily enough. Placed in a well-drained soil mix at a depth which, like most seeds, should be no deeper than the length of the seed, they should germinate in two to four weeks.
Aside from their extremely minimal water requirement, natal plum bears a resemblance to cactus in another way, which involves the formation of callus. In the case of people, a callus is what forms on your feet or hands from constant friction. In the case of plants, callus is healing tissue that forms on cut surfaces. Callus is most familiarly seen after a large tree limb is pruned or broken off. The thick raised growth that occurs on the margins of the cut surface is callus tissue. Do not slather pruning seal on such cuts since it will inhibit callus growth.
If you detach a cactus pad, or a stem from virtually any succulent plant, and lay it on its side, callus will form at the base of the pad or stem, usually within a week, at which point it can be safely inserted into perlite or cactus soil mix or, in the case of fast-draining garden soil, directly into the ground. I say “safely” because callus has anti-fungal properties that protect young cuttings from rotting before they root. I know that many succulents, and geraniums, too, root just fine when their stems are simply broken off and stuck directly into the garden, but for some of the more sensitive succulents, and for geraniums as well, waiting for callus to form on detached stems before inserting them in the ground is a wise measure.
Still, as an extra precaution, you do not want the soil to be overly moist until your callused stems take root. That’s why November is favorable for rooting the detached stems of many succulents and semi-succulent perennials, such as Mexican sage (Salvia leucantha), directly in the ground. Because of shorter and cooler days, watering becomes an afterthought as the soil stays sufficiently moist for cuttings to root, and you will not have to soak the soil – which could invite fungus — since scorching hot days, at this time of year, are uncommon.
If you cut a Natal plum shoot halfway through and let it dangle, still attached to the mother plant, the dangling stem will form callus at its base within two months. When this happens, detach the shoot and insert in into fast-draining soil mix in a container, making sure it is protected from hot sun, and it will root within a month.
Tip of the Week: Richie Locasso, who gardens in Hemet, had seen his pomegranate tree decline to where its blossoms would fall to the ground and no fruit were produced. This year, in the spring, he decided to pollinate by hand and now has a sizeable crop. “Most of the fruit is on the outer lower periphery of the branches,” he wrote, “areas to which I had greatest access and most frequently worked on when I pollinated using a small artist’s paintbrush. The tree was covered with blossoms and I estimate that maybe only 10-15% produced fruit. During pollination, trees received a deep watering about once a week.” Here I must add that, in commercial orchards, 5-10% of apple blossoms set fruit, 2% of flowers on lemon trees set fruit, only 1% of avocado flowers set fruit and less than 10% of the flowers on most pomegranate trees set fruit so that by hand-pollinating you are definitely ahead of the game.
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The lacebark elm met Old Man Winter’s confrontation head-on and won and is now showing out in the Chattahoochee Valley area of West Georgia. While record cold took its toll by freezing leaves to the tree, these small elms are decorating neighborhoods with a soft, orange and yellow glow.
The lacebark elm is known botanically as Ulmus parvifolia and is from China and Korea. This foreign beauty is resistant to Dutch elm disease that wreaked havoc on our native American elm. It is also resistant to Japanese beetles that have become a recent scourge in our area. To be honest, this is one of the most problem-free trees for the landscape. It is also a manageable size that over time can reach 50 feet tall and as wide.
As the leaves fall, they create a yellow carpet that is worthy of capturing a shot with the camera. This year, for whatever reason, the bark which always catches my eye is even more beautiful. Perhaps the bone-chilling, 22 degrees had an influence. More than likely it is just me rediscovering the incredible beauty that can make a fall and winter landscape seem so beautiful.
The bark is where it stands apart from the hybrid red maples. While it’s called lacebark which is most appropriate, it would also make the perfect pattern for a camouflage outfit. The bark exfoliates revealing shades of orange, brown, gray, and olive green. Not too many trees can match this one in color and design.
At the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah Ga., where it got its start as a USDA Plant Introduction Station, there was an old specimen that had stood the test of time and was like a living monument to a great and wonderful era of plant exploration. Those in West Georgia are young relatively speaking and in their prime.
After a dozen years, they are about 20 feet tall and 18 feet wide offering a perfect size for the urban environment. In the summer, their leaves are dark green and handsome leading up the fall fling. Some trials report that the color on this species is better in the south, but, certainly, this is not a deterrent in its colder zone 5 or protected zone 4 regions.
In the south, Drake is among the most popular varieties as it is considered semi-evergreen. Northern gardeners instead, choose Emerald Isle and Emerald Vase in addition to a new release called Burgundy. The Bosque variety with its straight central-leader would be excellent for parks, street-side, and shopping centers.
Once you select the variety for your region choose a site with plenty of sun. The soil should be fertile and well-drained. They are not picky about soil pH which is great for everyone. Even though they are quick to acclimate dig your planting hole two-to-three times as wide as the root ball. This allows for the quickest root-expansion into the adjacent soil. The lacebark is considered a fast grower for a quality tree. Normally fast-growing is in connection with inferior, short-lived trees.
The winter reveals whether or not we planned for form and structure in our gardens and the use of bark is important. If we choose the right trees like the lacebark elm, we will realize that even though they are deciduous they will make a dramatic landscape impact.
(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)
(c)2019 Norman Winter
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Some folks just cannot handle a dark and dreary winter. That’s a good reason why we find cyclamen flooding the nursery these days. They are one of the most popular winter flowers. And for good reason. They bloom in bright hues of white, pink, salmon, pink, red and lavender. The foliage is hard to resist, too. Leaves are delightfully heart-shaped and colored with attractive patterns of silver variegation.
Whether grown indoors or out, cyclamen are fairly easy to grow. Outdoor cyclamen like cool, frost-sheltered places that receive some sun. They only need watering when the top inch of soil dries out, which is usually about once a week during the cool season.
Indoor cyclamen needs a bit different treatment. They like a cool, bright place, not too much direct sun. Since it is warm and dry indoors during the winter, they will need to be monitored for watering. Only water when the top inch of soil dries out, but never let them get to a wilting stage. Wilted cyclamen bounce back, but will lose vigor sooner.
Cyclamen bloom dependably from now through early spring. A light, liquid feeding of all-purpose fertilizer will keep plants robust. As spring approaches, plants begin to bloom sparsely and foliage thins. This means it is time to allow plants to go dormant. Quit watering and let the tuber, from which foliage and flower sprout, dry. Like a daffodil or dahlia, dormant tubers can be stored in a cool dark place until next autumn. Then it is time to replant and enjoy the winter show once again.
Terry Kramer is the site manager for the Humboldt Botanical Garden and a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has been writing a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. Contact her at [email protected]
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