Springtime Crafting with the EEWI

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's WI time again and this week our lovely EEWI (East End Women's Institute) committee arranged some Springtime Crafting. There were biodegradable origami pots for seed-planting to be made, lanterns to be decorated and strung up (made from used tins), and flower arranging.

We really are in the swing of spring here in London: the weather is warm and cosy, the sun is setting later, and today I even ventured into the great outdoors without a coat! Egads. As I type this, it's just gone 15.30, there is a slight chill in the air and I'm sipping on a very large cup of coffee - not quite the summer times of Cape Town, but I don't mind if it stays just like this.

Here's the lovely Claire getting really stuck into her floral arrangements with a pretty composition of greens, yellows and pinks. Spring time here seems to be ushered in by the daffodils, but there are chrysanthemums aplenty too. I love this time of year in the UK as the floral frocks come out in the shops, people seem far more upbeat with sing-song communication, and I can't stop repeating the first and last stanzas of William Wordsworth's Daffodils, which I recited for the benefit of the upper-deck of our bus a few nights ago.

But I digress.

I didn't flower-arrange. I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that just yet. I did, however, take part in the origami pot-making using large sheets of newspaper and some clever instructions from the ever-talented Elizabeth.

It was quite fun trying to get these little pots right, and what a sense of triumph you get when you push out the bottom and voila! You have a pot! Mom, if you're reading this, you'll be delighted to know that all of my paper-plane-folding experience taught me well: this pot is just two stealth bomber jets folded back to back with an extra step added in.

I managed to find a video on YouTube, so if you're a keen gardener or you want to try your hand at some clever crafting, here it is below. These pots are a fantastic idea for seed-planting as they're made from newspaper and can be put directly into the soil or the ground to dissolve. They're eco-friendly and economical (imagine how many pots you could get out of the local free newspaper!) and I could really get into gardening if it involved a little bit of crafting like this.

Anyway - so after we made our origami newspaper pots for seedlings, we chose a sprinkling of seeds of our choice and got potting.

I chose Thyme and Butterfly Annuals to go in our garden with its new lawn and our lovely lavender and rosemary (and such timing, too - the hosepipe ban comes into effect next week!). We're going to try our hands at gardening this year, so I hope spring sticks around a little while longer.

Finally, the last crafty option at the EEWI was coordinated by the Edible Garden Project and Phakama.

We were asked to bring along empty, clean tins which were transformed from rubbish into rather charming lanterns. We worked in twos, with one person holding a piece of wood inside the tin, and the other one hammering a nail into the sides of the tin to create patterns.

Here are Carol and Karen having a good go at creating a   spotty candle-holding lantern (with Carol dispensing excellent candle advise thanks to her son, the fireman!).

This is Karen's pretty heart lantern that, I think, began life as a tin of tomato paste. You knock two holes into opposite ends on the top of the tin and string it up using wire. I'd imagine that these look rather beautiful in clusters on a warm spring evening, but I prefer to have my candles indoors! Superstyling Ruth also mentioned that if you fill the can with water prior to hole-punching, and you freeze the whole set, you don't really need two people to hold as the tin will keep its shape and won't buckle as you hammer into it. Clever clogs.

And before I disappear off to make some spring-time savoury muffins (any excuse, eh?) I leave you with a hint of summer and William Wordsworth's poem I mentioned earlier. Say it out aloud, and see how much self-control it takes to not bounce around and rush-off to find your nearest field of daffodils.

William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

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