Sunday, July 29, 2012

Garden stepping stones

 At my house we don't really celebrate all of the traditional holidays.  Me and the man come from different religions, neither of which ever really felt quite right to either of us.  Therefore the holidays tend to not really have much meaning to them other than "spend money."  So what we decided to do was pretty much to make our own holiday/traditions to celebrate that had meaning to us as a family.  This particular celebration we got together to make stepping stones for the garden.  The garden is going to obviously provide the family
with food, but I would also like it to be a place that we can enjoy as a family.  By everyone contributing to the decorating of the garden, I am hoping to make it a place that we can walk through and enjoy the creative work that we have all done together.  By making a few stones each year there will eventually be a long winding path of our journey as a family over the years.  The other part of this sort of holiday that I think is so great is that rather than spending
money and receiving gifts, we all sit down together and work our creative magic.  Everyone brings something different to that table and we all combine the different parts to make our own beautiful designs.  And we will have these for many years rather than some toy that the kids get and grow out of in a year or so.  Plus the adults have as much fun as the kids.   So how do I make my own stones you ask??

Mix one 80 lb bag of regular concrete and divide among 6 molds.  You could probably get twice as many stones out of this much concrete, but we opted to have really thick stones so they would last longer and also because we really didn't have anything else to do with the leftover concrete.  Also don't use quick setting concrete because it takes time to put your design in place.  You don't want it to set in five minutes and your design be incomplete.  Some concrete is also very
coarse which would not be as easy to work with when trying to lay out a design.  Once you have the concrete in the molds start putting your design into place.  When we were doing ours, we noticed a lot of water on top of the concrete. We thought that the concrete must be really soupy but it wasn't at all.  The water just was sitting on top.  We sopped it up with a paper towel and were just fine after that.  It all soaked in eventually anyways.  You can make your design
out of whatever you like.  I used my baby's feet to make impressions and surrounded them with stones.  We also smashed a plate and used the pieces (be careful of sharp edges).  You can get all kinds of glass rocks, marbles, stones and even beads to decorate with.  Be sure to push the pieces in to place so that they stay put once the concrete dries and you start walking on them.  Now just wait for them to dry and put them in your garden path.  Enjoy!
The other project we did as a family was making birdhouses. 

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