By Linda Wiggen Kraft

Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor


Sometimes the best gifts are those that are truly beautiful, cost almost nothing and are made from things that normally get recycled or end up in the landfill.  For years I have made two garden gifts that always get rave reviews.  They are envelopes made from magazines or calendar pages, and decoupage watering cans covered with photos of flowers from plant catalogs.

Most garden lovers get stacks of plant catalogs and magazines with all sizes of colorful photos.  Beautiful calendars filled with art and photos are often tossed after use.  All these paper pages are full of images that can live on as garden crafts and gifts.

Envelopes from magazine and calendar pages are easy to make. Templates for different envelope sizes can be found online.  Print the templates on cardstock or regular paper and cut out.  Photo or art images that are large enough so that most of the template covers the image work best. Trace the template with a heavy marker and cut out the envelope shape.  Fold on folding lines and use glue stick or double stick tape to hold sides together. Use stick-on address labels and adhesive backed stamps. Cut white or colored 8.5 x 11 inch paper to fit the envelope for your letter or note.  Send to family and friends, or even pay your bills in them. Or give them to others as gifts.  I have been thanked by people for sending these envelopes and told how this beautiful surprise brightens their day.

A more ambitious craft project, but one that will last for many years if used inside, is a decoupage watering can.  Cut out flower and garden photos in varying sizes from less than an inch to about five inches. Hundreds will be needed. Cutting out can be done when watching tv or while sitting in waiting places. Carry a zip lock bag with paper pages and scissors for always-handy cutting.  Plastic watering cans in all sizes can be used, but the ones with smooth sides and no embossed designs work best.

Use a brush and craft glue diluted with water to cover both sides of the cut out images. Adhere to the center of the watering can first, continue working all the way around on all outer surfaces. Fold paper over the edges of the openings.  Let the watering can dry thoroughly and then spray with a polyurethane or other protective coating in a well ventilated area or outside.

Let the images of gardens, flowers and art live on in these craft projects.  They make great gifts for anyone, not only garden lovers.   www.creativityforthesoul.com