Monday, October 1, 2012

Making Use of an Apothecary Jar

Before my best friend, Lola, got married this summer, she asked me to look for apothecary jars for her dessert table.  Since I had a HomeGoods nearby, I scored all of the jars they had plus a glass cake dome just in case it was needed.  Sadly, only one jar and the cake dome survived the move to Pennsylvania, and Lola found a few jars on her own.

The empty apothecary jar sat on my fireplace mantle for a while, adding an element of light to my otherwise dark paneled living room.  But, it was boring.  I was bored just looking at it, sitting next to the television, like a sad, thrift store discard.

While walking Lily, I noticed an abundance of moss had grown under my weeping cherry tree.  I scoured the interwebs, and found several instructional sites on making a terrarium.  A brief trip to Etsy revealed the cutest felted sheep... and my decision was made.  I couldn't stop thinking of terrariums.

I happened to have some organic potting soil laying around, but I did have to go to Big Box Store to get activated charcoal (about $7) and river stones for the base ($2).  I also had cotton balls, an empty spray bottle, moss, and my wee felted sheep ($18).

So, here's how it went down:

I started off with a clean jar.  Since it is rather thin glass, and dropping river stones into the jar created anxiety that the glass would break, I tipped the jar on its side and placed all of the stones in.  

When I tilted the jar upright, the stones fell into place.  I used my scissors to nudge the stones until they looked good, but I should've used the handle of a wooden spoon.

I then cut a piece of paper towel to somewhat fit over the stones.  As an alternative, Spanish moss can be used as a filter to keep charcoal from mixing with the stones.  Since my stones were black, and the charcoal was black, I didn't think it was a big deal if they blended a bit.

I then put a one-and-a-half inch layer of charcoal on the paper towel.  After that, I pulled a few cotton balls until they were flattened, to create a filter between the soil and the charcoal.  

I then placed these with my scissors, since my hand couldn't safely fit through the narrow neck of the jar.

Layers of rock, charcoal, and cotton.

On top of the cotton, I added about two inches of potting soil, which I had moistened with about 1/4 cup of water.  Preferably, you want to use soil that doesn't have any fertilizer in it, since you want the moss to grow slowly.  My potting soil had some fertilizer in it, and I couldn't find any without fertilizer, since it is the end of gardening season here.

Using a spoon, I made some hollows for the moss itself.  As you can see, I still need to add soil around the moss to level everything out.

After adding the soil around the moss.

I wiped the interior of the jar with some of the leftover cotton balls, since it had become flecked with soil and charcoal dust.  This cleaned things up nicely.  My little felted sheep, from Weegreenspot, came with the wires exposed so he could be pushed into the soil.  Isn't he the cutest?

Once Cedric was in there, I sprayed the moss with about 10 sprays of water.  Cedric is a perfectly good name for a sheep.

Then I popped the lid on.  

And Cedric now lives on the windowsill in the kitchen, where he can peer out at the neighbors and look at them in his disapproving sort of way.

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