gift guides 2010: the gardener

raised bed

Gardeners can be a picky bunch (I know — I fancy myself one). You run the risk of buying a tool they already have or a plant that’s difficult to grow. Maybe these ideas will help — I wouldn’t mind getting a few myself. — Mary T.

vintageflowerpot

Vintage flower pot — Pick a cheerful pot like this Etsy find and you’ll give the gardener a pretty inspiration that makes her think of spring. The best part is, you might score a couple on a trip to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

The Weekend Garden Guide — This is the book that got me into gardening, a chunky paperback with beautiful photos for inspiration paired with a no-nonsense approach to gardening for people who have things like jobs and lives. It’s out of print, but you can find many copies at Alibris for just 99 cents!

rosemarytree-AT

Rosemary tree – I picked up one of these at Whole Foods last week for under ten dollars, and I’ve seen them at a few other supermarkets as well. Not only are these extremely cute on the table or countertop, the recipient can pop them in the ground and use the fragrant herbs year-round.

felco

Classic Pruner – Did I say we can be picky about tools? You really can’t go wrong with a pruner like the Felco #8. It’s the kind of tool you need for everything, so an extra comes in handy. And the festive red color is a happy bonus.

Raised bed kit — A complete raised bed kit with fancy composite wood can be pricey. How about some joists that will run you about $30 and a few small cuts of lumber? You can sweeten the gift by offering to help assemble it come spring.

Rosemary tree photo via The Kitchn.

another bright idea from google: tech support care packages

tech support
Well, the geniuses at Google have done it again. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better than the commemorative Pac-Man doodle, they’ve developed www.teachparentstech.org, a website that allows users to send “tech care packages” to their parents (or anyone, presumably) containing video tutorials detailing processes in categories ranging from The Basics (copy & paste) to Media and Communications (making calls from your computer). The site encloses the chosen videos with campy care package text to seal the deal. Snarky? Absolutely, but also a very useful idea. There are a few items on here I’ll be sharing with my parents, and admittedly, a few I’m pretty jazzed to be learning myself. Is there a BCC option? –Sarah C

do you salvage a cracked mirror?

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I had an unfortunate accident happen a few weeks ago. The hanging wire on my beloved dining room mirror gave out, and the mirror slid down the wall and crashed onto the floor. Luckily the frame took the brunt of the impact and the mirror only cracked – not shattered – into 2 pieces.

The price for getting a new mirror cut to fit the frame was exorbitant, so instead I brainstormed some ways to salvage the cracked pieces. Since the wall behind the mirror is covered with maps, I decided to let the crack help me integrate both the mirror and the wall coverings into a single piece of artwork. I used blue painters tape (perfect color!) and created a sort of abstract river covering the crack and extending onto the walls. I intend to have it branch above the frame as soon as I can locate a ladder to reach that high! What do you think? I’m pretty sure this technique would also work with vinyl wall decals as well. And the crack could easily become a climbing vine, garland, tree branch, or lightning bolt, depending on your taste and wall color.

Other options I came up with were to cover the crack with cut-out sections of maps or photos of places I had visited or use a mirror patina to age the mirror and make the crack less noticeable. What would you do? –Rebecca F.

on my list: a colorful 2011 calendar

calendar_antonia
Flora Douville

Back in the end of 2009, I was all about Snow & Graham’s big, beautiful wall calendar. Now, I’m excited for a particularly bright, shiny new year and am looking for the calendar to match. In the year calendar department, I’m swooning over the 2011 Antonia Calendar by Michelle Armas, At $30, it doubles as a signed piece of art when the year is done. The Places I Have Never Been Calendar, $25 at JHillDesign entertains flights of fancy with vibrant patterns inspired by the designer’s imaginary vacations, and includes a note about the destination and inspiration of the print for each month, while Flora Douville’s watercolor calendar, $16, is a subtle yet stunning take on color. What do you think, readers? Any front runners in your calendar hunt? –Sarah C.

via The Neo-Traditionalist, Cornflake Dreams & Simple Lovely

zapi: oral health care made really super cute

zapi

It’s not that I’m worried about catching a dread disease from my toothbrush — I’m really not, even though the video on this page from the Rachael Ray show talks about the “germy droplets” that can fly onto your toothbrush if it’s stored near the toilet. (This is part of the reason mine lives inside the medicine cabinet.) But hey, I haven’t done all the research, and I have to admit these Zapi toothbrush sanitizers — they do their work with UV light — are just cute as heck to look at, and only $30. Check out ZapiPOP — like a happy Humpty Dumpty! And who wouldn’t want the help of a ninja in fighting germs? You can find them all at Violight. — Mary T.