Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A "Green" Garden Part 2

"One of the easiest root crops to grow is potatoes. Plus, they're fun to grow"  However if like us, you are limited on space, you may think you can't.  Think again. This project is super easy, perfect for small gardens, or an apartment balcony.

We are going to grow potatoes from a dog food bag!

First get a dog food bag.

We used a bag that looks like it is woven together. (the material looked a lot like those bags we see at garden stores that have the tomato plants growing upside down.)

Next cut off the top just to square it up.

Now flip the bag inside out.

You don't have to, but we folded the cut edge down about an inch and sent it through the sewing machine.

Now take your bag outside fill it with dirt.

Add your potatoes

Put some dirt on top of them, and water.

Simple and easy!!  When the potato shoots starts to come out of the ground add more dirt over the top of the them and water.

Water and let the shoots come through the dirt again, and again add dirt over top of them.

These pictures from Unwin Seeds will give you an idea of how this works.

Cool or what??!!!  We are going to try this with carrots too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tire Sandals

This is one of the coolest projects, I think we have worked on yet.  Sandals made from a used tire. 

This project takes a bit of time, so lets get started.

First find an old tire.

To make this project easier, find a tire that is not steal belted.  The tires we used came off an old golf cart or riding lawn mower.  It still took a lot of effort to cut, but we could do it with a retractable knife.

Start by cutting the inside rim first.

(Side note. The tire will take a while to cut even with the sharpest blades. Take your time.  We found if you score the tire, then go back over the cut a couple times, it cut easier then trying to cut it all in one swipe.)

Make sure you do this on both sides. Now cut the tire completely in half.

Take a piece of card board and trace out a sandal you currently have or around your foot. Cut out your template.

(We cut out a couple, never hurts to have a back up template.)

Flip the tire up and place one of your templates inside. This will give you an idea where you can cut the tire apart.

We found if we cut where the tire starts to round up, it would give us plenty of room to work with.

Cut the tire.

Add the template and trace around it with a marker.

Then cut it out.

Do this for both feet.

This is what it should look like.

Now it is time to figure out the straps.  For this pair Mr. Awesome wanted to have the style of sandal with lots of straps. (we will post pictures of the other styles in the next couple days)

Working with the template, decide how you want the straps ( what feels comfortable).

We made slits down the side of the cardboard cut out.  The idea was to wrap the strap through the cuts and back around.   We started with two cuts at the top, which would be near the toes...

Two  cuts that would be about the middle of the foot

And then three cuts near the heal.  These would act as belt loops for the ankle strap.

(After some trial and error with the cardboard template we decided to move the strap that would be near the toes.  In the above pictures we had the cuts on opposite sides.  However this didn't feel right, so we moved the cut near the pinkie toe ( my pointer finger in the first picture) down closer to the middle cut ( my pointer finger in the second picture).  The top strap now angled instead of coming straight across.  However you may find that doesn't work for you.  This is why we made a couple cardboard templates, so we could figure out the strap placement before we cut the tires.) 

Once you have figured out how you want your sandal to look, it is time to make the slits in the tire.

Place the template on top and cut with the blade. 

We found that it was easier to score the tire with the retractable blade, and then use an Exato blade to finish the slits.

Now on to the straps. We used straps for a back pack. However an old dog leash would work good too.

Insert the strap (top to bottom) through the slits. Start with the slits on the inside of the sandals. (the big toe side)

Pull the strap through just a little.  Now wrap the strap around....

... and sew it together.

(The thread we used is blue.  By the time we were done cutting out the tires and working on the straps we didn't care. It was on the sewing machine... so blue it is!!  Just act like we are using it on purpose to show you where to sew. HA!)

Do the same for the second strap and the other sandal.

Take the straps and bring the over the sandal to the slits on other side. (the slits near the pinkie toe)
Pull it through the slit.

This strap will be longer.  Attach the Velcro and pull it around.

This will be the adjustable straps over your feet.

Repeat this for other strap and the other sandal.

Now to the last three slits, two at the ankle and one at the back heal.

Pull the straps through and bring the ends together.

Sew the tops together on all three.

Then measure the width of the strap and sew again, making a (sort of) belt loop.

Do this for all three straps near the heal and the other sandal as well.

Now cut a piece of strap that will wrap around your ankle.

Add Velcro

Pull it through the loops that you just sewed. Repeat with other sandal.

Last part, take a lighter and melt the ends of the straps so they don't fray.

And there you have it, a sandal made from an old tire.

We will post pictures of the other styles later this week.