best birthday present ever January 24, 2012

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and Andrew surprised me with this huge vintage science-lab bottle so I can make a mega-terrarium bottle garden! Happiness!

the birthday bottle (with coffee cup for scale)...

I love it so much. Michelle and I headed over to Artemisia and I picked up some tiny, pretty plants that will hopefully slip through the narrow bottleneck. (I also got to go to Pambiche, the park, Bar Avignon, and Ringside. It was a pretty good birthday!)

my plants for the bottle garden

Way back in the freewheeling crafty 70s, my parents made a bottle garden for my grandparents in a giant green-glass solvent bottle from my grandfather’s physics lab, and I loved it. I’ve always dreamed about making one myself. Approximately three million tiny, small and medium terrariums later, here I am, trying to figure out how the heck to pull it off – my mom says it’s pretty challenging! Luckily, I have some allies in the form of fabulous vintage craft books…

Bottle Garden - Family Creative Workshop (volume 2)

This is from The Family Creative Workshop (Volume 2: Beachcombing to Bottle Gardens). Love this whole series so much. (I snapped photos of all the pages in the whole Bottle Gardens entry that are here in my flickr set if you want to see them.)

Family Creative Workshop, volume 2 ( Beachcombing to Bottle Gardens)

I also have a copy of Sunset’s Gifts You Can Make. I really wish more vintage craft books had color photos, but this is a fantastic book, and I’m so happy that they included bottle gardens as an idea for presents.

Bottle Garden - Sunset's Gifts You Can Make

If you’re looking for either of these books, here’s what the covers look like… in glorious color!

Bottle Garden -Sunset's Gifts You Can Make + the Family Creative Workshop (volume 2)

Andrew found the bottle here, on Division in Southeast Portland. I asked the owner how often he sees these giant bottles, and he said they’re pretty rare, but this is the place I’d keep an eye on if you want one too. Would love to add some other giant-bottle sources if you have any!

source of the giant bottle

My other birthday gift from Andrew was this beautiful Oregon myrtlewood cutting board, made by Coast Range Woodworks on Etsy. It’s really awesome too.

my oregon cutting board from Andrew

So, hopefully my next bottle garden post will be lots of photos of a beautiful miniature world of lush plants… or maybe just a list of what not to do when it comes to plants and bottlenecks. Either way, I have a hardware-store shopping list ready to go and I hope I can get started on it this week!

sunglasses case for my scrap class!

Also coming up – just wanted to mention that I’m teaching a scrap projects class at the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store this Saturday from 2-4! We will be making two projects, a sunglasses case and a patchwork draft snake, and all the materials are included for $25. PMQG members get $5 off any class at Pendleton, too…

patchwork draft snake

… and Michelle and Daniela are teaching some great classes too (scroll down).

Portland Modern Quilt Guild banner at the January meeting!

PS: Thanks to everyone who came to our January meeting last week! Petra wrote up a lovely meeting recap over here at the PMQG blog. We are so excited to do some fun things this year… we have an all-day sew coming up at Fabric Depot on February 4 (9am-8pm) and we’ll be announcing some good surprises for the February meeting soon, too!

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