A Return Visit To The Plantation Garden In Norwich (And Another Wow Moment).

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Surrounded by busy roads in the heart of Norwich, walking into The Plantation Garden feels like how I imagine finding an oasis in the desert would be.

The first time I visited in the autumn I was left speechless, which, as Mark will tell you, doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t think that wow moment could be repeated after the first time but then I went back yesterday… and wow. Just, wow.

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There was colour everywhere and it’s was so vivid, even on a dull, cloudy day – my photos really don’t do the garden justice. If you’re anywhere near Norwich please go and enjoy it while it lasts.

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My parents came with Freya and I for their first visit yesterday (after I saw some beautiful photos on Instagram and suggested we go) and they were amazed too.

It’s nice visiting with them because they are gardeners and can tell me the names of various plants. Freya also enjoys it because you can climb to the top and then walk around the outside along dark paths which she thinks is a bit like being in the jungle.

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I’ve included this final one because I think it’s funny. I was supposed to be taking a photo of my parents and Freya for the family album but then I realised how lovely the tulips were and got distracted.

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It’s that sort of place.

 

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Easy Crafts For Children – Making A Jam Jar Vase.

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As it’s just me and you here I’m going to make a small confession.

I have a bit of a thing…

For jam jars.

There I’ve said it. Once again I thank goodness we live in a flat because I think it’s an obsession that could quite easily get out of hand if we had more space – and, as it is, I probably have more than I would ever need. They seem so…useful. I find it nearly impossible to recycle them. Even though I’ve never made jam or pickled anything, and have no plans to do so, glass jam jars seem like a good thing to have to hand (just in case).

I use them to keep shells in, mainly (oh yeah, that’s another of my “things”), and to wash Freya’s paint brushes out. In fact, that’s what got me started on our latest “craft” activity.

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We collected some stones from the beach last year and decided to paint them. I imagined beautiful seascapes but expected more like colourful rainbows. What actually happened was that Freya mixed all the acrylic paint together and they came out sort of…brown. That’s ok. She had fun, that’s the main thing, and we can paint over them again.

While I turned my back to get a cloth to mop up a little spillage, she decided to paint the jam jar we were using to wash out the brushes. I didn’t think much of it at first but as I cleaned up, and saw my growing collection of jars lined up on the window sill, an idea came to mind.

Vases. Painted vases. Let’s call them “rustic”.

Using some more acrylic paint I got Freya to paint two of the jars green (we did this on the living room floor, on an old cardboard box, so she couldn’t accidentally drop them and hurt herself if they broke). I got some more colours out and just let her go crazy on the third one (which turned out, you’ve guessed it, brown). I then added some finishing touches (albeit with my rather limited skills, not to mention limited paint, as we’d run out of white) and I quite like how they have turned out, even if I do say so myself.

I modelled the decoration on (a much simplified version of) painted narrow boats, which we looked up and learned about on the iPad.

Originally I thought they might make a nice handmade Mother’s Day gift but I’m not sure they are quite good enough for that (and I think the paint might wash/chip off after a while) so I’m keeping them all for myself! They make a rather happy addition to the window sill (and they are a great excuse to buy flowers).

Do you have a use for jam jars that doesn’t include jam?