If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a baby spider plant gift then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘Grumpy Old George…’
‘Earth to Jenny…’
Jaz was trying to wake me from my daydream. I just can’t get Shaun McArthur out of my head since he walked into the shop last week, more than 30 years after our last encounter.
‘Sorry Jaz. What were you saying?’
‘It’s Old George’s 80th birthday this week,’ she repeated. ‘Do you think we should take him a bottle of whisky or something?’
George owns the hardware shop on Linnet Row, a couple of doors down from Teacups & Tulips. To be honest, I thought he was way more than 80 because he’s been ‘the grumpy old hardware man’ since I was a little girl.
Organising a Linnet Row party for Old George is just what I needed to occupy my mind so I started making a list. Bottles of wine and beer, invitations, bunting, a present from all of the shop owners…
‘Should we have a theme?’ I asked.
‘For George?’ Jaz was incredulous. ‘Definitely not! He’d hate a fuss’.
She brought me back down to earth. She was right, he would hate it so we agreed to tone it down and invite him into Teacups & Tulips after closing for a few nibbles and glass of something. It would be just us, not the whole row, and we’d get him that bottle of whisky that Jaz suggested.
But when Jaz went down to ask him later that day, apparently he was more cantankerous than ever.
‘Beryl’s told me you’re having a surprise do for me tomorrow, but I’m not coming’, he snapped.
‘No, George, she’s got the wrong end of the stick,’ Jaz told him and tried to cajole him into the smallest of celebrations with us.
We weren’t sure whether he’d turn up or not but we organised ourselves and hoped that he would. Surely no one would want to spend a big birthday on his own.
He shuffled past the window to our door and hesitated but Jaz was on hand to welcome him in and distract him from Beryl who was prancing round the floor, trying to liven things up with a song and a dance, Gangnam Style.
Kim managed to remove her from the limelight and we gave George his bottle of whisky. He didn’t say anything but I think I saw him crack a smile for the first time since I’d known him.
‘What would you like to drink George?’ asked Kim, indicating the array of bottles and glasses we’d set up.
So, out of solidarity we all had a cup of tea (except for Beryl who looked horrified at the prospect and opened a bottle of beer). The sausage rolls and the cheese and pickled onion on sticks went down well but after half an hour George said, ‘I’m off now’.
I walked with him back to his flat which is above the hardware shop. As I was leaving he pressed a banknote into my hand and said, ‘Would you buy each of the girls something to say thank you.’
He’d obviously been touched by our little celebration for him, although I was going to struggle to find something that showed his appreciation with the fiver that he’d given me. When I got back we decided to give the £5 to Age UK and I said I’d make something for everyone so they could all acknowledge his gift.
So, what could I make that cost nothing? ◊
How to Make an Inexpensive Plant Gift
Do you like spider plants? I do, although I’m overrun with them at the moment and don’t feel the need to plant the babies to create yet more around my home. However, they are perfect potted up as a small gift.
I cut the ones I wanted (each was showing some sign of roots). Then I put them in some water while I prepared the containers.
If you’re extravagant enough to buy desserts in nice pots then this project will cost you nothing. If, like me, you have to go out and source more of them so you have a gift for everyone then at least you should enjoy the indulgence. I did!
At first I was going to buy some coloured gravel, make a drainage layer at the bottom then another decorative layer higher up but that would have involved more expense. Instead, I raided my stash of plastic beads. I’d had them carefully segregated by shape and colour for years but couldn’t actually ever see me using them. So I collected them together and mixed them up.
Then I split them between the pots to make a drainage layer in each.
Add a small amount of compost, make a hole, and press the plant firmly in.
They make lovely little gifts. You could use them for saying ‘Thank You’ or ‘Cheer Up’ or ‘Get Well Soon’. You could just use them as table decorations… oh, or maybe with names on for place settings. Useful, eh?
- Spider plants are quite tough so should be very happy for a while in your little pots, even if there is not much of a root when you put them in.
- When the roots get bigger they are quite chunky and ugly so they won’t look good in these small pots for a long time.
- Baby spider plants
- Dessert pots
- Old beads
Cheap and cheerful but quite effective, don’t you think?
Hope you’ll join me again next week when I’ll be breathing new life into something else salvaged.
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