A World in Miniature

Terrariums are a magical way of bringing nature indoors in miniature. I've been reading up a bit recently about making terrariums as I'm a huge fan of curated jars and apothecary. I still wince at all my science experiments gone wrong, and the amount of chemistry apparatus I broke during my laboratory days at University! But now things have changed... I'm feeling inspired by a book my hubby got me last week called 'Terrarium Craft' by Amy Bryant Aiello & Kate Bryant. It's the world I imagine Charles Darwin and all his best buddies will be surrounded in; old Victorian walnut-furnishings equipped with plant and animal specimens behind big glass screens and dressers.

Besides that it takes me back to my pre-teens when I was always having a nosey in my brother's bedroom, intrigued by what he was up to. He used to spend hours in his Harry Potter-sized bedroom tinkering at his model cars and aeroplanes, when I was too young to be trusted with a pot of enamel paint, but the one model that always stuck in my head was the ship in a bottle. (Yes along with Terrariums they were also very popular back in the 70s and 80s ! ) My brother never told me how it was done so I used to stand over his shoulder, intrigued and patiently watching him at what felt like snail pace, constructing his little model ship, but then just when my eyes averted away for a few minutes I would come back to find the ship was already inside, standing tall and magnificently upright as if by magic, in all its nautical splendour! I remember feeling frustrated for not knowing how the truth came to be, but now looking back, preserving the mystery of how it's done is what makes the concept so mystical. A bit like Santa Clause (?) ....I would only feel disappointed if I knew the truth!

So here I am equipped with Tilandsia air plants, mini Echiveria (succulents), and some Spanish moss ready to find its new home. I gathered all my quartz sand, pebbles, sea glass and small shells. Then I sterilised my chemistry-set jars and demijohns and got busy. The sun was dancing through to my dining room table as the music was playing. It really set the scene but trying consciously not to replicate the 70s I was determined to give it a modern twist! So this is where the fun starts - a little creative integrity comes in handy. Other than remembering the order of doing things - placing the first layer of sand, then positioning my plants and adding a top layer of pebbles to hold everything into place I can pretty much do as I please. I chose a coastal theme, and added some shells and sea glass I picked up from my local beach, along with some feathers and jute string that resembled a bit of rope, I also discovered that lost and found objects are a great way to enhance the nautical decor.

So here are they are! I did all three jars in one afternoon, and I can honestly say it was the most relaxing and therapeutic way to spend the day. Aren't they gorgeous? I think this is going to be another very pleasurable workshop in the making, so I've now taken some cuttings from the mini Echiveria succulents and thinking aside what other jars to create next and add to my new Terrarium collection. The Hoovering and cleaning never got done as planned, but hey ho there's always tomorrow!

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