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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Get the Word Out!

There's something about gardeners. I find them to be amazingly "sharing" kind of people. Maybe it's because of the bounty we find in our own back yards but I rarely come across a gardener who isn't willing to share their beauty with others.

For this reason, I love to go to garden lectures and symposiums. There is just so much sharing going on! I do lecture too, I love every minute of it and always tell people that by the end of the day it's a wonder I can fit my fat head back through the door. Of course, it only takes a minute at home when pffffttttt, like a popped balloon sailing around the room my head quickly deflates back to it's normal pinhead size.

Garden clubs have always fascinated me, I've visited dozens if not hundreds now and each one is unique in it's own way. This whole new world though of blogging has me blown away. Not a TV person anyway, I can sit here and click and before you know it I'm off to another land picking up some of the most amazing gardening tips.

Being a part of a whole gardening group at Blotanical makes the process a thousand times better. I can easily cruise a whole bunch of gardening blogs at one time. A click here, a tap there and I've found a new thread to set me off running. The other night I found The Cheap Vegetable Gardener's site with a wonderful post on "make your own homemade newspaper pots", that had me clicking more to see Muddy Clogs and minutes later I was running around my house gathering up everything I needed to make my own pots (and they are just dandy too).

As a gardener, nothing would make me happier than to have all the people around me become gardeners. To help this happen, I find that I'll talk to just about anybody as long as the topic is gardening related. This Thursday I begin teaching Gardening at our High School's adult education program. I can't begin to tell you how exciting this is to me.

A number of years ago I decided I needed a business card to hand out. I was trying to incorporate some of my own photos but I hated cropping them that small. The smallest I was willing to cut was the size of a bookmark...DING DING...that's how the idea began. I made bookmarks with my favorite photos on the front and my own information on the back. Best yet, I had just given my husband a laminater for Father's day and I laminated those bookmarks.

Yesterday I needed to make a new batch so I'd have them to hand to my new students. I also thought I'd bring a few along today as I visited the Long Island Horticultural Society. This time I recorded the whole process so I can share it with all of you.

The top photo shows the beginning process. I crop a photo and paste four of them on a blank page. This is done on my computer on an old print shop program but I'm sure you can do this with other programs too. Once I have them lined up the way I like them, I print out the page. I use card stock now but have used plain old computer paper too.

The next step is to print out the back side. You want to trial this on a blank piece of paper first until you get the spacing right. There's no sense wasting all those color pages, ink just costs too much. Put what you want on the back. If you click on this photo you will see the following:

Old Country Gardens
featuring Melanie's Perennials
(my e-mail address)
Visit us at

That last line was new, I'm so excited to add Blotanical to my bookmarks.

Once you've printed both front and back, it's time to cut them into individual pieces. I like to use a paper cutter for this as it makes it easy to keep straight lines.

Now it's time to place each piece into a laminating sleeve. Our laminator is a "hot" one. At first they will look very cloudy to you, I thought they'd turn out awful at first but don't worry.

From here on there will be some glare in each photo as the laminating paper is quite shiny and bounced back any light in the room. Here you see me feeding the sheet into the laminator.

And, here you see me helping it slowly come out the other side. I've found that it helps to hold it both on the in feed and the out feed. As it comes out it is still hot and easily bendable. You don't want it to bend, you want to help it stay flat.

Time now to cut them apart. This laminating stuff is so strong that I don't like to do this part. I usually get my husband to do it for me as I need to make several passes with the razor knife before the pieces will seperate. Please note, I'm not cutting this on my kitchen table (although we could use a new one...) There is a glass cutting board under everything. We use the back side of the glass cutting board since it is nice and smooth and the razor doesn't seem to damage it.

After I cut the first few I remember I bought one of those cutting boards at our local craft store so I scrounged around the basement and found it. It works even better because I can see those straight lines through the plastic.

If you try this at home, remember slow and steady won the race. This is not a project you want to hurry through, you will just waste lots of time, paper, ink and take a chance on cutting or burning yourself. Don't let this discourage you, it's quite simple as long as you stay relaxed and don't rush.

I'd love to hear how you spread the word, Gardening is Amazing!

P.S. I was just about to hit "publish post" when my husband told me that he uses the paper-cutter to cut them into individual pieces. Duh!


Gina said...

melanie - what a great idea!! thanks for posting details on this awesome project!

Marie said...

What a great idea!

robbinscabin said...

Melanie~This is an awesome idea! I will be suggesting this to my garden club. It would make a great giveaway for our garden tour.

Thanks for visiting my blog today. The greenhouse doesn't come with lights but it would be very simple to hang 4' florouscent shop lights inside of it. And then you could put it in a closet if you wanted to! Remembering air flow ofcourse.

Anna--Flowergardengirl said...

This is such a good idea. I love it. How much do you estimate that each bookmark cost?

Your site must be popular today cause I haven't been able to log on all day today or yesterday to check you out!!

kate said...

This is a great idea. It was interesting to see how you made these. Thank you!! I've never thought of doing this - only a few of my friends here know that I have a blog as well as my family.

Blotanical is good for getting to know new blogs ... I had no idea there were quite so many garden blogs in the world.

Mad Man Bamboo said...


Great to see another passionate gardner. Glad to see your committment to educating more prospective gardners.


Melanie said...

Thank you all for such nice comments. I've been making these bookmarks for years and people snap them up where ever I go.

Last month I got a call from way out on Long Island. A woman had taken a book out from the library and it had my bookmark in it. She thought it was mine but I told her somebody must have forgotten it in something they were reading. It was nice of her to track me down.

Robbin, I've brought these up to several different garden clubs and they love the idea but then they leave it in my lap for me to lay out the money, come up with a design and do the work. It would work much better if you had even one person and could work as a team. One could print and one could cut and so on.

Anna, I've estimated the cost around 40 cents but that was a few years ago. I think the laminating plastic has come down in price. One day I'll have to sit down and work it out again.

Kate, I tell my family about this blog all the time, sometimes they need a reminder :-)

Man man, educating people about gardening is one of the most rewarding things in my life!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

That is a great idea! Yours are so pretty. I'd love to make some just for my own family's use. Since we are all bookworms.