Saturday, 14 July 2012

How to make cress creatures

This afternoon I repotted one of M's chilli plants and had just started weeding the stony path in the back yard when a downpour sadly put an end to my gardening efforts. But I still felt like doing something gardening-related so I rounded up the kids and we made some 'hairy harries', aka grass heads - except we used cress seeds, so I'm calling them cress creatures. Years ago we went to a really cool birthday party where making grass heads was one of the activities, and K has fond memories of giving his 'hairy' inventive haircuts.

I had a look at this tutorial before getting started. Cress will give the hair a different look from those pictured in the tutorial, but hopefully the kids will enjoy eating the offcuts. Although K is a ridiculously fussy eater he is generally happy to try green leafy things and often picks random sprigs of herbs from the garden to eat.

These are so easy to make. All you need is some stockings/pantihose, grass or cress seeds, some soil/potting mix, glue and some things to decorate with (we used googly eyes and mouths cut out of felt). I stretched each child's stocking over a cup to make it easier for them to fill, then had them spoon a couple of spoonfuls of cress seeds into the toe. 

Then we filled the stockings with potting mix up to the top of the cup and pressed it in firmly. 

I took the stockings out and made sure the soil was shaped into a nice oval 'head', then tied a knot in each one leaving about 10cm of stocking hanging down (later this acts as a wick to draw water up into the soil). Then came the fun part - decorating. We used white craft glue, which is not waterproof and will probably lead to bits dropping off the heads later. I imagine the glue gun might be more effective but it was a spur-of-the-moment activity and I couldn't be bothered to get it out. I'll see how the craft glue goes and maybe be less lazy next time! Note: see my update before proceeding!

Lastly, I gave the heads a soak to get them started (keeping the decorated bits out of the water) and put each one in a glass of water. I recommend making the heads a little bigger than we did - cricket-ball size would be good - because it was hard to find glasses small enough for them to sit nicely on top of. These little folk just need a nice sunny windowsill to live on and they will soon - we hope - be sprouting lovely locks of edible hair. 

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