This is the first year that I’m celebrating Kwanzaa, in a long time since I was younger! When I was young, I loved how my grandparents and aunt celebrated it every year! It is an amazing and meaningful holiday to help celebrate our culture! So it’s time to bring the tradition back and to help my son learn it’s meaning and principles. In doing this we read a book together that explains Kwanzaa’s principles and meanings! I also wanted to do some activities with him celebrating it! I remembered this easy but fun craft activity making the Mkeka mat out of construction paper. The Mkeka mat is a traditional straw or woven textile. It represents the base for the other six symbols of Kwanzaa, that nothing can be built without having a foundation upon with to rest.
I hope you all enjoy the activity!
Construction Paper Woven Mkeka Mat
-1 of each color of construction paper (black, red and green)
-Glue stick or glue
1. Once you gather all materials, take you black piece of construction paper and fold it in half.
2. While black sheet is still folded in half, cut slits to from folded half to close to the end of the sheet. Make several slits as much as your paper can allow. I did 8-9 slits, see below photo.
3. With the remaining sheets green and red cut into strips. As much as the paper allows. Vertical strips not horizontal.
4. With your first strip green or red, start to weave it into the black paper taking it over/under until you see a pattern. Once your first strip is complete I like to glue it on each end for security!
5. Weave as many strips as you can to the black sheet alternating colors green, black then red. Once complete, make sure all strips are glued at both ends, flip over and that’s it!
This post is dedicated to all our plant caretakers out there! For those who love plants and to those plants who appreciate the love lol! This is to let everyone know and understand what inspires my new art projects! This tells the story of how I started my hand painted plant pot collection!
My love of plants grew even stronger this year with help and guidance from an “OG” planter, my bestie since high school who is like a sister to me now of course! She is known to many as “Local Far and Wide” or Bri & Bern’s on social media but to me she is sooo much more! This year alone we have done so many activities involving plants specifically from, DIYing our own personal indoor greenhouses, to deciding what plants we both like and appreciate! Learning new plants and caring methods to decor plant style for homes! FaceTime calls with mutual love and advice on certain plant care methods! This was all through the chaos of this year and was a great new avenue to help us bond some more and help in self care passions! I hope this teaches us all or encourages others to know there are creative ways of still bonding with your besties, sisters or gals in your circle! Even though you might not always be face to face finding a love or passion you both enjoy can bring you still close from afar! Don’t let this pandemic totally destroy your girl time relationships, just think of more creative ways to funnel the relationships! Whether it is daily or weekly FaceTime calls, or distance activities, online shopping advice, mom issues or even decor discussions, it’s ways out there to still keep in touch! Checking on your gals for sisterhood love and to see how their mental is fairing through this crazy time is key! I can truly say I love still being able to keep in touch with most of my sisterhood and try to do my best to check on everyone when I can!
B (@localfarandwide): The “OG” Planter
My green thumb revealed itself very early in life. I had the awesome job of taking care of my Grams’ snake plant in elementary school. Not the most difficult of feats, as snake plants are pretty resilient; but it was knocking on death’s door, and I was able to successfully resuscitate it. Plant care was clearly something I could do, not to mention enjoyed.
I started my personal collection in college, caring for cacti, pothos, and bamboo in my dorm room. Perfect and pretty easy plants for a fiscally strained (we don’t say broke) college student. My longest pothos I still have from that time. I haven’t measured it recently, but it’s well beyond 10 feet.
The rest is plant history…
Art (@artisticallyadaptive): The Rookie Planter (Backstory)
For as long as I can remember plants have been a part of my life but I was not into them! My mom loves plants and always has! Since her youth until now…her house was always a “jungle” I use to say. Her green thumb was amazing from her indoor plants/gardens to her outdoor intricate yard flower decor! She use to tell me, you have to have plants for clean air which I frankly cared nothing about at the time! You would think it would had been imbedded in my DNA from the beginning, but I fought the feeling! In my youth I did try a few plants that for some reason never lived past a few weeks! From cactuses to venous fly traps they all ended up in the trash a few weeks after my failed plant skills! So finally I just didn’t care at all about plants unfortunately. I accepted I didn’t have a niche for it and that was that. Until a few years ago, when my in laws came to visit, specifically my father in law. One day he mentioned, “Why don’t you have any plants in this house?” He figured since we were asthmatics we needed as much clear air as possible and was surprised I never thought of adding some. I replied, “Well I have a terrible green thumb and can’t keep them alive so ….?”
That next day he went out and surprised me and purchased me 4 new plants! I knew in my mind I was going to kill those too but said thank you nevertheless! He responded to my facial reaction and said, “These plants you can’t kill trust me!” From that day forward something clicked in my mind, that made me think I will not let these plants die! Ever since those three to four years ago I kept that positive mantra and all my plants have flourished this far I’m happy to say! Now I have tons of plants and love everything about them! I’ve done a complete 360 from anti plant lady to plant mom in a matter of years! I’m proud to say I think I’ve surpassed my mom in plants which she still can’t believe today. So as much as you try to ignore genetics, it gets you one way or another down the rode people!!!
Currently I have also incorporated my art talent into my love of plants. Just this year designing and launching a collection of hand painted, handmade plant pots and drip trays! These are located on my art website under my “Adaptive Essentials” tab! Each pot is hand painted or handmade if it’s resin (coming soon to the site) by me personally with a minimalist/futuristic fun design fresh off the top of my head!
We hope you enjoyed this post of sisterhood bonding experiences and feel free to share your own!
B: See all my great sips, forkfuls and trips on my page and website!!!
Art: Hope you all enjoy my new art! To see more go to my website!!
Being outdoors is the only way to be lately, when trying to social distance but still have fun! I’ve been itching to do something different, after being in the house most of the time now, except for occasional grocery store must haves! How about you? How are you and your family coping with the new way if life? Well for us of course it has not been easy…leaving it up to my creativity streak to kick in for in house or outdoor activities! I thank God for living near parks and farms to keep us entertained when necessary! So thanks to my friend I decided to drag us out early one morning for strawberry picking at the end of season!
I chose this activity based on the social distancing aspect of us keeping safe and fresh air outdoors for different scenery! I packed our masks and appropriate footwear and we were off! We chose an early time period too if 9am to avoid crowds, which was in our favor! I was a little apprehensive if we would get any good strawberries with the late attempt but I thought why not try! Surprisingly, everything worked out! We were able to gather some great berries and fill almost an entire crate! The weather was perfect for picking, with a slight breeze, since masks are our life now! This is a great activity for middle spring to the first day of summer depending on the farm you are near! The good news is after strawberries you can still pick blueberries during summer if you want to get this experience!
I wanted to share our experience to encourage others that might be like me because of the times. There are other activities you can do to have fun even in these unprecedented times! Maybe the simplest things might be the best! From chalk drawings on sidewalks, to hiking, outdoor farm trips, inflatable backyard pools/sprinklers and beyond! Just remember to bring your mask and actually wear it! Keep all necessary needs for travel in a kit like wipes, sanitizers, gloves etc. for on the go trips!
The farm that’s close to us has other things to offer that might be fun for families of all ages! Market, bakery and other outdoor activities! Some even have petting zoos! So go out there and explore just be cautious and safe! Below is the first thing I made with our fresh strawberries! Enjoy!
Check the closest farm in your area for activities!
This is Miller Farms in Clinton, MD.