Not only birds, but their natural enemies, cats and dogs, may be provided with homemade resting places. A friend of the author's acquaintance has a tortoise-shell cat which rejoices in a hand-made basket of brown and buff, with a touch of turquoise blue, which looks particularly charming with his tawny coloring. Finding this basket by the fireside, he proceeded to investigate with eyes, nose and claws, and the result being satisfactory, he at once took possession and has used it over two years.
The first requisites of baskets to hold potted plants should be strength and simplicity; coarse materials, No. 5 for spokes and Nos. 3 and 4 for weaving, should be used. A wooden bottom may be used and this adds to the strength of the basket. Basswood of 3/8 inch thickness makes a good base. The size of the bottom having been decided on (9 or 10 inches would be suitable for a fern, or a small palm), a circle should be drawn on the wood with a compass, and the circular piece sawed out with a keyhole saw. The edges should be filed smooth and sandpapered. Inside this circle from the same center another circle should be drawn 1/2 inch inside this one, as a guide line along which points can be drawn for holes to be bored. These holes should be not more than 3/4 inch apart to insure firm weaving. The holes should be bored on the points thus indicated with a bit 1-6 inch in diameter. If it proves difficult to mark the points with a rule, the compass set to 3/4 inch may be used to "step off" the required points on the guide line. To cut the spokes for a wooden bottomed basket it is necessary to first decide on the height desired, then double this and add one inch for the space between the holes, as each spoke goes from the top of the basket down through a hole, across the bottom of the wood to the next hole and then up. There should, of course, be half as many spokes as there are holes. These long strips should be cut and rolled and soaked in hot water until pliable. The weavers must also be soft. The weaving may be done with double or triple weave, and a row of open work adds to the effect, as the dull red of the pottery showing through adds a nice note of color. The border should be flat, rather than coiled One of the photographs shows an open weave ornamented by adding spokes to form a cross in each open space. The borders illustrated are all made strong by inserting extra spokes.
Baskets For Holding Cut Flowers
Jardinieres And A Cut Flower Holder
Baskets to be used as jardinieres may be stiffened by staining with oil paints mixed with much turpentine to prevent shininess. A very good color combination is that of burnt sienna and Prussian blue mixed so as to give a cloudy effect of greenish brown. This coloring harmonizes with potted ferns as well as flowering plants. The baskets are made less liable to warp by protecting the surface with the oil paint, and as plant baskets are often used on a veranda, this seems worth consideration. If it is desired to conceal the edge of the wooden bottom, this may be done by tacking a braid on, over the edge of the wood, or by putting in extra spokes, short ones, from the back of the basket upward, leaving ends about two inches long, on which a few rows of weaving and a border may be put as shown in the photographic illustrations.
Jardinieres of all reed are rather difficult, on account of the great length of the spokes required, but this difficulty may be obviated by weaving the bottom first, on eight spokes 10 inches long, exactly like the bottom of a small basket. When the weaving has proceeded nearly to the end of the spokes, a strip 14 inches long may be inserted beside each spoke, the basket turned up omitting these ends, which may be cut off or used to form a woven base similar to that already mentioned.
When cut flowers have to be transported from place to place it is desirable to have them protected from light and dust. Two simple baskets are illustrated which may be used for this purpose; one represents a small basket, about 8 inches across, intended especially for the packing of a bunch of violets, the raised cover preventing the crushing of the topmost blossoms. One florist recently used five dozen similar to this. The larger basket allows cut flowers to he loosely without bending the stems. A side view of this large basket is shown with the jardinieres.
These baskets are very suitable to decorate with color. The smaller ones are attractive dipped after they are completed in a soft toned dye bath - baby blue in Diamond Dyes gives a delicate dull blue, and Easy Dye gives tan, dull green and lavender. The latter color and old rose, however, are hard to render permanent on reed. Large baskets are liable to lose their shape if dipped in dye, and are more satisfactory stained with oil paint and turpentine, as described above.
Glass-Bottomed Tea Tray. Small Flat Baskets
Trays are most fascinating examples of the basket-makers' art. The woven one at the left offers but little difficulty, as it resembles a low, round basket, but the glass bottomed one is quite complex. A wooden bottom must be used to keep the glass in place, and the weaving is done around this. To accomplish this, it is necessary to use a large piece of cardboard on which a line is drawn exactly the size of the wooden bottom, to hold the weaving in place. The cardboard is pierced with holes one-half inch apart through which small spokes are run, projecting both above and below the cardboard about 4 inches. The top may then be woven 1 1/2 inches high. The upright ends of the spokes should then be worked down through as far as the wooden bottom and pulled out inside to make a border as illustrated in the photograph. The cardboard may then be pulled out, the glass, cretonne and wooden bottom put in place, and the weaving continued to form the lower part of the tray. A very good finish is made by bending the bottom of the spokes in toward the center, and weaving a border on the bottom of the tray to hold the board solid.
Space cannot be given here to directions for elaborate borders, handles and covers, as only the most elementary principles can be taught in so brief a paper. But the appended illustrations of actual baskets, most of which were made in a home for chronic invalids, will offer suggestion as to the methods of working out the more difficult problems of the fitting of covers and adjusting of suitable handles. The large basket shown in detail, shows an interesting method of dealing with the cover; as this sinking of the handle allows the basket to be packed in a trunk without taking up undue space. The handles of this basket are wound with heavy chair cane. It is also strengthened by cords of No. 6 weave around the sides.
The most interesting feature of all these baskets is the original manner of applying the various weaves, and it is hoped that the reader will devise still more quaint and practical designs.