Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall Leaves? DIY Project It Is!

Looking for a way to put your craftiness to good use? Well, look no further! We have the perfect, autumn-inspired DIY project to satisfy your artsy cravings.

The leaves of your favorite Maple tree have, no doubt, shuffled off their summertime green for the rosy hues of autumn. Don’t let your leaves go to waste; put them to use in your next home decor project!

The Mason Jar Candle Holder project, from Spark & Chemistry, combines festive fall aesthetics with a touch of folksiness guessed it, mason jars. It’s a simple, cost-effective way to add a little bit of fall decor to your home. Let’s get creative! 

Spark & Chemistry: Mason Jar Candle Holder

What you’ll need:
  • Leaf (real or artificial)
  • Mason Jar
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge Brush 

Step 1: Make sure the outside of your mason jar is clean. If the jar is dirty or oily, the leaves will not stick.

Step 2: Loosen up your leaves. Stiff leaves will not stick. Note: If you are using real leaves, you may want to dampen them to make them less stiff. 

Spark & Chemistry: Application

Step 3: Application - begin to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the Mason Jar using your sponge brush, one section at a time. Once a section becomes sticky, place a leaf on the jar. Apply more Mod Podge on top of the leaf in thin layers. Note: Be sure to smooth out the edges; start in the middle of the leaf and work your way to the outer edges. Don’t be afraid to use your fingers.

Step 4: Application, continued. Apply as many leaves as you desire to fill/decorate the jar.

Step 5: Once you have applied all of the leaves, let it sit for a few hours to dry.

When the jar is dry, add some finishing touches with twine or ribbon. Place a candle inside and voila! Your room will light up with beautiful fall colors and scents! 

Spark & Chemistry: Finished Product

Going to try this? Have another favorite fall craft project? Tell us about it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Food: Grow It Yourself

It goes without saying that, no matter where you fall on the dietary preference spectrum, most of us prefer naturally-grown food. Put simply, organic and natural foods do right not only by humans, but our environment.

But here's the rub; nowadays, grocery stores are so full of different products, with different labels bearing different criteria, that become a challenge to figure out what's what. Likewise, the costs associated with products dubbed “natural” and “organic” is rising.

So, is there a way to know exactly what you’re getting and not break the bank getting it? Yep. It’s called growing your own garden.

Now, vegetable gardening seems like a lot of work to many folks. But, before you stop reading this article because it seems too complicated to grow your own food, know this – A to Z, having your own garden can be surprisingly easy. Let’s keep it simple by using the “5 Ws…”

Well, you of course! No expert master gardeners required to get this off the ground. Your whole family can join the bandwagon and this can be a one big project.

Well, since gardens are customizable, where won't be a problem. Your garden can be in your backyard, front yard, along the side, wherever you feel accessible and comfortable for it to be because that's the purpose of all this – accessibility. While selecting this space, take stock of sunlight. Ask yourself, “will there be enough sunlight?” This is crucial. Your vegetables love sunlight. They need six hours of full sun every day. Also, avoid planting near trees. Not only do they block that precious sunlight, but they will also sap the nutrients needed for your plants.

The best time to plant will depend wherever you are. Still, this is a trick for a newcomer. Thanks to technology, there are apps that are able to tell you what to plant at a certain time, based on your region. For example, you can try the When to Plant app.

Here’s the big one. Some people research for months on what they want to plant based on eating habits, others just go to the garden center and pick out whatever they’re into at the time. Either method works, just as long as you choose plants that will work on your climate, your kind of soil and the amount of sunlight needed and available. Your garden center and other experts can definitely help you out. 

Oh, there are so many reasons why! For one, when you grow your own food, you get peace of mind because you know it's safe. It’s environmentally-friendly because you’re not leaning on pesticides and harmful chemicals. And, it’s cheaper than the produce that you can get from supermarkets!

Beyond the obvious, it’s important to note that many folks consider gardening to hold therapeutic properties. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, “the therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the 'Father of American Psychiatry,' was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals.”

And, with the versatility of your personal garden, you have the opportunity to make it however you’d like!

With that being said, we’d love to hear what the popular items are in your garden! Leave us a comment & happy gardening!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Organic. What is it?

The term “organic” has become a hot buzzword in recent years. As more and more people learn about what’s in their food - and where that food comes from - organically grown/raised products have seen a sharp rise in sales.

But, what makes a plant ‘organic?’

Simply put, organically-grown foods are those cultivated carefully and effectively without the use of harsh pesticides. Farmers who grow certified organic products rely on their knowledge of the land and sustainable practices - not chemicals that so many large producers have come to rely on.

Here at Mississippi Topsoils, we clearly support the idea of chemical-free solutions; it’s the foundation of our mission.

So, whether we’re talking about crops in the field, or foods on the shelf of your local grocery store, what makes organic different? Well, here are a few reasons.


Conventionally-grown crops rely on synthetic pesticides as the line of defense against molds, insects and diseases. They’re certainly effective, but here’s the problem; when farmers spray their crops with pesticides, they leave a chemical residue. On the flip side, organic farmers use insect traps, careful crop selection, predator insects or beneficial microorganisms to control growing conditions, eliminating the need for harsh toxic chemicals. So, by buying organically grown foods, you’re definitely limiting your exposure to pesticides.


There are some extremely tight regulations placed on foods in order to certify them as organic, and one of them involves food additives. When it comes to non-perishable goods, certified organic products are forbidden to have processing aids (substances used during processing, but not added directly to food) and fortifying agents. These are more commonly known as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings and monosodium glutamate.


The reasons folks buy organic extend beyond chemical compounds. There are a lot of people who look for the organic label for environmental reasons. Organic farming practices take excellent care of the environment; since chemical solutions aren’t part of the equation, organic production methods are carefully crafted to reduce pollution, conserve water and improve soil quality.

So, there you have it - a short list of reasons why many folks go organic. Are you an organic grower or shopper? Why do you choose the all-natural route? Leave us a comment and tell us!