For the bored, locked-down and lonely

Activity: Make a mini moss landscape for your home

the finished moss garden with a tiny model of spongebob's pineapple house

The lovely thing about moss is that it’s all texture: some mosses are velvety, other mosses are frondy, some are spiky and some have lots of tickly little tentacles. Moss is gaining popularity as a houseplant thanks to terrariums getting trendy, but you don’t need to plant it in a mason jar or antique vitrine for it to be a beautiful and lively burst of green in your house. And the great thing about a mini moss garden is that you can make your own for almost no money!

You will need:

  • a plastic bag (for the love of god, please reuse one you have lying around)
  • some generic compost or compost designed for good drainage (i.e. cactus compost or such like)
  • some bits of broken crockery or large pebbles
  • some sand or fine gravel if you have it
  • a plant pot of your choice (optionally with a plastic plant pot to fit inside it) OR any vessel you like as long as you can make holes in the bottom of it, i.e. a biscuit tin or vintage colander (even better – pre-holed!)
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Activity: Make pixel art art

The finished product

Pixel art is charming, retro and kinda goofy, and I see no reason whatsoever to restrict it purely to the realm of the computer monitor. I want pixel art I can enjoy in an analogue setting; I need pixel art on my walls; I demand pixel art in my kitchen. And since I’m sure you feel exactly the same way, let’s make some pixel art art together.

You will need:

  • An image editing/painting application such as Photoshop, MS Paint or GIMP
  • Some paper and coloured pencils, a canvas and paint or a medium of your preference (perhaps even cross-stitch kit!)
  1. Set up your digital canvas

A good real-life pixel size is about 1cm square. With this in mind, you need to measure your canvas and figure out the dimensions of your digital canvas. I actually had a couple of cheap canvases lying around so I took this mini one and measured it – it was 20x20cm, meaning that I can work on a digital canvas 20×20 pixels in size. Create a new artwork in your art software with those dimensions and fill the canvas with the principal background colour you want. Then, obviously, zoom right in so you can see what you’re doing.

A 20 by 20 pixel canvas in photoshop

2. Lay out your foundational shape

Rather than drawing an outline like we might in traditional art, pixel art is easiest (I find) when starting with a silhouette. Pick a colour that is common in the object you want to portray, and then draw its rough shape. I decided to paint an apple, since this is going to go in my kitchen – and still-life-style I’m going to use a real apple as a reference. The silhouette doesn’t have to be perfectly accurate; pixel art is more like a cartoon, focusing on the recognisability of an artistic subject.

The silhouette of an apple drawn in a rosy red colour

3. Add in the other base colours

Old-school pixel art for games consoles and ancient computers had serious limitations, one of which being that you only had a small number of colours to work with. We don’t have to worry about these restrictions anymore (unless you want to do pixel art in hard mode) but it’s still worth picking out the base colours in the image and blocking them out on your silhouette to give you a structure to build upon for the next steps.

Now the apple has a green side and a red side
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Tutorial: Press some flowers


  • you will be required to take a walk outside (even if it’s only to your garden / balcony): this is good for you
  • it takes two weeks for the flowers to dry out: this gives you something to look forward to
  • they make great gifts for yourself or someone else – frame them, make a bookmark, make a card


Go for a walk. Look out for wildflowers. Look closely. Go for something that intrigues you. It really doesn’t matter what they are. They could be weeds. Pick two or three. Ideally, they should have a reasonably flat bloom. I found some of these in an overgrown patch of the garden.

nigella bloom


Cut them so that they still have small stems. If there is water on them, gently dab them, and leave them to dry on a piece of kitchen roll.


Place the flowers on a piece of cardboard. Make sure they’re not touching each other. Place another piece of cardboard on top, so they’re sandwiched in. Put a heavy book, or a stack of books, on top of them. Leave for two weeks.


Carefully remove the top layer of cardboard. Use tweezers to gently lift the pressed flowers. Arrange them on a piece of paper. Glue down. Frame. (Or glue them onto card to make a greetings card or bookmark).

beautiful pressed flowers mounted on watercolour paper in a glass frame