Archive for February, 2012
A hops wreath is one of the crafts you can make from your hops garden. The hop bines (yes bines, not vines) can be used for any project that uses flexible and fibrous vines or bines. Hop
plants are a relative of hemp plants which have been used for thousands of years for making rope and other strong fibrous fabrics, twine, rope… A single hop plant can produce dozens of bines after a few years.
Hops are easy to grow. All they require is fertile, well draining soil, sunlight, water and preferably vertical space to grow (10 to 20 feet high if possible). Many do have success growing horizontally along fences – it is harder to harvest this way. The easiest way to grow hops and harvest them is to use twine or rope for them to climb. I use a pulley system which makes harvest easy and from the ground – no ladder required after the pulleys are mounted to a building, pole, tree or other structure. Check out the sitemap at the top of this blog for more articles on how to grow hops.
You can make a hops wreath with or without the foliage depending upon the look you are after. Making a wreath with foliage is a bit trickier but doable. You just wrap the bines around a form, usually a circle made of wood or wire, anything your imagination can come up with. Of coarse you can use any shape you wish – a heart, triangle, animal shape, just about anything you can think of. There is no one way to do this, just go with it. The pictured hops wreath above is for sale from Amazon for $200. Maybe you could sell your own creations?
As far as other crafts made of hops, you can make any shaped craft other than a traditional wreath. Make a person, an animal, scarecrow, or anything your mind can come up with. You can make a relaxing hop tea or tincture out of the hop cones. A relaxing hop pillow is another simple project made out of hop cones – they work amazingly at relaxing and helping you to fall asleep quickly – a great drug-free insomnia treatment!
If you are looking for instructional material on making hops wreaths, just Google it, search on Youtube, check on Pinterest and other craft websites. You can use hops for many things, not just making beers and ales. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with. You might surprise yourself what you can do with the hop bines that are usually thrown away by folks that grow hops for home brewing. Find a home brewer or start your own hop garden to supply your new found love of hops wreath crafting with hop bines and hop cones.
A hops pillow can help you relax, de-stress and sleep. People ask me all the time what can hops be used for other than brewing beer and ales. There are many uses for hops, as an herbal relaxation remedy, they have been used for thousands of years by herbalists and natural healers. Just smelling hops relaxes you and can make you sleepy, making them a great sleep aid. Hops are one of the more powerful relaxing herbs there are.
When we say hops pillow, it is not a full sized pillow, it is a small breathable bag or sachet filled with hops. Muslin bags work well for these – just fill one with fresh or recently harvested hops or well preserved hops. You can place this under your pillow or near your head where you sleep. Take a few whiffs and drift off into a relaxing sleep. Hops are aromatic and quite pleasant to smell. If you wish, you can add other relaxing herbs to your pillow like Lavender and Chamomile. Personally I don’t like too much flowery scents, I prefer the smell of hops, but that is up to you.
If you grow your own hops, you will have more hops than you could personally use for hop pillows. You can give them away as gifts, or to family or friends that are having problems sleeping. It is a great, drug free way to fall asleep. Great for calming down, relaxing and de-stressing too! If something gets you worked up, sit down and take some deep, de-stressing breaths and center yourself. It can help get you into deep meditative state sooner. If you just want to buy a hop pillow instead of making your own, stop by http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCreekHops
It is not the growing season here this time of year so I figured I would write about something hops related that might interest some additional folks. There is a lot more to hops than just beer. They also make a great relaxing tea, great looking and smelling cover plants for arbors, pergolas, gazebos, privacy fences, hop bine wreaths and other natural crafts. I will probably write something on each of these uses also until I can start writing about actually growing and caring for hops when the season begins.
There are some good selling points to get your significant other to warm up to the idea of growing hops if they are hesitant or against it for some reason. Just make it a win-win for all involved. They are very cool and fast growing plants that are fun to watch grow. So guys or gals, make a hops pillow for your mate and sell them on the benefits of growing hops!
Ok, I am an IPA guy. I love hops! If you dig hops like I do, you wait anxiously every year like I do for the annual release of Hopslam from Bells
brewery. Last year, I was not impressed – maybe it was a fluke and I received an abused six pack. (allowed to get warm/light stuck, whatever). Anyway, by the time I had a chance to give them a second chance – it was sold out. This stuff is usually that amazing that it sells out in record time, even at $17 a six pack.
Anyway, if you love hops, you must try this at least once. This is not for pussies – sorry for the truth, but, this is hoppy as shit and at 10% alcohol, not for the weak. THIS IS THE BEER/ALE I STRIVE FOR. Right now – go out and buy this – at least once in your life. If you cannot acquire Hopslam in season, buy Surly Furious. Talk about a manly friken ale - definitely separates the men from the boys. Surly Furious IS MY IPA OF CHOICE. Most are not manly enough to handle it at 100 IBU. If you are a man and appreciate real fricken ale (or a female that can hang with the big boys and/or shame the girly men) – THIS IS THE SHIT!
Alright, you know where I am coming from. Man up and see if you can hang with the big boys and girls. Try Hopslam and Surly Furious and be taken away by a hoppy, heavenly tongue tingling, hop heaven. This is the epitome of the hop experience! Hop on!