A Crystal Garden


  1 brick (or piece of concrete block or lump of coal
      - something that can soak up solution
      without falling apart or mouldering,
      and support crystals)
  4 tbsp bluing (what people used to use to make their
      laundry look whiter.
      It's a colloidal suspension of tiny iron
      particles in water, which gives the salt
      something to crystallize around.)
  4 tbsp table salt
  1 tbsp ammonia
  4 tbsp water
  food coloring or ink (optional - to add more color)
  bowl or high-sided decorative plate


  Break brick into chunks.
  Place in bowl.
  Mix salt, bluing, water, ammonia, and
    pour over brick pieces.
  Drop food coloring for decoration here and there
    on brick pieces.
  Let sit undisturbed, in a dry place, for at least
    overnight to several days.
  Add more salt, bluing and water to bottom of bowl
    every now and then to grow more crystals.
  Caution: crystals are very fragile.

  A source of laundry bluing:
  Mrs. Stewart's Bluing
  (thanks to Greg for info)

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last update 1-30-99