One of my favorite things about the holiday season is growing bulbs indoors. I do this for both Christmas and Easter. There is something about growing flowers indoors during the chilly winter months. During Christmastime, I especially love growing paperwhites. This is a fail-proof project for even those with a brown thumb. If you have grown paper whites in the past, I can bet that one of your biggest pet peeves and mine too is that when they grow tall they often flop over from gravity. Sure, there are ways to add things to the water to stunt their growth, but why harm the bulb? This year, I wanted to show you a simple and easy way to grow paperwhites without them falling over. I love to give these as gifts. They are simple and stunning and I’m going to show you how to make them!
I love celebrating Halloween with my kids. Both of my kids do not enjoy being spooked with scary masks or things that go bump in the night, but rather they enjoy the more whimsical side of Halloween. This year, we were especially lucky that my editor at DIY Network had kid-friendly Halloween crafts in mind and our friends at Shari’s Berries sent along a treat to top off our day of crafting. It was a fun day filled with tricks and treats.
This past week I presented at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA. Each year, one of my favorite things to do is meet up with the kids attending the fair. I love to get kids excited about art and put on a workshop just for them. This past year we did bookmarks and this year I decided to inspire the kids’ creativity with paper chicken friends.
Last month, we quietly slipped away for a family vacation. It had been so long since we had taken a really big vacation. Off we went, even the kiddos, to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. We had such a blast exploring. We hiked to waterfalls, rode horses, swam in the most amazing lagoons with sea turtles, snorkeled, sailed, and peered into a sleeping volcano. Of course it is never long enough and I knew it was a complete success when my kids asked me when we could return. As I was unpacking the bags, I realized that the kids had picked up maps, brochures and oodles of pamphlets. To me, holding onto these meant something to them. So instead of putting them away in a box to collect dust, I scooped them up and decided to turn them into this vacation shadowbox.
I used to love making pom poms as a little girls with my Mom. We would sit there for hours making them and putting them on hats, scarves and afghans that she knitted throughout the year. I was always intrigued with the “magic” of how the pom poms and tassels would come together. I’d watch her intensely, committing the techniques to memory in my seven year old mind. I can still “see” her working the yarn in her hands and fingers if I close my eyes. This past week, I decided to share my love of pom poms with my daughter. She absolutely adores strawberries. So with that as our inspiration, we turned her favorite fruit into a sweet fluffy, bouncy ball of red and green strawberry pom pom for her backpack. I created a cardboard template that worked well with with her small hands and in no time we ended up with a dotted red pom pom ready for quite a hair cut.
I love celebrating the 4th of July with my family on Cape Cod. I have fond memories as a little girl playing with sparklers. In fact, we looked forward to them each year. Unfortunately, fireworks, and yes-sadly sparklers, are illegal in the state of Massachusetts. This year I thought that it would be fun to make some sparklers out of glitter bombed tulle fabric from my local fabric store. With a little bit of help from the kiddos and bit in ingenuity, we were able to make these sparkler beauties to bring the the local parade.
One of our favorite things to do at home on a rainy day is make creations with bakeable clay. It’s great fun for the family. In fact, it’s fun for folks of all ages. The clay comes in every color imaginable and it is so much fun being able to permanently capture the kids’ creations. As we were sitting around the table, I spied a block of copper colored clay. How fun would it be to transform it into clay garden markers? With small cookie cutters, I got to work and made a bunch for the spring inspired windowsill garden.
I admit that I tend to keep things. I typically save things that I might just find a use for later on. This has been especially true since I started creating for HGTV five years ago. It’s hard to believe that it has been that long, until I look at bins of “saved” things that somehow find their way into the projects that I do. When we were cleaning out a home of a relative recently, I discovered oodles of paper coffee filters. We didn’t have a coffee maker that used that kind, but surely they could end up in a craft. As I thought, I pretended they were origami paper. They folded into a perfect flower petal. Well at least that is what I saw. Wouldn’t they make a gorgeous coffee filter wreath?
I love gardening in miniature and with spring in the air I could not help myself. My daughter and I decided to create a miniature garden that we would both love to spend time in. With a cottage garden as inspiration, the entire miniature garden came together in under an hour’s time. We had so much fun creating this outdoor scene. For the plantings we chose pansies, grape hyacinths, lettuce, lavender, dianthus and english daisies. We even used a small little bit of sedum. I’ll share more on that later.
Every year the kids and I decorate eggs for Easter. Some years, we use the traditional dyeing kits. They’re always great fun and I love the way my kids wriggle up their noses at the colorful dishes filled with white vinegar. In years past, we have also tried our hand at using sharpies, decorating with pysansky techniques and even making natural ones like these. I made these beautiful eggs with ordinary ingredients from my kitchen pantry. Using white shelled eggs as my base, I was able to dye eggs naturally with herbs and spices. I love the way they turned out.