Yesterday was the first day of spring, which means this will be happening soon. Rosemary, chives, cilantro, lavender, kale and violas will be joining the thyme and aloe, both of which should be awakening and growing strong again in no time. All this along with a new adventure with wheat berries planted in pots just in time to spring to life by Easter morning. And of course there will be plenty of chocolate eggs and sweet treats tucked right in the middle of this new life. Could be that’s why spring planting and pudgy fingers go together so well.
It seems that digging in the dirt isn’t just for kids or just boys for that matter. What is it about dirt digging that’s so good for the soul? Read More
When you buy a two-story brick house with a window tucked in the high peak above the garage, then it will all but beg for a window box.
And when your kids reach a stage of life where they can fin for themselves in many ways, then you may even find that you can keep both kids AND plants thriving at the same time. It’s a harmony of sorts that seems almost unattainable in the throws of so much hands-on parenting in the early years.
And sometimes, when each exciting event comes all tripping on the heels of the next, planting flowers just doesn’t take priority. But soon enough, along comes a day, like Mother’s Day, when it’s easier than most to recruit an entire family of gardeners and you’ll find the boxes, baskets and pots bursting with blooms in no time.
And then all that’s left to do is enjoy the colorful welcome home that greets you each time you return home.
And the designated photographer may find himself getting all artsy too and snap a few non-family-planting shots.
And how can that not bring a smile to your face. Kids planting, and photographing and being all artsy.
And you’ll also find yourself, looking in the rear view mirror as you pull away just to get a tiny glimpse of the beauty that brings you back home.
Just because you can.
So what are your favorite annuals for hanging baskets and window boxes? I do hope your weekend involves a bit of family, along with some blooms and maybe even a bit of digging in the dirt.
I want to let you in on a little secret I discovered when it comes to real life gardening. Most of us love Pinterest for all sorts of inspiration, and photo filters for the way that can make a picture almost as awesome as if you were there. But, there’s nothing that can replace real life.
Spring weather makes most of us itch to plant flowers and spruce up our outdoor spaces. Instead of the usual Pinterest search, might I suggest simply grabbing your camera and taking a stroll. In your own community. With real live plants and flowers and people who are generally more than happy to share why their Iris are so vibrant or their roses are climbing so well.
If you can arrange a mid-morning stroll after a late night storm you’ll find the most beautiful hue making everything a bit magical, from the layers of green to the vibrant flowers and architectural details that draw you into their charm.
Gates and Secret Gardens
Arched wooden gate
Layers of Green
And the best combination brings all of these together in a seemingly effortless space that draws us in and makes us want to stay a while.
At the end of just 15 minutes, you’ll have all the inspiration and information you need to plan your own outdoor spaces. And you may even strike up a conversation with a few new people along the way. Because what’s the point of a beautiful garden if it can’t be enjoyed by as many people as possible?
One of the perks of our house is that the deck is right off the kitchen. It’s a great place to eat breakfast and lunch and the perfect spot for a potted herb garden. When our “bedheads” were little we had herbs in a raised bed garden in the back of our yard. It’s so much nicer having them right outside the kitchen door.
As I was perusing Pinterest a week or two ago I came across these adorable plant markers by Amanda over at Wit and Whistle. I love everything about the ones she made. The color, the size, the simplicity. I decided to try some as part of this series, and chose a bright color that I’m quite sure my kids would have gone with a few years ago.
And while we’re speaking of plants, I’ve finally learned that it’s good to keep a garden journal of some sort from year to year. How else can I be expected to remember types of plants, colors I preferred, what worked in which spot and how I killed each plant? Welcome to the ugly reality of my world. FYI – hydrangeas are a very thirsty sort of little beauty.
Supplies needed for the Raised Beds and Raising Bedheads Kid-tested Mom-approved Gift Set
Polymer clay – one package will make 4 – 6 plant markers
Thin line permanent marker
blank journal with write-able cardstock type cover
calligraphy pen – I use a 2.0 mm size in black
Making the Polymer Plant Marker
You can click here to read Amanda’s post about her plant markers. The basic steps are as follows …
Place your plant markers on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake according to package directions. Once they have cooled, you can go over each letter with a permanent marker to make them stand out a little more.
That’s it! This is such a quick, inexpensive project that can be done by children of all ages. And it’s easy to add your own little touches by changing the labeling, or mixing colors of clay, or even the size and shape of the marker itself.
Making the Garden Journal
The Garden Journal is a very simple project that you add your own quotes and touches throughout. Click on the link or picture above for a quick video of how I did mine …
Tips and Tidbits that I may or may not have learned the hard way
Wash your hands before you start either of these projects. If not, you may realize after shaping the plant markers that remnants of chalkboard paint that had dried on your hands during a previous project will become part of your polymer clay. It doesn’t come out. That’s just a hypothetical situation for you.
You may also want to read the directions on your polymer clay before throwing it in the bottom of the trash can where you can’t dig for it. Or at the very least, remember exactly which clay you finally settled on and purchased, since the baking times and temperatures vary from clay to clay. There are some great tips on baking polymer clay here at polymerclayer.com
So what color clay would you use for a plant marker? And if you have good quotes to add to a Garden Journal, we would love for you to share them.
Last week I shared a round-up of mostly handmade gifts that you could purchase for Mother’s Day and today, drumroll please, we’re starting some tutorials for affordable DIY gifts that you truly can do. I promise!
And the cool thing? They can be easily completed by pretty much anyone – from 9 months to 90 years old! I’ll have a little evidence to back up that statement later in the series.
AND, these gifts are mom-approved, heartfelt and cool gifts that don’t involve macaroni. Nothing against macaroni, but it’s nice to have some fresh classy gift ideas!
Our first project is affectionately called the “My Mom Rocks” set! You’ll see what I did there in a bit.
Supplies for the My Mom Rocks Set
clay pot and saucer
flower or plant of some sort to fit in the pot
acrylic or chalkboard paints
rocks ranging from 1″ – 3″ in diameter
krylon spray – crystal clear or chalkboard coat
kids and a bit of space that can get a little messy, or a drop cloth
Steps for making the My Mom Rocks Pot
The first step is to tape off the clay pot so you can paint a straight edge.
My pot is painted with black chalkboard paint, though you can use any color of acrylic paint that you choose and spray it after it dries with a chalkboard spray coat. It’s a fairly new product that gives any paint a chalkboard finish – all projects are now considered fair game for the chalkboard effect!
Then just paint away. I did paint the top edge and about 2″ down inside of my pot, though it isn’t necessary. I liked the look of it, and it meant I didn’t have to be careful about painting a straight line inside the pot. After it dried I sprayed it with some Krylon Clear Coat. Even with the Krylon, chalk can easily be applied and wiped off.
Add your plant and whatever phrase you would like with your chalk. I used a chalk marker in the photo above, though plain sticks of chalk will also work.
Steps for Painting the Rocks
This part is REALLY straightforward and can be done by pretty much anyone. Just gather up a collection of rocks, paint them with acrylic paints in whatever design and color you can dream up. Once they have dried, apply a protective finish, like the Krylon Clear Coat spray.
The Finished Set
A Few Extra Tips and Thoughts…
As a Mom, I have always loved things that the kids made that were a little cattywampus and obviously kid-created. If you’re working with especially young children, you could tape off more of the pot and let them finger paint in Mom’s favorite colors, or experiment with paint brushes on the top of the pot. Simply spray it with the chalkboard spray when you’re done and it will be a colorful addition to any table.
The two outside pots are now quite chippy and “embarrassing” according to my kids, but I absolutely love their kid-flare and well-loved pop of fun color on our deck. I even used an old pot I had in the basement for the My Mom Rocks pot. It saved a trip to the store to buy more stuff, and I like it’s slightly aged look.
The same really goes for the rocks. When mine were little they would paint about 1″ thick on whatever surface we were working with. Great! Let them do it. You can wipe off some of the paint, if you don’t have a full week for paint that thick to dry, and the result is a pretty cool impressionistic look.
If your Mom, or Grandma or whoever will be receiving your Mom Rocks Set, likes to do crafty things, then consider giving her a finished pot with a flower along with the necessary supplies and a “date coupon” to spend an afternoon or evening painting together. It will definitely be a memorable gift!
Stay tuned for more inexpensive, kid tested, mom approved gifts throughout the week. Simple enough for toddlers, and classy enough for grown-ups to make for a special Mom in their lives. And as usual, include any pictures of finished My Mom Rocks sets that you create.
For years, Steve and I have quipped that it seemed impossible for me to raise both children and plants at the same time. Either the plants were watered and the kids were neglected, or the kids were thriving and the plants were thirsty. Very. Thirsty. It wasn’t a cruel comment, just an acceptance of the stage of life we were living in at the time.
But not this spring! Nope! This year there seems to be all sorts of color bursting from the soil.
AND.. Kids in the midst of all sorts of growing up and launching phases of life. The wonder of these two miracles coexisting in perfect harmony makes my Mama heart want to burst some days. Just like the colors in our new window box.
May your weekend be filled with plenty of harmony where you had once believed it could never exist.