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happy easter!

April 18, 2014

easter quote

Today is Good Friday and I want to wish all my friends who celebrate, a blessed Easter!  I am excited that my family will all be together for the holiday and I hope that you too are surrounded by the ones you love this weekend.

For Friday field trip today, I have assembled some Easter posts in one place in case you need some last minute Easter inspiration…links from past posts…Enjoy!

favorite ways to decorate eggs

a vintage egg cup collection

eggs from natural dyes

a recipe for Easter butter cookies

some Easter nostalgia

Easter basket ideas for the college set

growing eggs in eggshells

diy easy paper egg holders/place cards & (grass heads for the kids!)

dyed eggs for coastal décor

dye for creating eggs in shades of gray

Thank you so much for visiting! 

Have a wonderful weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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shades of gray…and purple

April 15, 2014

gray easter eggs

Here comes the egg lady!  I joked around this week that the late night cashier at the grocery store’s ’10 items or less’ aisle must call me that!  It is probably true…I have stopped in late night at the grocery store so often lately – each time for just a carton of white eggs!

easter eggs

I already admitted I have an egg dyeing obsession…but it looks like I am now down to my last batch for the year.  It’s Easter week and, since I’m making all the desserts for Easter dinner, I have no more time to dye eggs!

gray easter egg

Any free time I have this week will now be spent planning and making the Easter desserts!

easter eggs in purple glass

I dyed my last batch of eggs in shades of gray.  I love neutral shades for egg dyeing, but gray dyed eggs are particularly beautiful.  The best way to make gray dye is to simply mix 1/2 cup of room temperature water, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and some black paste food coloring.

gray easter eggs

Because I put together a vignette with a pretty iridescent purple glass I picked up in the clearance section at Anthropologie, I decided to dye a couple of my last dozen of eggs purple before putting them into the gray dye.

easter eggs

I made various shades of gray eggs by varying the time in the dye.  I also rubbed off some of the color on the eggs so the wouldn’t look “too perfect.”

easter eggs in purple glass

The irregular shading gives them so much character!

purple and gray eggs

So that is it…the last of this year’s egg dyeing! :(  I hope you will try dyeing some gray eggs, if you haven’t already! :)

gray and purple eggs

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with StoneGableSand & Sisal, Coastal Charm

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coastal egg decorating

April 11, 2014

coastal easter egg designs

Today for Friday field trip, I’m kicking it back to kindergarten.  I’m adapting some old school techniques to egg decorating to create some Easter eggs to use in my coastal décor.

Coastal decor Easter eggs

I am using two easy techniques that you – like me – probably used in grade school, but may not have thought about using in creating your Easter egg designs!

blue ball jar and coastal eggs

It was probably earlier than kindergarten when my siblings and I discovered this first technique. ..purely by accident.  During our egg dyeing sessions, inevitably, the hard boiled eggs we were preparing to dye were constantly being dropped by our young, clumsy hands during our egg dyeing frenzy.

dyed easter eggs and tray

We would soon learn that the many cracks these drops created in the shells would cause the eggs inside to take on the dye.  When it came time to eat the eggs, no one wanted to eat the ones that had been cracked and dyed with the spider web-like effect.  Of course, as we got older, this became a cool effect that we would purposely emulate and enhance – learning by experience (the obvious) that the longer the egg remained in the dye, the more pronounced the design would appear.

beachy easter egg designs

It made me smile this month when I saw a full page in the current Real Simple magazine giving instructions to create this very same effect on an Easter egg.  The instructions said to crack the egg with a spoon…or, (not mentioned in the magazine) drop egg continually on a table while excitedly anticipating the Easter bunny’s arrival!

coastal easter eggs

The second old school technique I use on eggs wasn’t used on eggs at all back in kindergarten.  We used it to create a leaf painting.  Various shaped leaves were placed on a paper and paint, in fall colors, was splattered over the leaves.  When the leaves were removed, their shapes would appear, like magic, against the splattered background.

Coastal decor Easter eggs

The splattering was done with an old toothbrush and a Popsicle stick.  Rubbing the Popsicle stick across a paint filled toothbrush created a beautiful splattered effect.  I used this very same technique to create the eggs shown here – using brown paint on eggs dyed in sea glass colors.

coastal decor easter eggs

What was it that Robert Fulghum said?  “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten?”

splattered easter eggs

Have a great weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Common Ground, Shabby Nest, Fridays UnfoldedCraftberry Bush, and Crafts a la Mode.

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easter place cards

April 8, 2014

grass in eggshell placecard

I promised to show you how to use the grass-filled eggshells from an earlier post.  One of the ways I use them is as Easter place cards.  Making a simple paper holder, the eggs help serve as part of pretty place cards on an Easter table.

grass in eggshell placesetting

grass in eggshell easter placecards

To make the egg holder, use any scrap of fabric or paper you may find attractive that fits well with your table top color scheme.

letter stamp for diy placecards

Options can include:  a pretty paper cocktail napkin, magazine page, newspaper, scrapbook or wrapping paper, wall paper, brown paper, empty seed packets, paint chips…even birch bark.

diy paper egg stands
Just add an egg you have planted with grass…or, any decorated egg and you are good to go!

There is another way go…if you have kids, you may have seen this coming…grass heads!  Instead of adding names to the placeholders, have the children draw the person’s likeness on the egg with a marker.  Guests can be asked to find ‘their egg’ to locate their seat…sure to get the young artists giggling!

kids grasshead placecards
There is still plenty of time to plant some grass heads before Easter!

Join me Friday for more egg fun!  Friday field trip this week is kickin’ it back to kindergarten by using some easy techniques from my childhood to make some great egg designs…see you then!

Thanks for stopping by. 

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies, Little Red House, and Crafts a la Mode.

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outside the color palette?

April 4, 2014

pansies

For Friday field trip today, I am adding the first accessory to my newly decorated painted guest room.

pansy planting supplies

I hadn’t really planned to redo any rooms upstairs.  Honest.  But, one of the bedrooms desperately needed painting and that (of course) started the whole ball rolling!  That, my friends, is not the surprising part since it doesn’t usually take much to get me going in the redecorating direction!  The surprising part?  My new room color isn’t part of my usual color palette!

The color palette I created for my downstairs rooms from a photo I took of an oyster shell.  I color matched my paint colors to the colors I took from the photo.

The color palette I created for my downstairs rooms from a photo I took of an oyster shell. I color matched my paint colors to the colors I took from the photo.

I agonized over paint swatches for a good month – finally deciding on a color called ‘shortbread’ from the Martha Stewart Living paint line at Home Depot.

As a yellow/gold tone – it was a departure from my usual coastal colors. Once the room was cleaned and painted (even though my free time should really have been devoted to tax preparation!) I decided to use my limited funds on a bed frame and bedding so the room could be utilized as a guest room right away.  The rest I can complete a little at a time when the mood (or funds) are right.

guest room collage
I chose a bed frame in a gray/brown (driftwood looking) color from Ikea and proceeded to stalk all the home stores for bedding.  I decided on a gray textured spread at Home Goods and picked out some contrasting pillows – limiting myself to just two.  I also picked up a sheet set in a color that looked surprisingly similar to the color of the shortbread paint.  Basics completed!  Ready for guests!

pansy spoon

Now, for my first official accessory for the new room, I am planting some pansies in a beautiful gold tone chippy planter that I found at Anthropologie.  The pot cost me $8 and I picked up some pansies at Home Depot – my first accessory cost under $15 and I love it!

pansies in anthro pot

spring time pansies

You know – now that I really look at that room – the shortbread paint could easily be called marsh grass or coastal twilight…don’t you think?  ;)

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Little Red House, Craftberry Bush, Coastal Charm, and Mona’s Picturesque.

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book giveaway for april!

April 1, 2014

Ecobeauty by Janice cox

Congratulations to Jenna, the winner of the March book giveaway Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist!  I hope this book provides you with some inspiration to celebrate the extraordinary nature of everyday life!

It’s April 1st and I have a special “how to” book to announce for the April giveaway selection!  Ecobeauty by Lauren & Janice (photo above) Cox is a great DIY book with a hundred different projects that are easy and economical to create.  It even includes instructions on creating henna tattoos!  This mother and daughter team have created some really easy recipes to make beauty products at home as a great way to save money and help the environment.

Included are some wonderful photographs of ways to package the products and also hints for shopping for natural ingredients.  With the help of this wonderful book, you too can create products that will rival the products sold at the natural beauty product chain at your local mall!

The book offers some great gift ideas and will be the perfect inspiration to create some wonderful beauty products for your own use or as really thoughtful and beautiful Mother’s Day gifts!

Leave a comment on this post, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter during the month of April as a ‘chance’ to be entered to win!  Good luck!

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Instagram users, please read on!  For the monthly pleasure in simple things Instagram challenge, use hashtag #pleasuregram to share egg photos throughout the month!  Share your decorated eggs, eggs that inspire you, or any cool egg finds during the month!  Have fun with it!

April Instagram Challenge

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10 cool things about chewing gum

March 28, 2014

Elvis chewing gum

Elvis chewing gum. Source 

Do you remember the first time you chewed a stick of gum?  I can’t.  Although, I can remember the first time I got in trouble for chewing gum!  That was definitely on my Sunday walk to church with my grandmother – where gum chewing was strictly forbidden!  I can’t even imagine what would have happened to me if I got caught with it in the church based on her reaction when it was discovered I was chewing it on the way to church!

After I posted the tutorial on making a fake gum magnet this week, I really got to thinking about gum in general.  It is amazing how many different types and brands of gum are available today in comparison to years ago.

Birdcage gum quote

When I was a kid, I remember Wrigley’s spearmint, Juicy Fruit, Chiclets, Razzles…around Halloween time; I remember searching for Black Jack gum to use to simulate a lost tooth.  I also remember a more exotic gum no one would try called Teaberry.  For bubblegum…it was all about Bazooka. I certainly don’t remember anywhere near the selection of chewing gum we have in the stores today!

Ben Affleck chewing gum

Ben Affleck chewing gum. Source

Not only are there many more varieties of gum today, but there also seems to be many more cultural references!  Did you know it is illegal to chew gum in Singapore?  Or that the Navy Seals include chewing gum in their survival kits!  For today’s Friday field trip, some fun links showing ten other cool ways chewing gum has become part of our culture:

Nostalgic old television commercials…Remember the Doublemint twins?  The Fruit Stripe zebra?

A legendary gum wall in Seattle

“Don’t tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of gum?”  -McGyver

Squidward vs. gum

Is gum loosing its pop?

I loved making these gum wrapper paper chains when I was a kid

On Seinfeld… Elaine? or Jerry?

A great children’s book on the history of gum

How to remove gum from your hair or couch

A cool gum wrapper sculpture

Hope you enjoyed exploring a little about chewing gum in our culture for today’s Friday field trip.

Have an amazing weekend, Jackie

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april fools’ day gum magnets

March 25, 2014

April Fools' Day gum magnets

This April Fools’ Day, I am creating some fun fake gum magnets!

Years ago, I found similar magnets in a novelty shop and gave them as a gift.  They were such a hit!  I knew I could come up with a way to make some on my own and I quickly found they were super easy and very inexpensive to recreate.

Because these are great magnets for school lockers, they are perfect to slip into your child’s lunch bag on April Fools’ Day.

Fake gum magnets in two colors

To make these you will need:

  • modeling clay
  • ¾ inch round magnets
  • glue (I used Gorilla Glue)
  • rubber bands
  • your oven

That is it!  Other than some protective covering for your teeth and hands (yes, I did say teeth – read on)…

In the interest of safety, I was extremely cautious in handling the modeling material.  I used protective gloves when handling it and never let it come in contact with my body.  I encourage you to do the same.  My teeth marks may have not come out as prominent as they could have, because I had several layers of plastic between me and the modeling material!  I didn’t want to risk having any of it touch my mouth!

fake gum magnet collage

I used round ¾ inch diameter magnets.  Remember, the magnet will determine the size of the ‘gum’ since the modeling material will need to be large enough to conceal the magnet.

Gum comes in all colors these days, but I ‘stuck’ to the more traditional colors – white and bubblegum pink.  As an added bit of fun – the white modeling material I used was also glow-in-the-dark!

So, just pinch a gum-sized piece (wads) of the modeling clay and shape it into a rough oval shape.  You know what chewed gum looks like and that is the look you are trying to simulate.  Look at a real piece of chewed gum if that helps!  I may have exaggerated the size of my pieces a little bit, but I thought that made it fun!

The only thing you have to do, is to put a couple bite marks into the material…like I said, I did this with several layers of plastic over my teeth.  Then, use a magnet to mold the spot where it will later be attached – you will be gluing this on after you set your ‘gum’ pieces in the oven.

Fake gum magnet for April Fools Day

After I got the pieces looking the way I wanted, I followed the directions on the modeling material and put my pieces of ‘gum’ in the oven for half an hour to make the shapes permanent.  I put them directly on the oven rack on a piece of parchment paper.

After the pieces were cooled, I used glue (just a bead or two of Gorilla Glue) to attach the magnets – holding them snug with elastic bands since the glue swells as it dries – and let them dry overnight.

Cool, right?

I think they make a great April Fools’ Day surprise…very practical and sure to leave a smile on the recipient’s face!

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Crafts a la Mode, Craftberry Bush, and  Silver Pennies.

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visiting anthro home office

March 21, 2014

Urban Outfitters Headquarters

I checked one off the list!  The ‘places I need to visit in Philly’ list…I visited the Anthropologie Headquarters!

Sign for Urban Outfitter Headquarters

Actually -  the Urban Outfitters home office.  Urban Outfitters is the parent company for Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, and BHLDN.  So, for today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing a few photos of the public areas I visited at the headquarters located at Philadelphia’s Naval Shipyard.  The Navy Yard is a collection of historic buildings (and battleships!) on the waterfront and open daily for public visitation.  It is easily accessible by shuttle just a few miles from the center of the city.  Though it is now closed for any naval activities, the 1,200 acre business campus sits on what was once the country’s very first naval shipyard!

Urban Outfitters offices

The creative and inspiring atmosphere (with great food) inside the Urban home office makes every visitor wish they were an employee!  You can see in this photo, just like in the stores – dogs are welcome!  In the Anthro building, I actually saw a dog watching a TV as he sat in his little dog bed next to his owner’s desk!  (True story!  And, he was watching a show about dogs!)

Dogs allowed at Urban Outfitters corporate

Some of the historic Navy Yard artifacts are clearly embraced in the decor:

Naval decor at Urban Outfitters Corporate
There are two wonderful places to have lunch – both are open to the public.

lunch menu at Urban Outfitters corporate

lunch table at Urban Outfitters corporate

Yup, it is called The Navy Yard for a reason…I don’t know of any other lunch spots with a battleship view!

View from Urban Outfitters corporate

One wall makes for an impromptu museum:

Hallway Urban Outfitters corporate

Like the stores, unique and inspiring surroundings are everywhere:

Urban Outfitters Corporate

Urban Outfitters Corporate

If you look closely at this photo, you may spot the employee exercise area on the upper floor.

Urban Outfitters Headquarters in Philadelphia, PA

And here is my prime destination…Building No. 10…

Anthropologie headquarters in Philadelphia, PA
The building containing the Anthropologie headquarters…I won’t show you the inside since it is not open to the public, but I will say that I was NOT disappointed!  Oh, and here is an example of one of the many daily happenings while walking by one of the company buildings…the beginnings of a photo shoot:

photo session at Urban Outfitters

I hope you enjoyed sharing some photos of the areas open to the public at the Urban Outfitters home office…and, if you should find yourself in Philly sometime – check it out!  Because, like the stores, the home office is unique, fun, and inspiring!

Have a fabulous spring weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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growing grass in an eggshell

March 18, 2014

growing grass in eggshells

The best place to plant Easter grass?  In an eggshell of course!

Planting grass in preparation of Easter has become a tradition in my house.  Containers of many types and varieties have been hijacked over the years for the annual planting, but eggshells remain the favorite vessel of choice!

It is easy to get beautiful results with just a little preparation.   First, decide how many eggs you want to use as planters.  Buy the number of extra-large white eggs you wish to plant.  Obviously, extra-large eggs give you the most room to plant, but you can use any size.  I prefer to use white eggs since I dye them in various colors before I plant in them.

To prepare the egg, use a sharp pointed knife to pierce the pointy end of the egg – this works best with a quick, sharp jab to make a hole.  Once the shell is broken, use your fingers to carefully remove some of the shell to make room for the planting.   (If you prefer, you can turn the egg horizontally, making a hole in the side and planting the grass the long way in the egg.)

growing grass in eggshells for Easter

Empty the contents of the egg.  You can also carefully remove the thin white membrane inside the shell (optional).  Treat the shell gently.  Next, dye the egg as you would any Easter egg.  It is easy to match any décor based on the way the egg is dyed/decorated.  Put the egg in the dye very gently – filling the inside of the egg with the dye so it will sink down and completely submerge into the dye.  (You can dye the eggs before you empty them if you find it easier…I don’t – in case I should ruin one in the emptying process, I haven’t wasted the time dyeing it!)

There is no need to go out and purchase a dye kit…dye is easily created at home with food color.  I like to use paste food color, because it comes in a wide variety of colors and is very vibrant, but liquid food coloring works just as well.  This is the dye I used:

Recipe for Easter egg dye

Once the eggs are dyed and dry, you can start the planting process.  You will need potting soil, grass seed, and a spoon.  If you need to purchase grass seed, go to Home Depot and purchase the smallest bag you can find.  Pick the fast growing seed that is sold for repairing existing lawns – it really does grow fast!

Spoon potting soil carefully into each prepared egg.  I put the eggs in the original carton for the growing process…it is an easy way to keep them in position and it makes for an easy clean up.  Next, spoon grass seed to cover the dirt surface in each egg.  Then, spoon a little more potting soil on top.

grass seed and potting soil

For your first watering, use about 4 teaspoons of water in each egg.  This will give your soil the initial moistness it requires.  For every day forward, add one teaspoon of water each day and keep the carton(s) in the sunniest spot in the house you can find.

grass in eggshells day 1

It is amazing how fast the grass will grow once it is sprouted.  The day grass begins to show, it will gain quite a bit of length.  The photos I am showing here were taken the first and second day the grass started to show.  The grass will be visible in less than a week, so plan accordingly.

day 6 grass in eggshells

Like any grass outside, this grass can be trimmed – just use scissors.

The same planting process can be used for any container…just be sure to protect any surfaces that are not waterproof…I line containers with a plastic sandwich bag if needed.

And that is it!  Very satisfying results in under a week!  What am I planning for these cuties?  I will share that with you in an upcoming post.  Meanwhile…give it a try!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry BushCrafts a la ModeCoastal Charm and  We Call it Junkin.

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