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may day flowers

April 25, 2014

may day flowers

For Friday field trip this week, we are stepping back in time to honor an old tradition that celebrates the start of spring.   Up until the end of the 20th century, part of the May Day tradition included leaving flowers anonymously on neighbor’s doorsteps on May 1st as a signal to the start of spring.

may day tradition

Last year I had some fun making hanging flower containers with driftwood, shells, and repurposed glass tubes.  This year, I am creating some gifts of floral spheres that are easy to create using flower oasis and grocery store flowers.

oasis ballI am starting by cutting a block of oasis material into a four inch square.  (Oasis is available at any dollar store, craft store, or flower shop.)

The material is very easy to cut with a serrated knife, but can be messy – be sure to cover your work surface with newspaper before starting this process.

After cutting a square cube, sculpt the material into a sphere shape using your knife.

Once the shape is created, let the material soak up water by submerging it in a container of room temperature tap water.

Next, add flowers.  Pins or fasteners will not be required to attach the flowers if flowers with stiff stems are chosen – like the ones I have used here.  Just leave some length on the stems so they can be poked into the material.

Place the flower heads in close enough to each other to prevent seeing glimpses of the surface (to avoid needing any additional filler flowers).

A 4″ cube can easily be filled with a small bouquet from the grocery store florist…or flowers from your garden – if you are lucky enough to be in a part of the country that makes this possible!

may day purple flower

Now you have created a beautiful sphere shaped flower arrangement that can be displayed in any small container that accommodates the size of the sphere.  I have used a sugar bowl and a small flower pot.

No fear, if you want to continue the May Day tradition of hanging your arrangement, this is easy to accomplish.  Before adding the flowers, attach some twine around the sphere and you can easily hang your May Day arrangement.

may day flowers in a sugar bowl

Take note that hanging is possible because of the small size of the sphere.  Because the added water adds weight to the sphere, this would not work with a larger size sphere – the twine would cut through the material.  And be sure to use twine – moisture from the water would stain a ribbon.

preparing circular oasis

I much prefer the sphere displayed in a container, but if you need to follow the tradition to the letter, your arrangement can be hung on a nearby doorknob. ;)

circle of hanging flowers

Happy May Day!

may day yellow flowers

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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homage to earth day

April 22, 2014

earth day quote

Pretty much every item you can think of on this earth (pun intended) has been covered with chalkboard paint, hasn’t it?  So, I am pretty certain someone has already thought to paint a globe with chalkboard paint.

earth day quote

I think it is a great way to revamp an outdated globe and to honor our dear Mother Earth on Earth Day!  I just couldn’t convince myself to throw it out during the purging of all the old ‘stuff’ I cleared from the ‘new’ guest room…I have a particular fondness for globes – outdated or not – since one of my children was born on Earth Day!

chalkboard globe

So, now the old globe sits proudly in the new guest room.

And, since the globe is an accessory (my second!)  in the room where guests will be staying, my idea was to decorate the chalkboard in one of two ways:

1.  To write Welcome!  in an outline shape of my state (Connecticut),  or

chalkboard globe

2.  Draw two states – mine and the one the visiting guests hail from!

Earth Day quote

In light of the occasion, you may also enjoy this post on repurposing brown bags…Happy Earth Day!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. I took the butterfly photos in this post used with the quotes last summer – we haven’t had any weather yet this year that warrants butterflies!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing with Finding Silver Pennies, Sand & Sisal, and Coastal Charm.

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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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