Tide Pods Container Crafts: Make a Halloween Luminaire

Tide Pods Halloween Craft

I’d been rolling ideas around in my head since spring about saving and reusing those Tide Pods Containers for Halloween crafts.  They are so obviously pumpkin-shaped,  and with an orange top,  how I could resist.

But then I read warnings against using them as candy containers.  Tide Pods already had a bad rap about kids thinking they were candy. I had to do something, so I came up with this cute luminaire.

This is how to make one:

You will need:

  • Tide Pods or another similar detergent container
  • Black, yellow,  or orange tissue paper
  • Stiff white paper.
  • White crayon or chalk (for tracing on black tissue
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Glue that dries clear
  • Solar light or battery operated candle
  • Yellow paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Orange watercolor and brush
  • Black Sharpie

1.  Remove the peel by soaking the container in water (fill the container, too, or it will just bobble). Finish it off with Goof Off.

2. Air dry and then paint it with a wash of thinned watercolor to give it an opaque orange look.

3. Decide on a design.  You can do something simple like bats or a jack-o-lantern. I wanted to do a haunted house with a spooky tree, big moon, and spooky eyes peeping out the door.

4. Cutting shapes from tissue paper lets the light shine through. Make a pattern on stiff white paper. Cut out and trace onto the tissue.  Use an  X-acto knife to cut out windows.

5. Glue on shapes. Use glue that dries clear, and use it sparingly.  Use the black Sharpie to draw the window frames.

6. Glue on eye shapes from yellow paper and add googly eyes.

7.  Add lighting inside. You can use glow sticks, a solar light, or battery-operated tea lights.

Use your Tide Pods Halloween luminaire on the mantel, a patio table, or anywhere!

 

Using Acorns, Seeds, Pods And Pine Cones In Fall Decor

Fall Decorating Using Acorns Seed Pods and Pine Cone

I love the rustic feel and colors of Autumn. All the pine cones, seeds, and seed pods signify the end of the growing season. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures that can make some interesting crafts. Use them as part of flower arrangements or in Fall crafts such as a sustainable pine cone and nut wreath.

As I was walking down the path on another one of my walks for inspiration by nature for unique ideas, I was hit on the head with a round object. Ping, Kerplink. Ping, Kerplunk. Acorns were falling to the ground from the tall oak trees.

And like Sir Issac Newton and the Apple, bright ideas started popping up (or rather down in this case). I noticed that the acorns were well – pretty. That got me to thinking about what I could do with those acorns. From there, the search for acorns, seeds, pods and pine cones began!

 

Acorns Galore

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The acorn is the fruit of the oak tree. Oak trees are very common and grow just about anywhere any tree will grow. Identifying an acorn as belonging to any one particular type of oak tree would be a daunting task.

I was not going to try to be a botanist on this walk but rather look for the fattest, juiciest looking acorns for our decorations. Those squirrels and other critters can wait, I will give them back later. Maybe. The squirrels have sabotaged the late tomatoes and early pecans.

Seeds and Seed Pods

 

Seeds grow new plants that look like the parent plant. Remember learning that in second-grade science? A coconut is the seed of a palm tree. It is only dispersed by a floating river. They are too heavy for animals’ furs to transport, and I doubt there is any creature that would eat one whole and thus disperse it through the digestive system. (Which is what birds do when they sometimes miss and hit your windshield). Hickory nuts, black walnuts, pecans, and chestnuts are abundant in the Southeastern United States. Once again, I did not try to match and identify. I found a lot of seeds and pods that are eye-catching.

More Seeds and Seed Pods

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Various holly trees and bushes produce berries (seeds) of brilliant orange and red. I found that magnolias can produce some interesting seed pods. Some shiny red seeds inside have popped out and can be used in my creation. Some of the pods didn’t make it to maturity to produce seeds. They have fallen none-the-less, and will add variety to my collection. Many of the larger pods still have some seeds in them, giving them a festive look.

Painful but Pretty

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Sweetgum balls and the hulls of chestnuts could add great texture to my display.They can be painful to touch but are pretty to look at.They remind me of porcupines. I suppose that is the way they protect themselves from too many squirrels and chipmunks.I wanted to add chestnuts to my growing collection. I noticed they are much more scarce than the empty seed pods. Where ever you live, just walk and think about how you can display any seed and seed pods that you find in an arrangement.

Pine Cones for Fall and Winter Holidays

Conifers are evergreen trees that produce seeds in a cone-shaped seed pod. Hemlock, cedar, and different pine varieties produce cones in different shapes and sizes.Pine cones have long been used in holiday decorations. Folks wrap them up prettily in bags along with long matches for gifts. Small pine cones, nut shells, small nuts and dried berries provide a natural filler for potpourri making.

Fall and Winter Holidays wouldn’t quite be the same without some nice large pine cones. The kids turn them into turkeys, and the parents use them to stoke a fire. Pine cones provide us with plenty of free,sustainable material to create some lovely and inexpensive holiday decorations.

They can be displayed in baskets ,glass containers, or as surrounding a candle. Use them naturally or spray with gold or silver spray paint. Dab essential oil on them to add aroma.

Displaying My Finds

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I decided the best way to show off my collection of acorns, seeds, seed pods and pine cones was to put them all in a glass container. I was pleased with the arrangement. All the shapes, sizes, and textures worked together to create a rustic looking arrangement. I added a plaid ribbon at the bottom (sans a bow) to add a touch of class. I am thinking about using it as my Thanksgiving Holiday table arrangement paired with autumn candles in miniature pumpkins or perhaps long white tapers in glass candlesticks for a more elegant look. Then after dinner, I will scatter them around outdoors so those squirrels can continue to stock up for winter. I will forgive them for the tomatoes and pecans. Besides, there are still plenty of pine cones left to start using for my Country Christmas decorating!

 

 

 

Use A Real Pumpkin As A Planter For Fall Flowers

The Season of the Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a big part of fall and the end-of-the-year holidays from jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin pies. All around town this time of year, you can find pumpkin-flavored coffee, pumpkin ice cream and all sorts of pumpkin treats. You see them stacked by scarecrows and hay bales on lawns.

Here’s a cool idea for using pumpkins. Make a pumpkin planter for some of your fall flowers such as pansies, violas, mums and ornamental kale and cabbages. Hollow out a large pumpkin just as you would for making a jack-o-lantern. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Fill will a good potting soil mixture and plant your fall plants.

Now you can enjoy your chilly weather-loving plants on the patio table or on your doorstep throughout the season. Then, depending on the growing zone you live in, plant the whole thing in the winter container garden or elsewhere. The pumpkin will then decompose, making rich soil.

How to Turn a Pumpkin into a Planter

 

  1. Choose a medium to large pumpkin.
  2. Decide what plants to use.
  3. Cut the top off the pumpkin, a little wider than for a jack-o-lantern
  4. Scrape the insides out thoroughly.
  5. Drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage.
  6. Fill it about three-quarters full with a good soil mix.
  7. Arrange plants and plant them.
  8. Fill in around them with more soil.
  9. Water sparingly.

You can personalize your pumpkin planter by choosing white or green pumpkins. Use a combination of plants or simply plant a pot of mums in a large pumpkin.

Tip: If you want your pumpkin planter to last longer, scrape it out very thoroughly and coat the inside of it with petroleum jelly. Break up some charcoal briquettes and add an inch to the bottom. This way, the pumpkin will last a couple of weeks.

Plants for your Pumpkin Planter

Here are a few suggestions for what to add to your pumpkin planter. These plants can thrive outdoors and withstand frost.

  • Ornamental pepper
  • Purple Kale
  • Green Kale
  • Pansies
  • Variegated vinca
  • Black-eyed susan
  • Ornamental cabbages
  • Violas
  • Swiss Chard

Some Popular Choices for Fall Flower Gardens

Pansies

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Pansies are colorful annuals that are great for the garden all year in zones 4 to 8. They come in a lot of different colors. They like full sun. Pansies can be started in the spring from seeds. Start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before they can be planted outdoors. Water them regularly and use an all purpose fertilizer on them.

Mums

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Mums, or chrysanthemums as they are sometimes called come in a variety of colors and sizes. These plants are perennials in zones 5-9. Fall mums sold as annuals are very inexpensive and worth the price even though they won’t bloom again next year. They come in pretty rustic colors like deep gold and burgundy. You can also get white, pink, yellow and lavender ones. They like at least 5 hours of full sun. Water and fertilize regularly.

Ornamental Cabbages and Kale

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Ornamental cabbages and kale go great in the fall garden alongside mums and pansies. They can withstand temperature drops to 15 to 20 degrees, making them excellent choices for zones 5 to 7. If you are going to experience 20 degree nights for more than a day or so, they will need to be covered with perhaps a sheet.

Can you eat ornamental cabbages and kale? Yes, but they are not very tender and they are not as tasty as the others.

Swiss Chard

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Swiss chard is grown more for its tasty health benefits for salads more than it is for ornamental purposes. But its green and purple curly leaves make it attractive to use in flower gardens. For the prettiest and freshest Swiss chard, grow your own starting in spring. Then you will have Swiss chard for salads and gourmet cooking until a hard freeze. Not to mention green and purple beauty for your fall flower garden.

Other Possible Pumpkin Planter

There are so many cool ways to use pumpkin planters. I want to do a green pumpkin with burgundy-colored mums. I also want to do a gourmet cooking one with peppers and Swiss chard. Think up your own cool pumpkin planter idea this fall! This project was a lot of fun!

DIY Arrangements Using Fall Wildflowers

 

Simple Beautiful Wildflower Arrangments

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A stroll through a park, meadow or forest is a wonderful way to unwind and get in touch with the cycle of life. Blue skies and vibrant colors on an autumn will inspire you to spice up your traditional decor this year with your imagination and what you find on your walks.

The daily grind of life often smothers our creative thinking process. Creativity is often defined as using resources available to you to produce original material and ideas. While it is resourceful to use other people’s ideas, you can gain self-satisfaction from seeing your own ideas come to life.

If you live in an area with a variety of deciduous trees that change color, collect some pretty ones and take a close-up look. You will see that most are spotted, two-toned or have a “tie-dyed” look. Take a bag with you so you can pick up the best specimens. I’ll bet you can come up with a creative way to display them. Just remember that if you are going to use them in an arrangement they will dry and crumble in a day or two so be prepared to show your display right away.

Goldenrod is a prevalent wild lower across North America that showcases in the Fall. There are several varieties, and they take the rap for aggravating allergies when it is actually ragweed that is the bad guy.

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Using Goldenrod in Arrangements

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A big bouquet of goldenrod alone in a glass container makes a tasteful centerpiece. Add a ribbon of Autumn colors or designs if desired. Depending on the region where you live, the fields are rich with an assortment of Fall wildflowers. Finding and identifying them can be a fun activity as well.

Be creative as you look around your particular region. I found that leftover blackberries dried on a fading vine added interest to my bouquets along with some yellowing wild grapevine. Learn to include what is indigenous to your region.

After your walk, look around your home for glass vases, old watering cans, and other containers to creatively display your finds. Acorns seed pods, red berries, small pine cones and other natural objects can be placed in glass jars to display.

Fall Art Projects

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When I was a child we pressed our leaves between sheets of wax paper with a warm iron to help preserve them. Nowadays we can take this process a step further with clear Contact brand plastic sheeting. A great project to do with kids is to create leaf place mats for Thanksgiving.

 

Other ideas for preserved leaves include mobiles or sun catchers. Follow directions for making a mobile and use your leaf cut-outs. Purchase small suction cups at a craft store and glue to your leaf cut-outs for some unique suncatchers. How impressed your guests will be to see real leaves as sun catchers in a sunny window!

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Be Creative,Be Green

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What I have attempted to relate by sharing my projects is that by opening up to the natural resources around us we can help our creative juices flow. I have often found it satisfying to use others’ ideas as a springboard to come up with personalized projects.My projects will not look exactly like theirs because I have used my own resources. And unlike plastic decorations, natural items are mostly free and always a sustainable choice. Being a good steward to Earth is one more thing to feel good about. Happy Autumn!

You may also like this idea for a simple, sustainable wreath.

 

Elegant And Easy Centerpieces For Holiday Meals

Centerpieces For Holiday Meals

Holiday meals are very special times. Friends and families gather from near and far to create long-lasting memories. Our holiday meals deserve a great table centerpiece for making brighter memories. Demanding schedules and economically challenging times are reasons for easy and inexpensive arrangements for holiday tables. I love to use sustainable items in my decorating whenever possible. Nature provides us with free beauty. Every area is different, so take a stroll through your own environment and see what you find. Here are some ideas to get you started. They are easy on your time and wallet while looking very elegant.

The Holly and the Ivy

English Ivy is a controversial plant. Some love to use it as a ground cover or as a wall climber.Others fight to get rid of it. The Old Christmas Carol the Holly and the Ivy represents the Pagan belief that The Holly is a masculine plant while The Ivy is feminine.

For this arrangement, I will have no problem obtaining cuttings of English Ivy as I have a neighbor who is not fond of it. I find a forlorn container stashed away that is perfect for the arrangement I have in mind. I place dampened floral foam inside the container. I arrange my Ivy cuttings and add pomegranates. I attach them using wooden BBQ skewers. I am pleased with the effect and add candlelight for elegance.

Bare and Beautiful

Pine Cone Centerpiece

While walking beneath the Georgia Pines, some lower branches catch my eye. They are “needle-less” but pine cones are attached. I love the way the bare branches twist and arch. Later, I display them in a tall glass vase. I cover the bottom of the vase with floral moss and add a couple sprigs of holly with nice plump red berries.

I love the natural look of the twigs and pine cones. The red holly adds just the right touch to remind me that it is the Christmas Season. It follows so closely on the heels of Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Vase Centerpiece

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 Along the roadside brightly colored leaves of green and red catch my eye. Upon closer inspection I see that they are the late season leaves of the Oak Leaf Hydrangeas.They are so different from the withered brown of the Mop Head Hydrangeas. The delicate blue blossoms of summer have turned to a thin papery brown. Lovely! They will be the focal point of my arrangement.  I will add fall berries and other fall foliage.

                         Natural Treasures I Find On My Walk

Blinged Magnolia with Citrus

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I give a few big shiny magnolia leaves some bling with gold spray paint and add green ones for contrast. I shine a few lemons and limes with cooking oil and add all to pretty basket for a simple and very elegant holiday centerpiece.

Sustainable and Edible

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A great looking holiday centerpiece can be as simple as using fruit-sustainable and EDIBLE!  This centerpiece is created by  filling  a two-tiered glass cake stand with red pears and green grapes. Easy and Inexpensive!  It’s a good centerpiece to leave out during the day. Candles in candlesticks add elegance for mealtime.

Functional

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A functional centerpiece can be created by incorporating attractive parts of the meal into a center gathering. A healthy basket of pretty wheat bread and bottles of wine in alternating hues can nestle nicely on a wooden tray. A Holiday kitchen towel and exotic fruit such as mango and pomegranate add a touch of elegance.

Recycled Ornaments

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Taking stock of my Christmas decorations is my next task today. I find that I have some extra ball ornaments.What can I do with these? I simply place them in my tall glass container and add candles Voila! Another very easy and elegant last minute Holiday centerpiece. Virtually no preparation is needed, and you have done Earth a good turn by recycling.

Saving Your Poinsettia For Next Year

 

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Given the relatively low cost of the Poinsettia, many prefer to toss them out with the Christmas tree or add them to the compost pile. If you are one of those read no further. But if you really enjoy a gardening challenge and tend to think of your plants almost as pets, then consider pampering your Poinsettias through the seasons. When you see last year’s plants produce showy new blooms, you will get a self-satisfaction that is priceless. Remember also that indoor houseplants help clean up the air by turning carbon dioxide into the fresh air, and that can be beneficial to health.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Poinsettia care should begin immediately. Before purchasing shop for healthy looking plants that have been kept away from drafts or excessive heat. Touch the soil and see that it is neither too wet or overly dry. Take care not to give your new plants a cold ride home if you are in an area with a very cold climate.

Poinsettias are usually sold with the containers wrapped in colorful foil. Remove the wrapper as soon as you get home to allow for proper drainage. Place your new plants in a sunny location. Avoid high heat and cold drafts. Because they are tropical plants they crave humidity. Place on a tray of wet pebbles and spritz with a water sprayer daily. Keep the soil moderately moist.

Although the Poinsettia leaf is not deadly, place it where you can monitor small children and pets around it. Ingesting enough of it can induce gastrointestinal distress.

After Christmas Care for Poinsettias

Continue to keep your Poinsettias in a place with plenty of light and water as directed above. The plants will enter a dormancy period and will begin to lose leaves. This is normal. But do watch for shriveled brown stems as this indicates that those stems are dead and your lovely Christmas flower is dying a slow death.

At this point move your Poinsettias to a good “resting place” that is a little cooler and with just a little less sunlight. Water only when dry and do not fertilize. Continue to keep them away from drafts and high heat.

Continue to let your plants lose leaves naturally and then go ahead and cut back all branches to a few inches above the soil line about 2 to 4 inches in height. Leave two or three leaves on the old stems as new growth comes from buds on the leaf. The actual flower of the Poinsettia is the yellow middle. The colored leaf is called a bract.

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Winter Care for Poinsettia Indoors

Around Valentine’s Day start fertilizing every two weeks and provide a little more sun light. Keep in mind that you are trying to recreate a desert winter. Keep the temperature around 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.

When to Move Poinsettia Outside

Spring is in the air! You have gotten your Christmas Poinsettias safely through the long cold winter without over or under watering and have avoided cold drafts and hot heaters. Congratulations! By now you should have begun to form a relationship with the plants.

When the nighttime temperature stays consistently around 60 degrees Fahrenheit it is time for your floral friends to go outside and enjoy the Spring. It is probably also time for a bigger pot. Be sure to choose a pot that will continue to allow proper drainage such as a Terracotta with drainage holes in the bottom. Use a sterile lightweight soil that is slightly acidic. Garden soil will cause root rot and you will lose your friends.Be sure to place them where they will receive plenty of indirect sunlight. By now you have really become protective of these plants that you have nurtured. Should a Blackberry Winter occur and the temperature dips temporarily you will want to cover them with a cloth such as an old bed sheet.

Spring and Summer Care for Poinsettia

Keep your Poinsettias cut back to around 8 inches in height as the Spring months continue. Keep fertilizing every 2 weeks with a good water soluble all purpose fertilizer.You should begin to see plenty of new growth by May.

As Spring turns to Summer you will enjoy watching your friends flourish and grow. Now is the time for selective pruning. Decide if you prefer a bushier plant with more and smaller bracts or a slightly “leggier” plant with less but larger ones. Pinch the tips of the new growth often for the bushier look and less for bigger blossoms. In either case, stop pruning by Labor Day.

Summer is also the time to help your friends propagate for growing their off-spring. Take cuttings that have 3-4 “eyes” and dip in a rooting hormone. For best results use a terrarium type container to maintain high humidity and light. The cuttings should take root in 3-4 weeks. As your little “grandchildren” growing give them the same care as the adult Poinsettia.

Fall Care for Poinsettia

Bring your poinsettia back indoors on October 1st. It’s time to trick your friend into thinking that the days are short and the nights are long and cool. You will do this by placing them in total darkness for 14 hours out of the day.  Do this by placing them in a very dark and cool place for those 14 hours, and do it for 40 days. The most common mistake made is putting them where even just a little light can seep in or by turning on a light for just a few seconds. Even a little light will totally confuse them. Consider covering them with a black box inside the closet or basement as well.

The dark time temperature for this period is between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For the 10 hours of daylight place them in a sunny window at around 70 degrees. Remember to be consistent and not to skip a single day. If you take any over night trips get a friend or neighbor to “plant sit” for you.

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Reblooming Your Poinsettia

You have cared for your Poinsettias almost a whole year now. You have kept the soil evenly moist, provided plenty of light and humidity. You have lovingly nurtured them outdoors and indoors. You’ve even tricked them into thinking they were in short days with long nights. Now beginning around Thanksgiving, and just in time for the Holiday Season, if you have done your job correctly you should be rewarded with showy colorful blooms once again.

This lovely cycle can continue as long as you like. And don’t forget about the “babies” you helped propagate.What great gifts they will make when your friends and neighbors realize that you grew them yourself!

History of Poinsettia

The Poinsettia is from the deserts of Mexico. It was introduced to the States by US Ambassador Joel Robert Poinsett after he discovered them growing wild in parts of Mexico in 1825. Since then many different varieties have been developed. Currently over 65 million have been sold. The once popular notion that they are highly poisonous has been discounted but the sap can cause allergic reactions in some. Ingesting the leaves can cause intestinal distress.


Rustic Centerpieces: An Arrangement That Tells A Story

A Rustic Centerpiece



 The end of summer is a special time. The last few weeks before the official arrival of fall is often the hottest part of the year. 
The soft innocence of early summer turns to a harsher beauty.
Vegetables and other annuals are frantically living out their last days as harvest time draws near. 
I love rustic flower arrangements that tell a story, and the changing of seasons is the perfect time for one. 

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Before long, the field in the photo above will look like the one in the photo below. 

My rustic centerpiece is made from wildflowers and meadow grasses, which some people think of as just weeds.

 

Ikebana is a Japanese form of floral arranging  that tells a story. The flowers used might be ragged or in a state of decay. They are paired with other flora that works with them to give a deeper meaning than Western arrangements do.
 
 Ikebana  also uses a different structure. Flowers are arranged in a formation of three lines that stand for heaven, man, and earth. 

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My rustic arrangement combines the storytelling of Ikebana with a Western world formation.
I begin by pairing budding goldenrod with Queen Anne’s lace, that delicate, lacy wildflower that blooms all summer. It gradually folds its lacy head into a cluster to bid farewell. They will eventually turn into beautiful “brownery.”

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I add meadow grasses lined with purple that will soon wither away to brown. Weeds will turn to golden puffs as they prepare to go to seed. 

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So, take an early morning or late afternoon walk in late summer and early fall and get inspired by the “weeds” around you. You never know, you might just create a rustic centerpiece worthy of a late summer wedding or other events!
For Free!

Just add a rustic vase.

Spring Flowers: Simple Low-Cost Flower Arrangements Using Daffodils And Jonquils



What is the Difference Between A Daffodil and A Jonquil?

There is not much difference in a daffodil and a Jonquil except for subtle variances in shape,size and texture. Members of a huge family called Narcissus,  there are literally hundreds and thousands of family members. They got their name from the Greek God of vanity because they appear to have their heads down, admiring their own reflection in the pond.

These lovely golden flowers are very hardy and are one of the first signs of spring in most places. In fact, in more temperate climates, Narcissus has been known to pop up in January and can often be seen peeping over the snow.Sometimes  called March Flowers, these hardy bulb plants produce golden heads and green stems that are always a welcome relief from winter.

These  perennials  are so hardy they will grow with years of neglect, and can often be found growing on long-abandoned lots, albeit a little scrawny. Fertilized and cared for, Narcissus can grow big blooms on long, healthy stems. They are long-lasting as cut flowers, making them great for both outdoor and indoor beauty. 

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abandoned homestead.

Using Daffodils and Jonquils in Cut Flower Arranging

Daffodils and jonquils can be used creatively in little or no-cost cut flower arrangements. It just takes a little planning and thinking outside the box to come up with ways to show off these classic flowers. Check what you have on hand to work with. What containers do you have  to show them off? What other blooming plants are blooming this time of year to pair them with?

Eight Ways to Show Off Daffodils and Jonquils

# 1. Mixed Daffodils and Jonquils in a Mason Jar

Casual daffodil arrangement

Achieve a lovely country look with just an empty Mason jar and a red-checkered table cloth. This is good for an outdoor event. Make several for long tables. It’s the perfect arrangement for that first warm spring day’s picnic. It would work indoors as well if the weather is still too chilly for outdoor or patio dining.

There is a mixture here of  smaller jonquils, daffodils with lighter colored petals  and ruffled daffodils.

#2.  Long-stemmed Daffodils With Spring Buds

A more formal arrangement using long-stemmed daffodils.

 

A tall glass vase is perfect for pairing a few long-stemmed larger daffodils with some green buds that are opening up on a branch. This arrangement tells the story that the daffodil helps to usher in the beginning of spring.

Place decorative pebbles in the bottom of the vase. And just enough water for the daffodils to drink without going thirsty.

# 3. Tie-dyed Jonquils in a Whimsical Arrangement

Daffodils colored with food coloring

Remember when your fourth grade science teacher put celery stalks in food dye? It was to show how the main function of the plant’s stem is to transport water. I tried it with daffodils and jonquils and got a lovely tie-died effect.

Tint jonquils one color (I used green) and daffodils the other color. Thinking of blue? Don’t bother. It turns out green.

#4. Daffodils With Flowering Shrubs

Daffodils and flowering quince make a contrasting arrangement
Daffodils and flowering quince make a contrasting arrangement

There are a few flowering shrubs and trees that bloom around the same time as the Narcissus. Bradford pears have lovely white blooms and Forsythia, probably the first shrub bloomer is covered with yellow trumpet-shaped blooms. But for more drama, I like using flowering quince. The red blooms appear on the thorny stems before any green color.

The thorny deep red blooms contrast with the dainty daffodils. This is a more formal arrangement so I used a lead Crystal flute-shaped vase.

 

 

#5. Structured Jonquil Arrangement in Tea Pitcher

 



A tea pitcher can make a great vase. Here I used a cheerful striped one for my long-stemmed jonquils. This is more structured than the whimsical one. The stems are cut all one length. Fit them to your container and then cut the stems the same length. They may need to be tied together with floral wire or string to display better.

 

Again, see what containers you have on hand that would go well with these “tie-dyed” jonquils.  You can create lovely spring floral arrangements at little or no cost.

#6. Clear Tea Pitcher

IMG_20140323_182155A clear vase or perhaps a glass tea pitcher shows off the Narcissus’ pretty green stems as well as the showy yellow blossoms. Note the double-headed ones in this arrangement.

#7 A Bowl of March Flowers

IMG_20140323_190947For a bowl arrangement, cut the stems short and all the same length. I  used smooth, round pebbles in the bowl to stick the stems in. Narcissus stems are not strong enough to stick in floral foam.

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#8. Small Arrangements in Pretty Mugs

IMG_20140323_191411Pretty coffee mugs can make good containers for tiny arrangements. Place one on each table at banquets and dinner parties.

Christmas Tree Themes: Christmas At The Beach

Beach Themed Christmas Ornaments

Coastal dwellers love anything with a ‘beachy’ look. At Christmastime, you are likely to find beach-themed Christmas ornaments and other nautical decorations in their homes.

However, these days you don’t have to live by the sea to enjoy beach-themed decor. Even folks in Kansas can incorporate a nautical theme thanks to online ordering. These beachy ornaments will help you achieve a nautical look for your holiday decor.

If you live near the beach or take vacations there, be sure to comb the beach and  the shops for shells to make ornaments next Christmas.

Starfish Ornaments

Santa From the Sea

Starfish are generally hard to find on most beaches, and if you do find one that is still alive, tossing it back to sea is a good thing to do. They can be found in souvenir shops at the beach and ordered on line.

The star fish Santa is painted with red and white acrylic paints. His belt and boots are black. He has a foil belt buckle. Paint his face pink after the beard and hat have dried. Then,when the face has dried, attach tiny wiggly eyes and a red pom pom nose with hot glue. Add a white pom pom to Santa’s hat.

Star fish Santa

Oyster Shell Ornaments

Finding Oyster Shells

Oyster shells are harder to find for the in-lander. Islanders can find them scattered abundantly on the beach. One place you can find them is at restaurants that serve oysters. However, the green thing to do these days is to send the shells back to oyster farms where they are used to grow new crops of oysters. The ones lying sun-bleached on the beach are best to use. Otherwise, they must be soaked for a while in a solution of bleach and water.

Oyster Shell Santa

There is something about the shape of an oyster shell that lets us paint a Santa face. Paint the bottom white for a beard . Red paint and a pom pom completes Santa’s hat. Glue on small wiggly eyes, red pom pom nose and a white Santa hat pom pom.

 

 Golden Oyster Shell Ornament

The golden oyster shell ornament is a breeze to make and looks very elegant. Larger oyster shells have  differing, interesting shapes.Simply spray some with gold spray paint.  Then just attach a fancy bow with hot glue and add an ornament hanger. How easy is that!

Golden oyster shell ornament is easy to make.

Sand Dollar Ornaments

Finding Sand Dollars

Sand dollars are my favorite find in beach combing. They are harder to find that oyster shells but easier than star fish. On the beach, they are usually buried underneath the sand just at the shore line. They will need to be bleached for ornament making. Sand dollars can be bought by the dozens in seaside souvenir shops and on-line. They are very inexpensive.

Sand dollars have a natural imprint on them that resembles a flower with five petals. Turn this into a poinsettia, or Christmas flower with acrylic paint. A rim of glitter adds some bling. Spraying them with clear Krylon will give them a glossy look and help protect from breakage.

Sand dollar poinsettia ornaments

Clear Fill-able Ornaments

Beach-scape Ornament

Clear fill-able ornaments can be purchased at craft shops or ordered on-line.These can be used to make pretty ornaments with things found on the beach. Believe it or not, beach sand can actually be ordered, but it has to be bought in bulk. The lowest amount is 25 pounds. You will want to get white craft sand from a craft supply store. Better yet, the next time you get to visit the beach, get a little sand in your shell-collecting bucket along with some tiny shells. Then you will have what you need to make a pretty  beach–scape ornament.

Beach-scape inside a clear fill-able ornament

Sea Glass Ornament

Sea glass is old broken glass that has been tossed and churned about for many years. It is smooth and has a frosty look. Some sea glass is rare, and its rarity is determined by color. Green, white and brown are the most common. Red, blue, amber, orange and some shades of green are rare.

Sea glass is a hobby for some people, and it is much sought after. Authentic sea glass can be ordered, but it is rather pricey. Fortunately for me, I have my own collection of sea glass that I have collected over time.

Sea glass can also be made artificially by a special tumbling process that gives it the frosty look of real sea glass. Craft grade sea glass is available on-line and in craft supply stores. Fill a clear ornament with some sea glass, authentic or manufactured. Tie it on the tree with a pretty green ribbon.

Clear fill-able ornament with colorful sea glass.

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Simple Nautical Wreath

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All it takes is two natural grapevine wreaths, shells, starfish and some Christmas ribbons to make these simple yet nautical wreaths. Or just make one!  Just hot glue your beach finds to the wreaths. Add long, long ribbons. Or just make one!

Rudolph the Red-nosed Palm Bark

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Spray a piece of palm bark with clear acrylic for a little shine. Then just glue on huge googly eyes and a big red pom pom.


Homemade Christmas Crafts For All Ages

 

Homemade Ornaments, Gifts and Party Favors to Make For Christmas

Celebrate the Season of Joy! Make pretty Christmas crafts with these homemade Christmas craft ideas.Use these ideas for ornaments, give them out for party favors, or use them as special homemade gifts.

Ideas are included for younger and older children. Even adult crafters will enjoy some of these Christmas craft ideas. They don’t require a lot or preparation,and the materials used are easy to obtain and inexpensive. So get out the craft box and add some homemade fun to the holiday.

Christmas Crafts for Younger Kids

Craft Stick Christmas Ornaments

Craft  sticks can be used to make really cute ornaments. Craft sticks are merely Popsicle sticks  or tongue depressors. You don’t have to save them up. They can be bought by the box in the crafts department.  Turn them into refrigerator magnets by gluing magnets on the back. These inexpensive magnets can be purchased in the craft section of department stores. Moms and grandmothers will cherish these ornaments and magnets year after year.

There is no cutting involved with craft stick ornaments. Little kids can do a lot on their own. They get a sense of self accomplishment and the ornaments look quite impressive.

Craft stick reindeer ornament

How to Make a Rudolph Craft Stick Ornament

There are different versions to this craft. Use the narrow Popsicle size for one and the wider, tongue depressor size for another. Paint sticks brown or leave natural. Twigs can be antlers or antlers can be the tips of the craft sticks

You will need:
  •  craft sticks, either size
  • wiggly eyes
  • ribbon or hanger
  • small red pompoms
  • glue
  • twigs(optional)
  • brown paint(optional)
How to make:
  1. paint sticks if preferred, or leave natural
  2. let dry and glue into a triangle shape
  3. leave some of the two side craft sticks over-lapping the top to form antlers. (or glue without the over-lap and glue on twig antlers.
  4. add ribbon, yarn or cold cord for a hanger.
White paint and clear plastic bead help to create this shimmery Popsicle stick snowflake homemade ornament.

How to Make a Snowflake Ornament

You will need:
  • Popsicle-size craft stick
  • white poster or acrylic paint and paint brushes
  • clear plastic crystal beads
  • yarn or silver cord  for a hanger
How to make:
  1. paint the six craft sticks white
  2. allow to dry
  3. glue on clear beads with white clear-drying glue
  4. add a hanger

 

Sweet gum tree ornament gives the tree a bit of nature’s beauty

How to Make a Sweet Gum Ball Ornament

Very safe for young children to make, older crafters will enjoy this project as well. Sweet gum ball homemade Christmas ornaments will add a touch of nature to the tree. Sweet gum balls are plentiful in late fall and early winter. Just search the ground underneath the sweet gum trees.

 

You will need:
  • sweet gum balls
  • wooden tooth picks
  • glue
  • white paint
  • silver glitter
How to make:
  1. stick a toothpick in each hole around the sweet gum ball. use a dab of glue to help anchor it.
  2. paint sweet gum ball and toothpicks white
  3. shake on silver glitter while the paint is still wet
  4. Dry and glue on a piece of ribbon or yarn for a hanger

How to Make a Reindeer Hand Print Keepsake

Reindeer hand print keepsake.
You will need:
  • brown craft foam (construction paper may also be used)
  • white paper
  • brown finger paint
  • large-size wiggly eyes
  • medium to large red pom pom
How to make:
  1. cut a large triangle from the craft foam or paper
  2. child makes hand prints with paint on white paper
  3. cut out hand prints and glue on for antlers
  4. add a fringe of brown paper to the forehead
  5. glue on eyes and nose

Christmas Crafts for Older Kids to Make

Older kids and adults like to make ornaments and party favors.  They look for ornament ideas that will make good gifts for friends’ Christmas trees. They can also help younger kids make things.  For example, the candy cane reindeer are great for kids to pass out at school. They can also be hung on the tree or put in stockings.  Older kids and adults can help with the gluing.

How to Make Candy Cane Reindeer Party Favors

Candy cane reindeer can be hung on the Christmas tree.
What you need:
  • wrapped candy canes
  • small pom poms
  • small wiggly eyes
  • brown chenille stems
  • hot glue
How to make:
  1. hot glue eyes and nose on candy cane
  2. cut chenille stem in half
  3. bend stem to form an antler
  4. glue on two antlers

 

How to Make a Recycled Light Bulb Santa Ornament

Recycle a light bulb to make a cute homemade Santa ornament.
You Will Need:
  1. burned out light bulb
  2. acrylic paints
  3. paint brushes
  4. small wiggly eyes
  5. cotton balls
  6. yarn or ribbon for the hanger
  7. small red pompom
  8. medium-size white pompom
How to Make:
  1. paint the top part of the light bulb red
  2. glue on the wiggly eyes
  3. add a red pom pom nose
  4. paint on rosy pink cheeks and red mouth
  5. glue cotton on the bottom part of the bulb for a beard
  6. form eyebrows and moustache from cotton and glue in position
  7. glue on ribbon for a hanger

 How to Make a Fan Ornament

Pretty fan ornament makes a great homemade gift

The secret to making this pretty fan ornament lies in the measuring, folding, trimming and gluing techniques. Use these colors or others. Gold, pink and white would look pretty.

What you need:
  • metallic gift wrap
  • colored tissue gift wrap (in two colors)
  • ribbon
  • lace
  • a bead
  • hot glue
  • card stock (an old file folder works)
  • ruler
How to make:
  1. begin by cutting three 4″ x 5″ inch pieces of metallic wrap
  2. fold each piece accordion (fan) style
  3. trim the ends so that each pleat will be even
  4. open up and put a dab of hot glue between each pleat at the bottom only
  5. lay aside. repeat process for two pieces of tissue the same size.
  6. use white glue, not hot glue for gluing the tissue wrap pleats
  7. cut one longer rectangle in the second color,  4″ x 7″.
  8. fold and glue in the same fashion
  9. next, it is time to glue the fan pieces together
  10. then cut a card stock strip only as long and wide as the fan
  11. glue the fan to the strip with hot glue. trim as needed
  12. add lace, bows and a bead with hot glue

important: use hot glue when gluing tissue to metallic wrap sparingly. use white glue for gluing tissue wrap to tissue wrap

How to Make a Pot of Pinwheel Poinsettias

Pretty pinwheel poinsettias make a great homemade Christmas gift

The poinsettia flower has been used in Christmas decorating for a long time. These poinsettias won’t shed or need special care. They are made of paper using a basic pinwheel cut-an-fold as illustrated. These can be left plain if preferred, but I like to use glitter on mine to add some bling. Try other colors like pink and white. Pinwheel poinsettias can be placed on mantels, table tops or shelves or “planted” in a planter. Coordinate the tissue wrap with the poinsettia colors.

What you need:
  • red and green construction paper
  • red and green tissue wrap
  • three wooden dowels
  • green acrylic paint
  • light green and yellow tissue
  • gold, red and green glitter
  • small plastic planting pot
  • hot glue
How to make:

pinwheel cut-and-fold:

Mark top left corner as 1
Mark bottom right corner as 2
Mark bottom corner of left side as 3
Mark top corner of right side as 4
    1. paint the wooden dowels green
    2. set aside to dry
    3. cut half of a sheet of 9″ x 11″ of red and green paper for each poinsettia
    4. “square off” the paper by folding and cutting as shown(you should have a perfect square that is 5 and 7/8th  inches on each side
    5. Fold in marked corners to the middle and glue to secure
    6. Make a red and green pinwheel for each flower
    7. Attach together with the red pinwheel on top and turned at an angle so the green pinwheel shows
    8. glue wads of light green and yellow tissue in the center
    9. make a “wash” with part white glue to part water
    10. using a paint brush apply the wash to petals and the flower’s center
    11. quickly sprinkle red glitter on red petals and green glitter on green petals
    12. sprinkle gold glitter to the flowers center
    13. If making into a planter, hot glue the poinsettias to the wooden dowel.
    14. Place in planter with floral foam and cover planter with red, pink or white tissue wrap
    15. Add green tissue to cover the floral foam.