It was a gorgeous weekend, and it’s finally starting to look like Spring in our yard. We spent lots of time enjoying the weather, planting in our garden and, of course, taking photos. I’m really starting to love my new camera! Here are a few of my favorite pics from the weekend:
Last night we held our very first nighttime Easter egg hunt using glow-in-the-dark eggs, an idea shared by my aunt in her comments to something I posted last week. Genius! I knew we definitely had to try it out.
The concept is extremely simple – glow sticks inside of eggs – so I think I underestimated the amount of prep work involved. If you’re considering a night-time Easter egg hunt, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Proportion: Consider the size of your glow sticks in relation to the size of your plastic eggs. I purchased bracelet-sized glow sticks and tried to use the mix of small and large plastic eggs I had on hand. The sticks were nearly impossible to cram into the 2-inch eggs, but fit easily into the larger 3-in eggs. I recommend using all large eggs or purchasing these mini glow sticks (wish I had seen these at the craft store yesterday). As a last resort, tape is your friend.
Material: Similar to the size issue, I had a mix of transparent/textured eggs and the more traditional solid color eggs. Not surprisingly, the solid color eggs were better at giving off a “glow” in the landscape than the transparent eggs.
Timing: Since you have to “turn on” the glow sticks, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to prep this activity in advance. It took my husband and me almost an hour to place glow sticks into approximately 36 eggs and hide them in the backyard. I had planned on having our hunt just after dusk so that there would still be a bit of natural light for photos. But the prep took longer than expected and we ended up taking the kids out just past their usual bedtime, in full-on darkness. If you’re going for optimum glow effect, however, this is the perfect time for your egg hunt. Seeing the eggs glowing around the yard was definitely a very cool sight!
My new camera arrived on Friday, and then the rain began and continued almost the entire weekend. Not the best weather for playing with my new toy, but I still managed to snap quite a few shots during our weekend cooped up indoors.
I’ve made decoupage bowls before and I’ve always found it a pretty messy craft. I came across this technique recently for creating little paper birds nests without ending up with glue covered hands and decided to try it out with Jenna. We made a bird nest (using long strips of paper) first, and then I tried making a couple with paper punch circles. Both were very easy and turned out super cute.
Here’s how to make them:
Cut decorative paper into narrow strips or use a paper punch to create small circles.
Mix glue and water (2/3 glue to 1/3 water) and paint the inside of a small bowl.
Cover the inside of the bowl with plastic wrap and paint another layer of glue over the plastic wrap.
Add a layer of paper, starting at the bottom and working your way up the side of the bowl. Use a paint brush to gently coat the paper with glue as you go. You can add a second layer and additional coats of glue for a sturdier bowl.
Let the paper dry in the bowl for several hours. Once the inside is dry, lift it out of the bowl and remove the plastic wrap. Turn the bowl upside down and let dry completely.
This is our first spring in our new home, and we’re in the process of evaluating our yard to determine what’s working and what needs work. This weekend I attended a class on ‘Texas Tough Plants’ at the Dallas Arboretum with a hope of learning more about low-maintenance plants that are well-suited to our area. The instructor described the class as an “intro to plants that are hard to kill,” which was perfect for me since it matched my strategy earlier this year for buying and maintaining houseplants.
After the two-hour session, I left with a better understanding of the plants we already have and a list of new ones to add to the mix. Our initial plan for this season was to identify what is doing really well in our yard and plant more of it, but the class gave me a bit of confidence to introduce a few new plants too.
With that in mind, here is a list of native plants that are in our yard or likely to be added soon:
Jenna has requested a “Cinderella Camping” themed birthday party this year. That one loves to challenge her mama with theme mash-ups. Last year’s Hello Kitty Rainbow Flower party seems easy in comparison to this year’s combo. Luckily, I enjoy a good challenge.
In preparation for the upcoming festivities, I decided to experiment with natural food dyes to see if I could achieve a good ‘Cinderella blue.’ And while I clearly need more practice working with fondant, I was pretty happy with the colors resulting from my experimentation this weekend.
I used this recipe for marshmallow fondant. Dye-free marshmallows are surprisingly hard to come by, but I’ve discovered that Walmart brand marshmallows don’t contain the artificial blue dye found in most other brands. For the coloring, I used this all-natural blue food dye. The results are more muted than artificial dyes, but work well for the Cinderella palette I was going for.
I may be going a little overboard with the plants in our house. At last count, we had 32 plants (including Jenna’s indoor flower and vegetable garden). That’s a lot of plants, but the truly amazing part is that I’m keeping them alive. And as my plant collection grows, so too must my planter collection. I’m always on the lookout for simple, beautiful containers to add to my collection.
Last night I joined a flower workshop with the amazing team at Bows and Arrows. I’ve admired their work via Instagram for awhile, so it was great to learn a few tricks from these talented folks. If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I highly recommend taking a workshop – they have a photography and flower class coming up this weekend and a two-day workshop in Marfa this summer.
I’ve never been great at arranging flowers, but I was pretty impressed with the look I was able to create last night (photo above). A few things I learned:
It takes some time to style an arrangement. In the past, I’ve always spent 15 mins or so on an arrangement. During the workshop, I spent over an hour creating my masterpiece. While this won’t always be possible, starting early and allowing lots of time is definitely key.
Always use floral foam to hold the stems in place and make sure the foam is tightly placed within the container. After soaking the foam, you can press it gently against the top of your container to make an impression and then cut along those lines to create a perfect fit.
Start by defining ‘the bones’ of the arrangement: a tall piece and a low extending piece, for example.
Don’t be afraid to mix heights. In the past, I’ve always tried to cut each stem the exact same length. In looking at the Bows and Arrows arrangements, I realized that they have a mix of shorter and taller stems, giving the overall piece some movement as well as the quirkiness I love.
Here are a few more scenes of the floral awesomeness from last night: