Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
When the violets begin to pop up around our home, my children love to gather miniature bouquets for me. Sure, we can fill tiny glass jars with them, but I also like to make hanging flower boxes, so they can decorate our door knobs, walls, and cabinet handles.
I love how a rice or packaged macaroni and cheese box from your recycle bin can transform into a sweet hanging box of beauty.
1. Measure how tall you want your hanging box to be, draw a straight line (front and back) with a ruler, and cut it with a craft knife (adults should do this part).
2. Wrap the box with any kind of paper. I like to use kraft paper because it allows the colorful flowers to pop. Brightly colored paper is also a vibrant and fun choice.
3. Smooth the box with a bone folder or with the back of a spoon.
4. Encourage children to decorate the box with crafty bits (glitter, sequins), natural bits (tiny pine cones, pine needles, or even a bit of moss), stamps, or drawing.
5. Punch holes on both sides and thread a piece of yarn through. Tie yarn to make handle.
6. Fill with flowers and hang on a door knob. Change flowers when they begin to wilt (or fill with dried flowers from last year).
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Monday, December 10th, 2012
Last year, our friends Kelly and Joe gave us decorations that made our hearts sing. Beautiful, dehydrated fruit ornaments for our trees±both inside and out! It is by far one of my favorite holiday gifts we’ve ever been given.
When I unwrapped and opened the box of oranges and pinks, I truly felt as if I was holding a box of natural jewels. The kiwi feels and looks almost like thin glass, the orange slices are leathery, and the white of the dried pear flesh against the thin layer of its skin is perfection—as if it was outlined with a steady hand. Our friends made sure that each ornament hangs on a loop of wool yarn, ready for hanging. The morning they arrived, the children placed some on our (then undecorated) holiday tree and bundled up to hang the rest outside on our bare birch and maple.
My favorites: the papayas and oranges
Kelly’s favorites: the star fruits and kiwis
My older daughter’s favorites: “If we choose a favorite then Kelly and Joe might feel badly about the ones we didn’t choose.”
The holiday season can feel like a burst of color and love that comes and goes quickly. When I watch these little guys swaying and dancing on the branches outside it reminds me of how far that burst of kindness and love can travel. From Kelly and Joe’s home to my eyes to my husband Tom’s eyes to our children’s eyes to the tree’s branches to the wind to the birds’ bellies and nests wherever they might be. It is a gift that spreads joy and love in the truest of ways. And, after the snow melted and mud season began, we found little bits of Kelly’s yarn in our grass, which made us a tiny bit wistful, but mostly happy.
Kelly told me that she sliced her fruit thinly with a mandoline, dried them in her dehydrator, poked little holes in the top, and tied little loops of yarn through. It would also work to dry them slowly in an oven (on low heat) or next to a wood stove or heater for a day or so. Don’t you feel like dehydrating fruit must be so simple since you always seem to find bits of dehydrated apple and pear under your kitchen table? Or, is that just me? Maybe I should sweep a bit more frequently. Ahem.
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