after a day or two of weeding our garden beds and cleaning up the winter debris, we got all our seeds out. i went to "seedy saturday" where heirloom seeds are sold and traded and brought home the beginings of a bountiful harvest. we got out the egg cartons i collect to plant our seedlings for the year. my little man always helps me with this on the spring equinox. there is something so magical about this for me. we have such sweet convos about the changing of the seasons, what we loved about winter, what we are excited for about spring, and looking forward to in summer. i always braid in notions about how the seeds we are sowing in spring will be so fun to enjoy all summer. we talk about what we will make with the fruits and veggies that will grow and the picnics, bonfires, and potlucks we will share them with our friends. i love this day.
i cut down the center of the carton, separating the two halves and cutting off the little side tab to recycle it. then i stack the two together and fill with organic soil. loji loves doing this part. i usually leave cleaning the porch off after winter rains and pine needles dropping until after we plant our seedlings. he also likes poking holes with his pinky and placing seeds in them. he tries to convince me that all we should grow is watermelon and corn and i explain to him, or try to, because i halfway agree with him, why that isn't what we are doing.
then because the soil isn't packed down at all and you want to keep it pretty loose for the seeds to sprout, but don't want it spilling all over the sides...we water the first few times with a spray bottle. i used a sharpie to write on the sides of the egg cartons what seeds were which. i usually use popsicle sticks to label them, or clothespins that have snapped apart, but was pretty much fresh out. so, a sharpie it was...
then, i put them on baking sheets or pans so that the watering doesn't make a mess and put them in a sunny window. it takes only a day or two to start seeing the sprouts. loji and i make bets which will come up first and run to check every time we think about them. radishes and brussel sprouts won the first round this year. if you have a good farmers almanac use that or google where you live and what gets planted outside when. i also use this step to help loji learn to research things that interest him and help him find out things he'd like to know. today we will be planting our lettuces, arugula, kale, cilantro, dill, beets, broc., and brussel sprouts. since the cardboard of the egg crate will be a bit moist, it is so easy to tear them each individual sprout in an egg cup right off and plant the whole thing right in the ground. before i do this, i pinch a little whole in the bottom for the roots to easily grow right through. the carton itself mulches right into the soil and actually protects the youngster in the ground a bit. love this time of year. kinda giddy like a school girl.
play dough is so super easy to make you won't even believe it. i'll give you the recipe i use here today, but this post is about how to jazzy your kids imagination right up by switching up what you give them to play with alongside the dough. these pics were taken on st. patty's day a couple years ago. note the shamrocking that is happening.
i love thrifting old school kitchen doomahickies for this. things like egg slicers (did a major big time dorky happy dance when i thought of that one), cookie cutters, honey stirrers, rolling pins and potato mashers/ricers are so awesome. anything that creates texture or different shapes, really. forego buying toys and play dough kits and just open your kitchen drawers or hit up the thrift store.
the most patting on the back i ever did to myself as far as play dough is concerned... (that might just be the most random sentence i have ever typed)... is when i thought to place a square of canvas material under the happy play dough fun times and realized it doesn't stick to it and keeps it off my table. clean up is sooo much easier if you do this!
cooking time: about 10 minz a batch
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. oil
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
i know what you are thinking cause i thought it and did it the first time i saw this playdough recipe! "i'll just quadroople the recipe because i want a zillion different colours..." well, don't. if you do, you will have to divide the dough you make and add the colour to the dough with your hands and a now rainbow cutting board. oof. just make a separate batch for each colour. it's fast. and fun.
k, now that we have that out of our systems, add the water, oil & about 4-8 drops food colouring to a saucepan (obvz the more you put in, the brighter the colour will be). stir to mix that up super good and then add the rest of the ingredients.
stir constantly over medium low heat so it doesn't lump up. it will start to thicken and pull away from the sides. once it starts to form a ball, remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn yourself. plop it onto the counter and knead it gently. once you start having way to much fun in the kneading department....it's ready for your kids to have a go!
since i post about the projects i make with or inspired by recycled or reused materials, i figured i'd give a shout out to my local recycling depot!! they are so awesome. they run a "zero waste reuse store" that i have scored some ridiculously amazing items at. cookie cutters and rolling pins for a quarter, an antique underwood typewriter (!!!) for a buck, brand new camping gear, vintage plates and pudding cups to make cake stands out of, vinyl records, sheet music, etc.... most people walk up and think these shipping containers are filled with junk. they are. but if you know what to look for, you just might find a diamond in the rough. if you don't think there is one near you, look harder.
in the town next to us, there is one at the dump that i have seriously salvaged insane pieces of furniture at and even seen people walk away with le creuset pieces and brand new juicers before. hello. sounding like a hoarder here....i'm not. just giving a shout out to treasure finding! carry on.
i love making cute shizzle out of recycled materials. that is one reason that i love these so much. also, they are extremely useful and have the secret power of making anything they touch look like pure magic. i have made and used these in several different ways. i've tucked one into the bow on a gift, i have made boutonnieres with them, used them in up do's in my hair, attached them onto twigs using floral tape and given a dozen flowers to a friend on special occasion...but my favourite, by far, was what i used these particular flowers for.
i was doing all the decor for a fundraiser for my sons preschool. the theme was Wonderland. i made centerpieces for the tables filled with these white roses. i dribbled red nail polish and "painted the roses red" on the tips of the petals, letting the red drip right off onto the roses underneath. i thrifted a few decks of cards and took out all of the heart cards and tucked them in between the white roses. they were the best. i cannot even believe i don't have a picture to show you. i need to recreate it. i will. i promise. calm down!
i sometimes buy these brown rice tortillas. in truth, i think they have a secret ingredient that causes you to forget that they are NOTHING like a tortilla so you will, in fact, buy them again. they crack, break, and basically make a big mess out of whatever it is you are trying to wrap up inside of them. exhale. rant over.
between each one, is a round sheet of parchment type paper. it is so that they do not stick together. i get it...but sheesh...such a waste. that is what fuelled these roses...wondering wtf to do with them besides throw them out.
start by cutting a spiral into them. make it simple so that the width of the paper strip is nice and thick.
now, take a toothpick (or twig, wire, pencil....whatever you'd like to use) and put a bit of hot glue on the bottom 1/3rd of it. starting with the outside corner of the paper spiral, start wrapping/twirling the paper around the toothpick. the glue will dry fast and keep it in place. do it pretty tight at the beginning, but as you add a bit of glue here and there, play with wrapping it a bit looser to make more of a rose shape. you can even play with folding the paper as you go, personalizing each one.
when you get to the inner part of the spiral, there is a perfect shape to dab some glue and then seal it up. with a bit of practice, you'll get the hang of it and they will look so clean and just perfect for whatever you are using them for.
i wanted to make something different for valentines day so i started collecting little trinkets and tidbits that made me think of "the Beebz". that's what i call my man. he's a musician, so naturally i thought of him when i found the little toy xylophone, broken, on the street one day and a vintage metal gramophone pencil sharpener. there is a page from an old dictionary with burnt edges, a rose he gave me one night that i dried, a tiny glass bottle that i put the first lock of hair i snipped off our sons head, skeleton keys, a piece of tattered wood my lil guy and i found on the beach, some die and rummy game tiles with his lucky numbers, and so on...
i made I, Love, and You signs and had a friend drive around with me to a few of our favourite spots and took pictures of me holding them. after i got these developed and had a small heap of treasures i began playing with placement. i used a glue gun and got busy. now it's your turn.
looking for a cute and useful way to actually use the tea cups you have lovingly collected that sit sad and bored in your cupboards? use one for every bulk jar you have in your pantry. i just keep them in there. i love to say whats up and give them little hand shnuggle every time i am i need a scoop of something. they love their comfy homes.
I'm Jody Starfish. My friends call me Martha Starfish because I obsess a wee bit over miss Martha Stewart, Pintrest, and all things clever and beautiful. Love to cook, play, craft, garden and love up my friends and family. Welcome to the rodeo.