Tutorials

An enchanted spring

Spring-like weather has finally arrived here in the northeast and with it comes the magic of a season filled with new beginnings, growth and welcoming back old friends. Of late, I’ve found myself to be a bit of the whimsical friend amongst more pragmatic folk. Many friends have often commented on how they wish they could muster up on-the-spot fanciful notions for their children about fairies, elves, dragons, unicorns and the like, but often are left disappointed with their attempts and therefore stick with the concrete. As a family, we are very scientific about identifying plants and animal species, as well as their habitats, but I am always quick to add in the fanciful. I do this because even the most sensible child can benefit from the door this opens in their imagination. So, for those of you that struggle with just how to open this door, I thought I would provide a few ideas to get you started.

Children are undeniably enchanted when they find something unusual or something perceived to be magical and it just so happens that fairies, elves and the like absolutely love to leave behind charmed items! So, without further ado, here is your “starters kit” for creating an enchanted spring…

IMG_0871Containers, containers, containers! Finding small containers has become a bit of a hobby of mine. I love to stop in antique stores when I happen to be alone and rummage for the tiniest treasures, which also happen to be fairly low-cost. Vintage perfume bottles are always a big hit and often still have that faint sweet powdery smell of your grandmother. However, if you happen to be more of a craft store person, there are often tiny corked bottles, baskets and tins in the jewelry, fairy garden and even scrapbooking sections of big box craft stores. For those of you that just want the containers to come to you, check out this little assorted pack of tiny glass vials on Amazon! In finding those, I also happened to come across these amazing genie blown glass miniature perfume bottles that may eventually need to land in my possession because Petunia would just adore them.

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Dried calendula, yarrow, motherwort and lavender make excellent fillers.

Next up is the what to put in those miniature containers. I happen to have a lot of dried herbs in my cupboards because I enjoy making salves and soaps, but you can also find many suitable potion elements in your spice rack, such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, and even cinnamon sticks. Other nice fillers that you may have lying around the house or garden shed are different birdseed varieties and wildflower seed packets; you know, those ones they send you in the mail to try to get you to donate to any variety of causes!

IMG_0873Next come the trinkets, the out of the ordinary compelling items that are sure to attract the eyes of the young, who I believe could most likely find that fabled needle in a haystack. Although they are able to completely ignore the socks they just left in the middle of the kitchen, they are always able to spot the tiniest somethings out-of-place. Shells, marbles, gemstones, sea glass and unusual rocks all catch the eye when appearing in atypical places.

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Finding spots that are chock-full o’ supplies, like moss, sticks, rocks and pinecones, can draw out some serious engineering skills in your child!

Now that you have an idea of what to have on hand, encouraging your child to engage with these magical beings is a great place to start. Building a shelter or leaving a special snack of fresh fruit or seeds on a large rock are great starting points. Those berries and seeds are almost guaranteed to be gone the next time you visit (thanks forest creatures!) and if you can sneak out and leave one of your tiny bottles or trinkets in its place, you’ve set the stage for magic. Finding supplies for fairy houses on our hikes has become one of our favorite things, such as wild bird feathers, sticks, bark, moss and pinecones. We typically bring a basket on our beach walks and hikes specifically to find new treasures for our magical friends.

So, there you have it. Everything you need to get you energized for an enchanted spring. I’ll leave you with a few of the anecdotes my Petunia has found particularly captivating.

  • In the morning fairies flutter around kissing flowers like tulips, poppies and crocuses so that they open for the day and in the evening they tap the blooms with their wands to make them close for the night.
  • A potion made of dandelion petals, which can be made by leaving a bowl full of water and petals in the bright sun for a few hours, can cure any magical beings ailment, but don’t forget to leave some for the bees!
  • If you are left a container of dried lavender it can fill you with courage in moments of despair.
  • Whenever you catch a sparkle out of the corner of your eye, but can’t quite make out what it was you saw, it was most likely a fairy tending to his/her business.
  • Elves love to make homes in the hollowed out cavities at the bottom of trees and enjoy listening to soft lyrical songs of children.
  • Unicorns may live in plain sight for much of the year, as they shed their horns in the winter. So, if you’re passing by a farm and see what looks like a white horse close to the woods, it just may be a unicorn!

IMG_9154What kind of enchanting things do you do with your children in the spring and year round? Please enlighten us with more anecdotes, if you care to share!

Fairy Fun is a book we checked out of our local library last year and loved. It’s a great resource for all sorts of crafts, magic tricks, riddles and more, if the fairy realm really takes ahold of your little ones imagination!
Faerie Charms is another book for children who strongly commit to the creativity and magic they possess within. If this book had been in my possession as a child, I would probably have a pair of wings myself by now! As a parent, this book provides many wonderful ways to explore the magical realm with your child and further the wonder and awe.

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Tutorials

Children’s Terrarium Tutorial

On Thursday I happily spent the morning in Cape Elizabeth, Maine at Fiddleheads Flowers and Vintage Chic Gifts with one of my oldest friends, who just so happens to be an amazing florist. She guided me through building a simple and sweet terrarium for the littlest loves in your life and I would love to share the experience with you!

Since we can’t all have a florist best friend with all the fixings, I’ll provide a list of items you’ll need below.

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Keep in mind your succulents will grow over time, so leave a little space!

What You’ll Need:
Small succulents from your local florist or nursery (we used 2)
Clear Glass Bubble Bowl
Reindeer moss or a Moss Mix
River Stones
Potting soil (1 to 2 cups)

Additional Adornments:
Permanent botanicals/silks
Crushed sand
A fairy, bird, unicorn, fox, dinosaur or other tiny figurine that suits your little one
Sea Glass, Marbles and/or Glass Gems
Driftwood, beach rocks or interesting forest finds
Extra Fine Glitter

* They also make some great kits that contain many of the above items in small amounts, which can cut down on the cost, such as the following:
Premium Kit for Small Terrarium (Succulent, Cactus, and Fairy Garden) or
Terrarium DIY Succulent / Cactus Kit (Small)

Designing Your Terrarium

Once you have all of your supplies, start with placement of the river stones, which will help prevent pooling.  Arrange them to one side of the bowl.

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Next, add your 1 to 2 cups of potting soil to the remainder of the bowl, patting it down gently, and add any larger design elements you may want to build around, like driftwood, large rocks, bark, et cetera.

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Next, loosen and remove a bit of soil from the bottom of each succulent, exposing the roots, and situate them in the potting soil at the base of your terrarium bowl.

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Now, the fun really starts! Add your mosses, crushed stones, permanent botanicals, marbles, glass gems and figurines however you see fit.

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If you’re involving your little one in the terrarium making process, this is the ideal time to let them really take the helm and place all of the smaller elements carefully wherever they think they look best! After everything is in place, sprinkle the glitter throughout.

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Once completed, use a spray bottle to mist the plants and find a spot to highlight this treasure in your home! Ours is currently sitting in the center of the dining room table where it is checked on regularly by Petunia.

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I want to say a big thank you to Lauren for sharing her expertise. For all of your floral deliveries and gift needs in the Greater Portland, Maine area you can find Fiddleheads online at Fiddleheads, on Instagram at @fiddleheadflowers and on Facebook at Fiddlehead Flowers and Vintage Chic Gifts!

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If you’re looking for a fun little book to delve further into terrarium building, check out Miniature Garden Grower by Holly Farrell! I hope you enjoyed this little hands-on weekend project. I would love to see what you all create, so please tag me in your social media posts!