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bloombox.

What better way to celebrate another pandemic wedding anniversary than with Matilda’s Bloombox! Ever since I spotted Matilda’s seafoam truck at a local craft event adorned with the prettiest blooms, I’ve wanted an excuse to treat myself to a box (I mean, ya, this one is also for you, too, Hubby). What a delight!

Each box comes with a beautifully designed information sheet with details on each grower and each flower/herb, plus owner Emily’s suggestions for how to prepare and arrange the blooms in your vase of choice. I love that each flower/foliage is sourced from local growers, the box is hand delivered, and it’s also a fun DIY activity.

Matilda’s Bloombox is not a subscription, but rather you select in advance which weeks you’d like to receive a box and you are charged upon delivery. They give a preview a week or two in advance to give you time to say yea or nay, and when it’s delivered, there’s no address label on the box – it’s like a friend left you a surprise gift (but that friend is you. :))

This bloombox included:

It is an understatement to say that this box smelled so good.

I used our head table flower jar from our wedding for this arrangement. The info sheet included recommended vessel size and tips on building the base (with rosemary and boronia), adding the focal flower (ranunculus), and adding the secondary flowers (tulips and lavender).

I am majorly crushing on this arrangement. So pretty!

The blooms opened up after just a few hours in water, and even more so during the week. Check out the tulips on Day 3!

I love love loved everything about this floral experience, and I’m looking forward to another occasion (or just because) to order my next box. Affilink alert: Save $10 on your first box! And happy anniversary to us. 🙂

homegirl.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas, mother figures, and future moms! This is my first Mother’s Day, and the only craft I was able to put together in the last month was this iron-on letter onesie for my little. It’s super simple and you can gather all your supplies from your local craft store or craft closet.

Materials and tools:

  • Onesie or any clothing item of choice (I recommend washing before applying letters)
  • Iron-on letters (Pick your fave font and color)
  • Scissors
  • Iron (Remember I have a dedicated craft iron now? Ha!)
  • Ironing board or other heat-tolerant firm surface
  • Towel (A tea towel works nicely)

I made a similar top for myself many years ago to celebrate my mom. Mine said Mommy is my Homegirl. I was inspired by a Gwen Stefani bag I used to own that said Gwen is my Homegirl.

Cut out letters and arrange as you wish. Remove the protective backing; the letters should stick in place. Place a towel on top of the letters, then firmly press with the iron (I used the cotton setting) for 20-30 seconds. Allow the letters to cool, then peel off the plastic. If it looks like the letters have not yet set, stop peeling and iron them for a little longer.

I realized as I was cutting out letters that getting glitter letters was probably not a good idea for a baby, but the font was so cute! Also, the glitter seems to be sticking well so far, and he will probably spit up on it soon after our photo opportunity and we will need to change him into something else. 🙂

So easy right? I have so many more letters left, too. What should I spell out next? Happy celebrating the Mamas in your life!

annie’s.

One day I’ll have a garden of my own. For now I have a patio with potted plants and places like Annie’s Annuals and Perennials to enjoy.

This was my first time at the nursery, and I almost didn’t make it in time. I was the last person allowed in ten minutes before closing. It wasn’t enough time to explore the whole nursery, but it was plenty of time to be in awe of the plant varieties they carry and take lots of pictures.

The nursery is large and packed with so many different kinds of plants that there’s a guidebook! It’s like the Disneyland of nurseries.

I feel like I could learn a lot about flowering plants from hanging out in the nursery and talking to the staff. Each plant has an info card with care tips and photos of the blooms, too. I love me a good info card, and I will stop to read all of them.

I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to make any good plant decisions in my limited nursery time – oh, but I did! I selected a trio of plants to take home: Dahlia merckii, Papaver rhoeas “Falling in Love,” and Phacelia viscida. Wish me luck that I can keep these plant babies alive and get them to bloom.

Visit any good nurseries lately? Share below! And let me know what you’ve been planting in your garden.

one of everything.

The traveling baking company Blooms End popped up at Morningtide. This was my first time trying this local bakery and it did not disappoint.

Per usual, all great pop-ups at Morningtide draw a crowd. I made sure I was in line at the start of the pop-up (it’s even better if you come earlier). Also per usual, I shopped Morningtide after I got my pop-up goods. 🙂

Mary Denham, the baker and visionary behind Blooms End, put together the most delicious array of savory and sweet creations for the day’s festivities. The menu was released the day before and I knew when I got to the front of the line I would order one of (almost) everything.

I ended up getting one of every croissant (minus one because she sold out of the chocolate croissants by the time I got to the front of the line), plus cookies (chocolate chip and white chocolate-marcona almond). Check out this croissant line up:

  • croissant (plain)
  • chocolate
  • coffee-cardamom monkey
  • meyer lemon-breakfast tea twist
  • blackened date-graham-chocolate
  • quince & manchego
  • roasted carrot-hazelnut-feta
  • broccoli rabe-white cheddar claw
  • spinach & feta
  • white bean & speck
  • romanesco & cheddar mornay
  • chorizo & manchego

There were lots of sweet treats, too – too many to try!

My bounty! Hubby and I had a taste test. I appreciated that half of the croissant selection was savory – you don’t see that too often. All of the croissants were flakey and soft, and Mary’s flavor combinations were so unique! My favorites were the white bean & speck and chorizo & manchego croissants.

Blooms End will be back at Morningtide this month and word on the street is that they hope to host Blooms End pop-ups each month, so I guess you know what I’ll be doing once a month for the foreseeable future.

that’s a wrap.

I tried my hand at making beeswax food covers. I’ve been wanting to learn how to create my own for some time, and now I know I’d rather just buy them premade. Ha! It’s a messy craft!

Jenny Lemons teamed up with Cara of Cara Corey Designs for their monthly craft night to bring an evening of creating these reusable, sustainable, and super cute beeswax food wrappers. Cara reviewed materials and shared all of her wrapper making secrets. What’s great is you can use scrap fabric – so if you’ve got a fabric stash, this is a fun way to use up material, or a good reason to buy more cute fabrics!

Per usual, Jenny Lemons prepared craft kits. When I learn a new craft I love having a kit with all the supplies ready to go (even though I totally have a stash of fabric, beeswax, buttons, and embroidery floss!). The kit from Jenny Lemons included:

  • Jenny Lemons fabric squares
  • Beeswax pellets mixed with jojoba oil (portioned for each piece of fabric)
  • Buttons
  • Embroidery floss
  • Needle
  • Parchment paper

We also needed:

  • Foil
  • Iron
  • Ironing board or similar
  • Scissors
  • Cup/bowl
  • Spoon (I used a chopstick)

First, we wrapped our irons in foil to serve as a barrier between the iron and the wax, and covered our work area with parchment.

The kit beeswax was packaged with jojoba oil (can also use liquid coconut oil); we mixed it up in a cup to make sure the oil was distributed among the beeswax pellets. Basically, you want each pellet to have an oil shine.

Before adding the beeswax, Cara recommends cutting your fabric to your desired size and shape, though this can be done after adding the beeswax, too. I cut a scalloped edge onto my fabric.

We sprinkled and spread the beeswax on our fabric. Then laid the hot iron onto the fabric, keeping it in one spot until the wax had melted. This is the part that can get super messy, especially if you have too much wax on your fabric. We removed excess wax off of the fabric by moving the melted wax off to the side with the iron. We flipped the fabric and ironed the other side, and repeated this process, until we we had a thin, even layer of beeswax on both sides of the fabric.

It would have been good to add a little beeswax at a time and experiment with how much I actually needed for my piece of fabric. A little goes a long way! You’ll know you’re done when there are no longer any beeswax clumps, the entire fabric surface is covered with wax (both sides!), and fabric is pliable and “see through.”

At this point, the beeswax wrapper is ready to be used, but you can add embellishments. I added a button closure. Daaa, cute!

This is a fairly simple craft (See the full how to on the Jenny Lemons blog.), but oh my, it can get so messy! If you try it I suggest covering a large area for your work station. I only used enough parchment to serve as a “placemat” for my fabric, but the melted beeswax wanted to roam a bit further than my allotted area. Also, I have an iron designated for crafts now because I didn’t cover enough of the iron with foil. Seriously, cover the whole thing and then cover another spot on your work station with parchment just for the iron to rest on.

TL; DR: Not for me, but cool to know how to do. Do you make your own food wraps? Share below!

smorgastarta.

Throwing back to a savory birthday cake I made for Hubby’s birthday last year because it seems like a great Springtime snack!

I’m always looking for savory alternatives for cake. We eat normal cake, but we love savory foods more. Plus, it’s always fun to try something new in the kitchen. One year for Hubby’s birthday I made “ice cream sundaes” but out of mashed potatoes and sausages. This last birthday: smorgastarta, Swedish sandwich cake! Instead of making one normal sized cake I made a few mini ones.

I cut out bread circles (and made cinnamon sugar toast with the excess!), then made fillings. Many recipes call for lox which would have been so delicious but I was pregnant at the time, so I found inspo for vegetarian fillings. I created three:

  • Roasted beetroot + dill + honey + salt and pepper + cream cheese
  • Roasted red peppers + Colby Jack cheese + salt and pepper + cream cheese
  • Avocado + lemon + salt and pepper + cream cheese

Making mini cakes allowed me to focus on one flavor for each cake. The fillings tasted good together, but I wanted each to shine.

Then came the fun part – decorating! For one I frosted it with extra avocado filling. Another got cream cheese but it wasn’t melty enough so it went on thick. And then I learned you can microwave cream cheese – that went on smoothly. It felt like I was frosting cake. I boiled and sliced eggs, used a peeler to cut cucumber nice and thin, and chopped up some chives for sprinkles. Little sprigs of dill added some texture, too.

Whoa, these were super decadent and cream cheese loaded. I can see how a larger cake would have a better balance of flavor/richness. I added more cucumber on the side to balance out the creaminess.

These are reminiscent of tea sandwiches and would make a cute addition to a Spring tea. Or better yet, create these for an April Fools’ Day snack.

Are you on board the savory cake train? Or is this too much of a mind game? Share below!

seed paper.

It’s Baby’s First Valentine’s Day so we put together a little something for all his baby friends. Since babies can’t indulge in your typical Valentine’s sweets, I picked a non-food Valentine’s treat: seed paper in heart confetti form so friends can watch love grow all year long. (Aww, sweetness.)

I am a big fan of nature confetti – what I’m deeming as dried leaves or fallen flowers harvested from the same area where you will toss the confetti – so I am all over this biodegradable confetti! I found this seed paper from Botanical PaperWorks. It came in so many colors – I picked three colors to mix and packaged them up. Here’s how I put it all together —

I gathered:

  • Seed paper confetti (I picked hearts but you can choose other shapes or punch out different shapes from full sheets of seed paper instead)
  • Bag/pouch (I had 4” x 6” plastic bags in my stash. You can also source something biodegradable if you want to keep with the earth-friendly theme)
  • Tag design (I’m sharing a downloadable file below)
  • Cardstock (65 lb)
  • Printer access
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Bone folder
  • Stapler

Mix confetti and fill your bags with the desired amount.

I designed tags to fit my bags – 4 inches across and 2 inches tall (the printed tag is 4 inches by 4 inches). To assemble, print tags, cut with a paper cutter, fold in half and crease with a bone folder, and attach to the plastic bag with a single staple.

Since these bags were on the long side, I folded the top part of the bags down and hid the excess under the tag. If you do this, too, make sure the staple goes through the folded layers.

Package it up with additional goodies (like a cute heart ornament) and detailed planting instructions (taken from the Botanical PaperWorks website), seal with a heart sticker and a tiny name tag, and you’ve got yourself a fun Valentine’s greeting!

I might need to put this gift idea on repeat.

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

paper lanterns.

Gearing up for Lunar New Year!

I was recently asked to host a paper lantern workshop in celebration of Lunar New Year. I had never created a paper lantern before so I did some internetting to get design ideas. My friend Rebecca created a lantern template for me and you can download it here to create along.

Gather materials and tools:

  • Lantern template
  • Printer access
  • Red cardstock (8.5” x 11”)
  • Gold cardstock
  • Gold metallic marker
  • Gold metallic embroidery floss, or similar
  • Tassel maker (cardboard or other firm board works, too)
  • Sewing needle with large eye
  • Scissors (for paper and for fabric)
  • Hot glue (can use tacky glue or other glue)

Print the lantern template onto red cardstock. I like using 65lb cardstock. Cut out the lantern shapes. Use the gold metallic marker to outline each lantern. This can be done before cutting, too, if preferred.

Use a craft needle to poke holes on each lantern “petal” (use the black dots on the template as a guide) and in the center of the lantern. The petal tips will be the top of the lantern; the center will be the base.

Curl the lantern petals slightly with your fingers.

Cut strips of gold paper ~1/2” x 4”. Create a circle; secure with glue. Attach to the bottom of the lantern with glue.

Create a tassel with the gold metallic floss. Wrap the floss around the tassel maker ~15 times.

Tie a loose single knot to the top of the tassel with a 12” piece of floss. Remove from the tassel maker and tighten the knot; secure with a double knot. This is the hanging cord. Tie an over hand knot with the hanging cord a couple of inches above the top of the tassel.

Cut the tassel loops. Wrap the tassel with a 12” piece of floss and secure with a double knot. Trim excess knot floss and tassel ends.

Insert hanging cord into the bottom of the lantern (through the hole previously made). The double knot should be pulled all the way through so it sits on the inside of the lantern. Tie another overhand knot on top of the first one to secure the tassel inside the lantern. Trim excess floss.

Cut an 18” piece of floss. Knot one end and thread onto the needle. Sew through each of the lantern petals and pull until the petals overlap and form a lantern shape. Knot the floss on the top side of the lantern to hold the shape. Tie an additional overhand knot to create a hanging loop. Trim excess floss.

Make a few lanterns to create a garland. Use embroidery floss or other cord to string your lanterns.

This was such a fun project! I might need to make these lanterns in different colors for all the celebrations. Do you celebrate Lunar New Year? How do you decorate? Share below!

sunburst basket.

I made the Flax and Twine / Modern Macrame sunburst basket project! My stitching isn’t the best (also, left hand problems ~ everything is backwards!), but I loved all aspects of this project.

This project requires minimal materials: rope, twine, a tapestry needle, and scissors. I copied the sample colors because look how dreamy this brown rope is. The pattern comes with an accompanying video which I am a big fan of – it’s so much easier for me to follow a video versus written instructions when it’s my first time creating a project.

When I shared my progress with my parents my Dad shared that my Great-Grandfather was a basket maker! OMG, it all makes sense now why I’m basket obsessed! It’s in my blood! My Great-Grandfather’s repertoire was vast with baskets ranging in size from tabletop baskets for displaying food to large works meant for storing rice. Goals!

Here’s my finished piece. The sample was more of a plate-like shape; I went for more of a bowl since I like having containers for organizing around our home. I think I made the project more difficult because it was hard to keep the correct tension when building the basket’s rim, but I’m happy with how it turned out and now I want to make more and continue the family legacy. 😉

Have you tried your hand at creating stitched baskets? Share below!

more places.

More outdoor spaces to explore in the East Bay! Because eight wasn’t enough.

Keller Beach Park, Richmond / A small beach that’s worth the visit. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy watching the resident squirrels find and munch on human snacks.

San Pablo Park, Berkeley / There’s currently construction and upgrades happening at the park, but there’s a huge lawn area – perfect for setting up a socially distanced picnic and enjoying the sunshine.

Willard Park, Berkeley / Aww, I used to live near Willard Park. I even had a crafty birthday party here one year. There’s a playground and lots of grassy areas. I’m particularly fond of their redwood trees. Strolling the neighborhood is lovely, too, because there are so many things blooming year-round.

Point Pinole Regional Park Dotson Family Marsh, Richmond / The scenery is a bit dry, but I loved it here. An hour before sunset there wasn’t much of a crowd, and the trail is wide enough to stay a good distance away from folks going the opposite direction. There’s a small parking lot next to the trail entrance; FYI the lot closes just before sunset.

Miller Knox Regional Shoreline, Richmond / Lots of space for walking and biking, and lovely silhouette views of the City. You can walk to Keller Beach from here, too.

Morcom Rose Garden, Oakland / Well this was a fun find! I had no idea there was a rose garden in Oakland. On this visit (in November) there were a number of roses in bloom, and we met some resident kittens. There are lots of benches and a few water features to enjoy, too.

So fun to adventure around town. There are still so many places to visit. Have you discovered any new sites in your neck of the woods? Share below!