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This lamp shade is so cute and creative!  It looks like a cinch to make as well, by just poking the umbrellas through a plastic ball.  I guess I’ll have to throw lots of parties so I can make lamps….

Find the full how to here:    http://crafttutorials.net/2010/08/cocktail-umbrella-lamp-shade/

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Tomorrow, September 21st, is World Peace Day. I’d like to speak about something that relates to Japan’s Peace Day, August 6th.

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr, is a children’s book that is both heart breaking and important to read. Sadako Sasaki was a twelve year old Japanese girl that developed leukemia as a result of being exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The crane is a symbol of longevity in Japan, and it is popularly represented in origami form.  Legend says that the person who folds a thousand cranes will be granted a wish.  It was with this in mind that Sadako began folding cranes, in the hopes of getting well when she reached a thousand.  Sources disagree whether or not she made one thousand cranes, but Sadako eventually succumbed to her disease in 1955.

Today Sadako and her paper cranes are symbols of world peace.  Japan remembers August 6th, the anniversary of the bomb dropping, as Peace Day.

Folding a paper crane can be the beginning of your collection of a thousand, a thoughtful little gift, or a tribute to peace.

Here is a YouTube How To and below are some fine Etsy origami items:


Necklace by FlorenceGirl

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My first terrarium; House and clothesline by me!

In the interest of spring and all that is lush and green, I decided to start a wet terrarium.  Perhaps I am a bit behind on the crafty terrarium craze, but I am no less fervent.

Terrariums are enclosed spaces for living things.  Just as aquariums house water creatures and plants, terrariums are host to plants and land animals (such as a pet turtle).  This is a guide solely for the plant terrarium.

Traditionally, they house their own little ecosystems: evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.  Therefore, terrarium plants have to love moist, wet environments. (Some terrariums are open air and different plants can be used).  Moss, ferns, African violets, baby’s tears are all great terrarium water-lovers. No: cacti or succulents (ie: jade, aloe, hens and chicks).

Terrariums are great because: they require little attention, they add a bit of green to the urban apartment, and they can be cute pieces of style!

Baby's Tears

You need:

Glass jar

Rocks or pebbles
Activated charcoal
Potting soil
Plant

Step 1. Pick out a glass with a lid.  The container can be as stylish as an antique apothecary jar to an old pasta sauce jar.  Make sure the container is clean.

Step 2. Cover the bottom of the glass with the rocks.  This creates a space for excess water to gather, without rotting the soil.

Step 3. The next layer is the activated charcoal.  This stuff also drains, but primarily prevents stinkiness.

Step 4. Next, add your layer of soil.  Make sure there is enough for the plants throw roots down into.

Step 5. Now, add the plant or plants!  This can be difficult if you’ve chosen a glass with a small opening.  I use chopsticks to place my plants where I wanted them.  You can also use tongs or tweezers.  Make sure to pat the plants down, so they are snuggled close to the soil. (Now you may also add cute miniatures and decorations, as you desire!)

Caring for your terrarium:
Spritz this baby with water once every few weeks.  Use a sprayer, not a watering can, so as not to over-water!  Let it air out once in a while as well.

My favorite terrarium sellers on Etsy:

The creative DoodleBirdie

The talented WeeGreenSpot

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At the request of several lovely ladies in Melrose, MA, here is a short how-to about potato stampers!

MATERIALS:

You’ll need…red paint, a paint brush, knife, potato (cut in half), paper or cards to print.  Make sure your cut potato has a smooth, flat, even surface.  This is important because its current surface will be the stamp.  The paint and paint brush can be replaced with an ink stamp pad if you prefer.

STEP ONE:

Take the knife and slowly, carefully cut your shape down into the potato.  I usually cut about a centimeter deep.

STEP TWO:

Cut horizontally now, across the face of the potato, until you reach your shape.  If you cut a little bit into your shape, that’s ok, but try not to.  As your new cuts reach your previous cuts, you should be able to pull away the extra potato, revealing your shape!

STEP THREE:

Paint your new stamp and stamp away!  I recommend doing a trial run on a scrap piece of paper, just to see how your stamp stamps.  If my stamping surface isn’t as smooth as I thought it was, I usually stamp with a slight rolling motion (rather than pushing straight down) in order to make the whole surface kiss the paper.

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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