Lovely thoughts flutter through your mind to hand craft all of your gifts this year. Just imagine it, Christmas music playing in the background, an area set aside for all your crafting gear (and not having to clear the dining room table for a meal!) …yes, it is nice to dream. Then there is the calendar flipping its days so fast it could make your head spin. Time is the rare commodity as holiday activities run away with it all.
Here are a few links to DIY gifts that look like you worked on for days but will take only a matter of hours from start to wrapping.
Thankful…we hear that a lot this time of year. I think the spirit of thankfulness we feel now, should happen every other day of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for a day set aside to reflect on it all, but feel a bit swirled under by all the black Friday stuff. Thursday is just a speed bump to Friday. How did this happen? I remember as a kid when every store was closed and it was truly a holiday where time was spent with family (a bit Norman Rockwell-esque). Forgot the whipped cream? Too bad because the Winn Dixie was buttoned up tight and there wasn’t a store open…anywhere! I recently asked a cashier at a grocery store if she had plans for the holiday and she said she had to work. I told her what a bummer to have to work on a holiday and she brightened up and said she volunteered so she could have the time-and-a-half pay. Somehow, it still made me sad.
So if Thursday is just another day on the calendar that happens to be a big day for turkey farmers, then grateful should be a part of every day. Find a quiet time in each day to reflect, even for just a few minutes. There are many mornings when I am simply grateful that I can put my cold toes over a warm heater vent. Lord, I am grateful for: a warm house, a summer morning in the garden with the discovery of a bloom that wasn’t there yesterday. The range of brilliant colors of fall leaves. The first daffodil to brighten the grey skies in the spring, a phone call from a far-away friend, the giggle of a four-year old, all my girls home at the same time. The list could go on and on, but the message is to be grateful for the simple things and seek thanksgiving in every day.
Tis the season to start your paperwhites! Fragrant and easy to grow, Narcissus tazetta commonly known as “paperwhites” are bulbs that are native to warmer climates and grow easily without a chilling period. This classic indoor bulb is intensely fragrant with elegant star-shaped clusters of white flowers that are popular at holiday time. Once planted, watered and placed in a warm spot they will bloom within 4 to 6 weeks. I always plant mine the first week in November and then plant another group in a few weeks to stage a longer period of bloom and color all season long.
Paperwhites lend themselves to holiday decorating because they can be planted in unusual containers to fit a theme such as teacups and glass bowls. Cluster potted groupings on a mantle or mixed into centerpieces among greenery, berries and bows for a living and fragrant element to your holiday décor.
How to plant:
-4 to 6 inch round, 4 inch deep pot. Use terra-cotta or any decorative bowl; just make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom.
-3 to 5 Paperwhite bulbs (the most common variety is sold as Paperwhite “Ziva”) Choose bulbs that are firm, with rich brown papery, outside layers. A bit of green stem showing is OK.
-White rock chips or try a touch of creativity by using beach glass, marbles. Use anything heavy enough to keep the bulbs upright.
In the bottom of the pot, place at least two inches of the base material (rock or glass, etc.). Depending on the size and style of the pot, you may need to go deeper.The bulbs top should set just below the rim of the pot. Set the bulbs firmly on top of the base; roots down and stem up. A 4 inch pot will hold 3 bulbs and a 6 inch pot holds 5 bulbs. Loosely fill the pot with remaining base material to the rim. About half of the bulb should be exposed. Water well and place in a warm spot, away from direct sunlight, until green shoots emerge to about 4 inches.
Bring the pot into a sunny spot and keep evenly watered. Do not over-water. The blooms will last longer if kept in a cooler area of the home.
Give them a holiday spirit!
Paperwhites tend to get tipsy. The problem is, the slender stems grow tall with all of the flower weight at the top, making the stems bend and fall over.
Researchers with the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University have remedied a solution to this top-heavy blooms; alcohol. When paperwhite bulbs are grown in a diluted solution of alcohol, the plants reach a height of up to 1/2 their normal growth yet the flower size is not affected and they bloom just as long. The water/alcohol stress on the plants is just enough to stunt their growth, let’s just say it Continue reading “Grow a (Paper) White Christmas”