The Artist Gift List, For Budding Creatives And Experienced Alike

Delightful Gifts for Artists

Pastels, brushes, and other art supplies
Pastels, brushes, markers… so much to choose from!

Maybe you are like me, or maybe this sounds like someone on your gift list :

One of the hardest things for me to come through on has been the promise I made to myself a number of years ago:

I determined I would once again create art.

Instead, it seems that all my time is spent writing, or cleaning house, or doing a hundred other things. I love writing about gardening, writing about art, writing about computer related things… but there is something about sitting down with some fresh art supplies and creating something with that media that is calming, restoring, and satisfying.

For a few years I have been collecting art supplies.

Here are is a collection of those I most want, if I don’t already have them.

Watch my additions, soon I will write about what I want to do with the paints, pencils, papers, etc.

This might be the ultimate procrastinator’s tale…. however, let this lens function as my wish list for art supplies, as well as my record of whether I actually follow through on the dream.

artistic sheep

Perhaps you have helpful hints that will motivate and inspire me to stop only writing about it and actually create a brick and mortar oeuvre. Just note them in the comments, and all of us artist wannabees will be grateful.

(Oh yes, included in this post are examples of inspiring art that is fun to look at, AND a number of informative videos.)

For presents, either birthday or Christmas, art supplies might be the perfect choice. Artistic people seem to constantly need resupplying.

Top Choices?

  • paper
  • sketching supplies
  • water soluble supplies
  • pans and palettes
Know your artist: that is the best bet for choosing presents well.

Little Rembrandts

Children benefit from all the things that encourage them to be creative. Basics are welcome. School supply lists can give you ideas, too.

Artist Paper – that stands up to water

childlike art

For watercolor or pen and inks, a paper that is strong enough to handle the water and hold its surface texture.

Pen Techniques and Supply Suggestions

Know Your Papers

Sketch pads are usually made for dry utensils like pencil or charcoal, but the intended use is listed on the description that is found on the front. when giving a gift for an artist, and you aren’t sure which is their favorite medium, use one that is suitable for a broad range.
Delta Wirebound Sketchbook 7x7
Stillman & Birn Delta Wirebound Sketchbook, Heavyweight 180lb, Ivory White, 25 Sheets, 7×7

Gorgeous heavyweight paper. archival quality multi-media paper. This is top of my own personal wishlist.

Your Talent

If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke. – Brendan Francis

pen and ink
Pen nib photo by Charlotte L

Pen And Ink

Pen and ink was my forte in drawing. Working with it, alone and with watercolors, was the way I best expressed the art that resided in my mind. Later in life, encouraging my children to learn calligraphy meant giving up ownership to my pens. And while I do not regret that, since some of my girls developed real skills in calligraphic writing, I now find a desire for the high quality pens and inks that give the best results.

So guess what supplies are now high on my list? Yes, quill pens and inks.

I Love To Draw With Pen and Ink

I let my children have all my pens…. now, what about me?

Supplies For Pen And Ink Artists

  • Winsor and Newton India ink
  • Speedball Standard Point Dip Pen and Nibs
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Artist’s Pens
  • Strathmore Bristol Vellum Paper Pad

Pens and Watercolor Wash

watercolor art

What’s On The Artist Gift List?

This is the short list for gifts that I would be personally happy to receive, make your own for you or someone you know.

An adult Artist who loves watercolors and pen and ink. Also draws sketches with pencils.

  • Paper for pencil, also for watercolor work.
  • Derwent pencil set
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Winsor & Newton or Rembrandt watercolors

Art Gifts For Children

If I were buying a selection of child art supplies I would start out with a large sketchpad of drawing paper, a beginners set of pencils, including a gum eraser. Then I would add a small set of watercolors with some extra brushes (you always need more than one brush!), and a set of good markers.

Did you know that Mary Engelbreit started out with just markers to make her wonderful drawings? And look where she ended up- an Empire and a Career.

An Artist Easel

Dream of an easel
I like desk easels the best, but any easel helps to hold the paper and paints while working.

Royal & Langnickel 150-Piece All Media Easel Artist Set

All media easel set

Delightful start to getting ready to draw or paint, and easel keeps you art ready to work on, and provides the perfect space to keep your utensils handy.

Use It Or Lose It Is The Rule For Your Talents

If you (or giftee) are just starting out, be sure to check out the tutorial videos and the lists here. Slowly build your stock of supplies, but try to give free rein to your creativity.

There are times we waste by not using our paints. Let yourself liberally use the paint and papers, the pencils, the inks… don’t let them sit and languish.

For Those Who Paint

Each medium has its own set of techniques , brushes, and painting supplies. Which artist are you buying a gift for this year?

In Watercolor

  • Brushes, sable watercolor brushes or synthetic
  • Pan or tube paints
  • Palette or mixing pan
  • Watercolor paper pad

Traditional Oils

  • Titanium white, ivory black, cadmium red, permanent alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow light and cadmium yellow paints
  • Palette and palette knife
  • Turpentine or mineral spirits
  • linseed oil
  • canvas

Easy Acrylics

  • paper or canvas
  • paints in same colors as oils
  • acrylic brushes
  • palette and palette knife

Adult Coloring Books are Still Popular

A whole new world of Adult coloring books has opened up and colored pencils as well as crayons are used to give hours of peaceful meditative coloring.

Caran D'ache - Supracolor Watercolor Pencils - Set of 120

Caran D’Ache Color Pencil Set – Supracolor II Watercolor Pencil Set of 120 Assorted Colors

Yes, I want the WHOLE set of these fine watercolor pencils. I want to be able to take my watercolors wherever I go, and this will be perfect.

These work wonderfully for the new adult coloring books that are now available everywhere. Consider gifting someone with one of these pencil sets and a beautiful, intricately drawn coloring book.

Try Your Hand At Coloring

Here’s the how- to if you ever wondered why someone would love to sit and color.

Gift Ideas for Artists – Get your gift-giving creative juices flowing

There are many gifts that will make your artist happy! That is one of the things that makes this so much fun. It is easy to shop for artists when you don’t know what styles they prefer because you are supplying them with something they always need, will actually use, and they can create their own style.

When someone has been practiced in their craft, it does make sense to give quality supplies. You wouldn’t believe what a difference a well made paper or pigment produces in a finished piece.

Art Papers are always welcome

There are many types of papers for artists, but a basic sketchbook is always welcome. A good quality paper that will take a number of media is probably the best choice.

There are differing weights, whether they are suitable for wet medium (like watercolors), and differing component materials ( cotton, wood pulp, etc).

Luckily, most list on the cover or label which medium they are useful for, eliminating guesswork.

The art of painting
The art of painting

Strathmore Spiral Toned Sketch Book 5.5"X8.5"-Gray 50 Sheets
Strathmore (412-105 400 Series Toned Gray Sketch Pad, 5.5″x8.5″, 50 Sheets

Please, please, I wish for this gray toned paper sketchbook by Strathmore. It will be the perfect paper for pro look sketches that pop from the page. Super inspirational for an artist.

Save and Display Your Child’s Art

Display case is such a cool gift idea
Display case is such a cool gift idea

My daughter-in-law uses this for displaying my grandchild’s masterpieces. It is a beautiful frame- such a great idea!

Children’s Gifts, And Those for Moms

Giving children art supplies of some sort is almost always welcome. Level of interest makes the sorting out of whether we get coloring books, markers and crayons, or oil paints, brushes, and canvas.

For moms- ways to organize and display the resulting art sparks many ideas for appropriate presents.

  • a wall-hung case
  • a metal wire with clips (I saw this idea at Ikea)
  • decorative magnets strong enough to hold artwork onto frig or magnetic board

Brushes and Pens

If you know that the artist on your gift list paints in a certain medium or loves to create pen and ink drawings (Zentangle, anyone?), then gifting a great set of brushes or new pen nibs or inks is a very thoughtful thing to give.

Good quality is always appreciated, and to be considered much more than quantity. In other words, one bottle of excellent quality ink is better chosen than five bottles of less expensive, and thus less dependable inks.

This is why it pays ot now a little about the person. Young artists who are beginning to experiment might be the exception to this rule.

Why?

Beginners should feel free to use the supplies and not worry about mistakes. That is why pads of paper are always welcome, too. Plenty of room to practice and perfect their art. This is th ecase in which a gift of less expensive quality, but greater quantities are welcome.

Paint Brush Set Acrylic Xpassion 10pcs Professional Paint Brushes Artist for Watercolor Oil Acrylic PaintingPaint Brush Set Acrylic Xpassion 10pcs Professional Paint Brushes Artist for Watercolor Oil Acrylic Painting

Which Brush for Acrylics?

This video will explain it all for you. Very helpful if you are faced with an array of choices and aren’t sure which to choose.

Are You an Artist? – What do you use?

What is your medium of choice?

  • pen and ink
  • watercolors
  • acrylic paints
  • oil paints
  • clay sculpture
  • graphic computer art
  • pencil sketching
  • oil pastels
  • charcoal
  • markers
  • collage findings

Another gift idea besides the art supplies would be lessons, either with a teacher or online. So many courses are available that are fun and easy. My son loved taking a class with others that resulted in an easy to accomplish oil painting to take home. Look for these which are often offered locally.

My Daughter Uses Mine, The Wacom Drawing Tablet


 

This is the way I create most of my art- with graphics software and a graphic tablet. The Wacom pen tablet is on your graphics artist wishlist, believe me!

Computer Graphics

Not all artists use hardcopy paper. Increasingly there are very fine pictures produced with software graphics.

When it is time to invest in something like a pen tablet, it may be out of budget for a young artists, particularly if they are trying to improve the quality of their chosen software. Buying Adobe Photoshop or other Creative programs leaves little room for the peripherals.

That is why this may be one of the best choices, if you know they have it on their wishlist. Wacom makes several types according to the output desired. Art, Photo, Comic?

Artist Drawing Board – When it is fun to go back to the drawing board!

Studio Designs 10050 Futura Craft Station, Silver/Blue Glass

Wow, someone is so lucky and going to be so happy this year when they go back to the drawing board. Especially a sleek high style one like this.

I have a cheap drawing board, but this is the one I really want. It is a beautiful piece of furniture that really WORKS for an artist.

How Many of You Are Like Me?

drawing

Do you have talents you let go dormant?

 

  • I have talents, but I don’t have time
  • I have talents, but don’t have supplies and tools (or instruments)
  • I am unsure if I have talents
  • I secretly believe I have a talent, but I am afraid I will fail
  • I have been pursuing and developing my talents
  • I’ll think about this another day

 

Wherever you are on the spectrum, think about going into the coming year armed with all the supplies you need to accomplish your artistic dreams. Or help make that happen for the artist on your list.

If I were buying a gift for an artist that primarily created in pen and ink, watercolor, or colored pencils, I would choose a large kit.

A younger artist still experimenting with what they like, or someone who primarily works in sculpture, collage, or oil painting, would probably appreciate a smaller kit. Just see whether they liked the medium before investing lots of money in it.

An Ingenious Paint Accessory, the Masterson Sta-Wet Palette

I want one now. I have canvases, I have acrylics. I used to paint with tempera and watercolors, and occasionally oil paints, but have never actually used acrylic paints very much. I think it would suit me best to work with them… and I love the description of the palette.
My own method for keeping paints usable is to cover them with Saran wrap, but this is far superior for the purpose!


Sta-Wet Palette Keeps Paints Fresh For Days With Airtight Lid.

Pressed Flowers Can Make Pictures

I’ve always admired Penny Black’s pressed flower art, so I could start making my own supplies for that, couldn’t I?
Unusual maybe, but if an artist likes to use mixed media, and often incorporates natural elements into their work, a flower press, along with an inspirational book of ideas could be an inspiring and welcome gift.

pressed flower art
Pressed flower art

Penny Black’s the Book of Cards and Collages

Art supplies are not only pens and pencils, or paints, brushes, and papers, they might also be such things as pressed flowers or found objects. Creating collage is one pursuit that many have found relaxing and expressive.

When I read Penny Black’s book on pressed flower pictures, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of using such materials in creating art. Simpler uses make wonderful crafts for cards, too. Bits and bobs of buttons and lace are well known to scrapbookers for the way a collage can be created with the most ordinary of throwaway objects. We just have to use our imagination!

The first virtue of a painting is that it be a feast for the eyes. -Eugene Delacroix

Gypsy Style Belly Dancer, Costuming and Gift Ideas

I took bellydance lessons and performed, then became interested in costume. The historical relationship of dance and culture is fascinating. Let’s examine the way we think they look, with swirling skirts and ethnic jewelry.

Discover Gypsy’s performance art and their colorful costuming, then borrow the look for your own, for performance or Halloween dress-up.

Gypsy Dance, Colorful Costumes, Fiery Passion

A Gypsy Garb

We call them “Gypsies”, they call themselves “Roma” or “Rom”.  They are a colorful people with a long history, who inspire a romantic view and enrich our cultures with their costume, crafts and dance. The first part of this post looks at the way we can put together a costume with Gypsy flavor; secondly, it is filled with gift ideas for the dancer in your life; winding up with examples of the styles of costume and dance.

This is a brief look at how their dance influences other cultures and costuming, because we all know that it is a favorite look whenever there is a costume party!

Picture Yourself

Immediately we think of a wild melange of color, but what are the essential elements?

Depending on which shape-shifting variation you wish to present:

  • Belly dancer…
  • Eastern European …
  • Flamenco dancer

Why Put Together This Style Costume?

If you attend Renaissance Fairs, take part in dance performances, (or that most loved time for dressing up) attend Halloween events, the costume ideas are all valuable.

Each of these occasions call for one of the variations of this highly identifiable outfit.

Whether it is for your own dance performance or for the classic Halloween costume, “The Gypsy” look is fun to put together. The common denominator is plenty of flash and color.

Costume Ideas from Gypsy Dancers All Over the World

The Quintessential Coif: Long Dark Hair and a Scarf

What do you think of when picturing a gypsy? Long black hair warn loosely, a bright scarf to wrap it up and gold coin jewelry.

What do you think of when picturing a gypsy? Long black hair warn loosely, a bright scarf to wrap it up and gold coin jewelry.

Don’t have the long dark hair that is a signature style for under the bandana? Simply use a wig, many dancers do. If you find the idea of extensions too troublesome and costly, especially if just wanting to costume for a single event like Halloween, use an inexpensive wig just for the purpose.

Common Elements of this Mode of Costume

  • The jewelry: hoops, bangles, strands of beads, coin decorated scarves.
  • Scarves: for head and hip, and over the shoulder, as well
  • Skirts: full and colorful, combining prints and bright colors in a uniquely individual way.
  • Boots, high heels, stylish footwear, if possible. Take your pick.
  • Blouse that is full and feminine- peasant style.

Put Together Your Own Version

Gypsies brought their culture to many countries

Gypsies brought their culture to many countries

Gypsy-Style D-I-Y Ensemble

Many parts of belly dance garb have been lifted from the wardrobe of performing Gypsies. The intention was to draw attention and impress with vivid and spectacular design. This makes for an impressive performance.

Except for real gold jewelry, it doesn’t take much wealth to produce an eye catching outfit.

Anyone wanting to make a splash in their Halloween plans can borrow these costume ideas. It isn’t hard to put together this ensemble.

Nowadays, we don’t need real gold to create shine and sparkle, anyway. There are plenty of costume jewelry choices: chandelier earrings, strands of golden metal and beads, fake coins, and ethnic looks.

Add them to beautiful skirts and blouses, and further outfit with heeled boots.

Voila! You’re done, with a more or less authentic look that brings theatre onto the scene.

Skirt Style and Accessories: Get the Look

  • Whether short or long, a skirt that flares and swirls is part of the traditional gypsy look.
  • Tiers of colored ruffles or one skirt over another, with the outer one hiked up to reveal the underskirt.
  • A full peasant blouse, sometimes with a wide neckline. Sometimes a bolero vest.
  • Set off the waist with a hip scarf or wide belt.
  • A headscarf and big hoop earrings. tie on bandana style
  • Bling, bling, bling when it comes to necklaces and bangle bracelets.
  • Dangling earrings bring more bling

Performance Costuming

Most of the bellydance performance bras and belts can be quite expensive, and must fit exactly, but there are plenty of stretchy and adjustable tops, and hip scarves that will work for almost any size. Look for those to give as a gift- they will be very welcome as most of the time a belly dancer spends dancing is practicing in a studio or at home.

While any dance-wear works, those with fringes and coins make the dance more fun and help visualize he way the movements look.

Fringed Coin Bra Top


Gift Idea

This is the ideal gift- a practice or tribal performance coin decorated top. Enough fringe to accentuate those important rolls and drops.

Any belly dancer would love this for an authentic feel when practicing and doing classes and rehearsals.

Dance Photographer – Brendan Lally

Gifts Ideas for your Favorite Belly Dancer

It is easy to shop for someone who discovers belly dance, they have all sorts of costuming and makeup ideas they want to try. But maybe it isn’t quite as easy for you to figure just what thrills the heart of a student of Oriental dance, and that is what this lens is for… to open the world of Middle Eastern souks, the exciting accessories of the look of the Orient, and suggest the perfect gift choices for a Belly Dancer.

It can be a birthday, it can be Christmas, or any special holiday that you wish to use to shower a dancer in a show of appreciation. With these suggestions you are sure to find something that thrills a special someone who loves to shake and shimmy to her favorite Raqs Sharqi music.

The Key To A Great Gift Choice

That is what a woman wants: to feel beautiful and cared for.

Find out what those key things are and you know what to give as a gift she will remember. As well as your thoughtfulness.

For a woman who enjoys the Baladi dance form, part of the fun is the feminine way it makes them feel, including the chance to dress up and use exotic makeup. Exploring other cultures through the music, and even a bit of the history is part of the entire experience.

Clue into these things and you will have a treasure trove of ideas that will make the perfect gift, unlike any others.

Jewelry Is Always A Welcome Addition

For dancing performance or anytime she wishes to dress up, there are some fun costume jewelry ideas here. There are lots of different styles – some with coins, silver tone, gold tone, some that totally different … but all are fun and add sparkle.

For any woman on your list, jewelry might be a safe bet for a welcomed and enjoyed gift, but the Belly Dancer is just a little bit different.

She not only likes lots of jewelry, she adores the sparkly, kind that is strung with coins, and makes a great show when she moves.

That is why eye-catching items such as slave bracelets, Cleopatra bib necklaces, and chandelier earrings are favorites. If you really want to get the perfect gift of costume adornments, check the colors of her favorite outfits to see if gold or silver are the metal color for her.

Gift Inspirations

  • Tribal jewelry is always welcome, because it can be used anytime. Artful and fun, tribal jewelry gives any outfit a unique and fashionable look. Ebay is the perfect place to pick up great pieces that any belly dance aficionado would love.
  • Chandelier earrings, bib necklaces, armbands, all these types of jewelry are used to give an exotic flavor to an outfit, or in a dance performance.
  • Spa gift cards are guaranteed to make most women happy, but especially when a dancer wants to look her best. Manicures, pedicures, facials, even a massage is a great way to give a gift that will be appreciated.
  • There is always room for one more coin hip scarf!
  • Dance wear for practice and workouts can be a unique gift.
  • Belly dance slippers
  • A 3.5 yard length of silk for a dance veil, hem the ends and it is a beautiful gift. Great for all sizes.

Fabulous Tribal Gifts

To find something truly authentic with a degree of craftmanship that is rare, try online auctions.

The beauty of some of these tribal pieces is sometimes astounding in the way they add to an outfit or a stage costume. Don’t miss out on the chance to get a gift that is beyond the run of the mill mall purchase!

Feeling Beautiful is Really Important

Spa gifts, manicure and pedicure sets, creams and lotions…

Cosmetics And Fragrance Gifts Are Classic

This classic combination is a good choice for any woman, but look for the cosmetics that are recommended for the stage. Mac or Stila brand eye makeup, Glittery eye-catching powders… things like that.

Gifts of cosmetics and fragrance can be the best kind, so long as they are the right kind. Do a little sleuthing, or get something a seasoned bellydancer recommends.

Try to find the type of eye makeup your belly dancer prefers, or any beauty treatment or luxury skin treatment is a welcome present.

Common Elements of Gypsy Dance and How It Influences Other Cultures

The history of the Roma and their dance is intertwined. A common denominator in many of the belly dances, folk dances and the Flamenco of Spain, are hip and hand movements. All these dance forms share some of the same movements and steps.

Today’s fusions have proven a little harder to “pull off”, because while the movements create a common bond, the other factors such as feeling and manner are much more difficult to meld well.

What are the elements of Gypsy dance?

Take a video tour of a few examples and enjoy the entertainment that Gypsy people have perfected in their artistry of music and dance.

Romani Style Belly Dance

Turkish Dance

Eastern European Dance Fusion

Making the Dance Moves

Pay attention to specific movements in this dance form.

What makes this style dancing so enthralling?

It is enthralling for one reason: the performance is infused with passion and intensity. The most technically well-articulated gypsy dance leaves the viewer flat if it does not vibrate with the emotional intensity of the Gypsy soul.

That is just part and parcel of this style of dance.

I am not sure if the dance can be separated from the music and interaction of the performers. It is an art form of inner fire, but also a response to the musicians and the story that is being portrayed. But like any particular cultural performance style, there is a vocabulary of movement and gesture that can be understood and appreciated by the audience.

Gestures, hand bumping, and skirt gestures might have meaning in certain cultural forms, but they are usually used as a way to accent percussive sounds in the music. Some of the gestures are obvious references to everyday activities like washing clothes or baking, etc.

Emotions Expressed

Happiness may be expressed by the dancer touching her fingertips to her forehead, or placing her fingertips just at the top of her ear.

For instance, an Egyptian gesture, “Al Assal”, is made with the dancer’s fingertips to the side of her chin, meaning “as sweet as honey.”

Flamenco Style

Spanish Gypsies, An Example of Culture and Costume

Arising from Spain, flamenco brings together many aspects of Gypsy culture, and is a particularly sophisticated costume. One of the most famous dancers, Carmen Amaya, demonstrated that the dress wasn’t always stereotypical.

Greatest performances

Connections with Flamenco

Flamenco dances, from the gypsies of Andalusia, are considered to be of fairly recent origin. It is believed these dances preserve many of the traditional characteristics of Spanish dancing.

“One can hear the strong Arabic influence in flamenco music….the dance moments in flamenco with the hips and the portrayal of strong emotion and passion are essentially Arabic.” -Hossam Ramzy

Spanish Styled Costuming

red is a classic color choice for these dresses

Red is a classic color choice for these dresses

Elements of the Flamenco ensemble for women include:

  • Ruffled, colorful skirts
  • Large flower in the hair
  • Large hoop or chandelier earrings
  • At times, a long fringed shawl
  • Mid heeled dress shoes
  • Sometimes a version of the men’s style

Men’s styling:

  • Bolero jacket
  • High waisted trousers
  • Boots, usually short.
  • Decorations such as braid on the jacket

My Favorite Dance is….

Which is your favorite Gypsy influenced dance?

Adorable Diaper Bags

mommy and baby photo
mommy and baby prepared for all contingencies.

 

Feel Adorable While Carting All That Baby Gear

Diaper bags have really grown up. They are fun and fashionable and made by the best brands. Here is your ticket to finding the best travel with baby diaper bags – you will look and feel fashionable and organized with these gorgeous diaper bag choices.

Nothing helps more than a great diaper bag that is all packed with the essentials – you just pick up and go anywhere with your baby, knowing all the important things are covered for your outing.

Featuring The Cutest, Most Fashionable Baby Gear Bags

Roomy backpack style
Roomy backpack style to free your arms for baby and to redistribute weight more evenly.

 

The Adorable Diaper Bag Gallery

(For convenience, affiliate links to Amazon)

Look for some of these brands when out shopping…

Timi and Leslie

Why choose a diaper bag by Timi and Leslie? Well, you could because Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman, and Faith Hill do; or maybe because you want something stylish that has all the necessary pockets for everything to make your life easier.

Either way it is a good choice.

Maman Stylish Designer Tote


Roomy with pockets for everything. Waterproof with multiple ways to carry: hand held, strap, and attach to stroller.

 

Kate Spade Designs Are Gorgeous.

 

 

Carter’s Zebra Diaper Tote with Green Accent

The Bumble Collection All in One

When I started having grandchildren join the family circle, I was amazed at how darling all the baby things are that my daughters and daughter-in-laws have in their nurseries. The diaper bag selection is just mind boggling in both style and choices.

These make wonderful baby shower gifts.

Storksak

There are so many, many fabulous diaper bag choices that I don’t envy anyone having to choose, but one brand stands out in the reviews and that is Storksak, because it looks great, carries all the gear, and is lightweight. All good qualities of a diaper bag that will make mommy happy.

…and you know what they say about the importance of that!

What to Stash Inside

What's in my bag?

WHAT GOES INSIDE A DIAPER BAG?

  • all the baby diaper essential,
  • extra clothes,
  • feeding paraphernalia,
  • special things for breastfeeding,
  • a burp cloth,
  • a receiving blanket,

Play keys (so you don’t end up giving your yucky set of car keys to quiet them)

Most of today’s bags come with changing pads included.

Sometimes I felt like I was moving half my nursery items everywhere I went. But a a well stocked diaper bag can mean the difference between a successful shopping trip or a happy outing and the alternative.

Now, all that roominess is stylish- no more blocky bags with the drab vinyl prints.

Pack It

Great Gift For A Mom

Great Gift for a Mom

 

Designers Make Diaper Bags Look Chic

And you look absolutely adorable

Everyone wants to create diaper bags, it seems, and some of the best designers have put their talents towards stylish bags to make taking baby out and about a fashion affair.

A Lineup of Cute Diaper Bags

Kate Spade in Adorable Black and White – Take it Everywhere!

Her name is known for fun, modern, and chic design. No one will think this is a frumpy diaper bag. Instead it looks like a fashionable tote, but with all the room you need for special baby gear.

Go Artsy

 

What To Look For In A Diaper Bag

It depends on you

  • One of the features of a diaper bag is the way you can just grab and go- without thinking about what to pack and perhaps forgetting an important item. You don’t want to run out of wipes, or that extra binkie when you need it.
  • Consider a versatile style, one that goes with most of what you wear.
  • Lots of use=lots of wear, is the material your diaper bag is made of up for the task? You will give it more wear than usual.
  • Washable? Hard wearing, constructed well?
  • Throwing lots of gear over your shoulder should not get you down. You will also be carrying your baby. Maybe you just want room for essentials in your every day diaper bag, and a second larger bag for travel.
  • Got nice shoulder padding? Wide, non-slip shoulder straps
  • Do you really want to carry both a diaper bag and a purse? Not really.
  • Look for a place to stow your cell phone, and attach your keys, a place for your organizer and wallet as well as insulated bottle holders

Don’t Leave Daddy Out – Mommy Likes This

 

Well, that’s my wrap up of some of the best looking diaper totes out there, did you like them? Was this helpful?

Adorable Gifts for New Moms

Welcome to Super Gift Guide Ideas for New Moms!

new mom
new mom Victoria Johnson Photography

Know a new mom? Surprise her with something really thoughtful – it will mean so much!

Here are some adorable ideas to make her the happiest holiday mommy (besides that cute bundle of joy, of course!).

It isn’t just the gift, but the encouragement, the warm supportive feeling of a gesture that helps celebrate one of the high points in a woman’s life: becoming a mother.

Celebrate with her!

A few ideas: tasty treats, relaxing cup of tea, encouragement

Celebrate Motherhood – Celebrate The New Mom!

The birth of a baby is one of the major landmarks of life. Help a new mommy celebrate with gifts that show her that you share her joy, and here are suggestions that any new mother would love.

There is such a broad spectrum of ways to show a new mom that you care.

  • mothering help
  • inspirational gifts
  • indulgent food
  • mothercare products
  • music for soothing baby
  • personal items to wear
  • keepsakes in a mother/child theme
  • mother themed art
  • flowers
  • gift basket

Hidden in My Heart (A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture)

Hidden in My Heart (A Lullaby Journey Through Scripture)

I love these soothing songs, and you and your baby will, too.

When you are a new mom there is nothing you wish for more than some extra rest, and while it doesn’t guarantee that your baby will sleep, lullabies do help. Peaceful melodies create a calm atmosphere.

 

A Mother

“There is no velvet so soft as a mother’s lap, no rose as lovely as her smile, no path so flowery as that imprinted with her footsteps”~

~ Archibald Thompson ~

Choose the purpose of your gift:

  • Do you wish to inspire her?
  • Pamper the new mom
  • Make her feel important and special
  • Help her feel capable and a better mom

What is your wish for her… and what makes her feel special… combine the answer to those two things and you have found the perfect gift.

Make a New Mommy Feel Special – Give her something thoughtful and sweet

new mother
gifts for new mothers

It Can Be Little, It Might Cost Nothing

Give something adorable to help her feel that way!

It can be a time of wonderful ups, but certainly a few lows after you have your new baby… and most of the lows center about how you feel about your attractiveness. Your clothes don’t fit, and you are tired of wearing maternity outfits. You just plain feel tired… and that promises to be for the near foreseeable future. Besides all that, you have worked pretty hard… you need something that makes you feel pampered, and special, and yes, adorable again.

These gifts don’t have to be lavish, they can be small and thoughtful.

They don’t need to be expensive, they can be something homemade, a jar of jam with a special message, flowers from the garden, or a fresh picked bowl of berries. Just make sure their message is that the new mom is thought of and cherished.

Your Experience

The perfect book is available on Amazon. Affiliate link.
The perfect book is available on Amazon. Affiliate link to buy it today. Source: Sally Placksin
Mothering the New Mother: Your Postpartum Resource Companion The perfect book is available on Amazon. Affiliate link.

That is how she feels, and now what are we going to do about it? I know how I felt when, right after my new baby arrived, I was given a few special gifts just for me. Wonderful! Elated, even. It is just such a nice and unexpected thing.

What would make her feel special? Maybe a new, pretty Bathrobe.

May your day be filled with gigglesanonymous

Beautiful Mother And Child Art

 

mother and child
art, mother and child

Inspirational, Soul Lifting Stories – Give Her A Little Chicken Soup

… for her soul, that is. Perfect to read during feeding times, as a perky pick up for the day.

The “Chicken Soup” collection of books is famous for a reason: everyone needs a little nurturing now and then.

There is something about a well told story, especially when it is soul lifting and heart warming. Provide a little chicken soup just when someone needs it most by putting a book of favorite quotes and stories into their hands- there when they need it.

Joy, Love, and Wonder

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and Wonder

Chicken Soup for the Soul: New Moms: 101 Inspirational Stories of Joy, Love, and Wonder

Happy and Joyful Thoughts

Sometimes a mom just wants to revel in the sweet thoughts that celebrate this new chapter in life… Chicken Soup books always uplift, and serve a gift of this book with a bowl of the real thing- homemade chicken soup from your kitchen.

How adorable of you!

Gallery of New Mommies – An age old story, a brand new chapter

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.anonymous2

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.Polish Proverb

A Sweet Picture – Willow Family Sculpture Figurine


Willow Tree Our Gift

What a sweet commemoration of this wonderful event- the addition of your new baby into your family circle!

Sometimes We Need A Little Encouragement – Daily Guide To Inspire A New Mother

Loving is feelings, but loving is also a lot of little things and this guide will inspire you to increase you love vocabulary as a new mom. “What the world needs now is love,sweet love” – we can always use a little more.

A Bundle of Joy! Yes, yours! This for that new little one in your life. Natural products that you can feel good about using.

Burts Bees Products are darling gifts – natural new mom gifts for her and for baby

New mommy gifts

<img src=”http://usercontent2.hubstatic.com/11731793_f520.jpg” alt=”” width=”520″ height=”520″ data-original=”http://usercontent2.hubstatic.com/11731793_f520.jpg” />

Source: Gustav Klimpt
Source: Gustav Klimpt

Moms Love Stuff for Their Babies, Too

For Baby:

Will the gift make it easier to take care of the baby, does it create good feeling for a new mom? Give her a little luxury or something that helps the mommy baby bond.

Breastfeeding Help – Why not make up a basket to lend encouragement?

We all know that breastfeeding is better for both the new mother and the baby, but sometimes there are challenges that create barriers to success- not always, but the new mom can use some help and would love these thoughtful gifts for making everything a little smoother.

Beautiful Lullabies – Soothing music for new mommy and baby moments

Super Diaper Bags – Fashionable and Fun

Petunia Picklebottom and More! If you love this idea, be sure to check out some of the fabulous choices in Adorable Diaper Bags

Time for a Spa Treatment

No time for a Manicure?

If you have the skills, give her a manicure, here’s how:

Pamper Her Hands And Feet | Prettiest Nail Polishes

If you don’t have the time, but have the money… give a gift card to a salon for the service. Still not what you had in mind?

How about…

Creamy hand lotion is the next best thing to a full manicure session at the salon.
A gift certificate for her favorite spa treatment (pedicures are especially nice), and arrangements to watch the baby.

Which Gift Is Most Adorable?

The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Children

 

Of all the many things lobbed at us as parents, we are told a long laundry list of what we should give our children. From the esoteric to the practical, it is promised that if we but give our child … time, morals teaching, discipline, music lessons, the right school, no school, good examples, the best *you name it*… if we only give that, our child will be happy and successful.

We all want our children to be happy and successful. And it is there that we are hooked into the method, the gift, the lifestyle, whatever it is that has promised us this holy grail of parenting.

But the harder truth is that it is a recipe of many things, that translate as love and guidance, which become tools and guideposts for the hardest truth of all: that each child must make his/her own way through life. Just as we all must.

Are There No “Must-Have” Gifts?

That is not to say that some tools and ingredients in life are not imperative. Just because people may compensate and manage without a good start in life does not mean it is fine to ignore their inclusion.

What Should We Give Our Children?

Here is the short list:

  • Love and Security
  • Training in life skills and good character examples
  • Education, love of reading, love of learning

The methods are many, and none of these requirements in life demand lots of money.

If we give these things to our children, to the best of our ability, they can face the world well prepared. Even if we fail in some of the most important  ways, the resilience of the human race shows that often they can make up for the lack. For children, it is very important to see that the parents made the effort: that they tried their best on behalf of the child.

Is This A Secret Shortcut?

I wonder if instilling a love of books isn’t a secret shortcut to the twin efforts of training and having a love of learning? After all, great literature is a way to pass on important values, cultural traditions, and an appreciation of good character through the power of storytelling. It also teaches the ability to think about the big questions of life and engage critical thinking patterns.

All this starts at an early age with reading.

I’m Biased

As one who loves to read books, I have to say I am biased about their impact. Literature has always spoken so much to me, and certain fiction has molded my thinking in life long ways. I believe in its power to do so for others, including our children.

If we want to change the culture, providing time tested writings is surely one powerful and efficacious way to do it.

What Books Ought To Be On The Shelf?


Start with a list of classic children’s selections I collated. (That page includes info on why reading is so important, creating a reading nook, and the best of the classic books that my own children loved).

These are 20 great character-building books

For various age groups:

  1. Aesop’s Fables, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney -very young readers
  2. The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats-very young readers
  3. James Herriot’s Treasury For Children, by James Herriot -very young readers
  4. The Courage of Sarah Noble, by Alice Dalgliesh – 3rd to 4th grade
  5. Stuart Little, by E.B. White – 3rd to 4th grade
  6. Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink – 3rd to 4th grade
  7. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, by Alice Dalgliesh – 3rd to 4th grade
  8. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – 3rd to 4th grade
  9. Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Marguerite Henry – 3rd to 4th grade
  10. Treasures of the Snow, by Patricia St. John – 3rd to 4th grade
  11. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery – 5th to 6th grade
  12. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell – 5th to 6th grade
  13. Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  14. Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  15. Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  16. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  17. Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls – 5th to 6th grade (especially boys)
  18. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott – 5th to 6th grade (especially girls)
  19. The Yearling, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings – 5th to 6th grade
  20. The Chronicles of Narnia (all 7 books), by C.S. Lewis – 5th to 6th grade

 

15 Important Books for Older Children to Adult

  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
  2. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
  3. Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
  4. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
  5. Ben Hur, by Lew Wallace
  6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
  7. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
  8. The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift
  10. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
  11. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  12. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
  13. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  14. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  15. 1984 by George Orwell
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Artful Garden Teapots

antique teapot

 

Artful Garden Teapots

Tea and Gardens Seem To Go Together

Something about the idea of tea in a garden whispers of zephyr breezes, blue skies, white fluffy clouds on a summers eve. With the soft waft of a rose’s fragrance, it is a perfect time to sit with a garden patterned teapot brimming with hot, amber colored tea and take a quiet break from the busyness of daily life.

Perhaps it is that connection in the mind between the pleasant quiet of a garden and the calming influence that comes with the warmth of the tea, but any day can seem like one that , however briefly, transforms into this early summer scenario.

One of my favorite ways to decompress and relieve stress is to sit down with a pot of hot tea made in a pretty pot, then pour the tea into one of my favorite teacups. Tea things don’t have to match , but I like the pots to handle and pour well, and for the cups to harmonize in style with the teapots.

This post is dedicated to taking a short time of repast with a pot of freshly brewed tea, perhaps a green or an Earl Gray; to step out into the garden and listen to softly buzzing bees, think creative thoughts, and experience the an oasis of time away from demands of tasks and obligations.

A welcome solitude, or an interlude with friends, but a time of refreshment and renewed perspective.

Chinese Garden Teapot

Chinese Garden Teapot

Teapot Thought

Strange how a teapot

Can represent at the same time

The comforts of solitude

And the pleasures of company

From Famous Franz Porcelain

This brand of porcelain work is noteworthy for its beauty of color and artistry. The teapots immediately draw attention because they look like works of art, and not for daily use. But for those who love to bring beauty into their homes, this is one of those kitchen items which serves as both art and use.
Franz Porcelain Lily of the Nile Teapot, FZ02616

Franz Porcelain Lily of the Nile Teapot, FZ02616

  The company was founded by Francis Chen in Taiwan. There are accomplished artists who design and create many of the special collections.

Franz Porcelain Van Gogh Almond flower teapot Franz Fine Porcelain
Franz Porcelain Van Gogh Almond flower teapot Franz Fine Porcelain

  Many of the designs are inspired by nature, so garden themed ware is frequently found in their collections.

Franz Porcelain Bamboo Song Bird Design Teapot
Franz Porcelain Bamboo Song Bird Design Teapot

 

Franz Porcelain Long Tail Hummingbird Design Teapot
Franz Porcelain Long Tail Hummingbird Design Teapot

 Birds on Franz porcelain may not be the ones found in your garden, but they are in a paradise type of garden somewhere in the world. The long tailed sylph hummingbird is a denizen of South America, in countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Their unusual feathers in such jeweled color makes the design a real standout.


 

Polish Garden Teapot – Polish Pottery

Colorful and decorative, this will bring a warm, bright spot to your decor. Made from Boleslawiec white clay. There are a number of different flower and colors in this line. They have the bright and cheery look of a grandmother’s garden. The decoration reminds me of spongeware for some reason; thought the painting is clearly done by brushwork..

Sunshine Yellow For Morning Teatime – Whimsical Hand Drawn Flowers

Yellow, kitchens, bright daisies – these are so cheering, which is what a breakfast cup of tea ought to be. The flowers look like they were hand drawn on a whim.

Porcelain Whimsical Flower Teapot for One Adorable Gift
Porcelain Whimsical Flower Teapot for One Adorable Gift Golden yellow and whimsical – a bright spot of garden sunshine for a summer morning spot of tea.

The Teapot for One

For many of us, our teatime consists of sitting down on our own with a good cup of tea. A tea for one sized pot is just what we need for the way most of us order our days.

These pots, many made with their own matching teacup perched handily on board, hold just the right amount of tea for one sitting.

Do you collect teapots, too? I’m a little surprised how many do. Maybe you have a number of different types of pots all in one theme like the collection on this page.

I personally just like teapots, and use all mine in one way or another. There aren’t any special themes other than appealing to me because of the design or the special way they are made. I have some Japanese Tetsubin pots that are among my favorite.

I hope you enjoy this online “museum” of sorts as much as I do. Really, the art and variation of teapots even in one theme is astounding.

“All well-regulated families set apart an hour every morning for tea and bread and butter.”-Joseph Addison, 1711

Yixing Tea Pots – Chinese Garden Style

Yixing is pronounced “Yee-Shing”, and signals a very special kind of teapot. They are composed of zisha clay, a rare type of purplish clay found only in Yixing, China.

Yixing teapots are individually sized, so a person may have their own pot. the different colors of the designs are created through the addition of mineral pigments.

These are considered to be one of the finest tea brewing pots in the world. I had no idea about that when I bought one for my son and daughter-in-law. The subtle colors and the artful lizard as a lid handle are what intrigued me. The proportions and ornamental touches make one of the most aesthetically pleasing teapots of the many types found worldwide. At least in my estimation.

Over time, use will it impart a “tea brewed within tea”. This is due to the fact that Zisha clay is extremely porous and will absorb the flavor of tea and the insides of the teapots are left unglazed. Other qualities of this clay are an ability to retain heat, a freedom from toxic materials like lead, arsenic and cadmium ( sometimes found in other clays), and its ability to form the tight fit of the lid. The composition of this clay is mainly of quartz, kaolin, mica, with a high volume of iron oxide.

Made in a myriad of designs , many have a garden theme, some with charming little garden creatures like frogs, and lizards.

The Japanese Tea Garden – A Brief Overview of the Tea Garden Culture

Tea in the Japanese Garden by moonlightbulb, on Flickr
Tea in the Japanese Garden by moonlightbulb, on Flickr

 

The Japanese developed a brilliant art form that unites a refinement of serving tea, the repose of a serene garden, and the calming effect of following ritual that creates a beautiful culture custom and an intriguing garden style.

The tea room (chashitsu) and the tea garden (roji) are a space for holding a tea gatherings. [1] In the tea garden, guests pass through the kuguri entrance, a small and narrow space. From there they follow a stone path which has a measured sequence to encourage thought and mindfulness of their progress. Continuing through a carefully landscaped space they come to a tsukubai, which is a stone wash basin. After washing their hands, the guests enter a low roofed teahouse. It is designed to replicate a traditional home, here the guests sit on tatami mats.The host pours ceremonially made tea for them in this calm and serene place.

The tea garden is called a roji, and it is a very important part of the tea ceremony. The Japanese name for this ceremony is chanoyu.

Tetsubin teapot – Japanese beauty, subtlety, and utility

I have two Tetsubin teapots. One is a black hobnail and one is a pink cherry blossom design which my son gave me for Christmas. I didn’t know that the designs had symbolic meaning, but Teavana has listed the meanings. My cherry blossom pot is the National flower of Japan, and it is a symbol for beauty; the hobnail design stands for strength. Strength and beauty! Those make a fine combination in my estimation.

The Tetsubin teapots are made of cast iron, and they should only be rinsed clean and wiped dry with a clean cloth. Like the Chinese clay pots they can retain tea flavors over time which add to the cachet of the teapot.

I find them to be an eye pleasing and well designed teapot, a joy to use and they pour beautifully. The cast iron retains heat and mine came with their own basket infusers for the loose tea which is brewed to perfection within them.

More history of the Tetsubin teapot from Teavana

Square Cast Iron Tea Set Dragonfly Black #ts6-06bk
Square Cast Iron Tea Set Dragonfly Black #ts6-06bk

 

Take Care of Your Teapot

Instructions For Cast Iron

 

Directions For Chinese ‘Purple clay’:

Tips For Ceramic Teapots

Vintage teapots

 

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” -Henry James

As long as the teapot is there on your shelf, learn to brew tea that goes into it properly. It isn’t difficult, it just takes some attention to the details, especially measuring amounts and getting the timing right.

How to brew a proper cup of tea:

Use fresh water each time you prepare tea.

Choose good tea.

Use 1-2 teaspoons per 8 ounce cup.

Heat water until it reaches a boil, let it cool just slightly then make your tea.

Tea leaves are steeped in the water for 1-3 minutes when making green or white teas. Five minutes for black teas.

Another set of instructions, here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For those who like P.O.D products like Zazzle:

If you design your own teapot, remember there are several products that can be matched to produce a set. There are mugs, plates, and a candy jar that could just as well be used to store tea or sugar.

In my home, there is a loose collection of teapots, not because I try to actively collect them, but there is just something I love about a teapot. Maybe it is the marriage of aesthetic form and usefulness. Or maybe I just think they are cute, and I enjoy pouring myself a hot cup of tea from a decorative pot.

Do you collect teapots?

Unique Cookbook Stands

Something's Cooking

Cookbook Stands Save Hands

Give yourself two hands to work with while checking that recipe book.

Unique styles to give your kitchen counter a practical stand.
Unique styles to give your kitchen counter a practical stand.

 

Hold Your Cookbook In Style

There are cookbook stands for every taste and interior decorating style. A large number of them are made of wrought iron or metal of some sort and twisted into all sorts of pretty looks. I needed a cookbook holder and that sent me looking at what was available. I love the ingenious designs, but am a bit old fashioned in the styles I like- shabby cottage chic is closest description. But what if you like minimalist or Georgian formal? There are cookbook stands that are a charming addition to your kitchen.

Here is a collection of some of the interesting styles available, perhaps you will find one right for your kitchen.

Ironwork in red color, a French touch

Good color for a kitchen with red appliances, black ironwork hardware, and most country style or rustic decor.

Iron Cookbook Stand ~ Book Holder Adorned with Bird ~ Worn Red Color
Iron Cookbook Stand ~ Book Holder Adorned with Bird ~ Worn Red Color Artful scrolling with a pert bird in the design. Great for French Country or Mediterranean décor or to match with cast iron look pulls and handles.

Hold Everything- Do You Use A Cookbook Stand?

Holding open the cookbook to the page you need without it flopping closed.

Holding open the cookbook to the page you need without it flopping closed.

Many Styles and Types of Unique Stands – Did you realize there was such a variety?

French, Country, Modern, there are unique types and one is just right for you.

French, Country, Modern, there are unique types and one is just right for you.

French style adds the same pizazz to your décor as the French can also add to your cooking. Graceful scrolling makes a beautiful addition in use and simply out on the counter.

Pantryware(the general label for this kind of kitchen accessory) is the ideal way to add a bit of pizzazz to your décor. Kitchens are usually places of efficiency. We want our work surfaces, landing spaces, and appliances to help us produce our culinary masterpieces- or at least the family meal with ease of care and capability. But kitchens have also been a way to add decorating flair to the place in the house that everyone is sure to use daily. Adding style with unique accessories, giving touches of color, this is the job of even small utility pieces like paper towel holders, napkin holders, recipe books and boxes, and cookbook holders

Now you can pick one that makes your counter shine and makes more space for bowls, ingredients, and important stuff of the process.

Today’s Way To Display

Classical Black Metal Bird Design Easel Style Display Stand Cookbook / Photo Album / Tablet Holder - MyGift
Decorative Red Bird Metal Cookbook Stand Book Holder Easel

Tablets are one of the best ways to find new recipes, so a holder for yours might be one of the best kitchen accessories you’ve ever put on your counter.

Basically a practical thing to have, but with the way many are designed they can become art, too. Whimsical or traditional, you can add the type of accent that most appeals to you.

Usually, the more modern kitchens with white cabinets and appliances will provide the best backdrop for colorful and sculpture look stands.

While a country kitchen shows off wood and iron materials as the most natural partners.

A clever use of utensils bent to provide a landing place for holding a book is one design, and there seems to be no shortage of ideas of how to hold your cookbook.

Try A little humor in your kitchen

I’ve always liked the utensil theme in a kitchen, do you like this one, too?

Think about having a little fun when choosing a peripheral gadget like this. Use it not only for practical use ( which it will provide) but for a little bit of whimsy.

What about flimsy magazines with great recipes? Prop it up and hold the pages open to just the right spot. Not everyone likes to tear the pages out. I am one of those people who likes to collect cooking magazines and keep them stored in sturdy files, but when it comes to actually using the recipes you need one of these beauties to hold the place and keep from messing up the pages.

Decorative Scrolls

Iron Leaf Scroll Kitchen Cookbook Stand
Iron Leaf Scroll Kitchen Cookbook Stand

Bring some French style to the kitchen. Put that magazine here to use a recipe, or set up your iPad. However you use this stand, it will give a touch of class to the counter.

Aren’t these original looking? So many styles, one would match up with a kitchen style whether it is modern, minimalist, European, or country. Need to prop a book on your desk while working on your laptop? Match your décor and keep a favorite 8×10 photo or two propped in a place of honor.

Some people cook from their iPads. They love the food bloggers and want to try the recipe without the intermediary of printing out the recipe on paper. The kitchen stands made just for their electronic needs are the answer for them. May you can’t prop an old fashioned hardcover book on it- it safely and conveniently holds your iPad while you refer to which ingredient to add next.

Like this one?

Made of reclaimed wood, which is among the hottest decorating trends, a way to bring warmth and strong design where you want it, plus a sturdy holder for your iPad tablet or book.

There are specially made sleeves like this one, but there isn’t any reason why a regular stand couldn’t safely support your electronic device like a reader or an iPad. Just like having a personalized case, a unique stand gives some sparkle and personality to the kitchen counter while folding away neatly if you are through using it or want more space.

What happens when you open your favorite recipe book to bake up that fabulous chicken for your guest? Or when you’ve found just the right recipe on your tablet? Too often the book won’t lie flat or the it lies too flat. The mixer splatters a bit of batter onto the surface. Many stands have a shield or page holders.

Hold Pictures, Photos, or Recipe Books – Shabby Chic Cottage Look

poster of cookbook

Creative Co-op Green Metal Cookbook Holder

Creative Co-op Metal Cookbook Holder, Aqua Metal faux antique cookbook stand, stylish green measuring 13.5″ wide x 13″ high

Simple and inexpensive, but the scrolled design adds cottage charm to its task of keeping your cookbook upright.

Save Counter Space

This is the top reason to use this pantryware

How many benefits can you think of?

There Are Benefits To A Stand

Not one of the most necessary gadgets for the kitchen, but like a paper towel holder, one that increases the convenience and efficiency of common kitchen tasks.

Most of us use recipes from which to cook up our meals. Cookbooks, printouts from the computer, recipe cards, all of which are usually paper and subject to spill. Anyone who has tried to read the recipe from a cookbook while running the mixer knows what a balancing act that can be!

These stands, which stylishly hold the cookbook, solve the problem.

  • Keep important recipes, books, and electronics out of the way of accidental spills and splatters. At first, it seems that a few splatters just prove how busy you’ve been in the kitchen, but over time those really add up and ruin not just the appearance, but the page integrity of the book.
  • And I just hate bending over the book when I could see it easily, straightaway, on the stand.
  • Make more workspace on the counter
  • Hold the pages open and give support to magazines

It is surprising how many ingenious ideas people have for utilizing a simple kitchen gadget or devices that make life easier or a job more convenient. This is a simple one, for sure but there may be life hacks that you can think of if you just put on your thinking cap (or if you hang around Pinterest long enough!).

For instance, you know those pants or skirt hangers with the clips? Yes! Someone turned one of those into a cookbook holder. Granted it looks a little kitschy, but that might be just the thing for a certain kitchen style. See that idea here.

For me, my tastes run to some of these, presented in this post. I bounce between wanting a sleek one that folds up out of the way and the scrolled ironwork type.

That is my problem: I like too many and can’t seem to make up my mind. If you have a favorite, why not mention it in the comments?

Holders and Stands

 

Use As A Bookstand

You can use a cookbook stand for other books- even your Bible! Which is why you shouldn’t think of having one of these stands as merely one more gadget for your kitchen counter.

Don’t stop there, as a unique style of easel for a favorite large photograph, or a piece of art.

Undercabinet Hide-Away Cookbook Holder
Undercabinet Hide-Away Cookbook Holder

Space saving convenience, this one folds away out of sight when you aren’t using it.

Protect Your Cookbooks From Splatters and Spills

Make it easy to read while you cook. You can also use the stands for your tablets, etc.

Giving You A Bird’s Eye View

IMAX Audubon Park Book Easel Cookbook Stand
IMAX Audubon Park Book Easel Cookbook Stand Rustic, artsy, this is a cookbook holder with a strong sculptural look. If you love sculptural birds perched on natural looking branch, this is the perfect choice for your counter. It goes with a wide range of cabinet styles: French, contemporary, rustic.
One of the best for matching cabinet pulls made of iron or bronze, and great gift for any bird lover.

Make Your Own? Do It Yourself and Save Money – if you are handy

Sterling Home Embossed Vine Bookholder, 15-Inch Tall
Sterling Home Embossed Vine Bookholder, 15-Inch Tall

Old Cookbooks Are Protected From Spills

I love old cookbooks. Some of mine came from my grandmother- I wish I had more of them now! To protect them from spills just makes sense and is one of the more important reasons to use a stand.

Some come with splatter guards, although an upright position for your recipes books is probably all that is needed.

Lipper International Bamboo and Acrylic Cookbook Holder
Lipper International Bamboo and Acrylic Cookbook Holder

Recipe Card Idea, Too

While you are at it … making the use of recipes more convenient while you cook… why not use something to hold your recipe crds that aren’t in book form?

Here is a cute idea for holding single recipe cards, same idea on a smaller scale. Although drips and spills might show that you like to use that recipe, it is tough on the card. I have a cookbook style holder with plastic sleeves, but much prefer the old fashioned recipe box with individual cards, and this little card holder eliminates the wear and tear on the recipe cards.

One thing I’ve used for recipe cards is a picture holder, one of those little wire ones that you insert a single photo inside the circle of wire. It holds just the recipe card I am using and I can see both sides. The card is held high above the surface of the counter and doesn’t get marred by moisture or a bit of spilled flour or milk.

There are all sorts of these photo holders, too. I have some seasonal ones: seashell summery styles or Christmas snowmen, and they work really well to hold the 3×5 cards that I have a fav recipe written on (some of my 3×5 recipes were my grandmothers!)

What’s Your Kitchen Style?

Which cookbook holder would you spring for?

Cook-books have always intrigued and seduced me. ~The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book

Enlightened Gifts for Yoga Lovers

Welcome to the best in Yoga gifts!

One of the best forms of exercise for keeping flexible and known for its gentleness, this has been my favorite workout. It requires few props, but for some, there are accessories that make yoga exercises more comfortable.

As I try new levels, I found a few items that I wouldn’t want to be without- so if you have someone on your gift list who wants to try yoga, or those who have been practitioners for a long time, consider some of these great ideas- or even apparel for those who just love comfort!

Browse through these great gift ideas for a healthier new year.

A Unique Gift for Women -The Yoga Gift Basket
A Unique Gift for Women -The Yoga Gift Basket

Personally, I think a gift basket like this (or one you assemble yourself) is the way to please even the pickiest person on your list. Noting their interests while catering to their desire to relieve stress makes this combination of items one that could please just about anyone.

Spa products, aromatherapy, and a few luxurious taste treats – who can resist loving that?

Gear, Find The Kulae Brand

Kulae tpECOmat Ultra Eco Pilates Mat - Sea/Slate (8mm x 72 x 24-Inch)
Kulae tpECOmat Ultra Eco Pilates Mat – Sea/Slate (8mm x 72 x 24-Inch)

One of the best gifts for a person who practices yoga is a mat. This one is particularly attractive in color and eco-friendly.

What Is “Eco-Friendly”?

Usually made of rubber, sometimes mixed with jute or organic cotton.

These mats will be more expensive in cost.

What To Look For In A Mat

The majority of mats are made of PVC vinyl, but some may be made of jute, rubber, or cotton.

Although a bit sticky, PVC can last a very long time and endure a lot of use. It is also the most “cushion-y”.

There are different textures to choose from, with jute probably being the most rough to the feel.

WHAT THICKNESS?

That depends on you, with varying thicknesses available. I have one of my first mats that is a terry cloth material backed with foam, which is very thin, and a newer PVC which is much thicker. Sometimes I prefer one and sometimes another. Although I always liked the thinner matt for its feeling of stability and connection to the ground.

ALLERGIES TO LATEX

If you have allergy to latex like I do, you will probably need to forego anything made of rubber.

This Exercise is Good for You – Relaxes, Challenges, and Stretches for Strength and Flexibility

Gifts that will be used all year, because these exercise routines can be enjoyed by all in any season of life.
Gifts that will be used all year, because these exercise routines can be enjoyed by all in any season of life.

Who Benefits?

Almost anyone will benefit from the gentle stretches, and the levels of difficulty mean that a practitioner can progress through increasingly challenging workout.

If you are thinking about what to give the person who has already found this workout form, why not pay for classes at their favorite studio? Or if someone wanted to begin, why not give them a beginners kit including pre-paid classes, a workout outfit, and a mat?

Gift Basket Ideas:

  • Candle in soothing scent like ‘Green Tea’, or ‘Beach Walk’
  • Book with illustrated poses
  • DVD
  • Headband
  • Exfoliating glove and stress-relieving shower gel
  • Herbal teas
  • Packed in a yogi tote
  • Good Health recipe book

Find out which is their favorite kind of class and be sure to get the clothing items or accessories that best go with that type of exercise. Check out the types in the table on this page.

Types of Yoga

Type
Pace
Characteristic
Kundalini
deliberate
breathing very important
Viniyoga
individualized
tailored to the indvidual
Bikram/Hot
more vigorous
use of room heat
Iyengar
deliberate
uses props
Vinyasa or flow:
more vigorous
breathing
Hatha:
slow paced
gentle
Ashtanga
fast paced
intense

Yoga has become one of the most popular ways to exercise. The benefits listed on WebMD are improved flexibility, more strength, better concentration, improved posture, better breathing, find out more in their article.

There are classes in just about every city, but with DVD’s and fitness videos that are available those classes can be brought home.

Hint: prepaid classes are a great gift idea

This form of exercise boosts levels of brain chemicals which contribute to relaxation and contentment, and its effect on cortisol levels is considered the reason for yoga’s ability to boost the immune function. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, and that aids restoration and healing.

What To Look For In Workout Clothing

Loose fitting is the rule- except that a stretchy closer fitting top might work better than a baggy one. In poses such as downward dog… keep your shirt from falling into your face!

DOING THE “HOT” STYLE?

  • Capri or crop pants prevent sweaty slippery legs while allowing a cooler outfit
  • Fabric that wick sweat away from the body

What Is Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga is the use of raising the temperature of the room to allow muscles to warm and stretch more easily.

Your Own Wish List

Which gift is on your wish list?

Vibram Fivefingers Womens Performa
Vibram Fivefingers Womens Performa

There is nothing that feels better than these five toe shoes- not even barefoot! Pay particular attention to measuring your foot for good fit. The Kangaroo leather is amazingly soft.

Vibram Barefoot Shoes – Perfect for Workouts

Until you wear a pair of these, you will not believe how comfortable they are. A great way to grip the floor when doing exercise, these shoes are mainly for indoor performance. There are other Vibram shoes for outdoor wear, such as running or water sports, but these are best for yoga workouts. I have a purple pair- I love them, and people remark on them. They are a little unusual, although increasingly popular.

Read my personal review of Vibram shoes.

One thing that I stress in my review is the importance of getting the sizing right for this type of shoe. If you don’t have access to that information, this isn’t the ideal gift suggestions. BUT, if you do know the accurate sizing to order, there is nothing that will make your gift more welcome than this super comfortable workout footwear.

Danskin

This brand has made clothes for dancers for years, and their exercise and sports clothes are excellent.

Yoga Pants for Comfort – Lounging, Exercising, Almost Everything Is More Comfortable

Danskin and Green Tea are great brands, and there is nothing more comfortable than these pants. Allows for complete flexibility without binding while doing the stretches and poses. I prefer all cotton, maybe with some Spandex for stretchiness and shape.

I haven’t tried the straight leg type yet, but would love to.

Danskin Women's Yoga Pant,Black,Large
Danskin Women’s Yoga Pant,Black,Large

A Gift They Will Wear and Love

The comfort that these clothes afford make them wonderful for many activities, and for lounging, too.

I wear mine all the time, for workouts at the gym, for doing housework. They are very versatile. The yoga pants and capris are my most used items.

Learn More about Yoga – It may become your health solution

Ball Chair – Improve your posture and your core strength

There are a number of these chairs on the market, and they seem to be an improvement for sitting on just a ball (which I’ve done). An excellent gift idea for someone interested in the health benefits of strengthening their core, who has to do a lot of sitting (like at the computer). It is on my wishlist.

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair (Black)
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair (Black)

This is great for people who must work on the computer for long hours.

Most of the reviews are very positive- the minus points always are for the ball chairs not being tall enough for many desks. The comfort and improvements, however, never are an issue.

Men do it, too – Athletic workout

Athletes benefit from alternative exercise programs, and many need the flexibility that yoga provides. so what would a man wear?

My son loves his hot yoga class, and wear shorts and a t-shirt. So anything that is loose, comfortable, and allows for the full range of movement necessary for the stretches is all that is needed.

Yoga Bag Carryall – Compact ways to carry your gear anywhere

Simply Jute Yoga Bag - Water
Simply Jute Yoga Bag – Water

Other Possible Accessories For The Yogi On Your List

  • Blocks
  • Exercise straps
  • Soft headband
  • A special tote
  • favorite essential oils

Are You Just Getting Started?

You Will Need:

  • Loose fitting clothes
  • A floor mat

You can use DVD’s, but you might feel more confident in a class with an instructor.

If you want a good DVD to begin with, try Smart Start Yoga to begin with.

You want contact with the floor or mat, so barefoot or barefoot shoes work best.

Relaxation is an important part of yoga practice: forget the phone and take full advantage of the rest at the end of the routine.

What Are The Senior Benefits?

It can…

  • help you stay agile
  • build strength
  • help you remain flexible
  • gain balance

Yoga might help…

  • reduce heart rate
  • improve blood pressure
  • ease back pain
  • alleviate depression and anxiety

Are there drawbacks?

Yes, care should be taken with poses, and sometimes existing problems complicate the ability to do the poses safely. The answer is to use modifications to ease into the exercise. Also to not rush the progress, taking time to accomplish the level safely.

Mind Bending

The New Yoga for People Over 50: A Comprehensive Guide for Midlife & Older Beginners
The New Yoga for People Over 50: A Comprehensive Guide for Midlife & Older Beginners

Gift Ideas For Art Therapy

People everywhere have discovered the relaxation and therapeutic value of coloring. Adult coloring books are even on sale at the checkout of my grocery stores! I think it is a great idea, but I also think we should take this love of coloring one step further:

Allow our own creative vision loose!

Not instead of using the coloring books, but along with them.

One type of coloring book
One type of coloring book
Beautiful Creatures: A Grayscale Adult Coloring Book of Animals

What does the use of a coloring book encourage?

I think it helps us feel inspired by another’s vision. The beauty of a talented artist frees us from worry that we won’t make something “artistic enough”. We aren’t held back by that fear. A coloring book is for our own creativity what training wheels are for a young bicyclist. It allows us to build confidence in our own abilities and strengthens the muscle coordination.

Using another artists picture does that for us, too. That is why children love their coloring books and paint by number sets.

But I am venturing the opinion that we ought to allow ourselves some freedom to be creative in our own right as well.

Copying For Practice, Not For Sale

We can start with copying ideas, there is nothing wrong with that when working on our own art therapy, but at some point we ought to take a chance on our own vision and style. To copy is an age old way to learn technique, but is never meant to pass off as one’s own.

Now get your supplies, spend some time in your coloring books, make a similar design of your own, and finally set your self free with your markers, pencils and blank sheets of paper.

Are you ready?

A Gift List For Coloring

    •  High quality colored pencils

 

  • Reliable pencil sharpener

 

Some Pretty Books To Get Started

Don’t forget to have a sketch book on hand for when you feel like freehand drawing.

Notes

Using a coloring book and pencils makes art easy and attainable. It sidesteps the worry that we will not be a “good artist”.

“Mindful art”  has been shown to reduce stress and provide a sense of comfort. (1)

Why does it work?

  • It helps switch off an overactive brain and center the mind’s focus.
  • It was observed that the repetition  of coloring creates changes in heart rate and in brainwaves.
  • Activates the creative side of the brain.
  • Ritual that helps you unwind from the daily grind.

What Medium Should You Use?

It really depends on what you like, but I would start with pencils because they are so easy to use and blend. Pastels, markers, and pens,are other possibilities. Paints are also something you could try, along with good old crayons. If you have any doubts about how to color- since it may have been a few years since you attempted to try your hand at art, go ahead and view some how to videos on Youtube. I was surprised at the number of them that either showed tips and tricks ( like how to color leaves) or just recored someone coloring..

Don’t forget to do the drawing yourself, though!

Child’s Play Kitchen For Serious Fun

Kids learn through their play, and love to gravitate toward the play kitchen with pretend foods, miniature pots and pans. Hours of fun for little children as they spend time in their own kitchen.

Imaginary play never gets old


Do you remember your favorite imaginary ways to play as a child? Did it include play food, utensils, and maybe even your own play stove, refrigerator, and sink? Our Church and Kindergarten always had these play spaces, and I made sure to have the same for my children.

There is something that fascinates children as they role play activities, and it is a way they work out the important job of growing up and handling everyday chores and responsibilities. Of course, for them it is just lots of fun, but important fun! Maybe there is really no other kind?

I couldn’t resist putting together a collection of the colorful and delightful play kitchens along with their many accoutrements. One thing that always bothered me about many child’s toy dishes and utensils were the ones that were so flimsy they didn’t last more than a short time. I grew to appreciate the better quality ones and I think a child has more fun with them, too.

Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Sink w Moving Faucet
Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Sink w Moving Faucet

I concentrated on finding the better choices to help put together the best in child’s play 🙂 because as parents we ought to take fun as seriously as our children do, don’t you think?

Jonti-Craft 2079JC, Toddler Contempo Stove
Jonti-Craft Toddler Contempo Stove

Jonti-Craft Kids Playschool Classroom Kindergarten Toddler Contempo Refrigerator
Jonti-Craft Kids Playschool Classroom Kindergarten Toddler Contempo Refrigerator

Plan To Make Your Own? – Plans for a custom made play kitchen

Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Cupboard
Jonti Craft Toddler Contempo Toy Cupboard

Source: blog.craftzine.com via Kate

Could you picture a space in your home for a project like this? It really doesn’t take much more space than a play bench, and yet stores the playthings and provides a great features for your child’s imagination and role play. If using the plans below for a crafted child play kitchen, you might well be creating an heirloom that even your grandchildren will be happily “cooking on” in years to come.

Woodworking Project Paper Plan to Build Wood Cook Stove Plan

Are you handy with a saw and hammer? Maybe you can create your own custom made child’s kitchen play area.

Woodworking Project Paper Plan to Build Wood Cook Stove Plan

Toy Kitchens Make Great Playtimes – eBay For Child’s Play

Keep your child happily occupied using imagination and roleplay with a toy kitchen and accessories just the right size. Kids like to socialize around food and cooking just like grownups do!

Goplus Wood Kitchen Toy Kids Cooking Pretend Play Set Toddler Wooden Playset New

Beautiful and Durable Play Kitchens – All-In-Ones Save Space, Separate “Appliances” Are Flexible

Colorful Essentials 4-in-1 Play Kitchen Color: BluePlay kitchens that are durable and sturdy are important investments in children’s furniture. They don’t have to have lots of bells and whistles and they don’t have to be expensive, but a toy that will withstand real play, and a little banging around is quite important.

Looking for smooth corners and the right height are a couple points to keep on your checklist.

Good, sturdy play kitchens come in both plastic and wood types, and it is more a personal preference than anything else that might weigh in the favor of one over the other. White play appliances and the more colorful ones are likely to be of plastic material.

New Children's Kitchen Play Food Set 50 Pieces Kitchen Pretend Play Food

My Little Chef Deluxe Faux Granite Play KitchenA dream kitchen for little girls is one made of a fashionable trompe l’oeil granite look. Moms often like large pieces of play furniture to match up with the general décor of the house. This might be just the style for your own child’s room or corner of the rec-room.

Toddler Contempo Wood Play 4 Piece Kitchen SetOne kitchen I like for its good design is the Contempo brand. It has engaging appeal, is made of wood and of the right size for toddlers. Fill up the doors with play food and few pots and pans and young children can play for hours just imagining their own meals and snacks that they can serve their dolls and teddy bears. Four separate pieces means the arrangement is customizable to the play space.

Colorful Essentials Four Piece Play Kitchen Color: YellowSunshine yellow is a fvorite color for a cheerful little play kitchen. Toddlers will discover how much fun it is as they mimic the important work of cooking and serving. Convincing a child to eat right is more fun when using the play in their own kitchen to talk about making good food choices, learning to keep food preparation clean and tidy. Much better than nagging or lectures. Living healthy and cooperatively is better “caught” than taught and when setting up a play space with their own little kitchen that is exactly what we are providing: ways for child to find the fun in living well. This beats television by a mile, and the many facts of play can be part of your child’s play day.

Kidkraft Pink Retro Kitchen and Refrigerator Play Set

Stores like Walmart or Target are convenient places to find your child’s play kitchen and they are bound to have lots of the accessories, too. If you want play dishes, fake food, and even a small tablecloth… this is a great place to shop to make your little kids happy! There is usually convenient pickup if you decide to have it delivered to the store.

I also find cute play kitchens and accessories at IKEA and Pottery Barn.

Play Dishes in Just The Right Size – Cups, Saucers, Plates and Utensils

I always had lots of play dishes for my kids, and then got completely new sets for the grandkids (we were pretty hard on the toys of this type in our household). I liked to use the play dinnerware of this size for little snacks of real food just for fun.

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Dish Set

Bright, fun colors to make a festive play dinner for favorite friends. High quality and substantial playware.

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Dish Set

If you decide to buy a play kitchen for your child, why not round out the experience with a set of good quality pans. Those cheap plastic ones often break in no time, but those made of metal are easy to clean and stake lots of serious playtime.

Children's Stainless Steel Cookware Set 5 Pc. Gift Set including Sauté Pan, Stock Pot and Sauce Pan *Perfect Gift Idea*
Children’s Stainless Steel Cookware Set 5 Pc. Gift Set including Sauté Pan, Stock Pot and Sauce Pan Perfect Gift Idea

Beautiful high quality stainless steel is durable and looks like Mommy’s real kitchenware!

Children’s Stainless Steel Cookware Set 5 Pc. Gift Set including Sauté Pan, Stock Pot and Sauce Pan *Perfect Gift Idea*

Check These Two Things

  1. Make sure the “work surface” will be a good height for the child.
  2. The more solid the construction, the better

Source: tumblr.com via Haley

Little Tykes Tough – Kitchens That Can Take It

The rough and tumble of real kids having lots of fun, that is. When my children were little I got tired everything breaking, until I discovered brands that were made for real play and could take children playing with their toys on more than occasional Sundays. These toys are tough and can take daily play with your children and their friends.

Little Tikes: Side-By-Side Kitchen

Tough Little Tykes quality and room for two to share in the playtime.

Little Tikes: Side-By-Side Kitchen

Tea Parties

Every child likes to play tea party- it has never been just for little girls. Although little girls are truly in their element with all the girly colors like those on this rug. With a rug and the play kitchen setup, with perhaps a child’s set of table and chairs, an area can be set aside in a family room, play room, or any place that has a five by five foot area for playing. The child play kitchen furniture usually has lots of storage and cubby holes for keeping the toys neat.

Kitchen Play Accessories – In Bright, Playful Colors

There are so many fine play sets of dishes, utensils, and play cookware available to go with your child’s new kitchen imagination center, that it may be hard to choose! In the important work of role playing adult activities and duties such as cooking foods, serving others, and engaging in the teamwork of taking care of daily chores, children take real joy in outfitting their play kitchens and serving special meals to their favorite bears and dolls…. as well as siblings and friends.

New Children's Kitchen Play Food Set 50 Pieces Kitchen Pretend Play Food

Repurpose and Make Your Own

Example of play sets that create loads of pretending and role playing fun

Whether a child has realistic or imaginary styles of play dishes and pots and pans does not seem to matter as much as the fact that they are of high enough quality to endure lots of handling and have durability.

New Children's Kitchen Play Food Set 50 Pieces Kitchen Pretend Play Food

Play food is always fun, remember the Beatrix Potter story of “The Two Bad Mice”? When a pair of mice come to enjoy the dollhouse, the artificial food looked so real that one determined mouse was frustrated in trying to carve a particularly delectable entree.

Sometimes children like to take their play dishes outside, whether you think that is a good idea will determine the strength and toughness of the play set. A play kitchen helps to keep the play utensils inside where they aren’t as likely to be lost or broken. But you can set up an outdoor kitchen, all the same. Be creative!

Source: trainupachildlearnaswego.blogspot.com via christina on Pinterest

The creativity of Moms and Dads in making wonderful play kitchens for their children is just amazing

On A Budget? Economical Choices – Wide Variety Of Style And Colors

When looking for lower costs, the materials are usually plastic. Colorful and fun for little cooks. These are all in one choices which will also save space.

DIY Child Play Kitchens

Re-purposing to build your own child’s play kitchens

Here are super cute ideas for repurposing or making your own d-i-y versions of play kitchens. There is no price tag on the amount of fun these play furnishings provide. Just a little scavenging around for materials, or even a small trip to the hardware, and even basic carpentry skill will give a great result.

There are lots of great tutorials online, but most of these ideas can be copied without too much experience. Even newbies can put together really cute play kitchens with just some paint and a few refurbishments.

Source: a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net

Source: dans-le-townhouse.blogspot.ca via Cassie

I think the simple beige play sink above is one of my favorites and looks easy enough for someone as UN-handy as me could finish it in a day or so. I bet my husband could get ‘er done in a couple hours, including paint drying time. The simple lines are elegant, too, with just those easy to hold handles and a little shelf for important play foods or dishes.

Source: flickr.com via Rachael

Or maybe you are planning to? Which will you choose, a DIY project or one of the nifty new ones you see on this page?

Source: thebooandtheboy.com via Julia

More For Your Creation Of A Kitchen Play Space

ALEX Toys Tin Tea Set

Wonderful tin tea set for serving a high tea to V.I.P. dolls and teddy bears. A great kit to take to Grandmother’s house, too.

ALEX Toys Tin Tea Set

You Can Put Together Your Own Gift Baskets

Here’s How To Make A Beautiful, Welcome, Gift Basket

LOADS OF IDEAS

A gift basket really wows the recipient. You can purchase ready-made assortments, but if you put together a unique themed gift it might well be the best, most memorable gift, ever.

Find out how to put together a wonderful gift basket, choose one of the themes here, or let them spark your creative imagination to make a crafted, unique goodie basket like no one else’s.

There are professional wrapping instructions (in video to make it super easy to follow), and pro ideas on how to put together the contents.

You can save money and make sure that the gifts are all their favorites.

homemade gift basket
photo by Candy N of a gift basket she received.

Impressive Gift Baskets That Show You Care

Gift baskets overflow with goodies that show you have taken time to introduce a little love and luxury for someone special. There are so many types of baskets put together for every taste and the possibilities are endless when you seek to put together your own. That means that a highly personal gift is possible, one that sets it apart to convey your special message.

One of the things that makes a basket of goodies so much fun is the variety of gifts included – the surprise element adds to the excitement, too. Little candies tucked in, smalls jars, things that create layers of discovery. As much fun for the giver as for the receiver is the way a gift basket can be expression of a theme. Tea lovers, coffee lovers, pet lovers, golf enthusiasts, artists, you name a persons taste or interest and you can put together a gift that they will cherish in their memory… long after the cookies were eaten or the golf balls were lost.

A favorite gift in my own memory was when my sister put together an Italian foodie “basket”. I still use the giant pasta bowl that all the ingredients for a great Italian meal came packaged in. A happy memory that has lasted for many, many long years now, with reminders during many family meals.

You can see why I am a fan of the gift basket as a way to give a special and meaningful gift.

 

Colavita Garden Delights Gift Basket
Colavita Garden Delights Gift Basket Garden delights of antipasto, sauce, pasta, fine olive oil, and more all wrapped up in a rustic red and white cloth in a rattan basket. Feast for the eyes and the palate.

Mama Mia! That’s A Delectable Gift of Goodies – Italian themed gourmet foods

Take your time

Consider the person you are shopping for, and find out what really is special to them. That is the secret of great gift giving, much more than the money spent. Do you have a journal or notepad where you can brainstorm the ingredients for a really great gift basket? Maybe use pinterest or a similar bookmark to gather ideas. It will be easy to put together the basket when the time comes.

Food Gifts with a Theme

International cuisine, chocolate, creative coffee gift baskets that you put together yourself

Italian Night Gift Basket

  • Special pasta noodles
  • gourmet pasta sauce
  • jars of antipasto goodies
  • pasta serving utensil
  • tea towel in Italian colors
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pesto sauce
  • dipping spices
  • Italian herbs
  • pasta bowl
  • bottle of sturdy red Italian wine

Hungarian Kitchen Gift Basket

Csiga Noodles (Kelemen or Bende) 200g
Csiga Noodles (Kelemen or Bende) 200g

 

 

 

  • Hungarian specialty cookbook
  • Hungarian paprika selections(hot, sweet, etc)
  • Hungarian egg noodles
  • jar of sauerkraut
  • Hungarian tea towel
  • decorative Hungarian pottery
  • Hungarian Tokay Wine
  • Kifli cookies
  • Hungarian pastry or strudel
(Hungarian:1846-1910) - Girl With Basket
(Hungarian:1846-1910) – Girl With Basket

Chocolate Decadence Gift Basket

  • Gourmet Chocolate, of course
  • chocolate covered cookies
  • gourmet fudge
  • fudge sauce
  • chocolate truffles
  • lace trimmed doily

Java Fantasy Gift Basket

  • Packets of gourmet coffees
  • sugar swizzle sticks
  • selection of biscotti cookies
  • latte cups
  • gourmet cookies
  • chocolate covered coffee beans
  • coffee drink coasters

Gourmet with a Twist

Ideas!

  • The twist for some lovely gift baskets can be their emphasis on low calories or health. Here is one example of a healthy basket of goodies.
  • …and one emphasizing snacks. You can make up your own combination of this type of basket very easily, too.
  • Consider putting together Chex mix, Ritz crackers, V8 juice, pretzels, popcorn, sunflower seeds, Cheerios, instant soup, bottled water. or brainstorm your own favorite combination of snacking goodies.

Gluten Free Gift Basket

  • Here’s a special idea that can really be a thoughtful consideration for those who are in need of special diets.
  • Go to your neighborhood Whole Foods Market, or anywhere there is a wide selection of gluten-free products. Put your gifts together with a tea towel and use a special basket.

 

Hungarian Gift Basket Ideas – Include these “Must-Haves”

Noodles and sweet Hungarian paprika are two necessities for a gift basket based on Hungarian cuisine. Consider some Hungarian design drink coasters from Zazzle, too. Tea towels with a Hungarian color or design are always welcome and line any basket with panache.

SCI Scandicrafts Stainless Steel Spaetzle Noodle Maker
SCI Scandicrafts Stainless Steel Spaetzle Noodle Maker Notice the clever containers!

 

Gift Baskets for Children

Easter Baskets and Birthday Surprise Baskets

Children love the surprise and the abundance of a gift basket chock full of an assortment of gifts. Cute additions such as stuffed toys, individually packed candies, the type of small gizmos that are offered as stocking stuffers at Christmas time… all these make a gift basket that will be loved and remembered.

Don’t forget fun things like novelty drinking straws, or a set of plastic dishes for the occasion can be long lasting gifts, even if they play second fiddle to candy and cookies when the basket is first opened.

Even little musical instruments, like harmonicas or wooden flutes, can play a part in the basket of fun that you put together for a child’s birthday or holiday.

Just as with adult gifts, a child’s interests can form the theme of your gifts to include in a container that speaks volumes of how important they are to you. Ballet and baseball, collectors or comic book character fascination… anything that interests the child can be the start of a fun set of gifts to include in your basket.
Darice It's A Girl Pink 3 Ribbon Pack, 9-Yards
Darice It’s A Girl Pink 3 Ribbon Pack, 9-Yards

Gifts With Themes

Candies shaped into roses, golfballs, wrapped up in special motifs can be included in special themed baskets. They add a fun note that sets the basket apart from the “usual”.

Holiday Hospitality

Thanksgiving holiday basket
Thanksgiving Abundance
Plentiful Gourmet Wishes: Gourmet Thanksgiving Gift BasketA basket generously filled with delicious treats. Chocolates, Harvest Coffee tea, Spiced Cider Drink Mix, Cookies, Crackers, Honey, Cheese Spread, and MORE…

When invited to someone’s home, the hospitality is appreciated by the guest and a supply of special treats is appreciated by the host. Favorite flavors of the season: pumpkin and spices for Thanksgiving.

 

Hobby Baskets

…Put together a themed basket that someone will love

Seamstress and Craftperson

One of the most fun of all baskets to assemble has to be for the person who sews and crafts. There are so many beautiful and economical sewing baskets, cute sewing accessories, scrapbooking and crafting things that can create a truly memorable gift. Don’t overlook some that might come already created for you to give.

 


Golfer

Golfers love their sport and golf balls and tees are always welcome, but what about golf themed figurines or Christmas ornaments? Golf hats, club covers, the list is long and the fun is finding all these nifty golf lovers accessories. You can even find golf ball chocolates!

Try golf ball chocolates to get a golf themed basket started.

California Delicious Golf Gourmet Gift Basket
California Delicious Golf Gourmet Gift Basket [Footballs Solid Milk Chocolate - (1 Lb - 63 Pcs)easyazon_link asin=”B006VYHRE6″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”ilonasreflect-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Footballs Solid Milk Chocolate – (1 Lb – 63 Pcs)[/easyazon_link]

Gardener Gifting – A tote bag for garden worthy gifts

Gardener

Gardeners love seeds, a really good quality tool, garden books, journals, good garden gloves, gift certificates to their fav plant store, and oodles of other thoughtful additions. Don’t forget hand lotions or balms, and garden related jewelry. I think the one caveat is that there are cheap hand tools out there and I wouldn’t waste money on those. If you get tools, get less in number, but higher quality. Candles are beautiful and often come in garden themes to add just the right touch to a gardener’s gift basket.

Classic Gardening Gift Basket™
Classic Gardening Gift Basket™

Gourmet food and some extra tools tucked into the tote. People love this one for good reason. Having a tote for your tools is a real time and energy saver when working in the garden – a thoughtful gift long after the treats are gone.

 

Wrappin’ It All Up

Craft stores, like Michaels, have lots of gift basket wrapping supplies, from the cellophane wraps to tags and containers, not to mention the varied supply of baskets to choose from. How To Wrap

Luxurious Rosebud Wired Edge Designer Ribbon, 4" Wide, 8 Yards, Red
Luxurious Rosebud Wired Edge Designer Ribbon, 4″ Wide, 8 Yards, Red

Clever Containers

For a baby shower fill the bassinet basket with little goodies- like baby bath products and with a selection of “firsts”, first bank, picture frame and toy lamb.

Place assorted teabags, a journal, a special pen, and some wrapped candies inside a special antique looking box… the possibilities are unlimited and really start to flow once you begin using your imagination.

Romantic Trunk Tulip Flower Wood Polish Jewelry Keepsake Chest
Romantic Trunk Tulip Flower Wood Polish Jewelry Keepsake Chest

 

Vintiquewise(TM) Decorative Storage Box, 9 by 6 by 4-Inch

Brand Names

Fine Taste Collections

Your Good Taste, and Theirs!

Using well known brand names, or high quality products that we don’t necessarily treat ourselves to everyday, is one sure way to create a welcome gift basket. Do you recognize the name of Godiva chocolates? It makes you feel pampered, and this is the idea behind a luxury brand. If not wishing to do an entire basket, just tuck in one or two items for an instant feel of indulgent celebration.

When you put together your own gift baskets, use a dressy look container. One thing I love to use is a re-usable box. They come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and patterns, available at a Tuesday’s Mornings store if one is in your area, but they aren’t difficult to find.

Special-TEA basket

Watching the way a tea blossom opens inside an included glass teapot would make teatime a special treat. Putting it inside a lovely wooden box container means that the memory of your thoughtfulness lasts after the tea has been enjoyed.

The Home Baked Gift Basket

If you have time to bake, this could be the gift that gets all the raves.

Bucket of Brownies

This could be anyone’s favorite gift -just fill with homebaked brownies

Bake your own famous brownies, fancy cookies, best banana, date, and nut breads. Make mini-pies, or cheese straws and savory goodies… the list is really endless.

You can even include your own homemade candies, or cocoa mixes. Pack with a cute decorative kitchen towel, some yummy additions like candied nuts or whatever you make like no one else can.

Wrap it up festively and see how eagerly this one is opened.

Baskets of…

Videos, along a theme: adventure, comedy, kids movies, cartoons. Anything!

Include popcorn and snacks.

How The Pros Package

Wrap Your Gift Basket – Instructions on making a professional look wrap

All the important tips to create the most beautiful gifts all wrapped up and ready to give with pride.

Be sure to have on hand:

  • Gift basket cello bags in 20x 24 size.
  • Cello wrap roll

Don’t Forget The Ribbon – Tying up the gift with a theme

Women love details, don’t they? Taking notice of a pretty ribbon or tags that echo the event remembered or the special theme of the gift adds to the uniqueness of the gift basket is part of the whole package.

Beautiful ribbons can be found in craft stores, online and at places like Sam’s Club.

 

May Arts 1-1/2-Inch Wide Ribbon, Yellow Sheer Sunflowers
May Arts 1-1/2-Inch Wide Ribbon, Yellow Sheer Sunflowers

 Buy Now

Candles With Fresh Summer Scents

Beach House Ambiance

candle with seashells
Bright idea for a midsummer display: surround with a bed of seashells and beach pebbles, still dusted with a bit of white sand. A wide glass dish or bowl holds it all together.

Refreshing, Light Fragrance, Soft Colors Give Scented Candles A Summer Glow

I like different kinds of scents for different seasons, don’t you? In spring I am ready for something fresher and sweeter, in fall something that smells like baked desserts or spices, in winter the Christmas scents of fresh fir and balsam, baked apple or cinnamon, and in summer? Well the scents of summer candles are what this is all about.

Maybe you will love the scents that I think are just right for summer evenings.

Some favorite smelling candles will become perennial, but Candle companies change their formulations every season and year. Identify notes that you prefer and look for their inclusion in the newest fragrances that are being offered.

I have more than one company that I regularly buy candles from, but look for a number of them when out shopping: Woodwick, Yankee, Chesapeake, and will give others a try after a sniff test! Look for the ingredients as well… soy and beeswax are both premium quality and burn nicely.

Browse through some of the samplings here and pick up some summer decor ideas from the following examples.

Imagine Your Summer Retreat – With fresh scented candles and a tall, cool drink

A Summer retreat any time, any day.

That sounds heavenly to me.

They say summer is relaxing and time for vacations, but there is a lot of summer that is busy and demanding. That is when I want a place to regroup and unwind. If you have the same idea, here are elements of what makes such a retreat for me:

  • A comfortable chair that stays cool to the touch. It can be an Adirondack on the screened porch, or a leather chair inside, or just a cool cotton slipcover on just about any chair that feels comfy to sit in.
  • A small table to set the tall, cool drink on, and of course a tall glass of something refreshing with lots of ice. This year a fruit smoothie that my son makes will do nicely.
  • Maybe your tall cool drink is a lemonade or Tahitian Limeade.
  • Two elements to complete the atmosphere of quiet and relaxation…
  • A book of choice: In the morning, a bible for a devotional start to the day. Later on, a garden book for when I like to think about pretty garden, but want to take a break from actually tending one. Light reading for whenever!
  • A scented candle: The ideal aroma for me would be the grapefruit scents or a soft, ocean-inspired scent as first choice, but I do like to vary home fragrance candles.

Can you picture such a space for yourself? Is it in a special garden shed retreat? Or perhaps on the patio, maybe a corner of your bedroom, but have you a place that is just yours?

How Does That Smell?

Descriptions of Summertime Fragrance:

  • Light, Clean, Pure.
  • Sweet, but not overwhelming or cloying.
  • Verdant, Crisp.
  • Fruits and Dessert, but not heavy. Fresh.

Choices Just For The Summer Season

ivy leaves
Leafy, and green

My Favorite Brands In Summer Fresh Scents

Woodwick Candles

The sound of a crackling bonfire lighting up the summer night, that is what you envision when burning Woodwick candles. The highly fragranced candles give the room a pleasant aroma for a perfectly relaxed atmosphere.

 

Review of Fresh Water and Sea Salt

Bath & Body Works 3 Wick Candle 14.5 Oz White Barn Fresh Water & SEA Salt
Bath & Body Works 3 Wick Candle 14.5 Oz White Barn Fresh Water & SEA Salt

I love these fresh scents, and for summer you want something light, yet pervasive. Excellent review of this one in the video.

Green Garden Ivy infused with the scent of ripe tomatoes, thick ivy, and hints of orange rind; there’s nothing more summery.

NEST Moss and Mint

A premium candle with superior wax, a 50 hour burn time, and fresh summer scent.

Moss and Mint scented candle by one of my favorite companies

Moss and Mint scented candle by one of my favorite companies

Moss and Mint are Fresh

The aromas of garden mint, apple blossom and muguet des bois, with a touch of oakmoss and vetiver create a complex, delightful perfume that makes you think of garden parties, evening breezes, and romance.

Fragrant Candle Recommendations

Summer in Tuscany

It’s a feeling, not just a place.

Fruits, Sunny Yellow, combine to make this scented candle something that will be one of your summer fragrance favorites.

Mambino Organics Summer In Tuscany Organic Soy Candle (50 hr burn time)
Mambino Organics Summer In Tuscany Organic Soy Candle (50 hr burn time)

Fresh fruits like grapefruit, pomegranate, and berries, notes of wildflowers will transport you to one of the most romantic, delicious places possible: Tuscany.

Banana Split Candle

Banana Split Candle

Sweet, fun, or fresh… candles come in not just the scents, but cute sculptural effects. I have to confess that I can’t bring myself to burn some of the candles I buy and keep them as decorative accents. The scented ones still give off some of their aroma, whether or not I burn them.

Tuscany: Basil, Cilantro, Rosemary Archipelago Soy Wax Candle
Tuscany: Basil, Cilantro, Rosemary Archipelago Soy Wax Candle

 

white lantern on the table
by George Hodan

When The Weather Heats Up

We still like some candlelight in our home décor

White Lantern On The Table

Even though the temperatures are registering high, the comfort of candlelight is no less welcoming. I like to take the summer candles out on the screened-in porch. If purchased in their own glass jars, there are many things, like large glass bowls or lanterns, that will keep the candle flames protected from breezy summer nights .

Keep the scents light, fruit, and fresh, or allow for sweeter aromas than you might be comfortable with in cooler seasons. Do go ahead and burn some candles during the summer months. It might even come in handy when those thunderstorms knock out electricity on occasion.

Decorate with the same concerns for safety that you would use in winter.

  • Flameproof containers and no flammable decorations too close to the candles
  • Keep them away from curtains and don’t burn candles when you are absent
  • Just common sense rules like that will keep your candle burning in a safe and happy way.

Root Scented Seeking Balance Relax Candle, Geranium Lavender
Root Scented Seeking Balance Relax Candle, Geranium Lavender

Feel your emotions balance when inhaling this relaxing aromatherapy combination of scents.

Aromatherapy

Spa fresh scents can work as aromatherapy using some of the same oils that other home fragrance carriers employ.

Root Company Makes A Relaxing Geranium Lavender Blend – Summer for relaxing, balance, energizing

Aromatherapy is welcome in any season. The scent of geranium oil gives an uplifting feeling to mood. It is feminine and floral.

Lavender is well known for inspiring a feeling of calm. The two combine in a relaxing balance of scent.

<img class=”alignright” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41a3LKoXrtL.SL160.jpg” alt=”Root Scented Seeking Yankee Candle 22-Ounce Summer Wish Scented Jar Candle, Large

Summer Wish breezes in with smell of soft floral and green grass

Summer Scoop is like a strawberry ice cream delight

Cool Pops

These delicious fragranced candles come in cute tumbler glass containers with the cutest scalloped tops. Creamsicle colors, too.

 

 

 

 

Yankee Candle MELON MARGARITA 22 oz Large Cool Pops Limited Edition Tumbler Candle
Yankee Candle MELON MARGARITA 22 oz Large Cool Pops Limited Edition Tumbler Candle

Melon Margarita

Triple Berry

More mouth watering aromas that just say summer vacation and good times. These are like your favorite sweet treats.

Peaches and Berries, since we are speaking of seasonally delicious aromas. Try some! They are one of Yankee Candles new scents. Delish.

Lafco Candles

A highly recommended brand that is contained in a beautiful jar, has the highest quality materials and scents on the market.

People who know, buy this brand and ask for it in shops. If you try one, you will not regret it, and though costing a bit more it yields longer burn times and much greater satisfaction.

LAFCO House & Home Chamomile Lavender Candle - Bedroom-16 oz.

LAFCO House & Home Chamomile Lavender Candle – Bedroom-16 oz.

 

 

3 Bottles Set, 1 Fireside, 1 Toasted Marshmallow, 1 Campfire 1/2 Fl Oz Each (15ml) Premium Grade Scented Fragrance Oils By Crazy Candles
3 Bottles Set, 1 Fireside, 1 Toasted Marshmallow, 1 Campfire 1/2 Fl Oz Each (15ml) Premium Grade Scented Fragrance Oils By Crazy Candles

Around the campfire on a cool summer eventing

Campfire Treat is an open campfire with yummy marshmallows.

Nothing more pleasing to the nose than the June treat of Fresh Cut Roses, but this time in a perfumed candle by Yankee Candle Co. in their jar candle container. Boasting cotton wicks and safe for burning inside and outside.

Mom Gives The Best Candles

My kids say that because I like to get good smelling, high quality candles to give as gifts.

Brands help me choose well when foraging through discounters like ‘Tuesday Morning’ or online.

Up On The Boardwalk – Summertime Memories Caught In A Fragrance

1 X Slatkin & Co. 14.5 Oz. 3-wick Candle Summer Boardwalk
1 X Slatkin & Co. 14.5 Oz. 3-wick Candle Summer Boardwalk

Spiced Orange

Orange is one of those scents that take on a different personality with additions of spice. It always brings its citrus notes, but mixed with vanilla or other blends brings out its different sides, whether becoming more sensual, brighter and more playful, or with a sweet, cozy feeling. Adding spices is a way to make simple orange more exotic.

A pomander is an age-old way to bring sweet aromas into a room, but it is genius to make it into a candle.

WoodWick® Candles Pomander 10 oz
WoodWick® Candles Pomander 10 oz

Orange with clove and cinnamon spice with the sound of crackling fire, like having a miniature chimnea on a summer night.

Clementine Oranges For Summery Scent – Citrus is always a part of the season

Dayna Decker Botanika Chandel Candle, Clementine, 3 Ounce
Dayna Decker Botanika Chandel Candle, Clementine, 3 Ounce

Fresh orange scent is refreshing and sweet at the same time.

Do you have a favorite summer scent or favorite way to relax on a summer’s eve?

Spa still life
Spa still life

Create an Atmosphere

Soak up the peaceful feelings of a restful summer vacation with spa scents, candlelight, and some relaxing music. If you have a hammock or a screened in back porch, what could be better to enjoy an evening at home?

Luscious Fruit

Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange Large Glass Jar Candle 100 Hour 16 oz
Voluspa Goji & Tarocco Orange Large Glass Jar Candle 100 Hour 16 oz

Tarocco orange is so refreshing and Goji fruit adds an exotic touch. This is another variation on fresh citrus scent of orange, giving it more complexity.

 

I hope you liked this collection of representative Summertime scents.

Garden Things: Love, Not Need

I don’t need more tools or things for my garden. I have accumulated the tools, the paraphernalia, and even the apparel of a gardener of many years.

Still, it seems there are little tweaks, or some joys of things garden related that make me think that I would indeed enjoy having that cute birdhouse, or a swing for the grandkids. It certainly isn’t a stretch to dream of some raised garden bench style planters to make a handy herb and lettuce bed not far from where we grill a summer meal.

I hope you enjoy looking at these collected ideas and my musings. They are all affiliate links, but no less inspiring for all that.

A Very Charming Birdhouse

I can’t help it, I absolutely love well designed bird houses. Whether they are rustic , Japanese style, or something much more Colonial and grand, I seem to have a real weakness for them.

And it can’t be chalked up to a love of birds, although I do love birds and almost a superstition about  seeing them and having a blessing ( maybe I’ll explain about that later.

What I like about this particular birdhouse is its Old England look. It just looks like it belongs in a Cottage garden.

 

Every Garden Should Have a Rope Swing

A carry over from my childhood, I am sure. Yet, it was only in the past couple years that I saw a rope swing hanging from a tree in a front yard in Atlanta.

The neighborhood was established and sedate, and nothing could more appropriate than that swing, just waiting for the right time of the afternoon.

Simple, but sturdy, it brings back such memories and makes me think of lazy summer days.

Wouldn’t we be happier if we took a few moments to sit in a swing and dream?

This Is Practical

I bet I could talk myself into the idea that this is a necessity.

I’ve been wanting this type of raised bench planter ever since I saw some my Uncle had at his home in Maryland. I love the deep curved bottom of this one, and it sure would save my back some bending over.

I can imagine it right outside the back deck, filled with succulent lettuces, clumps of parsley and some leafy basil plants. While the tomatoes are pretty, I doubt if I would keep mine quite so well behaved… so maybe peas on the trellis instead?

You know Mother’s Day is not that far away, and I believe this could be the start of a little hint dropping.

Every Once In Awhile I Find Something I Love

I’ve gotten pretty good at feeling that I have most everything I need or want. And most of the time I do, I am very blessed in that sense. But sometimes I look through items that I don’t need, but they have some intrinsic quality or could bring some beauty into my life, and that causes me to long a little. Or at least mentally put them on a wish list.

I was looking through a catalog of Rodale products, and they appeal to all my sensibilities: natural materials, beautiful design, unusual and original looking.

I thought I would have some post here or there that compile some in related themes. I know I have Pinterest board, but this is a little more refined and thought out. I tend to pin less mindfully than I ought to- just so I don’t lose some idea or pretty picture. This is more for me to consider, and for you to see what I really, really like.

Yes, I am an affiliate- that needs to be said at the outset. Now let’s enjoy some pretty things…


I am a sucker for real leaf earrings. When in Colorado I went to a Souvenir shop in Georgetown and bought some silver plated Aspen leaves. I love them! And I love these Eucalyptus leaves for the same reason. They remind me of Northern California.

Love The Clogs

Slip-ons that are so cute. This is my ideal house slipper. This is the last one, so I just want you to see them, they aren’t in my size and will be gone soon. They are Geisswein boiled wool, which is available on Amazon if you don’t mind a different type. I have them on my list for this year, but I do love that little fox.

 

Organic Tunic


I would love this for this year. I don’t have any tunics this long and would like something with leggings. Not sure if it is still in style, but it would be comfortable and I would like the way it would look on me.

Keeping this short, to three items. I will create one for either beauty products or garden lusts another time.