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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Botanical Gardens with Kids

Yesterday I went with my daughter's kindergarten class to visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens here in Sarasota.   The class had their own tour guide (the extremely knowledgeable "Mr. Jim") and we first visited the butterfly garden and learned all about butterflies.  We looked through small kaleidoscopes to experience how butterflies see and we touched hot rocks where they warm themselves.  Next we saw a huge tree with plants growing on its trunk and limbs.

 Then, the class used turkey basters to extract water from the center of bromeliads and study the contents through a magnifying class (which was really cool).  At the pond, we saw a cotton plant and everyone touched a real cotton ball.

The fragrance garden was filled with herbs, flowers, and had a sweet almond tree. The conservatory had lots of orchids and a cacao tree a.k.a. the "chocolate" tree. We also learned about simple and compound leaf structures and made a "leaf rubbing" with crayons (which I loved because I love doing leaf painting with my art class). We saw huge Koi in the fish pond, learned about bonsai trees, saw the largest bamboo in the world and, finally, the amazing banyan trees with roots that grow in the air!

At the end of the visit we all had lunch under the banyan trees.   What a great field trip!! 
Looking through "Butterfly Eyes"

Cool Epiphytes- Plants that Grow on Trees
Collecting Water from a Bromeliad

Inspecting the Water with a Magnifying Glass

Leaf  Rubbings

Koi Pond
Smelling a Sweet Almond Tree!

A Real Ball of Cotton

Roots of a Banyan Tree
Playing in the Banyan Trees

Looking at the Cacao Tree
Bonsai Trees

Sunday, April 15, 2012


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Reversible Wraparound Skirt

I'm no seamstress, but I saw Kaysi's tutorial for this reversible, wraparound skirt on Keeping It Simple. I thought I could make it since it only requires sewing in a straight line and it looked like I could finish it in one sitting.  If I start sewing and I get interrupted (i.e. kids ages 6 and 9), whatever I'm making usually doesn't get completed.  I've linked up to the Sunday Link Parties at  I Heart Nap Time and
I think it turned out pretty well. Check the tutorial on her blog for the complete instructions.  Here's what I did.

My 2 fabrics pieces were 3/4 of a yard each.  I measured my waist and chose a length I wanted and then added two inches to each for hems.  Then I cut the fabric to those measurements.  I pressed a one inch hem into the top and bottom edges.

Next I pinned on my ribbon to what would be the top of the skirt. Place the ribbon across the entire width of the fabric with about 12 inches extra on each side for the ties. Sew the ribbon onto the fabric all the way across and stop about 1 inch from either side (where the green pin is in the pic).  This will allow the ties to hang when you sew on the other fabric side of the skirt.

Sew a stip of ribbon across the bottom the same width as the skirt.  Then do the same with the other piece of fabric except without the ties on the top. 

So you will end up with two rectangles with ribbon trim on top and bottom. I used aqua ribbon on one side and orange on the other.

I put Fray Check on the edges of my ribbon.

Put right side to right side and pin the SIDES of the skirt together (the edges that don't have ribbon).  Then stitch up those sides.

Turn it right side out and this is what it looks like with the edges sewn together.

Open it up and step inside.  Gather each side at your waist to mark the opening that you will leave to put it on.   Sew across the top of both sides just to where you marked it being careful to leave the ties free.

 This is the reverse side.  Thank you Kaysi!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wooden Ice Cream Spoons, Painted Rocks as Plant Markers

Repurpose wooden ice cream spoons and rocks into plant markers.   I used paint pens to mark the spoons and to paint the rock. 
Seedling Plant Markers

The herb pot