RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

My 31st birthday is coming up and I’m planning to celebrate with a Bloody Mary themed party. To get ready I decided to make some creative garnishes including these candied jalapeños. I first discovered these sweet and spicy gems years ago when my friend Lindsay gifted me a jar. I can’t wait to try them on my fully loaded garnish skewer floating atop a spicy bloody mary cocktail!

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

Candied Jalapeños
 
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This recipe makes four 8 oz canning jars.
Author:
Recipe type: Garnish
Ingredients
  • 1½ lbs jalapeños
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut off the stems of the jalapeños and slice into ⅛-1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.
  2. Combine cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the jalapeños and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers in to sterile canning jars. Turn up the heat on the pot and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Boil hard for 6 minutes.
  3. Use a ladle to pour the syrup over the the jars covering the jalapeño slices. Insert a chopstick or butter knife in to the jars to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jars clean with a damp towel and secure lids.
  4. Place jars in refrigerator to mellow for 2-3 weeks (you can also can your jars using a hot water bath method).

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

I plan to eat these candied jalapeños with everything! They’d be perfect added to a charcuterie board, in a grilled cheese sandwich, on a pizza (with pepperoni and pineapple), or even on nachos instead of pickled jalapeños.

RECIPE: Candied Jalapeños by Adventures In Making

DIY: Convertible Harvest Apron / Produce Bag

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There’re still a million and a half things to do around here, but the garden has been calling. (Literally. The robins are LOUD.)

More often than not I find myself walking around with a hose and eating vegetables right off the plants like an animal; but the harvests are getting to be too big for me to eat immediately, too unwieldy to juggle in my hands, and while my first instinct is to bundle them up in my skirt I’m not too excited about flashing the neighbors.

All of this to explain why I decided to turn a half a yard of cotton material and some bias tape into a harvest apron- not just an apron, but an apron that converts to a drawstring produce bag.

For those of you who like to reverse engineer projects (and improve them!) the concept is simple. It’s a rectangular drawstring bag with one string that’s large enough to tie around your waist. For the rest of you who want to see what I did, follow along!

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Supplies

• 1/2 yard of printed cotton fabric. (18 inches x 45 inches wide, typically.)
• At least 3 yards of a durable, sewable trim to use as a drawstring and tie. I used Double Wide Bias Tape from Wrights.
• Sewing machine (or a needle and thread if you’re handy)
• Complementary thread and bobbin
• Ruler
• Straight pens
• Fabric Scissors
• Pinking Shears (optional).

Tips

• Remember to take it slow, and maybe start with a piece of material that you’re not in love with. The second one will go faster/easier.
• This project will hide a bunch of mistakes, so don’t fret!
• I used pinking shears to keep my edges from fraying. If you prefer, you can ignore all the steps that use the pinking shears and instead do a zig zag stitch down the fraying edge of the material. (This post on Craftsy is quite helpful.)
• Whenever you get to the end of a line of stitches, always go backwards and forwards on the spot with a few stitches to tie off the ends.
• A seam ripper is always useful if you’re as prone to mistakes as I am.
• An iron is also useful, if you have one handy. I use it to iron fabric flat, to fold seams over, and sometime I just push the steam button to listen to the hiss.

Step 1 – Making the Pocket

To begin, you will cut or tear the 18″x45″ piece of material down the fold so that you have two pieces of 18″x22.5″. You will be stitching the edges to form something almost like a pillow case, leaving one of the 22.5″ sides open (this will be the top of your pocket.) To remind myself which way went up, I used the pinking shears to trim one of the 22.5″ sides of each piece of material.

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Lay the two pieces together, with the right sides in. From your pinked “top” measure down 3 inches and put a bright pin or mark to show that your stitches will end here. (Don’t stitch above the markers.)

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Now sew a straight stitch 1/2 inch starting at your marker and going down to the bottom of the bag, across the bottom, and back up the other side (stopping 3″ below the top of the bag.)

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Voila! Pocket made!

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Now trim the other sides with your pinking shears to stop fraying.

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Step 2 – Drawstring Casing

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This first step is a little finicky– the goal is to fold under the raw edge of the fabric so it’s out of the way of the drawstring casing. First, fold back your unstitched raw edge (the 3″  from the top on each side we skipped before) and pin flat. 

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Use a zig-zag or straight stitch to permanently pin down that edge on each edge of the flap (leaving the flaps open.  One side shown open below.)

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Now for the drawstring casing, itself. Fold each open flap backwards to make a 1.5″ hem. Pin each side separately so that the pocket remains open.

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Run a straight stitch around the bottom of each flap, about 0.5″ from the pinked edge.

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Then run a second straight stitch approximately 0.5″ from the top of each side. The space between those stitches is where the drawstring will run.

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Step 3 – Drawstrings and Ties

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Cut your drawstring material into the following 3 pieces:
• Apron Tie: Wrap the string around your waist, add 12-18″ to your measurement and cut.
• Short Drawstring: Measure one piece that is 24″ to act as your other drawstring.
• Wrist Loop: The final piece will be a loop that you can use around your wrist to hold open your apron. I used about 12″ for my loop, but you may want to make yours longer or shorter (or omit this step, if you want!)

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For your wrist loop, cross the ends, and stitch to the middle of one of the open sides. (Make sure to stick above or below the drawstring casing area.

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The side with your loop will now be the front of your apron. Use a large safety pin to feed the 24″ piece through the casing on this side. Repeat with the long piece, through the casing on the other side.

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Fold over and stitch each of the four ends to form a 1.5″ loop. If you have a trim that will fray at the ends, it’s a good idea to do a tight zig-zag here to limit the fray over time.

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To keep your short drawstring from disappearing into the casing, feed the long piece through the loops on each side.

Trim all your little threads, and you’re ready to harvest!

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Tie the long tie at your natural waist, and get into the garden!

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Use the wrist loop when you need to hold open the apron, but keep your hands free. (Especially handy when you’re picking tricky berries.)

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When you’re ready to go in, untie the apron and pull the drawstrings for an instant produce bag.

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When the bag gets just too dirty, throw it into the wash on hot. (Turn the bag inside out to get rid of those stubborn bits of dirt.)

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Things to Try

• Add a pocket for a garden knife or shears.
• Add vintage cotton trim to make it even more vintage-girly.
• Add a bib and neck strap – more pockets?

Any suggestions? Do you have a favorite garden project you’re rocking this summer?

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread
I’ve felt the urge to bake these past few weeks, but haven’t brought myself to turn on the oven with our 90+ degree heat wave here in Portland. It’s finally starting to cool down (to the 80’s), so I decided I was finally ready to use up my over-ripe bananas and turn on the oven. The best time for baking during the summer is either early in the morning, or late at night (the ‘cool’ hours of summer). Since I’m more of a night owl, I decided to stay up late and bake a yummy loaf of banana bread while watching a movie. I have to say, the best part of late-night baking is waking up the next morning to a fresh slice of banana bread and coffee for breakfast!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

Homemade Banana Bread
 
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Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1½ cups flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour + ½ cup all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed or chopped
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, beating well after each one. Then add the vanilla and bananas, beat until just combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a whisk to stir well. Slowly pour flour mixture into the electric mixer and beat on low until combined. Stir in the walnuts.
  4. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy with coffee or tea in the morning or as an afternoon snack. Yum!

RECIPE: Homemade Banana Bread

RECIPE: Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro #homegrown

Mango salsa is one of my all-time favorite dishes to make. Loading up a bowl of it with chips is one of my favorite summer-time meals. This year I planted some cilantro seeds in my garden and couldn’t wait to harvest it and try out a recipe from Doreen Shababy’s book, The Wild & Weedy Apothecary. Doreen’s book is a wonderful resource for any budding herbalist as it’s bursting with herbal recipes and remedies.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

About growing cilantro…

This was my second attempt at growing cilantro from seed. Cilantro can be a little tricky as it tends to bolt (spring up flowers) rather quickly, especially in hot weather. Cilantro thrives is cool, moist weather, so with our recent heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest there was nothing I could do to prevent my cilantro from sending up it’s long, spindly flowers. So instead of fretting over it, I just planting some new seeds to begin another crop.

Some growing tips:

– For a continuous crop all season long, plant cilantro seeds every two weeks.
– Plant in a container at least 18 inches wide and 8-10 inches deep.
– Follow the planting instructions on your seed packet. Seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.
– Place containers in full sun, or if you live in a hot climate, light shade.
– Harvest at least weekly to keep leaves coming.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Now on to the salsa recipe. I made up a double batch so that I could take some to a friend’s birthday party and save some for myself 🙂

Mango Salsa With Garden Cilantro
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: Approx. 4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe mangos, ripe, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds if you like it mild)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Cayenne pepper, optional
  • Salt, optional
Instructions
  1. Peel and chop up the mangos (if you've never cut open a mango before, the pit is large, long and flat, so you basically cut around the pit). Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Then taste and add a dash of cayenne and salt if needed.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

Serve this yummy salsa as an appetizer with chips, over fish or shrimp tacos, or even use it to garnish chicken dishes.

RECIPE: Mango Salsa with Garden Cilantro

DIY: Homemade Allergy Relief Balm

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I am a seasonal allergy sufferer. It seems like every time the weather/season changes I start sneezing, my eyes get itchy and my nose gets runny and congested. Since I’ve begun learning more about essential oils, I’ve been looking for more and more ways to make my own home remedies rather than heading to the drugstore. I discovered this Allergy Balm while browsing Pinterest and knew I found an idea I wanted to try.

Lavender, Lemon + Peppermint (LLP)

What makes this balm so effective against allergies are the blend of essential oils lavender, lemon and peppermint. Together these three oils create a natural antihistamine which helps to reduce inflammation in the body and eases allergy symptoms.

I purchased the doTERRA introductory kit a while back which just happens to include LLP!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Here’s a little more info about these 3 oils:

Lavender: Helps eliminate nervous tension, relieves pain and respiratory problems. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Lemon: Is a natural anti-biotic, antiviral, antiseptic, and disinfectant.
Peppermint: Contains menthol which helps clear the respiratory tract and has a cooling effect on the body. Because it is an expectorant, it provides instantaneous, though temporary, relief from nasal congestion, asthma, cold and cough.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

You can use the LLP combination in a number of different ways. You can take it internally using gel caps or make a body oil. I decided to try making a balm to rub into the bottoms of my feet and apply to any irritated areas.

Supplies Needed

• 3 tablespoons candelilla wax (or 1/4 cup beeswax)
• 1/3 cup almond oil
• 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
• 1/2 tablespoon vitamin E oil
• *25 drops each of lavender, lemon and peppermint essential oils
• Popsicle stick
• Small tins or glass jars

*Note: Peppermint has a much stronger scent and overpowered the lemon and lavender. Next time I will try using less. Maybe only 15 drops instead of 25.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Combine the almond, coconut and vitamin E oil in a mason jar. Fill a saucepan halfway with water and place it on medium-high heat. Place mason jar into the water to create a double boiler. Bring water to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer. Once the coconut oil is completely melted, add in the wax. Let wax melt and add in the essential oils. Use a popsicle stick to stir mixture.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

Pour into small containers and let cool completely.

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

How To Apply:

Whenever you feel the allergy itch coming on, rub this balm into the bottoms of my feet, the base of my skull/neck and apply to any irritated skin areas like around your eyes and nose.

Optional: Decorate your tin/jar with some pretty wash tape!

DIY: Allergy Balm #LLP #EO #essentialoils #natural #health

May DIY Challenge Results!

This month’s DIY Challenge theme has reached full bloom, and we’re very excited to share a roundup of submissions we received from our readers. With a theme like ‘flowers’ you know you’re gonna have some fun. Without further ado, here are the May DIY Challenge Award Winners along with the gallery of everyone’s lovely submissions…

DIY Challenge Award: Brightest Idea

The award for “Brightest Idea” goes to Lori Miller of Eldridge, Iowa. Lori is a fine art fiber artist and loves transforming cast-off sewing materials into something new. You can see more of Lori’s work on her website.

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

As I am always seeking ways to turn the cast-offs into some type of treasure, I came up with a variation of the zipper pin. The idea is not my own originally but I modified it to make a more fresh, funky flower design. Combinations of colors was fun as well as the different type of zippers. – Lori Miller

DIY Challenge Award: Most Inspired

We were “Most Inspired” by Gail Griffin’s handmade foam lilies. Gail is from Millersville, Maryland where she teaches crafty classes and creates various projects for her blog, Plum Perfect and Me. Check out Gail’s step-by-step tutorial and have fun making your own foam flowers!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

DIY Challenge Award: Most Treasured

This beautiful handmade journal deserves the “Most Treasured” award because it is almost too gorgeous to write in! Made by Nikki, the creator of Venus Envy Paper. Nikki used K & Company scrapbook paper to create this book and used the coptic binding technique. As a lifelong journal writer, she loves that her handmade journals have the ability to lie completely flat, for easy writing. Be sure to check out Nikki’s Etsy shop where she sells handmade wax seals, custom journals, paper flowers and more!

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

I specialize in making custom art journals, paper flowers and wax seals. I live in a smallish (read growing way too fast) town in Northern California. I am a proud sci/fi nerd and have adopted six homeless cats. Or I should say, they decided I was going to be their human servant for the rest of their natural multiple lives. I am most passionate about creating journals that will last not for the moment, but for generations. – Nikki

Flowers Gallery

May DIY Challenge Results #adventuresinmaking #flowers

Credits (left to right):

1. Homegrown Lollipop Flowers by Stephanie Rose from Vancouver BC, Canada
2. Field of Flowers Tote by Donna Heron
3. Mixed Media Collages by Becky Brooks from Issaquah, Washington
4. DIY Flowers On A Stick by Despina from Greece
5. Painted Sunflowers by Madison Lee from Southern California

Thank you for participating in the May DIY Challenge! We will be taking a break for the month of June but we’ll be back with our next DIY Challenge theme in July!

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat
Last week I harvested some fresh thyme from my garden to make a seasoning salt. What I’ve been waiting until now to tell you is that I also made cookies! While researching different things I could make with the flavors of Lemon and Thyme I came across salad dressings, cakes, and even a bruschetta recipe. While I can’t wait to try all of these ideas, I decided on a simple shortbread recipe since I already had the ingredients on hand. The result was a light, refreshingly sweet cookie perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea.

Add a little something extra…

Unfortunately I was in the midst of a flair up while baking these (I suffer from chronic neck and back pain), which meant that I wasn’t able to make the earl grey glaze I was planning on. So I invite you to try it out and let me know how it tastes!

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: Approx. 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • Course sugar or granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on high until combined. Next mix in the thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice and cardamom. Slowly add the flour a little at a time and mix until a dough is formed.
  2. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out with your favorite cookie cutter (or you could simply use a knife to cut small squares). Sprinkle cutouts with sugar and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are just lightly brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes approx. 24 cookies.

 

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Shortbread Cookies #dessert #herbs #spring #treat

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade
Earlier this week I shared a sweet recipe for infusing sugar. Today I’m going to share a savory recipe for one of my favorite seasonings, salt! My thyme plant has become a bit unruly in my garden so I decided to prune and harvest some to make a seasoning salt. Lemon has become one of my favorite flavors and it pairs perfectly with fresh thyme so I knew I had to try this recipe from Have Cake, Will Travel.

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade

Lemon Thyme Salt
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Seasoning
Serves: Approx. ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ½ cup fine grain sea salt
  • Zest from 2 medium organic lemons
  • Leaves from approximately 20 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in a food processor or clean coffee grinder and pulse several thymes until well blended. The more you pulse, the finer your salt will become.
  2. Store in an airtight container. Will keep at room temperature indefinitely.

I love using this salt to season chicken, fish or spring veggies. You can use it instead of normal salt anytime you think the flavors of lemon and thyme would enhance your dish.

RECIPE: Lemon Thyme Salt #seasoning #homemade

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

While out and about last week, I slipped into a local bookstore to browse for a few minutes. With no intention of buying anything, I of course walked out with a new book, Herbal Goddess by Amy Jirsa. The book is filled with gorgeous photos of herbal remedies, recipes and potions. Amy discusses 12 of her favorite herbs, how they effect the mind, body, spirit and pairs each one with a yoga pose. I was hooked!

I’ve been looking for new ways to incorporate some of my favorite herbs into my cooking, particularly roses. So I decided to try out Amy’s recipe for infusing sugar. For fun, I chose three different (edible) flowers to try: rose, lavender and chamomile.

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

Flower Infused Sugar
 
Author:
Recipe type: Infusion
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • • ⅓ cup dried herbs or edible flowers
  • • 2 cups organic sugar (white or brown)
Instructions
  1. Pour herbs into a quart size mason jar. Cover with two cups of sugar and close with a lid. Give it a good shake and let sit in a cool, dry place for two weeks (giving it a good shake every day).

 

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

More infusions to try:

Vanilla, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), ginger, rosemary, mint

Use your infused sugar just like you would regular sugar! Sweeten your tea or coffee, use it to bake cookies and cakes, and have fun experimenting!

RECIPE: Flower Infused Sugar #diycraftchallenge #herbs #infusion #diy

May DIY Challenge: Flowers

May DIY Challenge: Flowers! #craft #diycraftchallenge #spring
Sources left to right: Fabric Covered Flower Pots by Ashley Ann, Pom Pom Bouquet by Camille Styles, Pressed Flowers by Sweet Paul, Paper Ranunculi by Brit+Co, Seed Starts in Cupcake Tins by Tuinieren, Spring Paper Flower Garland by Lia Griffith, Edible Flower Cookies by Pretty Prudent, Felt Roses by Pretty Petals, Book Paper Flowers by 100 Layer Cake, Spring Flower Bowls by Martha Stewart, Spring Kitten Flower Cookies by Lookie Boo, Pretty Lace Flower Pots by A Beautiful Mess.

May DIY Challenge: Flowers

This month we are officially celebrating the spring season with Flowers! Flowers are such a beautiful, versatile subject so we are excited to see what YOU make this month. Whether you are planting seeds in your garden, baking flower cookies for a party or making a flower inspired art or craft project, we invite you to share it with us!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, May 1, 2015 and ends on May 29th, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on May 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more flower inspired project ideas.