As the school year winds down, it's time to show appreciation to a special teacher.
Here's a springy idea: Arrange a casual bouquet of flowers with offshoots of your child's creativity. First, choose some flowers and greens, such as hosta leaves and herbs for fragrance from your garden, or purchase a bouquet at your market.
Let your child trim the stems, loosely arrange the blooms and greens in his hand, and then head for the recycle bin. The perfect "vase" for the blooms just may be lurking between a milk carton and yesterday's newspaper. I'm thinking pint-size pasta-sauce jars, but any glass pickle, mayonnaise or fruit jar makes a casual and charming "jar in bloom."
Simply wash with soapy water, remove the label, tie twine around the rim, and set the bouquet inside. Add some water and a card, and it's ready to give. It's also fun for kids to decorate and personalize the jars before adding the flowers. Here are some handmade arty ideas using nontoxic paint pens, ribbon, wire, beads or anything that catches your child's attention in your craft box.
Compose a jingle or rhyme about the teacher receiving the bouquet and write it on the jar with paint pens. Tie ribbon around the rim and thread a few small beads near the ends of the ribbon to dangle on the jar.
Use acrylic paints to paint designs or images of the teachers' favorite things. Simply write a thank-you greeting directly on the jar with paint pens, and then finish it off with copper wire twisted around the neck of the bottle several times. Arrange a curly willow branch and two or three flowers in the modern vase.
Extra idea: Painted and decorated jars make attractive containers for displaying kids' summer camp and vacation nature finds. Write the place and date directly on the jar with paint pens and fill with pretty rocks from a lake in Wisconsin, mini pinecones from a woodland walk in Oregon or sand from a beach in Florida.