If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant.
– Anne Bradstreet, poet, 1612-1672
We have had some pretty cold weather this winter and not much snow to speak but I can say for sure it’s good to be able to get outside and do some fun things. I don’t usually get to say, “Go fly a kite” but hey, why not? This was once a normal thing for kids to do and there are so many types of kites it might be fun to find one or make one, and get out and fly it.
My luck with kites is a little like Charlie Brown in the comics but I do like to see them flying! While outside why not do some chalk drawings on the sidewalk? While temporary for both kids and adults, having such an “art show” might reveal a budding artist. As you head outside gather up a ball, Frisbee and some of those bubbles the kids love, or even a hula-hoop — get the kids involved or just be a kid yourself.
Spring brings along Easter and a time for coloring eggs. Our house always smelled like vinegar that was added to the food coloring for the egg dye. We had fun dying eggs, two tones, wax crayon designs, cute decals sometime adding rick rack or other glued on decorations. We always enjoyed “helping the Easter bunny” and had our favorites picked out ready for our baskets that were filled with shiny cellophane Easter grass, which was found around our house for ages afterwards.
Other best things about the holiday were lots of jelly beans and maybe a chocolate bunny. Look for some fun vintage Easter decorations; there are candy containers that look like rabbits and hens, old baskets, chicks and ducks. If you prefer a simpler style of decorating find some natural colored eggs at the farmer’s market, add some carrots with their tops still on and maybe a potted pansy from your local garden center, and you have a perfectly good centerpiece for your table. Oh, another thing, when I was little, girls always had little white gloves and patent leather shoes, my brother had short pants and wore a little bow tie, thank goodness fashion has changed!
May Day is May 1st and it used to be the time to make May baskets, these were often made out of construction paper, filled with candy and some flowers. I have used what I had on hand to make mine — peat pots, some tissue and crepe paper, ribbon and a bit of floral wire for a handle. Traditionally, they were hung on doorknobs or set by the door before ringing the doorbell and dashing off so the recipient didn’t know who brought it.
What a fun way to surprise someone with a little gift of candy and flowers or some other little treat. You certainly can tailor a basket for a friend, maybe a little container of old buttons or a few art supplies, bits of old textiles or even tickets or a little gift card, all tokens of friendship creating a sweet surprise. I have been collecting old jam and jelly jars as well as old canning jars; love the look of them filled with buttons or sewing supplies but the smaller one I have found make perfect hanging lanterns. With some wire around the lip of the jar, you can hang these in your trees of on the patio or balcony, even inside. I find that the battery tea lights and votives make this safe for indoors but outside you could use the real thing. I added some rock salt in the bottom of the jar because I wanted it white but sand or something else could be used as a base for the tea light or votive. Be sure to vary the length of wire used to make the handles so the lanterns hang at different levels. Using the same idea, cover the wire with a bit of ribbon and make a hanging vase. Some old jelly or jam jars have designs pressed into the glass making them a pretty decorative lantern for a spring evening.
I hope in the warmer weather you find time to eat outside, whether a picnic or just out in the back yard or balcony. Find a great old tote or other container to set up your supplies of napkins, plates and even a beverage. You could actually create a “bar” or beverage station with one; there are plenty of tool carriers or other totes to find and organize when the time is right.
However you spend your springtime, enjoy some of it outside doing things that get you away from work and technology for a bit while enjoying some of these “vintage” pastimes.
Words: Maggie Bonanomi | Photos: Patti Klinge