DIY Seed Bombs

In honor of Earth Day we’re bringing you one of our favorite kid-friendly crafts: Seed bombs!

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This fantastic project allows you to beautify your neighborhood while also providing additional green space for wildlife in your community. Plus, if you have a little at home, this is a great way to keep them occupied on a rainy day. Win – win!

Here’s what you’ll need to create your own homemade seed bombs:

  • Newspaper
  • Bowl
  • Baking tray or candy molds (if you want to get fancy!)
  • Water
  • Potter’s Clay
  • Chemical-free compost
  • Wildflower Seeds (make sure there are no invasive varieties in the mix!)
  1. Determine where you’ll be doing the project. A low table, bench, or windowsill works best. Then, line your work surface with newspaper.  Soil + little hands = A big mess!
  2. I recommend portioning out the water, clay, and compost before setting them out in front of your toddler. This way they can grab the ingredients and mix them up without too much fuss. Once everything’s ready, pop your toddler next to the work station with a bowl and let them mix the first three ingredients together. The texture should be shape-able, like a chunky dough, but not too moist.
  3. Show your toddler how to form balls from the mix, or if you’re using a candy form, how to press it into the tray.
  4. Once your balls or shapes are ready, set them out on a high windowsill or table to dry overnight. And that’s it! once they’re dried out they’re ready for you to use.

The next time you’re out for a stroll, pop your seed bombs into a basket, and have your tot throw them into abandoned lots or planters. Ensure they’re not chucking them into private plots or landscaped spaces. As the days go by, visit your bombs to view their progress. If you have a tech savvy kid, have them take photos of their plants in each stage. In just a couple of weeks, under the right conditions, you should see bursts of wildflowers in bloom.

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When seeing this project through be sure to speak with your toddler about the importance of plants, especially in urban environments. It’s a great way to impart knowledge about science and nature while teaching them how to be stewards of creation. And, as an added bonus, describe the importance of caring for the community you live in too! That way, you won’t just have plants in bloom, you’ll also have a budding little social activist on your hands.

Voila! You’ve now trained a mini guerrilla gardener!

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Biodegradable Leaf Wreath

I don’t know about you, but come autumn I’m always itching for some new home decor. It’s not like Christmas, where I want to collect objects for nostalgia’s sake. I want something new each fall and I’m also always eager to concoct a new visage in my nest. But then the flower child within convicts me. How can I justify buying or making something new to add to the pile of stuff already cluttering my apartment, my life, and the planet?

What to do, what to do? Ah-ha! The solution! A biodegradable craft!

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Fall foliage. It’s the thing that makes it a thing, is it not? Without the changing leaves, the sweet smell of decay filling the air, we might as well be approaching spring. Seeing the changing canopies of the city’s trees is what makes me feel electric, feel renewed, feel distracted from the foreboding threat of winter. So why not capture that feeling by collecting the very thing that gives the season its mark: leaves.

For this project all you’ll need is some non-toxic glue, a pair of scissors, recycled cardboard, and some freshly pressed leaves. A pair of hyper helper hands, should you have a toddler waddling about, is good too!

First things first, you’ll need to cut a semi-accurate circle out of your cardboard. This is the part best saved for those of us old enough to wield a sharp object. Once the main circle has been cut out, shave out an inner circle so you’re left with a big “o.” That’s your wreath. Now, dab on glue around the cardboard, placing your first layer of leaves around the perimeter. Next, you’ll repeat this step, but pop the glue on the leaves. I find that three layers works best.

If you’re a strategic sort you can place the bigger leaves at the base and alternate colors so you have a more aesthetically appealing display. Once complete, allow your wreath at least 24 hours to dry before hanging it up. We took our little creation and hung it on August’s bedroom door using some doubled up washi tape. That lasted all of a single afternoon as he insisted that the door remain as-is. Oh toddlers. So we’re now enjoying it as part of our table centerpiece.

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There you have it! A simple, festively fall, biodegradable wreath that’s easy enough that even a kid, or an overly exuberant pumpkin-spice-latted-up adult, can do it.

Enjoy!

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DIY: Baby Gnome Hat

little august

Little baby August was born this past Valentine’s day at a hearty 7 pounds and 6 ounces. But despite his ample weight, this long and lean baby has the tiniest of craniums, causing any and every hat we have for him to slide down over his eyes. The result: one fussy baby! So what’s a mama to do? Make some DIY hats of course!

To ensure our little guy’s noggin was staying nice and toasty in our home and beyond I whipped up a simple yet chic hat design that I could create using various fabric scraps. Using printed fabrics on a bias instead of elastic, and solid t-shirt fabric for the top, August’s “krasnoludek” hats have become an instant hit! Keeping his head warm while adding a pop of color to his ensembles, making these little gnome hats in different color combos is becoming my new pass time, in between feedings and naps at least.

So without further adieu, I bring you a quick photo tutorial on how to make a baby gnome hat (or two or three!) for your own little bundle. Enjoy!

diy gnome hat from pierogi picnic

DIY: Festive Fall Garland

diy upcycled pom pom garland

Pumpkins deep jewel tones and warm hues, spicy candles and cozy fabrics all of these things are what make autumn my favorite season. So when dreaming up a new look for our fireplace mantle, I knew I wanted to combine all my favorite elements of fall into the spread. Pumpkins. Check. Wine colored mums. Check. Now for the finishing touch: a fun upcycled garland.

Pom poms, those delightfully little fluffy balls of yarn, are one of my secret obsessions. I will use any excuse to make a fresh batch – affixing them to gifts, headbands, art prints and more. So when choosing the texture of my festive fall garland the choice was easy.

pom poms

Now when choosing the colors and textures – that’s where a bit of experimentation came into play. Digging through my drawer of varying fabric scraps, I settled on a warm cream linen, rich pumpkin velvet, and grey and lilac t-shirt cottons. I then grabbed a ball of white yarn that had been sitting untouched after a summer project. Cutting, wrapping and slicing I found that the linen frayed too much and didn’t have the fluffy outcome I wanted. The velvet and cottons, however, worked out perfectly!

So without further adieu, I now bring you an tutorial on how you too can make one of these festive pieces for the season. Play with a variety of colors, textures and pom pom sizes to give your garland a twist of your very own.


diy recycled fabric pom pom garland

  1. Lay out your chosen fabric
  2. Cut the fabric into 1/2″ strips
  3. You’ll need 4 strips of fabric per pom pom
  4. Tug both ends of each strip to stretch and fluff them out
  5. Wrap the first strip around four fingers
  6. Wrap each of the remaining strips around the first
  7. Using a shorter excess strip, place the string between the center of your fingers and tie a knot
  8. Pull the pom off your fingers and cut the looped ends
  9. Fluff and trim your pom so all the ends are similar in length
  10. Cut a long piece of yarn onto which you’ll tie your poms
  11. Center each pom along the yarn mapping out the spacing
  12. Tie the yarn across the center of each pom and pull into place

And there you have it! In fifteen minutes or less you can be on your way toward making a festive fall garland of your very own! Should you give the project a try – be sure to share pictures of your final creation with us on Facebook or Instagram!

handmade fabric scrap pom pom garland

An Indie Biz: Welcoming the New Year

2013 Pierogi Picnic Annual Business Review final

It’s been quite a fruitful year here at Pierogi Picnic – and there’s much to reflect on. Whether perusing through my Etsy sales, looking back at the conjuring of new designs, or basking in the warm glow of gleaming customer reviews, 2013 was the year where my business shined.

Thinking back over the last five years, and the endless toiling to build Pierogi Picnic’s strong foundation, this was the year where the pay offs became clear and tangible. What more could a biz owner wish for?!

So to send off 2013, while joyfully welcoming 2014, I’ve drafted up a visual graphic that looks back on this year’s achievements. Because, after all, what’s the fun of running a small indie biz if I don’t get to celebrate milestones, breakthroughs, and all the success nuggets in between!

And if you’re wondering how in the world I was able to achieve, let alone set my sight on these goals in the first place, consider giving my yearly business planning worksheet a try. Download my customizable, and totally adorable, planning worksheet below to help you get your goals on paper for the year.

Here’s to a fruitful New Year to all the indie handmade business owners out there!

2014 Business Planning Worksheet Graphic from pierogi picnic

Finds: Renegade Recap

Necklace & Bracelet by Love Nail Tree

It was the first time in over 4 years that Pierogi Picnic did not participate in Chicago’s September Renegade Craft Fair. We took the summer off from custom orders and sewing – and took that time to enjoy the season – which means getting to shop the event instead!

By far, one of the best fair line-ups I’ve seen in many years, this Renegade had a little bit of something for everyone. Whether finely crafted jewelry and elegant housewares or kitschy screenprinted posters and fun stuffies, this was the craft collection to end all craft collections.

Bouncing from booth to booth, David and I scooped up some fun items for ourselves and friends, while documenting the many talented artisans whose items inspired, delighted or enthused.  Here’s what we brought home:

Jewelry by Love Nail Tree from RCF 2013

AVP Designs Clay & Pyrite Earrings

Adorable dress by MaryInk

By Mindy handmade baby shoees

The Wind & the Sail happy rabbit baby rattle

To scope out all of our favorite finds at this year’s fair, take a peek at our Facebook event album here.  To see a full list of who exhibited, click here.

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Events: Lincoln Park Summer Bazaar

Chicago Summer Bazaar

Festival season has officially begun – and we’re as excited as ever! We have our first event of the summer taking place in Lincoln Park and would love to see you there!

If you’re in Chicago the second week of June, join us at the first annual Summer Bazaar in the heart of the DePaul neighboorhood. We’ll be hawking a variety of vintage, handmade and one-of-kind items from Pierogi Picnic and many other Chicago designers.

What: Summer Bazaar

When: Sunday, June 16th 11am-5pm

Where: 735 W. Wrightwood / Between Fullerton & Diversey

Join us on the 16th for shopping, snow cones, hair demos and more!