DIY Paris-Inspired Terrariums

Beautiful terrariums on a table in the Maison Astor Paris.

At our chic hotel Maison Astor Paris, a tabletop arrangement of terrariums inspired me to make my own. I bought large and medium-sized glass globes and succulents to add to the vessels and plants I already had at home. I also picked up small, white rocks, soil and moss. On a walk, I found fallen pine boughs and plan to scatter tiny pine cones around the succulents. Guess what’s doubling as Thanksgiving centerpieces?

Happy indoor gardening, hon!

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DIY Fashion Favors

Party Favors Wrapped Up & Ready To Go.
Party Favors Wrapped Up & Ready To Go.

Fact:  I love a party.

Fact:  I love a theme.

So, what’s a theme-loving girl to do when she’s in charge of favors and the party doesn’t have a theme? There would be fun invitations, beautiful flowers, a nice atmosphere, a good meal and a whimsical cake. (And there were.) But, what about the favors? I did what I always do and thought about the main character, the birthday girl.  (Hon, you know I’m a writer, right?) These Fashion Favors fit my friend.

Here’s how to make these super easy, DIY chocolate favors.

What You’ll Need:

Candy Melts
Candy Melts.

1.  Candy Melts come in a variety of colors. The light and dark chocolate melts taste chocolatey while the brightly colored melts taste like white chocolate. Candy Melts can be purchased at party and craft stores.

Candy Molds.
Candy Molds.

2.  I borrowed these candy molds from a friend. Craft stores, such as Michael’s, carry lots of different molds, or they can be found online. The shoes, handbags, lipsticks and nail polish were perfect for my chic friend.

3.  A glass or ceramic bowl, spoons, spatula and microwave and refrigerator nearby.

4.  Gift bags and anything else you want to add to favors. I found initial notecards to include, wrapped them in cellophane, and tied the candy bags and notecards together with ribbon.


Candy Melts in microwave.
Candy Melts in microwave.

1.  Follow directions on the Candy Melt package and melt candy disks in the microwave until they are smooth and gooey*Do not over melt or the candies won’t be the right consistency to spoon into the molds.Trust me, this happened to one batch.

2.  Spoon gooey candy into molds. Smooth with spatula so, when hardened, candy backs will be even.

3.  Place candy-filled molds in refrigerator to cool and harden.

4.  In about 15 minutes, test candy for done-ness, meaning candy has solidified.

5.  Turn mold over, slightly twisting sides of mold to release candies.

6.  *I smoothed rough edges with a sharp knife.

7.  Assemble favor bags.  *If the weather is hot, I recommend storing favors in the refrigerator.

8.  Molds wash easily in hot, soapy water.






 Have you made these?  Any tips you want to add?  I’d love to hear from you.

Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

Inspiration Puppy
Inspiration Puppy.

Lucy is my Inspiration Puppy.

Lucy is my chapter book’s muse. She and my main character both have silky fur, flappy ears, round, brown eyes and a fluffy tail. My muse shows me how a dog behaves, and my uncanny ability to translate WOOF adds to my main character’s authenticity. Writers are advised to “write what you know,” and I know Lucy. You know?

Top Ten Reasons Why Lucy Is My Inspiration Puppy

(with commentary from Lucy)

Lucy is not just a dog, she’s also a:

1. LEG BONKER. Lucy gets attention is by bonking her wet, black nose into legs. Again and again. “What do you want, Lucy?”

Lucy asks, “Do I have your attention now?”

2. VACUUM CLEANER.  Lucy finds the messiest eater and places herself under his/her chair.  If it falls on the floor, it’s hers.

Lucy says, “I’ll eat whatever YOU are eating!”

Hiking Bear Mountain with a stand-in for a mountain goat.
Hiking Bear Mountain.

3.  FOOT WARMER.  This canine is hot, and I don’t mean that in an inappropriate way. Got cold toes? Get a dog!

Lucy says, “Feet schmeet. It’s still petting.”

Pooch Pillow.
Pooch Pillow.

4.  POOCH PILLOW. Need a cuddle or a cry? Tired? Bury your head in a Pooch Pillow and you’ll feel better immediately.

Lucy says, “I’m an affectionate girl.”

Intelligent eyes.
Intelligent eyes.

5.  SMARTYPANTS. Maybe its the Border Collie in her or maybe I’m just bragging, but that dog knows a lot of words.

Lucy says, “First of all, I don’t wear pants and, second of all, of course I’m smart.  I watch your every move.”

Guarding from the front porch.
Front porch perch. 

6.  SECURITY GUARD. Lucy announces strange cars parked in front of our house (or anywhere up and down the street), men walking up the driveway, and delivery trucks–especially the mail truck–by barking her head off, ripping up up her doggie bed, jumping on the front door, growling like a psycho doggie and bolting down the yard at 30 mph.

Lucy says, “Don’t complain. I’m just doing my job!”

7.  TENNIS BALL CATCHER. Lucy LOVES tennis balls so much, she could play ball all day. I throw it and she catches it mid-air.  When I toss the ball up a hill and say, “Roll it,” Lucy nudges it with her nose so it rolls back down to me. See? Smartypants!

Lucy says, “Tennis balls are chewy, bouncy and roll-y. And you’re playing with me. What’s not to love?”

Teen daughter pets Lucy. Lucy reaches out and touches back.
Pet Lucy, and she reaches out and touches back.
"Who wants to scratch my belly?"
“Who wants to scratch my belly?”

8.  LOVER GIRL.  Pet Lucy and she reaches out to touch you back. Want to be greeted in the morning? Get ready for lots of licks. Trying to leave the house? Have work to do?  Too bad.  Lucy the Lover Girl will flop on her back and beg for a belly scratch. She’s very distracting!

Lucy says, “I give what I get.”

Those eyes!
Those eyes!

9.  HYPNOTIST.  Seriously! She hypnotizes us with her eyes. She stares into our souls. I read that Border Collies hypnotize their flocks of sheep or cows with their eyes, and we think Lucy’s part Border Collie. I dare you to look away when she stares at you.

Lucy says, “What’s a soul?”

Such a silly girl!
Such a silly girl!

10.  COMEDIAN.  True, I DON’T laugh when Lucy rolls in…shall I…say disgusting things? But, most of the time she’s a comedian.  Like when we put her outside to get some “fresh air” (see #6) and she stares at us through glass doors. Or when she rests her head our laps during dinner. Reaching for a napkin, instead you find a Lucy’s head on your lap and  she’s begging for people food with her hypnotizing eyes.

Lucy says, “Glad you find my begging amusing.”

Sweet Angel!
Sweet Angel!

 Hon, do you have a pet? How does he or she inspire you?