Spring is still approximately a week away, if you want to get technical about it, but the beautiful weather recently has things busting out all over: newly-bared limbs are coming out of cold-storage, snowdrops are dotting otherwise bare gardens, daffodil sprouts are shooting up, and books full of ideas for great Spring projects are freshly arrived at the Co-op!
Garden projects are a no-brainer for this time of year, and while I’ll freely admit to possessing two full hands of black thumbs, even I am a little bit excited to grow something. Mini herb gardens and container planting in general is stress-free enough for even the least competent gardener (viz. me)–you can plunk them down in pretty much whatever little sunny area you might have available, and if they start looking really dead, you can just turn it into dried bouquets garnis! That’s a total win-win situation. We have lots (and LOTS) of gardening books for the more confident earth-tillers amongst us, but I’m really getting into the new Italian Kitchen Garden by Sarah Fraser. There are suggestions for growing ingredients like leeks and fava beans, and the recipes to go with your future harvests, but I’m sticking with rosemary and thyme: two herbs that can withstand even the toughest love.
If you’d prefer to decorate with nature without having to grow (and potentially kill) a whole garden, Seasonal Table Settings by Catharina Lindeberg-Bernihardsson provides lovely suggestions for tabletop woodland scenes. Why not cover a weathered pine picnic table with moss, violets, crocuses and anemones for a “Dinner in the Spirit of the Woods”? There’s also advice for serving mushroom soup through a straw stuck in a moss-covered bowl, but perhaps we can leave some of the place settings to the forest faeries.
People often think of knits as purely cold-weather wear, but a couple of new craft books will have you reaching for your yarn stash (I know you’ve got one) well into Spring. Knitting Nature, by Norah Gaughan, provides patterns for chic tanks and lightweight sweaters inspired by the geometry of nature; everything from spiraling pinecone scales to basalt columns can be transformed into wearable art. Mel Clark’s new Knitting Everyday Finery, as the title would suggest, is perfect for any time of the year, but maybe it’s the pastel tones and lightly layered styling of the accompanying photographs that make me think her designs would be ideal for cool Spring days. I’m definitely not the most advanced knitter out there (most of my projects succeed mainly as happy accidents), but I’m thinking I could make a go of her “strawberry beret.” This kind of fruit-flavored faux-Prince-at-the-farmer’s-market look really works for early Spring days… and when it gets warm you don’t need to wear much more, or lyrics to that intent.
What are your crafty Spring plans?