Terrariums – and a Long Winded Introduction


This past Sunday, our fifth craft day, the craft was terrariums and the cocktail was a peach sangria. The sangria was a little too sweet and the terrariums took only a few minutes to put together, but I wanted something we could do outside now that the weather has turned warmer and I wanted a cocktail that said ‘welcome to summer!’ Like most craft nights this one devolved into drunken story telling while we sat outside and ignored our children inside.

But the point of this entire blog is not just to get craft ideas and cocktail recipes (although that is something we will provide) the point it that five generations of women have managed to find each other and bond over our sordid pasts, our love of alcohol and our deep seeded desire to get out of our houses and enjoy some quality ‘girl’ time.

This blog was started with the intention to tell the stories of the six of us and the marvel at the various cultural differences we’ve experienced and how miraculously our journeys have all brought us to this quiet corner of Delaware County Pennsylvania. Each month the hostess of craft night will pick the craft, ply everyone with lots of food and drink and tell us a story that highlights where they are from and how they got here – I will try very hard to capture those stories and preserve them here so years from now our children can shake their heads in embarrassment and pretend they aren’t related to us.

I get to start because the terrariums where my idea.

I chose this craft because, as I said before, I wanted something we could do outside and I thought terrariums where an excellent choice that you could do while holding a wine glass in one hand. Also, I love dirt, I love the feel and the smell and well the earthiness of it. When I was little my Mom gardened a lot (she still does). We lived in Chester County Pennsylvania, at the time where we were was pretty rural, we lived in an old cape style house surrounded by corn fields and apple orchards. Before my parents divorced and everything went sideways my Mom stayed at home and raised my older sister and me. A large part of our back lawn was devoted to a big vegetable garden, and during the summer my Mom utilized this garden to feed us fresh vegetables and in the fall canned whatever was left. She made jams and jellies and preserved big jars of green beans – I don’t think people do this anymore (except my Mom). My grandmother’s basement was also always full of canned vegetables and preserves which is a memory I very much treasure.

Anyway, this big garden with rows and rows of vegetables was the perfect place as a child to take off your shoes and walk in the soft cool dirt in-between the plants, it was the perfect place to look for ladybugs and pretend that if you were a bug you’d live in the lettuce row so that you’d always have shade and something to eat.

My job, as a kid, was to weed the tomatoes. I was a terrible weeder – I could procrastinate for days on end to finish a task I didn’t want to do. I passed this trait on to my daughter who now can take anywhere between 4 to 16 hours just to pick up her room. I would spend entire days out by the tomatoes under an umbrella  feeling put-upon that I had to spend my time this way and not go to my friend Annette’s house who lived two doors down and had a pool – a pool I could have been swimming in right that very moment if not for the tomatoes.

My Mom would leave me outside all day – that’s what you did in the mid 70’s because unlike today there wasn’t any danger of my being abducted or preyed upon by pedophiles or all of the 600 things I worry about when my daughter is outside alone playing. My Mom only worried about me hurting myself because I was very accident prone and despite that still insisted on climbing trees and trying to get up on the garage roof. To her credit though she let me do what I wanted to do and if I fell or got hurt I learned what not to do the next time. Of course the days I was ‘weeding’ the garden I wasn’t high up in the cherry tree and perhaps this is why my Mom gave me this job – to keep my safe and to give herself 24-48 hours of peace and quiet.

Even after we left Pennsylvania and moved to Maine with it’s rocky soil and short growing season my Mom managed to still make something beautiful by teraforming the steep side of the driveway into a rock garden with bright lilies and hardy annuals anchored by a lilac bush that struggled every year in the weak northern sun. I would help her plant this garden too while we both perched on the edge of the hill and tried hard not to step on plants that were already in the ground.

And that, in so many words, is why I chose the terrariums because forty years ago my Mom instilled in me a love of growing things and because I currently live with a one year-old 80-pound puppy who will tear up anything I try planting in the ground I contained myself this year to glass bowls and easily maintained succulents.

In order to make a good terrarium you need:

– Sand

– Small rocks

– Potting soil

– A variety of succulent plants – we used a mix of green plants and cacti

You put all of these things in this order in a fun glass container (or shell), throw in some fun bright dollar store butterflies and frogs, mist with water from a spray bottle and voila – terrarium.


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For the sangria, I used this recipe, I left out the simple syrup but even without it the final version was a little too sweet for all of us so we ended up mixing in red wine, which cut the sugar and gave it a nice ombre affect. I doubled the recipe but the sangria didn’t last long, after it was over we just cracked open all of the remaining bottles of red wine that I had and proceeded to drink them all. Craft night is never over until all of the alcohol in the house is consumed – this is very good to know when preparing to have people over:


Enjoy! See you next month 🙂


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