May Day Seed Packets and Printable

I admit, today’s post is a little juvenile…but I couldn’t resist.  Every time I hear the “April showers bring May flowers” poem begin, all I can think of is this joke.  I’m pretty sure I first heard it in elementary school, but it never gets old. In my mind, anyway.


I found a wildflower assortment seed packet at the dollar store (for 25 cents), then simply designed the tag, printed it, rounded the corners, and stapled it onto the seed packet, along with a little bakers’ twine.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

And, of course, I want to make it easy on y’all, too, so here’s the printable.  Just click on the image to download it (for personal use only, of course!).

May-Day-Tags{Click to download}

I realize very few people celebrate May Day these days, but I thought these little packets would bring smiles to the teachers’ faces and brighten the day!


April Books of the Month

With all these April showers (of snow), you’d think I would have done nothing but read this month. Then my kids had Spring Break and expected to be entertained, and Princess Thundercloud celebrated her 5th birthday (and celebrated and celebrated). I did read a few books worth mentioning, though.

The Book of Killowen (Nora Gavin, #4)

The Book of Killowen by Erin Hart

Apparently this is the fourth book of this series, which I didn’t realize before reading it. I have this thing (some call it a problem) about reading series out of sequence.  It seems as though this one is fine to read non-sequentially, though.

The bookjacket blurb:

What sort of book is worth a man’s life? After a year away from working in the field, archaeologist Cormac Maguire and pathologist Nora Gavin are back in the bogs, investigating a ninth-century body found buried in the trunk of a car. They discover that the ancient corpse is not alone—pinned beneath it is the body of Benedict Kavanagh, missing for mere months and familiar to television viewers as a philosopher who enjoyed destroying his opponents in debate. Both men were viciously murdered, but centuries apart—so how did they end up buried together in the bog?

While on the case, Cormac and Nora lodge at Killowen, a nearby artists’ colony, organic farm, and sanctuary for eccentric souls. Digging deeper into the older crime, they become entangled in high-stakes intrigue encompassing Kavanagh’s death while surrounded by suspects in his ghastly murder. It seems that everyone at Killowen has some secret to protect.

I’ll definitely read the others in the series, since I enjoyed learning about the peat of Ireland (really!), as well as the combination of modern and ancient storylines.

The Sixes

The Sixes by Kate White

I could not put this down…seriously!  It’s total fluff, but so suspenseful and plain mean-girlish.

The bookjacket blurb:

From the “New York Times” bestselling author of “Hush” and the Bailey Weggins mystery series comes a thriller set in a college town where a student’s death sends one woman on a search for the truth and into the clutches of a frightening secret society.
Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.
But behind the campus’s quiet cafEs and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes.. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues–a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.
As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.
Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.

I’ve read the Bailey Weggins books by White, as well, and that’s why I picked up this one. Reading this was akin to watching a mystery thriller on television…you know it’s going to turn out fine, but just can’t quite figure out how. I did “solve” this mystery a while before the end, but enjoyed seeing how it played out in the book.

The Lawgiver

The Lawgiver by Herman Wouk

Having read Wouk’s more (much more) lengthy novels such as The Winds of War and Marjorie Morningstar, I was hesitant to add this to my “to-read” list when I read about its release. But, guess what?  At 240 pages,it’s quite short and a very quick read!

The bookjacket blurb:

For more than fifty years, legendary author Herman Wouk has dreamed of writing a novel about the life of Moses. Finally, at age ninety-seven, he has found an ingeniously witty way to tell the tale in The Lawgiver, a romantic and suspenseful epistolary novel about a group of people trying to make a movie about Moses in the present day. The story emerges from letters, memos, e-mails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, Skype transcripts, and text messages. At the center of The Lawgiver is Margo Solovei, a brilliant young writer-director who has rejected her rabbinical father’s strict Jewish upbringing to pursue a career in the arts. When an Australian multibillionaire promises to finance a movie about Moses if the script meets certain standards, Margo does everything she can to land the job, including a reunion with her estranged first love, an influential lawyer with whom she still has unfinished business.

Two other key characters in the novel are Herman Wouk himself and his wife of more than sixty years, Betty Sarah, who, almost against their will, find themselves entangled in the Moses movie when the Australian billionaire insists on Wouk’s stamp of approval.

As Wouk and his characters contend with Moses and marriage, and the force of tradition, rebellion, and reunion, The Lawgiver reflects the wisdom of a lifetime. Inspired by the great nineteenth-century novelists, one of America’s most beloved twentieth-century authors has now written a remarkable twenty-first-century work of fiction.

Written in the form of emails, journal entries, and letters, I found it engrossing and entertaining. It proved perfect for a little family trip to Chicago during Spring Break, requiring little concentration and with very short chapters…because when you travel with the fam, your reading time comes in fits and starts.

So, do tell…any book recommendations from you this month?


Teriyaki Turkey Lettuce Wraps and a Menu

Why do I forget how easy (not to mention tasty) Lettuce Wraps are?  Until I go to P.F. Chang’s and am reminded, that is. I always order the tofu ones in restaurants, but at home, I make them with ground turkey breast or chicken breast.

As the weather warmed up (a bit) last week, I was oh-so-tired of heavy winter comfort food and broke out the freshness in our meals.0712-Asian-Meal-ChaosServed

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

(adapted slightly from Cooking Light)

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey or chicken breast
  • ½ cup peanut sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 English cucumber, diced OR 1 medium cucumber,peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Iceberg or butter lettuce leaves, for wrapping

1. Heat oil over medium high heat in wok or large skillet. Saute onion for about three minutes, until softened and beginning to brown. Add turkey or chicken, breaking it up and cooking through, about seven minutes. Add peanut sauce, hoisin, and soy sauce, heating through. Stir in cucumber and mint.

2. To make wraps, spoon filling into lettuce and fold edges over a bit. Serve with more soy sauce for dipping if desired.

Click here for the printable recipe

So have you tried this cauliflower “bread” idea?  Apparently it started with pizza crust, and is super popular among the Paleo diet crowd.  A friend told me how good it was (she also told me about the skillet lasagna recipe), and she is completely correct…they’re both delicious recipes!  I don’t believe in hiding vegetables to trick my kids into eating them, but I did fail to mention that the breadsticks were cauliflower until after they tried (and loved) them.They think “cauliflower” is the funniest vegetable name ever, so they were happy to continue eating it when I divulged the secret ingredient.

The kids love Baked Potato Leftover night.  I just bake potatoes, then they use whatever leftovers we have to top them.  If we don’t have any leftovers that will work, they usually put marinara, pepperoni, and some mozzarella to make pizza potatoes.

So I hope something here tickles your fancy this week…we enjoyed every bite!


Easy Birds’ Nest Birthstone Necklace

I did mention I’ve been on a jewelry-making kick lately, right?  Well, today I’m sharing one of my favorites…a Birds’ Nest Birthstone Necklace.  If you’re my mother-in-law or sister-in-law, you might want to stop reading right now and just be surprised later!

If you’re not, here’s the tutorial…I bet you’ll be as surprised as I was to see how easy these are to make.  I’ve seen hordes of them on Etsy, but thought (say it with me), “I can make that myself!” And you can!

What I’ve not seen is a nest holding birthstone “eggs,” so I decided that would be a perfect Mother’s Day or birthday gift for some special moms in my life. For the grandmothers, I used the birthstones of their grandkids.


The supplies you’ll need:

  • Round glass beads in the birthstone colors you need (mine were 6mm)
  • 24 gauge wire (I used copper)
  • Jump rings that match your wire
  • A ball chain or other necklace to attach the pendant to
  • Needlenose or roundnose jewelry pliers

1. Cut a piece of wire about 3 feet long.  String your beads on one end, leaving about 8” at the end.  Wrap that piece around and under the beads, forming them into a circle. Tuck the end of the wire in so it doesn’t show or stick out. This step is easiest with an odd number of beads, but I’m not planning to add another grandkid to the family just to make my crafting easier. Unreasonable, I know.


2. Continue wrapping the long end of the wire around and around, leaving just a bit of slack. I did this by feel, instead of while looking at my work, so it would be a bit more random. Wrap back and forth across the bottom a few times, as well.


3. When you have 8 inches or so left, wrap tightly around the “nest” three or four times, then repeat in a couple more places around the nest. Tuck the end in to hide it.

Birds-Nest-3-ChaosServedDaiHere’s what the bottom looks like.

Birds-Nest-4-ChaosServedDai4. To make it look a bit more “nest-ish,” use the pliers to twist a few kinks and bends in individual wires.


5, Add a couple of jump rings to one of the places you wrapped in step 3, then attach to your necklace.

Easy as that, you’ll have a wonderfully meaningful gift for your favorite mom!

My Line in the Sand…Healthier Birthday Treats

Yep, I’m climbing up on my soapbox yet again!  I recently read an article (by Yoni Freedhoff, MD) about all the excess sugar our children are given at school or other activities. It added up to about 600 extra calories from sugar per week for his elementary-age children. That’s appalling to me.

But it adds up quickly…if you have 25 kids in the class, and celebrate summer birthdays on the half-year, then that’s 25 times your kid will come home all sugared up. My kids are wild enough by the time school’s out…they need no chemical help! And that’s without the after practice “treats” or the lollipops at the bank, barber shop, or carwash. Yes, at the carwash. Being whisked through the auto-wash should be treat enough for any kid!

I was already at the end of my tolerance for my kids coming home with candy or other sweets they’d “earned” at school, or hearing about yet another birthday treat that was nothing but empty sugar calories. Now, I’m not trying to count calories for my kids here…they’re all a healthy weight for their height.  I just want their food to be nutritious.

I confess, I bowed to peer pressure and sent cupcakes for the third grader’s birthday in December and the first grader took Rice Krispy treats in September. But I’ve decided that no more will I contribute to the problem. When Princess Thundercloud’s birthday approached last week, I girded my loins and prepared for battle when I told her that we would be taking something healthy for a treat. To my surprise, she was perfectly fine with it. I gave her a few choices, and she decided on yogurt parfaits.

For the Valentine’s Party, we were asked to bring a healthy snack (because someone else was bringing a sugary treat for a birthday on Valentine’s Day). I had pinned these butterfly snacks last year, and thought they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.


Thundercloud was happy to help, first decorating the clothespins, then helping fill the bags.And did you know that rainbow Goldfish contain no artificial dyes?  I drew the antennae and cut the strips of paper, by the way, but she did the rest.

012913-POD-Esme    Clothespins

Of course, we couldn’t possibly make the same thing for her birthday two months later. She looked at me like I had a third eye on my forehead when I suggested it. Instead, we decided on the yogurt parfaits…they’re her favorite breakfast or snack, and she almost always orders the parfait (or oatmeal) if we go to McDonalds.


We made the ones for school in a Zoopals cup, but since they’re not transparent, I took a photo of our prototype in a clear glass. One of her classmates has a peanut allergy, so I couldn’t find granola that was nut-free.  And I had used all the oats I had on hand the week before, making granola that was chockful of nuts. It also makes me a little nervous to provide home-baked things, since I don’t have a nut-free kitchen. So we used Annie’s Bunny Grahams on top instead. There’s also a blackberry allergy in her class, so we just used strawberries for the fruit.Parfaits


I printed some “Happy Birthday”s on pink cardstock and punched them out with a scallop circle punch.  Then she used double-sided tape to attach them to the Zoopal lids.

She also helped assemble the parfaits. I diced the strawberries, then together we spooned in yogurt and layered the strawberries in between.  No strawberries could show because, “It has to be a surprise that they’re in there!!!!” Then she sprinkled a few grahams on top just before we took them to school, so they wouldn’t get soggy. No one wants soggy bunnies.


I realize that many schools don’t allow homemade treats…our school in Washington doesn’t, so next year I’ll be using some of these ideas:

1. Individual bags of Annie’s Bunny Grahams

2. A bag of apple slices and string cheese

3. Yogurt tubes (we like Yoplait Simply or Stoneyfield Farms)

4. Non-food party favors, such as fun pencils, small bottles of bubbles, bookmarks, etc.

5. Clementines or other small oranges. We drew jack o’lantern faces on these for the school Halloween party and they were a big hit with the kids.

6. Squeeze applesauce or granola bars

7. Individual bags of Veggie Chips or popcorn

8. Fruit Rollups or Stretch Island Fruit Bars or Bites

9. Rainbow Fruit Kabobs (if you can bring homemade treats…this was Thundercloud’s 2nd choice, so we had those at her party)

10. Pick up a bunch of crayons when they’re on sale at the beginning of the school year…usually you can get them for 25 cents.  What kid doesn’t love cracking open a brand-new box of colors? You could even download and print black and white mini coloring or game books to go along with the crayons.

11. It’s a little pricey, but you could order yogurt parfaits from McDonalds.

Wish me luck on this new non-sugar crusade…I may just take on chocolate milk at school next! (And, please, won’t you think about joining me in reducing the sugar in our kids’ lives?  Thanks!)


Lemon Curd and Meringue Daisies

You know, it seems to me that anything that tastes as divine as lemon curd should have been given a prettier name. But, it is what it is. A rose by any other name, I guess. There is just something almost magical about combining such simple ingredients and having a delectable treat result. Eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and butter. That’s it.

Monday, Princess Thundercloud and I made Meringue Daisies and filled them with Lemon Curd.  Why?  Because it was Earth Day, her Gotcha Day (the day we actually picked her up from the receiving home, when she was four days old), AND we had temps over 60 degrees and SUNSHINE together for the first time since October, I think.

Anyway, these are one of the most cheerful cookies I make, and possibly my favorite.  They’re a bit time-consuming, taking about an hour of prep, then another hour to bake, but perfect for a special occasion (such as seeing the sun and not sideways snow). The hooligans could not stop sneaking them off the platter…that’s why I had to use this skinny little tray that only holds five for the photo! And they’re not even the prettiest ones; they’re just the ones I snatched away from my children.


Lemon Curd and Meringue Daisies


  • 4 egg whites (save the yolks for the lemon curd)
  • 1 cup sugar

Lemon Curd:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in very small pieces

1. To make meringues: Whisk together the whites and sugar in a glass bowl over simmering water (like a double boiler, but just a pan and bowl). Continue whisking them until the sugar dissolves and they are hot to the touch. Remove bowl from over water and, using an electric mixer, beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. It will take 3-5 minutes.

2. On two sheets of parchment paper, draw 24 circles on each, tracing around the bottom of a glass or other 2” round object with a pencil. Turn the sheets pencil-side down and place on baking sheets.Daisies-Parchment-CHaosServ

3. Spoon the meringue into a gallon-size Ziploc. To do this, I place the bag inside a large tumbler (a souvenir popcorn cup from Disneyworld, but you won’t find that at Sur la Table) and turn the top wrong-side out over the edges. Then I use a rubber spatula to spoon the meringue in. Snip about ¼” off one corner of the bag, and squeeze all the air out, twisting to push all the meringue towards that corner. Daisies-Meringue-Bag-CHaosS

4. Make a dot surrounded by six other dots in each circle of the parchment. Do this for all 48 circles. Daisies-with-Peaks-ChaosSer

5. Dip your fingertip in water and smooth out the points on the flowers, making an indentation in the center (that’s where your lemon curd will go, so make sure there are no holes).Daisies-COmplete-Closeup-Ch


6. Bake at 175 degrees for 1 hour, or until they feel dry and hard when tapped, then remove to a wire rack to cool. Daisies-for-oven-ChaosServe

7. Meanwhile, make the lemon curd: Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and zest in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture bubbles and is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Let cool. If you’d like, strain it through a very fine strainer to remove any small lumps.

8. When it’s cool and thickened, fill a small Ziploc bag (as above), snip off ¼” from a corner, and pipe a small amount into the center of each meringue. Chill for a few minutes to set the lemon curd.

Click here for the printable recipe


Personalized Coffee Cup Notecards

Still looking for that perfect Mother’s Day gift (that won’t break the bank, is a bit handmade, and fits anyone)?  I think these notecards just might be it!


All you need is a copy of Photoshop Elements (and you can download a free 30-day trial, if you don’t already have it!) and this photo, which you can download by clicking on the photo. The photo belongs to me, and I’m giving you my okay to download it for personal use. I know, my generosity is overwhelming. (I’m kidding about that…you can easily take a photo of your own coffee mug to use, quite easily!).


Okay, did you download it?  Now just open your Photoshop Elements Editor and do the following:

1. Click on the text tool (side toolbar), choose off-white for the text color(top tool bar), and set the font to Saginaw, 36 pt size (top tool bar).

2. Type the name you’d like to see floating on the coffee. Simplify the layer by right-clicking on the name layer in the palette on the bottom right.

3. Click on the layer in the palette.  Select “Filter” (in the top toolbar).  Select “Distort” then “Liquify”. In the pop up window that opens, set the brush size to 300 and the pressure to 52. Then drag the brush through your text to make it appear a bit wavy.  Play around with the brush size and making the “waves” as much as you like…you can just keep hitting “Undo” in the edit menu.

4. When you’re happy with it, select all the layers (“CTRL” and click each layer) and right-click and “Merge” them. Save as a JPEG.

5. Upload to Shutterfly, Costco, or Snapfish (there are others, but these are the ones I’ve used and been happy with) and create your notecards and order them.

You could also print them at home, but they look so professional when you use an online service, and are very reasonably priced, I think.  You can usually get a set of ten for less than ten dollars…and wouldn’t your mom or friend love a set?

My own mom didn’t realize I’d done the photography and personalization…she thought I’d just typed her name into an order form and some company had made them. I totally took credit, though, and forced her to compliment my creativity. That’s what moms are for, after all.

Oh, and by the way, none of the companies I mentioned compensated me in any way.  They’re just companies I’ve used and been happy with, and they wouldn’t know me from Adam.


PB Banana Honey Grahams and a Menu

This week, I’m mixing it up a little…with the menu we have for breakfast rather than our suppers. I know lots of kids eat cereal every morning and are fine with that, but mine just aren’t.  They have cereal on the weekends (that they love making for themselves) but an hour later, they’re starving and eat a Greek yogurt, an apple with peanut butter, or some other snack with some protein in it.

So, on school days, I hate sending them off without a breakfast involving protein. I have a list of ten that I keep on the frig, so I can make sure I to add any needed ingredients when I’m making my grocery list each week. In the summer and during school breaks, I do the same thing with lunches…ain’t nobody got time for that daily meal planning!

And let me just say, this is what works for us…I’m not condemning or judging anyone else’s breakfast choices!  These take less than ten minutes for me to make, and peanut butter is a major ingredient in our mornings.  If you have a peanut allergy, which we obviously do not, you can substitute soy butter or sunflower or almond…whatever you like best.  The hooligans like all the substitutes almost as well as peanut butter, so we eat them all! They drink milk with every meal, unless we’re having smoothies or orange juice.


1. Graham crackers topped with peanut butter and banana slices, then drizzled with honey…and a few sprinkles for fun!

2. Greek yogurt and a minibagel with either plain cream cheese or peanut butter, and whatever fresh fruit we have on hand.

3. Frozen whole-wheat waffles or leftover pancakes (we make a double batch and freeze half on the weekends) with peanut butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.

4. Leftover scones or muffins (from the weekend) and scrambled Eggbeaters, with fresh fruit.

5. Fried egg sandwiches (one egg, fried hard, with bacon and cheese on an English muffin) and orange juice

6. Oatmeal with diced apples, dried cranberries, and nuts, with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt

7. Smoothie (frozen berries and banana, yogurt, orange juice, almond milk) and minibagels with cream cheese

8. PB, banana, and Nutella (just a little) sandwiches. Sometimes I add fresh strawberries, too, for a banana split sandwich.  And sometimes I even grill them!

9. Grilled cheese with storebought (either Naked or Odwalla) or homemade smoothies (they really like this on days they’re having breakfast for lunch at school).

10. Breakfast burritos…scrambled eggs, cheese, and mild salsa in a tortilla…with fresh fruit.

And, by the way, we often have these for lunches on non-school days, the kids like them all so well.  I find ten go-to meals to be a good number, varied enough that they don’t get bored, but easy to keep on hand without a lot of components. There you have it…next week I’ll be back to sharing our evening menu, but I hope you enjoy this one for now!


A Couple of Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I’m really not going to be an over-achieving, Pinterest-perusing, craftaholic mom this year for Teacher Appreciation Week. I did that last year (you can see the post here) but I’m attempting to simplify this year!

I haven’t completely decided what I’m giving this year, but have these two options…and I may end up giving both!  Of course, no matter which I do, the kids always draw a card and write a thank-you note to include with the gift.  After all, that’s really the point, right?


Last year, I downloaded this subway art from Eighteen 25.  This year, I uploaded it to Costco and printed it onto notebooks.  You can also get a planner, if you prefer. They were relatively inexpensive, as well, around $8 with shipping.  I liked these because you can put something on the inside cover, as well.


My second choice is this insulated lunch bag, stuffed full of treats…a travel cup, some chocolates, and a bag of the teacher’s favorite coffee. Or your favorite coffee, if you don’t know theirs!


I found these insulated lunch bags on clearance at Thirty-one’s Year-End Sale, but you can find comparably cute ones at Marshalls, Target, World Market…all those fun places to shop!

Of course, depending on your budget, it’s always great to include a gift card with either of these gifts.  Some of my favorites to give teachers are Starbucks, Panera, or Target (for school supplies).

So now I just have to figure out what to do for the staff, and the bus driver, and the specials teachers…..


Spring Welcome Tile

SUnriseSunday morning, the chirping of birds woke me at sunrise. I slipped out of bed and down the stairs, hoping to have a peaceful cup of coffee before the rest of the family awoke. As I came down the stairs, I saw the entryway was infused with a rosy light. I peeked out the font window and was rewarded with the most glorious sunrise. I grabbed my camera, but of course, the photo doesn’t so it justice. I brewed a cup of my favorite coffee and sat in my craft room, watching the sunrise. The vivid colors didn’t last long, not even through a cup of coffee, but it was a perfect start to my day.

The cold, wintry weather has dragged on and on here in Wisconsin, but this sunrise inspired me to create something spring-y for my front door later that day.

We rarely use our front door, because we park in the garage and come in that door, and because we so rarely have guests drop by since we’re “off the paved road” here.  But I still enjoy decorating our front door and porch, because I like to see it every time I drive up the gravel road.

I love the look of embossed metal tiles, and ordered several of them from an online crafting deal of the day site (no, I can’t remember which one….a sad commentary on my online shopping addiction). I’ve used them for memo boards and photos, and I thought I’d try something other than a round wreath for the front door.


This photo seems a bit dark, because by the time I finished it, the rain and gloom had returned to our little corner of the world. The colors are still cheerful, though, even through the gloom!

If you’d like one for your front door, here’s how to make it.  You can find metal tiles at craft stores, if you don’t have one stashed away.  To make the garland, I used pompon yarn I couldn’t resist at a yarn sale, and added little pennants made of washi tape. I used my Silhouette to cut out the “welcome” but you can easily find that at the craft store, as well, if you don’t have a diecut machine.

To finish it, I simply punched a bunch (is it flock?) of butterflies from various paper scraps that semi-coordinated with the yarn and washi. I creased them in the middle and used a drop of E6000 to glue each one on.  Start to finish, I spent about half an hour on this, and that was mostly because I was fiddling around with fonts for the diecut.

I really like the results, and am hoping the outdoors takes my hint and becomes cheerful and colorful soon, as well!