If I remember correctly, I was in a pottery studio years ago and saw a platter that had been painted to show a caterpillar taking a bite out of an apple. The caterpillar's body was a line of circles, and the name of each student in the class was printed in the circles. Our Daisy troop had recently made fingerprint flowerpots, and I decided this caterpillar design would be really cute on a flowerpot. We've been giving this gift to the teachers ever since.
I select an 8" terracotta flowerpot and lightly sketch the drawing on the pot with a pencil. I begin by drawing the apple, and then I use the bottom of a cup that measures about 2" in diameter to draw the circles for the caterpillar. I make sure to the circles are slightly offset for a couple of reasons:
1. It looks cuter and gives the caterpillar a little more dimension than if the circles were drawn in a straight line.
2. With 24 students in the class, I know I need seven circles (one for the caterpillar's head and six for the body, writing four names in each circle). And by offsetting the circles, I can make all of them fit on the pot.
My daughters select the colors for the caterpillars, and I paint the flowerpots using acrylic craft paint. Depending on the color and brand of the paint and how thickly it is applied, the design may require two coats. I usually add something to the top of the flowerpot (note the apples around the top of the flowerpot in the photo below). After the paint dries, I use a Sharpie marker to outline the apple and the caterpillar and add the students' names to the circles. I write the teacher's name and class on the red part of the apple, and I write the school year on the leaf. For example, "Mrs. Smith's Fourth Grade Class" and "2014-2015." Finally, I cover the outside of the flowerpot with a layer of Mod Podge.
We fill the flowerpot with school supplies. This year we are including a package of pencils, glue sticks, dry erase markers, and Post-it notes, but it can be filled with anything. The options are endless.
The teachers seem to really enjoy this gift. I've seen the flowerpot being used to hold supplies in the classroom. One teacher told me her family planted flowers in the pot before placing it in the backyard near their swimming pool.
This idea could easily be tweaked slightly to make the perfect gift for Girl Scout troop leaders. Have Daisies? Paint a few large Daisy Petal sets around the flowerpot. Add the names of the girls around the top of the pot. For older girls, paint a trefoil or Girl Scout cookies. Having the girls sign their names with a Sharpie would be another great touch.
HOMEMADE BREAD WITH A CUTE NOTE FROM THE STUDENT
Baking bread was the perfect project for my younger daughter because she LOVES to help in the kitchen. Since it was spring, I was hoping she would choose something like lemon poppy seed bread. Unfortunately I was unable to persuade her to change her mind when she decided on a recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin with cream cheese icing. We went with it, and her teachers were delighted.
TAKING THESE IDEAS ONE STEP FURTHER...
- Schedule time with family or friends to bake sweet treats. Package them with handwritten notes before delivering them to people in your community. (More details about this are coming soon!)
- Arrange to deliver some individually wrapped baked goods to a Fisher House. Military families will enjoy a taste of home while their loved one is hospitalized.
- Paint suns, rainbows, and flowers on small flowerpots and fill them with individually wrapped mints. Deliver the pots to residents at a local nursing home.
- Paint American flags and encouraging phrases on small flowerpots to give to veterans and their families at a Fisher House.
While this blog is geared toward Girl Scout troop leaders, I hope readers are inspired by some of the ideas mentioned in these posts. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money or take a lot of time to brighten someone's day. Thank you for reading.