Accent your house with homemade Irish decorations this St. Patrick's Day.
Create a focal point on your table with a miniature pasture arrangement. Set an antique cake or candy mold in the center of a shallow tray and surround it with a thin layer of potting soil and baby's tears plants. Keep the soil lightly moist and the plants will last a week or more in this temporary display. Herbs, such as creeping thyme or parsley, also would work.
Oxalis plants, commonly called "shamrocks" at this time of year, make vibrant spring displays when planted temporarily in glass pails. Hang your little pots o' luck on door handles or line them up along a mantel shelf. For a longer-living houseplant, oxalis can be transplanted into traditional pots with drainage holes.
Dress up a collection of pretty green glass bottles by wrapping them with copper wire. Use your imagination to create designs that suit your fancy. Twist copper craft or jeweler's wire (available at crafts stores) into net patterns. Or wrap wire around the middle of a bottle, secure in the back, and form a button-like knot in front by twisting a short length of wire around the bands.
Use large-scale medallion and border stencils to turn a plain tablecloth into a visually dramatic accent you can use year-round. Lay a tablecloth on a flat surface and place the stencils, securing them with a bit of tape. Fill in the designs with fabric paint, using medallions on the corners and aligning border stencils along the sides.
Good-looking stencils and a box of paints are the secret behind these sophisticated pieces of art. Lay the stencil on a sheet of watercolor paper and use painter's tape to hold the stencil in place. With a light touch, fill in the design with acrylic paints or watercolors; create light and dark areas to give the image depth. Once the paint is dry, layer the painting on craft paper of a coordinating color to give it a matted look, and display in a simple glass clip frame. Stencils are available at www.stencilwerks.com
A collection of smooth river rocks and votive candles in rustic clay pots evoke the rocky shores of the Irish coast and its companion lighthouses. Line votives in a shallow dish and surround with rocks of various sizes. Tuck in bits of moss for a hint of green. Expressing a seasonal wish is the stone etched with "blessings."
Avoid getting pinched on the 17th by declaring yourself "Irish Today." Paint a metal-edged vellum gift tag (available at crafts stores) green, and punch a small hole on both ends of the tag. Using thin wire, string letter beads into words. Lay the beads on the tag and thread wires through the punched holes. Attach the wire ends to a safety pin on the back of the tag.