Can I Change a Pattern?


The patterns are here to help you as you are learning and expanding your skills, but my hope is that you will gain the confidence to create your own designs!

For video, see

Home Brew vs Commercial

Coffee Filters

When creating paper snowflakes, many prefer to fold circles so they don't have to deal with the “ears” created when folding a square.  

Luckily, XL Coffee filters are available! 

Today, I am comparing the 8-12 Cup Coffee Filters available at my local Hardware Store and the 3 Gallon Coffee Filters available at a local Restaurant Supply Store.  (Smaller & larger sizes are available.)

The most obvious difference is size!  The 8-12 Cup Coffee Filters are 8” in diameter.  The 3 Gallon Coffee Filters are 19” in diameter – large enough for all the patterns published in Christmas Snowflakes,

The next big difference is the price tag, $3 for 500 of the 8-10 cup size  vs  $22 for 250 of the 3 Gallon size.

The quality of Coffee Filters varies between brands and between sizes.  The larger sizes tend to be heavier to ensure that they don’t tear with the increased work load.  While the 3 Gallon Coffee Filter is made of thicker paper, I am still able to punch through 12 layers cleanly with a paper punch – I did need to use a pair of scissors to remove hanging chads.  It will work nicely for most snowflake designs.  I would recommend a thinner paper for the curly-Q’s in advanced designs.

#papersnowflakes #papersnowflakehowto #scissorskills #finemotorskills #papercutting #papersnowflake #handmadedecorations #handstrength #classparty #groupcraft #familytime #coffeefiltercraft

Don't be afraid to add color!  see &

Garden Tips:  

Germination Terrarium & Pricking Out

My favorite way to start tomato, pepper, and tomatillo seeds is to plant them in ketchup and yogurt cups and use the top of the fridge as a heat mat.  The cups are small, have tight fitting lids, and are stackable.  I can start many varieties in a small space!  

Left:  A plastic fork is perfect for working with delicate seedlings! #reducereuserecycle

Germination Terrarium:  During germination the seeds need a damp warm environment.  A tight lid will hold the moisture in and allow the seeds to germinate undisturbed.  We want the seeds to be nice and cozy, without fluctuating conditions.  


Clear ketchup cups are ideal for starting tomato seeds:  small, stackable, clear, with a tight fitting lid, and easily marked.  They allow me to start many varieties of tomatoes without getting too carried away (I still play the role of plant-pusher.  My local friends know I will have extras ;) )


How many seeds?  That depends on how many plants you want and the germination rate of the seeds.  I usually plant 5 to 6 seeds per ketchup cup.  If I want more of one variety (peppers), I use a larger container (see pepper pictures near the end of the post)  Note:  This is a good time to get together with friends and share varieties!  Example:  If five friends each bring two varieties of tomatoes, you can each go home with 10 varieties (assuming each packet has at least 25 seeds).

What kind of soil?  For indoors, I usually buy a Sterile Seed Starting Mix, which often contain coconut coir.  I try to avoid mixes that have any kind of growth boosters.  I just need the basics to hold moisture to allow the seeds to germinate.  When potting up, I like to use compost.

How much Sterile Seed Starting Mix?  Surprisingly little!  I purchased an 8 quart bag of Sterile Seed Starting Mix and have not finished the bag – hmm, what else can I start?  Depending on how many starts you have planned, you can probably share with a friend or two.

Why Sterile Seed Starting Mix & Sterilized Containers?  Indoor and outdoor environments are different, with a different balance.  It is ironic that the tiny seedlings will be potted up into compost with billions of organisms (if it’s healthy compost) – it’s all about balance.  It may be possible to use compost in the Germination Terrarium, BUT with the tightly fitting lid, I am concerned about creating an anaerobic environment.


Items Needed:


Sterilized Containers with Tight Fitting Lids for Germination Terrarium (ketchup cup, etc)

Marking Pen (to mark containers with variety names)

Sterile Seed Starting Mix

Water – Spray Bottle is optional but recommended

Plastic Fork 

Pots/Containers with drainage


Optional:  Soil Thermometer

Germination Terrarium

1. Clean cup & lid (make sure the lid fits well enough to hold in moisture, the recycle bin is a great place to find containers), I recommend either sterilizing in dishwasher or with a bleach water rinse

2.  Mark the container with the variety type.  The container is more reliable; lids can be switched accidentally.

3.  Put a quarter inch (approximately) of sterile seed starting mix on the bottom of the container

4.  Add just enough water to dampen the soil.  When working with this small volume, a spray bottle may be preferable.

5.  Place seeds on top of soil, allowing enough space to separate seedlings later.

Left:  There are 5 Tomatillo seeds on top of the Sterile Seed Starting Mix.

6. Read the seed packet to know how much soil to add on top of seeds.  For tomatoes, this is usually a quarter of an inch.  Add soil.

7. Gently add a small amount of water.  A Spray bottle comes in handy!  Try not to disturb the seeds while creating nice damp soil – there should be condensation on the sides of the container, but there should not be water pooling at the bottom of the container.

Left:  Ketchup cup showing condensation inside.  Thermometer showing temperature on top of the refrigerator.

8.  Add the lid

9.  Set on top of fridge (or heat mat).  The top of ours is 73*F, 5* warmer than we keep the rest of our house.

10. Wait – for some this is the most difficult step!!!  Tomatoes and tomatillos normally take 6-8 days, Peppers take 2-3 weeks.  I usually start the peppers first.  Reminder:  Gardening can be done leisurely as a relaxing activity.  You don't have to do everything at once!


Note: The Germination Terrarium is wonderful for germinating seeds, but when green appears I take the lids off. If left covered too long (24 hours ish), the new seedlings seem to suffer.  I will often take out the faster sprouting seedlings (see steps for Pricking Out below) & put the lid back on for the others.

Tomato Seedlings:  Don't be alarmed if some take longer to break free of their seed coat than others.

The added humidity of the Germination Terrarium helps the seedlings break free of their seed coat.

Pricking Out a.k.a. Potting Up

Potting Up can be done many times during a plant’s life.  Some plants (like tomatoes and tomatillos) have adventitious roots and benefit greatly from having their stems buried when potting up.  Other plants (like peas and beans) resent being transplanted; they seem to sit and pout when transplanted and are passed up by seeds that are planted directly in the garden.


Left:  It is suprising how long the roots can be after only a week in the soil!

My preferred garden tool for Pricking Out seedlings is a plastic fork.

If the roots are tangled, gently separate them.

Left:  Soil moved to one side of the chosen container -- please note the large pieces in the compost, which would have been more difficult for the seedlings to lift as they emerge from the soil.  If I use compost for germinating small seeds, I sift it first.  (Just the small amount needed to cover the seeds.)

4.  I like to reuse a plastic fork to gently lift the seedlings out of the cup.  If the roots are tangled, gently separate them.  Be careful not to pinch or roughly pull the delicate seedlings.

5.  Lay the seedling gently on the soil that was moved earlier to one side of the container.  Make sure that the green "leaves" are above soil level. Tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers all benefit from having their stems buried.  Some plants do not (strawberries like to be planted at the same depth every time).

6. Gently fill the pot with soil

7.  Shift & backfill.  Using the plastic fork (insert at edge of container and rock backwards), gently push the compost/soil and seedling away from the side that you moved it toward in step 3 & backfill.  This helps center the seedling & firm it into place.  Note:  Plants don't care if they are perfectly centered or not!  

8.  Gently Water, Expect the Soil level to go down.  You may choose to cover again with more soil.

Now more waiting!!! 

Step 5:Gently lay the seedling. . .

Step 6: Gently fill . . . 

I used the Coconut Coir Seed Starting Mix for contrast in these pictures.  I normally use compost to fill and backfill.

Step 7:  Shift  . . .

Step 7:  . . . & Backfill

Comparison of soil level before (top) & after (bottom) watering

Comparison of soil level before (top) & after (bottom) watering

Can I Use Old Seeds?

Yes, but plant more.  Even if you only get ten percent germination from 20 seeds, you still have 2 plants.   I highly recommend this for Pepper Seeds even if they are just a few years old; the Pimento Seeds above are five years old (see update below).  Pepper Seeds lose their viability quickly!

Caution:  Tomato Seeds stay viable for a long time!  I ended up with dozens of plants from 11 year old Black Krim Tomato Seeds (see picture at right). 

What if I can’t untangle the seedlings?  Most of the time, you can gently untangle the roots with some patience.  If there are two that insist on being buddies, I usually just let them be and plant them on the end of a row.  You can also transplant them as a group, see which one grows the strongest, and pinch out the others. 

Update:  The germination rate for the old seeds shown above was better than I expected!  

This picture was taken on the 14th of April.  The Pimento Peppers were planted on the 29th of March.  By the 20th of April, 58 of the seeds had sprouted!  I was hoping for 10% germination due to the age of the seeds (five years old); the Pimento Peppers have far exceeded my expectations with a germination rate over 80%!  (I started with about 71 seeds.)  It never hurts to try old seeds, especially if you are only using a small space!

Note:  The water droplets on the "leaves" (not true leaves, yet) are the reason that I don't like to leave the seedlings in the Germination Terrariums once they have sprouted.  I usually take the lid off to decrease the humidity or pot up the sprouted seeds to give the other seeds more time.

How far apart should seeds be?  What containers can I use?

For tomato, tomatillo, and pepper seeds I normally plant the seeds about half an inch apart.  If I am starting onions, I will sprinkle the seeds on the surface without taking time to space them individually.

Keep in mind how many plants you want to have (allowing for some loss from kids, pets, spouse, self . . . ).  Just because there are 50 seeds in a packet doesn’t mean you need to plant all 50 this year!  Age of the seed (see upper right corner for an example of old seeds), how many plants you want and have room for, and size of the container will determine the spacing.

The type of container depends on you and how many seeds you are starting!  This veggie tray came in handy for starting peppers.  Individual compartments are marked with permanent marker.  I usually do not use trays this large; It is sturdy, so I can stack smaller containers on top of it.  The biggest factor for me is probably what is in my recycle bin #reducereuserecycle 

How do you keep track of what is where?

I like to know what is what so I can grow the things that we like again!

I usually take pictures (the images above match each other) and text myself notes.  Sometimes I move them to another program, sometimes not.

Find a way you can commit to without a lot of effort -- unless scrapbooking & journaling are your thing, then go for it!  Gardening can be a relaxing hobby, so make it what you want it to be!

What kind of containers can I use?  Are there other types of seeds?

This year we used some take out containers to start thyme, rosemary, onions, and leeks.  So far it is going very well!  The seeds were very small, so we sprinkled them over the soil as evenly as we could.  

Happy Gardening!!!

#reducereuserecycle #prickingout #seedlings #startingseeds #tomatoes #tomatillos #peppers #pottingup #gardentips #iowagarden #inmygarden #zone5garden #ediblelandscaping #germinationterrarium


We are past due for another collaboration with the very talented Sarah at

[The original Paper Doll collab is on my Facebook Page, I will include patterns and links for Emma below]

Picture printed on Cardstock with six Coffee Filter Snowflakes and one Wrapping Paper Overlay all made with the Starburst Snowflake Pattern (below).

Paper Doll (made from the coloring page, below) with eight Starburst Snowflakes made from dyed Coffee Filters.

Picture printed on Cardstock with six Coffee Filter Starburst Snowflakes and one freehand Wrapping Paper Overlay.  

(I made a pattern for you, see Tutu Overlay below)

Items Needed

Print Coloring Page and/or Pictures of Similar Size on Cardstock:

Patterns (see below)

Coffee Filters and/or wrapping paper (or paper of your choice:  newspaper, etc.)


Paper Clips or Staples (to hold the patterns in place)


Food Coloring / Markers & Water in Spray Bottle (if you want to change the color of the coffee filters)

Glue (to hold Tutus in place.  For display, I would glue them in place.  If you are planning to use them for play, I would leave them interchangeable.)


To see examples of using markers and a spray bottle to color coffee filters, see (The spray bottle is a great hand strengthening activity!)  Make sure to protect your surfaces as you would with any painting project and allow plenty of time to dry.

I had good intentions to experiment with eye droppers and coffee filters after coloring Easter Eggs, but it was way past bedtime by the time we finished. . . . so I poured the leftover purple dye into a stack of coffee filters and went to bed – it created a cool ombre effect!  (The coffee filters separate fairly easily once dry.)


The ombre effect inspired me to create a tutu for our ballerina using the Starburst Snowflake from Group 1, see pattern below.  There are eight layers of Coffee Filters in the Ombre Tutu.

One of the Wrapping Paper Overlays is made from the Starburst Snowflake Pattern.  The other overlay is a freehand snowflake that I created a pattern from afterwards, see below.  There are six white Coffee Filter Snowflakes made from the Starburst Snowflake Pattern under each of the Wrapping Paper Overlays.

Note:  I chose to cut two snowflakes at a time (mostly) which is 24 layers.  This is harder on hands and tools, but faster . . . you will need to decide what works best for you!

To learn how to fold coffee filters for 6-Point Snowflakes, see

To learn how to fold wrapping paper for 6-Point snowflakes, see


How to cut out the Starburst Snowflake: 

How to cut out the Tutu Overlay:


Inspired by Tulip Festivals and May Day

Emma is a dancer.  Her first dress is inspired by the costumes that young girls wear while sweeping the streets in preparation for the Tulip Festival Parade:  blue fabric with a white overlay.  Her 2nd and 3rd dresses were done in darker colors that would have traditionally been worn by older women. 

Coloring Page for Emma:

A huge THANK YOU to Sarah @ for creating Emma and inspiring the crossover into Paper Dolls.

Note:  The patterns on the Box Folding Templates below are the ones that were used for the skirts.  For the 2nd & 3rd dress, I simply cut out the triangular pattern and used it on a separate paper.

Note:  The videos for Emma were created before I started making fast speed videos.

Emma with Tulip Festival 1

Emma with Tulip Festival 2

Emma with Tulip Festival 3

Pear Sauce in the Blender

We have an abundance of pears this year!  Our Starking Delicious Pear Tree is outdoing itself!

I do like our Sauce Master, but sometimes it takes longer to clean than the time it saves me.  For small batches of pear sauce, I use my blender.  It allows me to keep the peel which adds to the nutritional value.  

Note: For best results choose pears that naturally have a smooth texture

Optional:  For a flavored sauce, add berries on top of the pears when heating (Step 2).  Our favorites are raspberries, blackberries, and elderberries.

We also love to dry fruit combos to make fruit leather!

See recipes for Pear Waffles below

Step 1:  Quarter the pears.  Remove the stems, seeds, and cut out any hard spots (stones)

I used a combination of Moonglow and Starking Delicious Pears

Step 2:  Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and cook on medium-low heat (4 out of 10 on my stove) until the pears are heated through and easily cut with the spoon -- the peel changed color, too!

This will take time!  How much time depends on the amount of pears you are heating:  approximately half an hour to an hour.

The pears do not have to be stirred during this time, but it does help to stir the top ones to the bottom to speed up softening.  This is a great time to do other baking or kitchen cleaning.

Note:  The pears will release juice as they are heated.

Caution:  If you use higher heat, the pears may stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.  If you are trying to speed things up, be sure to stir frequently.  

Step 3:   Let cool. 

Blend the pear juice and pieces to desired consistency.  Only fill the blender about 3/4ths of the way full at a time. It helps to keep a little sauce in the bottom for the next batch (assuming it doesn't all fit in the blender at once).  Stir if needed.  

Add water/juice if desired for a thinner consistency. 

Step 4:   Enjoy as is or freeze in ice cube trays for ready made additions to smoothies or as baby food.   Store in freezer bags or containers for long-term storage.

Pear Sauce can be used in place of apple sauce in many recipes.

See recipes for Pear Waffles below.

Pear Waffles: Version 1

8 Servings

2 cups flour

2 cups Quick Oats

1 ½  tsp salt

1 Tblsp baking powder

2 cups milk* 

3 Tblsp dark brown sugar

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

¼ cup vegetable oil (can be reduced to 3 Tblsp)

1 Tblsp vanilla

2 cups pear sauce

3 eggs

Cook on waffle iron

Makes approximately 8 waffles (depending on the size of your waffle iron)

*Milk can be replaced with 1/3 cup non-fat dry milk (available at ) and 2 cups water.

Pear Waffles: Version 2

12 Servings

3 cups flour

3 cups Quick Oats

2 tsp salt

1.5 Tblsp baking powder

3 cups milk

¼ cup dark brown sugar

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 Tblsp cinnamon

3/8th cup vegetable oil (6 Tblsp)

1 Tblsp vanilla

2 ¾ - 3 cups pear sauce

4 eggs

Cook on waffle iron

Makes approximately 12 waffles (depending on the size of your waffle iron)

Black Cat Snowflakes

Tip:  Try to round off the edges of the paper to give the tails and paws a curved appearance – instead of coming in bluntly with the scissors at a 90* angle to the edge.

These are Intermediate Snowflakes.  If they are stretching your cutting skills, you may want to visit the Free Patterns Tab above for additional practice.  A small pair of scissors and thin paper (newspaper weight) are also very helpful!

Cat 1 Snowflake

I realized that I haven’t done any Black Cat Snowflakes!  I hope you enjoy this playful kitten!  Happy Halloween!

Pattern & Box Folding Template:  

YouTube Video: 

Cat 2 Snowflake

There is always that one cat . . . Too aloof to play with the others! 

Pattern & Box Folding Template: 

YouTube Video: 

Cat 3 Snowflake

The final of our Black Cat Series!

Fun Fact:  This was the first snowflake designed with the Halloween Theme of Black Cats – the other two were designed as practice for this one.  I hope you enjoy!


See YouTube Video at


See pdf of Pattern at

Note:  This pattern is designed for a twelve inch square of paper.  

       I hope everyone has a fun & safe Halloween!!!

Snowflake Photography Tips

With a major snowstorm predicted, a friend requested that I share some Snowflake Photography Tips.  I created this video, , so they could prepare. 

I had full intentions of adding a part two right away . . . We did get snow, but with temperatures hovering right at freezing, conditions were not ideal for photographing snowflakes.  Low twenties (Farenheit) and below is best, otherwise the snowflakes tend to melt really fast!

Here are some things to keep in mind:

This snowflake is resting on a piece of "glass" from a picture frame with my coat as the background -- the snowflakes were melting really fast!

This snowflake is resting on a piece of "glass" from a picture frame with a reflective silver gift wrap as the background (about 2 inches below the "glass").

Experiment with backgrounds!  Play with the light!  Because you are focusing on such a tiny object, a slight shift in your position can have a drastic effect on the background lighting!  The Bokeh Effect can work in your favor!

I tend to get the deepest color for the Bokeh Effect at night when I place a flashlight between my background and the "glass."

You will need to decide if the Bokeh Effect adds to or detracts from the snowflake. In the examples below, one works really well . . . the other not so well.  You decide what you prefer.  Please understand that the Bokeh Effect can be unpredictable, which makes it both fun and frustrating!

This snowflake is resting on a piece of "glass" from a picture frame with a reflective silver gift wrap as the background (about 2 inches below the "glass").

This snowflake is resting on a piece of "glass" from a picture frame with a reflective silver gift wrap as the background (about 2 inches below the "glass").

Don’t get frustrated if the snowflakes aren’t posing for you!  Snowflakes are definitely 3D!  . . . and they like to stick together!

When I was first learning, I encountered “pizza frogs!”  Noones’s advice was working! 

For more about snowflakes and how they form see, 

Snowflakes love to stick together!

"Pizza Frogs"

Combinations of columns and plates -- Frustrating as a beginner!  Now I wish I could see them again, so I can test my skills.


When the weather isn’t cooperating for snowflake photography, you can try poppy seeds, frost, or flowers – dandelions are some of my favorites, lots of curly-Qs!
Poppy Seeds on a variety of backgrounds , Dandelion 

Frost on Dandelion

Glory of the Snow Flower with a touch of Frost

There are many amazing Snowflake Photographers out there!  If you are interested in seeing more real snowflakes here are some links I hope you will enjoy!

Alexey Kljatov,

Don Komarechka,

Pam Eveleigh,

Lotze Art & Design,

Learn about Snowflake Bentley who is the first known person to photograph snowflakes at and 

It's Snowing!!!

The long-awaited follow-up video with snow!

Snowflake photography is addicting!  Tip #1 can be a challenge:  Keep your body heat to yourself!  I wish I didn't need to take breaks to come inside to warm up!

The snowflake pictures below were taken with my cell phone and a clip-on 15x macro lens.  Of course I would love a tech upgrade, but I also recognize that Family Friendly Activities remain more friendly when we are not worried about damaging expensive equipment!  

I hope this will encourage you to explore the world around you and pause to admire the delicate beauty of snowflakes!

Snowflake, 28 January 2023, Iowa

The diamond center of this one is . . . Wow!

Sometimes we forget that snowflakes interact with each other on the way down.  With the wind, it's amazing that any arrive intact! 

Snowflake, 28 January 2023, Iowa

Lots of rime!


Snowflake, 28 January 2023, Iowa


Unusual, but not unheard of!

Snowflakes, 28 January 2023, Iowa


What I originally thought was a broken branch from a snowflake is actually a full snowflake -- the triangular shape is rare, but if you look closely you can see a hexagon center with six branches.  Very unique!

I wish I had zoomed in more!

Snowflake, 28 January 2023, Iowa

Lots of rime on the edges

Snowflake, 28 January 2023, Iowa

Very Floral!

Snowflake, 28 January 2023, Iowa

One of the survivors of the wind -- lots of bits & pieces!

Snowflakes, 28 January 2023, Iowa

I hope you enjoy these images and are excited to capture some of your own!

For information on the formation of snowflakes, see by Kenneth G. Libbrecht.

Kid Friendly Light Box

This is a great upcycle project! 

You may have items in your recycle bin or around your home that can be used as a Kid Friendly Light Box for Snowflake Photography!  Any toy packaging or takeout container with a clear lid or side will work great -- make sure there aren't any sharp edges!

Items Needed:

Container/Packaging with a clear lid or side
Gift Wrap or background of your choice

1.  Place Gift Wrap or background of your choice inside the box
2.  Place flashlight inside the box  (on top of the gift wrap )
See Snowflake Photography Tips above

Note:  The yellow & black clip-on macro lens pictured is the Kodak 15x macro lens that I often use with my cell phone for Snowflake Photography.

I hope you enjoy these examples of Snowflake Photography (see tips above).  The pictures were taken  on 12 January 2024 using the Kid Friendly Light Box, my cell phone, and a Kodak 15x clip-on macro lens (yellow clip with black lens shown in picture above).  We did get a lot of snow, but quantity is not the same as quality -- the wind broke most of the snowflakes to bits!

Left:  This gorgeous Snowflake briefly caught on the very edge of the Kid Friendly Light Box, 20*F, 12 January 2024.   Tip: Photograph in a sheltered location to prevent the wind from blowing your subject away!

Melting Snowflake -- I love the rosette in the center!
Part of the fun is how challenging it can be to capture an image
of an individual snowflake's beauty before it melts!
Remember to wear gloves and a mask to help keep your body heat 
away from the snowflakes, and to keep yourself warm!
12 January 2024

Tattered & Torn -- Remember the snowflakes interact with each other
on the way down, and the wind is often unkind!  Sometimes you will see a lot of bits and pieces.  The mood of a storm can change drastically:  quantity does not equal quality.  Sometimes a few minutes can be the difference between bits and pieces and elegant beauties -- if you're feeling frustrated, it's probably time for a Hot Chocolate break!  12 January 2024

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