The weather may still be a bit too chilly for entertaining alfresco, but you can bring the garden party indoors with charming decorations inspired by one of spring's most familiar offerings: bright-green grass. Here are some fresh ideas.

Tip: Use wheatgrass for the following craft ideas that require fresh grass, as it is more lush and uniform than lawn grasses. You can find wheatgrass in small plots or flats at health-food stores, or grow it from seed in about three weeks. Be sure to water wheatgrass displays regularly.

Grass centerpieces and placeholders: Tufts of bright-green grass in pastel pots are an appealing and longer-lasting alternative to floral centerpieces.

To make the displays, purchase terra-cotta pots in different sizes, paint plain ones with enamel paint, and fill two-thirds with pebbles. Cut sections of wheatgrass — roots and soil included — using gardening shears, and fit inside. As a finishing touch, purchase wired fabric butterflies from a crafts store and arrange in pots.

To make placeholders, repeat the process with smaller flowerpots. Create place cards by writing guests' names on plant labels and tuck into grass.

Dyed eggs with grass appliques: Give Easter eggs a sweet, seasonal touch by dyeing them in vibrant hues and embellishing with fresh grass. Before decorating eggs, you'll need to make a drying rack: Insert flathead pins into a piece of foam board, creating evenly spaced rows about a half-inch apart.

Blow out eggs. To do this, gently pierce both ends of a raw egg with a utility knife, and twirl knife to widen one hole slightly. Straighten a paper clip, and poke it through the larger hole to pierce and stir the yoke. Hold the egg, larger hole down, over a bowl, and blow the contents out with a rubber ear syringe (available at drugstores.)

Dye eggs using store-bought dye, or mix your own from a solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 cup hot water and 5 drops food coloring (any color). Set eggs on rack to dry, about 30 minutes.

Cut about 10 blades of wheatgrass for each egg. Using a paintbrush, coat the bottom two-thirds of the egg with a glue sealant. Place several blades on this section, so they radiate upward from a single point on the bottom of the egg. Apply sealant over the blades; let dry, 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat to adhere blades to remaining sections.

Fanciful favor bags: Fill these bags with stationery, soap or other small items for guests. For each, you'll need a green gift bag and an off-white lunch bag that has the same-size base.

Cut off top two-thirds of the green bag. Cut a grass design into the lower portion, being careful not to cut the base; unfold the bag.

Place double-sided tape on the base of off-white bag, and fit it into green bag. Hot-glue a miniature clothespin to a fabric butterfly (remove wire if necessary); let dry. Pin butterfly and name tag to top of bag.

Pounded-grass place mats: Plain cotton or linen place mats are an ideal backdrop for a verdant lawn motif.

From a flat of wheatgrass, cut a handful of blades (removing roots). Lay mat face-up over a sheet of white card stock. Arrange 5 to 8 blades along the base of the mat, varying length and distances between the blades to resemble a field of grass. Lay another sheet of card stock over blades. Holding it in place, hammer in a uniform manner. Remove top piece of card stock; discard blades.

Repeat, working in sections, using fresh grass, until the design covers the base of the mat. Designs will fade over time. Wash with mild detergent in cold water.

Homemade grass soap: Freshly made grass soap makes a lovely gift for springtime guests. A half-dozen long blades suspended lengthwise in clear soap look elegant; many short blades mixed into the soap appear fragrant and fresh.

Cut a 5-inch-square section from a flat of wheatgrass. Pull out individual blades with roots attached, and lay in a single layer on a sheet of blotter paper. Top with another piece of blotter paper. Sandwich between pages of a flower press. Let dry, 2 to 3 days.

Cut glycerin soap (clear or white) into small pieces with a sharp knife. (One pound of glycerin soap makes 4 to 5 bars of soap.) Fill measuring cup. Microwave on medium heat until melted.

For a bar with long blades: Trim the dried grass to desired length, removing roots. Pour a thin layer of glycerin into a 4-inch mini loaf pan. Lay 5 to 7 blades on top, and let dry, 30 seconds. Spray with alcohol to eliminate bubbles, cover with more glycerin, and spray again with alcohol.

For a bar with chopped grass: Mix cut dried grass into glycerin, and pour into pan; spray with alcohol. Let harden, 2 hours. Freeze 20 minutes; release from pan.

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