We’ve heard it before. Spring is the time for rebirth: green plants, clean homes, baby bunnies, new exercise regimens, etc. Regardless of how much you may love winter with all its big sweaters, warm grub and roaring fireplaces, it’s hard to resist the energizing pull of longer, warmer days. This is the season for finding renewed interest in old projects–or ditching them in favor of newer, shinier ones.

For some, the whirl of springtime energy can be intimidating. For others it’s just annoying.

With an understanding for the varied springtime influences that stimulate us to do, to make and to create, we’ve asked four of our writers to help us put our daydreaming caps on, and to channel this energy into worthwhile projects.

This “how-to” issue isn’t what you’re used to–no step-by-step instructions on wallpapering the nursery or making a bookcase. These aren’t technical blueprints. Instead, we’ll meet average folks and get an understanding of what inspired them to take on new projects and why they might inspire us.

If you’ve ever been tempted to save a broken plate because you could use it in an art project one day, join Beth Livingston as she scouts out local artists and resource centers that motivate the right sides of our brains.

Clancy Nolan shares the tale of the installation of a friend’s backyard fountain from start to finish. If that sounds too difficult, you’re thinking too hard.

If spring cleaning wasn’t enough for your home, Raleigh architect Frank Harmon takes the seemingly overwhelming task of designing a household renovation plan and simplifies the work–the planning, that is. We’ll break it down into four easy pieces to get the mental ball rolling.

Kate Dobbs Ariail, a woman who believes strongly enough about preserving our downtown spaces to actually live downtown, describes the joys of container gardening within a sea of concrete. Small-scale gardening isn’t just for those without backyard acreage. We all can create small, manageable and accessible gardens regardless of our environs.