1. I started with just a couple spoonfuls of house plant soil soaked in enough water to get it really wet. I hand squeezed it and spread it out in the bottom of an open CD case (the original 1/4" thick ones).
2. About a teaspoon of grass seeds were spread near the top edge. The case was closed, wrapped in a rubber band to keep shut, and set in a window.
3. Fuzzy little seeds were showing in 2 or 3 days, and the grass a few days after that. The soil stays wet for a long time, but if it appears to be dry, the lid can carefully be lifted and water sprinkled inside.
4. Paint markers were used for drawing tiny little lady bugs. I printed out my message, taped it inside and traced it so my writing would be nice and neat.