DIY Marbled Clay Ring Dishes

Here is version two of these DIY clay ring dishes! First, I made some in white with stamped designs. I love how those look, but keeping the white clay as clean as possible is a bit stressful. The marbled dishes, on the other hand, are so addictive and relaxing!

ezy watermark_24-05-2019_05-33-05pm

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Premo Sculpey in a coordinating colors (approximately 2oz per bowl)
  • Rolling pin or smooth glass jar
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Circle to trace (approximately 4″)
  • Bowl or other oven-safe mold
  • Optional: sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Gold paint
  • Clear glossy varnish

Here’s how to do it:

  • Make strips of clay in each color you want to include. Twist and roll them together until you get the amount of mixing you want.
  • Using a parchment or wax paper work surface, roll the marbled clay flat – about 1/4″ thick
  • Cut out the circle – you can take the cut-off edges and add them to your next marbled bowl, so each one is unique!
  • Place your circle on your mold – I tried it on the outside of a bowl, but I think inside would be better, if you have the right size, because the mold indented the surface slightly
  • Bake according to the instructions for the clay
  • Let it cool, and sand rough edges
  • Paint rim with gold paint
  • Coat with clear varnish

Here are some progress shots and the final products!

Here is how to start the marbling process:ezy watermark_13-05-2019_06-01-26pm

This is what the bowls looked like out of the oven.

ezy watermark_13-05-2019_08-55-52pm

Next step: gold paint on the rim!

Last step: clear gloss varnish!

 

I’m seriously addicted to making these bowls… can you guess what’s up next?!

Julie aka “Jewels”

DIY Stamped Ring Dishes in White and Gold

These little pretty and versatile trinket dishes have been catching my eye for some time now, and I just needed an occasion to try them!

I’ve been so lucky to have a lot of fun dinners/ brunches/ weekends with my girlfriends recently. (See the moms’ brunch I hosted here.) I thought these dishes would be fun to make as party favors/ souvenirs.

I tried making a few different styles of dishes, and I’ll post the variations here soon. While I love the results of all of them, the white bowls are a bit stressful to make (hard to keep clean!), and the marble is really relaxing, so choose your project accordingly!!

There are so many different kids of polymer clay, and when I found myself overwhelmed standing in Michael’s, I appreciated this overview of the different clays and their uses. After reading this summary, I ended up choosing Premo Sculpey.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Premo Sculpey in white (approximately 2oz per bowl)
  • Rolling pin or smooth glass jar
  • Stencils and stamps
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Circle to trace (approximately 4″)
  • Bowl or other oven-safe mold
  • Optional: sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Gold paint
  • Clear glossy varnish

Here’s how to do it:

  • This white clay collects and shows dust and lint very easily, so try to keep your hands, tools, and work surface as clean as possible
  • Using a parchment or wax paper work surface, knead your clay and roll it flat – about 1/4″ thick
  • Cut out the circle
  • Stamp your designs in the center
  • Place your circle on your mold – I tried it on the outside of a bowl, but I think inside would be better, if you have the right size, because the mold indented the surface slightly
  • Bake according to the instructions for the clay
  • Let it cool, and sand rough edges
  • Paint rim with gold paint
  • Coat with clear varnish

Here are some progress shots and the final products!

Clay rolled out, stamped, and ready to mold

This is what the bowls looked like out of the oven, before paint and varnish. I like the matte look, but I suspect they’d get dirty over time.

Next step: gold paint on the rim!

Last step: clear gloss varnish!

Here’s a sneak peak at the marble bowls. I’ll get the post up some time (soon?)!

I’m seriously addicted to making these bowls…

Julie aka “Jewels”

Brunch in Blue and White

Mother’s Day is coming up tomorrow, which is probably not news to anyone, except my family, who realized yesterday… Anyway, I have very mixed feelings about this holiday. It’s the day that makes me think of my mom the most, and those memories are very sweet, but it’s hard for me to push past missing her to actually feel happy and excited.

Life conspired perfectly this year, as one of my good friends celebrated her birthday the day before Mother’s Day, and I hosted a small brunch for her. It felt very meaningful to put together this event, using treasures that are full of stories for me. Sipping tea, laughing, and pouring our hearts out with my dear mom friends was something I could wholeheartedly feel good about, so I’m calling today my own version of Mother’s Day.

Lots of special stories behind our brunch table, which I hope you will enjoy as much as we did!

Tulips! These are among my favorite flowers and remind me of springtime growing up. We don’t see many in San Francisco, but I’m hoping to go visit a tulip festival some day.

The little succulent was rescued from a work dinner I attended, and it’s growing in a pretty Anthropologie mug I was given by my dear coworker. The small blue and white vase on the stand was my grandmother’s.

I started collecting tea cups when I was planning Nicola’s baby shower, and I love the stories behind each one – the one on the right was actually a gift from Nicola!

These plates were given to me by one of my mom’s closest friends, about eight years after my mom died. She told me that she had seen them in an antique shop while shopping with my mom, and my mom went back to buy them for her. I remember both of these kind, generous, and loving women, when I use them.

The ginger jar on the left and the Blue Willow tea cup are thrift store finds!

I am running low on stories, so just enjoy this picture!

Happy Mother’s Day to those of you who enjoy this holiday. And if you, like me, find it difficult or complicated, I hope you find something meaningful to celebrate… like a giant fiddle leaf fig that is “mother” to many cuttings I have propagated and shared!

Hmmm, some pictures of our food!

Sending love to all who need it,

Julie, aka “Jewels”

Calm Spaces for a Calm Mind – Tips for Cord Management

I want to be very clear that I’m no minimalist, but I’ve definitely been working hard on taming the clutter in our house. In the process, I’ve really noticed how calming it is to see a formerly-cluttered space all cleared … Continue reading

Repotting Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant

After years of professing to have a black thumb, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover over the past couple of years that fiddle leaf figs seem to love me as much as I love them.

Other posts in my fiddle leaf fig series are:

Today, I’m sharing tips on repotting your plants. I just repotted my two largest plants, which actually turned out to be a serious workout! (Or so I told myself when I had dessert later…)

What are some signs it’s time to repot your plant?

  • You just bought a new plant – most new plants from the nursery have been in their small pots for a while and should be repotted.
  • The soil isn’t holding water – water runs through more quickly than usual, because much of the soil is filled with roots
  • You see roots coming out the bottom of your pot (see below!)
  • It’s been a couple of years since you repotted. The timing depends on how fast your plants are growing. I’ve had to repot every 1-2 years

This plant had been in the same pot for about 20 months, and it was definitely time to repot it!

Tips for repotting your plant:

Ideally, try to repot in the spring or summer, when your plant is growing fastest, as this will help it recover more easily. Since we’re in California, where winters are shorter and milder, I’ve been able to repot in winter without issues – this was out of necessity, when I suddenly realized my plants were suffering from outgrowing their pots.

Pick a pot that’s a few inches bigger than the previous pot. Going up too far in size will leave too much empty soil and risk overwatering. Ideally, use a pot with good drainage, though I have do have several growing successfully in pots without drainage holes – I did put more rocks at the bottom of those, to create a space for water to drain within the pot.

If the roots are really matted and tight (left picture below), you can gently loosen and trim them (right picture below). If you can’t or don’t want to use a larger pot, you can also gently trim the roots, brush off as much of the soil as possible, and use the same pot, though this might limit your plant’s growth overall. I’ve just put my biggest two plants into 24″ diameter pots, which I think is as big as I’ll go, so I’ll need to try just trimming the roots next time. I had to look in a few places before finding this size at Flowercraft in San Francisco.

Line the bottom of your pot with small rocks to keep the soil from leaking out and add extra drainage. Add a layer of fresh potting soil on top of the rocks, and put your plant back in. Adjust the height by adding or removing soil until the top of the root ball sits a little below the rim of your pot, remembering that the soil will compact a bit over time.

Fill in soil around the root ball until about two inches from the top. Add some slow release fertilizer pellets – I use this one from Osmocote – and the continue filling in soil until it’s even with the top of your root ball.

Give your plant a good watering, and watch it grow!

Here’s a picture of the craziness while I was in the middle of repotting the two big trees – it’s a jungle in here!

My plants sure seem happy in their new pots! I have a plan to sew some giant planter bags for them, similar to this one, which is now going to be handed down to a younger FLF! UPDATE: Here are some pics of the plants in their new planter bags, and here’s a link to the tutorial for the new giant planter bags!

Let me know if you have any questions, and happy gardening!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Tips for Hosting a Clothing Swap Party

I know I’m not alone in starting this year with a real fire lit under me to start cleaning and de-cluttering our house. I first read Marie Kondo’s book a few years ago, but with her new show, she’s somehow getting even more popular, and I am on the wagon!

After doing a major closet cleaning, my friends and I decided that we would have a little clothing swap party to see if we could find some new items that “spark joy,” all without spending a penny! It was SO MUCH FUN!

I ended having a small get-together, which was just as much for the company as for anything else. A couple of my close friends from work and I are always admiring each other’s style and wear similar sizes, so this was an easy guest list to put together.

Admittedly, I would have fun doing just about anything with these girls, but the clothing swap was truly a blast! Of course, there was the excitement of getting something new for free! But on top of that, it was a great feeling to see things that I really liked but just didn’t work on me fit perfectly on my friends. Not to mention, there were some good stories behind some of these items!

A couple of my favorite “new” items are this leather tote bag and the little pendant necklace on the dresser.

Even though our party was small, I take party planning seriously, so I’ve gathered some of my best tips for a clothing swap of any size!

Before the party

  • Choose your guest list, considering people’s styles and sizes. Your guests don’t all have to have the same style or size, but it helps if everyone has at least one or two people who would be good matches
  • Choose the types of items to include – besides clothes, consider accessories, such as scarves, bags, jewelry, and shoes. Set guidelines about quality and condition of items, as well as how many items you want to include
  • Prepare your space with room to display clothes, as well as places to try things on and a mirror – since I invited just a couple of close friends, I actually hosted in my bedroom, which was the easiest place to find hanging space and mirrors!
  • Provide snacks, keeping in mind things that can be eaten while shopping
  • Consider adding signs and cute shopping bags as decorations

At the party

  • Arrange items neatly by category to make it easier to browse
  • Allow a window-shopping period, so everyone gets a chance to discover their favorite finds
  • Decide on an order for “shopping,” for example by drawing lots or based on how many items each person brought
  • In a larger group, allow one person or a small group to shop at a time, and decide on a limit for each group – either a maximum number of items or a fixed amount of time
  • Since there were just three of us, we just tried things on and checked in with each other before claiming an item – it was so easy and fun!

I’m a little sad it will take us years to accumulate enough stuff for another swap, but we’ll definitely find another excuse to get together and have fun soon!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Valentine’s Day Pennant Banner

I’m not usually a big Valentine’s Day person, but then again, a holiday built around chocolate can’t be all bad! Anyway, a couple of weekends ago, I got the urge to make something – anything! – and I put together … Continue reading

Recipe Tea Towels

If you’re already familiar with Spoonflower, then you know how amazing their site is. If you haven’t been introduced to them yet, be prepared to be completely addicted! They can custom print anything on fabric, and you can design your … Continue reading

Shibori-Dyed Zipper Pouches

Every year, I make a handmade holiday gift for my coworkers and our kids’ teachers. I love bringing them into school and the office and spreading joy! I’ll list all the past ones at the bottom, so you have more … Continue reading