Sunroom Funroom!

When we moved into our house, the small enclosed balcony became a place for LEGO, board games, and other toys. Now that the boys are older, I’m excited to reclaim this room as a more grown-up space for reading, lounging,… maybe even napping!

At 5’x15′, there is not much space in here, which made this a quick project! The key elements I wanted to include were:

  • Comfortable seating with plush cushions
  • Side table for books and drinks
  • Plants to bring the outside in
  • Throw blankets to snuggle in all seasons

The look I wanted to achieve included:

  • White paint
  • Light-colored fabrics
  • Natural materials, like rattan and bamboo
  • My signature blue-and-white decor

Here are some pictures of how it has all come together. I did buy this daybed quilt set, but otherwise, everything in the room we already had in our house!

I love this ceramic garden stool, but I have been looking for the right spot for it – what could be better than this indoor-outdoor room?!

This bookcase was my grandmother’s. I repainted it about 20 years ago and added the caning (post coming soon) for this space, to create a tropical feel.

We’ve had this round mirror for a while, and it’s a bit small for where it was hanging before, but it works perfectly here. The walls in this room are crazy hard to drill into (which makes sense, because they are actually exterior walls), so I braided some rope from my macrame days and hung it from a hook in one of the ceiling beams. I like how it adds to the outdoorsy, bohemiam vibe in here!

This room is a win-win with the plants – they love all the light, and they definitely help make me feel like I’m outside in nature!

This daybed is a magnet for people who love to snuggle!

Finn would also like to snuggle on the daybed. This is his mildly dissatisfied face, because he had to stay on the rug…

Last couple of close-ups of this vignette. I love how everything old feels new again, when you find just the right combination!

So excited to read, and snuggle, and knit, (and nap) in our new sunroom!

Julie aka “Jewels”

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”

Macrame Plant Hangers- Now in Color!

I’ve decided to call my crafting style “serial crafting monogamy.” I definitely go on streaks where I fall in love with a new technique and can’t get enough of it. Right now, I’m sure you have noticed, I am addicted to macrame. Once I got the hang of it, I have so many ideas to try!

Today’s post is about adding color to your plant hangers – I did this with dyeing an ombre pattern as well as with adding colorful embroidery floss.

If you want to go back and see other posts on macrame, here are the links:

First, check out these beautiful ombré plant hangers. I made them with cotton clothesline and created the ombre pattern with navy fabric dye.


To get the ombré effect, I dipped the plant hanger in a container of dye solution and then pulled it out and hung it with just the bottom sitting in the dye for 20-30 minutes.

The other way I added color to the plant hangers was by adding gathering knots in different colors of embroidery floss.

And I just recently discovered Bobbiny cotton rope from Poland. It’s so soft, recycled, and beautiful, so I’m definitely scheming to add more color to my macrame projects that way!

“Jewels”

Bright Ideas – Making the Most of Your Windows – Part Two – Furniture Placement

People often comment on the great light we get in our house. A lot of that has to do with the good fortune of having big windows and a bright western exposure. But wherever you live, there are some tricks … Continue reading

DIY Upcycled Metallic Planters – Being Green is Golden!

Today’s project is a great way to reuse – or “upcycle” items around your house, while creating something beautiful to feed your plant problem… I mean plant addiction… I mean plant projects! If you are a crazy plant lady like me, you are always looking for new ways to display your plants. I’m definitely not opposed to going shopping for some pretty planters, but it’s also amazing what you can do with things around your house.

A while ago, I showed you the faux marble planters I made from empty yogurt containers. The marble paper works well for sloped containers, because the pattern is random. But if you can find some containers that have straight sides (hint, eat a lot of Talenti Gelato- you know, for the cause!), then you have got to try out the same trick with metallic contact paper!

Here’s what you will need:

Here’s how to make the planters:

  • Wash out your container. For the shampoo and body wash containers, I roughly trimmed off the top – the final trimming will happen at the end
  • Measure the height and circumference of your container and cut out a piece of metallic contact paper that is the desired height and about a centimeter longer than the circumference
  • Carefully apply the contact paper
  • For the shampoo and body wash containers, I finished trimming the top after I put on the paper, so that it was exactly flush with the contact paper
  • That’s all!

You can put in drainage holes, if you want. If you use the containers without drainage holes, make sure to put a layer of rocks and some agricultural charcoal at the bottom and be careful not to overwater.

I think these pictures prove that being green can be completely golden!

“Jewels”

DIY Mid-Century Modern Plant Stands – Props to Plants!

Yup, yup, after years of wearing a “brown thumb” badge of honor, I finally fell hard for gardening and house plants about a year ago. As a crazy plant lady, I do, of course, occasionally indulge in buying some new … Continue reading

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care Tips – Printable

It’s no secret that I have a serious love of the fiddle leaf fig plant – and quite unexpectedly for this life-long brown thumb, I have had a lot of success in growing them! This is a good sign for those of you who want a fiddle leaf fig of your own!

I started off with three plants that I bought. They have grown so much that I have been able to prune them (here are some tips on pruning), and I have propagated five new ones (here are some tips on propagation) off of those. I’m about to send one of the baby fiddle leaf figs off to a friend’s home, and I thought I would include a little card with some tips on caring for these special plants. I’m not having difficulty letting go, really…

Here’s the card I put together, and if you want this in a PDF format, this is the link: Caring for your Fiddle Leaf Fig.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Happy growing!

“Jewels”

Tips on Pruning your Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree – Get in Shape!

So, I know I’m not the only one who loves the ficus lyrata, or fiddle leaf fig. My post on how to propagate fiddle leaf fig plants from cuttings is by far one of the most popular topics on the blog!

It’s my second year of growing these magnificent plants, and I thought I’d try my hand at shaping one into a tree. The two most common shapes for fiddle leaf fig plants are a column, often planted in groups of twos or threes, and a tree shape. Even though they look very different, these two shapes are the same plant, and you can actually make a tree by carefully pruning and shaping your plant!

The best time to prune is spring or summer, when your plant is growing most actively.

Here is a tree-shaped fiddle leaf fig I bought from Sloat Garden Center about a year ago. It has grown three-to-four times in size, and I’ve pruned it several times already. As it grows, I study the shape and look to see where it may be getting lopsided. Then, I cut the branch including two-to-three leaves off of that area, and this encourages the plant to branch out in new directions. The more you cut, the more side branches the plant will grow.

Why? The plant hormones – auxins – that promote upward growth also inhibit branch growth. The auxins flow from the tip down, so when you cut off the tip, you lower the level of auxins, which allows branching. The more you cut, the lower the concentration of auxins, and the more branching you’ll get.

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These are examples of a traditional column shape, and the one in front is actually a plant I propagated off of the one in back! I was able to cut off the tip of the column-shaped plant with just one leaf, and it grew back just one bud, keeping its vertical form without branching. The benefit of doing this, besides getting a new plant from your cutting (!), is that it slows down the vertical growth and lets the trunk get stronger.

Of course, you don’t have to be traditional! I bought this plant from Flowercraft last Mother’s Day, when it was just the lower section. It grew two side branches, and I just let it continue that way. I pruned one of the side branches once, so you can see there is yet another small branch coming off of it. This plant now has a very unique shape which I’ve grown to love.

Back to my latest fiddle leaf fig project! I had this smaller fiddle leaf fig plant that I actually purchased online, when I was eager to get my hands on one and was having trouble hunting one down at a nursery. It grew a bit slowly at first, but it did eventually take off, and now it is ready for an adventure!

How to shape your fiddle leaf fig plant into a tree:

  1. In spring or summer, cut off a large section from the top of the column. I cut off the top of the stem with six leaves, in two sections of three leaves, so I could root both of them into new plants. Make sure you have some rooting hormone on hand and read my other tips for propagating a new plant. The more you prune a plant, the more it will branch, and I was hoping to get about three side branches.

2. About a month later, I was rewarded with three new buds! Each of these will grow a new branch, and we’ll be on our way to a pretty new tree shape!

3. When it grows enough, I will start taking the leaves off the bottom section of the trunk. It is good to wait a while to do this, as each of those leaves is helping provide energy for the plant. I also have never been able to propagate a leaf without the stem section, though I think I might as well try when I cut those leaves. More to come!

I’ll keep updating this post with progress and tips, so come back and see how this beauty is doing!

Update at 1.5 months:

So, I have good news and bad news…. good news is that two of the buds have totally taken off into branches… bad news is the third bud hasn’t grown much. I’ll give it some more time, but I know that the plant hormones – auxins – that promote upward growth also inhibit branch growth, so I may try trimming the top of the new branches when they get mature, to try to allow that third little bud to grow.

“Jewels”