A Timeless Sideboard Styled Five Ways

We recently moved into our new house, and I’ve been busy arranging and re-arranging things to get us settled. In this process, I was fortunate to receive a beautiful new sideboard cabinet from Hernest.com. This item was generously gifted, but … Continue reading

DIY Posts for Hanging Patio String Lights

I have been in love with patio string lights for so long. Unfortunately, our last house didn’t really have a respectable outdoor entertaining space, but our rental house last year and our new house both have great patio spaces! I have been waiting to do this project creating posts to hang our lights, and I am so excited that we finally did it! It’s not hard (you do need some muscles!), and I am excited to share the how-to and our results!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • String lights: I love these solar-powered lights
  • String light hanging hardware kit
  • 8′ Wood posts – I used cedar landscaping lumber that I found at the hardware store. I found them easier to handle than fence posts
  • Planters – I used these square plastic planters I already had
  • cement mix – I used Quickcrete, which is fast-setting and very easy to use. I used 1.5 bags per planter, but your quantity will depend on the planter that you use
  • gravel
  • soil
  • plants
  • Tools: drill, screwdriver, wire cutters, spirit level
  • Optional: exterior paint

Here’s how to do it:

  • Attach the hanging hardware to the top of your posts
  • Place a post in the center of an empty planter
  • Pour in the concrete mix and add water according to the instructions
  • Use the spirit level to check your post is vertical
  • With the fast-setting Quickcrete, we didn’t have to use any extra supports for the post. We did check the level a few times as it set, but it pretty much held in place on its own
  • Repeat for the other posts
  • I painted my posts black to blend into our patio decor
  • Drill drainage holes in the planters just above the line of the concrete
  • Add gravel, soil, and plants
  • Install the patio lights according to the instructions with your hanging kit

Of course, we had a warm spell last week and it’s cooled off again, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to hang out here!

Julie AKA “Jewels”

Propagating Fiddle Leaf Figs by Air Layering

I fell in love with fiddle leaf fig trees a few years ago. I bought three plants that first year, and since then, I have propagated SO many. Most went to new homes with my friends, and a few were added to my collection. A few of my trees have gotten SO big, that I wanted to try propagating by air layering. I’m excited to share this technique with you, and I’ll also put links at the bottom of this post to all my other posts on pruning, propagating, caring for fiddle leaf fig trees!

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When I have previously propagated new plants off my fig trees, it was by cutting off 2-3 leaves at a time and putting them in water until new roots formed (all the details in this other post). This works quite well, but you can only make plants from small cuttings, because they need to survive until the new roots form. Air layering is great for propagating larger branches, and while it takes a little patience up front, you end up getting a mature new plant much faster!

The principle behind air layering is that you set up conditions for your plant to form new roots, while it is still attached to the original plant.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • sharp knife or vegetable peeler
  • rooting hormone
  • thick plastic wrap – I cut open a one-gallon ziploc bag
  • sphagnum moss
  • string or rubber bands cut open to use as ties
  • patience (this process takes about two-and-a-half months)

Here’s how to do it:

Choose the section of the plant that you want to eventually cut off for a new plant. I tried this with approximately 2-foot section of my biggest plant – it was hitting the ceiling! It went really smoothly, and I’m now trying with a 3-foot section.

At the base of what will be your new tree, remove a leaf or two to create an open section of stem. Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the top layer of the stem – you want to remove the bark and the darkest green layer, but leave a little green and the white section of the stem. This will allow nutrients to continue to flow up into your plant, while it forms roots from the outside of the stem. See the picture on the left below:

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Next, spread some rooting hormone on the bare stem.

Wrap your plastic around the bottom of the bare stem and secure with string or elastic.

Pack wet sphagnum moss into the pouch you have formed and secure the top with string or elastic (see right picture above)

Right around two months, I saw the first roots inside my ball of moss. Within three more weeks, the moss ball was full of roots!

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Once I started seeing roots, I did check the moisture level of the moss and add water every week or so.

When the roots are filling up the bag of moss, as shown in the last picture above, it’s time to cut off the new plant and plant it in soil. It helps to stake the new plant, as it is top heavy. Here’s how my new plant looked, when I first planted it – much bigger and healthier than the new plants you can get by cutting and rooting in water!

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A couple of months later, I passed this plant on to a friend as a housewarming present. As I was repotting, it I found that the roots had quickly grown to fill a large pot (see picture below)!

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I’m so excited to keep trying this technique for creating healthy new plants while keeping my jungle in check.  Here’s how my “mother” plant looked, hitting the ceiling, before I made a new plant from the top section.

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And here’s how it looks now, starting to come back into shape. You can see that a new bud formed where I cut off the new plant, and the branch is starting to grow back. I’m already working on air layering that back branch, so that will get trimmed off soon, too. My favorite stage of this plant was when the two big side branches arched together into a heart shape, so I am hoping to get back to that in a few weeks.

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Looking for more information on fiddle leaf figs? Check out these other posts:

If you have a big plant, I definitely recommend trying the air laying. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels that time is moving slowly being at home during the pandemic, and watching these new plants grow has been a silver lining.

Happy plant vibes!

Julie aka “Jewels”

 

 

 

 

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