Mid-Century Dresser Makeover – How to Paint Laminate Furniture

Do you have a DIY bucket list? Finding a vintage dresser with mid-century details has been on my list for years, and finally, the perfect project came along! It started when I was browsing NextDoor and came across a dark … Continue reading

Anthropologie-Inspired Vintage Mirror Makeover

This project combines so many of my favorite things: vintage furniture (I have an extra weakness for chairs and mirrors), DIY, and Anthropologie! I’ll link to some of my other favorite mirror projects at the bottom of this post! I … Continue reading

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”

 

 

 

 

My Sunroom Home Office – with a Fabulous Vintage Find!

This post is brought to you by this weekend’s fabulous vintage find! If you know me, you know I love finding vintage furniture – it’s even better if it’s mid-century bamboo or rattan – and it’s best if it’s free! … Continue reading

Noodlehead Trail Totes

As I started making bags this spring, I have learned so much from Anna Graham’s patterns. My first bag was her 2-4-1 tote, and next, I discovered the trail tote pattern! Following these patterns taught me a lot about bag- making, and it has allowed me to try some of my own patterns, like the origami bento bags 1, 2, and 3, and panel tote.

I made the small size of this pattern, and I omitted the exterior zipper pocket, partly because I wanted to really feature the fabric, and partly because I am intimidated by zippers – but I have a feeling, I will learn somewhere along this bag-making adventure! This pattern did inspire me to make my own piping for the first time, so I am not a total wimp!

This is a free pattern available on the Robert Kaufman Fabrics website. I made it in two versions – from a gorgeous turquoise vintage kimono and a bespoke version for my friend Stephanie, who loves cartoon birds – a perfect fit for this cute fabric I had collected years ago!

Happy trails!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Slouchy Silk Origami Bag

This one goes out to the one I love
This one goes out to the one I’ve left behind
A simple prop to occupy my time
This one goes out to the one I love

-R.E.M.

Sewing has been a major outlet for my nervous energy while isolated at home, and it means a lot to be able to share some of these projects with my friends. It’s a special way to feel connected during a disconnected time. I was so excited by my first attempt at an origami bento bag, that I am experimenting with another version!

There are two main techniques for these bags- one uses two overlapping triangles and the other uses a long folded rectangle. This version is made from a long rectangle. I’ll try to put up a general post about the construction of these bags. For now, I will mention that I found it really helpful to make models of the pattern with scrap paper, to see how they fit together.

My friend Marta saw a big slouchy linen bag online that she really loved, so I decided to make my own version for her.

It’s a bit tricky to plan for the finished dimensions of this style of bag, because of all the angles, so for reference, I started with a rectangle that is 18″ x  53″ to create a bag with a finished size of 22.5″ wide, 11.5″ usable height for storage.

Here what you will need:

  • For the body of the bag, two rectangles of fabric. I used an olive green silk blend for the outside and a linen-weave heavy cotton for the lining. Both of these fabrics are actually cut from old curtain panels!
  • (For other sizes, the length of the rectangle should be 3 times the width when finished, i.e. accounting for seam allowances. *The pattern of your fabric will run in different on each panel of the bag, so pick a fabric which will work in multiple directions*)
  • For the strap cover, 5″x 15″ strap of fabric
  • For the inner part of the strap, 17″ strapping
  • Basic sewing supplies

Here’s How to Make It:

  • Place the two rectangles on top of each other, right sides facing
  • Pin and sew around the edge of the triangles, leaving a 4″ opening along a short side, for turning

 

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  • To add box corners, turn the bag inside out, mark the side and bottom of the bag with pins or chalktfold the corner – note that you cannot use the seam to find the bottom and side, the way you usually do. ** learn from my mistake!

 

  • Finish the strap by looping the long end of the strap through the slider, around the ring, and back up around the inner piece of the slider. Fold the finished end of the strap back on itself and stitch in place

And here’s the finished bag! So I can wear it around the house!

 

Cloth Face Masks 2.0

 

Mixed feelings seem to be the norm these days, so – I am both sad that we need to wear face masks, and happy that I can make them. Now that I have tried a few different variations, it’s gotten pretty quick and easy to put these masks together. They are a satisfying way to use small scraps of fabric, and several have been going out by mail or on the doorstep to my friends. I’ve gotten some lovely chocolate treats in return – it’s a great feeling, when people know you so well!

 

 

The original mask pattern I made is in a prior post. Now, I have made a few updates that I think make it more comfortable (nose dart) and practical (opening at the bottom, if you want to add additional filter material).

 

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cotton fabric – use a tightly-woven material, such as high thread count bed sheets or quilting cottons for better protection (two 8″ squares per mask)
  • 1/4″ wide elastic (12.5″ length per mask)
  • Cord for ties – I used spare shoelaces and some bias tape stitched closed (I yard per mask)
  • Basic sewing supplies
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Here’s how to do it:

  • Cut two 8″x8″ squares of cotton
  • Round the top slightly (see picture below)
  • Fold the mask in half vertically, with right side facing, and sew small darts at the top center of each piece. My darts are approximately 7/8″ wide and 2 1/4″ high (see picture below)
  • Zig-zag stitch along the bottom of each piece to stop the hem from fraying, because this side will be left open to insert optional filter material.
  • Place the two pieces right sides together and pin
  • In between the two layers, pin the elastic 3/8″ down from the top corners, careful not to twist and pin the ties 3/8” up from the bottom corners
  • Starting about 1.5″ from a bottom corner, stitch toward the corner and all around the edge of the mask with a 3/8″ seam allowance, ending about 1.5″ from the opposite bottom corner, leaving an opening in the center of the bottom. Backstitch at the beginning, ties, elastic, and end (see picture below)
  • Clip the corners, clip the top curve, and turn right side out
  • Iron the seams flat and top stitch around the edges
  • Pin two or three pleats
  • Stitch the two sides to secure the pleats

Here’s how I wear these masks and some of the fun fabric and color combinations I tried:

Hope that helps others who are sewing masks. Stay safe, friends!

Julie aka “Jewels”