Monday, October 31, 2011

DIY: Terrarium Tutorial

Succulent terrariums are so easy to maintain and just as easy to make. They hardly need any water or attention to thrive, just a sunny windowsill. Here's my simple how-to:

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium:

Before you begin, select your container. You can use something as simple as a mason jar or glass bowl, which you may already have laying around the house. For more traditional terrarium vessels, you can find them at floral shops or specialty stores. The one I'm using here is from Terrain, which offers an amazing selection.


•  Glass container with wide opening
•  Selection of succulents
•  Gravel or Pebbles
•  Charcoal
•  Cactus Soil Mix
•  Spoon or Mini Shovel
•  Newspaper, for easy cleanup

1.  Choose your succulents. Select plants that vary in height, color and texture. I bought a couple extra so that I would have options once I started arranging.

2.  Place a layer of gravel or pebbles on the bottom of container; this provides drainage.

3.  Place a layer of charcoal over the pebbles; this helps control moisture.

4.  Place a layer of Cactus Soil Mix, a fast-draining soil that retains little moisture.
5.  Arrange Plants. Remove plants from pots, gently tap off extra soil and place roots in the new soil. Be careful not too over-handle. Succulents have very delicate leaves that fall off easily when touched.

6.  Admire your creation! Place your terrarium in direct sunlight every day for at least five or six hours. Water once every two weeks. The water should freely drain to the bottom. After watering, there should not be more than an inch of water visible in the gravel at the bottom.

* Optional: Place a layer of sand or pebbles on the top layer of soil for a finishing touch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kitchen Aids

For Jess' birthday I wanted to give her something with both form and function. I went back to Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter for inspiration (who, by the way, I am collaborating with at Fishs Eddy!). After some deliberation, I decided to make her an apron and potholder using Kokka Canvas Ticking as my main fabric. Jess is the ultimate hostess and decorator so when she's not using them, I can imagine them hanging nicely in her kitchen.

Lotta noted that this is one apron you won't want to take off after your work in the kitchen is done. She wasn't kidding! I had a hard time parting with it after the photo shoot, but I'm happy when I think of Jess on a Sunday afternoon, going about her domesticities in style.

* Thanks to Silka for taking these great shots!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Field Trip: Terrain at Styer's

It's always a good feeling when you can finally put a face to a name. That's how it felt when I visited Terrain with my mom and Rachel for my birthday this past weekend. Because there's only one store (located in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania) I have only ever shopped with them online. I can say now that the experience is a whole lot better in person.

As soon as we pulled into the driveway we knew the two-hour drive (plus traffic) had been well worth the trip. Pumpkins, flowers, and a plethora of seasonal plants awaited us, and that was just the parking lot.

The shop itself consists of sprawling adjoined rooms, with each nook devoted to a different category: canning, terrarium, kitchen, bath, tabletop. The use of skylights and natural materials made it hard to tell where the outdoor ended and the indoor began. We looked at each other with wide eyes and broad smiles each feeling the same inspiration overload, which is never a bad thing if you have the time to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New & Improved

I paired my special finds from Liberty of London with fabric from Purl Soho, and sewed a nifty shoulder bag that holds just the right amount of things I need-- the things I actually need.

When I was living in Park Slope I bought a very similar bag from Nest, which is sadly no longer there. Jess has the same one. We both were smitten with the illustration on the fabric by Japanese artist Shinzi Katoh. Unfortunately, I hardly ever use mine due to the fact that the handles are white (not very practical for an artist) and there is only one small pocket inside.

So on my version I sewed mutliple pockets into the lining: one for my iPhone, one for my mini planner, one for my keys and the two for a pen & pencil. I added natural colored handles to camouflage day-to-day dirt and to pull out the warm tones in the floral printed lining. Happily, I found a use for the fabric-covered button I picked up in London, though I think a zipper would have been more practical. All in all it has been my favorite new accessory this fall.