Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees

I have been wanting a Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree for what seems like forever.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Remain Simple

These beautiful houseplants have been very trendy for some time now.  I think they are the perfect way to bring a natural element into your home and can add so much texture and height to a room.  I also think they also lend themselves to different interiors from modern to traditional to cottage.  See the range of homes they are used in below.

Fiddle Leaf Fig 4

Redmond Aldrich Design

Fiddle Leaf Fig 3

Simply Smitten

Fiddle Leaf Fig 8

Pinterest

Fiddle Leaf Fig 6

Lonny

Fiddle Leaf Fig 9 Houzz

Fiddle Leaf Fig 2 Better Homes and Gardens

They sell very small ones at Ikea but they are not like the tall ones featured above.  The are more of a bush-like shrub.  I am desperate to find a big boy!  I have heard they sell them at Home Depot and Lowe’s now, but I have not had success there.

Do you have a go-to house plant?  One you can keep alive??

If any of my Northern California readers know where to find a tall Fiddle Leaf Fig tree, please do tell!

Pool Time!

Help!  I am melting!  I don’t know about you, but where I live, it is like living on the sun right now.  On Monday, it was 106 degrees and yesterday it was supposed to cool off to a crisp 100 degrees.  All of this heat has me dreaming of a swimming pool.  The ironic thing is that my mother’s family actually owns a swimming pool company here in town.  Maybe one day, one of their amazing pools will be mine.  Until then, I will have the eye candy below to cool me down.

Pools AllisonBPhotography Alise Obrien 

pools design dump

 Pinterest

Pools House Beautiful House Beautiful

Pools Limestone and boxwoods

Pinterest Pools Mark D Sikes

 Mark D. Sikes

Pools Pinterest 2

 Pinterest

Pools veranda Veranda

pools rennefineberg

 Renee Finberg

Pools Pinterest 3 Renee Finberg

Pools Pinterest

Pinterest

Doesn’t it just make you want to take a dip??  How many of you out there are lucky enough to own a pool?  How often do you use it?  Do tell in the comments!

xo

Soaking Up The Sun: Sunrooms

The weather here in Northern California has been gorgeous these days!  I was driving the other day and saw a house that was for sale that had the most glorious sunroom.  I think the fact that it was vacant made the sunroom space look so open and airy.  You could literally see the sunlight bouncing off of every surface.

Alas, my current home does not have a sunroom (or playroom or gift wrapping room) or many other desirable extras, so I will have to live vicariously through the images bellow.  Although, as I write this, I am looking at my front windows and see about a hundred little fingerprints from my toddlers, so maybe a sunroom is best left for another phase in life!

The sunroom I drove past was very traditional like this one, but they can take on many different styles and adapt to different tastes.

sunroom 1

So, what about you?  Do you ever dream of sipping lemonade in a sunroom of your own?

DIY Aged Terra Cotta Pots

 

terra cotta 1

Simplicity in the South

Daylight savings time is upon us and I have an instantaneous urge to run out to the nursery and buy more plants and flowers than I can plant in one sitting!  I am a huge fan of terra cotta planters, but the high-end ones that look centuries old tend to be super expensive.  You can buy very inexpensive ones at box stores like the Home Depot, but they tend to look too new.  Over time, these pots whiten with age as a result of minerals leaching from the water.

I did a little research and what do you know . . . it is very easy to create the “weathered” look on your own.

Martha Stewart Aged Terra Cotta Pot

Martha Stewart

Here is what you do to create the look on your own:

MATERIALS:

  • Terra Cotta Pot(s)
  • Lime powder
  • Bristle brush
  • Medium-grit sand paper (about 150 grit)

STEP 1:  Mix 1 cup of lime powder into 2 cups of water until it takes on a thick consistency.  Paint a coat of the solution onto the pot.  For a natural look, apply it sparingly in some areas and generously in others.

STEP 2:  When the pot is coated and still wet, take a spray bottle of water on the “stream” setting and let some of the lime powder solution run off.

STEP 3:  Allow the pot to dry.  Use the sandpaper in a light pattern to create a gently mottled surface.

BOOM.  There you are in 3 easy steps.  Plant some lavender because you have just been transported to a patio in Provence!

If you have some Annie Sloan chalk paint on hand you can head over here for a tutorial on how to age terra cotta pots using chalk paint.

Stay tuned.  I plan to do a post on getting moss to grow on these beauties!

terra cotta moss

xo

Forcing Spring Branches: Tulip Trees

Tulip Tree

 

Come mid February, I am always so happy to see the buds on my tulip tree start to form.  At least where I live, they are one of the first flowering trees to bloom.  After a bleak winter, it is always so amazing to see beautiful blooms on the trees.

tulip tree 2

The blossoms on my tree are more open than most and look like these.

tulip tree 3

 

I once saw them in a Pottery Barn catalog arranged in a vase, so I was thinking about cutting some branches off my tree and forcing them to bloom inside.

Here are the steps you can follow to force any spring branches into bloom indoors:

  • CUT branches 12-24 inches long using sharp pruners.  Look for branches that have interesting curves.
  • A GOOD HAMMERING:  Use a hammer to gently mash the cut end of each branch.  This allows the branches to suck up plenty of moisture through the cut end.
  • A LONG SOAK:  Soaking the branches overnight in room temperature water helps them to break their dormancy.  Afterwards, bring the branches out of water, and let them drain by standing them upright in a bucket of water.
  • A COOL WAIT:  Place you bucket in a place that is cool, but has some sunlight.  Examine your branches every few days until you notice they are beginning to swell.
  • A WARM ROOM:  When color appears on the buds, it is time to arrange them in a vase.  Don’t wait until the blossoms are fully open.  Keep them in a warm room until the blossoms open and you have a lovely flower arrangement.
Have you ever forced branches indoors?  Was it a success or an epic fail?  What are your favorite spring branches to force.  
I am in the mood for a serious dose of Spring, so I can’t wait to see my blossoms bloom!
xoxo

 

 

 

How to Dry Hydrangeas

I am a huge fan of hydrangeas and love to have them in my garden and my home.  They are so simple, yet elegant.  You can make a big impact with just a few blooms.  I posted here about using them to bring a hint of nature indoors.

Hydrangea Veranda Veranda

There are 3 methods for drying hydrangeas, although it appears the method is not as important as when you cut the blooms!

According to experts, you should cut blooms as soon as they feel papery and less supple than they were earlier in the season.  This “papery” stage usually occurs 6 weeks after the blooms have opened.  However, I have always just cut blooms I thought were pretty and then dried them, so I personally don’t think it matters that much.

In fact, I feel that the color of the hydrangea mostly impacts how it dries and what color it ends up.  Unfortunately, I feel that my favorite, the white hydrangea, dries the worst.  I find that they tend to dry brown.

The 3 methods to dry them once they are cut are as follows:

  • The Easy Method (Upside Down Method):  Take the blooms and hang them upside down in dry place such as an attic or garage.  I find when you use this method, the blooms dry a bit more brittle than using the water drying method below.
  • The Super Easy Method (Water Drying Method):  Take the blooms and remove all of the leaves.  Place them in a vase full of water in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.  Let the water evaporate.  I have dried hydrangeas on accident using this method.  Did I forget to change the water in that vase?  Whoops!
  • The Effort Method (Silica Gel Method):  This method requires drying the blooms using silica gel.  I am hesitant to even mention this method because it requires so much more work, but it results in slightly more vivid blooms.
  • Step 1:  Place bloom upside down in a container of silica gel.  Hold the flower above the silica and sift silica around the head of the blossom.  When about an inch of silica is holding the flower in place, you can release the bloom.
  • Step 2:  Work the silica into the center of the bloom and under all of the petals.
  • Step 3:  Secure the container with a lid and let the bloom sit in the gel.  Wait 4 days and remove the preserved bloom.

Once dried, they can last indoors indefinitely.  Hyrangeas are the kind of flowers that practically dry themselves, so I recommend the “Lazy” Method as it is almost foolproof.

I think dried hydrangeas are a nice way to have flowers in the winter when fewer flowers are in bloom.  I try to only do one arrangement, like the simple one below, because too many can look too cutesy and cottage-y

bhg hydrangeas 2

Better Homes and Gardens August 2013

This might feel like drying your prom corsage (anyone else do that??), but I promise the results will be stunning and brighten your home!

Have you ever tried drying flowers?  A variety other than hydrangeas?  If so, please tell me in the comments!