Saturday, August 31, 2013

The King is in the House...errrr...the Garden!

The king has arrived.

King Tut Papyrus. It is my kind of plant. It is easy. It holds the graceful movement of a ballet dancer as it blows in the breeze but it also screams Dr. Seuss to and whimsical.

You just can't go wrong here folks. Well, actually I guess maybe you could go wrong. Here's how to go right with Papyrus:

  • Papyrus likes...err...loves water. In fact, you can even plant it in water containers. I have mine in a container on a balcony but I've plugged the drain holes in the said container.
  • Papyrus also likes sun. Keep in a sunny to partly shady spot.
  • Expect King Tut Papyrus to grow up and get big pretty quick. This is no itsy bitsy...this is the real deal and it can grow up to 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Mine doubled in size in the last 4 months and is now 4ish feet tall.

King Tut is a dwarf version of Cyperus Papyrus. While it is a perennial...if you're planting it in a container you should bring this green baby inside for the winter and setup a home for it where it can still get plenty of water.

I love the look of papyrus in containers. I also like to add a draping plant as surrounding cover. In this pot I used Vinca Vine to get that draping look. But Potato Vine or other vines would be nice additions. Or, if you're looking for color, Papyrus is nice because it has a hearty top but provides enough room right at the soil for other planting.

Have you planted Papyrus in the past or do you plan to in the future? I'd love to know what you think of it and what you paired/plan to pair it with.

Friday, August 30, 2013

California Dreaming

One week ago I was hopping off a plane in San Francisco to enjoy a long weekend with friends. Wow, was it a good time. If you haven't been or if you're looking for some things to get are some of my favorites...

First, Greens is always on my list. The view alone is worth it but the food is fantastic! As a veggie, I couldn't be happier at this place. Healthy nutritious food that tastes out of this world!

Next, my hubby and I decided to rent bikes to bike over the Golden Gate. It was fun, green, and a bum buster. I would totally do it again!

The Ferry Building Farmer's Market is a must. Organic peaches were everywhere and the perfect mid morning snack.

At the market I fell in love with this plant and luckily my friend Ashley gave it a new home to appease me. I promised to help her keep it alive with advice through photos. t looks good right?

On the last night we took the Bart out of the city and stayed with friends in Vacaville. April, a childhood friend, had the most beautiful rose bushes and fruit trees. I am in complete envy of those yummy shake making fruit yielding trees! When we woke up in the morning she snipped a few blooms...a perfect last scene that morning before heading home to Chicago!

This Labor Day weekend I'll be enjoying some downtime at home and working on some new projects. What will you be doing? Happy Friday! xoxo

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Succulent + Driftwood Sculpture

Learning is right up my alley. Seriously, give me something new to naw on and I am a pig in you know what. That's why when I found out about Sprout Home Chicago classes, I was real happy. I've taken many of the classes now (although I missed urban bee keeping because I decided I didn't want to keep bees on a patio in a high-rise) and so I was inspired to make this baby.

This started when I happened upon some driftwood. Not just any driftwood, but a real beauty, from a pet supply store that was going out of business. I instantly had a vision for a sculpture-esqe piece and knew exactly where it would fit in my place. I purchased succulents from Sprout and already had a supply of dirt for succulents and of moss from other projects. I've bought moss online at Moss Acres although for a small project like this you can likely buy it from a local shop near you. 

I called around to welding shops in chicago and found Armitage Welding. What a joy they were. I made a drawing of my vision for the metal base and they went to work on building it. I wasn't sure that it was going to work and get this, they even called me a few days after I picked it up to check to see if it worked -- how nice is that!!!??? I could have painted the base but decided it is beautiful as-is.

I very carefully drilled holes in the back of the driftwood and then screwed the steel plate to the wood. I was a little worried that my design wouldn't hold up the weight of the wood, but it worked!

Next I planted the succulents very carefully in the biggest opening in the driftwood and then surrounded the plantings with moss to try to hold everything in place. Moss is amazing if you ask me.

That's it. I water it about once every week and because of the vertical nature of it, I concocted up a system where I put a bag at the end of the driftwood to catch access water so that it doesn't pool up on the floor. So far so good. I also use a spray bottle and lightly spray everything a couple times a week (especially the moss as it likes the spray bath A LOT!)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Whole Juice Smoothie - Kale + Kiwi + Pear

A few months ago I made a smart purchase. A change your life hot damn kind of purchase. I bought a Blendtec. The "Will it blend?" one. And I am here to tell you YES, yes it will blend. :) Here is one of many juice/smoothie recipes to come...

Add to Blendtec Wildside jar in order:
1/2 c. 0% Greek Yogurt
2ish tablespoons of agua
1 tablespoon agave (you can skip this if you aren't a super sweet tooth like me :) )
A few mint leaves
2 small kiwis
1 pear (I used a ripe Bartlett)
1 stalk of kale (I like Red Russian too)

Blend all on smoothie setting.

Yum. xoxo

Paint Party

Yesterday we painted trim in our condo. Oh my wet paint is no friend of mine. I am a mover and wet paint scares me. But, I was given a nice opportunity to learn more about it. We went with a durable Benjamin Moore zero VOC paint.

Why does zero VOC paint matter?...well I'll give you the skinny.... VOC stands for volatile organic compound. It's gas that comes from stuff. Formaldehyde is one of the best known VOCs...I think you get the picture. We're talking chemicals here. And some of these can cause a variety of health effects...not exactly how I want my paint to effect my life. So, we went with this zero VOC.

Here's a first look at the finished product.

Have you found other products that you can buy zero VOC?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Green-ing up this place

I am failure at green.

I eat more 100 calorie mini oreo cookie packs with coffee than anything with even a slight hue of green. I am a vegetarian, making the previous comment ridiculous. I don't cook... at all...and so my husband (who is not a vegetarian) is left to a) fend for himself (which means he eats cottage cheese, popcorn, deli meat, and maybe an apple for dinner) or b) I make him eggs (which he calls a "hot dinner" and thanks me profusely for). I am really into fitness. I run. I lift weights. I teach fitness classes and love inspiring people to find a love for fitness. Because these two things, one being I don't eat well, and two being I am a fitness nut, don't go together, I've decided to get my booty in gear and green this place up...

Green eating. (I am jumping on the veggie train and I am not looking back at those deliciously perfect little circles of chocolate cookieness and creamy filling. NOT LOOKING BACK.)

Green-er living (I don't recycle...say WHAAAAT? you're's a deep dark secret that I've just let you in on. Plus I love plants and I am committing to making more time to add them to my home.)

So that's it. I'm going to green this place up and I hope you'll join me. Along the way I'll post photos, recipes, examples, DIYs, and more.