We returned from our vacation with quite a few seashells that we collected on the beach. Today on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, I’m sharing a project for remembering your vacation while also storing your souvenir treasures.
This weekend I attended a class on vertical succulent gardening at the Dallas Arboretum. I don’t think I would have figured out how to create a structure strong enough to support sideways plants and soil, so I was pretty excited to have an expert walk me through step-by-step. And I haven’t yet installed my garden along a wall, but when I turn it sideways, it seems to stay in place pretty well.
We started with the following materials:
- Wooden Frame (our instructor made his own out of fence wood)
- Flat piece of wood cut to the size of your frame
- Plastic fence netting (I’ve also seen chicken wire used)
- Black mesh fabric
- Staple gun
- Light soil suitable for succulents (our instructed recommended this soil mixed with crushed shells)
- Succulent plants
Here are the steps we followed:
Step 1: To create a strong framework, we cut the plastic netting and black mesh into rectangles that were slightly larger than the size of our frames. We pressed the plastic netting into the frame and stapled it along the inside of the frame; we repeated this step with the mesh fabric and trimmed both so that there wasn’t any extra coming out of the frame.
Step 2: Fill the frame with soil. We used a mix of lightweight soil and crushed shells. While sand is often mixed into soil for succulents, our instructor cautioned against this because it adds extra weight to the structure.
Step 3: Secure the flat piece of wood to the frame using screws.
Step 4: Once the framework was complete, we selected our succulents and arranged our design by setting the plants on top of the grid before we started planting.
Step 5: To plant each succulent, we cut a small square out of the netting and mesh – cutting an almost 2-inch square per 3 inch plant. Inserting each plant into the grid was the hardest part. We had to push all of the soil in the frame out of the way and then push the plant in, using a pencil to help push the base of the plant further into the soil.
This is my final garden:
I’ve been working on Jenna’s closet for an upcoming post on Modern Parents, Messy Kids, and one of the items in need of an update was her mirror. It’s a basic, tall, white-framed mirror that we most likely purchased at Target or IKEA years ago. It’s held up pretty well, but it just didn’t fit the girly look I was going for.
My solution: add a border of paper half circles to create a scalloped frame.
Here’s how I did it. For a more sturdy and permanent solution, you could also use balsam wood circles (found at many craft stores) painted in any color.
This weekend I made a really simple paper garland to serve as a backdrop for a cookie party.
I started by creating a large batch of paper circles using a 3-inch paper punch.
To make each paper ornament, I folded the circles in half and glued the halves together, using 5 circles for each ornament (4 to 6 circles work the best).
I left one side of the ornament unglued until all of the paper ornaments were created. Then, I attached the ornaments to twine by gluing the twine inside of the remaining two sides.
And once the garland was complete, I placed in along our kitchen windows, behind the table where I’ll set up the cookie display.
Buzzfeed recently asked me to participate in their DIY craft series. I was thrilled to be invited but also a bit intimidated. I’m crafty in a glitter and glue gun sort of way, but the theme was Lightbulbs. Eek. Luckily, my husband knows his way around Radio Shack and was willing to dedicate quite a bit of time to creating battery-powered lights to make my lightbulb centerpiece idea see the light of day. Thank you, Joe. I could never have done this one without you.
So check out 3 Things to Do with Old Lightbulbs for details on my project above, along with a few other crafty ideas for putting old lightbulbs to use.
My children don’t actually understand the rules of dominoes, but they love aligning the little pieces in all sorts of configurations and carefully stacking them sideways only to knock them down in a quick procession. This year, I made a set of Valentine’s themed dominoes using small rectangular pieces of wood purchased at the craft store and paper-punched heart shapes.
This time of year, I always start to crave greenery. Winter has just taken hold in Texas, and I’m already wishing for Spring. My response is usually to buy indoor plants, something I’ve done in full force this year. I also added a new terra cotta planter to our growing collection of containers, and over the weekend I painted it white and added a large gold heart. Now I’m ready for Spring and Valentine’s Day.
P.S. Just one more scene of green from our house:
I’ve been seeing all sorts of hand-drawn dishes popping up on Pinterest lately. Using no more than Sharpie markers and plain dinnerware, it seems you can create gorgeous designs. I love the look of these – and the idea of Jenna designing her own set of dishes – but was a little skeptical about how well the markers would work. We tried it out this weekend, and the results are pretty awesome. I think I might need to run to Ikea soon to buy more inexpensive china.
We each drew our our designs on the plates. For me, it was a little intimidating to get started. I don’t draw very well and there’s little possibility for correction with the markers. I tried to wipe off an area that I wanted to redo, but the color didn’t budge. It seemed to dry immediately. I later discovered that the color doesn’t hold up very well in the dishwasher, so if you end up with a design you don’t like, just wash the dish in the dishwasher instead of baking it in the oven and it will likely come off entirely.
Once we were finished with our drawings, we baked the dishes in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and let everything cool in the oven before removing.
This was a ton of fun for both Jenna and me and the markers worked really well. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to hold up in the dishwasher. I tried washing them in the dishwasher and the design of one plate was perfectly intact, while another disappeared entirely. For now, I’ll probably hand-wash them.
I think our designs are pretty adorable and would work great as teacher gifts and Valentine’s Day gifts. I also think I might try this as a children’s activity during our next dinner party.
Oh, and Jenna loves eating from her Jenna plate: