Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tillandsia Terrarium

Tillandsia have been sprouting up everywhere: in magazines, websites, and now stores! I've been secretly harboring a need-to-buy-crush since I first spied them way back when, so when Justin and I were out enjoying a beautifully-weathered evening a few fortnights ago (I'm reading Jane Eyre right now so pardon the ye olde English) and came across an abundance of them at The Mossy Twig, I had to snag some surprisingly affordable sprouts (six for $30!). Fortunately, for more than just us, this venture coincided with the recent engagement of our friends so I nabbed an extra to use in a quick'n'easy engagement present.

Tillandsia, better known as air plants, is "a genus of around 540 species in the Bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae), found in the forests, mountains, and deserts, of Central and South America, and Mexico and the southern United States in North America. The thinner-leafed varieties grow in rainy areas and the thick-leafed varieties in areas more subject to drought. Moisture and nutrients are gathered from the air (dust, decaying leaves and insect matter) through structures on the leaves called trichomes. Tillandsia species are epiphytes (also called aerophytes or air plants)—they normally grow without soil while attached to other plants. Epiphytes are not parasitic, depending on the host only for support." (Thank you Wikipedia.)

According to the associate at The Mossy Twig and proven over the past few weeks, to care for my air plants all I have to do is soak them in water once a week for about 10 minutes. Then before putting them back in their soil-less and water-less containers, shake them free of excess water. They do not do well with direct light but enjoy filtered light. If the ends begin to dry out, they aren't receiving enough water and if they appear soggy, they are getting too much water. Pretty simple, no?

Upon returning home from our weeknight out, I learned that not only was I drawn to these unique plants, our cats and their crunch-desiring appetites are too. Through a quick google search I found that "Tillandsias are NOT toxic to animals—although this does not mean your pet won't eat them, but they will survive the experience, your plant might not." Therefore I knew I was going to have to find containers that would completely enclose each plant, which wasn't a bad thing since my plan was to create little terrariums with them anyways.

I wasn't sure how many containers I would need but I did want them to be clear glass and clean-lined shapes so the next day's lunch hour was devoted to perusing my favorite closest thrift store where I found several containers that would do but only three that I left with—all for a whopping $6. After work I sidled up to our kitchen table with nothing more than the air plants, freshly washed glass containers, and some river rock that I have on hand for filling flower vases when needed.

(Look at Harley trying to sneak up and attack.)

In just a few minutes, I had arranged several terrariums. I even had to dig in my decor cabinet to pull out two more vases because when I was shopping for containers my memory underestimated the size of the plants and I clearly needed more.

First I laid down a layer of river rock, then I placed the air plant inside and called it a day! Nothing could have been easier and look at how simply beautiful they are.

To add another layer of texture, I tossed in some twigs I picked up outside my office. I think they especially work well with this leggy number.

So for a grand total of $36, I created five tillandsia terrariums, making each arrangement $6. This definitely is a winning project.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy Weekend

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sans Serif

Happy weekend! This video clip from the tv show "The Middle" will definitely tickle a typographer's fancy. Check it out!

(All images are stills from the YouTube video.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Paint Chip Art

A few weeks ago, a couple bloggers (Sherry from Young House Love, Katie from Bower Power, Lana from Make A House A Home, and Emily from Style By Emily Henderson) challenged each other to create something inspired by a pin on their Pinterest board. They aptly dubbed it the "Pinterest Challenge: Summer Edition" and invited everyone else on the world wide web to play as well.

Well, this occurred during a weekend that I was completely swamped (I think I was throwing my garage sale, having a small get-together, and competing in another triathlon) but I was excited to jump on board for the following week. Much to my sadness, however, this Pinterest Challenge was only a one-week stint, so when I was stretching my fingers, reading to post about my follow-up Pinterest project, the blog-o-sphere was crickets. Nevertheless, my spirit wasn't crushed for good and I forged ahead creating a piece of art for our newly hung frame gallery inspired by one of my own pinterests.

When I saw this easy-peasy project from Jessica at How About Orange, I swung into the nearest store selling paint on my lunch break and selected an assortment of swatches.

Although I love the pattern Jessica created, I had to make mine different and decided on laying strips of the colors diagonally. To achieve the look I wanted, I first cut the swatches into 1" strips.

Then I started arranging them, and as I was playing with the color balance, I decided to cut the ends of the strips at a 45ยบ angle to add some interest to the otherwise boring strips. To keep the strips in place, I used some double-sided tape and trimmed to fit in my frame.

While I was working on this little diddy, Justin kept razzing me for playing around with paint chips, scissors, and tape but once he saw my piece hanging on the wall, those jabs stopped and he was impressed by how professional it looks.

Please do your best from the surrounding empty frames as you oogle my masterpiece. I think it's a great addition to the wall and I can't wait to share what I pop in the other frames.

(Not surprisingly, paint-chip art has been a-buzz across the interweb since it's nearly entirely free to make and easily customized. Check out Young House Love's success and One Project Closer's self-admitted fail.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman

That's right folks, Superman is in da hood. In fact, only about five minutes from our casa.

Photo from here.

Rumblings about this hollywood venture near and around our town began early this year and have continued throughout the summer. A neighboring town's city center has even been taken over with construction and filming of the new comic book flick but when Justin got home last Thursday and said "I want to show you something and you're going to want your camera," I never would have thought I'd be paparazaing-it just a few blinks from our front door.

This homely structure was built for the movie and is going to be used as Clark Kent's childhood home in Superman: Man of Steel due out in 2013.

Some heavy hitters such as Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner have also been spotted jaunting around hitting up Starbucks and Whole Foods. I guess I'm going to have to make sure not to go to Target in my sweats anymore in case I run into one of those studs.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Stairway to Frames

Do you remember this post of yesteryear? It unveiled the painting transformation of our grandeous entryway and included these two photos of our barey-bare-bare staircase.

Well, I'm pleased to inform you that this staircase got its groove on.

I tackled the wall while Justin was frolicking in Australia for six weeks and aside from the missing artwork, we absolutely love it.

A few years ago I started slowly accumulating frames from thrift stores and garage sales after falling in love with framed galleries, especially in a stairway. (Cue these images from past posts.)

From this post.

From this post.

From this post.

However, after taking inventory of my stash recently, I realized I didn't like 1/2 of the frames I had been hoarding  (see a prelim arrangement from a year ago here). With that frustration and my intense desire to have this project done (and to get oodles of frames out of a guest closet), I took to my computer and started messing around with several arrangements. Strict grid? All one size? Mix of two sizes? Different colors? Various sizes and colors? I tried them all.

When it came down to it, I preferred the Tetris nature of the varied frame sizes and knew using all white frames would unify the arrangement. In my quest to find the most affordable frames, I checked out Target, Walmart, Ikea, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and I think even Kohls, but Ikea was the victor because of price and size selection.

Before I dove right in hammering holes in the wall, I copied this approach and taped up paper "frames" to perfect my spacing. Then I measured where the hanger was on the back of each frame and tapped a nail through that spot on the paper template. Last, I tore the nailed paper frame off the wall and replaced it with the real deal. Pretty sweet, don't you think?

I already have tons of DIY art ideas for the frames (thank you pintrest) but am lucky enough to start out with this beautiful photo of Chicago by Dan Dry...

and this large typographic piece I created my sophomore year of college.

One of the best aspects about this project is the transformative power it had in our front entry. Now whenever a newbie enters our house a wow is generally uttered—even from the cable guy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Patch Wood Holes

First let me apologize for the horrible before and progress photos. This post has been in the making for a while but I had yet to take after photos until a few days ago so I'm finally getting around to finishing it.

Nearly two years ago I turned this TV bridge into a sideboard for our dining room. I removed the glass shelves and now use the cubbies to house wine racks and square storage baskets. However, the ghosts of shelves past left holes in the wood. The holes didn't bother me too much but I wanted to test my handy-woman skills by figuring out how to mask them without consulting Mr. Google. Fortunately I had an inkling it would be really similar to patching a small hole in a wall and I was right on the money.

First I gathered the tools I thought I would need. 1. Wood Filler. 2. Putty knife. 3. A sanding block. (4. Paint—not pictured.)

I used the putty knife to scrape some wood filler into and over each hole.

After allowing to dry, I sanded the heck outta that thing.

I repeated the filler/sand steps one more time until I was happy with the fill and smoothness of the holes.

To finish 'er off, I touched up the spots with the same white paint I used to repurpose the piece.

And restocked.

Now, no one's the wiser that there used to be shelves there, well, except for you of course!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3 Cheers for 3 Years!

Today is our third wedding anniversary—woo to the hoo!

Since we have another triathlon this weekend, we started our morning right with a quick 3-mile run. Lately it has been difficult to climb out of bed to hit the pavement but today Justin bribed me by saying I could have my gift this morning instead of tonight but only after we finished the run, so when my alarm went off I only hit the snooze button once...ok maybe twice.

Once back, and completely drenched with sweat mind you, he handed it over gave me my present—the Louis Vuitton Neverfull—and I about peed my pants from elation.

I've been dying for this one-size-fits all bag for at least a year and every time I got close to forking over the dough, I would change my mind and spend the money on something we needed (the repairs for our air conditioner, the repairs on our Jetta, the hardwood floors, etc.). Nonetheless, my husband probably got so sick of my longing comments that he bought it himself is the bestest.

What I love about this bag is that it is so large it can carry my purse contents, lunch and snacks, as well as my laptop and other necessities I'll need to have on hand once the fall semester starts. Buh-bye carrying around multiple bags!

Anywho, once I was finished with my so-happy-I-look-like-I-have-to-pee dance, I made Justin his present. I'll be the first to admit that it doesn't live up to a LV bag but I'm sure your taste buds and most men might disagree. Recently I came across a deliciously-enticing recipe on the Picky Palate for (get this) cinnamon roll sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting. Since the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, I immediately knew I had found our anniversary day breakfast.

If you follow the recipe you could probably pull these off in a couple hours, including chilling time, but I knew I wanted them hot this morning so I made up the dough last night, readying them for the oven in the morning. Jenny from Picky Palate recommends chilling them in the fridge before devouring but we enjoyed them hot from the oven and they were divine.

Later this evening we will continue celebrating by stuffing our faces with more good food at Shinto, a local Japanese steak and sushi house. Cheers!
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