Propagating succulents – by accident

A while ago, I posted about upcycling some hanging pots that we found in our garden – see here. The original pots were filled with succulents that I emptied out and replanted. I was a little rough in the process and a few bits and pieces broke off my succulents. I ignored them.

Then, a few weeks ago, Mae was playing in the garden with me, and being an observant two year old she noticed something that I hadn’t. “What are these little plants?” she asked me.

Lo and behold – I had accidentally propagated some succulents!

I have now planted them up in some little pots. I will let you know if they grow. I am kind of following this advice from Elise Blaha Cripe.

I hope they do grow as I have grand plans for a vertical garden to hang around our spa…

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Making fabric button earrings

Last week, after living in our new place since April, I finally cleaned up and sorted out my jewellery boxes (yes, there are more than one!). In doing this, I found that I had quite a few pairs of earrings where one was missing, that is, it really wasn’t a “pair” of earrings and needed to be tossed out. But then I felt like I needed more – I have a weird need for a lot of jewellery!_MG_3972

Rather than buy anything new, I decided to make some fabric button earrings. It was so fun, I ended up making 9 pairs and then 5 pairs of fabric covered hair ties for Mae and it only took a couple of hours.

Last Christmas, I made a heap of these to give out as gifts to Mae’s child care educators and for christmas presents. Such a fun, easy and mesmerising activity to do.

To make fabric button earrings/hair ties you need to buy a self-cover button tool which you can easily get online or at your local craft shop. I bought three – two different sizes for earrings and a larger one for the hair ties.

What you need:

  • self-cover button tool
  • fabric
  • buttons (they come in two parts – the round front and the back which is either flat or has a little hook on it depending on what you want to use it for – also easily available online)
  • glue (I used a brand called E6000)
  • scissors
  • something round you can trace around in the different sizes you want
  • Hair ties or earring poles and backs_MG_3969

The how to…

  1. Cut a circle of fabric that is slightly larger than the biggest piece of your button tool (normally the white or clear part). Cut a second circle, the same size and with the same fabric pattern._MG_3983
  2. Lay your fabric in the bottom part of your button tool (the clear part), you may need to push it into place with the front part of the tool (normally blue or red). Then push in the round part of your silver button in the same way._MG_3984
  3. Pull the edges of your fabric over the button, then add the button backing and using the top part of your button tool (the blue part) push the button backing into place._MG_3974
  4. Remove your button and ensure that all fabric is neatly caught between the two layers of your button.
  5. Either tie on an elastic hair tie, or add a dob of glue and stick your earring pole to the flat silver side of the button and leave to dry._MG_3970 _MG_3981
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
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Cheat’s tutu

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Mae is obsessed with dress ups at the moment. She is always asking if we want to play dress ups with her. And I know at child care she loves to try on the range of dress ups – and in particular loves the purple tutu that they have. So last week, I found myself at the fabric shop asking for help in choosing tulle for a tutu. Given I am not a girly girl, this is the last thing I could ever imagine myself making!

As the tutu was just for Mae to play with, I went with the EASIEST possible tutu making process, based on the advice of the lovely ladies at the fabric shop.

Even better – the tutu involved two items – tulle and elastic and NO sewing. I put the whole thing together in about 15 minutes… whoop whoop.

Mae loved it – and that is the most important thing.

What you need…

  • Tulle – I made mine 30 cm long so I bought 120cm of 150cm cm wide light purple and 60 cm of 150 cm wide dark purple tulle.
  • Elastic – I bought the one with holes in it – see pictures below._MG_3925

The how to…

  1. Fold your tulle so that it is 30 cm wide (i.e. the light purple tulle above will be folded in half, then in half again).
  2. Cut your tulle so that one end is open (the other end is “closed” – that is, it remains folded).
  3. Cut your tulle into 10cm wide strips (each strip will be 10cm x 60 cm).
  4. Cut your elastic so that it is 5 cm longer than your child’s waist.
  5. Starting about 5 cm in from one end, take each strip and thread it through a hole in your elastic, tying the piece of tulle in half. I did mine with one colour on each of three rows. When you get 5 cm from the other end, fold the elastic ends over each other with an overlap of about 2.5cm. Use the tulle through the holes in the elastic to join the two ends together._MG_3931 _MG_3938 _MG_3940
  6. That’s it! _MG_3941

 

 

 

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Mural redo – a “hanging” garden

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When we bought our new house it came with a very “special” mural beside the spa. This mural has caused much controversy. Is it cute? Is it hideous? Is it by someone famous (it does have a signature…)? Should we keep it?

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I have been wanting to paint over it since we got here and on the weekend, that is just what we did. And it looks so much better!

We painted over the mural in grey (with some left over paint we had in the garage). We were lucky that when we were tidying up our very over grown garden we also found a couple of staghorn ferns and so we decided to hang these on the wall._MG_3893

The next step will be to build a vertical garden (like this one) and hang it between the ferns, but this is a longer term project. Another long term project is to paint over all of the yellow paint in our backyard (and actually on our house!) in a much more modern colour.

What a difference a couple of small changes can make – doesn’t it look so much better? And so much more modern?!

And it really didn’t take that long… or really doesn’t need the instructions below but what the hell, it is my practice to always provide a “how to”!

What you need…

  • paint (and painting things like paintbrushes and painting tape)
  • staghorn ferns and something to hang them on (we used the existing wooden backing)
  • semi-circle nails
  • fishing wire
  • picture hangers

The how to…

  1. Wash down the wall to be painted and tape up anything you want to protect. Go nuts with your paint and quickly paint the wall where you want to hang your plants. You will probably need to do two coats._MG_3895
  2. Hammer in two semi-circular nails onto the top of each piece of wooden backing supporting your ferns._MG_3910
  3. Space your picture hangers where you would like them. Thread some fishing wire through the semi-circular nails to make a hanging device (we doubled up the threads, just in case)._MG_3906
  4. Hang your ferns and stand back and enjoy the more modern look!_MG_3913

 

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A winter forest

A few weeks ago, Pete and I had a childless weekend away in Lorne, Victoria. It was fabulous. We didn’t want to come home!

While there, we went up into the bush behind Lorne where I spotted these leaves, hanging on grimly through the cold cold days…

Such an amazing sight._MG_3837

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New York Baked Cheesecake

I made my second ever cheesecake this week. Probably not the healthiest thing to make when you have no visitors coming and you know that the three of you will need to eat it, but it was delicious!

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I was flicking through my Delicious – 5 of the Best cookbook looking for meals to make during the week. When, hurrah, it opened itself to the cheesecake section. And once I saw the cheesecakes, I couldn’t help but make one!

The second time around, making a cheesecake seemed so much easier. I am not sure if it is because I have become a better baker or if it is because the recipe was quick and easy (I suspect the latter) but this time round it was a breeze. This cheesecake also had a much better base than the one I made when I first started Little Ivy Blog (see here).

Pete apologises for the look of the cocoa on the top of the cheesecake, he didn’t realise I would be taking photos to post so just smashed some on. Doesn’t change the taste!

What you need…

  • 200g nice biscuits
  • 75g unsalted butter (melted)
  • 800g cream cheese
  • 190 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 300ml sour cream
  • cocoa powder to dust

The how to…

1) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease a springform pan. Then put two layers of foil around your springform pan. This is because the cheesecake will go in a water bath and it stops the water from leaching into the cake._MG_3868

2) Put your biscuits into a food processor and whiz until crushed. Pour into a bowl with the butter and mix well, then press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of your pan._MG_3870

3) Add the cream cheese, 170g sugar, eggs, yolk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and the lemon juice to the food processor and whiz until combined. You might want to let your cream cheese soften a bit before you do this step – I didn’t but I wished that I had!

4) Once the cream cheese mixture is smooth, pour it on top of the biscuit base in your pan._MG_3873

5) Place your pan in a large dish and make a water bath (filling the large pan with boiling water reaching about half way up the side of your pan). Bake for about 1 hour.

6) Beat together the sour cream, 20g sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until smooth and then pour it over your cake. Return your cake to the oven and bake for 10 minutes._MG_3874

7) Leave your cake to cool, then refrigerate for about 3-4 hours. When you are ready to serve, dust the top with your cocoa powder – Yum. (PS. we couldn’t wait for it to cool completely in the fridge and it was also pretty yummy warm!)._MG_3878 _MG_3879

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Hanging terrariums

This was such a fun project. And so ridiculously easy!
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I have been eyeing off hanging terrariums at local cafes for a while now and while at the nursery buying some seedlings the other day, I saw a bunch hanging in the window and couldn’t help myself, I bought two on a whim.

I brought them home, added the stones, air plants (what a weird concept!) and hangers and then decided I needed one more. As my mother says – never decorate with even numbers…

It took about 10 minutes to do, and then I got Pete to hang them from the ceiling with some heavy duty hooks. And I love them!

Air plants don’t require any soil to grow… so strange. And, they are very easy to look after. You can either take them out of the terrariums and dunk them in water for 10 -15 seconds, spray them with a water bottle or drop a small ice cube into the terrarium. I just now have to remember to keep watering them…

What do you think?

What you need…

  • air plants
  • glass containers
  • small stones (if you want or you can go without)
  • string (I used some macrame rope – more on that project soon)
  • hooks

The how to (do I even need this???)…

  1. Add your stones to your glass containers. Add your plants. (Be careful not to bang the glass containers together – I broke one by being a bit of a klutz.)_MG_3623
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  2. Thread some string through the top of the container and tie off.
  3. Insert the hanger into the ceiling according to the instructions on the packet.
  4. Hang your terrariums. Step back and admire!_MG_3734 _MG_3731

 

 

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