How to make a succulent container garden

How to make a succulent garden planter

Succulents are such hardy houseplants. I love the different varieties! I have a number of different plantings – both at work and at home. They’re easy to care for and come in so many different kinds of textures, shapes and sizes. 

Anyone can make a succulent garden. You don’t need a “green thumb” either!

Succulents are very cost-effective, too! I purchased everything for less than $30! It would have been cheaper if I had an available container at home for them, but I’ve propagated so many plants this winter, I’ve run out of extra containers!

For this planter, I chose four different succulents:

  • Senecio Serpens, aka “Blue Chalk Sticks”
  • Echeveria, aka “Black Prince”
  • Portulacaria afra variegata, aka “Elephant Plant” and not Crassula Perforata, aka “Necklace Vine” – as the plant info flag said
  • Plus, what I believe is part of the Sempervivum family

Supplies:

  • Container at least three-four inches deep (unless you are propagating)
  • Variety of succulents or cacti
  • Cactus soil mix*
  • Moss
  • Stones of varying sizes

* You can make your own mix by taking 1 part sand and 3 parts soil.

Making a succulent garden planter

See that dog cable in the photo? My dog, Beep, desperately wanted to be part of this blog post. She would not get out of the way and demanded I take her photo, too. 

Succulent Beep

Yes, she’s a diva.

Beep the Dog

To get started, add some small stones into your container. This is very important, as succulents require an environment that provides excellent draining.

How to Make a Succulent Garden Planter

Add your succulents one by one, making sure to break up the roots as you go. When you have all the succulents in the pot, fill in the open spots with the cactus soil or sand/soil mix.

Succulent Garden Fail

Whomp whomp. Whilst planting the succulents and adding the extra soil, I accidentally snapped off one of the leaves. I’m hoping to propagate it, but we will see what happens.

Once you have good soil cover, you can add decorative stones and moss. Give your succulents a couple days before you water them for the first time. This will help the plants establish their roots.

I’m pretty happy with how my succulent garden planter turned out!

Succulent garden planter

Caring for succulents

Most succulents require very little water. It’s okay to let the soil dry out completely between watering. I’ve found that watering them every 10 days or so works best. Succulents love sunlight, warmth and well-drained soil. Read more about caring for succulents at Go Garden Go.

Do you have succulents? What are your favorite varieties?

Dave’s BrewFarm

Last Sunday, Matt and I met a couple of friends at Dave’s BrewFarm in Wilson , WI. It is only about an hour from the Twin Cities…and I have to say it is a rad lil brewery.

Dave's BrewFarm

Dave’s BrewFarm is a brewery on a farm. It was a pretty awesome experience, as I have never been to a brewery with such a set up. Dave’s BrewFarm is a small brewery that promotes sustainable business practices and is even wind-powered. On top of that, Dave had some  great beer. He had 8 beers on tap, including a session, an IPA, a stout, a sour and a few others. They all had clever names too, however I forgot to write them down or take a picture of them, so you’ll have to take my word for it. With a lot of Dave’s beers he takes a classic beer and puts his own personal spin on it. Matt and I did a flight of all the taps, and I have to say I liked all of the beers. While we are easy to please, we know good beer when we taste it.

Matt and I were able to talk to Dave and his wife, Pam. They are some pretty awesome people. I always love talking to the owners of breweries and restaurants. Not only do you get a more personal experience, but it is nice knowing the people behind the business. Pam also runs a CSA from their farm, so some of the herbs and other ingredients that is put in their beer are grown right there on their land. 

Any day at a brewery is a good day, however it was beautiful Sunday. One of the first warm days of spring. It’s nice to get away from the city and enjoy the sunshine and fresh country air. I look forward to heading back to Dave’s BrewFarm soon.

Dave's BrewFarm

Oh, and the friends we met. Well, one of them is the chef and owner of The Gray House in Minneapolis. Let me tell you, if your chef friend offers to bring “snacks.” Always say yes. 

foodbrewfarm

TBT: The time we held a baby grizzly bear

TBT is adorable this week. We head back to 2009 when Amy and I went to the DeYoung Family Zoo with our parents. The DeYoung Family Zoo is in the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan. It is a really rad zoo that has natural habitats and some unique animals. They often take exotic animals that are unable to be kept by their previous owners. You also get to see the owners interact with a lot of the animals. Overall, it is a pretty awesome place.

bear cub em

You also are able to interact with some of their animals. I mean we got to hold a baby grizzly bear. Oh my goodness. So adorable. You should have seen this baby bear walk. 

bear sisters

I also got to play tug of war with a baby cougar. (It was less scary than it sounds.) Amy got to feed some llamas and zonkeys. Oh, and a camel got fresh with me. Good times. 

zoo

Gray Duck

The other day I came across this local chai called “Gray Duck Chai.” I will admit I bought this solely due to its name and the fact it was local. (Oh, and because I love chai tea.) 

Gray Duck Chai

So, unless you are from Minnesota or played “Duck, Duck, Goose” with someone from Minnesota, you probably won’t understand the name. Basically everywhere, but Minnesota, the childhood game is called “Duck, Duck, Goose.” However, in Minnesota it is called “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck.” Amy and I (and our brother) always were totally thrown off when we were playing with our Minnesotan cousins and they yelled “Gray Duck.”  This may or may not turned into long conversations about which version is “correct.” I continue to have this conversations with Minnesotans, as I’m a Sconnie living in Minnesota. Let me tell you, many Minnesotans are quite serious about this. If you don’t believe me, check this Buzzfeed article titled “You’ve Been Playing “Duck, Duck, Goose” Wrong your Whole Life.”

By the way, Gray Duck Chai is quite delicious! The company is awesome too. Gray Duck Chai is traditionally crafted and made with all organic and fair trade ingredients. It is really a quality chai that has a nice blend of spice that also comes in a rad bottle. Gray Duck Chai may just end up being one of my new addictions.

TBT: Easter 1992

The coldy and wintery weather in the Midwest this week reminds me of an Easter that had similar weather.

I give you Easter 1992.

Supersoakers Easter 1992b

As you can see, all of us kids got super soakers. As you can also see, it snowed that Easter. We made the best of a bad situation and still tried out our new rad super soakers. I mean how could you have a bad Easter when you have bangs like Amy and a jacket like me (or really a jacket like any of us kids). 

Side note: I am trying very hard to shoot that super soaker. 

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

 I don’t know about you, but I love oatmeal! I rarely have time during the work week to make it, so I try to make it on the weekends. I started making this because Emily often makes this Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal for breakfast when we visit. 

Making oatmeal from scratch is easy! I have both the quick oats and regular ones, but this weekend I decided to make the quick oats kind. You can buy them in bulk from most grocery stores! 

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal Ingredients

You’ll need quick oats, milk, agave nectar or honey, an apple, cinnamon and some shaved almonds.

Combine everything but the almonds in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the oatmeal thickens (just a couple minutes), serve with shaved almonds as a crunchy garnish.

Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal

I love making different varieties of oatmeal. I’m really looking forward to the farmers markets this summer for some fresh berries! I packed up the leftovers (this is enough for two people) and reheated it for breakfast the next day.

If you’re looking to increase your fiber intake, you could add some flax seed to the oatmeal as it cooks.

[yumprint-recipe id=’6′]

TBT: Tennessee

Today’s TBT brings us back to 1990. Amy was 7, and I was 4. We had taken a family vacation to the Smoky Mountains. I personally only have a few memories from this vacation. I remember camping, which we did on most of our family vacations. I remember hiking and noticing that the mountains were in fact smoky…which I am gathering is why they are named the Smoky Mountains (aren’t they clever).

Smokey Mountains

I would also like to point out the matching rompers that Amy and I had on…this happened quite a bit when we were younger. Oh, the days of actually being able to pull off a romper. I can guarantee you that you will not see Amy and I in rompers, let alone matching ones. However, I would totally rock Amy’s kicks. They are pretty rad.

Also, our brother, Andy, looks adorable. 

Happy TBT!

Becka’s Bridal Shower: Colorful Bunting Banner & Shower Games

And now for part two of Becka’s Bridal Shower…

As Amy mentioned Monday, we were recruited along with our mom to help with decorations, favors and games for our cousin’s bridal shower. Our centerpieces provided double duty as favors for guests.

We also wanted to have some kind of banner that Becka (who is a 3rd grade teacher) would be able to use in her classroom! Here are our Pinterest inspirations for the banners:

Source: ABannerAffair on Etsy
Source: ABannerAffair on Etsy
Source: lolaandcompany on Etsy
Source: lolaandcompany on Etsy

Supplies:

  • Chipboard
  • Solid colored card stock
  • Patterned scrapbooking paper
  • Sheets of burlap
  • Big letter stickers
  • Ribbon
  • Eyelets

Tools:

  • Self-healing mat
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Crop-A-Dile
  • Scissors

First, we cut triangles out of the chipboard. We covered them with the card stock, burlap and scrapbooking paper. We alternated yellow and orange patterned paper with card stock. Each letter sticker was backed with an alternating color of orange or yellow card stock.

Using the crop-a-dile, we punched holes in the triangles and then added eyelets.

Future Mrs. Bunting Bridal Shower Banner

While Amy came up with much of the design for the banner, mom did most of the execution! We’re pretty happy with how it turned out.

We also were in charge of games for the shower. We found this fun game called “Why do we do that?” The nerd in Emily really enjoyed this game. It was pretty fun thinking about the wedding traditions we have…and why we have them or the history behind them.

Emily retyped it using our favorite fonts:

why do we do that bridal shower game

You can download this game as a .pdf here

Here are the answers:

  1. Q
  2. N
  3. G
  4. E
  5. O
  6. M
  7. C
  8. R
  9. B
  10. A
  11. P
  12. J
  13. K
  14. F
  15. D
  16. I
  17. L
  18. H

The other game we played was bridal bingo. Emily also created this game and listed suggested items for bingo, using Becka’s registry for inspiration.

bridal bingo

You can download this editable .doc here.

These games went over pretty well with the crowd. Bridal Bingo kept many guests engaged during the gift opening, and who isn’t excited to yell “BINGO!”?

Burning Brothers Brewery

While National Beer Day was yesterday, we are going to booze it up today by highlighting a local brewery. I do have to say being gluten-free really poses some challenges for finding delicious craft beer. I personally feel much better when I stick to my GF lifestyle.  Beer is one thing that is hard for me to give up. I know, I know. There is GF beer out there, but much of it is just not the same as good, ol’ craft beer.

Living in Milwaukee, and now the Twin Cities, there are huge craft beer scenes. It is always a great afternoon when you spend it in the tap room of a local brewery. One problem, my favorite local breweries are not gluten-free. There are some that do have one GF beer, but overall it is pretty tricky. Or, I just love one of their non-GF beers, and I really would rather drink that. I do usually let myself have one glutenous beer a week. I am lucky in that I only have a gluten sensitivity, so I am able to make choices like this.  But a brand new brewery opened up in Saint Paul called Burning Brothers Brewery. And, guess what?! It is a completely gluten-free brewery. Yes, every single beer they make is gluten free.

The brewery founders used to be fire eaters, hence the name “Burning Brothers.” They were talking about starting their own brewery when one of them found out he had Celiac’s Disease. He took his home brewing background and decided to channel his new found GF lifestyle into this brewery. Together the brothers formed Burning Brothers Brewing, which also happens to be the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in the Midwest. Lucky for me, the brewery is only a mile from where I live in Saint Paul.

burning brothers

Burning Brothers Brewing has been distributing beer around the Twin Cities. I have been following them closely for when their tap room opened. And…this past weekend the time finally came! Matt and I headed over there this past Saturday afternoon. They had their Pyro beer on tap, and it was delicious.

Their Pyro is an American Pale Ale. The Burning Brothers describe the Pyro as :

An American twist on an English bitter, this light fruity beer is a drink that can be enjoyed at any time! We substitute the traditional English flavor with our own unique blend of American hops. Note the initial taste of orange followed by just a hint of grapefruit. Three years in the making, our APA stands strong against any other APA on the market. It’s a beer that looks good and delivers a crisp beer taste, enough said!” 

It was a tasty session beer that I can see myself enjoying all year long. I can’t tell it is GF, which is a good thing. I look forward to trying their other beers in the future. But in the mean time, I have my growler of Pyro, which will be refilled often.

growler burning brothers

Right now they are only distributing to the Twin Cities area. So if you are in the Twin Cities, make sure to check them out! 

Becka’s Bridal Shower: Mason Jar Centerpieces

Our cousin, Becka, is getting married in June. Emily, our Mom and I were recruited to help with decorations, favors and games for the shower.  Of course, Emily and I headed straight to Pinterest for inspiration. We wanted to find something that would provide double duty (both as decoration and favors for guests) and that would be easy to transport from Milwaukee to Minnesota for the shower.

We decided that some variation on the mason jar decorated vases would be best. Mom and I could decorate them here in Milwaukee, and then drive them to Minnesota where Emily would pick up flowers for them. Here are some photos we used for inspiration:

Source: http://lacomunapink.com
Source: http://lacomunapink.com
Source: BlusteryCharm on Etsy
Source: BlusteryCharm on Etsy
Source: PinKyJubb on Etsy
Source: PinKyJubb on Etsy

Supplies:

  • Glass jars of varying sizes (mason jars and other food jars work well)
  • Hot glue gun & extra glue sticks
  • Roll of burlap
  • Lace and ribbons of varying sizes/colors
  • Twine
  • Beads, rosettes and other small items
  • Fresh cut flowers

mason jars supplies

Luckily, Mom had a bunch of jars of varying sizes already, so we didn’t have to find any! We headed to Michael’s with some coupons and scoured the shelves for items that would work with Becka’s rustic theme and her color story of bright pink, yellow and orange. We got home and plugged in the hot glue gun. First step was gluing down the burlap. 

Jars getting started Then we added ribbons, rosettes, pearls and lace. The morning of the shower, we arranged the flowers and packed them up for the shower!  Mason Jar Decorated Bridal Shower Vases I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. The little crocheted doilies underneath the arrangements were just $1 at Michaels, and were perfect for the clusters of vases! I love that they were varied in size – it offered some nice dimension for the floral arrangements.  

Coming soon: A decorative banner and bridal shower games!