I have a problem

One of my favorite things to do each year is attend the Bay View Garden and Yard Society (BVGAYS) Annual Plant Sale. They always have a great selection of local vendors and the plants – oh they are so much healthier and happier than plants you’ll find at Home Depot or Menards.

I was excited that one of my favorites, Tiger Lily Garden Market, was there again! They are one of my favorite places to find healthy, well cared for succulents in the Milwaukee area. Of course, I am always “rescuing” succulents from other places. But, Tiger Lilly just has a great selection. I mean, look at these beauties!

allthesucculents

I got a bunch of new succulents, because, obviously, I have a problem.

tigerlilysucculents

I got a pot of sedum rubrotinctum aka “Aurora,” crassula radicans aka “large red stonecrop,” pachyphytum bracteosum, Aloe variegata aka “Gator” and crassula perforata. Oh and I finally have a living stone!

Lithops aka "Living Stones"
Lithops aka “Living Stones”

Isn’t it funny looking? I’ve been wanting one of these for awhile, and I’m glad I finally have one! I’m excited to watch it bloom and then grow new leaves this fall/winter when it goes dormant.

After seeing all my succulent posts on Instagram, my mom asked me if I would arrange a succulent planter for her.

momsucculents

I combined sempervivum, aeonium aka “kiwi,” kalanchoe thyrsiflora aka “flap jacks,” senecio talinoids mandralis aka “blue” and echeveria aka “perle von numberg.” I used a large, shallow terra cotta pot and finished it off with river stones.

Because of my succulent addiction, I of course had to make one of my own with my new succulents. 

terracottaplanter

As I was planting my new friends, I found that the aloe plant had started a li’l pup!

babyaloe

At first, I also included some sempervivum, but then today I moved them and added crassula capitella aka “campfire plant” and kalanchoe luciae aka “flapjacks.”

update

I planted the large red stonecrop in an antique teapot.

Crassula Radicans aka "Large Red Stonecrop"
Crassula Radicans aka “Large Red Stonecrop”

Yes, I have a problem. You see, today, I put together this pot with three varieties of sempervivum aka “hen and chicks.”

terracottahenchicks

Before I leave you and put the kabosh on purchasing any new succulents for awhile, I’ll share an update on my propagation efforts. Finally, after 2+ weeks, we have itty bitty pink roots beginning to emerge!

propagation2week

Twins

This weekend, our cousin Maggie graduated from high school. Since the festivities were in Minnesota, I made the trek up to spend some time with Emily!

Imagine my surprise when we got to the hotel after Maggie’s party and I saw the dress Emily had brought for the graduation ceremony.

We started laughing hysterically. Of course, we’d be all matchy-matchy.

twins2

I am wearing this colorblocked piped trim a-line dress from eShakti. Emily is wearing the Banana Republic Milly Collection Blue/White Colorblock Pleated Maxi Dress.

twinsies

matching twins

BTW, have you tried eShakti? I have purchased soooo many dresses from them! Look for a blog post soon!  If you haven’t tried eShakti, shoot me an email (amykant-at-gmail.com) and I’ll send you an invite where you can save $35 off your first purchase!

Succulent Sunday: Checking in

Graptosedum

It’s been 12 days since I started the succulent propagation project.

So far, the Graptosedum (Vera Higgins) succulents are doing great! 

These are the baby succulents I inherited when I purchased a larger graptosedum earlier this month.

Unfortunately, the bulk of my leaves I started propagating haven’t sprouted roots or babies yet.

graptosedum

That is… except for the gratosedum!

graptosedum propagation

Succulent Propagating with leaves

 This past week I rescued a pot of succulents from a local greenhouse.

troubled succulents

When I came across this pot of mixed succulents, I knew it needed rescuing. In fact, when I took it to the checkout, I told the cashier to be careful with them. I told her, “They’re struggling. But don’t worry, I’m going to bring them back to life.”

rescued

rescued2

I’ll show you some more results of my rescued succulents project next week!

 

Adventures in Target with Amy & Emily

Editor’s note: Once upon a time, we tried to start a blog. The year was 2009. The blog was called “Kant Touch Us.”  It shut down in 2010. We saved some of the posts however. Here’s one of those gems, originally posted in June 2009.

Tonight after Em got off of work, we decided to go to Best Buy and Target to pick up some things for the house. For some reason, we decided that we EACH needed a cart to push around. We were probably obnoxious because we took up a good portion of the aisle wherever we went, pushing our red carts side by side in the main aisles. In the smaller aisles, we went tandem.

targetcart

Continue reading “Adventures in Target with Amy & Emily”

Succulent Sunday: Propagation

I’ll admit it. I have a problem. I am addicted to succulents. You may remember a few weeks ago, when I shared a tutorial on how to make a succulent container garden. In that post, I mentioned that I was going to attempt to propagate a leaf from one of the new succulents.

I decided to take a look around my ever-growing succulent collection to see if any of my plants would benefit from propagation. And then I found these babies at work.

Leggy Succulent

Can you say “leggy succulent”?! While I’m happy that these succulents survived the Sconnie winter, it’s obvious they had a serious lack of sunshine. Succulents thrive on sunlight and those gray, gloomy days of winter did not provide the needed sunlight. That said, the sedum succulent needed a little TLC.

I started by gently removing the leaves from the bottom of the plant. One of the best ways to do this is to gently move it left to right until the leaf pops off easily. If you damage the end of the leaf, it won’t propagate.

succulent propagation

Once you get to the head of the succulent, take a clean set of scissors and snip it off.

succulent leaves for propagation

succulent propagation

Lay the leaves and heads of the succulents out for 1-3 days or until the ends callous over. You’ll want them to get some sunlight but not be in direct sunlight or they will burn. Indirect sunlight is best.

propagating succulents with leaves

I checked on the leaves every day.

succulents callous

succulent callous2

Once the leaves callous over, it’s time to move them!  Since I had so many leaves, I prepped a large ceramic dish I made in college for propagating baby succulents.

laying out succulent leaves

I put a layer of small stones for drainage and then covered them with cactus soil. Then, I placed all the leaves in rows in the dish.

layingoutsucculents

You might have noticed that I also included the stems of the succulents I am propagating. I have done some reading and it’s possible to propagate from the stems, so I figured it was worth a shot! I’m checking the soil daily and if it’s dry, I am spraying lightly with water from a water bottle. 

The top cuttings from the succulents I’m propagating were placed into a small pot so they can begin rooting. 

succulent cuttings

I’ve done a lot of research on best practices for propagating succulents with leaves and cuttings. I’ve had success with cuttings in the past and am looking forward to trying out leaf propagation!

succulent terrarium

Luckily, I already know what to look for since I received some bonus baby succulents in one of the succulent pots I bought last weekend for new terrariums. I immediately put them in their own “pots” (mason jars – one of my other obsessions) and hope they survive!

babysucculents

babysucculents2

I’ve learned that succulent cuttings and leaves need lots of water in order to propagate, but once they get to be about the size of the photo below, you can start to withhold water and the new baby succulent will pull its moisture from the original leaf. Once it shrivels and falls off, you can treat the new plant as you would any other succulent.

babysucculents5

I have found some great resources for succulent propagation and care. One of my favorite resources is Succulents and Sunshine. Cassidy Tuttle has even written two eBooks (both of which I purchased and reference often). Click the images at the bottom of this post to check them out!

Another great resource is Needles & Leaves. I have often referenced the post about propagating leggy succulents.

I’ll be posting weekly updates on the progress of my propagation experiment. 

Click here to visit Succulents and Sunshine.
Click here to visit Succulents and Sunshine*
Growing-Succulents-Indoors-An-eBook-by-Cassidy-Tuttle-of-Succulents-and-Sunshine
Click here to visit Succulents and Sunshine*

*Affiliate Link

A style change to help some kids

I’ve had long hair for a couple of years now. At first, I just wanted to have longer hair so I could braid it. Then, I wanted it long for a friend’s wedding. Then it became a game with my hair stylist – let’s find out how long my hair will grow!

Long Hair Don't Care

But, last month I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed it gone. So, I made an appointment with Dawn last week.

After a bunch of research, I decided to donate my hair to Children With Hair Loss, a charity that helps children who have medically-related hair loss. Their mission is “to empower these children to become whole again by making hair replacement available to those who may be financially challenged and might otherwise not have a means of obtaining the hair they want and need.”

I chose this charity over others for a couple of reasons:

  1. They accept color treated hair
  2. They never charge recipients for wigs (yes, there is a charity out there that charges children with health issues for wigs)

</soapbox>

Time to chop the hair!

hair6

hair5

Of course, I couldn’t JUST get my hair cut – I needed a vibrant red color for the summer!

hair4

hair3

hair2

hairbeforeafter

I was able to donate about 11 inches of hair – and, I still have enough hair for a pony tail! I love the new color, too. 

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?

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′]

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!

Graze

I recently came across an ad for graze, a subscription-based healthy snack delivery service. It was very unlike me to actually click an ad, but I was very intrigued. Besides, they were offering a free box of snacks. Free food? Yes please.

I explored the site (and the snack offerings) and realized that graze could be a great snack option for me! Each box is just $6 (including shipping) and is “nutritionally balanced with a great mix of sweet and savory, healthy and tasty food.”

After signing up for the service, I went through some of the snack options to rank things I knew I wouldn’t like. For example, I don’t like pistachios, so I “trashed” any snack that included them.

My first graze box arrived last week.

Graze box delivery

I love all the details on the packaging! I especially love that the box is made using wood from a sustainable forest and that it’s 100% recyclable! Even the plastics used for the snack packs is recyclable!

Graze Box

All the little details and personalizations were a nice touch.

graze box details

I was excited to see what surprises awaited me in my box!

graze box contents

I received the cheese board, sour cream & onion cashews, fruity mango chutney and toffee apple.

cheeseboard1

My only complaint with the cheese board (above) was that I wanted seconds immediately.

fruitymangochutney

I also tried the fruity mango chutney (above), which I didn’t really care for. It’s spicy in a black pepper – savory kind of way and just didn’t appeal to me.

Oh, and did I mention you get a card detailing all of the nutritional information for your box? It even includes “best by” dates for each of the snacks.

nutrition

I brought the cashews in the car for last weekend’s road trip. They were AMAZING. I’m going to take the toffee apple to work this week for a snack!

Overall, I am very pleased with graze – for its variety of healthy-yet-tasty options, its sustainable practices and its value. There’s no way I could get a comparable variety of healthy snacks at the store for this cost!

Wanna try graze?

If you click the link below (or visit graze.com and use my friend code: AMYK1774P*), you’ll not only get your first box free – but your fifth box will also be free

https://www.graze.com/us/p/AMYK1774U

 * When you sign up using my friend code, I’ll get $1 off my next box, or the option to donate $1 to the graze school of farming. I’ve been doing a one-for-one with the referrals. So, if two people click the link and sign up, I’ll save $1 off my next box and I’ll donate the other $1 to the graze school of farming!