DIY Fabric Pumpkins

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So by now you’ve probably seen the succulent-topped pumpkins everyone has been making…So, if you’re like me & aren’t a huge fan of traditional bright orange pumpkins or you just love things with a funky, unique vibe, this succy-pumpkin DIY is for you! & it’s honestly SO stinking simple & so CAYUTE!

As I was perusing Joann’s fabric the other day their Autumn seasonal fabrics had me heartstruck. I spotted 4 adorable flannel & fall-themed patterns, & I knew I had to figure out something fun to do with them. Then I looked over & saw a bag of faux mini pumpkins on sale & it hit me. Fabric-covered Succulent-topped pumpkins.


YOU ONLY NEED A FEW SUPPLIES

  • Faux Pumpkins of any size or color!
  • Fabric (quantity needed will depend on the size pumpkin you use. For large pumpkins you’ll need approx. 1/2yd, but for mini pumpkins like I show in this blog I used only 1/2 of a remnant square they had on sale!)
  • Hot Glue & Gun (and/or Craft Glue for glueing the succulents)
  • Moss
  • Succulents
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Scissors

Now, Grab Your Favorite FALL Latte & Let’s Get Started!

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STEP ONE: Get your fabric & lay it flat on the table (iron before you begin if needed). Set the pumpkin down toward one of the corners of the fabric to conserve fabric, you’ll have a bit leftover.  NEXT, Do a practice fold with fabric by bringing all corners of the fabric up toward the stem of the pumpkin, and adjust direction of pumpkin as needed to help you eyeball how large of a square you will want to cut.

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NOW, Time to measure & CUT! This is the hardest part of the DIY honestly, and that’s not saying much because it’s still ridiculously easy lol I’ve found as a general rule of thumb, to wrap all the way around the pumpkin, you’re going to want your fabric to be about twice the length & height of your pumpkin. If you want to be super precise you can measure the bottom of your pumpkin and multiply it by 2 and maybe add an extra inch for good measure, this should make the fabric large enough & give a little wiggle room in case you make a wrong cut somewhere down the road. AFTER you’ve measured, cut out your square.

After you’ve cut your fabric square, place pumpkin in the center of square, and do another practice run scrunching your fabric up toward the stem, just to ensure it reaches all the way around!

DSC06074NEXT, Put a small dab of hot glue on the top of your pumpkin right next to the stem, and press the fabric into it. (Hack, if your hot glue gun gets ridiculously hot like mine, use a chopstick to press the fabric down into the glue so you don’t burn your fingers, or use heat protective gloves)

Work your way around the pumpkin chunk by chunk, doing this over and over. Bunching the fabric and glueing it to the top. Feel free to scrunch up the fabric as much or little as you like as you go, whatever look you prefer. The more you bunch the fabric together, the more it will actually look like it has those pumpkin creases in the sides.

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As you’re making your way around the pumpkin, feel free to trim the excess fabric at the top, around the stem as much as needed, your square may be a bit bigger than necessary. Also, keep in mind, what the top of the pumpkin looks like doesn’t really matter, since it will get covered up by succulents later.

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Once you’ve made it all the way around the pumpkin with your fabric & glue, and trimmed what needs to be trimmed, it’s time for the FUN PART! Succulent Time!

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To prep the top of your pumpkin for the succulents, spray the adhesive around the entire top of pumpkin and stem, and press a thin layer of moss on top. This step is necessary because the moss will hold moisture to hydrate your succies when you water, without causing them to rot.

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Once the moss is on, it’s succy time! I like to start by putting my favorite and somewhat largest succulent (or 2 off-centered succulents) in the middle and then building around it. Put a generous amount of hot glue either on the top of the moss where you’ll be placing the succulent, or put the dollop of hot glue on the bottom of the succulent, and press to the moss firmly and hold until completely cooled and hardened. (Note, you can also use craft glue for the glueing of the succies, whichever you’d prefer, I like hot glue because it dries instantly so I can build more quickly) PLEASE NOTE: Glueing the succulents, even with hot glue, will not kill them or damage them. I will talk at the end of the blog about how to dismantle your succies & what to do with them after Fall is over & pumpkin season is no more.

Keep doing this until you’ve covered the top of your pumpkin and feel like it’s exactly how you want it! I loveeeee how ours turned out, and it goes perfectly styled with the lanterns we made last week and our traditional succy-topped pumpkins, (DIY on how to make those to coming very soon).

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AND VOILA’! You are now ready to get down with your Festive Fall Bad Self. I didn’t lie, that was ridiculously easy right? If you’re like me, you’ll want to make at least 5 of these cuties, plus they make AMAZING festive gifts, for house-warming or just to say I love you 🙂

QUICK NOTE on Maintaining these cuties! So in order to keep your succulents happy, try to keep your pumpkin somewhere they will get indirect bright light, not direct hot sunlight all day. Or if you plan to put them in a dark corner of a bookshelf or desk make sure they get some time in windowsill sun at least two times a week. Also, for watering, once a week or once every other week (depending on inside or outside & how hot the spot it is in will be) take a spray bottle and try to spritz a tiny bit of water around the roots of the succulents, into the moss. But not TOO much! The moss will soak up the water and keep the succy roots moist throughout the week. & That’s all!

After the fall season ends, you can simply & easily dismantle your pumpkin whenever youd like. GENTLY wiggle & pull the succulents free from the moss, and peel any remaining hot glue off the roots and plant in a good draining soil mix of 50% PUMICE 50% soil, and they will continue to grow, unharmed!

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and I hope to see your fabric pumpkins on the interwebs soon! ❤

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Happy Fall Ya’ll!

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Fall Succulent Lantern DIY

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‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice, pumpkin bread, even pumpkin-decked SUCCULENTS! & I’m here for all of it! FALL is my absolute favorite season, which is making me spend far too much money on fall succulent projects this year lol but #noragerts Going into the season I wanted to do something different than succulents pumpkins (even though they’re always cute & def have made more this season already). For inspiration I was casually browsing through Michael’s & spotted these gorgeous vintage lanterns for 60% off + my coupon, & knew immediately that my first priority of the season would be to fill them to the brim with succulents, surround them with pumpkins, succulents, & fairy lights! So I did, and oooof I’m in love. So, let’s get started DIY-ing.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Lanterns – I got these on sale at Michael’s for $12, but Hobby Lobby also has a large selection right now! You can also find some amazing vintage ones thrifting!
  • Cactus Soil – ( I use Kellogg brand Cactus, Citrus Palm mix, or EB Stone Succy mix)
  • PUMICE – Our General Pumice, obviously 😉 I used our size 1/8″, & pumice is VERY, very important for this project! & I’ll talk about WHY! ….PS. if you’re reading this, I’m so thankful that I want to give you a 10% OFF discount on any pumice order, just use discount code “LANTERN” during checkout!
  • Succulents! (Keep in mind if these lanterns are going to be indoors in low light, pick hardy succulents that thrive without lots of light! Here’s a list of those! 
  • Chopsticks & Tweezers (they make planting these tiny spaces a billion times easier)
  • Optional recommendation: Here’s an amazing succy utility tool belt with literally everything you need tool-wise for this project & pretty much any other project! It has the tiny spade I use for everything, spray bottle, succy-safe brush, tweezers, literally everything. (I don’t get paid or anything for recommending it, it just made my life so much easier so need to share!)

DSC04999As you can see, you really don’t need a ton of supplies you probably don’t already have, so let’s get to it!

FIRST THINGS FIRST,

Mix up some gooooood soil, I’m treating these beauties basically as terrariums, because they are extremely similar. (You can also read my terrarium DIY blog here). As you can see in the pictures, these lanterns don’t have holes in the bottom, SO if you know you’re not going to use these for anything else, I would recommend poking 5-6 small holes in the bottom of each lantern for drainage. OR instead, as I chose to do, add a THICK layer of PUMICE to the bottom before anything else! This will catch & absorb any excess water, so moisture doesn’t sit around the roots of your succies & cause them to rot!

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After you’ve added your foundation of PUMICE, next mix your soil! The soil you use is the MOST IMPORTANT factor when it comes to terrariums & planting projects like this! I cannot stress that enough if you want these beauties to actually live & thrive! So for my soil I mixed about 60% PUMICE, with 40% cactus soil! Pumice is the Swiss army knife of succulent planting, I swear. It has a multitude of benefits when planting in general (read all of them here), but especially with terrariums. The main benefits are:

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NEXT STEP!

     After you’ve mixed your pumice/soil mixture, you’re ready to rock & roll! Add a HEAPING layer of soil, my base was about 2.5″ tall you’re going to want to make sure there’s a tall enough layer of soil that your succulents are on display tall & proud (especially if you’re going to want to have the doors of the lanterns closed!) Also, you’ll notice these lanterns don’t have any soil-catching barriers, like a lip to keep the soil from falling out the front, BUT, I knew exactly where I wanted the lanterns to sit permanently (at my front door) and I won’t be moving them so that’s not a big deal to me. The soil stays put by itself pretty well as long as you’re not swinging it around or moving it consistently. But, if you’d like you can make a little “gate” out of popsicle sticks or little piece of wood, preferably painted to match your lantern colors. 

     To start planting the succulents, I suggest start from the back, put your tallest succulents back here, with eye-catching patterns or textures, then work your way forward to have the smallest succulents in front! Using the chopsticks to push and anchor the roots down in deep is a life-changing hack that makes planting in this tiny space a million times easier! Don’t be afraid to move stuff around as much as you want, also be prepared for soil to continually avalanche out the front as you scoot everything around & find the perfect places for your succulents LOL, just keep replacing the soil as you go!

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 11.19.03 AMAs you’re planting, make sure to clean ALL the old soil off the roots of each sucuclent completely! This will make sure they’re totally bug-free, and loosen the roots up for the healthiest succulents possible! Then, go to town, mix up your colors of succulents, sizes, textures, maybe have a few spilling out the front like I did on the smaller lantern with my sedum donkey tails! Just have fun with it & go crazy! 

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LET’S TALK MAINTENANCE!

     Now that you have your new beautifully funky Fall planter, how do you take care of it?! Also super super easy. With terrariums & these types of fun planters that don’t have drainage holes, I NEVER pour-water them, not even a tiny bit! I typically do 1 of 2 things:

     Once a week or every other week depending on where it’s positioned (inside/outside, has it been abnormally hot & dry) I’ll use a water-dropper (you can just use a dropper recycled from an empty medicine) fill it all the way up with water & drip the water AROUND the succulents into the soil sparingly. They don’t need very much water, I’ll use maybe 1 or 2 full droppers per lantern. they actually do better being under-watered than over-watered. Don’t drop the water on TOP of the succulents or in the rosettes of the succulents, this can cause/attract mealie bugs.

     OR, you can use a spray bottle and spray around the succulents as best you can, making sure to direct the water at the soil & roots, not on the succulents. Again, this should only be done about once a week, or every other week if you touch the soil & it still feels damp.

     IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:  Make sure these beauties are in a place where they at least get a LITTLE bit of light throughout the day, otherwise you’ll need to move your lantern to a window a few times a week so the plants get the sunshine they need to grow & live!

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     THAT’S ALL Friends! Now go build your own & find the perfect place for them! I highly suggest adding twinkle lights, twinkle lights literally make everything 234760 zillion times prettier & more whimsical! Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog, next week for a new take on succulent pumpkins that I’m losing my mind over!

     Ok, now I’m off to go bake & eat my body-weight in chocolate-chip pumpkin bread, HAPPY FALL! 

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Terrarium DIY

Let’s talk TERRARIUMS, amigos!

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     So if you haven’t noticed, terrariums have become all the rage lately in decorating, and I am all about it! (Confession, I may or may not currently have 3 terrariums in my living room alone LOL) Terrariums are stinkin’ adorable, & when done right, are such a ridiculously low-maintenance way to add a funky, unique, fun pop to any room. So let’s chat about the RIGHT way to plant them!

     First things first, THEE key & probably the single most important part of building your terrarium, is your soil. I always say your succulents are only as healthy as the soil you plant them in, and this is even more true & critical when building a terrarium. With succulents you ALWAYS want to make sure you have the best-draining soil possible=a mix that allows ample drainage, plenty of oxygen flow throughout the soil, & allows the carbon dioxide to cycle from the bottom, up, & out of your terrarium or planter. SOOOO what’s the secret sauce to creating this type of soil? the BEST, most natural way of doing that is by….

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1st KEY: Using a good quality soil (ie. one that is low in peat moss & low in coco coir because these can easily cause root rot, mold, & attract bugs) I typically use either Kellogg’s Palm, Cactus, Citrus soil, or EB Stone’s Cactus Mix (both of which have a small % of our pumice in them already!

2nd KEY: Boost the health of your soil by using lots of PUMICE!  Pumice has a multitude of benefits when planting in general (read all of them here), but especially with terrariums. One of the main benefits of pumice is it’s sponge-like structure, which allows for excess water absorption; terrariums have no drainage holes in them so if you over-water the extra water will puddle at the bottom and cause your plants to rot. So using a high % of pumice in your soil (I typically use at least 60% pumice mixed with 40% soil) will ensure any extra water will be soaked up within the pumice stones, and released only when the soil begins to dry out! On top of that super helpful quality, PUMICE also has dozens of trace minerals in it that help feed your plants nutrients, it adds significant aeration, allows that carbon dioxide to leave the root system, deters bugs, & never rots/never needs to be replaced.

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First, add a layer of PUMICE at the bottom as a base to catch excess water, then add your mix of 60% pumice, 40% soil.

So, now that you have the 2 major keys to building your perfectly crafted & low-maintenance terrarium, let’s get to actually building!

   STEP 1:    I like to prime my terrarium with a base layer of PUMICE. I put about a 1-2″ layer of pure pumice (I used our 1/8″ size in this project). This again, catches any excess water & keeps your succulents roots nice & dry. Some people also like to add a layer of activated charcoal on top of the pumice, especially for enclosed terrariums, or shapes that do not get a lot of oxygen flowing through them. Using a thin layer of activated charcoal can stimulate oxygen, keep the water fresh, & fight off bacterial growth.

   STEP 2:   After you’ve laid your foundation, next step is to add your 60:40 – pumice:soil mixture. I suggest adding at least a 2″ layer of soil, depending on the height/size of your terrarium you can add more or less; for this medium sized terrarium I used an average of 2.5″ deep in the middle, so the succulents would be flush with the lip of the terrarium. Additionally, I actually increased the depth of the soil towards the back of the terrarium to about 3″, to better elevate and show off the far succulents, making the soil deeper made those plants visible from every angle. Soil depth is really personal preference, it comes down to what look you like, you can get away with a lower depth of soil, I just prefer more depth aesthetically, & so the roots have plenty of room to spread out over time. 

  STEP 3:   Grab your succulents and start removing the soil from the root ball!

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Remove ALL soil from the roots.

     For indoor terrariums I typically suggest using succulents that do well indoors. For this terrarium I chose a mix of hardy succulents that I had around: a Graptoveria Debbie for my “focal succy”, a zebra haworthia (to add dimension), panda plants, Aeonium Castello-paivae, ghosties, and some freshly propagated teeny graptoverias & echeverias. Some other great options for indoor terrariums would be sedums, string of hearts/bananas/pearls, aloes, hens & chicks, jade, lithops, crassula, and most types of cacti! Echeverias are a possible option & are so delicate and beautiful, however most types tend to stretch toward the light if they aren’t directly near a window or source of indirect bright light. Just to keep in mind!

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     When planting the succulents I find it easiest to start with your largest succulent, or whichever succulent will be your focal point that the eye is drawn to, and then build around that. When planting in such a small space, I’ve found having a tiny spade and chopsticks is a serious game-changer! Use the tiny spade to dig a hole for each succulent, and use the chopstick to press the roots down into the soil as far as possible. I bought THIS kit on amazon for $8, and I swear, it’s changed my life; it has everything you could possibly need, from tiny spade & rake, tweezers, spray bottle, squeeze-waterer, farina-safe dust brush etc. It’s an amazing steal not just for terrariums but planting in general! (ps. I’m not getting paid to recommend it, I just love it so much & think it kicks buttcheeks!)

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     Once you have all your succulents arranged beautifully & squeezed into their cute new terrarium home, (I literally mean squeezed, as you can see I squished alllll these succulents in here because I personally love the look of a rainbow-variety of colors, & overflowing planters with a lot going on. Some people however prefer to leave space and only use a few succulents, so they have room to grow. (NOTE: with any planter, when you plant succulents close together it will slow their growth, they accommodate to the space they are in; so in this case because I have the plants crowded in the terrarium so closely, they will grow much slower, staying the size they are for at least a few months!  I will eventually have to swap them out once they overgrow, but that will be at least 4-5 months from now.

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LAST STEP: Time for the finishing touches, using your chopstick & mini spade adjust everything to sit exactly the way you want, and add a final topping of Pumice (I used this blue barrel that came in my handy-dandy amazon kit to pour around the succulents). I dress the top of the terrarium with pumice to again, catch excess water, and because I just love the look it gives it. It has a cool layered-look from the sides & back, and to me has a more finished look than just leaving the soil exposed. 

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…& that’s all folks. It’s seriously THAT easy!

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Now, Let’s talk follow-up: WATERING & Maintaining

     This is the final major key to keeping your terrarium healthy & last as long as possible! This was also the most asked questioned I got on instagram & on my Christmas terrarium project. Like we discussed earlier, because there is no drainage hole in the bottom of terrariums watering makes or breaks your succulents in their new home. Using the base of pumice, & pumice in your soil mix helps immeasurably, but over-watering & mistakes can still happen! 

WHEN TO WATER: My biggest piece of advice for watering your terrarium, less is best, & err on the side of under-watering rather than over-watering. You only want to water your terrarium when the soil is bone-dry. The easiest way to test the soil dryness is by using our handy chopstick, once again. Stick the chopstick as deep as it will go in between your succulents, and pull it out; when you pull the chopstick out, feel it, if you feel any moisture at all on the stick wait to water, but if the stick is clean and dry then you’re ready to water! So with this exact terrarium, I have been watering once every 3 weeks, and it has been extremely happy with that (preface: I live at the beach, so it’s an extremely humid environment, year-round).  

HOW TO WATER: I’ve found the best and safest way to water terrariums is by using a dropper for small terrariums, & using the squeeze-bottle waterer that comes in the Amazon pack for medium-large terrariums. Using this squeeze bottle allows you to water in between the succulents, rather than on top of the succulents. Standing water in the rosette or on top of your succulents can attract aphids and leave unattractive water-spots on your succulents. ALSO SO SO IMPORTANT, when you’re watering, do so EXTREMELY sparingly, do not flood the terrarium, you only need just enough water to simply hydrate the roots of the succulents in the terrarium! So, for example this bad boy we made, I water with barely 1/3″ cup of water total, using the squeeze bottle to water in between the succulents so it goes straight down into the soil (which again, I only do once every 3 weeks when I feel the soil is dry as the Sahara Desert). You DO NOT want to overwater, as stated earlier, it is sooo much better to underwater than overwater, succulents can actually still thrive with neglect, but once they get oversaturated and rot, you’ve lost the battle, & there’s no going back. 

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     Now all that’s left is to find the perfect spot for your new work of plant art! I typically suggest putting your terrarium in a place that gets consistent bright & indirect light! Most succulents typically do not do well in low-light areas, or dark corners of cabinets & parts of the house that don’t get natural light. You will be able to tell if your succulents need more light if they start stretching out and getting tall & the leaves begin to stretch out. If this happens, I suggest either moving your terrarium to a brighter area permanently, OR if you really like that spot, just make sure to frequently move it to a sunny spot, several times a week. Unintentional bonus: this will help you get more exercise ;P

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    So friends, that’s pretty much it! It’s a lot easier than people think to create & up-keep these beauties, if you do it the right way from the beginning. When using high-quality soil, pumice, planting the roots well, watering accurately, & making sure they get enough light, your terrarium can thrive as long as you’d like! I got a lot of questions about whether it is realistic to keep terrariums for long periods of time without them dying or overgrowing it & having to replant them, and the answer is yes it is absolutely realistic, and even better, they can be literally the most low-maintenance, easy, adorable addition to your home.

Hope that was helpful! Now go get to planting your own terrarium!

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HUGEEEEE thank you to my amazing intern @iwasakiphotos for helping me create this beauty & taking these ridiculously gorgeous photos!

Oh Hey Pumpkin! ♥ DIY Succulent Pumicey-Pumpkin

          There’s a chill in the air, everything is pumpkin-spiced, the leaves are crunchy, my 2nd favorite part of the year is upon us, Happy FALL ya’ll! Though we’re only about halfway through the fall season, it’s FLYING by, & ashamedly as I type this I actually already have Christmas music blaring in the background, feel free to judge all you want LOL (I can’t help it, I have feliz navidad disease). ANYWAYS! We’ve worked on a couple fall pieces so far, and the first DIY is one that I’m sure you’ve already probably seen everywhere, however we put a little bit different of a spin on it…a PUMICE-EY spin of course!

SUCCULENT PUMPKINS

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          You’ve probably seen them on Pinterest or Instagram, because simply carving pumpkins is not good enough, us crazy plant ladies have to take it a step further & put succulents on everything, including those orange gourdy beauties. If you’ve seen any of these DIY’s, people typically use real mini/large pumpkins & use craft glue or hot glue to  attach moss to the top of the pumpkin, & then proceed to hot glue the succulents around the stem of the pumpkin on top of the moss. This way works, however the succulents cannot thrive in the soil-less environment with minimal hydration, so it is definitely meant to only be a very temporary home for the succulents. The glued succys will quickly need to be removed from the pumpkin within a few weeks and re-planted into well-draining soil as they require. HOWEVER, when I saw these pins & DIYs I was a bit flummoxed because for me, if I’m going to put my heart & soul & time into creating this fall-themed piece of artwork I want it to thrive & last! I want it to be happy & healthy, & last the whole Fall season if not longer! That’s when I came up with our take on this DIY. So grab your pumpkin-spiced latte, UGG boots, & let’s get to DIY-in’.

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • Lots of Succulents, duh!
  • Faux Pumpkins (We got ours from Michael’s with a coupon for $5.98 each!)
  • A bag of our PUMICE, obviously! ♥
  • Quick-draining Cactus/Succulent Soil (we always use Kellogg Palm, Cactus, Citrus mix)
  • Your usual Potting Tools
  • Scissors or a sharp knife
  • A serrated knife or pumpkin carving knife
  • Chalk Paint (whatever color you’d like your pumpkin to be)
  • Hot Glue Gun or Quick Drying Craft Glue
  • Coffee, lots & lots of coffee 🙂

SO, LET’S GET STARTED!

          First things first, my favorite part of the DIY project, succulent shopping! So we bought our succulents wholesale from a local grower Rancho Vista Nursery, because we are making 11 succulents pumpkins to use as centerpieces at a party, so will need A LOT of succulents. When buying succulents for any project, my advice is always BUY MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED! The first few projects I did I bought what I thought would be the exact amount I would need & ALWAYS ran short. So now, I buy a handful of extra succulents to be safe, because it’s always better to have too many succulents than not enough right? 🙂

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          So let’s talk how to choose succulents, the general rule of picking succulents for a project like this is you want “thrillers”, “spillers”, & “fillers”. What does that mean? “Thrillers” are the eye-catching succulents, the focal point of your project that thrill the eye, whether in color, size, or texture; we chose one of these for the center of each pumpkin. “Spillers” are your hanging succulents, the sedum donkey’s tail, string of pearls/bananas, crassulas, etc. anything that will trail & hang down the side of the pumpkin to create more dimension in your piece. & lastly, “fillers“, these are going to be the bulk of the succulents you’ll be buying that actually fill your pumpkins. We tried to pick a very wide variety of succulents for fillers, so that every pumpkin looks unique & has different colors, patterns, dimensions, & textures. One handy tip for fillers, instead of buying all individual 2-3″ succulents, consider buying 4-8” pots that have a mama to use as a thriller & the babies or cuttings around her as fillers, this will save you significantly.

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This is a perfect example of a “Thriller” we picked out to use in the center of our pumpkins!

          Once you’ve chosen all your succulents, the NEXT STEP is to prep your pumpkins & soil! As I said earlier, we purchased our faux pumpkins at Michael’s,  with a coupon we paid $5.98 per pumpkin. This is the biggest difference with our DIY, instead of using real pumpkins, we are using sturdy plastic pumpkins, that are hollow on the inside so can be cut open & filled with proper draining soil & utilized as permanent container homes for your succulents!  

          To prep your pumpkins, you will need your serrated knife or carver to carve the top of the pumpkin off (like you would when you make a jack-o-lantern!) You can also drill a few holes in the bottom of each pumpkin for better drainage.

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          Once you have all your pumpkins carved, you can make them even more unique & choose to paint them. I suggest painting with chalk paint to give that rustic, farmhouse chic look. We chose to paint some rose gold, & a few with rose gold polka dots as well to give each centerpiece it’s own unique vibe!

AfterlightImage copy 7 Next step, proper SOIL. 

      Since we’ve turned our plastic pumpkins into actual permanent containers the soil we use is CRUCIAL, just like in any other succulent planter. The most important part of growing healthy succulents is your soil! Just like “you are what you eat” so are your succulents! & the key ingredient for healthy, nutrient-rich succy soil is PUMICE. Our Pumice is KEY because it creates proper drainage while getting more oxygen flowing through your soil, & it absorbs excess water so reduces the chances of overwatering & rot. Our pumice also has dozens of additional minerals that nourish the soil & plants even more. (You can read more benefits about our pumice HERE).

          So, for these pumpkins I used our size 3/16″ pumice, mixed 50/50 with Kellogg Cactus soil, as I recommend for all succulent containers & gardens. Once you have your pumice/soil mixed, you’re going to want to fill each pumpkin all the way to the brim, & create a taller soil mound in the center of the pumpkin so the middle focal succulent will be elevated higher than all the rest & create a more attractive dimension to your pumpkin!AfterlightImage

Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for, finally TIME TO PLANT!

         Time to get the creative juices flowing. I find the best way to tackle a planting project like this, especially for us doing so many at once, is to pick out all your “thrillers” first & set them next to the pumpkin you’ll be putting them in. Once you have chosen which succulent you’re going to use as the focal AfterlightImage copy 2point of each centerpiece, you can much more easily envision the rest & build around that. Once you’ve made your thriller selections, it’s time to start planting. So, start by removing the root ball from each succulent, (as pictured to the right). Gently pull the succulent out of the container and massage as much soil off of the roots as possible, you always want to do this when planting because this allows you to loosen roots that may have clumped together while growing in the nursery pot, so the roots can breathe better.

          Once you’ve gotten the soil off of the roots, create a deep hole in the center of the mound you built in your pumpkin planter & plant the stem/roots of the succulent as deep as you can, this creates a much sturdier centerpiece. I mean the last thing you want is a wobbly pumpkin, amIright? So now after you have all your thriller-focal point succulents planted start going to town with your “fillers”. My favorite go-to fillers are Zebra Haworthias, Elephant Bush, Graptoverias, & the ever-lovely Perles.

afterlightimage-copy.jpg     Always remember when planting a project like this the most important aspect of designing is HAVE FUN WITH IT! There is no science or blueprint to designing & planting a succulent container. Every single one is unique & the point of planting it in the first place is to enjoy yourself during the process & then enjoy the final product! The process is what makes it so beautiful & soul-soothing. So don’t stress out about placement, colors, patterns, or textures too much, don’t try to copy ones you’ve seen on instagram or Pinterest, build one that reflects YOU & your personality & style. Honestly just do whatever YOU like best & what combinations/colors tickle your fancy most!

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       Your last & finishing touches of your pumpkin shenanigans, are your “spillers”. As we discussed earlier, the spillers are the succulents you’ll add around the outer edges of the pumpkin’s rim that will waterfall over the side, giving a fuller dimension & will complete the look of your pumpkin. When it comes to spillers, in my opinion, you can never have too many! On some pumpkins I also used 2 different types of spillers, & I loved the results! So grab your hot glue gun, string of pearls or donkey tails, and get to spilling! You don’t HAVE to hot glue the spillers, or any of the succulents, however I knew I would be transporting this a few hours away & wanted to be sure they were all securely in tact when they get to their destination. Do not fret one bit, the glues will NOT damage your succulents, just make sure to remove them VERY carefully when/if you choose to dismantle your pumpkin in the future, and they’re ready to replant!

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& That’s It!      

     As you can see it’s really not all that complicated to build these beauties! So, run to Michael’s, grab a plastic pumpkin, a bag of pumice, & create a gorgeous centerpiece for your fall-themed front porch, office desk, or fall dinner party, or heck, since you’re planting them in a proper container with healthy soil, you can even build them this weekend & save them to use as a Thanksgiving centerpiece. It will be just as luscious & gorgeous in a month for turkey day as it is now!

     So that’s that! Thank you so much for reading & hopefully creating along! & a special thank you to the real MVP @iwasakiphotos for taking all these amazing photos & helping me build a ridiculous amount of these LOL. Also, if you end up making your own give me a shoutout on Instagram @SexySucculents_ ! I’d love to see how YOUR pumpkins turn out!

     Now if you excuse me, I’m back to stuffing my face with pumpkin pie while listening to my Christmas music & watching cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies ;P 

Until next time,

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End of Summer DIY Succulent Grill

       It’s that time of year again friends, I can’t even believe it but summer is coming to an end. To celebrate such an amazing season we wanted to make a unique summer-themed pumice project we’d never tried before, & honestly what says summer more than an old barbecue grill OVERLOWING with succulents & Pumice?!

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(Please note: no bbq’s or succulents were harmed in the making of this Labor Day Party centerpiece; We only created it as a temporary piece, the succulents will all soon be replanted in long-term containers with drainage holes & the bbq will be once again used to flame-grill delicious meats)

SO LET’S GET TO DIY-ing! Here’s how this baby came to life & how you can make your own!  First things first, let’s talk SUPPLIES! 


What you need:

  1. Old Barbecue (any style works really! whatever you have laying around or find that you like)
  2. AfterlightImage copy 5Succulents (…too obvious? LOL Really though, make sure you buy a good variety of sizes & colors that work well together!)
  3. PUMICE, lots & lots of pumice! Shop OUR pumice here!
  4. Quick-draining Soil (I always buy Kellogg’s Palm, citrus, cactus soil; or E.B. Stone Succulent soil from Home Depot/Lowe’s because both of those already have a small % of our pumice in them!) 
  5. & lastly, an ice cold Lemonade & some summer tunes to enjoy while you pot.   

That’s literally IT. That’s all you really need, it’s a ridiculously easy & inexpensive yet chic way to show off your succulent planting skills & fancy up your backyard for an end of the summer bash!


Next Step, Soil & BBQ Prep. (& puppy petting)

     What many people fail to realize is how important using GOOD SOIL is to the life & quality of your succulents! I always tell people that the principle “you are what you eat” applies to your succies, they will only be as healthy & vibrant as the “food” (soil) you plant them in. Succulents need soil that drains extremely quickly since they do not like excessive hydration, especially around the root zone. This is why using PUMICE is so crucial:AfterlightImage copy

     Our Pumice absorbs any excess water that might gather around your succulent’s roots or in the soil & locks that moisture in until the soil has dried out & needs rehydrating! Pretty crazy right?! PUMICE is even more crucial when planting in something that does not have drainage holes, like this grill; I wanted the grill to still be use-able after we took the succulents out, so I didn’t drill holes in the bottom. Because of that, I used a higher percentage of pumice (60% pumice, 40% soil) than I typically would (standard succulent soil for pots with drainage holes is 50% pumice 50% cactus soil). If you want your succulent BBQ to be a permanent fixture in your backyard however, simply drill a dozen or so drainage holes in the ACS_0147bottom!

     Using pumice also makes the soil much less dense, which allows more oxygen to the roots, because the pumice creates pocket airways for the oxygen to flow through, which also helps boost the vitality of your succies.

Once you’ve mixed your pumice & soil together, fill the grill ALL THE WAY to the brim, & then create a tall mound in the center of the grill. Creating a mound will give your arrangement a more eye-catching dimension, so all your succulents are not all laying flat at the same depth & squished together. Planting the succulents at gradual heights using the mound displays each & every gorgeous succulent individually.

NEXT, once you have your grill filled & mound formed, I like to “pre-arrange” the succulents inside the grill on top of the soil in their nursery pots to get an idea of what they will look like once planted (like a succy schematic). This is mainly just to envision what succulents will look best color, size, & shape-wise next to one another. There’s no exact science to it, so just let your creative juices start flowing & figure out which textures & colors & sizes you like next to each other & then snap a photo to look back to reference once you start actually planting! Or forget the blueprinting & just gung-ho start planting away, we all need to just fly by the seat of our pants sometimes, right?

NOW LET’S PLANT BABAY! Once you’re ready to start planting, begin by taking the succulents out of the nursery pot & removing all of the old soil from the roots 

AfterlightImage copy 2completely. This ensures that the succulents will be fully exposed to the healthier soil you’ve mixed & the roots can breathe much better & receive proper drainage. Then, just plant away, making sure you dig deep enough holes for each individual succulent so that the entirety of the plants roots will be submerged & also have room to spread if it’s a permanent fixture. 

 

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       Remember, planting isn’t a science, it’s an artistic expression & every single person has a different design eye & style, which is what makes succulent planting so awesome & each project so SO unique! Think about it, I could give you the same exact BBQ, with the same exact succulents I used here, & your BBQ would probably turn out COMPLETELY different & just as if not even more gorgeous! So while you’re planting remember that, it’s not supposed to be stressful or rigid, it’s a fun experience meant to be enjoyed & meant to be an outlet for you to express your creativity & personality/style!

       So that’s really all it takes, friends! It’s honestly super simple, easy, relatively inexpensive & SO fun, especially if you invite a friend over to do it! We just jammed out to some good ‘ol 90’s music, drank lots of iced coffee, enjoyed ourselves & got to create something gorgeous that was a HUGE topic of conversation at the summer bbq party, & I hope you’ll do the same if you choose to make this beauty! Thanks so much for reading & happy end-of-summer dear friends.

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       Oh! & before I forget! For upkeep, if you choose to make this a permanent fixture in your yard, I would suggest watering it at least once a week (or whenever the soil is dry to the touch when sticking your finger as deep down in the soil as possible). Note too, once it gets cooler where you live, then you may be able to get away with once every other week, watering schedule for succulents in the winter is always different than watering in the summer, don’t forget that! Also, if it gets very chilly at night where you live or over the winter I would suggest either covering it with a blanket or protective covering of some sort, OR transplanting these babies into a greenhouse or individual pots until it warms up again (that’s what I chose to do).

If you have any questions at all, or if I left anything out PLEASE feel free to comment below! I’d love to hear from you guys & what you thought of this blog/creation!!!

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to enjoy the last few days left of official summer, so until next time friends,

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DIY-Hanging Planter (for under $15)

Alright, so we can all admit we love channeling our inner Joanna Gaines, am I right? Give me everything shiplap & farmhouse chic please & thanks! Well, this was my first attempt in a loonnggg time at just that. We recently started a Pinterest for our company because now that I have an extra set of super talented hands, I want to & actually have the TIME to finally do more hands-on planting projects & funky succulent decor for my new little apartment. & when Kris stumbled on this idea I immediately fell in love with it & we both agreed it needed to be our first project.

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Photos by @Iwasakiphotos

So this little baby is literally thee most simple DIY I think I have ever done. It took us less than 1.5 hours total to create, & we spent under $15 on all the components! (which is crazy because people are selling them on Etsy & Pinterest for upwards of $60!!!) So friend, sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee, & get ready to read the easiest tutorial of all times for the cutest hanging planter ever.

What You Need:

  • Jute ($1.05 at Walmart)
  • Pre-made Wood Frame – $3 (I found a bunch in the $1 section at Target! Woot! Or you can easily make your own out of scrap pallet wood for free or 2×4’s)
  • Clear Mason Jars – $3 (also found in the $1 section at Target; came in a package of 4)
  • Pumice (obviously) 😉
  • Fast-draining succulent/cactus soil (I use Kellogg palm, citrus soil)- $5.97 @ Lowes
  • 2 of your favorite succulents
  • Drill
  • Tape Measure & Pencil/Pen to mark drill holes

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So after you’ve gathered all your materials, first things first, get to drilling. You’re going to want to measure the top of your box, so you can mark exactly where you want your drill holes. This will ensure your hanging planters are lined up properly & are equal distances from one another & the sides of the box. (additional idea: if you make your own box out of pallet wood, you can made a rectangle shape instead of a square, & hang 3 or 4 mason jars inside of the frame instead of just 2.)

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Next Up, Mix the batter 😉 & by batter, I mean the pumice & soil! I suggest for a planter/container like these (that do not have drainage holes in the bottom) a ratio of 60% pumice and 40% cactus soil. Why? Well, Using pumice will soak up any excess water when you water your hanging succulents, to prevent root rot, as well as increase the oxygen flow to your succulents roots! I mean, if you are taking the time to make this cutey, you might as well make sure it’s going to be as healthy as possible & live as long as possible! Pumice will help do just that. I even added a layer of pumice at the bottom of the containers for even more drainage, to prevent any possible water from sitting around the roots. (For more information about pumice, & it’s benefits you can read HERE).

After you’ve mixed your soil & pumice, fill the containers about 3/4 of the way full of the mixture, but do not plant the succulents just yet. Before you plant them, you’re going to want to wrap your containers with the jute. So, get your roll of jute & start by tying a tight double-knot around the rim of the container. Once you’ve tied off, you’re

AfterlightImage 3going to wrap the jute around the rim until it covers as much as you’d like! Once it is the desired thickness, tie the jute into a double-knot on the side of the container, & cut off an additional even length piece of jute to the tied-side & double-knot that jute on the opposite side. These 2 strings with double knots on each side will secure the jute to the container & allow you to suspend the planters from the top of the box. Do this process with both containers.

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After you’ve wrapped both of your containers, plant your succulents!  I chose 2 that I thought complimented each other well, size, color & texture-wise. When choosing succulents for a project like this I suggest having one trailing succulent, such as string of pearls, burros tail (as pictured in ours), or string of bananas! Something fun & eye-catching. Also make sure to factor in the type of succulents that will do best in the location you are thinking of putting your hanging shelf: ie. if you are going to have it in a window with bright light & air flow you have a wider variety of succulents that will do well, however if you are going to put the hanging planter in a place that does not receive sunlight, you’ll have fewer options that will stay alive & healthy (Haworthias, like the one pictured in our shelf) do wonderfully in these scenarios!

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(I completely remove the dirt around the roots of the succulents, because the soil most nurseries plant with has little to NO airation or drainage, because the pots/soil they use are meant to only be temporary homes.)

Once you have your succulents planted & mason jar containers ready to hang, next & final step is to simply hang those bad boys! The way I found easiest, & most sturdy was to put the 2 jute strings on each jar side by side over the top of the succulent, set the jar inside the frame & then thread both strings through the hole (threading towards the ceiling) you drilled when you began. Once threaded through, wrap both strings around the back of the frame at least once & re-thread it through the hole one more time in the same way (toward the ceiling), & tie it off with a knot, & then a bow! Repeat a second time with the other mason jar. Tip: you can either tie the jars off at the same height to make the jars hang side by side, OR you can alternate the heights like we did, having one jar hanging higher toward the top of the frame with our trailing burros tail succulent & the other hanging close to the base of the box.

& that my friends, is all! You’re done! I told you it was easy. You now have a gorgeous new hanging planter to enjoy PLUS the bragging rights for building a $60 planter with your own two hands for $15. It also makes a wonderful gift as well to the Magnolia-lover in your life, or someone who just loves all things succulents! If you have any other questions or ideas/suggestions on this little guy comment below!

FullSizenewRender 2 copyThanks so much for reading friend, & if you try to make one of your own send me a picture of the final product! We’re on instagram as @SexySucculents_ . Look forward to seeing how you make it your own! ❤

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