Saturday, February 18, 2012

Quick and Easy Project::A Succulent Table Garden

"It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling."

"Please Do Not Remove Label Under Penalty of Law"

When I read these warnings I get the urge to defy them. I want to mix chemicals just to see if they'll create poisonous gases or cause an explosion. I want to wander the aisles of a home textiles store and rip the tag off of every pillow. I've always been up for a challenge. I love defying the odds. I've never really set out to break the law, but I do think creatively. I visit a flea market, garage sale, or Goodwill store and my wheels spin into overdrive with the possibilities.

Recently, I decided that I wanted to plant a succulent dish garden. I've always appreciated the variety of textures and colors of these hardy, water-retaining plants that are cousins to cacti. Hmmm...water retaining...maybe I feel a kinship...Anyway, I decided to pick up a few little succulent gems at Home Depot. They had a modest selection and each plant cost a little under $4. But when it came to choosing a dish, I wasn't so lucky. I wasn't sure where my little garden would be placed so I wanted a neutral container...but I didn't want terra cotta. The other containers were too deep and they were plastic. Ewwww!!! I picked up a small bag of potting soil while I was there, which completed my purchases. Yes, I know, spending less than $50 at Home Depot sounds crazy, but I did it!

potted-succulents succulents dish garden climbing aloe graptoveria Debbie alpenglow vera higgins aloe pinto rainbow bush elephant bush golden sedum string of buttons peperomia My plant selection

I then headed next door to Walmart for a few groceries and decided to peruse the aisles for just the right dish. And lo and behold, I found it in the aisle with the party platters and serving trays. Anchor Hocking makes a 13", shallow glass dish, which they call a serving tray. It was just the right size. I know Anchor Hocking did not manufacture this dish with the intention of it being used as a table top garden. But I didn't see any warning labels on it telling me not to, so I went for it! I already had bags of aquarium gravel at home, so I made my way to the checkout lanes.

anchor-hocking-glass-dish aquarium-gravel

I often do things a little backwards, and this was no exception. After purchasing my plants, I did some Googling on how to plant them properly. I learned that I should have bought cactus mix potting soil or some pumice to add to my soil. Succulents don't like wet feet, so you need to draw moisture away from them rather than hold it close. Good drainage is key.

Sooo...Here's what I did. First I decided on how I wanted to arrange them in the dish. Then I poured a nice layer of gravel in my dish. Next, I poured a layer of potting soil. I removed each plant from its pot and positioned it in the soil. I sketched the arrangement on paper, numbered each plant, and noted the name by each. There's was no way I would remember what each one was. I wiggled each planting so that the roots were kind of in the gravel. I anchored the plants in place with more potting soil, then topped it with gravel to hide the soil. During the planting process, soil and gravel spilled into the leaves of the plants so I used an old paint brush to clean them off. I removed gravel from deep in the leaves using tweezers. I watered slightly and I was done.

Succulents only need to be watered about once a week, and sparingly at that. Watering in the morning is best. They like morning light, so I placed my dish in the window of my bedroom. My original intention was to bring the dish garden to work, but from everything I read I don't think they would thrive.

Here's my finished, succulent dish garden. I'm very happy with it.

succulents dish garden climbing aloe graptoveria Debbie alpenglow vera higgins aloe pinto rainbow bush elephant bush golden sedum string of buttons peperomia

Here's an overhead shot and plant identification. Some have very cute names.

succulents dish garden climbing aloe graptoveria Debbie alpenglow vera higgins aloe pinto rainbow bush elephant bush golden sedum string of buttons peperomia
1. Climbing Aloe - aloe ciliaris
2. Graptoveria 'Debbie'
3. 'Alpenglow' 'Vera Higgins' - Graptosedum
4. Aloe Pinto
5. Rainbow Bush or Elephant Bush - Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'
6. Golden Sedum - Sedum adolphii
7. String of Buttons - Crassula perforata
8. Peperomia - Peperomia ferreyrae

Succulents will grow in just about any kind of container, as long as they have good drainage. Here are some more clever ideas for growing your own.

A living succulent wreath for year-round color by Julie Martens. Project instructions from Better Homes & Gardens.

tea cup succulents
Do you enjoy hunting for tea cups at the flea market? You can use them to showcase succulents in a sunny window.

Barbara Jordan Dettweiler works succulents into her interior design in clever ways, like these vintage silver champagne glasses. You can read about it on her blog, Haus Design.

Succulent turtle topiary available from Simply Succulents

Do you prefer glowing rather than growing? Here are some beautiful succulent candles from

How about sewing instead of growing? This cushion's design was inspired by the Euchavaria succulent. It's by Ronel Jordaan and can be found on

The simple elegance of succulents can be adapted to any decorating style and their drought tolerance means you don't have a green thumb to grow them. I'm sure you'll see them in future posts as I find new ways to work them into my own home.

Want to see more great projects that you can do yourself? Join me at the Addicted 2 Decorating Link Party every Friday afternoon!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do you Tangerine Tango?


I have a thing for bright colors in the coral family - brilliant coral reds, fiery coral oranges, and vibrant coral pinks. My wardrobe has reflected this through the years. And when it comes to flowers, especially roses, make them a bright shade of coral. I was so excited when Pantone announced their 2012 Color of the Year: Pantone 17-1463 Tangerine Tango. It's a bright, reddish orange that reminds me of a highly polished coral cabochon gem. We will not dwell on the fact that it is also reminiscent of the burnt orange color so popular in 1970's interior design. I mean, what child of the 70's doesn't remember the Brady Bunch kitchen?


I question their choice to include the word "tangerine" in the name. I mean, I like tangerines and "tangerine tango" is a really cool name, but I've never seen a tangerine this color. If they would have asked me what I thought the name should be, I would have named it something like "Coral Captivation". But they didn't ask me and now they've made the big announcement, so there's no turning back at this point.

I was so inspired by this bold and energetic color that I decided to feature it in the color palette for this blog. The blog had originally been created to showcase my photography, so I kept it dark, avoiding color so as not to detract from the photos. But now that I've switched directions, I decided it needed a fresh new look with cheerful and vibrant colors. I combined the vibrant orange with a pale blue since, in this case, opposites really do attract! Now I just need to decide whether to keep the dark gray body color, or change it to something lighter and brighter. What do you think?

This fiery orange-red color also reminds me of some of the most beautiful sunsets that I have been lucky enough to photograph at Lake Martin-Cypress Island Preserve in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, just a few minutes from my home. This is one of my favorites. If you like sunsets, or just nature photography in general, I have an entire Lake Martin, Cypress Island Preserve set on Flickr.

Glow - 6:12 p.m."Glow" by kim dever thibodeaux

Check out Out of Curiosity::Is Orange for You? a post by Kristi Linauer on her blog, Addicted 2 Decorating. She's just a state over in Waco, Texas. Her blog inspired me to revive this blog. Her talent and bravado have resulted in some amazing makeovers. She has the job I dream of!

Here are some inspirational photos of designs that feature colors similar to Tangerine Tango and, in some cases, have been paired with blues similar to my selection.

captivating modern living room design in green color ideas

This next one really evokes the feeling I'm striving for in my Master Bedroom Makeover.

pale blue walls orange accents beach feelingMorgan Harrison Home featured on

So tell me now...Do you Tangerine Tango?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Master Bedroom Makeover : : Walls are Painted

"The best laid schemes of mice and men, often go awry." - John Steinbeck

It was Kasey's birthday Saturday, so I didn't get started until late Saturday afternoon. Done properly, prepping walls takes longer than actually painting them, so I had a lot of work to do. Then, when I thought I was ready to begin painting the trim, I discovered I had bought oil-based paint. Sooo...I switched gears and began painting walls instead. The light coming into the room was very bright and it didn't take long to realize that the Barely Jade color we had chosen was hardly jade, it looked powder blue...Sean's least favorite color in the whole wide world. (Click here to see the before photos.)

Sunday morning, I drove to Home Depot and exchanged the oil paint for BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Pure White High-Gloss Enamel, an acrylic enamel. If you've never used an acrylic enamel, it takes a bit of getting used to. It has a thick consistency. You have to put it on kind of thick, but not so thick as to run. And once you get it on the woodwork, leave it alone. Don't try to re-brush it because it sets quickly and you'll make a mess. If you leave it alone, it will blend back into itself leaving a smooth finish.

Once I got the trim painted, I re-painted the wall next to the trim to create a nice, clean edge, then I applied a second coat of paint to the walls. I still have a few spots to touch up, but I'm pleased with the outcome. Sean and I both struggled with the fact that our room was a pale blue color, but as the sun went down and the incandescent lights were turned on, it was the pale greenish color we expected. I think once we install white crown molding and get the dark brown floors in and bring some more accents into the room, the wall color will take on a supporting role instead of playing the lead.

master bedroom makeover Glidden Barely Jade pale blue walls

Now I'm exploring options for all the finishing touches in the room, starting with new lamps. Since I plan on going white with the bed linens, I think bringing in lamps with bold, graphic design could be interesting. This Lights Up! Kimono Shade from Lamps Plus is bold in its simplicity.

Lamps Plus Lights Up Kimono Shade

There are some great fabrics on the market, so maybe I'll create my own custom drum shades to top the bright red, glass lamps we already own. I'm in LOVE with this print I found on It's called Wrenly Wren Gypsy White by Valori Wells. I not only love all the colors and the retro feel of the design, but it features the cutest little birds. And best of all, Sean likes it! I like Michael Miller's Mini Mikes Slender Stripe Retro as a coordinating design. I've attempted to show them to scale. I could use them to create the cushion and accent pillows for the window seat we're going to build.

Valori Wells Wrenly Wren Gypsy White EK-791 fabric


Or maybe we could go all white, like this turned lamp from West Elm

West Elm Turned Table Lamp

or the Zing lamp from Crate & Barrel, continuing the minimal theme. Have I mentioned that I love Crate & Barrel?

Zing White Table Lamp Crate and Barrel

We're also looking at options for the built in bookshelves. Sean can build them, but if we can buy some at an affordable price, that would be ideal.

The Victorian ceiling fan needs to be replaced with something more sleek like this contemporary Hunter 52 in. from Home Depot. I know interior design experts poo-poo ceiling fans, but we live in South Louisiana and I'm almost 45 years old. I need a ceiling fan. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Case closed.

Hunter 52 in Contemporary Onyx Bengal Ceiling Fan

Add our new bed and an area rug and it will be a wonderful place to retire to after a long day at work. If I only had a magic wand...but I don't. So we'll just continue doing a little at a time and I'll post our progress here.

Have a great week!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Master Bedroom Makeover : : Let the Games Begin!

Since Winter has abandoned South Louisiana, we started spring-cleaning early. Not your average, run-of-the-mill cleaning. Oh no. We're talking major . Like carpeting. Yep, ripping it out. Our home was built circa 1997, but we bought it in 2005. And it's time to make it "ours". So, if we're ripping out the carpeting, what better time to paint, right? And what about that archway between the living room and the dining area? Let's get rid of that, too! Oh,and the big plate glass mirrors in the bathrooms. Let's frame them. And what about...You can see what kind of year this is going to be.

I've decided to chronicle our adventures as Weekend Warriors so that maybe I can inspire others to do the same. After all, it's other people's blogs (and years of HGTV) that have given me the confidence that we can do it ourselves.

Our to-do list is long, so we have come up with a strategy. We've never installed wood floors, so we're going to start in our bedroom, then work our way out to the living room and then into the dining area. The plan is to know what we're doing by the time we're finished with the bedroom. Pretty smart, huh?

So here's our room, ready for the carpet-ectomy.

master bedroom with mustard gold walls (before)

...and here it is with a section of carpet gone.

master bedroom with mustard gold walls and partially removed carpeting (before)

...and finally, bare concrete.

master bedroom with mustard gold walls after removing carpet (before)

There's so much to do in this room. I can't wait!

First, the walls are going from the mustard gold color to a calming, watery blueish-green. It's going to look so nice with glossy white trim (yep, it's getting repainted, too). We agreed on Glidden's Duo Paint & Primer Barely Jade in a flat finish, which we picked up from Home Depot. It won't be long before we're on a first name basis with their employees. We go to the Broussard location and have had great customer service.


Our furniture has a dark coffee finish that is just going to pop against the color. I think the watery color on the walls combined with the dark woods gives it a spa-like feeling.

I painted a small portion of the wall and staged a nightstand in front of it for effect. I should note that the paint went on nicely and I got one-coat coverage, which I hadn't expected given how dark the wall color is.


For the floors, we selected Virginia Mill Works Engineered Handscraped 1/2" x 5" Potomac Plank. The hand-scraping gives it a wavy, worn surface and the satin finish will stand up to the dogs. We purchased the flooring from Lumber Liquidators in Broussard, Louisiana. They are open late until 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays and the staff is very friendly and helpful. We thought we would have to settle for laminate flooring but learned that we could actually afford real wood plank flooring. Best of all, we got 18 months interest-free financing!

Virginia Mill Works Engineered Potomac Plank Handscraped flooring

I staged a nightstand with a few planks to get an idea of what it will look like. The color is a bit off in this photo since I shot it with my phone. The LED flash is cool so the nightstand looks purple. I just don't feel like color correcting it. Don't judge.


Once we get the walls painted and the flooring installed, Sean is going to construct built-in bookcases with cabinets at the bottom and a window seat along the front wall. We'll give it a nice coat of white paint so that it becomes an architectural detail in the room. Then we'll finish off the room with white crown molding - a detail that is missing throughout our entire home.

I'm going to re-frame the girls' portraits and my wedding portrait in sleek wood frames and relocate them. Over the bed, I'm going to hang three individual matted, framed prints created from this one photo. I'm sure that project will warrant its own blog entry.

Photo Gumbo Studio cypress trees swamp Calm Before the Storm

When the room is complete, we're going to reward ourselves by finally purchasing the bed that matches our dresser and nightstands. I don't particularly care for matched furniture, but my husband is a stickler about matching furniture and symmetry and that's OK, too. If there's a secret to being married for 22 years as we have, it's learning how to compromise. Here's what the bed looks like. It's part of Crate and Barrel's Brighton Collection.


To keep that spa-like feeling, I think I'll top it off with crisp, classic white linens like these from Sferra, but mine will probably come from Ross. You can't beat their prices. I mean, you could pay more, but why? I love how fresh white bedding looks and with our dogs we need something that can be laundered often and still look great. If they're good enough for the finest hotels, they're good enough for our new master retreat!

SFERRA Sereno Sheets

So there you have it, our initiation into the Weekend Warrior Club. This is going to be so much fun! Are you feeling it?