28 March 2011

air plant terrarium

A dear friend's birthday gave me a reason to dream up another terrarium last week! This one is a bit different than my desert terrarium. It is similar in that it is super easy to care for, but this one requires even less attention! For those of you who lean this way, here is how to make one like it:

Air Plant Terrarium
- Open glass container. I found this one at West Elm. I loved the pedestal on it because it added a little more interest to the whole piece, but you can easily find a similar shape without the pedestal at most craft stores.
- Sand. I choose a sand that had a larger grain to give it more texture. Also, consider using a black or colored sand for this style since it is so promient. Creating an uneven layer adds dimension.
- 2-3 air plants, depending on the size of your container.
- An object that will add some visual interest. I found this lovely little owl at a local garden store, but a colorful rock could be used too.

Air plants are so easy to care. There are many varieties and shapes out there, but they all basically need air and a light mist of water. The easiest way to do this is to keep a water bottle on hand. Give the plants a quick spray weekly. Another way to water them is to dunk them quickly in water and let them air dry before placing them back in the container.

VoilĂ ! A lovely terrarium that takes less time to care for than it does to make!

22 March 2011

baby cowboy boots

I got these little cowboy boots for my baby boy nephew a month or so ago from a shop in town called Tweed. The minute I saw them I had to snatch up a pair! Tweed is a great little children's shop over in Edgehill, and they carry a wonderful variety of items — clothing, toys, note cards, books, bags, you get the idea. There are hand-sewn clouds hanging behind the register, and all the items are arranged in such an artful way. There is even a hanging reading nook for children that resembles a tree and has fabric leaves sewn all over it. And if that wasn't charming enough, the lovely girl who owns it will wrap up your gift and attach a handmade card that she constructs while getting to know you. Lovely!!

Baby Boy has a little more growing to do before these fit really well and don't come flying off as he kicks his legs. He has finally discovered he can do this, and can't get enough of it! However, he still looks pretty darn cute in them if I do say so myself!

17 March 2011

releasing the wolf

A few weeks ago I drove past a little art gallery over in the 12South neighborhood and noticed a painting in the front window—I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. I had just enough time where I was stopped in front to be able to see that it was of three wolves in the snow; two interacting, one off in the distance. There was something about the colors, and the shadows in the snow, but what I loved most was the perspective. It was almost as if you were looking down on the wolves from above. Anyway, as I mentioned before I have not been able to get this image out of my head. So yesterday, because the weather was amazing, I decided to take a break from work and head over and check it out. It was more beautiful than I expected, and I love it. I was secretly hoping it would be something I could afford, but of course, it was way out of my budget! So I will just have to enjoy from afar! The artist is Diane Tremaine and most of her subject matter is of animals. I actually really loved all of her work, but the wolves and the horses were my favorite. This particular painting is from an experience the artist had observing a captured wolf being released back into the wild. I won't go into detail on why this painting resonates with me, but the wolf symbolism is the biggest part of it, and knowing the background behind it makes me love it more.

One my way out I stopped at a relatively new joint called LB's Market House that is right next door. I have a friend who works there and have been excited to check it out. It was as cool as I expected it would be. LB’s is a new market and deli that uses fresh, local foods, and also carries plenty of items that are not food related. I walked away with a chicken salad sandwich that was the perfect ending to a leisurely lunch break.

Diane Tremaine "Closing In"
48x48, Oil on canvas

13 March 2011

desert terrarium

I have been wanting to take a stab at making my own terrarium for a while now. This weekend I decided it was time to go ahead and try it. I also wanted to see if I could do it for less than $20! Here is what I came up—the glass container cost me $6, two bags of rocks were $5, each plant was about $2.5 each, and then I used some soil I already had. All of the trinkets—the marbles, the feather, etc., were things I already had around the house too. Bringing the final total to right about $20! The fun of it is being creative with what container you want to use, or which plants you like best. I love succulents, so I went with more of a desert style; but many others use ferns and moss, even orchids. Some are strictly focused on an artful arrangement of the plants, while others are built around figurines, making it a small little world. There is something intriguing about bringing a collection of plants indoors and placing them on display, often times literally under a glass globe or bell jar. It combines nature with art, and causes you to take a second glance.

I am no expert, but in my research on building and caring for a terrarium there seemed to be a bit of a formula. A glass container, a layer of rocks or gravel for drainage, a layer of soil, then the plants. Often another layer between the plants and the soil is added to regulate moisture, some use rocks, others moss. If you go with the style I choose, you will want to get a container that is open at the top. But, if you go the tropical route, you will need to have a lid of some sort to hold the moisture in. This will create a small ecosystem within the container that will maintain itself, with only the slightest bit of watering.

Below are the directions for what I made and a few links that I found helpful. It was a lot of fun to make, and I expect it will not be the last one I put together.

Desert Terrarium
- Glass container that is open at the top
- Place a layer of rocks 1-2 inches thick at the bottom
- Layer of soil. I laid the soil down unevenly to allow for a little more depth and dimension, basically created a small hill on one side.
- 3-5 succulent plants, varying in size. Number of plants is determined by the size of your container and how crowded you might want your terrarium. Shake the dirt from the root system and place in soil. Add any extra soil in order to secure the plants.
- Cover with a layer of small rocks. I went this route vs. sand because of the ease of watering and not having to deal with sand getting all over the plants while putting it together.
- Place any found objects around the plants to add color and make it uniquely yours!

Allow for sunlight and water every two weeks.

Terrarium links for inspiration:
DesignSponge feature
Martha Stewart
Etsy terrarium search

10 March 2011

shop terrain #2

I have already mentioned this store/website before, but in the process of looking for a few gifts I found more stuff that I love! I have heard and read a lot about using different salts lately in cooking, so am curious about that Pink Himalayan salt. Also, I think it would look beautiful on the kitchen counter! The bird house and garden stakes would be perfect for my updated yard. And the top right item is a grain measure...I bought a stack of these a few years ago at the flea market and love them—they hold all sorts of art supplies in my studio. (Little secret...I only paid $10 for mine as opposed to $24! Nashvillians, let me know if you want the scoop on where to find them!)

09 March 2011

the rural studio

I mentioned last week that I was going to Mississippi for a few days. It is a significant drive, and while some of it is interstate, the majority is not. It consists of small roads winding through even smaller towns. There may be miles of nothing but land and trees, and then a quick surge of houses. Possibly even a store or two. Some of the areas I passed through are so rural, had I not already been familiar with it, I might have been alarmed by the conditions of some of the houses and buildings. But, if you look closely, you see what people have done to make use of what structures they have. I even began to notice some really interesting houses that were stepping outside of the simple box and working within the land. For example, there was one house that was literally built into the hill on the property and only a portion of it sat on top. It was actually quite impressive, and from what I could tell, clever.

It got me thinking about a program called The Rural Studio. I was lucky enough to catch a documentary on it last year, called Citizen Architect, and have had it on my mind ever since. The Rural Studio was established in 1993 at Auburn University by two architecture professors—Dennis K. Ruth and the late Samuel Mockbee—with the purpose of improving the rural areas of Alabama and providing actual experience for architecture students. There are so many amazing things about this program—not only the education, but also the experience and relationships that are gained. There is also the challenge to be creative with the surroundings, as well as the materials used. I admire the concept of teaching the responsibilities of the profession and inspiring younger generations stepping into the field to approach it differently. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to look through the projects on their website, and try to see the film if you can. Even if architecture is not your thing, you cannot deny the beauty of what is being done here.

Hale County Animal Shelter

Harris/Butterfly House

Antioch Baptist Church

Akron Boys and Girls Club

Willie Bell House

03 March 2011

found while walking

I tend to look down when I am walking. I have read that not making eye contact is a sign of insecurity, but that is not why I do it. I am just always looking for things—unique leaves, rocks, feathers, patterns, color palettes happening naturally, odd everyday objects on the ground. I like to take pictures of these things; sometimes I pick them up and take them home to find just the right spot for them to live. One of my favorite moments I ever had with E was doing just this. We were on a walk, it was in the middle of the fall, and there were so many amazing leaves and pods on the ground. I kept stopping to pick them all up, creating my own little bouquet—when out of nowhere this huge wind came and literally swept every little leaf off of this one cluster. I clung tightly to it, and was so upset to be left with a measly stick, until I heard E laughing, which then of course had me laughing; and then we couldn't stop. Everyone turned to look but it didn't matter, we could NOT stop laughing. I love to remember that moment. I still have all of those little things I collected that day. In true fashion I photographed them when I got home and found a spot for them in my bookshelf.

This blog focuses on just that. In blog land it is hard to come across an original concept to focus on, so it is refreshing to stumble upon it. It is interesting to see what other people find and how it makes its way into their artwork and patterns.

I don't think people do enough of this. Observe what is around them. We seem to always have our phones in front of our faces—which I am also guilty of—but what are we missing in the meantime? Sure, there is some balance needed here, whether it is our phone or the ground we are focused on. But what if today, instead of pulling out something to occupy our attention when we have a free moment, we instead look around us and see what is actually there. Maybe we will find a pretty leaf, maybe a beautiful sky, or maybe we will share an unforgettable moment with the person standing next to us before the wind takes them away.

02 March 2011

two months, one week, and two days

This baby boy is a little over two months old already! Time flies! You always hear how fast they grow and there is a reason for that—it is true. I get to see him this weekend though and cannot believe how ecstatic I am about that. Pictures emailed and texted, even little videos help me get my fix, but holding that baby in the flesh is the ultimate!

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