Flora Inspiration

Fingers crossed that you are reading this post right now. I’ve tried to post some iteration of this idea for the past two days, but each time I press publish…poof! Deleted! If this post actually made it to you through the intricate interwebs then you’re about to read about my household obsession: succulents!

Succulents are not a new passion of mine by any means, I have had a love affair with the plants since 2002 when I fell down a mountain and landed right into one—a prickly cactus nonetheless! But what’s new in my house is our method for displaying them, and the size of our collection. Our succulent assortment doubled after our wedding last year…and since then has been steadily growing—between Jesse replanting leaves and frequent trips to the garden center.

What is it about succulents? To me there is something magical about the way they look (right out of a Dr. Seuss book) and the way they survive (generally in severe conditions, with little water). Just looking at them gives me a list boost. There should be a thought bubble over them: “Hey, we’re making it work in this harsh world, and so can you!”

Under the boojum tree, 2002. Baja California, Mexico.

Taken in Baja California, Mexico on that same trip.

Succulents come in all sort of sizes and shapes. Check out this crazy-looking cactus called a Boojum Tree below. That’s a picture from a desert-plant course I took back in college. I’m in red, and my friend and awesome-blogger, Kate Kurtz, is there with hands on hips.

The Desert Botanical Garden in AZ describes it well:

Boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris) is a large succulent closely related to the ocotillo. A remarkable looking plant, often compared to an upside down parsnip, it naturally occurs only in Baja California and in a restricted area of Sonora, Mexico. Long-lived plants, some are thought to have achieved over 500 years of growth.

But, back to the subject: decorating with succulents.  Jesse and I are going for a Northeast meets Southwest look with our desert garden spreading out across the windowsills, and taking over as the centerpiece of our newly-redesigned living room. Check out our succulent planters: a terracotta strawberry pot and recycled espresso tins! Basically, my feeling with succulents is: plant them anywhere, especially peaking out from unexpected corners. Choose interesting vessels: old teapots, used rain-boots, antique medicine bottles to compliment the plant’s wacky nature.

In our living room.

Want some decorating inspiration? Check out these photo from around the web. Note: they’re not all succulents, but they have the feel that I’m going for in my house.

Photos clockwise from top left: one, two, three, four, five.

Now if only Boston’s weather could be a little more like Tucson’s my plants would love it! Ok, who are we kidding…I’d love it too! ;)



ReUse: The Coffee Bag

So I know most of you are always curious about how not to waste things or how to find another use for them rather than shoving them into the recycling or garbage bin. Such items may consist of: beer cans, grocery bags, bag ties (including the metal twist or the plastic bag tie thingy), those thin green velcro vegetable ties, etc. This week, I’m focusing on one use for one item: The Coffee Bag.

I imagine that most of you keep your coffee bags lying around, collecting dust, hoping for that perfect something to put inside so you can use it again. Now you can. The brown paper coffee bag is perfect for sending gifts in…small gifts. I recently sent some baked goods (Lemon Coconut Cranberry Cake with Lemon Curd on the Bottom–See recipe below) and I was in a tight spot. I couldn’t find a brown bag to cover the box I had, then it appeared, like an aura in the sky –the lonely brown coffee bag. It was a match made in mail heaven.


Lemon Coconut Cranberry Cake with Lemon Curd on the Bottom — I tweaked the recipe to include the juices from two lemons, three tablespoons of coconut, and added a handful of cranberries.  I also added the zest from one lemon. I omitted the glaze.

BTW: The coffee bags are free at the grocery store should you also be in a tight spot.

Happy Shipping!