Have yourself a Colorful Christmas video from Oh Joy!

Our friend Joy from Oh Joy! made us a video featuring tons of our new holiday décor. Enjoy $4.95 all-you-can-ship on holiday décor.

Joy Deangdeelert Cho is a graphic designer, blogger and food enthusiast who worked with numerous fashion clients in New York before launching her own business and blog Oh Joy! in 2005. She now designs textiles, packaging and branding for clients in the fashion and food industries, consults other creative businesses through her Rx program, and sells her licensed stationery, home office, baby clothing and wallpaper lines nationwide. She co-wrote Creative, Inc., a book about becoming a freelance creative talent, and recently authored Blog, Inc., about the business of blogging. 

Black Thumb Friendly Houseplants

I do not come from a family of gardeners, but I always had dreams of a tangled English garden gracing my front stoop or perhaps a collection of intricately manicured bonsai trees in my living room window (this may or may not have been inspired by Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid). While my horticultural talents are still quite modest, I have discovered how to grow houseplants with some measure of success….and now I LOVE growing houseplants in my home! For me, houseplants inspire creativity, provide beautiful, natural decor and are a sight for sore eyes in the middle of a gray, slushy January afternoon. They also provide health benefits by absorbing formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that compromise the indoor air quality in your home (here’s an interesting article about this topic).

Right now I have ten houseplants in my home that are flourishing, but I admit, more than a few have ended up in the compost pile in the backyard throughout the years. Here are a few tricks I’ve got for growing houseplants:

  • Don’t buy a plant if you don’t have the right growing conditions. I killed a large, beautiful pot of English ivy because I didn’t have it in a sunny-enough window. Pay attention to the growing instructions…the first step to growing success!
  • Underwatering is better than overwatering. I’m definitely more of a plant-neglector than a plant-micro-manager, but usually that’s good for easy care houseplants…..and make sure the pot has a drainage hole in the bottom so the extra water can drain out!
  • Make sure your plants are non-toxic or placed in a safe spot if you have pets or small children. Some plants are downright poisonous, others have toxic qualities if they are ingested….it’s better to be extra careful!
  • Start with an easy, impossible-to-kill plant. Once you get used to caring for one easy plant, buy another one, or get something that is more finicky if you want a challenge. All the plants in this post are easy to grow, and all but one are very safe for kids and pets.

I bought my very first plant, a Jade plant, during a paint-supply shopping trip to Lowe’s eight years ago. It was a nostalgic purchase as my grandmother always had a huge Jade plant in her front window….and I also think their succulent leaves are very beautiful. I placed Bob (yes, I named my plant Bob!) on top of our TV armoire and watched him grow from 3 inches to 2 feet tall in height. Jade plants need a lot of sunlight but keep growing even if you don’t water them for weeks….I know this from experience!

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If you want an easy impossible-to-kill plant, go buy a Pothos right now! I actually have three Pothos plants (also called Devil’s Ivy); they can grow in almost any condition, including the dark corner in your TV room and can survive on bi/tri-weekly watering. You can grow them up a post like the one pictured or let their fast-growing tendrils trail over a hanging basket or along the top of your kitchen cabinets. Pothos are also on the list of plants that are especially good at cleaning the air. One caveat: The leaves can cause mild illness if ingested so keep them away from little hands and paws.

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My African Violet plant is gorgeous and just keeps blooming! African Violets are one of the easiest flowering houseplants to grow if you follow a few simple steps. Most importantly, African Violets grow best if you water them from the bottom up and avoid getting water on the leaves (there are special “African Violet” pots you can get if you want). Here’s a very informative article on how to grow African Violets, but in my experience, they grow well with minimal care.

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My husband salvaged this Ponytail Palm from his former office building before they were relocated and it has become a nice addition to my plant collection after a little TLC. Again, this plant requires a bright window but minimal watering. It’s non-toxic so I feel okay about it sitting on the floor vulnerable to curious toddler fingers (and they are curious as you can see in my photo).

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My husband salvaged this Ponytail Palm from his former office building before they were relocated and it has become a nice addition to my plant collection after a little TLC. Again, this plant requires a bright window but minimal watering. It’s non-toxic so I feel okay about it sitting on the floor vulnerable to curious toddler fingers (and they are curious as you can see in my photo).

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A few other plants I have grown:

  • Spider plant – Excellent air-cleaning abilities, non-toxic, indestructible and will eventually reproduce and supply you with little spider plant babies to grow or give away.
  • Peace Lily – Requires too much watering for my lifestyle but it has pretty green leaves and white flowers. Not safe for children or pets.
  • Snake plant – Another one that will grow with almost NO sunlight or water! Somehow I still managed to kill mine because it was sitting in a rarely used room and I just forgot about it.
  • Orchid – I actually have one growing in my bathroom right now but it’s not in bloom so I didn’t include  a photo. A beautiful and surprisingly easy plant to grow! It does need a special orchid potting mix and weekly watering.
  • Umbrella tree – I loved this easy care plant but we just couldn’t fit another pot in our car when we moved across the country a few years ago!
  • English Ivy – Once I learned how to care for English Ivy it grew beautifully, however, it is not safe for small children so I gave my plant away. It is also an excellent air cleaner.
I promise you can grow beautiful houseplants too, even if you claim to have a “black thumb”!  And, fellow gardeners, what do you grow in your house?  (if you grow bonsai trees please give me your insider information….I think I’m ready to take on Mr. Miyagi).
 
Post by Renae Wortz : Mom Colored Glasses

DIY Night Light Canvas (a grown up version of light bright!)

FINALLY. You don’t think I have *just* been caring for a newborn & toddler, do you? Well. Mostly I have, but I have been able to sneak in a few projects here & there. Finding the time to blog them is a whole different story… You’ll be seeing more instagram pictures on here than I’d like. Anything square is IG. :)

This project has been on my to-do list since I first saw it in Blueprint (RIP) in 2007. Yep. That’s my original copy, complete with red ink stain & all! This was going to be on the feature wall in my nursery if caroline was a boy…but…she wasn’t! & I decided to wait to use it should I get the chance to decorate another nursery. & hip, hip hooray. I DID! It’s now all over pinterest & my version was additionally inspired by Kelly’s ombre version. I cannot tell you how much I love it. I spend plenty of time staring at it in the middle of the night. & I could not be happier with how it turned out! Here’s how I did it:

SUPPLIES

  • canvas (mine is 24×30″)
  • white twinkle lights (found mine at target in the garden section, 100ct)
  • acrylic paint in desired color/s. (You’ll need white & at least one colored shade if you want to do the ombre effect–ombre means “shaded or graduated in tone” just in case you aren’t familiar with the term)
  • paintbrush
  • water in a squirt bottle
  • exacto knife

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HOW-TO

  • I wasnt sure what I was going to do with the colors, so I grabbed a few from my stash & started to play. I ended up squirting white on one end & orange on the other.
  • I started on the orange side & worked the paint over towards the white, but not all the way. I washed the brush clean, then started on the white side working towards the orange. I did this over & over until I had the colors blend just the way I wanted to. I also squirted the canvas with water a bit to help the paint blend better.
  • once the top was dry, I painted the edges of the canvas celedon green, just to cover up the runny orange.
  • I then took it up to the nursery to decide which color I wanted on top. White it was!
  • I marked the middle of my three “fireworks” and started poking holes with the exacto knife.
  • After the holes were pierced, I punched the twinkle lights through & just kept going until I liked the pattern. I kept a rough count of the lites, knowing that I should split them into thirds for each firework, a little heavier on the top & bottom two.
  • Once it was done, I used an extension cord to reach the lites on the back of the canvas & put them on a remote for an extra easy on/off during those never ending nighttime feedings.

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I can’t tell you how much I love it! The best part of the whole thing is how affordable it is–the only new supplies I needed to buy were a canvas & lights. I got the canvas half off at JoAnns Fabrics ($25) and the twinkle lights were $5 at Target. The rest was stuff I had laying around the house.

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& now on to decorating the last wall in the nursery! I’ve got three of four done…yea!!

Post by shawna of styleberryBLOG.com

Despite days full of washing diapers & messy fun, Shawna is determined to make mommyhood a stylish adventure. Married to the military & mother to one feisty girl & a snuggly little guy, she is a passionate DIYer & loves sharing how to make the complicated simple. Shawna talks creativity, style, food, decorating, green-chic living & mommyhood atstyleberryBLOG, a daily-ish dose of something fab.