That didn’t take long…
You may have noticed in my previous post how tall my Fiddle Leaf Fig has gotten. In the two years that I have had it, it has grown at least a foot. That seems slow, but I haven’t exactly taken the best care of it. Unfortunately, the height increase of the tree hasn’t quite had the affect one would hope. Instead of a full, lush tree, I had a tall, lanky one. The lankiness was further exaggerated by the ‘Y’ shape of the tree: the taller the tree got, the wider the ‘Y’ spread.
I searched for options for how I might make my tree look fuller and less lanky. Could I stake a branch, or somehow bind the branches to lessen the spread? Those options seemed like it could only hurt the plant. So I started doing some research and found that I could prune the tree, actually lop off the top, to force new growth further down the branch.
But taking shears to my (sort of) lovely tree made me nervous. Where exactly should the cut be made? Should the cut be treated with something? Can I fertilize after I cut? So many questions that I couldn’t really find answers to online. I thought, surely there’s someone I can talk to who can walk me through this. On a whim, I called a local company, Calvert’s, which provides plants to commercial facilities and also maintains them. The woman who answered the phone was able to answer all of my questions in a way that made it sound like she had actually done it before. I was filled with confidence. So here’s what I did…
I made sure my shears were clean and sanitized, and then identified where I wanted to make the cut.
One branch was slightly longer than the other, so I wanted to even that out a bit. I could have pruned both branches, but I was nervous about stressing the plant out too much in one go.
Once I lopped off the top, the entire branch bounced back from the lost weight. I should end up with two separate branches extending from this cut. I’ve heard that you can also nick the bark above an existing leaf to encourage additional branching.
What’s fun about this next step is, in the end, I may end up with another tree! I took the piece of branch that I just lopped off, dipped the cut end into rooting hormone, and stuck it in a vase with water. It’s been just about 2 weeks and the beginnings of roots are starting to emerge. I’ll let these babies become a web of roots before I set this propagated plant into soil.
Let’s get back to the tree. A word of caution: when cut, the Fiddle Leaf Fig will leak sap that is mildly caustic, so be prepared to dab it up once you have made your cut. I was caught off-guard by just how quickly the sap came out. Picture me frantically running around my living room looking for a napkin while balancing a teaspoon’s worth of sap on an upside-down Fig branch. Once pruned, the tree side of the cut doesn’t need to be treated anything and will actually heal on its own.
Right after, I fertilized the tree and plan to continue to do so monthly until the end of time. Why? because it seems like every time I fertilize, the plant goes wild. Here’s evidence:
This new leaf didn’t come from the pruned branch, but I’m still excited about it because that means the pruning I did didn’t cause any stress to the plant. I consider that a success!
Have you had any good or bad experiences pruning plants? Have you been able to do any propagating? I’d love to hear about it!
Our living room is looking all grown up lately. You may remember how excited I was to share the updated Mood Board I created back in September. Well, we received the new sectional in February and I am still so very excited. But before I share the most beautiful After pictures you have ever seen in your life, let’s take a look at how the living room looked Before.
Not too shabby, right? I was really happy with this space aside from the too small sofa that started to seem like it could only seat one person comfortably. And if I’m being honest, the rug was too small, as well. Ready for the After?
The new sectional is from the Rowe Dorset collection. I replaced the too small area rug with carpet tiles, which increased the coverage area from 8’x10′ to 10’x14′. Similarly, our sofa size increased from 87″ to 104″. This really makes us feel like we’re actually using the whole living room, and not just a corner of it. Of course, it looks better, too.
That chaise lounge? That’s my spot. Well, my spot that I share with the kitties.
The best picture of all.
Happy New Year, folks! I can’t believe it’s been a year already since my 2013 year-end review (just 6 posts ago!) I really don’t think I created enough blog content in order to warrant a review of 2014, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to break tradition and look forward instead of backward!
Since Christmas (read: those weeks that I spent ankle-deep in wrapping paper), I’ve been really itching to get organized. The house on Penny Lane may look nice and tidy, but it’s hiding a doozy of messes. I’ve done a few clean-outs here and there, but I decided that 2015 would be the year that I take on the January Cure from Apartment Therapy.
We’re already 3 assignments in, and I’m only behind on one of them. If I can keep up, I’ll be blogging about my process.
Let’s start with the first assignment: Flowers & Floors. this was a bit of an easy one for me and I’ll be honest why: Rob cleans the floors. He’ll thank me when he finds out that I didn’t make him do a thorough scrub down. I will give him credit though, since he did clean them just a day or so before this assignment. The main goal of the floor cleaning, I must say, is to get better acquainted with your home and what projects may need working on.
Fortunately/unfortunately, I can pretty much list of these projects from memory without even going into their respective rooms. I will be doing that, however, since that is assignment #2, Make a List of Projects. I’ll report back with my list in the next few days, but for now, I’ll leave you with the pretty picture I took after “completing” my first assignment.
There’s something very exciting coming up for the House on Penny Lane. Are you excited? No? Not yet? Well, I can be excited for the rest of us.
At the end of this year, we’re getting a new sofa! A sectional to be exact…
Our IKEA sofa has served us well during the last seven years. It was our first big purchase together and, for each of us, our first real grown up sofa. But lately, we have begun to outgrow it. We’re hosting more and more get-togethers at our house while also spending more and more time stretched out/cuddled up just the two of us. And we just need more room.
And lucky for us, our living room can handle it. It’s kind of huge. Check out my sweet rendering. It’s like looking at my house through a Simpson’s episode.
And I never miss a chance for a mood board. This thing makes me giddy. Especially because the majority of the items pictured are ones I already own. This, by the way, is an update to a mood board from way back in 2010. We were just young chicks then, so it’s interesting to see how our tastes have grown in the last few years.
1. Our wonderful wood floors. I still dig the high contrast between them and our walls.
2. With the addition of a larger sofa, we will also need a larger area rug. Our current rug is a $170 8’x10′ shag rug we found at Home Depot. Such a steal and hides stains amazingly well. The new rug is actually made up of carpet tiles, so if one gets stained, I can just remove and replace it with a fresh tile. I’ve also heard the tiles are way easier to clean than a regular rug, so let’s hope any stains that do pop up can be taken care of quickly.
3. My $30 a piece Craigslist chairs. I recovered them just last year, so they’re not going anywhere any time soon.
4. Our 70s coffee table. Another awesome Craigslist find.
5. THE SOFA. I am so excited by this. Pretend this picture is of a sectional with a chaise instead of an ‘L’ shaped sofa. I chose a fitted back to avoid the inevitable slouchy back cushions. The fabric will be a microfiber velvet in a very dark, almost black, charcoal.
6. Our sofa table. It came from CB2, but is unfortunately no longer available.
7. Our favorite IKEA Besta media cabinet.
8. Our vintage walnut lamps. I am so glad these are not glass or ceramic. They would have been broken a long time ago. *Cough* cats *cough*
9. My Valentine’s Day Fiddle Leaf Fig.
10. Our current accent pillows, throw, and our Franco Albini Ottoman.
11. With the new sofa, I should be receiving some throw pillows in the fabric of my choosing. So here’s my choosing! Kind of an Ikat print with cream, charcoal, linen, plum, and cranberry colors. It’s super pretty and this pic doesn’t do it justice.
12. Think I can talk Rob into some light colored faux fur throw pillows? I hope so. We’ve got a lot of sofa to cover.
13. I think a nicely colored Persian style rug would be beautiful layered over our future area rug. This will take some obsessing, hunting, and deliberation, so don’t expect to see this placeholder filled for some time.
So what’s been a recent exciting addition to your home? Tell me about it in the comments below!
One of the hardest things for me to do is pull together a great vignette. So when I do manage it, I have to take a million pictures to document my success.
The first is our coffee table vignette. I had searched far and wide for a tray that would fit our large, octagonal coffee table. I was looking for something that would both fit my style and either be circular or square. Not an easy feat. There are lots of rectangular trays out there, but the unusual shape of my coffee table begged for something more symmetrical.
It was during a normal grocery shopping trip that I found myself at our local Asian supermarket. This supermarket has a large section dedicated to housewares. I had never perused this section before and I was quite surprised to find so many beautiful items at low prices. I found the bamboo tray among stacks of woven baskets for a measly $6. Compare that to the $50 tray I had my eye on at West Elm.
All of the other items in this vignette I already owned, including the gorgeous white vase. I have no clue why that thing has been sitting in a cabinet wasting all of its loveliness to the darkness. Actually, I do. Cats.
The second is our Master Bathroom vignette. This space is teeny tiny and hasn’t changed a lick since the vanity was installed. This vignette is still not done, but the minor additions have made my time in the space much more enjoyable. I bought the faux orchid for $10 at TJ Maxx. I’ve had the Matisse print for a while. It lived in our Master Bedroom for a time before I decided it just wasn’t right for the space. It has since been living in a closet. Again, I have no clue why.
So. Fun stuff. Things that make me smile.
Did I ever post about my Fiddle Leaf Fig? No? It was probably because I thought even looking in its general direction would kill it.
Rob let me cart it home as a Valentine’s Day gift and I have loved it ever since. It made an informal debut in this post about my newly upholstered living room chairs.
And there is actual visual evidence of why I hesitated to share my new love – a yellow leaf. I had three of those yellow leaves. Not long after they turn yellow, they fall off completely. Talk about devastation. After doing some online research, I came to the conclusion that I was either under-watering or over-watering. Since I have only known myself to successfully grow succulents, which require very little water, I figured it was likely the former. So, at the advice of an online forum, I planted live moss on top of the existing soil to help retain moisture and doubled my watering efforts. And guess what?!
With all the commotion over the slab leak, I completely forgot to share the result of my yellow chair redo. Here’s a reminder of the Before.
I bought the chairs back in 2010 from Craigslist. The yellow upholstery was existing, but the frame was some strange faux wood finish. You can read about that initial transformation here.
The repaint got me by for a good time, but I ultimately wanted something that would blend a bit more with its surroundings. I decided to paint the frame a dark brown, Sherwin Williams Black Bean. The chairs had already been claimed by Jin as a scratching post and I knew that wasn’t going to change once they were remade pretty. The texture of the yellow fabric hid the scratches well, so I stuck with a velvet and found a raw linen colored fabric to reupholster with.
You may be asking why I’ve put a ginormous pillow on my newly made-over chairs. Well. Something about the seat back didn’t quite do it for me. These pillows may be oversized, but I think they look pretty neat as they are.
To top it off, I had the very back of the chairs upholstered with an accent fabric.
I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.
It’s been a long while since I’ve last updated my to do list, so here goes…
Those items highlighted green are those that have been completed since I last updated the list (June 2010)
To Do List
Replace carpet with wood
Replace existing tile
3) Replace all light fixtures
- Entry – pendant
Dining – pendant
- Living Room – recessed
Kitchen – pendant Master Bedroom – pendant/close to ceiling
- Master Bathroom – pendant or sconces
Bedrooms – close to ceiling
- Guest Bathroom – sconce
Exterior Front – sconce
Demolish partial wall/cover existing opening
5) Replace Living Room doors with windows (I haven’t decided if I still want to do this. Originally, I thought the door was inoperable, but the wood had just swelled the door closed.)
6) Replace window treatments (I’m about halfway through with this one, not enough to cross it off, unfortunately.)
7) Remove upper cabinets above peninsula in kitchen
Add Fireplace doors (crossing both 8 and 9 off my list because I’m fairly certain I’ve changed my mind about both items)
10) Add pocket/barn door to Master Bathroom
Replace Master Bathroom sink
12) Replace toilets with dual flush toilets
13) Paint Interior (I decided to paint the kitchen the same color as the living room and to paint the cabinets. I may treat the laundry room completely different from the rest of the house since that room is so dark and depressing.)
Living Room/Dining Room/ Hallway/ Kitchen – SW Pearly White
- Kitchen Cabinets – White (which white, I don’t know.)
- Laundry Room – ???
Office – SW Pearly White Guest Bathroom – SW Worldly Gray Master Bedroom/Master Bathroom – SW Balanced Beige
14) Paint Exterior (In progress, yes, still.)
- Trim – SW Black Fox
- Field – SW Universal Khaki
15) Replace Kitchen counter with quartz or butcher block
16) Replace all windows (4 out of 10 of these will be replaced this year!)
I’m hoping this will be inspiring to those who feel they need to tackle everything at once. We have actually made great progress here in under 3 years, but I try not to rush myself. I’ve learned that my ideas change with time (see items 8 and 9) and almost always for the better. If I had tried to tackle my whole To Do List at one time, I would not be as happy with the (in progress) outcome as I am!
Nearly a year ago, I wrote this post about my fireplace conundrum. To sum it up, I hated it and couldn’t decide what to do with it. Paint some of it? Paint all of it? Cover it up? I allowed myself to stew in my obsession and ended up making the best move, which was no move at all.
First, here’s a look back on the desperate lives of my fireplace.
09.2009: The fireplace during our first viewing of the house. Its previous owner didn’t fare much better.
12.2009: Christmas time and I was desperately trying to make this focal wall work. Duct tape is a difficult finish to match.
11.2010: The wood floor is installed. The fireplace looks better, but still desperate.
12.2010: Christmas time again. The furniture is improving and the first good move was made with the fireplace: relocating the round mirror to another area.
2.2011: I saw the light and the biggest improvement was made for the fireplace: roller shades were installed on the two adjacent windows. The light balanced out the darkness of the fireplace and its next of kin, the bookcase.
And now the fireplace’s current state. Not desperate. Simple.
The moral of the blog post is that sometimes, oftentimes, less is more.
I will check back once we have used the fireplace, hopefully with no flaming cat stories to tell.