I’m visiting my friend Dina and 1 month old Sofie today! Insert swoon face emoji here. My mom always said never visit someone’s home empty handed. Though my mom has never said it, I know she prefers to give a practical gift that will be used and abused over a pretty something. Each passing year has shown that I am my mother’s daughter.
I’ve been told by many mommies that their babies lived in their Onesies for a good part of their first few months. I couldn’t find a Onesies with the design and price I liked enough to give to the minimalist Dina so I assigned myself project.
Last year I hand-printed shirts for Dina’s Bachelorette Party. Using the same ink and technique, I designed prints that were close to my heart and quick to produce (I only came up with the idea late eyesterday evening).
- Tulip Soft Fabric Paint Metallic Gold
- Reynolds Freezer Paper
- Silhouette SD
- Cardboard / Something to line the back incase the fabric paint bleeds
- Prepare your design in Silhouette Studio. Keep in mind the negative cuttings space will be used as the stencil. Leave an 1″ + border of blank space around your design. This will help avoid accidentally bleeding the paint to the outside of the design while painting. I recommend that grouping of cuts be kept to a minimum. For this project I grouped the mustache with the succulent and the chanel with the aviator sunglasses. Freezer paper has a tendency to lift off the most tacky cutting mats once cuts are made. Paper that lifts off the cutting mat can get caught and possibly damage your Silhouette machine.
- Place freezer paper wax side down on the cutting mat. I recommend flattening your freezer paper if it came in a roll and ensuring the entire paper adheres to the cutting mat. Rolled paper on an un-tacky mat will always lift from the cutting mat.
- Cut. If you are using the latest Silhouette Ratchet-Style Blade, use a Material Type that calls for a blade setting of 2. I selected ‘Heat Transfer Material – Smooth’. Because my freezer paper was 15″ long, I cut the mustache and succulent on the top 6″, flipped the cutting mat upside down and cut the chanel and aviator sunglasses on the bottom 6″. Note that both designs were placed at the top 6″ of the mat.
- Place the onesie on an iron-safe surface.
- Place the cut stencil wax / shiny side down on the onesie. If you want the design centered to the babies chest, draw an imaginary straight line from the armpits of the onesie using a ruler. Place the top of the design no more than 1″ over the ruler and center to the ruler. If you have small pieces to iron, I recommend using tweezers and also placing the positive cut down as well. to keep the small negative pieces from shifting.
- Set your iron to the 2nd lowest setting with no steam. On my Sunbeam iron, the setting is ‘Silk’.
- Remove the ruler and carefully iron until the was adheres to the onesie. If you’re ironing to a synthetic fabric, be careful not to burn the shirt by ironing over the freezer paper only. If the freezer paper is not adhering you can increase the heat setting on your iron but do so carefully. If you’re ironing small negative pieces, using the edge of the iron, press down on the small piece. If need be, also press down on the positive piece as it can be easily removed after ironed.
- If you placed the positive cut piece, now is the time to remove it.
- Place cardboard inside the onesie under the stencil area to prevent paint from seeping to the backside of the shirt.
- Paint! I recommend painting from stencil into the middle of the design. Painting from inside to the stencil runs the potential of ink bleeding under the stencil.
- Peel the stencil off slowly to avoid lifting any wet paint.
Happy #SucculentSunday! Succulents are easy to grow. But, they are living things and still need some TLC. If you don’t mind periodically replacing your succulents, you can pretty much do nothing and they should last about a month before showing signs of distress. If you plan to love on them the ladies over at Needles and Leaves hit it right on the nail with their post on growing healthy succulents. If I may, without being overwhelming, I’d like to expand on this short and sweet list.
To reiterate Needles and Leaves list and what has worked for me:
I layer from bottom to top with the following:
- Shallow layer of rocks to limit standing water at the bottom of the pot. The layer should be tall enough to allow water to drain down but shallow enough to not reach the roots.
- 5 parts MiracleGro Cactus, Palm & Citrus Potting Mix mixed with 1 part MiracleGro Perlite. Perlite is optional since the potting mix drains well but Perlite helps prevent soil compaction, is highly permeable and has low water retention. Succulent roots do not like being wet for too long so the sooner you can draw the water away the better.
- Mosser Lee Sand to quickly drain the water away from the top most roots
- Mosser Lee Pearl Stone Cover partially for decorative purposes but also to keep the leaves away from the soil and sand which can wet and rot the leaves.
There isn’t a magic quantity or duration as there are many dependencies. My general rule of thumb is to allow the soil to be 100% dry for a few days before watering again. I have a toothpick stuck in each pot and I use it to gauge the moisture in the soil. Since most of my plants are echeveria or a hybrid of an echeveria once a week I submerge the terra cotta pot in water and remove from water once the top layer is wet. This method of watering from bottom to top avoids wetting the leaves. Here are a few things to consider when watering:
- Generally speaking plants with thin leaves need more frequent waterings and plants with thicker leaves require very infrequent watering. For example, Lithops and Baby Toes like to go for 2-3 months with completely dry soil.
- What pot are you using? Decrease watering if it’s not a porous and/or permeable pot (i.e. terra cotta) or does not have a drain hole. I’ve experimented with glass, ceramic, tin cans and terra cotta and I have to admit that that while the terra cotta pots aren’t the prettiest they make for a perfect home for succulents. Terra cotta pots are porous and therefore can allow water to pass through when soaked in a bath and also allows air to pass through and dry the soil. The soil in my 2″, 3″ 4″ and 6″ pots are all pretty much dry within 3-4 days of their baths. The soil in a tin can with drainage holes was still entirely wet 2 weeks after its last watering. I’ve since repotted those succulents in terra cotta pots because I didn’t want to risk rotting the plants to see how long it would take the soil to completely dry. If your plants are planted in the garden, I would assume the drainage is as good as potted plants in terra cotta if not better.
- What climate are you growing your succulents in? I’m in New York where the winters are cold and dry and the summers are fairly hot and humid. A bath once a week suffices in the winter while most succulents are dormant since there’s little heat and very dry air to promote evaporation. A bath once a week also suffices in the summer while most succulents are actively growing. The summer heat is drying the water but, the air is humid enough to keep the soil wet a few days longer.
I think Needles and Leaves basically covered this. If there is one thing I would add, it would be that 4-6 hours of light is ideal. Whether direct or indirect.
Experiment and have fun!
I wish it didn’t take me this long to start a succulent journal. There’s so much I’ve learned and I wish I could look back and reference when and how I came to learn the information. Better late than never.
The first draft of this post talked about choosing the best pot. The second draft talked about the basics of growing a healthy succulent. Then I thought – if these posts are meant to document the knowledge and experience I have at the time, before I start entries upon entries of my knowledge, I should probably explain my experience to date. Maybe it doesn’t make sense but I’m thinking of this as a job interview. Before I start telling the world what I currently do, they need to know where I’ve been. A resume of sorts.
Years of Experience: 2 years 4 months
Start Date: September 2013
Total Number of Succulent Species: 22
Current Number of Succulents Species: 20
Number of successful propagations: 30
Pot of preference: Terra Cotta
Soil of preference: rock as lower layer, cactus soil + perlite mix as mid layer, dessert sand as top layer
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone: New York (Zone 7a)
Environment: Indoors. East and West facing window sills. 2 hours of direct sunlight in the Winter. 6 hours of directly sunlight in the Summer. Dry Winters and Humid Summers.
Funny, two years ago, I never would have thought to document the last 4 items. I guess I have come a long way.
Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg
I feel like I have to explain why I’m blogging about succulents because they are clearly not paper projects:
I tried keeping this blog limited to crafting and using Instagram as a platform to share my succulent obsession. But, I’ve learned so much about growing succulents in the last two years and Instagram doesn’t seem like the right platform for me to document these lessons learned. It is not easy living two separate social media lives!
I’m giving in.
I’m a sucker for cute little things so I’ll be damned if I didn’t buy a 4 ounce succulent each time I made a visit to the garden center at Lowes. My challenge is I can’t justify buying a pretty pot at anything more than the cost of the $2.95 succulent. I know. I’m cheap. It’s a real problem. But, I also can’t bear the look of the plain black plastic pot that comes with the succulent. Not to mention the black pot that absorbs heat probably isn’t very good for the succulents.
I’ve seen photos of tin cans wrapped in jute Twine. Why not jute twine pots?
ELMERS No-Wrinkle Rubber Cement