Follow Me on Pinterest follow us in feedly like us on facebook

Email Subscription

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3

Other posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2

I think my fiddle leaf fig posts have been my most popular blog entries so far. I’ve had many reader requests for another update in the comments sections of those posts, through my “contact me” page, and even on my instagram account! I’m sorry that It has taken me so long to finally get around to this, but as promised, here’s my latest update!

My last post left off on May 13th. I had pruned the top of the tree a month prior, and new branch buds were starting to grow in as a result.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Unfortunately the rest of the summer had not gone as smoothly as the year before. And I believe this is due to choosing a pot that did not allow for proper drainage or drying of the soil. Sigh, that’s what I get for choosing form over function. The first sign that this was a problem was when rust colored spots began to appear on some of the older leaves.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

My poor baby! This is a very clear sign of root stress. It’s usually either caused by too much water or too little water. In my case I knew for sure it was too much water. The previous year, it was in a smaller pot that was extremely porous. The soil would dry out completely in a matter of two or three days.  During that time, I never saw any signs of distress from my little fiddle. This summer, however, the new pot seemed to take over a week to totally dry out so I’m pretty sure this was the problem. The soil even started to grow little yellow mushrooms which is a clear sign of too much moisture. My temporary solution to this problem was to drill additional holes into the pot using masonry drill bits. I increase the size and number of the bottom holes for drainage, and added tiny vents to the sides of the pot as well.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

After doing this, all of the new leaf growth was significantly healthier and I have not had any new spotting since. Check out how nicely the new branches were developing by July.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

So much better! But the only other problem is that the new leaves came in small and stayed small.  The previous year, all the leaves would grow in HUGE. I’m wondering if its a combination of the root stress along with sort of a bonsai effect from the pruning. And perhaps the stupid pot too. I was holding out hope that I could make this pot work, but I still feel that it may not be ideal for this particular fussy tree. Come Spring, I may re-pot into a terracotta pot that will allow for more water evaporation. I want to wait until the next growing season so that I do not add more stress to the roots while its in winter dormancy. I also do not plan to do any more pruning next year. I’m really happy with the number of branches that it has and I’d like to give it a year to fully recover.

After the July photo above, the branches grew a bit longer and then entered into winter dormancy around October or so. Once it became dormant, I reduced how often I water the plant. Here’s what it looks like today.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update PART 3 - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

You can clearly see all of the new branches which gives it a much prettier tree-like shape. The fiddle also dropped some of the lower leaves, the ones that were the most badly damaged by the root stress incident. You can still see some damage on a couple of the other lower leaves, but I feel confident that this little plant will bounce back next year since all of the new growth still looks so healthy. I’ll definitely update next summer once it starts growing again.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Merry Christmas everyone!!  This post will be a fun and easy ornament DIY. Next week I hope to finally answer all those reader requests for a fiddle leaf fig update.  Before I get into this post, I just wanted to apologize for being MIA for so long.  I guess you could say Joe and I have been in a “season of trial” recently.  A couple months ago, I suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.  I had to undergo emergency surgery to remove my fallopian tube and stop some major internal bleeding. The recovery time took a while and I was forced to take disability from work and have been trying to catch up ever since. A little overwhelming! On top of that there have been other hardships among loved ones and before you know it, four months go by without any blog posts. I hope I haven’t lost too many of you!

But you’ll be happy to hear that I’m back and I have several projects photographed and in the queue.  One of the nice things about my disability leave is that I was able to work on a bunch of light personal projects and have lots of photos to share. The first of which is this Christmas ornament!

When I was a kid, my mom used to send me to this week long summer Chinese culture camp in Deleware. One of the things I learned there, and continue to use all the time, is Chinese knotting and lanyard making. Being half Chinese and half Caucasian, I love using these techniques and mixing them with western traditions – for me it’s a meaningful representation of my mixed heritage. So I decided to make a cross shaped Christmas ornament using one of the knotting techniques I have learned. Its part Asian, part cross, part candy cane, and just super cute in my opinion!

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

SUPPLIES:

– Parachute cord – I found mine on etsy, and I love that it looks like a candy cane
– Brass beads with large holes – a brass bolt or hex nut would work too
– Embroidery thread in a couple different colors
– Clear fabric glue or puffy paint
– A candle
– Scissors

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

The first step is to cut a nice long length of cord. I wish I took a more specific measurement so that you don’t cut too much or too little, but you’d rather have too much than too little. After its cut, melt the end of the cord in the flame of your candle.  Parachute cord is made of synthetic materials and melts really nicely. This will prevent it from fraying and will make it easier to work with when tying your knots.  I usually stick it in the bottom part of the flame where it burns a little cleaner.  You wont get as many burnt or sooty spots that way.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Next tie all of the knots in the cross section of the ornament. The pictures explain it much better than I can with words, but you usually start from bottom to top. Below is a photo of how to make one single knot. This is the first knot that will become the bottom point of the cross (the southern point). In all you will have knots in the following positions: north, south, east, west, and middle.  I will refer to them as such in the rest of the post.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<
DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

After the last image, pull the loose end tightly and your knot should look like this:

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Next, follow the same procedure to make the east and west knots.  Both are attached to the middle knot, so you have to leave a little length in the cord so that it can be knotted into the middle.  I make sure that it is facing the proper direction by pinching a kink in the cord as pictured below:

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

It’s OK to leave these knots a little loose because you’ll probably have to adjust it a little once you tie the middle knot. And the photos below show you how to make that middle knot. Everything is woven in the exact same pattern, even in the middle. And after the middle knot, you add the northern knot in the same way as well:

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Next, string one of the brass beads over both loose ends of the cord.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Then start wrapping embroidery floss. I start with a knot, and then make sure to keep the loose end tucked into the part that I am wrapping.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Feel free to add a few different colors!

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Once you’ve decided to end the wrapped floss, just glue the loose end down with a little bit of fabric glue or puffy paint. I did it in between the two loose ends of the parachute cord so that it will stay hidden.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Then add on a second brass bead.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Next trim down the excess parachute cord and burn the ends again. However, this time you want to burn them simultaneously then quickly join the ends together before the melted plastic hardens. It makes for a nice clean joint and will act as the loop for hanging.

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

And there you have it!  A lovely new Christmas ornament for gifting or decorating!

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

DIY Christmas Ornament Using Chinese Knotting Technique - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Sprinkle

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently had the pleasure of planning a good friend’s baby shower. This is Amy’s second child, so technically this is a baby sprinkle. I teamed up with Christina of the Crooked Twig, and we had a blast feeding off each other’s creativity. I focused on food and decorations, while Christina did invites, graphic design, and activities. We both did a little bit of everything though. Christina pitched in with decor and food, and I added some input on activities. It was a great collaboration.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

The first decision that we made was color. Christina suggested magenta since powder pink is WAY overused for baby girls. Magenta would be an exciting twist while still looking girly. I suggested gold since everything goes with gold, and honestly, I’m just obsessed with it. And thus became our magenta and gold color scheme. We accented these colors with touches of coral and ivory. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I always use secondary accent colors. I just think they make for a more sophisticated color scheme.

For decorations, in many of my past events, I would use tissue paper pom poms as the main decorative element. Well I got tired of making them and I wanted to try something new this time. I decided to do a balloon garland with streamer tendrils hanging off of it. It feels really fresh to me and those clean circles of color look so bold and fun. Not to mention it was just way easier to put together than those pom poms. We were also lucky that Amy has such a beautifully designed kitchen. The clean whites with marble (actually quartz) made a perfect backdrop for these bright colors.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - Balloon Garland - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Forked flags as banners and cake toppers were incorporated throughout as well.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

After cutting the forked ends out of the little flags, I had all these little triangles of scrap paper left over. It made for some really awesome confetti!

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Also, this was my first attempt at making butter cream from scratch. I tried to keep it less sugary and added rose water for a light floral flavor. I was actually shocked that it was successful since I pretty much never bake. Gold foil paper cup cake cups add to the color scheme.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

The floral arrangements were DIYed from inexpensive bodega flowers.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

I just love it when food matches the decor at events like these. I tried my best to pick out foods that would match, but magenta doesn’t really happen naturally all that often. I made a beet salad and purple cabbage coleslaw, but all the fruit and berries ended up looking more red.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Christina made these AMAZING Vietnamese pork meat balls and I have to remember to bug her for the recipe sometime.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Our drink station had the party favors that I talked about in my last post. We made mocktails that could be spiked with champagne (and that match the colors scheme!) My only complaint is that the paper straws started to disintegrate in the liquid after using them for a little while. I really wish they made wax coated or plastic straws that were as cute.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

We also tried to insert a “sprinkle” theme into the party. We had a rain cloud guest book which was framed at the end of the night. We also made a pom pom rain cloud that decorated the area where the guests dropped off their gifts. It wasn’t intentional, but looking back, the balloon garland with the hanging streamers almost look raincloud-esque too! As our “head of graphic design and party identity,” Christina made all of the signage that you see in the photos below (including the design for the Kidecals stickers on the party favor jars). Its no wonder she has her own paper goods shop! PS, aren’t Christina’s diaper babies the most adorable things you’ve ever seen?

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

And what would a shower be without shower games?

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - Measure mommy's belly game - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

My favorite activity was the bib and hat decorating station. Christina taught us all a great cheater method for “screen printing.” If you cut a shape into freezer paper, you can iron it onto the fabric (shiny side down) and use it as a stencil! Just apply screen printing ink then peel off the stencil.

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - Bib decorating station - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - Bib decorating station - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

A Magenta and Gold Baby Shower - Bib decorating station - >> joeandcheryl.com <<

Fun was had by all! I’m very proud of how well this baby sprinkle came together =)