Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I may be getting TOO confident...

Am I getting overconfident?  The herb garden jars were so nice, and I loved the green and turquoise together so much, and it matched where we're going with decor for the main floor so well, that I couldn't help it.  I got sucked in.  Sucked right in... to succulent mania.
As I've mentioned, I have a black thumb.  As is evidenced by the very brown, very dead, large shrubbery outside my front door - I don't even know HOW that happened.  I was pretty sure that kind of EVERGREEN bush thing was called such because it was EVER GREEN.  I didn't think it COULD die.  But I digress...

I just heard so many great things about succulents... about how easy they are to care for.  How easy they are to plant.  How easy they are to manage.  How easy they are to KEEP ALIVE.  It sounded like my kind of plant.

Because, you know, generally speaking things that can't scream at me to feed them don't fare well around here.

So because these guys are professed to add greenery by being very difficult to kill, I decided to try my hand at them.  But I needed something clever and whimsical to sport these cute little plants.

It just so happened that I had some wooden birdhouses in my craft stash where they sat for about 3 years waiting for the kids and I to paint them and hang them in some darling little decor vignette.  Perfect. 

Want to make some succulent birdhouses??  Here's how!

It's a piece of cake.

1. First, tape off all the areas you want to remain raw wood.  (I am loving the touches of raw wood combined with paint in decor lately, though I don't think I could do it in large furniture pieces.)
2. Break out the spray paint and spray, spray, spray.
3. Do multiple thin coats.  Since it's raw wood it'll soak up the paint, so working with a primer/paint in one is a good idea.

4. Hook your saw bit into your drill. 
I used three different methods, since the birdhouses were all different shapes:
5. For the steep peaked roof, I sawed a large hole into both sides of the roof at the top,
6. so the holes met at the peak and created one large hole that dipped down on the sides.
7. The tiny house was so little, sawing into the roof was too much for it.  I ended up taking the whole roof off with the drill, a pliers and a screw driver.  Even though it wasn't my original plan, it was the best choice, since a hole in a house that small wouldn't have allowed any room for a plant.
8. For the pagoda style house I drilled three holes in the roof, then one hole in the inner "ceiling" - it wasn't QUITE as large as I wanted, so I enlarged it with the help of pliers and sand paper, as you'll see in the following photos.

** Once the holes are all drilled, take some medium grit sand paper and sand all drilled/cut/pried edges to make them nice and smooth.  I think this gives a more organic look instead of "manmade."

9. Cut some parchment paper to approximate size of the birdhouse.
10. Round the edges of the parchment paper to make it easier to work with.
11. Stuff the parchment paper inside the birdhouse, with the edges meeting the top of the hole.  It will overlap and layer, that's ok.  Just make sure you're covering the wood inside the house.
12. Staple around the top edge of the parchment paper.  (My pergola shaped one was such a weird shape I had to staple from the outside in.  I'm ok with that.  It's not super obvious.)

** The parchment paper serves two purposes.  First, it covers the little bird hole in the front so that soil doesn't go spilling out all over.  Second, it keeps the water from soaking into the birdhouse, thus rotting the wood in no time flat.  In a few of the DIY succulent planter tutorials I read, this was the method used, so I'm trusting to the experts.
Succulents don't take much water so usually I just wet the soil with a spray bottle.  Works great.

13. Now put in your potting soil.  Fill 'er up.
14. Place your succulents.  You may need to fill in with a bit more soil, or but some rocks around.

 And that's it!  You're done!

 Ah, what whimsical little planters you have there!

That little one in on the side is planted in a tuna fish can I had painted for something else.  I think the succulent I used may be a bit to big for it, and I'm not sure it'll survive since Zoe picked it out of it's little pot and brushed all of the "gross hairs" off of it, then cleaned it thoroughly and proceeded to give it rides in the tricycle and sing to it before I noticed that anything was amiss.  Soooo, it's basically hanging by a thread.

I do hope I don't kill them immediately.  They now live on my piano.  Which, since none of us actually play right now, currently serves as a birdhouse succulent planter holder.

*Be sure to check below for all the fun parties I link to!*

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