Tag Archives: DIY

One Year Later

I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a burden that with the change of the season from summer to fall that my baby also turns a year older. Today, in came the Santa Ana winds (for those of you not in Southern California- Santa Anas are very strong, hot, dry winds typically in the beginning of fall) and out went my first year as a mom. You can read all about my birth story here. I have so much to say, yet so little ability to express it today. Ugh, so many emotions! Moms, I know you know what I mean. Since I’m a little tongue-tied about how I feel today, one year later, here’s what I would tell myself a year ago if I knew the words to say.

Go with your gut, it won’t steer you wrong.

Sleepless nights will be nothing but a fleeting memory one day.

There is joy to be found in every single stage, even the difficult ones.

Wherever she falls asleep in your arms, stay there and rock her- everything else can wait.

Be grateful, even when it’s tough. She’s perfect.

Kiss her cheeks a million times.

Remember that toothless smile.

Reach out to others, they’re dying to help.

Read to her, sing to her, talk to her- everything wonderful she becomes is because of you.

Be kind to yourself, especially in the beginning.

Remember what those little eyelashes look like every night when she closes her eyes to sleep.

Hold those tiny hands.

Every memory will be special to you one day.

Give, give and give more even when you think you have nothing left to give.

And most importantly, if you’re trying your hardest there’s no such thing as messing up. You’re doing an amazing job.


We celebrated Leighton’s birthday on October 8th with family and friends at Underwood Family Farms. We had some of her favorite foods: mommy’s bolognese with gluten free penne, strawberries and melon and cucumber salad. There was feed for the animals and kids had access to all of activities that the farm normally offers like baby goat feeding, and train and tractor rides plus there was a harvest festival and heirloom pumpkin picking. We had picnic-themed decor and our favorite red velvet cake from Susie Cakes (same as our wedding cake). All around it was a perfect day!

Last year on my due date, October 2nd we went to Underwood as kind of an unbirthday celebration for the baby. Walking around seeing all of the families with babies and children and talking about what it would be like to bring the baby here the following October. I took the photo on the top that day and yesterday we went back to the passion fruit arches on the farm to take a photo one year later. 


Leighton’s First Birthday at Underwood Family Farms

xo, rootedinmoss

Same Pot, Different Year

Third annual red, white and blue pot! Check out the last two year’s projects here and here.

Memories of life a year ago around the Fourth was planning and having my baby shower, the on-set of swollen feet around 28 weeks, traveling almost every weekend and a lot of pilates. After being pregnant for a whole nine (actually ten) months it’s crazy/a little sad to actually see her at nine months old. When you think of time passing its usually illustrated in your mind as something clear, like air or wind but when you see your baby in front of you on earth the same amount of time it took to grow her it’s a unique moment in time right before your eyes. As we journey along this first year with the baby it’s been fun for me to think back to life exactly one year ago.

If you love your garden like we do, there’s always a way to find it mimicking your life. Another example of time passing and memories of last year. ↓

On the right is last year’s red, white and blue project. We get a lot of direct sun over the summer so any trace of blue or white has turned green by the relentless sun. With the exception of the sempervivums which has retained some of their red/maroon color. Just in case you need a reminder, this is what the pot on the right looked like just twelve months ago ↓If the pot itself on the left looks familiar, it’s from last year’s baby announcement. ↓ Same pot, different year. Those pink plants have since been removed and planted into the ground in our garden. All sorts of nostalgia over here!


Baby Leighton update: she is crawling, standing, scaling furniture. She yells ma ma mostly when I leave the room and she whispers da da when she’s crawling all over him. She loves to high five and eat all her veggies. Our plans for the Fourth are starting tonight when we do some nighttime gardening, after the baby goes down, to refresh all of our plants in the ground with more pumice. Then on the Fourth we’re going to a pick-your-own farm with family and relaxing the rest of the day! Happy Independence Day!

xoxo, rootedinmoss

Hope and a Future

No matter what religion you are or aren’t, we all have the same goals as parents. To help them prosper, hold them from harm and instill hope for their futures. Last week we baptized the baby and took a leap of faith for her future. I received a sweet card from a friend with a message inside, “How cool is it that the same God who created the mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too.” In a world so complicated, I love being reminded of the simple lessons we teach our babies.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11


Photos by Crystal of Votografie (@crysvotografie). And a big thanks to Julie of House of Sunshine (@house_of_sunshine) for gifting Leighton with this gorgeous succulent head crown.

xo, rootedinmoss

When The Days Are Long

I’m sitting here, sipping on some kombucha, listening to the rain. My life has changed in a lot of ways but I’ll be the first to say I haven’t forgotten what it was like before I had a baby. Quiet moments definitely have more importance than they ever have. Have you ever tried putting pen to paper with Twinkle Twinkle playing on loop in the background? No? Well, you’re probably not a mom then. 🙂 As I sit here enjoying my quiet moment, which was short lived as she’s currently sitting in my lap, I’ve been trying to sum up the update about motherhood that I’ve been asked about… Something that has definitely fascinated me about being a mom is that my already full and eventful life has been able to stretch and expand to accommodate another person, who is completely dependent on me, without being able to clone myself or find the missing 25th hour of the day. It’s quite amazing and I like to think I do it with a smile. What has most fondly been added to my newly expanded life are the little loves I give and receive on a daily basis. My new activities include: cheek kissing, chunky book reading, soft arm scratching, paci locating, jammie changing, silly song singing, tear drying, tiny hand holding and lovey giving. But for all that I give I get way more in return. She falls asleep in my arms every night no matter who or what wants my attention. After she falls asleep, sometimes I hold her for an hour. Because I know that when the days are long, the years are inevitably oh so short and that’s something I never want to forget.


Succulent Easter Basket

I love finding new ways to temporarily bring succulents indoors as part of my holiday decor. Before the baby, I didn’t really decorate the house for Easter. This year we’re decked out with carrot garland, baby chicks and bunnies on the mantle and this Easter basket filled with succulents! The baby loves doing tummy time these days so we hung out together in her room while I put the basket together and this is how I did it. Every good project starts with an even better trip to the greenhouse. What I used:

  • Basket- I had one in my craft closet but I also like these here and here.
  • Succulents- The dimensions of the opening of my basket were approximately 12 in x 8 in. For that size basket I used about 30 small (2 in. pot) succulents in a variety of pastel colors. See photos below for size in relation to my hand.
  • Wet foam- I used this one here. I bought two of the “half balls” which are each 8 inches in diameter. This foam adds great structure while easy to cut and manipulate and if you desire to keep your project in tact longer than a week or so you can add water right to the foam.
  • Floral wire- I used 22 gauge and 24 gauge wire depending strength and size of the succulent stem. I used the thicker wire to keep larger succulents in place and the thinner wire to bend and manipulate the positioning of the plant.
  • Scissors
  • Butter knife to cut the foam

First, I stripped the succulents of all of their soil. I set the soil aside to use in the garden at another time. I like to pull some of the long roots off and expose the stem as much as possible. I started by cutting one of the half balls in half and wedging the two pieces to fit the majority of the empty space in the basket. There may be a more concise way of cutting and fitting the wet foam into projects but I have yet to discover it. All of the wet foam will be covered when the project is finished so I don’t worry about making the base look presentable, as seen below. And there it is. Not gorgeous but completely functional. I cut the second half ball and wedged pieces where there were gaps. I used the butter knife to shave down areas to create height in the middle and lower, sloping sides. This will give the effect that the basket is brimming with Easter eggs.I started with a larger succulents to be the focal point in the middle of the basket. I pre-cut about a two inch pieces of floral wire to be ready when I need them. Then inserted one piece of wire per succulent into the stem leaving about one inch of the wire exposed. If you are using large succulents, 4 inch or larger, you may need more than one piece of wire for stability. Then place the wire into the wet foam. The wet foam is easily manipulated as it has a sort of crumbly texture. If the succulent isn’t sitting exactly how I want it to I just apply a little pressure into the foam and wiggle it into place. From the first succulent, I worked out alternating colors and textures with attention to placing smaller succulents around the edges. For filler in this basket I used Sedum dasyphyllum. This variety comes in beautiful rainbow varieties from green to purple to pink all in one 4 inch pot. I broke off tiny pieces and used the 22 gauge wire to place them into vacant areas. There’s the finished product! It took me about 30 minutes to complete with Leighton playing next to me. The basket will stay in the house until Easter. Then I think I’m going to plant some of the succulents into the current flower bed redo (post to come once completed) and use some to fill in vacant spots in a few pots. Happy Spring! Lots of fun stuff coming up for rootedinmoss! Stay in touch by subscribing to the blog or following along on Instagram @rootedinmoss. All images from the blog are now enabled for pinning, follow rootedinmoss on Pinterest for inspiration for your DIYs and to see what inspires me!

xo, rootedinmoss

Succulent Cornucopia 2.0

Back to break the internet with this beauty! Ha! But seriously, last year’s cornucopia has been the most visited post on my site and I was getting offers to buy it all the way in February! I put together this year’s cornucopia centerpiece between the baby napping…things are a little different these days but we’re still all about holiday crafting! To see the full tutorial for the succulent cornucopia, visit last year’s post here. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday in part because it’s the gateway to the Christmas season and because it’s totally centered around cooking. Even though a lot has changed after having Leighton, I’m so happy to be hosting the holidays and this cornucopia will be the centerpiece on my Thanksgiving table.


Succulent Cornucopia 2.0

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5 weeks old. So lovey and squeezy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, rootedinmoss

A Rooted In Moss Baby Shower

I have life-event denial. When I was getting ready for the shower on the morning of July 10th I kept thinking I was attending someone else’s event not my baby shower! My husband and I decided to throw the shower ourselves with the help of some very special and talented people (more about them below). The thought of sitting on a throne and having guests watch me open gifts turned me off completely to the thought of having a shower altogether. So, I decided to throw tradition out the window and host a co-ed party for a woman and a man having a baby (not a baby party). The theme was “A Delivery for the Garden”. There were no baby games (like melted candy bars in diapers) but rather guests were invited to take part in a make-your-own bouquet bar and treat themselves to custom-made jewelry. We snacked on delicious brunch bites made by bestie Nicole and enjoyed the beautiful views provided by the La Casita Del Arroyo in Pasadena, California. Guests left with eco-friendly planters from Urbana Sacs, planted with succulents which were, of course, rooted in moss.


Invitations from minted.unnamed Vintage china and flatware from Otis and Pearl Vintage Rentals. I cannot give enough complements about this company and Gretchen, its owner. Otis and Pearl has been one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow. She and I have been following each other for years and I am so happy I finally had a reason to browse and select from her amazing gallery of rentals. unnamedunnamedFloral arrangements and bouquet bar by good friend Dawn Holland- sorry she’s not for hire!
Bracelet bar by An Old Soul Jewelry. Genius idea by my bestie Nicole, owner and operator of An Old Soul Jewelry. Guests treated themselves to custom-made bracelets using semi-precious stones and crystals. A big thank you to Amy, one of Nicole’s artisans, who made all the jewelry on the spot for guests to take home after the shower. Eco-friendly planters from Urbana Sacs. Another company that was such a pleasure to learn more about. Carolina, founder of Urbana Sacs, approached me a while back interested in collaborating with the blog. We both agreed that the shower would be a perfect opportunity to work together. Her products are right up my alley and I’ve never see anything like her “sacs”. The sacs are made out of washable paper (how cool is that!?) and can be reused again and again. There are infinite uses for these sacs which range in size from x-small to large (products also include grocery totes, lunch sacks, yoga mat carriers and more) but for the purpose of planting you can plant and water directly into the sac itself. This is how I style my personal Urbana Sacs at home. ↓ It delighted me to have guests come up to me as they were exiting and say they felt like they were leaving the shower with more than they arrived with. Exactly what I wanted to hear!


In lieu of a card, we asked guests to bring their favorite new or used children’s book with a message to Baby Moss inside. Hands down our favorite part of the shower. Not only did we not receive a single duplicate but our baby now has an amazing library! We are so excited to read these to her in bed each night just as our parents did with us. Keeping what seems like an old past time alive- reading a physical book that you actually hold in your hand without a screen– excites me. We loved reading each and every message written to Baby Moss. It’s been a particularly inspiring experience for me to connect with people on a level I never have before. We appreciate all of the love already given to our daughter and we hope you will continue to encourage her to root herself in whatever inspires her soul. 


Invitations- Minted, www.minted.com, Delivery in the Garden by Susan Moyal

China and Flatware- Otis and Pearl Vintage Rentals, OtisandPearl.com, Vintage China: Golden Floral Collection, Flatware: Vintage Gold Flatware, Instagram: @otisandpearl

Bracelet Bar- An Old Soul Jewelry, ShopAnOldSoul.com, Rootedinmoss favorite products: here, here, and here, Instagram: @anoldsouljewelry

Eco-friendly favors- Urbana Sacs, UrbanaSacs.com, Planters from shower: Creative Sac XSmall, in White and Sand, (Silver sac featured in my home in the color Shine), Instagram: @urbanasacs

Custom water bottle labels- Evermine, www.evermine.com

Dress- Parker, Tesoro Dress


Red, White and Blue Redo

Sometimes, I kill plants too. The cause of death typically has to do with the intense Southern California heat. Despite all of the precipitation from the recent El Nino pattern there were a few slight heat waves in February and March of this year. I typically check the weather before I go out of town so that I can move vulnerable plants into the shade but I guess I missed the forecast once. My red, white and blue pot from last year’s Fourth of July project suffered terribly. You can read about the succulent pot that’s the subject of this redo here. I’m ashamed to share this photo but what’s a confession without truly coming clean. So there you have it. Sun-stressed, burnt, sparse, a mere shadow of itself and the obvious reason for this redo. The day I chose to plant and repot the temperature reached around 117 degrees. Since there was no way I was planting outside, I decided to move the entire project indoors (hence the partially overexposed photos from the light of a large window). These days, no planting project begins without adding pumice to my soil from General Pumice ProductsYou can’t see it from this photo but I hit a little issue that was basically an indoor project nightmare. I didn’t realize that my bag of soil, which had probably gotten wet, was absolutely overrun with fruit flies/gnats. When I looked closely at the pot it looked like the soil was moving from all of the tiny bugs walking around in it (insert big eye emoji). At this point it was so hot outside and I had made a million trips upstairs to set everything up, I was just finishing the project bugs and all. On a side note, after finishing the project and living with A LOT of gnats in the house for a few days and seriously considering calling an exterminator, I found an organic solution to my problem. In a small bowl, I mixed apple cider vinegar with a small amount of dish soap (I used grapefruit scented Dawn) then left it out on the kitchen counter where they began to congregate. I checked back a few hours later to a bowl filled with dead gnats! Life changing. My goal for this project was to salvage as many of the plants from the original pot to mix in with the new ones. Sempervivum ‘Red Beauty’ served as the red in my red, white and blue this time around. The sun-stressed plants from the original pot, when mixed against the other plants, were perfect for giving the appearance of white that I needed for this theme. The red, white and blue redo- a refresh success! Patriotic plants at their finest. Happy Independence Day!

xo, rootedinmoss

A Dream For My Future

There’s something new blooming in our garden! I’m 24 weeks pregnant today with Baby Girl Moss! I had intended to write this post, um, maybe 8 or 9 weeks ago. I was thinking and brainstorming of all the ways I could tie this announcement into plants and nature, but I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and write the real story that I had inside.

If you’ve followed the blog for any period of time you know that a life changing moment for me was the sudden passing of my father, coincidentally, on the night of my first wedding anniversary. At that time, the thought of having a child and not having my father’s influence on it’s life was too difficult to imagine. I knew I may want children in the future but his passing was the perfect excuse to put it off for another day, another year. But as the old adage professes, time heals all wounds, I too began to heal. Fewer of my life’s decisions began with what I didn’t have but with what I could make for myself. Soon I began to think seriously about becoming a mom. Around our sixth wedding anniversary last year, also marking a decade of being together (10 years!?!) we decided to make 2016 the year of Baby Moss. In January, I had a series of dreams about my dad over three nights. I typically never remember what I dream about and I hadn’t had a dream about my dad in years. The dream reoccurring during these three January nights was the same dream I had shortly after his passing. Wherein I would pass him as he was seated out in public somewhere and exclaim to him, “Where have you been!? I have so much to tell you!!”, and as soon as I would hug him he would be gone.  After the third night of that dream I knew something was different, but I kept it to myself for a few more days out of the fear of sounding like I was losing it! Now I know that I was only a few weeks pregnant when I was having those dreams. In looking back, I see them as a transition that my mind was going through and needed to go through. He came back into my mind, after being gone for some time, to allow me to dream clearly for my future and I haven’t looked back since. It was the perfect proof for me that enjoying each of life’s chapters as they slowly unveil themselves can be a beautiful process for the progression of life.

In true rootedinmoss fashion, my husband and I hit the greenhouses in search of the perfect pink succulents. Below is the potting of the pink succulent pot and a fun little shoot we took to announce Baby Girl Moss.

Due October 2nd! Stay tuned for my upcoming garden-themed baby shower in July.

xo, rootedinmoss

Give Love Back

It should come as no surprise to those who have been following me for some time that I love love and my absolute favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day. I have heard there are people out there that think Valentine’s Day is a retail holiday (I actually think you can make that argument for any major holiday) or that it’s a day in which taking an inventory of love is forced upon us. Luckily, for me, I don’t know any of those people! 🙂 We love the excuse to celebrate love. As soon as February 1st arrives all I see is pink and red and we often eat heart-shaped food- it doesn’t hurt that my husband totally plays along for me.

All this talk about love definitely reminds me of the love I give and receive from my garden. My garden is a source of love in many ways. It gives love to me by always providing me with something new to appreciate. It produces a physical gift in the abundance of itself as way for me to give love to others. And it gives those recipients a way to share love back with me when they tell me how the plants I’ve given them have grown, multiplied, and have been given to others they love.

I feel so grateful that nature always gives me something new to see and love always gives me a new reason to write. In the spirit of my favorite holiday I’m partnering up with General Pumice Products for a giveaway to my readers and Instagram followers! We will be giving away a 15 lb. bag of pumice and succulent cuttings from my garden (see entry details at the end of this post or on Instagram.) Pumice is a volcanic rock made of hundreds of microscopic pores. When added to your favorite potting soil, there are many useful benefits for your garden. The tiny pores on the surface of the pumice act as microscopic reservoirs storing nutrient-rich water, vitamins and minerals. Pumice not only releases stored water quickly which brings oxygen to the root zone (very important for succulents!) but it also allows carbon dioxide to escape and enables air circulation. This process saves on water costs and improves water conservation by absorbing water quickly and slowly releasing it back into the soil when needed. Talk about giving love back to your plants! I have been adding General Pumice Products pumice to my garden (stay tuned for a post about my garden overhaul with pumice) and it has been so beneficial as Southern California experiences an increase in precipitation due to El Nino. I’m very excited to help you give love back to your garden too with one of my favorite products!


Valentine’s Day Projects with General Pumice ProductsGiveaway details:

  1. Must be following @rootedinmoss and @sexysucculents_(the account for General Pumice Products) on Instagram
  2. Must tag three friends on the photo announcing the giveaway
  3. One entry per Instagram account
  4. Must be a Continental U.S. resident (sorry no AK or HI entries)
  5. The prize for this giveaway is a 15 lb. bag of 1/8″ pumice and a variety of succulent cuttings from my garden. Both items will be shipped separately.

Check out generalpumiceproducts.com for more information about their products. 

DIY Holiday Succulent Terrarium from JuicyKits.com

I spent the long Thanksgiving weekend relaxing, shopping online and leisurely working on holiday DIY projects. One of my projects from this weekend was assembling the cutest holiday-themed terrarium from JuicyKits.com. Below is a photographic step-by-step of what it took to assemble the terrarium and what I used to complete it.

I’ve partnered up with JuicyKits for a giveaway of their Winter Edition Big Ol’ Egg terrarium! Head over to my Instagram @rootedinmoss for more details and giveaway terms.


The JuicyKits website is so fun to shop on. Once you decide on a terrarium you can choose from their Succulents Menu to personalize your order. Since I’m assembling the Winter Edition, I chose a palette of red and green. The kit comes with pebbles and activated charcoal to create a drainage system for the terrarium as well as landscaping fabric to create the perfect base. I used the Terrarium Tool Kit which includes a long spoon with soil-packing end, long round-tipped tweezers, coarse hair brush, water pouring spout and paper funnels. The tweezers were perfect for putting the plants in place, especially cacti. I supplemented with a few stems of succulents from my own garden to create height in the terrarium.The long spoon from the Terrarium Tool Kit is perfect for adding more soil without disturbing the plants that were already in place.The Winter Edition kit comes with 1 lb. of white decorative sand- it’s snowing in this terrarium! The brush from the Terrarium Tool Kit is perfect for smoothing out the sand in tight spaces. One last finishing touch! 

Such a fun addition to my holiday decor! Head over to JuicyKits.com to take advantage of their 25% off Juicy Tuesdays sale! And don’t forget to enter to win a JuicyKits Big Ol’ Egg Terrarium on my Instagram account @rootedinmoss.

Happy December! xo, rootedinmoss

Succulent Cornucopia

I don’t know about you but I’ve always felt awkward about cornucopias. Maybe it’s the weird name or the odd shape that have never drawn me to adorning my Thanksgiving table with one… until now. My husband had the genius idea of making a succulent filled cornucopia to replace all of my negative thoughts. 🙂 While mapping out our DIY game plan we aspired to making 100% of the project ourselves. That was until we realized that neither of us possessed the basket-weaving skills of the pilgrims and indians, so we bought the cornucopia base. Yesterday, we stayed home in our pjs and put this gem together. This is how we did it. I chose a holiday-themed color palette with shades of green, red and accents of mint. The cornucopia base used for this project measures 9 inches in diameter at the opening and about 16 inches in length. To create the internal base to build upon I used floral foam, one half-dome of wet foam (here), one half-dome of dry foam (here).

  Place the piece of wet floral foam into the base with the flat side facing out. With a butter knife, cut a “pizza slice” out of the dry foam and place aside the remaining foam for later use. Use floral wire (here) to attach the two piece of foam together. The base does not need to be beautiful, as evidenced in the photo above, because you will be adjusting and shaving away at the base as you go and it will eventually be entirely covered. If necessary, use the leftover dry foam to fill in gaps. To prep the succulents, remove all dirt from the roots. With scissors, snip the stem close to the base of the succulent and carefully insert a two to four inch piece of floral wire into the stem. Larger succulents may need two pieces of wire due to their weight. IMG_2295Now for the fun part, placing the succulents onto the base. I used two larger Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ succulents as my focal points. The bright green color and fuzzy texture speaks “holiday” to me. I nestled the larger succulents into the gap between the two pieces of foam to accommodate their heavier weight. As I placed the succulents on the base, I continued to shave down the base to keep the appearance of the contents cascading out of the cornucopia. Occasionally, I would create a nook in the base to nestle in a succulent that had too much natural height. If you don’t like where you have placed a succulent, remove it, the base is very forgiving. Once I placed more than half of my succulents, I went back and added some Thanksgiving-inspired fillers (here) and (here). I had these fillers leftover from my Succulent-Pumpkin Wreath. I stuck them into places where the base was still visible. I also filled in gaps with tiny succulents in the same method of carefully inserting floral wire up the stem or base of the succulent.And that’s it! I used about twenty tiny succulents, most of which were just babies attached to the larger succulents, to fill in spots once I was finished staging. Once Thanksgiving is over, you can reuse all of these succulents in either your garden or for other projects. Stay tuned to see how I repurpose these succulents for Christmas decor.

I am thankful for the ability to use my mind and my hands to be able to create the things inspired by my heart! Happy Thanksgiving!

xo, rootedinmoss

Have Succulents, Will Travel: Austin

If it’s not already obvious, I’ll admit it, I’m nostalgic about pretty much everything when it comes to traveling with my husband. We had spent some time living in Texas a few years ago and boy, was it good to be back! We were greeted with the most beautiful sunset. When I’m asked to describe my blog I usually include gardening, home decor, baking, nature in travel- and that’s where I’m stopped and asked to elaborate. I love to travel and I love to appreciate the unique aspects of nature wherever I go: nature in travel. That’s the inspiration for this new series within my blog, Have Succulents, Will Travel. I love to visit the local succulent purveyors in whatever city I’m visiting and now I’ll be sharing with my readers where I go and what I loved about it!


East Austin Succulents

Located on the same property as Tillery Street Plant Co., under the shade of pecan trees, East Austin Succulents boasts two greenhouses and several outdoor displays with a great selection of succulents and cacti (and soil too!). They offer their services to create arrangements and centerpieces in either your container or one of theirs. Speaking of containers, they have a lot of unique, funky and vintage containers- I wish I would have gotten a better picture. You can see a bit of their container selection on the left side of the above photo. Their motto is, “life is short, surround yourself with beauty” and they certainly deliver on this because the grounds are both peaceful and beautiful. I have followed @eastaustinsucculents on Instagram for a while and it was a pleasure to finally be able to stop by! 

IMG_2256IMG_2263801 Tillery Street, Austin, TX 78702  eastaustinsucculents.com

Do you have any shops or greenhouses you love in Austin? Let me know on Instagram @rootedinmoss!

Back to November

November, the gateway into the holiday season, is a special time for many. November is also a reminder that physical time is passing quickly and that the turn of a new year is swiftly approaching. The leaves falling to the ground in order for new ones to grow externalizes the changes in our bodies and lives in order to start anew. I just love how that works.

November also holds personal significance for me, a spring to the winter of my life’s journey. Six years ago on a cool, autumn morning in Santa Monica, CA I married my husband. What felt like years in the making was only the inception of a love and life that has brought us literally around the world and back again to be together. Exactly one year later, to the day, my dad passed away suddenly. His passing, furthermore on my one-year wedding anniversary, has been much of the inspiration of my introspection to find significance, not sorrow. I have to say, I never felt robbed by the fact that the two events would eventually be remembered as one, November 7. It’s no wonder to me that the Lord allowed my two favorite men, my past and my future, to be remembered on one special day. And when the year gets long, my heart gets heavy and my memories begin to fade, time always takes me back to November again.


Succulent-Pumpkin Wreath

This time of year is my favorite for DIY projects. It’s also a great time to forage pieces of nature that have fallen to the ground to use for projects. Also, a great use for some of your leftover Halloween pumpkins. Here’s what’s going on around the house this week.

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Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Buttermilk Icing

This is the ultimate fall dessert. It’s a perfect alternative to traditional holiday pies or a great bake-ahead to bring to a party. The longer it sits, the better it gets.

For the cake:

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup butter, room temperature (save wrappers to prep the cake pans)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (my husband was helping me and accidentally used baking soda…the cake came out fine)

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 apples (I used honey crisp) peeled, chopped

For the buttercream:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the buttermilk caramel icing:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by greasing the pans with butter wrappers.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. In another bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture by hand. Add milk into batter until smooth.
Mentally divide your batter into fourths. Each pan will use two layers (each layer will be 1/4 total batter). Pour 1/4 of batter into each pan, reserving half of the batter in the bowl. Add 1/4 apples and 1/4 brown sugar mixture to each pan and gently pat into the batter. Then, add another layer of batter, apples and brown sugar mixture.Bake 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. While cakes are baking make butter cream and buttermilk caramel icing. For buttercream combine butter, vanilla, cinnamon and powdered sugar and one tablespoon cream with a mixer on high for one minute. If mixture seems too thick add another tablespoon cream until spreadable. 

Place strips of parchment paper on cake stand. Assemble the cake by placing the bottom layer of cake on top of parchment paper. Spread buttercream on top of bottom player and top with other layer of cake. Let sit while making the buttermilk caramel icing. In a cold non-stick saucepan, add sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda and vanilla. Combine and bring to a slow boil at medium-high heat. No need to stir while bubbling. The icing will turn to a light caramel in 5 to 7 minutes. The caramel should be sticky and pourable, not firm. Allow the icing to cool for 3 minutes and pour slowly over the cake. The cake is amazing while warm, but only gets better with time. 


Red, White and Don’t Be Blue

I’ve had the fortune over the years of spending Independence Day in different cities across America: Birmingham, Alabama, New York City, Jackson, Mississippi, Central Pennsylvania, Palm Springs, California to name a few. On July 4, 2012 the already nostalgic holiday took on additional significance when my uncle (my father’s brother) passed away in a tragic accident. We spent the next few years celebrating the 4th differently, without fireworks and barbeque. A passing is always a cause for reflection but a passing on a holiday leaves the quandary of how to move forward recognizing both events in the years to come. For me, my soul heals itself by creating something beautiful. So, in the spirit of Uncle Chris and all things red, white and blue this is what’s going on in the garden and in the kitchen this week.


Red, White-ish and Blue Succulent Pot

This succulent project was inspired by the big, beautiful Echeveria ‘Blue Sky’ I found a few weeks ago on it’s last leg at a home improvement store. It took time to nurse it back to health and now it’s the centerpiece of this project.

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Blueberry and Strawberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

I can’t say that in July I make our food resemble actual flags but I do like to be festive the week of Independence Day. I love using blueberries and strawberries in recipes this time of year. This buttermilk cake isn’t overly sweet and is the perfect light ending to any picnic or summer meal.

For the cake:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/14 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups blueberries

4 to 6 large strawberries, diced, underripe ok

For the glaze:

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 lemon, juiced and zested

Dash of vanilla

2 to 5 tablespoons milk                                                                  IMG_0508Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12- cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon softened butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, beat remaining butter, granulated sugar and vegetable oil on medium-high speed until fluffy, at least five minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Once fluffy, beat in one egg at a time on low speed. Then beat in vanilla. Turn off mixer and add one-third flour and half the buttermilk, beat until incorporated. Add another one-third of flour and the remaining buttermilk, beat until just combined. Add remaining flour mixture and beat 30 seconds, scraping down sides. Finish incorporating mixture with rubber spatula, avoid over mixing.  IMG_0512

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Toss blueberries and strawberries, separately, in remaining 2 tablespoons flour. This will cause the fruit to suspend in the batter rather than sinking while baking.

 

 

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Spoon one-third of batter evenly into prepared pan. Place half of blueberries and strawberries onto batter then top with another one-third of the batter. Scatter the remaining fruit on top and cover with the rest of the batter.

IMG_0522IMG_0511IMG_0518IMG_0519Bake until the cake is golden brown, in the warmer months 1 hour, in the colder months 1 hour, 10 minutes. Test cake at 55 minutes with toothpick, if it comes back perfectly clean, cake is done. Transfer to a rack to cool for 30 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto rack to cool completely before glazing, at least two hours. IMG_0521IMG_0520After cake has cooled and just before serving, make the glaze. Whisk confectioners’ sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon juice together. Whisk in one tablespoon of milk at a time until a thick glaze consistency is achieved. Pour glaze over cake, allowing it to drip over sides. Slice thick portions.
IMG_0531IMG_0529IMG_0528IMG_0530IMG_0532Enjoy!

We live in the land of the free because of the brave. Be safe celebrating!

xo, rootedinmoss

Best of Instagram with LeafandClay.co

I’m so excited to be chosen for the ‘Best of Instagram’ series with leafandclay.co ! Leaf & Clay is a collaborative blog, bringing together succulent enthusiasts of various areas of expertise, with the goal of developing the most comprehensive succulent resource available anywhere. On there today, you’ll find my Q&A where I discuss how I got into drought resistant gardening, my favorite places to shop for succulents and my photography style. Make sure to go follow their blog and Instagram (@leafandclay) where I’ll be guest blogging soon!

The Great Indoors

The most common question I’m asked about gardening is how to keep plants alive. That’s a question with many answers, perhaps too many to tell at once. But lately, I’ve had emerging gardeners and DIY-ers inquiring about indoor plant care. Below are my tips for successful houseplant, succulent and cacti care inside your home. And of course, it wouldn’t be the rooted in moss way to just take photographs of houseplants inside my house so I went outdoors to photograph my great indoors.


4Tips for Indoor Succulent and Cacti Care

  • I love to collect vintage containers and interesting pots for my indoor plants. It’s best to use containers with drainage holes. Not only does it physically allow water to drain after a watering but it is another route for residual moisture to escape from the soil between waterings.
  • If your container or dish does not have a drainage hole, that’s ok, just make sure to never run the plant under the sink for a watering. Instead, water your plants using a spray bottle like this one from Target.

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  • Indoor succulents and especially cacti do not need much water. I spray my indoor cacti, which are fully acclimated to my home, sparingly. About once every two weeks or so. Other plants and succulents, about once every ten days.
  • I have found that all types of cacti I have planted have been successful indoors. As for succulents, the rule of thumb is that the darker green the plant, the better for low-light environments. Haworthia attenuata commonly known as ‘Zebra Haworthia’, dwarf Aloe vera or Aloe nobilis, ‘Supermarket’ Kalanchoe, and snake plant are some of my favorite succulents to grow indoors. These plants should be widely available at your local nursery.
  • If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love creating succulent arrangements. However, indoor plants need space to receive as much light and air as possible. It’s best to pot a single plant in each container. If you have a larger container that you’d like to plant in make sure to space the plants a bit more than your outdoor arrangements.
  • Placing indoor plants near a window is a good idea. Direct sunlight through a windowpane may burn the plants so a windowsill may not be ideal. A lamp that is turned on for a few hours during the evening is also a good source of light. I have found that the plants in my living room near lamps are the most happy in my house.
  • Typically, watering your outdoor garden in the evening is a good way to make use of water as it will not quickly evaporate. However, for indoor plants, morning or daytime watering is best. The soil and roots will have a chance to make use of the water before your house is dark and windows are shut for the night.
  • Keep in mind that succulents and cacti, whether outdoor or indoor, are low maintenance not no maintenance. You may find yourself rearranging your plants to find the best place in your home that makes them most happy. My breakfast table is an ever-evolving display of newly planted pots and small projects.2a10a86a11a3a121415
  • And finally, pat yourself on the back for bringing nature indoors! Research studies show the effects of plants in the home can be positive for your health by improving air quality, enhancing cognitive functions, and increasing feelings of happiness and relaxation.

Have fun creating your own great indoors! xo, rootedinmoss

Like Old Friends

From time to time, a domestically challenged woman may look in awe at a cake I’ve baked or a craft I’ve crafted and ask what is my secret or where did I learn to make this. I earnestly shrug and say, “I don’t know. I just do!” But that’s not really the whole truth, and I know it. It isn’t right not to acknowledge that much of what others love about me and what I admire in myself comes from my mom.

On Mother’s Day, you won’t find us at some ‘Honor Thy Mother’ brunch, it’s just not our style. You’re most likely to find us walking, talking, laughing and toasting to the fact that we still speak to each other… willingly. What can I say? At times it’s just been complicated but we choose to stick together. Like old friends. To be a daughter is to not just be the child I was. To be a mother is to not just have that child. To be a mother and to be a daughter is to experience each season together and our current season is to be adults, together. I should thank her. Thank her for not robbing me of that adult relationship because of a need to be that mother of that child again. At this point in our lives, we don’t talk because we have to but because we want to.

Admittedly, I know deep down when I fix the impossible, craft up the wonderful or create the amazing that I got it from my mom. And I don’t admit that because I have to but because I want to.

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May 1990.

A Project for Mom

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Mother’s Day in 1995, my mom received this pot filled with cacti from a friend. For whatever reason it has been abandoned for some time. Twenty years later, I am filling it with life again.

3     7 I think it’s time for new gloves.

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Happy Mother’s Day.

My International Love Affair

A text message ‘I love you’ appears from an unknown number. It must be him… He calls me in the middle of the night to tell me he’ll be on a plane and then a bus. I don’t know how many hours will pass until I hear from him again. My heart awaits the sound of his voice… I receive an email, it’s my travel itinerary. But wait, my name is misspelled. Will I be going undercover for this trip? There’s never a dull moment in this affair…Did I mention this affair is with my husband!? And my name misspelled on the travel documents that will inevitably get me called aside in immigration is a result of miscommunication between me and the third party international travel agent. And those unknown numbers are the result of cell towers many time zones away. It may not be an affair but sometimes it sure feels like one!

My husband has traveled far and wide the past few years for his career. The traveling and time apart have made for an exciting longing to be with each other somewhere, anywhere. For the times we aren’t together, I’ve mastered the art of carefully composing care packages and concealing baked goods to be shipped far away. Or at least I thought I was artfully concealing baked goods and snacks until FedEx called me to tell me my package was being confiscated by Mexico’s Department of Flora and Fauna for the transportation of “exotic animals” detected in a canine search. Hmm, surely they were surprised when they opened the package and found coffee cake, peanut butter fudge and Snickers, not lizards. Go figure.

Long night chats, handwritten notes or gifts arriving at my door are all fun but it’s the journey to see each other again that puts the romance in this affair. Certain trips I may take from start to finish several forms of transportation to get to him and that’s what elevates the desire in a wanderluster.  It’s all about the ‘if I make it through this it’ll make for a good story’ kind of trip. I’ve been at a border crossing, summoned out of my transportation, sniffed by a German Shepard and looked sideways by a federal agent and still manage to smile inside. It’s all part of the game, a player in this affair.

I’m waiting to see the sunset together again. The bittersweet joy of the best part of the day that lasts only moments. I’ve been watching the shuffle of people in and out of the terminals..I’m in an empty airport now. The sun sets. One day into this trip already gone, used on my journey here. Then I feel a hand on my shoulder. I can’t help but smile. I look behind me at someone so familiar yet still a bit curious. My heart laughs a little. In the backseat of the taxi we look at each other and in unison say, ‘You’d never believe what I went through to get here.’ He grabs my hand and smiles. Oh yes I do, I think. But we ride silently. We’ll story tell tomorrow. Right now, the night is ours…

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

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Of all the treats I’ve packed and shipped I’ve got to say this has to be the oddest one. How does one pack cheesecake in their checked luggage you ask? Cut it into bars, place the bars in cling wrap between ice packs and dry-fit workout clothes. Anything for my man.

For the graham cracker crust:

Butter, softened for greasing
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced (zest and juice a third lemon if desired)
About 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting

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Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

For my photos featured in this recipe I doubled the recipe and used my cute heart dish. A single batch of this recipe is best made in a 9 by 9-inch glass baking pan. Grease the bottom of the baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, pulse sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers to a fine bread crumb texture. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Taste, and sprinkle in extra sugar or cinnamon until desired taste is achieved. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass making sure that corners are pressed down firmly. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool while making filing. 

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Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. I like my filing very lemony so I usually add a third lemon if the lemons are small or not very juicy. The filing should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. You can create a cute pattern with the berries or scatter them randomly. They will sink but still be exposed and will burst a bit in the cooking process.

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Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles, top will get golden in some spots. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours to overnight. Once set, remove from pan and peel away the parchment lining to reveal the beautiful crust and filling. If using a shaped pan like I did, remove the entire cake and place on cake stand for presentation then dust with powdered sugar.

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It’s All About the Little Things: A Collection of Little Things and Thoughts

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness – Dalai Lama

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For by Him all things were created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

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Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair- Khalil Gibran

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And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you           and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” Genesis 9: 12-13

 

Succulent Wreath DIY

For this 6 inch wreath project you will need:

  • Sphagnum moss (found at Lowe’s or a nursery)
  • Wire wreath frame (JoAnn’s or Michael’s Floral Supply) – these stores also carry                      many different sizes and shapes
  • Floral/greening pins (JoAnn’s or Michael’s Floral Supply)
  • Thin floral wire (JoAnn’s or Michael’s Floral Supply)
  • Scissors
  • Succulents (I used about 16 succulents of varying sizes to create a very full look)

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In a large bowl of water, soak about five handfuls of sphagnum moss until soft.

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Remove a few pinches of the moss and squeeze out excess water. Pack onto the wire         frame following the frame shape to create a thick base.

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Cut a sixteen inch (or so) piece of floral wire. It’s easier to handle the wire if cut rather than left on the wire roll. Tuck the end of the wire into the underneath of the wreath and tightly wrap the wire around the frame passing through the center and leaving about one inch between wraps. Continue this with as many pieces of wire as needed, for this wreath I used four pieces. The purpose of the wire is to adhere the moss to the frame once it dries. Use as much wire as you need while leaving room to tuck in the succulents. sim6     sim7

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This is my completed base.

Now for the creative part. You can do this however you desire. To keep this DIY simple I used all of the same type of succulent. For style, I like to use a “rule of thirds” when placing                    the succulents on the base. Choose either your three largest succulents or three focal point succulents and place them on the wreath as though they are the points of a triangle. With your fingers, create a small pit in the moss to place the succulent and its roots and fasten with two greening pins. Gently pinch the greening pins to close the ends so the pin fastens tightly on the roots of the succulent.

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Once you have fastened your focal point succulents in place, continue to fill in the wreath. Remember to hold the wreath up to eye-level to check the placement and fill in accordingly. Use the smallest succulents last to fill in empty spots on the edges.

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This is my finished product!

You can check out photos of other succulent wreaths and new succulent projects on my Instagram @rootedinmoss. Go out and create beauty!

There are always flowers for those who want to see them- Henri Matisse

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The Highways, Byways and Try-ways

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Coffee rules my routine and I freely admit it. There aren’t many things I like to do before I get my morning fix other than choose the mug I’ll enjoy my morning fix in.

Traveling on the road with my husband during his career as a professional athlete has made my search for coffee anything but routine. He and I have seen it all from the big cities to the rural outskirts. Sometimes there would be a coffee spot right in our hotel and sometimes there wouldn’t be a tasty cup for forty minutes in any direction.

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In our morning coffee pursuit we developed another love: long drives together. Before we had GPS, yes before we had GPS, we had a system of the highways, the byways and the try-ways. If we were staying near a major interstate or highway we were bound to find our lattes within five minutes. If we were near a secondary road or byway we’d sit back and know that we’d come across something within a half hour or so. Then there were the try-ways, the good old try-ways. As in, I’ll try going this way and when the pavement stops we’ll assume there’s not a Starbucks on this road. These were the days and roads I found myself wishing would be a part of every trip I’d take. The places where I knew there wasn’t a venti in sight but always an adventure outside my passenger seat window.

Somewhere between Tupelo and Texarkana our love blossomed on four wheels. Those were the days. The hop in the car, blast the A/C, and drive until we never found that cup of coffee we thought we were really in search of kind of days. We found so much more. Roadside fruit stands, untouched lakes that we swore we were the first to discover, grass really blowing in the wind, lightning coming straight from the sky above us, friendship…wanderlust…love.

From all of our drives a comfort came from the thought that if we never really found what we were searching for whether it be the right job or a certain status in life or even just a cappuccino, together our eyes would experience as much of this Earth, given to us by God, as we could.

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a large crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

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