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Urban Jungle Bloggers: Green Gifts

4 May

2015ujbapril1Giving plants as gifts is one of my favourite things.  I love visiting friends’ houses and gardens and seeing the plants and flowers I’ve given thriving and growing and being appreciated.  And I really love the fact that when people see these gifts on their windowsills, book shelves and kitchen counters they sometimes think of me and our friendship.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This month’s Urban Jungle Bloggers theme is Offer a Plant To a Friend.  Usually I give miniature succulents as gifts because they are easy to package and are a low maintenance plant for my friends who don’t have much of a green thumb.  A few weeks ago my daughters and I gave this one to a dear friend and it made her so happy.2015ujbapril3
But for this month’s UJB post I decided to re-create my favourite green gift that I ever received.  When my son was a chubby little four year old he arrived home from kindergarten one day with a little pot of self-sown water cress.  He proudly snipped off the sprouts and served them to me on a piece of bread and butter.  It was so simple but one of the most delicious little meals I’ve ever been served.  The big blue eyes and dimples helped I’m sure.
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I thought an “adult version” of this sweet little green gift would be perfect to take to a friend who had invited us to dinner and asked me to bring a little pre-dinner snack.

So about a week before the dinner date I sprinkled some watercress seeds on dampened cotton balls in a beautiful little hand-painted ceramic bowl (found at Maison du Monde).  They were ready just in time for the dinner.

I also took some tasty brown bread and the fanciest little tin of butter I could find (because when else would you spend 5euro on butter?).   The hostess was delighted with the gift and so happy that she could continue to grow the watercress in the little pot (I included a little envelope of seeds).

2015ujbapril4Not your typical “green plant” gift but one that I think a lot of people would love to receive.

*Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month they share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on their Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date on our website and Facebook page. Want to join? Use #urbanjunglebloggers on Twitter and Instagram. Or let them know and they’ll share the badge and upcoming topics with you. Let’s bring some green into our homes and blogs!  

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Urban Jungle Bloggers: Hanging Plants

27 Feb

2015UJBhangingplants1

Time for another Urban Jungle Bloggers post!  Unbelievable that a month has already passed since the Plants and Tea theme in January.  Is it just me or does February always fly by? Here in Italy we’re already heading into spring and experiencing beautiful sunny warm days.  Everyone is walking around with a smile on their face and a spring in their step.  My favourite time of year despite the itchy watery eyes.

When I first heard this month’s UJB topic was Hanging Plants images of polyester, multi-toned orange and brown macramé monstrosities from the 70s came to mind.  But after browsing through some shops in Milan and Copenhagen and doing some research on Pinterest I came to realise that there are so many beautiful and contemporary ways to hang plants in your home nowadays.

2015UJBhangingplants2After thinking about it for a few days and looking for the perfect spot in my house for a hanging planter I decided I was going to go the DIY route for this month’s post.   I thought it would be a perfect little creative project to do with my kids while they were on February break and my daughters were happy that their room was going to finally get some greenery.  2015UJBhangingplants5First we made some little pots with air-dry clay that I found in a local craft shop.  It was really easy to work with and was dry the next day.  Plus, I love the milky white colour and texture of the dried clay so there was no need to paint them. 2015UJBhangingplants4Since my daughters are experts at decorating sticks with coloured yarn we decided to get some bamboo from the garden and deck it out a little.  2015UJBhangingplants8 2015UJBhangingplants6The result is so cheery and colourful and perfect for my twin daughters’ bedroom.2015UJBhangingplants7They’re pretty wonky and crooked but I love them.  And more importantly, so do my girls.

*Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series initiated by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month they share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on their Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date on our website and Facebook page. Want to join? Use #urbanjunglebloggers on Twitter and Instagram. Or let them know and they’ll share the badge and upcoming topics with you. Let’s bring some green into our homes and blogs!  

Homemade Perfumed Vanilla Oil

4 Apr

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After years of trying to track down my favourite vanilla oil from the Body Shop I was told that it is officially not available for purchase anymore.  I wore that perfume since my early 20s and absolutely loved it (especially since it’s one of the only fragrances that I could wear without the  constant sneezing, watery eyes and headaches).  And I used to get so many compliments as well!  The scent was really a perfect mix between sweet with a hint of spice and was mild enough not to be too overbearing.  Besides the odd comment about smelling like a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies I really loved everything about that oil.

So after seeing it on ebay for $150 a bottle I finally decided that I needed to try my hand at perfume making.  And in the end I have to admit that it’s quite simple.  All you really need is lots of patience to get you through the 4-6 weeks of waiting until it’s finished.  Patience is definitely not my strong point so I actually found that the most difficult part.

The finished product has  a really lovely deep vanilla scent that actually lasts for quite a long time.  I use it as a body perfume, room freshener and bath oil.  I’ve even been know to put a bit on our beloved cat Birdie because, well, he stinks.

Everything you need to make this simple Vanilla Perfume Oil is shown in the photo above: vanilla beans, vodka and jojoba oil.  

Read on for full instructions on how to make your own… Continue reading

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