Archive | urban jungle bloggers RSS feed for this section

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plants and Art

13 Sep

UJBartandplants1

After a relaxing summer vacation hiatus the Urban Jungle Bloggers are back and ready to start a new year of creative green posts from around the world.  This month’s theme Plants and Art is one that has produced some amazing images so far.  The combination of house plants with beautiful art just makes so much sense and can be interpreted in so many creative ways.
UJBartandplants2I decided to shoot a few of my favourite paintings with some thriving succulents that I bought a few months ago (they quadrupled in size this summer!).

These paintings are by American artist Larry Catanzaro.  I first saw his work at an exhibition in Merida, Mexico years ago (in the 90s!).  It was the first vacation that my now husband and I took together and the day after seeing the exhibition we actually got engaged. To make a long sappy story short, I eventually hunted down the artist in New York and bought a huge painting of his to give my husband as a wedding gift.  It was pretty romantic if I do say so myself.UJBartandplants3

I love Catanzaro’s naive style and use of contrasting patterns and bright colours.  We bought these three little paintings a few years after we got married and they’ve been hanging  in our kitchens in various houses since then.  They just make me happy and I have yet to see any other painting of a bunch of beets anywhere.UJBartandplants4I planted a bunch of miniature succulent plants in this old brass pot that I found at a second hand shop ages ago.  I hung it from a tree in my garden all summer and somehow they thrived in the extreme heat we had.  Even despite the neglect due to the fact that we were away for almost 2 months.  Take a look at how small they were when I first planted them here.

*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!  

**Some really talented and inspiring Urban Jungle Bloggers were featured in the new issue of Dutch magazine VT Wonen (blogazine edition).  Take a peek and you’ll even see one of my UJB images and a photo of me hiding behind my lens (as usual).

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.
2015ujbapril2
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!  

Urban Jungle Bloggers: EASTER

4 Apr

2015UJBeaster6 copyHello and Happy Easter to all!  Over here in Italy it’s bright and early(ish) on Easter Sunday morning and we’ve already eaten lots of chocolate eggs (rolled into crepes!).  Soon we’ll be making the dough for our traditional Hot Cross Buns and while that rises we’ll go for a little stroll in the local woods. It’s going to be a lovely day.

As you can probably tell this month’s Urban Jungle Blogger’s theme is Easter.  It’s one of my favourite themes because it involves lovely spring colours and the birth of the new season, the blooming of beautiful flowers and, this year, the hatching of seven of the cutest little chicks.  I had been waiting on their arrival to do my UJB post this month and they arrived perfectly on time for Easter.

Who could ask for better props for an Easter styling image?  Even if they are incredibly uncooperative and poop on set.

2015UJBeaster1

One of the plants I used is called Canterbury Bells (please correct me if I’m wrong).  My daughter picked it out at an amazing garden centre that we visited the other day and it has really brightened our home with the pink bell blooms and lovely greenery.

2015UJBeaster7

The other plant is my beloved fresh cilantro.  Every year I buy so many cilantro plants and they all go directly to seed.  I’ve tried planting them in the sun, in the shade, in full ground and even in pots.  Nothing works.  I have a feeling it’s due to the extreme heat that we have in the summer (and NOT my bad gardening skills of course).  This year I’ll try growing it inside and see how it goes.  I love to cook with it so much (although I can’t even think about my favourite Chicken with Cilantro Sauce recipe due to those sweet chicks in the photo).

2015UJBeaster11
These sage green eggs above were lovingly produced and delivered by our one and only adult chicken Dahlia.  After a long egg-less winter she started laying last week and we’ve all been enjoying omelettes made with eggs that are minutes fresh.  The lovely embroidered silk “nest” is actually used by women in India to help them carry large baskets on their heads.  An old man at a market in Jodhpur gave it to my girls as a present and we love it.2015UJBeaster9Enjoy your Easter everyone!
Last year’s origami inspired Easter UJB post here.
(ps…washi tape is the perfect egg holder!)

*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!  

2015UJBeaster8

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!  

Urban Jungle Bloggers: Plants and TEA

29 Jan

2015urbanjunglebloggersjanwithlogo2

It’s time for the first Urban Jungle Bloggers Post of 2015!

As I’ve mentioned in my past UJB posts I don’t have what you’d call a green thumb.  I think I might have even referred to it once as a sooty black toxic thumb.

But I’m happy to say that after my new re-found love of having lots of greenery in my home (thanks to Judith and Igor) my thumb is turning an ever so slight shade of the lightest mint green possible.  And I hope that with every month that passes the greenness will get brighter and more vivacious.  And that I’ll be able to keep more and more plants alive and happy.

But really, look how that sweet little succulent above is so healthy and, I like to think, very content looking.

At the moment I have a few that are thriving.  And a few that are…not.  But I’m keeping positive and learning a lot from all of the great links that the UJB team post and share.  It’s become such a fantastic and supportive green community of people around the world.

This month’s theme is Plants and Coffee (or Tea like I chose).2015urbanjunglebloggersjan4Since my twin daughters are laden down with (way too much) homework we rarely have time to sit down to a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate anymore.  So a few Sundays ago I decided to hide their books and persuade them to take a study break with me.  That’s right, they’re so studious that I have to HIDE their books for them to agree to take a break.  I’m a proud mama.  And at times like this a bad influence. 2015urbanjunglebloggersjan11I used my new teacups from Dutch designer Esther Horchner.  I love these so much.  I had them on my Wishlist board on Pinterest for years so when I saw them in a local shop on sale I knew I had to get them.  I just hadn’t expected them to be so shocking for some of my guests (seriously, some of them have to close their eyes when they sip their tea).2015urbanjunglebloggersjan5I decorated the table with some of my favourite miniature succulents and cacti.  I found the little copper container at a second hand shop for 2 euro and it’s perfect for these miniature plants I picked up at my local plant shop (I make a concerted effort to buy all my plants locally from small family businesses).2015urbanjunglebloggersjan2And because I’m a fabric and textile lover I decided to use my coveted piece of Japanese double gauze designed by Nani Iro  that has been sitting in my fabric cupboard for over a year waiting for the perfect sewing project.  Turns out it makes a perfect cloth to adorn an afternoon tea party with the two coolest almost thirteen year olds around. And their equally cool mama (right?).2015urbanjunglebloggersjanwithlogo *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!  

Urban Jungle Bloggers

25 Sep

After a summer hiatus Urban Jungle Bloggers is back online today and I couldn’t be happier.  I love seeing my FB and Pinterest feeds inundated with fresh green-inspired images full of lush plant life.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not an expert plant keeper.  My heart is in the right place but my mind is, as usual, elsewhere.  I love all the green loveliness that fills the rooms of my home but for some reason I just sometimes forget that they need care and water.  Luckily, I’m not like this with my three kids.

So after a summer of coming and going my poor plants were all looking a little….brown.  And dry.  But I’ve made a promise to myself and the plants to take better care of them.  Play them music.  Dust their leaves.  Oh, and maybe give the a little something to drink more often.  In any case, even after a few days of love they’re already starting to look a lot livelier and happy.

Today’s UJB theme is Back To School: Plants on the Workplace.  I shot a few images of where I’ve been working lately.  Whether it be on the computer writing or editing photos, sewing or crafting with my girls.

IMG_0003

I don’t have any succulents or house plants per se where I work but I love having fresh herbs surrounding me.  It’s amazing what a brush of a hand over a rosemary or thyme plant can do to your concentration and energy levels.  The smell is like a jolt of caffeine (for me at least).

IMG_9994

I also always make sure to have a fresh mint plant.  Sometimes I throw a few leaves in my teapot or rub them in between my fingers.  The smell of fresh mint is one of my all time favourite scents and, again, so energizing.

IMG_9983And because I’m a colour lover I always include a little vase of fresh flowers.  Usually in my coveted Gokuri Peach Juice can that I got out of a vending machine at a train station in Kyoto, Japan.  Oh and tea.  There’s always tea on my workplace.  As you can see in the photo on this particlur day I was in a detox tea mood (to counteract an overdose of sugar the day before).

IMG_0024

When I break out the sewing machine things start to get a little messy and crowded on my workspace.  Which I have to admit I kind of love (except the little pieces of thread that get wedged in my computer keyboard).

Can’t wait to check out the other UJB images for this month.  If you’re interested you can visit their brand new website, their FB page and their Pinterest page.  Many thanks to Judith and Igor for such a cool initiative.

backtoschoolUJB

Urban Jungle Bloggers

25 Apr

Time for another Urban Jungle Bloggers post.  I had so much fun with last month’s post and especially admiring all the other images done by some seriously talented bloggers, stylists and photographers.  This series is really taking off and I love being part of it.

This month Judith and Igor chose the theme “Show your green balcony or windowsill”.  I love the idea of having windowsills overflowing with assorted green plants in colourful pots.  It gives a room so much life and colour.

Unfortunately we have to keep our windowsills pretty clear due to the fact that we have to open our windows twice a day in order to close and open shutters (too many break-ins to risk leaving them open all the time).  But living in gorgeous Italy makes it all worth it.

The last week I was visiting my in-laws in Belgium and since they have such a beautiful garden filled with the most lovely plants of every kind I decided to do my UJB shots there.  And being the great sports that they are they didn’t even mind me rearranging their whole terrace and moving plants, pots and garden furniture here and there.  I lucked out in the in-law department.

And since it was a warm and sunny day I decided to use an outside stoop next to a large window.  I guess you could call it an outdoor windowsill?

IMG_7203As you can see my in-laws have a great collection of Tuscan flower pots (bought at a shop close to me for a fraction of the price as in Belgium).
IMG_7206They also have a great collection of green plants and succulents of every kind.  And I have no idea what half (or more) of them are called.IMG_7197Fermob furniture in tones of purple and red match the whole garden perfectly.IMG_7185I couldn’t resist including a few colourful flowers.
IMG_7211-001Doesn’t this look like the perfect place for an afternoon tea and book reading session?  And look, I accidentally made it into one of my UJB images!

Can’t wait to check out all the other Urban Jungle Bloggers posts this month.  If you’re interested their FB page is overflowing with lovely greenery.

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: