15 September 2011

Terrarium Time!

I'm sure that you have all missed me in my absence.  I'm sure you have all been coming to the site daily hitting refresh.  I'm sure you all weep when, once again, there is nothing new posted.  Well, here I am!  I started graduate school in April, so I've been a bit busy learning how to be a librarian.  A lot more goes into it than the layman (myself included) would think.  But I now have a few craft and DIY projects to share from my "summer" break that I will be posting in the coming weeks.

Up first is probably my favorite DIY so far: my beautiful DIY succulent terrariums!  How did this sudden desire, nay need, for a terrarium come about?  Let me tell you a tale.  I took a trip to NYC in July to see my brother and some friends.  My brother and his girlfriend had a windowsill filled with pretty succulents, at the time I thought nothing of them besides that they were pretty and low maintenance.  Flash forward two days where I'm wandering through NYC with friends.  My good friend, Julie, wanted to stop at a florist to see how much they were selling their pre-made terrariums for.  Here I am thinking "It's a little glass jar and some dirt, how much could it cost?"  Then BOOM!  One-hundred dollars to over two-hundred.  Whoa now, folks.  They're gorgeous, but I'm not shelling out 5 twenties for something I would probably kill in a week.  Our dreams were squashed, but the seed had been planted.

I decided I wanted to attempt to make one of my own.  I found a simple tutorial by Morgan at The Brick House, and got to work hunting for my materials.

This is the much neater set-up for the second terrarium made.

Here's what you need:
Glass bowls or vases
Cactus dirt

This really was not rocket science.  First, I put down a layer of rocks (bought at the dollar store) for drainage.  My first terrarium I definitely did not put a thick enough layer of rocks, but on my second I put a layer of larger rocks then a layer of smaller rocks, which looks and (I think) will work better.  

The pack is being hunted by a loan wolf.  Look closely!
Next, I spread out a layer of dirt and arranged my plants.  I got my plants at Lowe's on sale for about 3 bucks each.  Make sure you loosen up the roots a bit when you do this.  Finally, I used a fork from my kitchen drawer to spread the dirt out around the plants to make sure they were solidly in there.

My first terrarium (the larger of the two) taught me a few lessons: 1. Don't just pour the dirt in willy-nilly once you've got your plants in there, unless you want the poor plants to spend the rest of their lives with speckles of brown (oops).  2. A thicker layer of rocks on the bottom looks better, and, at a dollar a pack, isn't going to bust the bank.  3. If you have pots that have multiple little plants in them, separate them a little bit instead of clumping them into one corner.

Now, I'm not very good with layouts, so mine aren't beautifully spaced in their new homes, but I made them and I love them.  I also love that our house finally has some green in it!  My child of a husband felt they needed a little something extra, so after a hunt at 3 different stores, I found 2 packs of little dinosaurs to roam free in our succulent jungles.

Breakdown of costs:
Glass containers - $5 and $8
Dirt - $4
Plants - $18
Rocks - $4 (and I have a pack left over)
Dinosaurs - $2
Total - $41

Not bad compared to the $100 for a professional terrarium.  And about 20 minutes to put together.

P.S.  I also found an adorable blue vase the thrift store for our bigger aloe plant!

P.P.S.  Please forgive my horrible photography skills.  I have never and will never claim to be a good photographer, and I have a cheap point-and-shoot camera.

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