An upcycled gift: a baby succulent and bunting


Last weekend my friend Laura had a birthday party. She is the only person I know who would choose to cook for 20 people on a day when people should be cooking for her! She is Belgian, a lovely person and a fantastic cook. For her birthday dinner she cooked a Belgian beer stew, roast potatoes and green beans. An enormous bowl of homemade mayonnaise was pass around and slathered on everything.

I wanted to make her something homemade for her birthday. I decided on a baby succulent upcycled into something special. I grabbed my supplies: a small succulent, an empty baking powder tin, a few scraps of fabric, two skewers and some thread.

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I love baking powder tins. I like buying products that have reusable packaging. These tins are so versatile and quaint. The first thing I did was punch a few  holes in the bottom of the tin so that excess water would be able to drain away from the soil. I resorted to using a thin metal screw driver and brute force. Three or four holes in the bottom should be plenty.

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Next I carefully transplanted the little succulent from his plastic pot to the tin. This was a bit fiddly and I had to redo it a few times to make sure he was snug. I used an old teaspoon to manoeuvre the soil around. Once he was in place I also watered him (just slightly) to settle the soil.

The next step was to add some bunting. Because what is a birthday present without bunting? I used two skewers as poles and placed them gently in the soil – trying to avoid the succulent’s roots. I then snipped them to the height I wanted using strong kitchen scissors.

I used this tutorial to make my bunting. But before I glued the bunting to the thread I sewed Laura’s name in split stitch.

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Once I had finished all the letters I glued the bunting to the thread and tied it to the skewers and I had a perfect little present for a lovely friend.

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An aside: I have been reading Erin’s recent posts on gift giving at Christmas (over at Reading my Tea Leaves). I really like her approach to minimalist gift giving and quality over quantity. I also think that a homemade gift can be very  special.

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No-sew pot plant bunting


image2You will need:

  • A pot plant (a bonsai tree will work best for this)
  • Fabric
  • Thread or string
  • Glue
  • Scissors

1. Measure how much string or thread you will need for your bunting to reach between two branches of your pot plant. Allow extra for tying two knots.

2. Start cutting diamonds out of your fabric. I folded my fabric in half and eyeballed five triangles (I only ended up using four). As you cut out your triangles place them along your piece of sting. Fiddle with the spacing until you’re happy. Iron your diamonds closed so that they lie flat.

3. Open the diamonds and place glue on the inside. Take your thread and place it along the crease. Close the diamond (now a triangle) and using your nail push the thread up into the crease. You want it to be very snug. Attach the rest of your diamonds in the same way.

4. Take your bunting to your pot plant. Play around with the placing and attach it to the branches. Don’t tie your knots too tightly or you will damage your plant. You will need to keep an eye on the knots and loosen them if they start restricting the pot plant.

If you have a pot plant that doesn’t have strong branches you can attached the bunting to two skewers and push them into the soil (like I did with my sister’s birthday cake bunting). It would be a great way to spruce up a pot plant if you were giving it to someone as a present.

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