DIY Cactus Rock Garden

rocks-21-of-23

I am all on board the succulent train. I have one on my desk, I have one on my bedside table, and I’ve managed to convince both of my parents to plant them in their gardens. They make me smile when I see them along the walls of trendy L.A. coffee shops, and I must talk myself out of buying more whenever I pass the aisle at Home Depot. You get it, I like succulents.

So this past weekend when I went over to my friend Evie’s house and saw her homemade cactus rock garden, I got very VERY excited and she kindly showed me how she made it. This craft is perfect for kids, but also perfect for 22 year olds like myself. There is something about the smooth weight of the rocks and the way you can move them around in the sand/gravel that is so therapeutic – kind of like those zen sand trays. I could rake that sand for hours.

It’s a super cute addition to a book shelf or a coffee table, and the best part is we didn’t spend a penny to make it. This craft makes me smile. So thanks Evie, you’ve brought much happiness into my week.


Materials:

  • Smooth, somewhat flat rocks (we went hunting in the neighborhood)
  • A container (we used a recycled tomato can)
  • Sand or small pebbles (we used aquarium gravel)
  • Various shades of green paint
  • A sharpie
  • A glue gun
  • Pink embroidery thread
  • A fork
  • Scissors

First pick your rocks. You want to test them out with your container so that they aren’t so big that they fall out, but also aren’t so small that they look disproportionate. We used a large tomato can, but this craft could be done in any sort of container! Evie’s original was in a cute homemade box, and my next go at this will be in a wide but shallow ceramic pot so that I can use a lot more rocks.

rocks-1-of-23

Fill your container just below the rim with gravel or sand.

rocks-2-of-23

Mix your various shades of green. We did a different shade for each rock (and ended up omitting the neon green rock).

rocks-3-of-23

Now patiently paint your rocks. I say patiently because you must do at least two coats and you have to do both sides. It takes forever and is pretty boring. It’s like watching paint dry. hehe.

rocks-5-of-23

But the wait is worth it because now you have beautiful green stones. I loved them so much like this I was tempted to just leave them so that I could just look at them and hold them from time to time.

rocks-10-of-23

We used a small stone and a big stone painted the same shade to make a cactus with a branch (that sounds wrong… is there a better word for that?). We simply glued it on with hot glue.

At this stage Evie turned to me and said “now  just make your pom pom.” Like I know how to make miniature pom poms… does anyone just know how to do that? Needless to say, I had her very carefully walk me through it and to be honest, it’s quite easy and now I can confidently make mini pom poms.

rocks-9-of-23

So here are the secrets. Get a cute tiny fork with a cool swirly handle (or probably just a normal fork), and wrap your thread around it until it forms a thick bundle. Next, gently weave the end of the thread through the fork tongs underneath your “bundle”. Pull it through and tie it into a tight knot around the bundle. It should look like a oddly shaped bowtie. Remove it from the fork and cut both sides of the “bowtie”. Use your fingers to spread apart the threads and voila! you’ve got a little poof.

 

Glue your pom pom to the top of one of the rocks.

rocks-13-of-23

Use a sharpie with a fine tip to draw on the thorns. We used a variety of patterns to depict them, including stripes, crosses, “v”s, and little lines that look like sprinkles.

rocks-14-of-23

Now you can arrange your rocks however you would like in your little garden. And then you can rearrange them when you get bored. And then do it again. That’s the beautify of this sweet little craft.

rocks-17-of-23rocks-23-of-23rocks-15-of-23

Happy “gardening”!

 

-Kirby

Olaf Marshmallows

_mg_7579Can you think of anything Olaf would rather do than soak in a piping hot cup of cocoa? This week we decided to up our hot chocolate game by crafting these adorable marshmallows shaped and decorated like Olaf from Disney’s Frozen. We made them for our friends (and us, really) to enjoy, but assemble them on marshmallow skewers and you’ve got a perfect addition for your next Holiday party, and a guaranteed smash hit with kids.

We have finally finished exams and are splitting up, headed to San Francisco and London for the Winter break. Nothing sounds better than a little downtime with family and friends. We hope you all have incredible holidays filled with love and laughter (or shall we say “Olaf”ter) – we’ll be back after the New Year with more new content!


Materials:

  • Flat marshmallows (we got the marshmallow “stackers” from Target)
  • Royal icing (find our recipe here)
  • Marshmallow skewers
  • Ziplock bags (or piping bags)
  • Black and orange food coloring
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Hot cocoa

_MG_7465goldleaves.jpg


Carefully cut half of the marshmallows with a sharp knife to look like the bottom half of Olaf’s face. It’s a bit of an odd shape, but we just cut the bottom two corners off at an angle. Then cut the remaining marshmallows to look like the top off his head, which looks like a small trapezoid.

Make your royal icing; you want it to be stiff icing so don’t add any water. Spoon half of it into a ziplock bag and snip the corner to make a piping bag. Then divide the remaining icing in half and dye one half orange and the other black. Once again put them in bags and snip the corners. Make sure your cut is very small so that you can easily achieve detail in your decoration. Pipe the white icing onto the longer edge of the bottom half of Olaf’s face, then attach the trapezoid shape, also on the longer side.

Skewer them onto the sticks, careful not to deform them. Then begin decorating with the icing. Use the black to make the mouth.

_mg_7498goldleaves

Make black dots slightly larger than the eyeballs, and use the white to make the eyes on top of them. Then make the pupils with the black. Finally, add an orange nose and black eyebrows.

kirby decoratinggoldleaves.jpg

To finish them, make a dot of white icing on the top of Olaf’s head, and use it to attach three chocolate sprinkles to make his hair.

_mg_7517goldleaves

Voila, you are finished! Now you can sit back and relax with a pot of hot cocoa and your adorable marshmallows.

kirby-and-michelle-holding-olafgoldleaves_mg_7556goldleaves_mg_7554goldleaves_mg_7573_mg_7585

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

-Kirby and Michelle