Friday, May 18, 2018

Home Made Jewelry Cleaner That Really Works!

It's amazing how dirty your jewelry can get.  Here is a  DIY recipe for  an easy to make cleaner that you can make with everyday kitchen items.  All you'll need is:

Aluminum Foil
1 Tbs Baking Soda
1 Tbs Salt
1 Tbs Dish washing liquid
1 C Warm Water
1 Bowl
1 Toothbrush

Line bowl with aluminum foil

Add the warm water and the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Place the jewelry in the mixture and let soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Scrub each piece gently with the toothbrush.  Let jewelry dry on a clean cloth.

This method really cleans and is a lot more gentle on your jewelry.  Not to mention your pocketbook!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Care For Your Calandiva

The calandiva is also called flowering kalanchoe and is classified as a succulent.
The calandiva is favored as a houseplant for its shiny thick dark leaves and its long lasting blooms.

Use a soil blend made for succulents ( a slightly acid or neutral pH level soil with sand or perlite)
Give your plant as much sunlight as possible.  Too little light causes the plant to be spindly.

As a sucuulent the plant is drought tolerant.  Water the calandiva thoroughly once a week or less.  Wait until the soil is dry.  Better too little water than too much.   During growing season fertilize once a month.

After flowering, pinch back the tallish stems that grow above the leaves.

Your caladiva need 14 to 16 hours daily of darkness and short days to form flower buds.  These develop during late fall and winter.  Keep out of artificial light during these months.  Place in dark room or closet from late afternoon til morning.  After buds form, the plant can be placed anywhere while the first blossoms appear in January

Your plant can develop powdery mildew or stem rot from over watering.  Discolored leaves or furry web-like substance means powdery mildew.  If the leaves are wilted, it may be root rot.  If either occurs you need to cut back on watering and/or apply a commercial mixture for powdery mildew.  Aphids, brown scale or mealy bugs can be wiped off gently by hand.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Care For Your Maidenhair

Adiantum raddianum is the generic name for maidenhair fern

It is attractive, with fast growing evergreen foliage.  Its thin 6"- 12" black stems hold delicate, lacy fronds which have bright green, triangle shaped leaflets. The fronds can grow to 12" wide and 18" long.  The plant itself can spread to about 24".  Give it enough humidity and do not expose to drafts, gas fumes or cigarette smoke and it will reward you with a long life.

It likes bright, indirect light and night temperatures between 55 and 60 degrees and high humidity with moist soil.  A terrarium is ideal but if that isn't possible,  humidity can be provided by setting the planter on a tray of wet pebbles. It is also helpful to mist the plant regularly with room temperature water. The bathroom is a great location for the maidenhair.  Never allow the roots to dry out.  

It wants to be fed monthly spring through mid summer with a half strength solution of house plant fertilizer.  Keep dead or damaged fronds cut back to the base

Mealy bugs and scale insects are enemies which attack the undersides of the fronds.

Repot in spring when necessary with a rich well-drained potting mix.  Do not use a pre-fertilized mix.

Start a new plant from rhizomes that spread under the soil.  Divide the roots into 3 or 4 pieces in early spring.  Each piece should have at least 2 or 3 fronds.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Care For Your Polka Dot

Hypoestes phyllostachya  or Polka Dot Plant is  known for its bright pink spots which cover dark green foliage.  The plant can now be found with bright red, white or silver spots and blotches.

They can be grown indoors as house plants or outdoors in USDA zones 10-12.  Here we will deal the house plants.

They need bright light but not full sun.

 They like a humid environment, so misting is suggested for lush foliage. 
Try not to water with chlorinated water or let the water sit out for 24 hours before using on the plant.  Keep the soil slightly moist.

They tend to get leggy, so pinch them back to no taller than 16 inches.  Don't be afraid to cut them back as they won't be hurt.

When the plant begins to show new growth, you should feed it with a weak 1/4 solution of houseplant fertilizer.

When it needs repotting it is best to do it in the spring.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Care For Your Zebra

There are two types of plants nicknamed "Zebra"  There is Calathea zebrina  and  Aphelandra squarrosa.  Here we will deal with Aphelandra squarrosa pictured below:

The zebra plant is grown for its foliage

The zebra plant is grown for its foliage which is bright green with striking white veins.  An added benefit are the bright yellow flowers that bloom in the fall.  The flowers last for a few days but the bracts stay on for about 6 weeks.  When given enough light the plant will often bloom again during the following spring.

These plants are forced into bloom by the intensity of light rather than the length of days.  They do best in a bright location but out of direct sunlight.  Too much direct sunlight causes the leaves to curl up and wrinkle
After flowering in the spring the plant needs to be cut down, leaving a couple of lower leaves.  This is to prevent it from becoming too leggy.

This tropical plant likes a humid atmosphere.  A room humidifier is the best way to provide moisture or standing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles.

Keep the soil moist year round.  Don't allow the soil to dry out.  It is best to give it a small drink every day rather than to flood it at once.

Be cautious about repotting.  The zebra likes to be slightly pot-bound and blooms better this way.

Wipe the leaves with damp cloth to keep them shiny.

Temperature should be between 65 and 80 degrees.

Fertilize with monthly spring and summer with balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.  Soil should be peat moss based or African violet mix.

Start new plants by taking cuttings in spring or summer.  After cutting the stem just below a node dip the cut ends in rooting hormone powder then insert into seed starting mix or perlite.  Enclose in plastic  or glass to hold in humidity.  Set in indierect light keep watered.  Remove covering after about 3 weeks, gradually exposing to more light.  Voila! New growth in about 6 weeks.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Care For Your Dumb Cane

"Dumb Cane"  is the common name for the Dieffenbachia plant.  The plant earns its nickname from the fact that it emits a toxic sap that causes a temporary inability to speak if ingested.  Slave owners  have been known to use it as a punishment.

The plant likes plenty of light but not full sun. It does well under plant lights.  It thrives in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees.  But temperatures under 60 degrees or over 75 degrees are not good. 

The Dieffenbachia likes plenty of water and its soil kept moist during the growing season from March to October.
Fertilize with a complete liquid plant fertilizer once every other week during this time. During the winter months do not feed and cut back on the watering.  Use well drained soil.  Two parts peatmoss and one part perlite are recommended.  An African Violet soil mix works also.

Early spring before growing season starts is the time for repotting.  Do not overpot.

Propagation can be done by cutting off the top shoot and placing it in well drained soil of 50% peatmoss and 50% perlite.  The stems will root also. Place the stem on its side with about 1/2 the stem buried in  the soil with the eye pointing upward. It will take 2-4 weeks to root keeping the temperatures around 72 degrees.

The biggest enemy of the Dieffenbachia is bacteria.  It causes the plant to rot, the leaves to become slimy, smelly and the stems become soft.  If this happens there is nothing you can do but just throw the plant out.

Brown Spotting can be caused during winter months by over fertilizing or allowing the plant to dry out too much between waterings.

The difference between brown spotting and bacteria is that with bacteria the diseases are "wet" and brown spotting is dry.

During winter months watch for red spider mites on the underside of leaves.  Mealybugs hide at leaf axils and aphids appear on new growth and suck juices from the plant.  Use sprays such as Malathion or Neem oil.

Be aware that The Dieffenbachia plant is poisonous if eaten. It has been said "one bite paralyzes your voice, two paralyze you, while three are supposed to be fatal".  Avoid getting the sap in your eyes or mouth.  Wear gloves when you handle the plant.

Even with these downsides the plant is a beautiful addition to your home .


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Nine Unusual DIY Window Treatments

While surfing the internet recently I came across some very clever and inexpensive window treatments.

The following Curtains were made by Donna of  Funky Junk Interiors for a grand total of $3 including hardware.
She embellished burlap coffee sacks with stenciled topography. 

Karianne from Thistlewood Farms Designed this window decor using a piece of drop cloth and trimming it with pink grograin ribbon as a valance.

These beautifully hanging drapes are "no sew".  Donna from Funky Junk Interiors again.  She took a canvas drop cloth, a coat hanger and some clothes pins and fashioned this clever window trim

No fabric?  Try paper.  Paula from Counting Your Blessings made this window treatment by stringing pages from vintage books onto ribbon and bunching them closely to create a unique and inexpensive valance.

For a humid place such as a bathroom here is a great suggestion.  Traci Hutcherson from Beneath My Heart made this clever curtain from a pillow case.  

A length of wallpaper is all it takes to turn a plain roller shade into a work of art -- complete with its own frame.

 A great use for outdated maps

How about a simple paint job?

Another way to let the light in.

Let me know what you think Please leave a comment.