Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

Seasons Greeting

One of our most cherished parts of this time of year is getting caught up with our friends and family and carried away with the lights and decorations and holiday treats. Just as schools dismiss for a couple weeks at this time of year to enjoy the festivities, we are going to dismiss for a couple weeks to enjoy the festivities too. We will be back the fist week of January 2015 with stories of our holidays and goals for the coming year. We hope that you have the most joyful Holiday Season and a Wonderful New Year.

Much Love

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Homemade Kahlua made with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Y’all. So, I mentioned last week with the Bourbon Bacon Jam that my mom and I were getting together baskets of goodies for Christmas for our friends- mostly my friends. One group of people that I like to give to is the group of managers that Bub works with- just a little something yummy. Earlier in December when I was cruising through Pinterest I came across a recipe for homemade Kahlua. A light bulb went off in my head!

I remember my Dad and Step-mother making Kahlua when I was a little girl- and I remember it being pretty easy to do- coffee, vodka, sugar and vanilla… so, I opened the pin and this recipe was made with rum. Stop the presses! Rum- well, it turns out that Kahlua is a rum based coffee liqueur. In a matter of seconds, it hit me that Kahlua would be awesome if I made it with Sailor Jerry.

It is here that I must let all the world know that I looooooooove Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. I love it. I love it. I love it. I mix it with diet root beer. Yep. That’s my jam. Sailor Jerry is 92 proof spiced rum and roughly the same price as Captain Morgan. So, I found it wildly appropriate to make homemade Kahlua with Sailor Jerry to give to a bunch of restaurant managers and chefs. And I did make a little extra for Bub and I to have too- and we have been slurping up Colorado Bulldogs for the past week! (Colorado Bulldogs are White Russians with a splash of Coke.)

Now, on with the show- here’s the recipe: 4 cups of sugar, 2 1/4 cups of Sailor Jerry, 2 1/2 cups of fresh coffee and 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract.

Mix it Up

 

I made strong coffee and while it was still hot, I mixed it with the sugar and then I let it cool down to room temperature. It did not take too long- 30 minutes maybe. And then I added the Sailor Jerry and vanilla. I want you to brace yourself- this is delicious!

Homemade Kahlua

Homemade Kahlua made with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 2½ cups of coffee
  • 2¼ cup of Sailor Jerry
  • 3 Tablespoons of Vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Brew coffee, mix with sugar and let come to room temperature
  2. Add Sailor Jerry and Vanilla

 

If you are looking for something special to give your friends, family or neighbors- think about this homemade Kahlua made with Sailor Jerry because it is so good- not only in White Russians but also over ice cream or cake or just over ice! Yummy.

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Mfun Mfoto Mfriday

You didn’t think I would stop doing Fun Foto Fridays even though I’m now a Monday poster, did you? Surely, not. And don’t call me, Shirley. Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I fly back out to Georgia tomorrow and between packing for that and all the craziness that tis the season, late Monday was the best I could do! The photo files are starting to get full on my phone, which means that (until a snappier “M” based title can be figured–leave your suggestions in the comments) it is time for another addition of:

funfotofridayedAs mentioned here, here, and here, I spent a large part of my fall season at Emory University Hospital. And, as such, there is a large chunk of my photos (this edition) that reflect that.

Por ejemplo: emory eatThis is page to which you are directed after gaining access to Emory’s wireless system. What a happy, lovely family… except for the grandma that is licking that baby’s head. D’oh!

Auntie-EmOr, how about these anti-embolism socks? Surely the makers must have some passing knowledge of The Wizard of Oz… Auntie Em, indeed. Sorry for the low light, t’was taken in the middle of the night.

lifeeD

 

In the family visiting room on the 6th floor of Emory Hospital, they have board games and magazines. When I was so tired, this gave me the giggles as my family’s life HAD actually been turned upside down.

 

Haunted MansionED

Quiz– This is:

a) A portrait hanging in Emory Hospital’s main lobby of one of it’s founders, or

b) One of the portraits in Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, or

c) A scrapped portrait from Ghostbusters II.

Obviously, the answer is, “a,” but seriously, you can practically see the tombstone on which he is going to be standing when the room starts to grow.

 

britishEd

As mentioned earlier, one of the tips of staying long-term in the hospital is to find your closest grocery store and stock up on snacks. In this modern age, grocery stores are starting to reflect the diverse ethnic mix of it’s customers. I’ve seen Italian, Mexican, and Asian sections before… but never a British section. I’m sure there are some delightful biscuits and jammy dodgers, but I thought this was funny since, as a culture, the British are internationally reviled for their foods.

 

bigjohncollageThe ER at St. Mary’s in Athens has recently been renovated with each room having it’s own toilet. You may not be able to tell form the picture, but you are looking at an abnormally large toilet. It is aptly named, “Big John.” Needless to say, Jimmy Dean’s “Big Johhhhhhhhn… Big Bad John. Bad John…” was sung many times. Talk about literal “toilet humor.” *groan*

bitemeEdSpeaking of the abuse of the word, “literal,” this tee shirt (found at Fred’s in Lavonia) brings up all kind of questions for me. Like, are you talking about the cherries? Are you a tasty human morsel from the cast of “The Walking Dead?”

But, back to the Emory University campus. On campus, they have a great museum (the Micheal C. Carlos) which was a great distraction one day from 24/7 hospitals. They have a wonderful South American art collection and these pottery figures just tickled me. May be NSFW, I guess?

statcollage

When I was little, I used to LOVE to read the Sunday comics. With newspapers becoming almost obsolete, reading the Sunday funnies is a rarity. I’ve never heard of Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, but (as this was during the November election cycle) I thought this was dead. on. Though it made me really miss Phil Hartman… FIRE BAD! Also, after reading several at his website, Imma totally start reading Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!

negativeadED

familyED

 

 

If I wanted to set a trap to catch adorable grandmothers, like mine, I would use this cartoon as bait. Making fun of technology? Remembering the “good old” days? Family Circus? I mean, hook… line… sinker: grandma bait.

 

birdED

On my way back to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, I had a layover in Denver. It was pretty great, because it was snowy and cold… and I was going to Los Angeles… where it wasn’t. While waiting for my connecting flight, I noticed a sweet little bird that had somehow gotten caught inside the airport. I choose not to think of him being sad, but instead think of the balling lyfe he’s living in the airport. Right after I took this picture, this fellow absconded with half a hotdog bun that an errant toddler had dropped.

 

Moon

I left a pot to soak after making a creamy sauce, and came back after 20 minutes to find that the water surface looked like a beautiful planet. After watching the re-mastered version of the original series of Star Trek, this caught my eye.

 

 

Los Angeles is in the middle of record drought… and it is not really a place known for its rainy clime. And, back in the day, I always heard “…it never rains in Southern… California… but when it pours… MAN, it pours…” on Fox 97.1. We’ve been here for a year and a half now and I can count how often it has rained on one hand. This place really isn’t set up for rain, so when it does, the drivers are terrible, the streets get flooded, and since the ground is so dry, mudslides are a real. deal. I’ve been in some areas with flash flood warnings and was never really able to imagine a situation where that could happen… until I saw the first big rain here last February. We had an almost unheard of 2 days of heavy rain two weeks ago. Crossing over Vineland, into Studio City, there is a bridge covering the Los Angeles river. And, by river, I mean a concrete canyon with a thin trickle of water running through it. In is so puny, in fact, that it is a running joke between me and Josh. Every time we drive over it, we always joke, “Behold… the mighty Los Angeles river. Turgid. Foaming.” Well, after the second day of rain, we drove over it after getting ramen (because hot soup on a rainy day, duh) and… whoa.

rain

A local friend told me that when it rains and the river floods, that they end up always fishing out bodies from kayakers, teenagers, and homeless people. And I totally believe it.

I guess that last one wasn’t really Mfun, but I still thought readers might find interesting! Alright, wish me luck on my travels! Love and Roses!

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Bacon-Bourbon Jam- Yes, You Need This in Your Life!

For Christmas this year, I am putting together goodie bags for my friends and neighbors. My mom is helping me because she is the master of goodie bags! The outcome would not be nearly as awesome if she were not helping me- that is certain. We are going to have a bake-a-thon this weekend to get everything together- our list is a mile long! So, I have started doing what I can ahead of time to knock some things off our list.

One of the goodies on my list is Bourbon-Bacon Jam. I was first introduced to this manna a couple of Christmases ago when a dear friend made it for me (and others) for Christmas. I was immediately taken with it. Bub and I devoured it! And I put it on my list of to-do someday. That day has finally come and it is a great day!

I was cruising the corridors of Pinterest when I came across this bourbon-bacon jam pin. No questions asked, I pinned it. She had adapted her recipe from Martha Stewart’s recipe.  And when I started putting my list together of goodies, bourbon bacon jam was first on the list and it was something I could make a little early. The original pinner said it was an easy recipe and I thought to myself- it doesn’t really matter because I am making this regardless, but- we’ll see. All said and done- it was pretty easy.

First thing you cook a pound and half of bacon. I have never cooked that much bacon at one time! You cook it to the crispy point.I used 2 pans to get the job done quicker. And while that is going on- you chop up one large Vidalia onion or sweet onion- I used my little food processor to get that job done quicker as well. In the end you need 2-3 cups of onion. Also, the original recipe called for 2 cups of shallots- I could not find them at the grocery store- so, I left them out. Once you get your onions all chopped, you caramelize the onions using some of the bacon grease on medium heat or so.

onions

So. Your bacon is cooked and set aside on paper towels. You are caramelizing onions- while that is happening, chop up 4-5 garlic gloves. The original recipe called for Maple syrup… well, it is expensive and I only needed 1/2 cup- I already had molasses in my pantry- I made the executive decision to use it instead. In the end, I found this jam recipe to be pretty flexible.

Once your onions are well on their way to being caramelized, you add the garlic and cook for about a minute or so and then add the chili powder and paprika and stir to combine. You may want to crank your heat- I did not need to but, you might. Carefully add your bourbon and syrup or in my case, molasses and let it boil for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and bacon and stir to combine and let it continue to boil for another minute or two.

As far as the bacon goes- you can either use a knife to roughly chop it up or you can do as I did and use your finger to crunch and pull part your bacon- either way is fine just fine.

simmering

You may find that there is an over abundance of bacon fat in your jam and you may want to strain that off using a sieve- I wasn’t in that camp. And you are facing another decision- you may want to send this through the food processor to make this closer to a puree… I wasn’t in that camp either.

Jams

 

Yummy and delicious and wonderful and everything. I think this would be the perfect condiment to Connecah sausage or severed with cream cheese and crackers. Yep. OMG.

Bacon-Bourbon Jam-
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 24 oz
Ingredients
  • 1.5 pounds of Bacon
  • 2 cups of finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup of Vidalia onion or sweet onion... or 2-3 cups if you can't find shallots
  • 4-5 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ cup of bourbon
  • ½ cup Maple syrup- or in my case, Molasses
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Cook your bacon and set aside on paper towels to drain
  2. Chop your onions and using some of the bacon grease, caramelize them
  3. When the onions are well on their way to being caramelized, add the chili powder and paprika and stir to combine.
  4. Carefully add the bourbon and syrup, bring to a boil and let cook for 2-3 minutes
  5. Add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and crunched bacon and stir to combine
  6. Let cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Place in jars or containers and let cool.
  7. Store in fridge for up to 4 weeks

Do you make goodies for the holidays? If so, what is on your list? Do you look forward to certain things that your family, friend and neighbors make? Uh, Momma’s Hawaiian bread, Memaw’s divinity, Pammie’s cakes and  Snuggie’s chocolate pecan pie- Yes, I get around!  I am thinking this bourbon-bacon jam will also become something I look forward to at Christmas too.

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Our 2014 Favorite Things!

A Wednesday Post?! What strange magic is this? It must be a Christmas miracle! To get you in a festive mood for our 2014 Favorite Things Post, here is our Christmas playlist! I defy you to Grinch it up when Otis Redding is singing about Christmas!

From Coralie:

It’s that time again! I had so much fun last year doing my favorite things- Oprah really is one of my favorites and it so much fun to follow in her footsteps in sharing my favorite things. The only thing I would have done differently last year- I would have invited Leigh to join in with her favorite things. So, that is exactly what is happening- this is our list of favorite things. We are absolutely positive you will find some good ideas to mark a gift or two off your list.

From Leigh:

I loved Coralie’s post last year, and am so happy to be adding my two-cents. Although presents aren’t the reason for the season, a thoughtful gift is a thing of beauty. It matters not how big or small your budget is, if a gift is given from the heart, then it is priceless. If you are struggling with your Christmas list this year, hopefully the below list will help you with some ideas. And if not, then may I suggest two other things that you may or may not have considered… Have you checked your intendeds Amazon Wish List? Or their Pinterest account? Jojo and I have long been proponents of filling out and maintaining your Amazon Wish List to help those looking for gifts for you! Do any of the people on your list have an Amazon Wish List? Or does the person in your life have a Pinterest account? A simple browse through someone’s pins may tell you exactly what their heart wishes for this season! Use the powers of cyber-stalking for good, this holiday!

So, let’s get started!

bella tunno(Coralie’s Pick) If you know me, you know I am obsessed with bags. I probably have too many… well, not probably- I do have a ton of bags. But, I love a good bag. And this year is no exception- I have 3 bags for this year’s list. Let’s start with this Bella Tunno bag. It is just yummy. I first found this brand at a boutique in the next town over. Yes, it is a diaper bag but do not be put off by that. Because it is a diaper bag, there are lots of wonderful pockets. This bag is big but not too big. I was checking out their website and they are on super sale right now… I’m just saying. I am thinking this would make a great beach or boat bag. *Hint. *Hint. -Coralie

rice(Leigh’s Pick) One of my favorite things this year has been our rice cooker. This Black and Decker model not only cooks perfectly done rice and quinoa like a beast, but it is also a steamer and slow cooker. This machine does it all. Including being a perfect gift for a burgeoning chef, or a new couple. Although appliances may not be glamorous, this machine is a workhorse in the kitchen. Plus, at such a good price point, it makes a great gift! -Leigh

shopper(Coralie’s Pick) And these next two bags- my love affair with Dooney and Bourke began last Christmas and has only intensified over the last 12 months! So, I have added two to my collection this year. The first, this awesome shopper- my dear friend Bridgette gave it to me for my birthday. It is such a great bag! It is certainly a smaller bag than the one I was carrying but it is plenty big to carry everything I need. Mine is khaki- yes, I love it- it will go with everything and is both a winter and summer bag. (if that matters). However, this pink one is pretty cute too- they come in a ton of different colors. You can pretty much take your pick in that regard. The dooney lettersecond Dooney that I will be adding to my collection is this smaller bag. I like having a big bag to have everything in- including diapers. But, there are times when I just want to grab my wallet, sunglasses, phone and go. Introducing Dooney and Bourke’s letter carrier! It is the perfect size for when I only want to carry the basics rather than everything including the kitchen sink in the big bag. Just like a lot of the Dooney and Bourke collection, this bag comes in a ton of different colors and fabrics. I prefer nylon but leather and canvas are both options. Yes, my love and adoration is in no danger of diminishing.  -Coralie

kindleED(Leigh’s Pick) I am and have always been a big reader. And books are always a good gift for Christmas– especially if you are sharing one of your favorites with a loved one. If you are giving a special book, that was meant for a display shelf, then by all means, go for it… I am a fan of beautiful books and bookmaking, but, if you have a loved one who has to travel after Christmas, may I suggest getting them an eBook instead? A backpack full of books is the LAST thing they want to be carrying through the airport. So many people have Kindles/tablets that support eBooks these days (and if they don’t may I suggest THAT as a gift) that amazon gift cards make a great gift for readers. Did you know that if you purchase someone a book from their Amazon Wish List that it magically appears on their Kindle? Talk about a Christmas surprise?! May I suggest, my friend Derek’s shiny second new book The Riddle Box? A perfect gift for anyone who loves a good mystery or adventure! -Leigh

banded(Coralie’s Pick) I think those stretchy headbands became all the rage about 7-8 years ago. And I have always thought they were cute but never really wore them because they always squeezed my head with resulted in a headache. That is, until I found Banded Brand headbands- they come in an array of designs that are all uber cute! What I love love about them is that they are not too tight and because they are lined with velvet they do not slip easy. This is a win-win all around. -Coralie

may(Leigh’s Pick) It is no secret that I love my Birchbox subscription. And it’s not just for girls! Every since Jojo found out that there is a men’s service, he has been angling for it. But, a full year subscription is a pretty schmancy/pricy gift. May I suggest, instead, a shortened subscription? They offer 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions… and, as it comes every month, talk about a gift that keeps on giving! For ladies or men… who doesn’t love lots of lovely samples in cool packaging! -Leigh

(Coralie’s Pick) Okay. With this next one- I have a couple 2-3 stories, so bare with me. Bub graduated from Alabama and when they won one of the modern era national championships (I’m talking football) he noticed a guy wearing this hat with the state of Alabama with a 13 in it. At the time, it was the 13th National Championship win. He did some research and found out it was State Traditions and quickly ordered himself one. Well, I graduated from Auburn and under no circumstance am I going to wear a University of Alabama anything. But, I do love the state of Alabama- I quickly started looking at what State Traditions had to offer as far as Auburn went- I liked the embroidery on one visor but the style of the another. Bub called and asked if they could make that happen and they were so willing and not only that- my visor arrived super quick. So, State Staditionstheir customer service is top notch.

My second story is about Leigh and her family and their connection to the University of Georgia. Leigh’s family, if you cut them- they bleed black and red. So, I am telling you they are big supporters of UGA. Her grandfather, was this cute- cute man. He loved his family, he loved the state of Georgia and he loved them Georgia bulldogs! So, on one trip to her hometown- it was right in the middle of football season- so, her granddaddy and her daddy took us to a game- it happened to be the Auburn- Georgia game. My first collegiate football game none-the-less. On the way we stopped and got some fried chicken- perfect tailgating food. And when I say we pulled up and parked by the stadium, I mean we pulled up and parked right-right next to the stadium. At the time I didn’t understand how awesome that was but, years later I came to understand that that was sooooo pimp. Her granddaddy would have loved State Traditions the class they bring to collegiate clothes.

And one last story about State Traditions. Leigh and I explained that we met at boarding school- we get a quarterly magazine from the school that highlights alumni. I was reading this last edition and guess where one of the founders of State Traditions went to high school? Yep, Darlington. He graduated a year behind us- how cool is that?! If there is someone in your life who likes to wear clothes their school colors, I really encourage you to check out State Traditions- they have just about every college covered and their products are so classy. -Coralie

(Leigh’s Pick) For the socially conscious on your list, may I suggest that the best gift to give them heiferis to give to someone ELSE in their name. It is so easy to get caught up in the season, that so often we forget how lucky we are and how many many people in the world are hungry and in need.  Several Christmas’s ago, my lovely Aunt Jane and Uncle David gifted everyone in our family donations to Heifer International (an amazing organization) that gives needy people tools and education to better their lives. Somewhere, in Ghana, right now, there is a family who received two rabbits from me. How cool is that?! From Heifer’s website: Instead of material items, choose to honor your friends and loved ones with gifts that help struggling families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty. There are a million charities out there that need your help. Make sure they are reputable, and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! ~Leigh

Juicy

(Coralie’s Pick) This is my new favorite perfume. It is just regular ol’ Juicy Couture perfume. I found it when I got a sample in a Birchbox installment. Over the course of my subscription, I got a bunch of perfume samples but this one was by far and away my favorite. I did my homework and did enough reviews to earn enough points to be able to cash them in for a free roller ball of this perfume. I keep it in my purse and wear it all the time but, it is rolling out… would love this as a stocking stuffer… testing-testing… Bub, are you paying attention? -Coralie

naked(Leigh’s Pick) I very rarely give clothes and shoes to people (outside of my immediate family) because people come in a myriad of sizes with different tastes. Do you know what you DON’T need a size chart for? Makeup. For the pretty lady in your life, a Sephora gift card is always a nice gesture, but if you are looking for something specific, Urban Decay’s Naked Eye Shadow Palette (it comes in three iterations- the first being my fave) is my hands. down. favorite thing that I have bought this year. The brands palettes have reached almost legendary status on the blogosphere, and there isn’t a color in this set that is a bust. The pigments are shiny, the wear is long lasting… I’m a makeup snob, so me telling you that this is the best thing ever, is a pretty big deal! -Leigh

olukai(Coralie’s Pick) I think it is painfully clear that Bub, Baby Bub and I live at the beach. Therefore, I do not think you should be surprised to know that there are a couple things that I am willing to spend a nice chunk of change on because it is something we use or wear daily. One such thing would be sunglasses- I am a lifelong Ray-Ban wearer but, I also love my Maui Jims. But, also- both Bub and I wear Olukai flip flops. And these- I just found these stacks! I love them! After wearing my current pair almost daily for 3 years- I am due for a new pair and these are calling my name real loud! BTW, Olukai flip flops meet all of Leigh’s requirement for awesome foot support. -Coralie

musl(Leigh’s Pick) One of my favorite samples from my Birchbox subscription has been Liz Earles Hot Cleansing Cloths. The cleanser product that came with it was good, admittedly, but the real star of the show was the muslin cloth. It sounds silly to say that a simple, muslin cloth could be a game changer for your ablutions, but it is. These cloths provide gentle, yet super effective exfoliation. I received one in my sample and have wanted to pick up AT LEAST 8 more. Who doesn’t want the gift of radiant skin this Christmas? -Leigh

beach chair(Coralie’s Pick) And another of my favorite things that is beach related- these beach chairs are the absolute Cadillac of beach chairs and are just awesome! My Aunt Martha found these exact ones at Costo- and bought us a set for us. I hope she did not pay what Amazon has them listed for but, we used them every single time we went to the beach this summer. I am hear to tell you they are the best. What makes them so wonderful are a couple different features. The first is that they are backpack chairs and they have a cooler on them. Also, they are adjustable in how much they recline- but they recline totally flat. And they have this perfect size cup holder with pocket that fits your phone nicely. And lastly, they are super comfortable to sit in and easy to stand up from. Leigh, you and JoJo need these chairs for the next time y’all go to the beach on the West coast.  -Coralie

scarf(Leigh’s Pick) If you have the time and energy, a thoughtful gift is always a home made gift. Whether it is super crafty, or a delicious treat from your kitchen, homemade gifts are always appreciated as the time it took you to make something is priceless. Though, full disclosure, if you are planning on going “full-on homemade” this Christmas (you should have started earlier, for one) keep in mind that it is a lot of work… weigh your options, energy, and budget smartly. The internet is FULL of great homemade gift ideas… browse and find one that you like! I was talking to Coralie the other day about the goodies she was making her loved ones this year, and they are might-e-lucky! If you are a knitter, here is a beautiful project from Martha Stewart that I made for some special ladies in my life several Christmas’s ago! -Leigh

hempz

(Coralie’s Pick) I have recommended hemp lotion before- but, this is the hemp lotion that originally turned me onto hemp lotion. It is so good. My skin just soaks it up. I love this stuff. If you have yet to try any hemp lotion- I would suggest you start here- this too would make a nice stocking suffer. And it smells so good. -Coralie

 

Did one of our favorite things make YOUR list? Did you actually need stocking stuffer ideas instead (may we recommend The Bear Claw or Shopping Bag Handles)? Don’t be naughty, visit Fun Things To Do While You’re Waiting THE STORE to pick up most of the items on our list!

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Re-Use That Thing: Self Watering* Plants

ogtitleedreal

If you read this blog with even the loosest regularity, you’ll know two of several things about me. One, that I LOVE to re-use items- like almost to an obsessive point. You will also know that I have a complicated relationship with plants. Today’s post combines both of those things, which means I am all. about. it. My apologies, if talking about planting sounds braggadocious for those who live somewhere less conducive to planting in December, but keep this tip in mind for sometime this spring! Don’t hate me for living in Southern California.

*You may have noted the asterisk in the title and title card. I put it there, for sticklers who would nitpick about how NO plant is self-watering and requires SOME initial watering at least. Yes. This is all true… but this hack is about as easy as plants get, guys… so listen up while I introduce you to something called, “sub-irrigation“. Itsa gonna be a game changer. It means that the plant receives its water from below the soil and absorbs it upwards, as it needs it. It eliminates over-watering and is perfect for starting seedlings.

Many moons ago, in my never-ending quest to become a green-thumb, I stumbled upon a great pin on Pinterest detailing the construction of a planter that supposedly watered itself. I’m kicking ogpicedmyself now, because I want to link to it, but can’t because I’m a bad blogger and didn’t save it properly and now it is lost to the mist. BUT, there are a million tutorials like it out there, so I don’t feel as bad sharing it with you without sourcing. As someone who has/had a problem with watering plants, trying a tutorial that solved everything/busts my yarn stash/AND uses recyclable material was a no-brainer. I followed the directions and placed some clippings from my Wandering Jew plant to see how it all fared. Much like my fruit fly traps, I flew to Georgia and promptly forgot all about it with only the loosest of directions to Jojo about watering. Lo and behold, when I got back, not only did my self-watering planter work, but the clippings were rooted and thriving.

I knew immediately, it was time to do a blog post.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

itemsedRemove any labels from your chosen plastic container. B.T.Dubs, you can really use any bottle: soda bottle, water jugs, whatever you have lying around provided the top, when cut and inverted will fit without the container.

Using all scissor safety, use kitchen/utility scissors to cut the top off your plastic bottle. If you must, you can use a ruler to measure how much to cut, but I like to eyeball it. Don’t cut so far towards the middle, for you want the bottle top not to be submerged in water.

cuted

Remove cap from the bottle and find a surface that you can hammer upon. Use the largest (thickest) nail you can find and punch two holes through the cap (top side down). Again, all safety rules recommended.

hammered

Now, cut two pieces of yarn (make one a few inches longer– mine were 18″ & 20″) long enough to fold in half. Once yarn has been folded in half, create a fist sized loop and tie a knot under it with the two strings. Leave several inches of dangly string to create your root/capillary system. Hooray for busting that yarn stash!

knotsedNext, you are going to want to thread your yarn through your two cap holes with the knot being on the “inside” of the cap. If your holes aren’t large enough to do this manually, use the old sewers needle-threading tip (above right) of stringing a durable thread through the hole, looping it over your finger and threading it back through making a loop for you to thread the pull-able yarn and pull through. Easy peasy. Some tutorials only show doing one hole/root, but the original (sadly lost) tutorial used two for reasons of even and equal coverage in the soil.

Put cap back on bottle, invert, and place snuggly inside bottle base.

Guide the yarn placement and space it evenly as you fill the top part with soil. The shorter yarn being used for the bottom and the larger for the almost surface layer.

threaded

finaled

And that’s it! Add a few cups of water to the base (enough to reach the “roots” but not enough to submerge the cap) and then water the top soil to start the system and brake the surface tension. I’ve planted some basil in mine, as that is what my heart most wants to be able to plant here. Hey look! My hummingbird feeder!

 

In attempting to find my original source for this tutorial, I came across three things of note about this type of project:

  • It is great for kids, duh.
  • Some people were not fans of it aesthetically– to which I suggest you put your planter INSIDE of a more attractive planter.
  • And finally, that putting it in an attractive planter may actually be better for it as direct sunlight damages certain roots. Many a version of this project had a wrapping around the plant part (like duct tape) to prevent that. I’ll do that when I get to that point, but until then, I love my little planters. Such efficiency!

When you see the water running low in the bottom part of the bottle, simply add more– but it won’t be as often as other hand-watered plants. I did notice some algae starting to grow in my container when I came home, so that is something for which to watch. I just cleaned mine out and added fresh water.

That’s it! Have you ever tried this? Do you have any secret tips for growing basil? As always, let us know!

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