Aloe Vera houseplant

Aloe Vera Close-up

 

Aloe Vera

 

It’s speckled tentacles reach and bend like the liquid legs of a giant Octopus and yet this prickly pirate lives far from the sea and don’t swim well at all. The Aloe Vera, a short stemmed succulent, is cultivated throughout the world and widely regarded for its medicinal and cosmetic qualities.

 

Aloe Vera belongs to the largest succulent genus Aloe, which encompasses an elephantine number (450) of species! These are widely distributed across sub saharan Africa in dry climates with little rainfall so it’s no wonder a potted aloe adds instant warmth to indoor spaces.

 

Aloe Vera pot plants
Aloe vera potplant

Aloe vera in Terrakotta pots

 

Common names: Aloe barbadensis, Aloe Vera, Aloe vulgaris, Medicinal Aloe

Care: Plant your Aloe in well draining potting soil with corse grit or sand in a container that drains very well. I prefer keeping succulents in plastic containers inside terra-cotta pots as they drain far better this way. Keep them in sunny, bright areas, but preferably away from direct sunlight.

Water: Give the soil a thorough soak then allow it to dry out completely between watering to assure the roots do not rot. Test if it is dry by sticking your finger deep into the soil (about 4cm). In winter they need less water so be very careful of over-watering your Aloe. It can be anything between 1-4 weeks.

Propagation: Aloe’s produce offsets or baby plants that you’ll see popping up around the parent. Allow them to grow a couple of centimetres to ensure they develop a stable root system of their own. You can easily separate them by holding them closely to their roots and pulling them out gently. Be careful not to tug too roughly, you don’t want the roots to break off. Plant them into a similar potting mix and leave in a bright sunny location.

 

Propagating an Aloe Vera
Propagating an Aloe Vera

 

I’m fond of these nuggets not only because they grow so easily and proliferate so well, but they’re said to be superb air purifiers – releasing oxygen and absorbing CO2 at night. And although they’re not entirely as majestic as the Aloe Ferox, they do bring a little bit of South Africa into my Berlin home.

 

Aloes from the top 

STORY + PHOTOS: BARBARA CILLIERS

 
 

Home-made christmas

DIY Christmas wreath

These days the spirit of christmas is captured in mass produced tinsel and coca-cola smiles. Malls are hanging baubles in October and countdowns to xmas-delivery prompt us to spend spend spend! It will probably not surprise you that an estimated 60% of the world Christmas decorations are made in China (Yiwu), with some workers putting in 12 hour shifts for as little as 45p per hour! So in this post let’s celebrate a hand-made christmas. Let’s go back to nature and use what we have.

Green Christmas Cheat 01: Make your own wreaths 

It’s actually so simple. Use a piece of wire that you can easily bend into a circle (like a wire hanger). Get a bunch of holly and a nice long Eucalyptus branch (or any type of long leafy branch) and wrap them around the wire. I found it easier to first make the wire into a circle and then adding the plants. The girls from Treasures and Travels have excellent step-by-step images of how how to make one.

Christmas wreath by Treasures & Travels
Christmas wreath by Treasures & Travels

Step-by-step diy xmas wreath

Green Christmas Cheat 02: Branches in a pot

This is probably the easiest way you can bring christmas into your home. Use a beautiful pot with an interesting branch. It can be any branch, even dead ones you find in the park!

Christmas Branches in beautiful pots
Branches in beautiful pots. Find more beautiful examples like the ones on the left on trendspanarna.nu
branches in pots
More bottled inspiration

branch in a potGreen Christmas Cheat 03: Use what you have

When you decorate your table, use the plates you have. Don’t worry if they don’t all match. Combine different colours to add interest, but follow a pattern so that it looks deliberate. Candles are perfect center pieces; put them on upside-down side plates to catch dripping wax and tie a branch or ribbon around it to make it christmassy.

Christmas table settingsChristmas table 2015

simple_tablesetting
I really love this simple table setting by bestdayever

Green Christmas Cheat 04: Never buy wrapping paper again

I love beautifully wrapped gifts, and even more so, wrapping them! But sadly, wrapping paper is such a waste of money and resources. If you don’t re-use it (and most people probably don’t) it just ends up in the dust bin, and often one that doesn’t go to the recycling depot. It’s actually far more fun to just create your own. Plus, its SO simple. I never buy wrapping paper. I save the brown paper that amazon uses when they ship large things (like cat litter) to my house or I just use scrap paper from the printer drawer or old magazines. Let me show you how easy it is:

Beautifully wrapped giftDIY wrapping paper tutorial

Wishing you a very merry christmas everybody!!

Delicious Monsters aka Monstera deliciosa

Close-up of monstera deliciosa

 

Monstera deliciosa

 

I am quite obsessed with houseplants, and there’s one particular guy that I simply cannot get enough of; with it’s massive leaves and funny tentacles the Monstera Deliciosa or Philodendron Pertusum is quite a character.

 

Monstera deliciosa
Close-up of Monstera deliciosa

 

There’s something about them that’s simply captivating. Perhaps it’s their allusion to the tropics or the sense of humour they embodythat swiss cheese smile and goofy elegance. Paradoxes aside though, this hardy philly will liven up any room, even if you forget to water it sometimes.

Description: The monstera is a member for the arum family Araceae. This climbing plant is native to the tropical rainforests from southern Mexico to southern Colombia and has large leathery green heart shaped leaves. Adult leaves develop holes and split edges that protect them from strong tropical winds (in their native environment) and can measure up to 45cm when grown indoors, giving them a beautiful sculptural quality.

Common Names: monstera deliciosa, splitleaf philodendron, philodendron pertusum, swiss cheese plant, monster fruit (to name a few)

 

Swiss cheese plant also known as  a monsteria
Monstera deliciosa in the home
Home with pretty Monstera
The home of Christopher Bastin for Åhléns Magazine from petrabindel.com

Location: Medium brightness. Bright location away from direct sunlight. Your plants will quickly show you when they’re happy or not with their location. A happy plant will grow big and look healthy. A sad one will look dull and remain small. Watch your plants closely to judge wether they’re comfortable in their spot, but be careful not to move it around too often, the monstera doesn’t like to travel.

Water: Once a week to once every 10 days.

Notes: Super poisonous! Best to keep them away from children and pets.

I absolutely cannot imagine a house without plants. However, if you cannot seem to keep plants alive no matter how hard you try, try adding some tropical greenery with illustrated artwork, fabrics or wallpaper.

Botanical wallpaper on etsy with tropical split leaf philodendron and monstera delisciosa
Botanical wallpaper on etsy

Bohemian Rhapsody

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I have a soft spot for bohemian interiors. The earthy tones take me back home, to the highveld bush and Soutpansberg sunsets. But I’m perhaps even more partial to it because it so aptly describes my sister … a free spirit who’s homes are always filled with plants, rugs, patterns and colour.

cover-image

When it comes to creating this look you almost cannot have too many plants, rugs, patterns and colour. It’s a layered approach; textures over textures, pattern over pattern. What’s great about it is the fact that it works so well for both busy-, collector personalities as well as simplistic- less-is-more types. It’s also a great way to add colour without a drop of paint–although you want to opt for earthy, dirty tones and lift them up with a single bright spot colour.

Rattan and vintage furniture works super well with this style, so it’s a great approach if you’re decorating on a budget and shopping at thrift stores. Having said that, it’s important to use good quality pieces, like kilim or berber rugs so it doesn’t look dated and stale. Combine wooden surfaces with rough textures such as woven baskets, skins and scatter cushions or soften the look with a fluffy throw over tan leather.

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Accessorise with found objects like straw hats, an old guitar/ukulele or wooden sculptural pieces. Philodendrons make perfect plant companions with their dark jumbo leaves. To finish it off, add visual height by hanging planters with long leafy greenery like string of pearls or trailing jade.

Create the look: Bohemian

style variants

I found some other great examples of this style–each with a slightly different character–to demonstrate how versatile this look can be. Click on the images to see each blog post; they’re all terrific!

Bohemian bedroom with geometric bedding, guitars and plants
Bohemian bedroom: plants like Philodendron Xanadu & Fiddle Leaf Fig + geometric fabric + guitars + wood – from gravity-gravity.tumblr.com

 

New Darlings - Living Room
Boho living room: tan leather + geometric rug + wood + plants + colourful scatter cushions + woven basket – from New Darlings

 

Alea & Joy dining room
Bohemian dining room: Plants + terracotta + wood + geometric rug + sheep wool – from DesignSponge

 

Neutral coloured boho chic living room
Neutral coloured boho chic: tan + geometric rug + leather + wood + plants + geometric pillows – from Kitka

 

Bohemian terrace
Bohemian Veranda: Wood + plants + rattan + colourful geometric pillows – from myscandinavianhome

 

Any other ideas for styling your space bohemian? Leave a reply, I’m keen to hear your thoughts!

Introduction

Header for blogpost with Dr Strangelove Reference

We all have that one thing. That thing that makes our hearts swell, makes us feel giddy. That love for something other than a person … That love of mine is interiors. Creating a space that contains meaning and value–that captures memories and moods–out of little more than a few walls. This has always been a fascination of mine. Fine lines … between simple and stale, grand and grotesque.

I grew up sharing my mother’s love for magazines (Garden & Homes and House & Leisures), mountains of them piling up under beds or on coffee tables cause mom can’t throw them out. I dreamt of one day becoming an Architect or Interior designer or working at Elle Decoration … In the end I became a graphic designer. This is my daily profession.

So it would seem that a blog about interiors would be the natural outlet for this passion of mine. But it’s taken me some time to even consider this as a creative outlet. Even more time to summon the courage to get started. So be gentle with me while I take you along on this creative journey. I think we’ll learn much along the way.

My next post will be featuring a theme that I feel is quite suitable given my current lodgings. Berlin–the city I now call home–is arguably the poster child of bohemian, well, everything. So for my first interior subject I’ll be taking a stab at defining a look that is comfortably offbeat and idiosyncratic without being arty-farty or zany. You see … there’s that fine line again. Well then, until next time!

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