November Means the Holidays Are Here! And New Christmassy Things in the Shop.

The beginning of November is always the most exciting time for me because it means pulling out my Christmas decor and spicing things up for the holidays. I LOVE the holiday season, and I love making everything in my house festive and cheerful. This November is even more special for me because in a few short weeks my wee babe should be making his appearance in our lives, and I can’t wait to bring him home to a beautifully decorated house.

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This year I’ve got a whole new collection of Christmassy items in the shop. Christmas decor and ornaments are probably my favorite things ever to make. Christmas is such a happy time of year, and I love the possibility of helping people achieve that with handmade decor!

For this season, I have created a new line of book-inspired Christmas ornaments, because books are ❤ and deserve a special spot on your tree. Right now, I’ve got a number of titles including Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and Macbeth by William Shakespeare, among many others. I will keep adding more as I make them, and I’m thinking about giving them a permanent, year-round spot in the shop. These ornaments compliment my classic book cover tapestries.

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I’m also really excited to be offering fully customizable Christmas stockings, complete with a pocket displaying a hand-painted shelf of your favorite books. Obviously, books are a big part of my life and I love including them in my Christmas festivities. I made a stocking for my husband, one for myself, and one for the baby – who doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll be adding on his name after he’s born!

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I hope the beginning of your holiday season is amazing, and please consider shopping small this Christmas! Etsy is a great resource for any number of handmade goods, and supporting small businesses is what makes our world go round. Remember to order your handmade decor and gifts far in advanced so they ship to you in time!

DIY Bump Costume: Painted Jack-O-Lantern Shirt

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At eight months pregnant there’s honestly not a lot of dressing up I want to do, but you’re only this pregnant on Halloween so many times, so I just had to take advantage. Since Mose is a pumpkin, I decided to dress the bump up as a pumpkin as well. This super easy DIY only took about an hour from start to finish, and cost me less than $10!

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I was honestly quite glad I made it to Halloween! After I made my pumpkin shirt I kept thinking I was going to go into labor and not have the chance to wear it. But luckily, such a thing did not happen. Three weeks to go until due date and I’m soooo excited!!!!

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Anyway, on to the DIY. Here is what you’ll need:

  • A baby bump
  • An orange shirt (I got mine from Wal-Mart)
  • Paint brush
  • Fabric pen (a regular marker would probably work just fine as well, since you’ll paint over it anyway)
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Textile medium (can be found at Hobby Lobby)
  • Mod podge
  • Black glitter
  • A piece of cardboard or paperboard (such as a used cereal box)

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Mose always wants to help with my DIYs.

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Step 1: Try on your shirt and make marks where the eyes, ears, and mouth should go. This is important if you’re pregnant because your belly is probably not what it used to be and it’s really easy to misjudge (LOL).

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Step 2: Slip your cardboard or cereal box into the shirt and lay it flat. This is so the paint does not bleed through to the other side of the shirt.

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Step 3: Outline your jack-o-lantern face with the fabric pen. I just free-handed it, but if you’re more comfortable using a pattern there are lots of them on the internet.

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Step 4: Mix a few drops of textile medium into your paint. Paint the jack-o-lantern face. Let dry.

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Step 5: As soon as the black paint is dry, brush on some mod podge and then sprinkle with black glitter. Let dry then shake off any excess glitter.

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Step 6: Just so glitter doesn’t get everywhere when wearing it, I decided to go over the glitter layer with one more thin layer of mod podge.

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And voila! That’s it!

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And here is evidence of my excellent selfie skills with the bump. HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

DIY Pumpkin Pet Costume

Bunnies are definitely the cutest animals in existence, but imagine this: a bunny dressed up as a pumpkin. Now that is SUPER CUTE. I decided that this year for Halloween Mose definitely needed her own pumpkin costume, so I took to the sewing machine the other night and whipped one up real quick. This DIY is super easy and fast, and definitely worth it for the cuteness scale.

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While my costume was made specifically for my bunny (I periodically measured it against her to make sure it was going to fit), this same general DIY would work well for any smallish animal. You could even do it for a dog if you have enough fabric. Not that it would be as cute on a dog though.

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Wow, what a super cute pumpkin bunny! Now onto the fun part.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Orange fabric (can be felt; I used this pumpkin patterned calico because it is what I had and it worked great)
  • Fabric for the back layer
  • Green felt
  • Velcro
  • Black Paint

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Step One: Measure your pet and cut out an oval of fabric to the appropriate size.

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Step Two: Cut a hole in the top of your oval for your pet’s neck. Again, I would measure this against your pet. This is essentially like a bib for a pet, so if you know anything about baby bibs keep that in mind.

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Step Three: Using your top piece as a guide, cut out a piece for the back layer of your pet costume. Make sure you place the fabric either wrong side to wrong side or right side to right side as you’re cutting so the edges are perfectly aligned for sewing.

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Step Four: Using your pets girth as a guide, cut out one long strip of felt and one shorter strip of felt. These pieces are for attaching the costume around your pet’s midsection. Mose doesn’t like it when I touch her belly, so it was a bit tricky getting this one done.

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Step Five: Now sew the strips onto your outer piece of fabric, making sure the two strips are evenly placed.

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Step Six: Now it’s time to sew on your back piece. Place your front piece on your work surface pattern side out. Tuck in the felt strips. Place your back piece on top of the front piece pattern side in. Pin if desired.

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Step Seven: Sew along the edges, leaving about an inch-wide opening on the side.

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Step Eight: Trim any excess fabric and then turn costume right side out.

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Step Nine: Iron and then sew a finishing seam along the edges.

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Step Ten: Cut some leaves out of the felt and pin them to the neckline of the costume. Sew.

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Step Eleven: Pin and sew down velcro. Make sure to place them on the correct sides of your strips.

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Step Twelve: Paint a jack-o-lantern onto top.

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Step Thirteen: Put costume on your pet, whether they like it or not! :’D

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If you’re dressing up your pet this halloween, post a pic on instagram and tag @peelsandposies! I’d love to see what you come up with. 🙂

The Kitchen: Before and After

Grant and I have put so much work into the new house (about a month straight of hard labor!), so we are thrilled to finally – FINALLY – be at the point of moving our things in! Move-in Day is officially tomorrow, but I’ve been carting stuff over periodically for the last week to make things easier for us on the big day. It’s nice living only five miles from our new house – a big difference from the 860 miles it took last time.

So today I am going to show you one of my favorite parts of the new house – the kitchen. A big, open kitchen has always been a dream of mine. This will be the third place Grant and I have lived in since getting married; the kitchen in our first place, the tiny apartment in Gilbert, Iowa, was a tiny corner off the living room and severely lacking cupboard space. My most vivd memory of that kitchen is the light inexplicably falling on my head as I was making sweet and sour meatballs for Grant for dinner one night. The kitchen in the rental house in Dayton is a galley kitchen that was actually added on in the 1950s or so. It is lacking cupboard and counter space, though it was a bit of an upgrade from the apartment kitchen. This new kitchen – oh boy, it’s like the taj mahal of kitchens after the last two I’ve spent so much time in! It’s got lots of counter and cupboard space, is open, and even has a window over the sink.

Here are some photos of the space before I took over.

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I knew immediately that the dark cabinets had to go. They clashed terribly with the countertops, and in general dark cabinets close off a room rather than open it up. Grant and I also knew we wanted to get rid of that awful linoleum floor and add a little bit of detail to the walls.

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The color I chose for the cabinets actually came about by accident. I was planning on doing a subtle sage color, but on a fateful trip to Home Depot I found a gallon of Oops paint that I couldn’t resist buying (it was only $9, after all). As it was the first gallon of paint I bought for the new house, it was the first color I tested on the cabinets and I immediately fell in love. I love how vibrant they turned out, and how much interest they add to an otherwise plain kitchen.

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The wall treatment is a stencil from Royal Design Studio. Stenciling is actually a lot easier than one might think. Though the height of that triangle space gave me some trouble in spots, I was able to continue the pattern through the whole area. The entire project took about six hours or so.

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When it comes to decorating kitchens I have always loved the idea of including cookbooks in view. Luckily, I had plenty of space in my open cabinets for a couple stacks of cookbooks. (I elected to leave off the doors of three of the cabinets because Grant is opposed to cabinet doors. My stipulation was that the dishes inside them must be pretty and must never be a mess). I lined the space above my cabinets with fun items I’ve collected over the years, some vintage, some not, all deserving of a spot in view. Finally, a couple plants adorn the shelving unit by the sink because I believe that every proper kitchen should have at least one living plant.

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I can’t wait to start baking in this kitchen! Wish us luck on Moving Day. 😀

Crafting With Nature: DIY Antler Wall Hanging

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So I don’t know about you, but recycling nature is sort of my jam. God made everything perfect, and when things die or are discarded it just seems like such a waste to let them disappear into the ether. That’s why I use twigs from my backyard for hanging wall flags and autumn leaves for gift tags and dried flowers for center pieces (and etc. etc.).

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In Wyoming, the deer are plentiful and I’ve been dying for an antler ever since we moved here. The possibilities for the things are endless. Just for your peace of mind, acquiring antlers does not require the death of the deer. Every season the male deer sheds his antlers and grows new ones (hence the rack size), so finding antler sheds is merely a part of the natural occurrence of things. The other day I was happy to finally find one in a friend’s yard, so I took it home with great dreams of craftiness. We’ll be moving into our new house soon and I can’t wait to hang it on the wall.

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This antler wall hanging is SUPER EASY. The hardest part about it is actually finding the antler, so good luck and I hope it goes well. Other than that, all you will need is acrylic paint, some masking tape, varnish, and string for hanging it.

First step is to put masking tape around where you want your first color block to be. You can also simply freehand it if you’re more comfortable with that.

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If you are using masking tape to paint, let each color block dry before painting the next color block. Don’t worry – acrylic paint doesn’t take too long to dry. If you are doing freehand, you can do them all at the same time. Paint a few different layers for a nice, opaque look. Let it dry completely.

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After the paint has dried, paint it over with varnish. I used glossy varnish because I like the shiny look. You can also use matte varnish. After the varnish has dried (a couple hours), tie some twine around the ends of your antler and VOILA! easy wall hanging that looks super cute on your wall.

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Believe it or not, you can drop up to a hundred bucks on painted antlers on Etsy. So that’s always an option if you love this decor idea, but I would suggest (if you are able) to find your own antler. It’s at essentially no cost to you and makes a really fun and relaxing craft after a busy day at work.

Shed hunting is huge in this part of Wyoming, but there are certain times when it’s best to go. In the early spring right when the wildlife refuges open up again for the season (near us, Amsden and Kerns) people will skip work and school so they can hunt all day for sheds. Most of these people are looking for more valuable sheds like elk and big whitetail antlers (if found in a set, these can be worth hundreds without alteration), but I’m sure the little ones are plentiful as well.

Before Grant and I move away, if we ever do, I want to learn how to be an expert shed hunter. It takes a bit of knowledge about the behavior of the animals – what types of landscape they like to frequent, etc. – and it can takes years to become really profitable at it. But it seems like a fun little hobby, especially if I can paint the end results!

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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and if you’re lucky I hope you’ll find your own antler to paint someday!

The Benefits of Sewing Your Own Purses

Or maybe this post should just be called “The Benefits of Sewing Your Own Stuff”… Seriously, teaching myself how to sew was probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done. Now, I’m no savant (I can’t make high-fashion clothes or anything like that) but the basics have been pretty easy to master and for that I am eternally grateful.

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Custom Bookshelf Purse, $45

Hand-sewn purses are my topic today.

Let me tell you a story. I used to be a purse addict. Back in middle school and high school, I literally could not get enough of purses. Every time I went to Target I came home with a new one, and eventually I realized I had a problem (this epiphany happened in the form of opening my closet to an avalanche of purses no longer in use). Once I went to college and figured I should be spending my money on more important things, my addiction started to wane.

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Peace Love Books Purse, $35

I still love purses, but largely only the ones I make myself. Here’s why: In making my own purses they can be (1). the exact size that I want, (2). the exact look that I want and (3). cheap. It can be hard to find a purse that fits these three key criteria.

My first foray into purse-making was with this cat purse that I still am very fond of, but it eventually outgrew my needs. Currently, I make and sell (on Etsy) my messenger bags, which are perfect for everything I do in life.

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Custom Bookshelf Purse, $45

The reason they’re so handy is that they’re simple, easy to wear, and very spacious. And whenever I get tired of one, I can just whip into my stash and -BAM!- new purse. I love that I have all the creative power.

In my opinion, taking the time to make your own purses (or curtains or tablecloths or whatever else that can be sewn in the home) is much more rewarding than spending money and gas to go to Target. You’ll always better appreciate something you make with your own two hands anyway.

Learning to sew is not difficult. You don’t have to be an artist to do it. All you need is fabric, a sewing machine, and some patience. I never use patterns, but I don’t recommend this if you’ve never sewn before. Go to your fabric store and find a simple pattern of something you’d like to have. Try it out, and eventually you’ll realize how magnificent sewing things for yourself really can be. Don’t say you can’t do it just because you’ve never tried.

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Mountain Purse, $38

Of course, you probably do need to be an artist if you want to paint your purses like I do mine 😉 But I’ll give you a hint: textile medium. Find it at Hobby Lobby.

Have a great Friday and sew something!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Nancy Drew Bookshelf Purse, $38

Mother’s Day Card Inspiration

So as we all well know from the endless commercials and spammy emails from our favorite stores, Mother’s Day is this coming weekend. There are many ways to tell your mother that you love her, and honestly, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. I’m not a mom yet, but I’ve gathered over the years that it’s the simple things moms appreciate the most.

There’s nothing quite like a good Mother’s Day card, and while the best are always handmade (in my opinion), I’ve found a number of really great ones on Etsy that are ready to be sent to your dear ole’ Ma (a few in there are even instant downloads to be printed the moment you make your purchase!). But if you are feeling crafty, use them for inspiration to make your own awesome Mother’s Day card. Even if you don’t send her a card, though, be sure you tell her how much you appreciate and love her! What would we do without our moms, after all??!

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1. Hi Mom. I got you this card. Card by Sad Shop on Etsy, $5
2. Happy Mother’s Day! (banner). Card by Tiny Bee Cards on Etsy, $4.50
3. Mother, you’re on point. Card by The Messinger on Etsy, $4
4. I love you so much I’ll let you pick your own nursing home (just stay in budget). Instant Download Card by Heaven in a Rage Paperie on Etsy, $2.50
5. Happy Mother’s Day (illustrated). Card by Wit and Whistle on Etsy, $4.50
6. Happy Mother’s Day (gold foil). Card by The Print Room Design on Etsy, $5.22
7. Great job Mom, I turned out awesome. Card by Catch 22 Cards on Etsy, $4.95
8. Thanks for the genes that provided these crazy good looks, Mom. Card by Cheeky Kumquat on Etsy, $4
9. Mom, thanks for not killing me. Card by Four Letter Word Cards on Etsy, $5
10. You make mom jeans look hot. Card by Sara Beth Paper Crafts on Etsy, $5.25
11. Happy Mother’s Day. Thanks for raisin’ me. Card by The Hello Boutique, $3.61
12. Thanks for all the free food…and all the other stuff too. Instant Download Card by Cypress Design Co, $3.99

5 Tips for a Professional-Looking Craft Fair Setup

It’s been about a year since I broke into the craft fair scene, and man, has it been fun. I’ve learned A LOT in the twenty or so fairs I’ve done in the past year; I’ve had successful shows, UNsuccessful shows (there was one I literally sold nothing at), windy outdoor shows, rainy outdoor shows, pleasantly surprisingly shows, and did-not-meet-my-expectations-at-all shows, and though some of these experiences were tough, I’m really glad I went through them. I feel like I’ve built up a wealth of knowledge when it comes to craft fairs, and though I know I have a lot more to learn, I want to share some of my tips with you today.

IMG_2937I’m not only a person who loves selling stuff at craft fairs, but also someone who LOVES shopping at craft fairs. If there is ever a craft fair happening when I am traveling I must stop and browse, if not to buy, to gain inspiration from other people’s booths. There are a few things I’ve noticed that really bump up a booth into the “professional crafter” arena. Note that a professional display does not mean professional in the traditional sense of the word – we are artists after all, so boring and black and plain is out of the question. Professional means something that could be in a magazine. Get it? Here are a few tips I’ve gained from being a seller and a shopper at craft fairs to make the most professional and beautiful and I’m-gonna-sell-a-ton sort of booth.

IMG_29221. SIGNS SIGNS SIGNS. Making sure your items are well-labeled (with what they are and with the price) is very important to the buyer. It alleviates the often unwanted need to ask questions while browsing. Most often, people who are looking at your goods want to look at them in peace, and leaving off the price is a nuisance and a turn off. Furthermore, sloppy signs look incredibly UNprofessional. At a recent craft fair I attended, there was a person there selling really cute prints and cards, but her price sign was handwritten in sharpie on computer paper. It didn’t look good, especially considering what she was selling.

signsIMG_29432. Fill your table up, but make sure it isn’t too cluttered. Having a table with lots of empty space runs the risk of customers assuming you don’t have much to offer. Sometimes (and maybe I shouldn’t but I can’t help it) I won’t even stop in a booth if it looks like there isn’t anything for me to discover. Likewise, however, if your booth is really cluttered, and people feel like they can’t pick things up without disturbing everything else, you probably won’t make many sales. Make sure everything is organized in a way that makes sense, as well.

IMG_29233. Lay some items out and stack others in bins or boxes to be flipped through. Variety is key. I’ve found that it’s good to have multiple avenues of browsing in a booth. I set out some of my bookmarks flat on the table to catch the attention of passersby, while the rest are stacked in a vintage tray. If someone is interested in the bookmarks setting out, nine times out of ten they will thumb through the others and pick out a few. Likewise, hang items that can be hung up, put items on shelves that can be shelved, put magnets on a magnet board, etc etc.

IMG_29284. Use interesting display items. Make sure the shelves you use are interesting, not just wire or plastic (unless the look you’re going for is minimalistic). Likewise, find interesting ways to display your goods. Instead of using a plain box, I use a vintage bread box to display my journals. You could use old windows or screens to display jewelry or picnic baskets and vintage suitcases to display pillow cases or prints. These sort of items spark the interest of passersby, and make your booth more approachable from far away if your items are small and unnoticeable from a distance. I also like to use a lot of color to make my booth pop.

IMG_2934 IMG_29475. Make your business name clearly visible, and have business cards readily available. This is one of the biggest ways to make sure you are coming across as professional. Make sure your sign is front and center – the first thing someone sees when they walk into your booth. It eliminates doubt that you are a real business, and makes people trust you initially. Furthermore, it is important for customers or future customers to know how to contact you in case they want to buy again or simply want to wait to buy until later. Make sure your business card is somewhere visible so that people who pass through your booth will always have a little memento of your business. I also put tags on many of my items that are stamped with Peels and Posies and have my etsy URL.

IMG_2926I hope these tips were helpful! All of these photos were from my booth at Behind the Picket Fence a couple weeks ago, which is always a fun show to do. My booth was in the pavilion building, which is at times used for auctioning livestock, so my booth was actually in a livestock pen! It was a very interesting way to sell my items, and I had a great time making it look pretty.

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Cute DIY Succulents (Made From Rocks)

I LOVE succulents! You’ve probably noticed this if you follow my Facebook page or instagram account. I like them because they are hardy and beyond cute and can be planted basically anywhere. Such as a vintage teapot or a pretty crystal goblet. Guys, succulents are, like, the best plants ever.

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Even though they are supposed to survive anything, sometimes succulents too will die. For instance, my husband bought me a cactus for our one-year anniversary, which we deemed our “love cactus.” I put it by the window and watered it occasionally, but for some ridiculous reason it still died a few months after we got it. 😥 (Fortunately, our love did not die with it.)

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So for those out there who are hard on plants but want some succulents in your home, I’ve got the perfect succulent solution for you – cactus rocks! All it takes is some flat rocks and green paint and a pretty little thing to plant them in. What’s nice about these rock succulents is that you can put them anywhere in your house – rocks don’t need sun, see? Furthermore, you can forget about them entirely but they still will not die. WOO HOO!!!!!

Here’s what you need:

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  • some flat rocks
  • a few shades of green paint
  • a paintbrush
  • dirt, sand, or small pebbles
  • a planting container

Here’s how to do it:

Lay your rocks on a piece of paper so as not to get paint everywhere. Paint one side at a time. Let dry completely.

IMG_2476Meanwhile, put some dirt, sand, or pebbles into your planter, filling it about 3/4 of the way. Once the paint on your succulent rocks has dried, wedge them into the dirt so they stand on their own. You can put one to a planter or stuff them all in there like I did. I personally like the look of a full succulent container.

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Place wherever you’d like! This is the easiest DIY ever and turns out SO CUTE! If you like succulents give this one a go. Don’t forget to instagram your creation and tag @peelsandposies!

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