How NOT to kill your Tillandsia xerographica airplant

12 Mar

I had sixteen T. xerographica that were left over from my wedding – they were beautiful and cost-effective centerpieces.  I really considered them my “plant babies.”  When I first got them, I’d give them a “bath” about once a week and let them dry outside in the sun.  Eventually, those baths dwindled to about 2-3 weeks apart, which is still fine.   Then life got busy and it was too cold to leave them outside, so I kept them in a bin in the guest room.  However, one busy night I realized I hadn’t watered my plants in a month and so proceeded to dunk them all in the bathtub.  After watering, I always invert them so that the plant isn’t holding water, because a tillandsia with water remaining in its base will rot in the middle.  I allowed them to dry off and the plants had returned to their silvery green state and felt dry to the touch.   I thought it was safe to corral them in my plastic bin (to save space).

Was I ever wrong…

Killing one of these plants that can live 50+ years isn’t the same as killing the basil that lives about 6 months.     When I went to water them next (another month later), I realized all the plants in the bottom of the bin were dead.  They didn’t exactly look dead at first, but once I pulled them out of the tub they fell apart from the center.  I had decapitated my plant babies!   There were two layers of plants in the bin – the ones on top of the bin were fine, since they dried fully…but all the ones on the bottom died since they were just damp enough for mildew to form.  The mildew was barely noticeable, but definitely the culprit.  The culprit, besides me, murderer of plants =(.  I now have 9 plants, down from 16.

So that you can avoid my heartache and unwitting cruelty to plant babies, here are the following tips:

1. ALWAYS allow your xerographica to dry fully, ideally in the sun for several hours.  (Prior to this incident, I had successfully stored the plants in the bin with no problems, because they were fully dry)

2. Water once every 2-3 weeks by soaking.  Shake off excess water by inverting the plant.

3. Bromeliad fertilizer can be used occasionally – I recommend a very dilute concentration, at most 1/4 of the recommended amount.  Over-fertilizing can be lethal.

4. Keep plant in moderate temperatures (50-80 deg F).

5. Indirect or direct sunlight are both fine – other than the mildew susceptibility, this plant is extremely low-maintenance

Because you may not trust a person who has killed her supposedly low-maintenance plants, here are some other sources for T. xerographica care.  Keep in mind that some instructions are contradictory, which I think just attests to the easygoing nature of the plant.

Care tips from
Hard to read, but informative


Venmo – Fee-free payment app

6 Mar

After the weekend at Lake Tahoe, there were some expenses to be split.  Fortunately, some friends had started using Venmo – a service that allows you to pay friends with your phone (or online if you don’t have an iPhone, Android phone, or Blackberry).  You can use your bank account or credit card, much like PayPal.  However, best of all, there are no fees.  How can I say no to free?  Especially when the app is so easy to use.  Venmo’s mission is to make payments between friends easy and fun

A project for your weekend

17 Feb

I’ve always wanted to have an organized pantry.  It just looks so soothing to have all your dry food in matching containers, doesn’t it?  The jars pictured here are the Slom storage containers from IKEA.  The decals in this tutorial are diswasher safe – if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can also design your own labels. Click here for the full tutorial from The Painted Hive.

image source: Kristine from The Painted Hive

Happy Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

Inspired by all the floral arrangements I’ve been seeing lately,  I decided to try my hand at making one of my own.  These are some lavender and green mums from Trader Joe’s, supplemented by some blooms from the yard.  I found it was easiest to arrange it in my hand first, then trim the stems while they were still held together in the desired position.

Not too bad for a beginner’s attempt, I hope!  Happy Valentine’s day.  Pretend I gave you a real bouquet =)

Cooking for the truly lazy*

9 Feb

Despite being a lover of good food, I myself don’t cook on a regular basis. However, I still have to eat, preferably somewhat healthily and within a reasonable budget. I love to read magazines like Real Simple and Sunset and ogle the beautifully photographed dishes, but the estimated preparation times printed on their recipes are never realistic for a person like me. First of all, I am incredibly knife-challenged. I tend to chop things into big pieces, saying that I’m going for a hearty rustic feel to my dishes (hah), because I really would take forever if I had to chop things any smaller. Second, when I come home from work I am really hungry and just want to eat, not spend an hour making my meal. Finally, although the recipes I see in magazines look delicious, many call for a large number of ingredients I don’t have. As a single person, it doesn’t make sense for me to buy all the ingredients to use only a few times before they go bad. I also don’t have much storage space, so the things I cook need to be simple and require simple tools.  I’ll be sharing with you the simple and quick meals that I make for myself, in case you’re facing some of the same challenges.

Last night I made eggplant parmesan.  In the microwave.  It actually came out pretty well, was also filling, and inspired this mini series.

Instructions for Microwave eggplant parmesan (5-10 min prep time)

1. Slice washed eggplant in 1 inch thick slices (cross section)
2. Spoon on some of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
3. Grate Parmesan cheese on top
4. Microwave in covered bowl for 3-4 minutes and serve

*energy efficient individuals

Nice music for creative people

8 Feb

Discovered Lullatone through Amanda’s blog at Wit & Whistle.  This song is from the album “Soundtracks for Everyday Adventures.”  I love the illustration of the bike on the cover too!

Lullatone – “Growing Up” from lullatone on Vimeo.

Watch an artist at work – Riusuke Fukahori

1 Feb

Fish are so lifelike
glowing jewels enrapture
lovely to behold

more here