...because home doesn't happen overnight.

My kids haven’t had a full week of school in over a month. Cabin fever doesn’t even begin to describe the pent up energy and general irritability that we’re experiencing. Saturday the temperature reached 45ºF and it felt like summer. We took two long walks hoping they hold us over until April.

fig tree

Last Tuesday my kids had yet another snow day so I did what any parent with three bored kids would do on a Tuesday. I hit up Ikea for the Kids Eat Free Tuesday ploy. Of course, I ended up buying stuff so it wasn’t all free. I had a small shopping list going in and stuck to it save for one tempting item.

fig tree 1

Meet Mr. Fig. (And, yes, I’m officially a design blogger now.) I have always wanted a fiddle leaf fig but could never justify the money against my consistently black thumb. Fiddle leaf figs love rainforest climates so they aren’t all that common in Ohio and prices usually reflect that contradiction. I’ve seen them from $50-$100+ in local nurseries and home improvement stores.

fig tree 3

But when I spotted this guy for only $12.99 at Ikea, I just had to give him a go. If my black thumb conquers all, I’m only out thirteen bucks and I know not to ever buy another fig. He’s so brave, isn’t he?

Getting him to the car was quite comical and I liken it to taking my first newborn out on a cold winter’s day. “Gotta keep him warm! He will freeze! Protect him! We need more blankets! Is he still breathing? Oh, wait. He’s sweating.”

I left him on a trolley inside the store while the kids and I fetched the car and warmed it up all nice and toasty like. Only then did Mr. Fig leave the building. (In my defense it was 0ºF.) I don’t know much about plants but it seems reasonable that they can suffer frostbite much like a human. That was my thinking anyway. And I wasn’t going to jeopardize the one shot I had at a fig. He survived the car ride and I promptly ran him inside while my kids waited in the car. Figs > kids.

fig tree 4

The planter is vintage (I bought it at our house’s estate sale) and I picked up a cheap stand on wheels so I can move Mr. Fig around easily. When it’s spray-painting season, I’ll probably paint the stand. I haven’t actually transplanted him to the pot yet. Waiting for a warm day?

fig tree 5

I did some reading up on figs and decided my guy would probably do best in front of the french doors in the kitchen. (Ahem, sneak peek of my workspace. Full reveal coming soon!) He should receive plenty of indirect light from the north-facing doors and skylights. The doors lead to our grilling patio and, seeing as how we haven’t grilled anything for nearly three months and probably won’t for another two, we don’t use them right now. When it’s warmer and we’re no longer using the fireplace, I’d like to roll him over to the TV wall (similar to the location of our Christmas tree) but I think he’d shrivel up over there in the winter with all the dry heat. I have a feeling this guy is going to get moved around a lot. So happy he’s on wheels.

The other evening Steve asked, “So, is this thing staying here?”

This thing, I thought. Hmph. Clearly, he has no idea what high stature the fiddle leaf fig has in the design community. Forgive him. He knows not what he sees.

Me: Why? You planning on doing some grilling tonight?

Steve: Well, no. But I might someday.

Me: I’m going to move him over by the TV when it gets warmer but the fireplace would fry him right now.

Steve: Did you just refer to it as “him”?

Me: Maybe.

fig tree 6

So he’s living here for now. So far, so good. These days our house is really dry with the fireplace or furnace running. Before Mr. Fig came to live with us, we were considering the purchase of a humidifier but haven’t acted on the thought yet. I read to water figs thoroughly and allow the soil to dry out in between waterings which has equated to watering every three days over the past week. That will probably vary as the seasons change and it’s going to take some effort and attention on my part but I’m fully committed at this point.

fig tree 2

I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I’ll take any advice or tips you have to offer. I’ve heard occasional showers (in the bathroom) can do wonders for figs. I might be the weird mom throwing her kids in the shower with a tree.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

fall wreath 2

I don’t do a ton of holiday decorations. I can’t justify spending time and money on something{s} that will only be displayed for thirty days and I don’t like how gussied up some decorations make my home look. {My kids think I’m boring.} I lean towards seasonal décor that is nature-inspired. It’s usually cheaper, can be displayed longer and better complements the rest of our home’s décor unlike, say, a giant inflatable yard jack-o’-lantern with a ghost rising up out of it. {My kids think those are the bomb.}

fall wreath 3

Wayfair sent me a plain vine wreath and asked me to autumn-fy it. There were no guidelines for the challenge but I made it a goal to spend absolutely NO MONEY on the DIY. Turning to nature, I clipped three hydrangea blooms from my yard leaving a 2″ – 3″ stem on the heads. I let the blooms dry out in an empty vase then tucked the stems snugly into the vine wreath. I also clipped a few leafy branches from a shrub in my yard to flank the hydrangea arrangement. I attached them to the wreath in the same way. I just slipped one end of each branch into the vine wreath until it was secure. I borrowed a simple ivory ribbon from my Christmas decorations to hang the wreath from a mirror {yes, it looks like a bald man’s silhouette} in our laundry nook. The ribbon is taped to the back of the mirror with heavy duty duck tape. Fancy.

fall wreath 4

I love the way it turned out. Especially since it took about five minutes to put together and hang. I like the organic feel and the reddened blooms of the hydrangea are the exact hues that come to mind when I think of fall. Sort of a deep purple-ish maroon. The best part about this DIY – aside from the no glue, no wires, no mess, no trips to the craft store, no money spent – is that the arrangement is totally removable. When I tire of it, I can replace the bloom + branches arrangement with something more wintry or festive.

I encourage you to skip the Halloween and Thanksgiving decoration aisles and turn to the outdoors for seasonal décor instead. Nature knows best!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking