The only time my thumb is green is when I spill something on it

I do not have a green thumb. I seriously kill everything. With the rare exception of Bridget II, the schefflera I’ve been growing since college. Bridget I was also a schefflera, but she died during a winter or summer break in our college apartment when I was not there to tend to her.

Okay. Fine. Bridget II lives because my mother has a green thumb and she grew her into a tree. A tree that I now almost kill every 6 months or so. Speaking of which, I should probably go water her today.

So when I say I don’t have a green thumb, I mean it. But when I was offered the opportunity to test my creative skills in the world of terrariums, I jumped at the chance. Especially because Plant Nite hosts these shindiggities at over 700 local bars and restaurants in more than 75 different cities.

What’s Plant Nite? It’s a creative workshop that makes beautiful things easy and accessible for everyone. Basically, it’s like a painting party, but with plants. A host leads you through the instructions to create whatever is on the image, but you, as the artist, are free to make your own creative decisions.

I chose my event based on three things: 1. Proximity to my house, 2. The design of the creation, and most importantly, 3. The food at the venue.

The bar was a local restaurant/tavern a few towns over from me, and I opted for a terrarium set, titled “Fire and Ice,” because at the time, Game of Thrones was hot and heavy, and it just felt right. Look at this bad boy:

fire and ice terrarium

Photo Cred: Plant Nite

The food, though…that’s where my decision really came into play. This place is known for making a killer Bloody Mary, and I was not disappointed.

Epic Bloody Mary

Why yes, that is a deviled egg, cheese slice, salami roll, celery stick, and olive on my already-tasty Bloody Mary.

My future sister-in-law and I were starved, so we ordered a charcuterie display, meatballs, and a hummus-like spread that was really amazing. We took up half the table, but we didn’t mind.

Epic Cheese Plate

Their cheese and charcuterie plate hit the spot, but I’ll be honest, guys, it didn’t hold a flame to one of my own creations.

Once we had our snacks and bevvies, we were ready to take on this plant thing. We each had two glass terrariums before us, and an oath.

Plant Nite CommandmentsWe read through the oath quietly, but when our host was ready to get started, she had everyone read them aloud together with many giggles and smirks, but we promised to have fun above all else. And we did. I took the liberty of borrowing an infographic that shows off the Creative Oath:

paint nite creative oath infographic

Infographic Cred: Plant Nite/Paint Nite Blog

While the wonderful hosts had a wonderful step-by-step instructional, I’ve provided the abridged version for you to see how it works below.

Step 1: Fill terrarium with small rocks for drainage.

Step 2: Fill terrarium with a light layer of dirt.

Step 3: Add succulents.

Step 4: Add more dirt, effectively planting the succulent.

Step 5: Get creative! This is where everyone gets to shine.

Planted succulents

Without the creative step, this would be your end result.

Of course, the help of the hosts (and the amazing supply of colored rocks, moss, and other cool add-ins) made my terrariums as magical as they turned out to be.

Decorated succulent terrarium

I was pretty proud of my two little dudes. I loved the colors (and of course, mixed in some pinks in the “fire” terrarium).

Now, the real trick — can Chrissy keep these dudes alive? We’ll it’s officially been one month since I planted them, and they’re not only still kickin’, they’re thriving!

thriving succulent terrariums

Look at my babies! They’re growing!

Well, guys. I think my work here is done. Want to get a group together and check out Plant Nite on your own? I’ve got a fancy pants code for you to use (QUIRKYCHRISSY) at check out so you can save 35%.

Making Gorgeous Terrariums

Pin this and share it with your friends!

I was given two free tickets to attend the class, but no one paid me to say nice things. All opinions are, as always, my own. 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

In Honor of World Naked Gardening Day…

For those of you who are naively unaware, today (the first Saturday of May) is World Naked Gardening Day. (Warning, the following link is NSFW and contains an older gentleman’s dingaling on the front page. You’ve been warned.)

World Naked Gardening Day

Tenth Annual World Naked Gardening Day. (No, seriously, guys. You’ve been warned.)

crabapple tree

Even though it’s World Naked Gardening Day, I’m going to ask that my neighbors keep their twigs and berries to themselves…

Despite my undying adoration of colorful yoga pants, I really don’t like pants. And I kind of sort of enjoy being naked. I know I’m not alone in this, people. Clothes are so…constricting. Restricting.

After informing Brian of this magical, mystical day…his only response was, “No.”

I didn’t even tell him what I wanted to do! I merely declared that it was World Naked Gardening Day. I had barely finished the word “day” before he sternly responded.

I know you want to get involved as much as I do. But if you live in suburbia or in a city, you’re not going to want to set your bare-from-head-to-toe bod into your backyard in the middle of the afternoon. For just such an occasion, I’ve come up with 3 ways you can celebrate the day, get your green on and take care of your bush without, you know, sharing your whole self with your neighbors.

Take Care of Indoor Foliage

You can water, prune, trim, and replant indoor vegetation with the sun shining through the windows on your bare ass without your neighbors being the wiser. Just, you know, make sure the blinds are drawn on chest and pelvic-level windows…unless you want to give your next door neighbor a peep show.

Wear a Bathrobe in Your Backyard

As Brian likes to say, “You can be naked all you want. Under your clothes.” And you can still feel the rush of a cool breeze at your nether regions (let’s hope the breeze isn’t too powerful) without baring all for neighbors of all ages.

Tend to your tulips, but hide your two lips, mmk?

Tend to your tulips, but hide your two lips, mmk?

Tend to the Plants After the Sun Goes Down

I’m not going to lie, guys. Last night, after sharing a bottle of vino with one of my favorite ladies (Hi Katie!) I was quite tempted to head outside without a lick of clothing on. I mean, it was after midnight. World Naked Gardening Day had begun. I considered a shameless attempt at a brazen, buck-naked pursuit. But I restrained myself. Or Katie did. One of those.

So go on out there and empower yourself with a little naked gardening. And if you’re feeling really ballsy, go on out there and drop trow. Rock on with your bad self.

How would you celebrate such a joyous naked occasion? Are there any activities (besides the obvious) you enjoy sans clothing?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

And This is How Many Times I Injured Myself This Weekend…

This is how many times I injured myself this weeknd

On Saturday morning, I attempted to finish clearing the dead crap from my heavily landscaped yard, a task I had begun upon arriving home the night before (while wearing a damn dress, no less). Dirt, mud and pollen threatened to swallow my hands whole. The purple paint on my freshly manicured, middle fingernail chipped. A light scratch here, a plant-burn there. Is plant burn a thing? Because it should be. Similar to rug burn, only from pulling dead grasses, plants and other things from your garden/lawn. I had zero desire to rip up the rest of my hands.

Illinois prairie grass is a bitch. And look how cute that shit starts out.

Illinois prairie grass is a bitch. And look how cute that shit starts out.

At the hardware store, after eating a bag of free popcorn and grabbing a pair of gloves to protect my accident-prone hands, I found a single package with three cutting tools nestled under a plastic cover, attached to a cardboard back with staples. What a convenient little set for cutting. I have plans to cut more things today. THIS. Is what I need.

I stood patiently, waiting for my turn at the register, and as I dug through my purse hunting for my debit card (yeah, I’m the annoying bitch with the purse full of receipts and other shit I don’t need, while my debit card lies somewhere near the bottom…), I remembered throwing that fucker in my shopping bag at the farmer’s market earlier that morning. Panic set in as the cashier began ringing my stuff up. Balls! I don’t have any money to pay for this shit.

Like an asshole, I mumbled apologies, asking the cashier to PLEASE hold my purchase for 20 minutes as I went home to find my card. I retraced my steps, and tried to remember what I had done with my card, and if it was, in fact, still in my grocery bag. Once inside my car, I realized that the card was actually in the pocket of my sweatshirt, and returned to the store less than a minute later, with red cheeks and a sheepish grin. I feared they thought I was lying.

When I left the store, my arms were full of items I needed and didn’t need all at the same time. I stacked them in the car, and continued on my original mission. I walked with purpose to the backyard of my parents’ house, where a pair of green Adirondacks and matching footstools awaited my rescue. They were battered from several cold winters and bright summers spent outdoors, and so I wiped them down before trying to maneuver them into my car.

After they were cleaned (and I use the term “cleaned” loosely as the abandoned spider egg sacs were removed and the thick coat of dirt and leaves became a thin layer of dusty grime that was going to take more than a quick wipe down to eradicate), I awkwardly carried the first chair to my car. The uneven weight distributed uncomfortably in my arms as I knocked into each bush and tree branch along the path.

My first attempt was to slide the chair into the backseat of my Yaris, but the width of the chair in any direction was too much for my tiny back door. After unsuccessfully trying to push the Adirondack into the trunk, I only had one other option. I opened the passenger door and began bargaining with the car and the chair, promising car washes and a new home respectively.

After a few minutes, I was able to ease the chair into the front, with the back of the seat leaning as far down as possible and the Adirondack appeared massive in my subcompact sedan. And then it was time to repeat the process. I pushed and tugged and arranged the two chairs so that I could just barely make my way home in the car. Each time I shifted gears, I had to lift the chairs to move the handle. I was forced to sit on the left side of my own seat with the chairs digging into my right arm, as I held the seatbelt across my body with my right hand. Thank God my parents only live a few minutes from my house. I prayed every second of those several minutes that a cop didn’t pull me over.

bushes in the front of our house

As I pulled into the driveway, I admired the blooming bushes and flowers that spotted our front yard and made me wish I had inherited my mother’s green thumb instead of a clumsy, fall-over-everything, try-desperately-to-keep-plants-alive disposition. I removed the chairs with little effort, carting them to the backyard, one at a time.

Don't they look adorable on our deck?

Don’t they look adorable on our deck? Even with the dusty grime…

I prepared to resume my original mission to clean up last season’s dried stems and grasses to make way for the budding greenery in our yard. As I pulled out the gloves, I noticed they were attached to their packaging with a staple. I tried, unsuccessfully to remove it with my thumbnail, puncturing a small corner of the once-perfectly polished digit.

In an effort to preserve the rest of my fingers, I looked around for something to remove the fucking staple. The package of clippers and sheers seemed the logical (and laziest) way to solve my problem. As I attempted to delicately – wait for it – pry the staples off the plastic and cardboard packaging, I felt the sharp sting of my finger receiving yet another gash from a single staple. That motherfucker bit me.

Fuck that shit. I ripped the packaging to shreds with Hulk force, feeling the quick whip of a rogue staple whiz past my left ear on its way to the other side of the garage. At that point, all I could think was Welp. That could have been worse.

Once unlocked from the 27 staples, the small clippers acted as a pair of pliers to remove the remaining fucking staples that were causing so much agony. Who the fuck thought it would be fun and/or intelligent to staple plastic gloves together?

Once the seemingly harmless task of unpackaging my new garden toys was finished, I made my way to the bathroom in search of Disney BandAids and Neosporin. I dressed my wound, and gloved my hand so I could finally work on the beautification of our yard.

Several hours after clipping and shearing and pulling and tugging, I was just about finished. I heard the rustle of someone behind me, and I knew that Brian was actually awake.

“I was going to help.”

“I know.”


 

I wish I could end there with a few finger scratches and chipped nails…

Later that night, I felt intense bolts of pain shooting from my wrist when I rotated or pressed on it in certain ways. The pulling and tugging and throwing of the fucking dead grasses and shit was apparently a little rough on my arthritic wrists (which have actually built up a lot of strength thanks to yoga – alas, I’m not invincible). So I couldn’t hold my phone to fuck around on Facebook during the hour drive home from the North Side.

So by Sunday, my fingers were cut up, my nails were broken, my wrist was strained or something…and I’m not done yet.

WARNING: PAINFUL IMAGE DEPICTED BELOW.

A friend stopped by to donate a futon to our guest bedroom, and I went outside to help carry the pieces in. As we walked, three of us carrying the large mattress not unlike my awkward carting of Adirondack chairs the day before…when I tripped over my own bare toe. Why I thought carrying shit barefoot was a good idea ever at all…I’ll never know. But the image of the dirt-covered, bleeding, very large gash of lifted skin from the top of my toe with a giant flap where my toenail met the toe was nothing compared to the searing pain I’ve been in since it happened. My nail is pretty much digging into the raw cut, and I’m terrified of going near it with clippers, as the entire fucking toe is throbbing with pain. I figure I’ll be walking with a limp until June. So much for that spring pedi I was planning on getting myself.

Toe jam

This is my Flinstoe. Wrapped up in a lot of gauze and tape.

 

Blog Friends, what gardening/landscaping woes have you encountered this spring? Any recent injuries or mishaps? Got any tips for me so I don’t kill everything in our yard before we’ve been in our house a year? Am I the only one who finds staples to be among the most dangerous of packing materials?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!