Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Melted-Bottle's By Donna Davis Taylor

Donna Davis Taylor is the proud owner of her own business.  It's called Melted-Bottle and you are just going to love her work.  She takes wine bottles or other beautiful colored bottles and either turns them into planters for (Succulents) or melts them for other uses such as beautiful cheese boards, spoon rests or anything else you can think of.  Before I forget please make sure to check out her Facebook page and  her web site for more photos and information on purchasing.

Melted bottles are unique

Originally Donna went on vacation (8yrs ago) with her Mom.  She purchased a melted wine bottle to give her cat sitter as a thank you gift. Donna looked at it and thought, "They must do that in a kiln".   So when she got home she did some research and found out that it was indeed done in a kiln. She had a kiln for a along time for other crafts that she does (ceramics and porcelain doll making).  Her grandmother had a kiln and many of my family members all have kilns so it was not too hard to begin experimenting.

Melted bottles, planters, spoon rest

It took her about a year to perfect the bottle melting to what she considered a quality gift.  Donna is quite a a perfectionist and will not sell something if she doesn't think it meets her standards. If it is not melted correctly you get hazy or "vitrified" finish on the bottles instead of a shiny pretty bottle. Once she perfected her technique she gave one to a friend. Then three of her friends wanted one so she made more and sold them all . Next thing she knew she was signed up for a craft show. Her first craft show was a HUGE success!

Melted bottles ready for anything

She does about 10-15 craft shows per year. But after a few years her customers started asking for new products so she started experimenting with different things to make with wine bottles. Two years ago she added wine bottle necklaces made from cutting the top of the wine bottle off with a special glass cutting saw.  (Sorry I don't have a photo but you can see them on her web site).  She then slumps them in her kiln to round and soften the cut edge of the glass.   Once this is done she wire wraps it with sterling silver wire to create the necklaces.  Last year she modified her slumping molds to make bowl shaped wine bottles with dividers.  She also made narrow bottles for olive trays.

Melted bottles cut for planters

She needed a new product for 2013. Over the last 2-3 years she had been cutting bottles with a huge amount of broken and rejected bottles. Unfortunately the saw she used to cut the necklaces was too small to cut the larger part of the bottle so she had  to experiment again. Donna tried scoring the bottle and tapping it, tying string on the bottle and lighting the string on fire and shocking the glass with cold water.  Using various saws always led to a high breakage rate making it not worth doing.  Finally she found a mostly successful technique for cutting the bottles.   It takes a special saw, a very expensive blade and patients. She still gets about 10-15% breakage but the more she does the better she gets!

Even hanging melted bottles

 Once cut she then has to hand sand the sharp edges with special and again expensive sanding block. Donna says that when it comes to cutting glass there is no cutting corners! You have to buy quality tools to get a good cut. Knowing that succulents are popular she decided to plant the cut bottle with a variety of succulents.  She then posted a picture on her Facebook page and on a Facebook group where you can post items for sale. The interest in the bottles was overwhelmingly popular as you can imagine. 

Melted bottles with succulents

I saw Donna's bottles at The Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Show and Sale in May of this year.  I wish I had purchased one so I think I will have to pay her a visit.  When I get one I will show you what I do with it!  They would also make fantastic gifts!  Make sure you visit her Facebook page to get great planting ideas and other photos.  And don't forget her website at in case you would like to make a purchase.

Have a great week everyone and remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Succulent Celebration 2013

To say that the Succulent Celebration, held at Waterwise Botanicals on June 7-8th was a success would be an understatement.  I am not sure about this but I heard that approximately 2500 people attended each day!  That is a lot of garden enthusiasts and it was a blast.  So I won't waste much time and get down to telling you all about it!

I went on a most Excellent Adventure by driving down to Southern California all by myself in my van.  First time in my 55 years that I have driven that far by myself.  I was so proud of myself.  I left on the 5th and drove from Roseville, CA to South Pasadena, CA.  I stayed the night with my Mother in law then left the next morning for Escondido.  I met up with Debra Lee Baldwin and the fun started right away!  When I got to her house she was headed to Waterwise Botanicals to see how things were getting all set up for the next days event.

Agave americana var. medio-picta alba (Striped Century plant) and Pachycereus pringlei (False Saguaro) 1

Agave americana var. medio-picta alba (Striped Century plant) and Pachycereus pringlei (False Saguaro)

Waterwise Botanicals is a beautiful nursery and I stood around with my mouth open for a couple of seconds taking it all in.  Waterwise is located at 32183 Old Highway 395, Escondido 92026 (760) 728-2641.  Truly an exceptional nursery you need to visit.

Backlit agaves

Everything was set.  Time to go meet some Succulent Fanatic friends who were also staying with Debra and get some grub.   I whipped up some yummy quacamole and we headed outside to go over the next days events.  We had all offered to help Debra with whatever she needed.  Besides the Celebration this was also the launch of her new book Succulents Simplified.  And she was going to be presenting both days as well as selling and signing her books.  She also had a potting workshop planned for Saturday the 8th.  But we will talk about that later.

Debra's garden

So we all headed to her beautiful backyard to munch and discuss.  What a perfect setting.  And Lily her dog came down to join us!


Here is the lineup of great speakers for the two day event.  Debra spoke both days.  On Friday she presented at 9:30 to 10:30.  Her topic was Plants that Drink Responsibly ~Debra's Top Ten Favorites.  Next up was Kelly Griffin from Altman plants, lunch, Michael Buckner owner of The Plant Man nursery and last but not not least Tom Jesch, founder of Waterwise Botanicals.  What a great personality Tom has.  He is a great speaker and very engaging!

So Debra says that during an event like this something is bound to go wrong.  And for me it was when I attempted to video Debra during her presentation.   Since I don't use the video camera too much and have dyslexia I thought that red light meant that the video was off and green was go or on.  Sounds logical doesn't it?  But ooops!  So I didn't video any of Debra's first presentation for her.  I was sick!  And since I was so concerned about my camera turning off all the time I never took any photos!  Geez!

Waterwise Botanicals

The growing grounds at Waterwise with the speakers tent in the background!  I took this photo in between speakers so no one is sitting.  But every speaker had the seats filled and they brought in extra chairs to set outside the tent.  The sound was great.  People even stood to listen if there were no chairs!

Long lines to sign books

After her presentation Debra headed to her book signing table.  Check out the long lines to buy books and have her sign each one.  She is one very special lady!

Debra signing books

Another lucky Succulent lover leaves with her signed book!

The Madd Potter

Across from Debra's signing booth was The Madd Potter.  What a wonderful selection of pots they had for sale at fantastic prices.  I went home with an incredible Talavera pot.  This shot does not really do it justice as they had quite a terrific assortment.  I want to visit their shop in Fallbrook next time I am in town.

Cement head planters

These head planters went like hotcakes!  I will show you a photo of the one on the right planted at the potting workshop later in this post.  These are from The Madd Potter.  And imagine what we could do with one of these lanterns with the holes in the side.  Should have gotten one!


Quite a few Succulent Fanatics made it to the Succulent Celebration.  This is Cassidy Tuttle who has a Facebook page and writes a great blog under Succulents and Sunshine!

Fairy garden by The Succulent Perch

Another incredible booth was Cindy Davison's The Succulent Perch.  She created a fairy garden complete with a copy of Debra's new book Succulent Simplified.  The following photo shows you the detail that went into this beautiful piece of work!

Fairy bird house

Isn't this breathtaking?!  I will post more photos on my Facebook page!

The Succulent Perch

More pots of joy from The Succulent Perch.  Cindy has a great sense of elegant and sophisticated style to her work.

Roberto the succulent aligator

Meet Roberto the Succulent Alligator designed by Laura Eubanks from Design for Serenity.  She is an incredible succulent artist!

Succulent hat decoration

Lots of succulent lovers came with their hats decorated!  Isn't this beautiful!

Succulent necklace by Laura Balaoro

People went over the top with their imaginations.  Laura Balaoro who is the founder of the Succulent Fanatics on Facebook, made some amazing succulent jewelry like this pendant and the earrings in the following photo.  By the way, if you are not a member and love succulents you should join this great group!

Laura Balaoro and succulent earrings

This is Laura wearing her succulent earrings.  A little glue and delicate fingers is all it takes!

Succulent hat

Echeveria Perle Von Nurnberg compliments this hat beautifully!


This cool planting was from a great booth that I wish I would have gone back to visit.  I think this vendor was called the Green Cat.  I would have liked to buy some of these frogs for potting decoration.

After the day was over we went back to Debra's and got ready to go the home of Jeannie Meadows.  Debra hosted a VIP party and the guests were treated to a signed book, great food, fabulous company in a incredible setting!


Debra is wearing a tiara covered with succulents!  Doesn't she look beautiful! This awesome work of art was made by Succulent Fanatic Laura Eubanks of Design for Serenity.

Debra and Katie Christensen

Katie Christensen came from Washington for this event.  What a sweetie she is.  On Sunday we checked out the Succulent Cafe in Oceanside together.  Blog post to follow soon.

Debra Lee Baldwin and Katie Young

I love this photo of Debra and Katie Young.  She is the author of the very popular blog called Gardening Succs!  Great name don't you think.  And what a super girl she is!

Debra and Romero's

Michael and Danielle Romero with Debra.  Michael is owner/landscape designer at Succulent Designs!

Debra and myself

Debra and I at the VIP party!  What a wonderful time we had!

After the party we left and went back to Debra's.  We all collapsed and got a good night sleep to get ready for another day of Celebration!

Here was the lineup for Saturday the 8th.  At 8:00 a.m. the gates opened and coffee and donuts were served to the early birds.  8:15 to 9:00 was a guided tour of the display gardens.  9:15 to 9:30 Tom Jesch welcomed everyone and made announcements about the day.  At 9:30 the speakers started.  Tom's topic was Succulents: Care, culture and Consternation, followed by Jeff Moore owner of Solana Succulents then lunch.  From 1:00 to 4:30 you could take Garden tours of Jeanne Meadow's (where the VIP party was held) and Oasis Plants.  At 2:00 Tiger Palafox owner of Mission Hills Nursery gave his presentation.  Then at 3:30 it was time for Debra.  This time she had a wonderful Succulents Simplified Potting demo.  And yes I took a video and it turned out great!  Woohoo!  I learned my lesson.  I also got in some photos!

Jeff Moore during presentation

Here is Jeff Moore showing how to wrangle a golden barrel cactus.  He uses cut up jeans to help him hold prickly plants.  What a great idea!

The Succulent Fanatics 2

At the VIP party the Succulent Fanatics decided that we would meet at 1:00 p.m for a group shot.  This was a tough shot in the gazebo but looks pretty cool.  We did take some others where nobody got cut off.  As you can see this is Debra's photo.  Her husband did a great job as photographer.

Potting demonstration pot 1

Here is Debra making some magic in her potting demonstration.  This pot was sold immediately after the presentation.  Some lucky gal has a wonderful potting.

Potting demonstration pot 2

Potting number two was just as beautiful and Debra gave us some great tips and super potting information.

How to make succulent bouquet

Debra took many questions and explained how she made her beautiful succulent bouquet.  Everyone went home with detailed information on how to do this themselves.  Hold on it's not over, Debra now has a potting workshop!

Now this was really fun!  You got to bring in your own pot or container then pick from the many assortment of succulents.  With the guidance of artists like, Tom Jesch, Debra, myself and many others you could create your own succulent magic to take home.

Potting workshop 1

Wow isn't this a winner!

Potting workshop 2

This young lady brought in this old milk can.  With the top on the hole was really small.  With it off you couldn't tell it was a milk can.  So I said let's tip it sideways then you have lots of area to pot.  This is by far my favorite.  She did a great job!

Potting workshop 3

Here is that wonderful head pot purchased from the Madd Potter.  Wow what a great job.  I believe the owners of this is Nancy and David Pedersen of David Pedersen, Landscape Architecture, Newport Beach, CA.  Wow, I love it!

Potting workshop 4

Tom Jesch and his employee helped this beautiful woman with her terrific pot.  She looks very satisfied as she should be!

Potting workshop 5

Debra went from person to person helping with their designs.  Don't you love this succulent filled basket!

Plants everywhere

Now it was time for me to take some photos and do some shopping!


They had so many succulents!  And check out the beautiful selection of bromeliads available for purchase.

Hanging succulents

So much to choose from, my pile kept getting bigger and bigger!

Succulent on old stove

This really cracked me up but I loved it!

Part of my hoard

So this is only a small part of my hoard of succulents!  When I left Southern California on Monday the 10th my van was fully loaded!  The day before Debra and I had a wonderful time visiting a couple of incredible succulent locations and enjoying each others company

Waterwise Botanicals planting hill

So all in all it was a super succulent weekend and a very Excellent Adventure!  So if you missed it this year I am pretty sure there will be another next year.  So many people had a great time and told me how much fun they were having.  So if you can make it I would encourage you to do so.

For more photos of the incredible weekend please check out my Facebook page!

So until next time remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Video on How to Make a Succulent Strawberry Pot

I showed you a while ago how to make a succulent strawberry pot but I thought I would make a video!  They are so fun to do and it gives you a different perspective!  If you would like to view the previous post you can click on it here.  Otherwise, here you go!

Thanks for watching!


It's Another Beautiful Day!