Monday, January 27, 2014

Pot Making With Friends

Isn't it interesting how great adventures can start with a single thought.  Or in this case a picture.  A few weeks ago Donna Taylor from Melted posted a photo of a leaf with a tiny face on it.  I think it was made of polymer clay but she said we could probably make it with clay.  Her husband Keith Taylor makes the most incredible pots and they own a kiln.  So before I knew it Donna had invited a few people over for an experimental pot making workshop.  It was so fun and a great success!

Keith's photo of workshop group

Photo by Keith Taylor
So last Saturday Anna Zakaria, Gerhard Bock and I headed to Keith and Donna's home in Fairfield, CA.  They had the whole living room set up and ready to go.  Two different colors of clay, white and red.  We just dove right in and started to get creative.

Mine (looks like a purse)

I decided to make a bunch of wall pockets.  So the texture on this one was made by laying a doily on the wet clay and rolling over it with a rolling pin.  Donna & Keith had some great suggestions to help us with our creations.

Ann Zakaria 1

This is a photo and creation by Anna Zakaria who has a great Facebook page called 4 Surya Garden.  She made some fantastic wall pockets.  That cool slumped pot on the left was made by Gerhard Bock.  Keith show'd him a technique where you make a pot then kind of slam it on the table to slump it.  It's going to be really cool when done.

My leaf face wall pocket

This is my interpretation of the face in the leaf that was on Facebook.  It will look a lot better when painted I think.  I hope it doesn't look too creepy.  Just experimenting!

Gerhard photo 2

Here is a shot taken by Gerhard Bock of the great blog Bamboo, Succulents and More.  He has also done a great post of our wonderful day.  You can see it here and with more photos of his great pots from different angles.

Love the imprint on this wall pocket

Donna had this really cool wall hanging (I think that's what it was) that we used to make texture and pattern.  I love this wall pocket.

My 1st and favorite wall pocket

I think this is my favorite.  It was the first one I made.  I can't wait to paint it and plan on making some more.

Wall pocket....hmmm

This one is pretty cool too!  I used stamps to make the impressions in the clay.

Gerhard photo 1

Here are a bunch of our creations drying outside.  They need to dry for a couple of weeks before they can be fired the first time.  We will go back and paint them with glaze and then they will be fired again in the kiln.

Keith's photo 2
Photo by Keith Taylor
Donna was busy creating also!  Isn't this fish awesome!  I can't wait to see it painted.  Wouldn't this just be so cute in an ocean scene of succulents?

Keith's photo

Photo by Keith Taylor
So here I was concentrating hard on my creation!  LOL  What a fantastic time everyone had.  So much so that now lot's of people want to have a workshop with Donna and Keith.  If you live anywhere near Fairfield, CA and would like to take a roadtrip to do a great workshop like this please contact Donna Taylor at  You will have a fantastic time.

So remember great adventures can begin with one little idea.  Let it blossom!

And remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Moody Monday

So it's another moody Monday.  I know a lot of folks had a great weekend and have to go back to work.  Ack!  Or you are dealing with cold weather and you are grumpy.  Maybe some personal issues.  So I am here to cheer you up with some pretty photos!  I hope they make you happy!

Titanopsis calcareum 1

This is Titanopsis calcareum.  I love the crazy bumps on the edge of the stemps.  I don't know why but I always have trouble growing this!

Pachyphytum oviferum 'Moonstone' flower 2

Aren't these pretty!  This is Pachyphytum oviferum 'Moonstone'.  This plant got really huge and  was hanging way over the hanging planter.  I was afraid it would break so I cut them off getting about 3 plants out of it.  Along with that I have many leaves that are putting out roots and baby plants!  Woohoo!

Pachyphytum flower cluster

This is a Pachyphytum flower cluster.  It looks like an alien doesn't it!

Notocactus magnificus 1

Notocactus magnificus produced lots of babies last year.  So I have them in individual pots ready to sell this year.

Kalanchoe blosfeldiana 1 (2)

Kalanchoe blosfeldiana is so beautiful and produces the most lovely flowers!

Kalanchoe beharensis 'Fang' 1

Kalanchoe beharensis 'Fang'!  Doesn't it look like Audrey?

Graptoveria 'Opalina' 1 (2)

Graptoveria 'Opalina' is one of my favorites!

Graptopetalum amesthystenum 'Lavendar Pebbles', echeveria lilacina back right,graptopetaulum pachyphyllum in front 1

These beauties are in a pretty turtle pot.  They are Graptopetalum amesthystenum 'Lavender Pebbles', Echeveria Lilicana and Graptopetalum pachyphyllum.  Right now they are hiding in the gazebo greenhouse!

Euphorbia milii Crown of Thorns salmon 5

My salmon colored Euphorbia milii 'Crown of Thorns'.  I now have a yellow and white one too.  So pretty!

Euphorbia leucodendron 2

Euphorbia leucodendron is one of my favorite strange plants!

Echeveria subrigida 1

Echeveria subrigida backlit is so pretty!

Echeveria setosa compacta 2

Echeveria setosa compacta is so fuzzy pretty!

Cresting Opuntia microdasys

One of my all time favorites and is now bigger than this photo.   Cresting Opuntia microdasys!

Crassula capitella ssp. thyrsiflora flowering

Crassula capitella ssp. thyrsiflora.  

Crassula alpestris 2

Crassula alpestris
has such a great stacking nature.

Agave Kisho Khan 1

Agave Kisho Khan is doing great outside in the cold under frost cloths.  Even in this small pot.

Agave filifera 1

Agave filifera

Aeonium decorium 'Cyclops' 5

Aeonium decorium 'Cyclops'
 sorry to say a lot of my aeoniums are not doing well in the cold.

Aeonium arboreum 2

Aeonium arboreum is doing great though on my front porch!

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  I am dreaming of warmer weather, rain and playing in the garden!


It's Another Beautiful Day!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Rant, A Plea and My Big Blue Pot

First of all, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS CRAZY WEATHER!  Whew that actually felt good to type.  First we get an unseasonable cold spell here in California and now it just won't rain!  I really don't like the rain but at this point I would take weeks of it.  We are being threatened with severe water rationing if it does not rain a lot soon.  There is literary no snow in the Sierras.  And that is our main problem.  If they don't get a good snow pack soon we will have major problem.  The last major drought occurred here from 1985 to late 1991.  I remember flushing our toilets with our shower water.  Yuk!  So please pray for us to have some rain.  Many people will suffer if we don't get enough.  Me included as I have $1,000's invested in my succulents and would hate to lose them.

Secondly is a plea to any and all succulent growers that may be able to help another.  Malone's Nursery located in South Carolina recently posted this on Facebook! “With great sadness I have to let my friends know that last night put a real hurting on my succulent collection. With all 3 heaters running it was still not able to hold 32 or more. Lot of frozen plants. Six degrees was a little more than we could handle…I pray for all who had ordeals with the Arctic freeze.” - I just cannot imagine losing all my precious plants to the cold.  Even half of of them and I would burst out in tears.  So quite a few of us (and you can join too) will be sending cuttings to help Kathy Malone replenish her stock.  If you would like to help by sending cuttings or plants to Kathy at:  11762 Cross Roads Place, Concord, NC 28025.  Thank you for your consideration.  If you can't send give your support by going to their Facebook page and liking.

Back in 2008 I purchased a big blue pot at a garden show in Sacramento, CA.  I was completely turning a side planter in front of my house into a succulent bed.  I knew this pot would fit just perfectly in a corner near my archway and be a great focal point.  The pot is really thick and heavy.  So my hubby put it in place and I added dirt.  Since I wanted something that would grow tall and be quite a statement I planted Aeoniums in it.  I'm not exactly sure which type but it grew to be so lovely!

1 Aeonium Big Blue Pot 2008

  This is what it looked like soon after I first planted it in 2008.

Aeonium Big Blue pot  2009

This is what it looked like in the fall of spring of 2009.  Beautiful and red!

Aeonium Big Blue Pot June 2011

In June of 2011 it was at the height of it's beauty!  So big and full.  In the summer the rosettes tighten up a bit to protect itself from the sun.  This year it looked like it was two different plants.  The house is warmer in the winter so the inside rosettes didn't turn very red from stress.  But as you can see still in June the outside rosettes are still red.  Very cool.

Aeonium Big Blue Pot 12 5 11

December of 2011 and it is coming out of it's summer dormancy and growing again and turning green.  Very beautiful.  This is the first year I got a bloom.

Looking sad in 2013

Here it is in the summer of 2013.  It looks very sad.  Time to start over.  So I started by wacking off all the rosettes.  Leaving a good length of stem.

Chopping off for replanting

I cut and cut and cut.  Till it looked like an aeonium skeleton.

All the cuttings from the Big Blue Pot

Look at all these cuttings!  I saved some for the pot and other places in my garden and gave the rest to the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent Society.

All roots

When I started to pull out the stems it ended up being extremely easy.  It was just a tangle of roots.  So amazing that it was still alive.  Next time I will do this a year earlier.


This was the biggest hunk I pulled out.  I laid it on my garbage bucket to show you the tangled mass of roots.

Ready for dirt

And now ready to add new soil and some of the cuttings.

Newly planted again 2013

Here it is all finished right before the cold weather.  It has started growing already and is already a bit bigger.

So keep yourselves and your succulents warm and think about warmer days in the spring!

Until next time remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

What a wonderful year it was for Sweetstuff.  I was in the newspaper three times.  Went to the San Francisco Flower and Garden show where the Succulent Globe was unveiled.  What a great moment for Succulent Gardens.  I attended the 1st annual Succulent Celebration at Waterwise Botanicals.  Also attending the book launch of Debra Lee Baldwin latest best seller Succulents Simplified!  Great book by the way.  And let's see what else, attended and was a presenter at the third annual Succulent Celebration at Succulent Gardens in Castroville, CA.  And now I have my dream camera!  Wow, what a succulent year!

I sure hope that you all had Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year.  2014 will be a great year!

Beautiful succulents for sale by Succulent Gardens at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show!

The Succulent Globe!

I visited the Garden of Laura Balaoro while in San Jose!  Absolutely beautiful!

The Succulent Celebration at Waterwise botanicals!

Then the Succulent Celebration at Succulent Gardens!

It's a new year and learning to take shots with my new camera.  Woohoo!  So fun and so much to learn!

Have a great year and can't wait to share more with you!
And remember:

It's Another Beautiful Day!