a pair & a spare http://apairandasparediy.com DIY Fashion Mon, 24 Nov 2014 02:36:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 LINK FAVES #7 http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/links-7.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/links-7.html#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 02:35:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=13305 Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Cambodia for a few days – a quick stop in Phnom Penh and then a few days in the serene and beautiful seaside village of Kep. It was amazing to get some downtime and do a bit of island hopping.. Particualy given winter is beginning to arrive in Hong Kong and swimming is (almost) out of the question now. It was so laid back that I got to forget about work and deadlines for a few hours – just what I needed prior to the crazy holiday season. I’m looking forward to sharing a few of my favourite things to do there with you, and also getting back there next year to check out Siem Reap!

Taking a dip in Cambodia
Swimsuit by Her The Label – on that note this is my first foray into high waisted bikinis and surprisingly I like them! What are your thoughts on the high waisted?

A few links I enjoyed over the weekend and wanted to share with you:

‘Not wearing a bra is my favourite pastime’. True that! NY women drawn their boobs.

Globe makers (insert love heart face emojis here).

Garza Marfa – I want everything now.

I love staying in people’s houses when I travel, here’s a few perfect ones for when you visit London.

The new Ace Hotel in LA is on my hit list, could it beeeee more pretty?

On friendship breakups

Ps… I’ve joined the Conde Nast Traveller team, head over to read my first guide about Shopping in Hanoi.

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BEFORE & AFTER: OUR STUDIO http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/before-after-our-studio.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/before-after-our-studio.html#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=12931 You’ll probably remember that a while ago we moved into our new studio, and in that time so much has happened that I can’t believe it’s only been a bit more than 6 months! The days when I used to work (with my boyfriend) in our tiny spare room seem like a millennium ago, now that we’ve got space to stretch out and (for me) experiment with crafts and projects. Paying rent every month is the obvious downside to this scenario, but because we’ve been able to share the space it’s worked out well for us (for now anyway).

Being an interior designer ( I’m so proud of all the projects he’s done since we’ve been in HK!), it was pretty straight forward for Ben to put together the designs before we first moved in – working with a few surly contractors to turn it from a warehouse into something you would want to work in. Although we wanted to keep it as raw as possible with the original, imperfect walls and the bare cement floors, in true Hong Kong fashion the contractors took it upon themselves to perfect the walls with plaster and paint. You can’t always get what you want (but you get what you need :)).

The studio is divided into two rooms, which works perfectly for us, as Ben and his team sit on one side, and we sit on the other side  – free to be as messy and chatty as we like! I’ve really enjoyed the hands on nature of creating shelves, tables and all the bits and pieces that went into the space – plenty more to come believe me.

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Check out the studio in more depth in the video below! And see just how much of a disaster the construction site was…

a pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.comGeneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.comGeneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

The nook is my favourite place in the studio!

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

We made the desks out of bricks and plywood, we’re all about saving the $$$. :)

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Ben came up with the idea of a floating shelf above the main desks which we’ve stacked with plants and vines – in  chaotic and built up city like Hong Kong, this green feature really made all the difference to the space.

Geneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Over on the other side of the office, we decided to make the space a little more girly, and naturally we needed a big table to do our projects on. We’ve got a series of background we use to get different effects, so it’s made the space quite versatile.

a pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.coma pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

Naturally we’ve got a few quotes from lovely Jasmine Dowling to remind us of what’s important.

a pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.coma pair and a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.comGeneva Vanderzeil a pair & a spare studio www.apairandasparediy.com

You can find all the DIYs shown in the office below:

DIY Hanging Rope Shelves

DIY Rolling Note Board

DIY Round Hanging Shelves

DIY Net Inspiration Board

DIY Easy Throw Cushions

DIY Hanging Basket Mirror

DIY Hanging Baskets

 Studio Design: Charlie & Rose

Furniture Design: Charlie & Rose

Colourful rug via Mister Zimi, Black and White Rug via Kahoko

Video credits: Luke Casey & Kai Von Carnap

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WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: THE SILK TANK http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/wardrobe-essentials-the-silk-tank.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/wardrobe-essentials-the-silk-tank.html#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 03:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=13156 Over the last few years, a focus on collecting the perfect wardrobe staples has helped me to create a closet that’s adaptable, flexible, and never (ok… rarely) leaves me wracking my brain about what to wear in the morning. It’s only natural that I’m drawn to companies that understand the concept of timeless basics, and how important they are as a foundation for any wardrobe. New start up Grana has totally nailed this for me, with their ethos of sourcing the best possible fabrics to create simple, long lasting pieces that you’ll wear and wear (and wear). Did I mention that they’re affordable? ‘Disruptive’ is, let’s be honest, an often used word these days but in relation to Grana’s prices, it’s not far off the mark.

Over a couple of days last week I had the fun job of showing Nicola around my favourite markets in Hong Kong, as part of a road test of their new Chinese silk tanks –  and also as a way to slack off and hang out in my favourite places. Road test scores, in the event that you’re interest? In the face of humidity, rain, angry taxi drivers and the 1000 different odours we experienced during the week (think of the olfactory variety at the flowers, bird and gold fish markets!), these tanks passed with flying colours. One thing to mention is that it’s perhaps a good idea to size down on this particular style.

I thought I would share with you a few sneak photos of our week, but you’ll have to wait a few days for the more details travel guide – utter chaos proved to be oh so photogenic!

Hong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comHong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comHong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comHong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comHong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comHong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comHong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comSilk top Hong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.com Hong Kong's markets www.apairandasparediy.comThe wardrobe essential

Wearing: Grana silk tanks in Light Blue, Black and Off White (in X-small in case you’re working out what to buy).

Photos by Nicola Lemmon

This post is in collaboration with Grana

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DIY LACE UP BALLET FLATS http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-lace-up-ballet-flats.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-lace-up-ballet-flats.html#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=13037 Having always been a bit of a Francophile, you can probably guess that I’m already sold on the simplicity and clean lines of a pair of ballet flats. But what if you want to take that classic perfection to another level? I’ve been seeing embellished flats here and there (so DIYable – be still my beating heart!), but when I stumbled upon a pair of lace up ones I knew they would be the next DIY. So easy to make, I’d take these over a pair of heels most days!

How to make a pair of lace up ballet flats How to make lace up ballet flats

Wearing: DIY flats, DIY cut off vintage shorts, Zara coat, MLM tshirt, Lack of Color hat.

How to make lace up ballet flats

You need: 

  • A pair of ballet flats
  • 14 D rings
  • E6000 glue
  • Leather
  • Scissors
  • Leather cord

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Cut your leather into strips 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Cut those pieces in half, and then insert the leather through the D rings.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Fold the leather over and glue down. Do this for all 14 and let dry.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

4.  Put more glue onto one leather piece.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Press down there you want them to sit on the shoes, starting at the back.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Attach them down the front, measuring a thumb sized gap between.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

7. The finished product should look like this.

How to make lace up ballet flats www.apairandasparediy.com

8. Finally, add your leather cord, crossing over the foot through the D rings and tying at the back.

How to make lace up ballet flats


How to make lace up ballet flats

Super excited to be working with photographer Nicola Lemmon (a fellow Brisbane girl transplanted to Hong Kong), taking photos, doing projects, and generally much having a great time. Welcome Nicola! You can follow her HK adventures on instagram too.

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TRAVEL: CHECKLIST FOR A STRESS-FREE ARRIVAL http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/travel-checklist-for-a-stress-free-arrival.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/travel-checklist-for-a-stress-free-arrival.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=12925 Stepping off the plane at your destination can sometimes be the most daunting part of the trip, particularly if you’re arriving in a place you’ve never been before and when you’re travelling solo. Arriving at Kyoto airport recently on my own, being confronted with a million signs in Japanese and not really able to get my hands on someone who spoke English could have been a scary disaster, but with a few steps before leaving Hong Kong I was able to make sure that everything went smoothly and to plan – even when it didn’t go to plan at first!

Preparing for a stress free arrival


1. Currency of your destination

About 5 years ago when I was living in London I went to meet friends in New York, and after arriving at a deserted JFK airport at 2am, I realised I didn’t have any US dollars, and when I tried to get money out of the ATM my cards all got blocked by the bank, and when I tried to use my phone I found it wasn’t on the right band and it didn’t work either. If it wasn’t for the kindness of a shuttle bus driver who let me get on and pay him when I got to my hotel (lucky my friends were there!) it would have been one cold, creepy night on the steps of the arrivals hall. Needless to say since then I always always get the currency of my destination out at home, and fair amount so I have options in case on an emergency. I also always carry a few hundred US dollars in my passport wallet, as most people recognise that currency if you’re really in a bind.

2. Printed Hotel information

Ok so this is probably an obviously one to but printing your hotel/accommodation information (address, phone etc) prior to leaving home is key to piece of mind, and you’ll use it way more than you think. Don’t rely on your phone to show you the way, phones get lost/lose battery/stop working.

3. Options for getting to your accommodation

Naturally most of us take a look at the best way to get from the airport to our accommodation, but researching for a few different options, such as which shuttle, train, or car to take in case your first choice isn’t available. Even though hotel transfers can be expensive, if you’re particularly concerned about the place you’re going or how you will handle getting to the hotel, they’re not a bad thing to splurge on. You can always cut costs later on  in the trip once you have your bearings.

4. Charged Devices

Arriving with a phone that works (and with a good amount of charge) is key in the event something happens and you need to check in with your hotel, friends or family (hopefully not but, the emergency services). One way is to keep your phone/laptop charger in your bag instead of your luggage, as some planes have plugs you can use (but you’ll need an adaptor if the airline isn’t based in your region). If not, make sure your phone is turned off completely while you’re on the plane. I also like to make sure my laptop is fully charged and then switch off when I get on the plane, because worst comes to worst I can charge my phone using my laptop.

5. The right Visas

There’s nothing worse than getting to your destination only to find that you’ve forgotten to get the right Visa. Sometimes you’ll be able to get a visa on arrival, however this is rarely an efficient undertaking when it comes to time. Always make sure to check what Visas you need before you travel!

6. Let your bank know you’re travelling

Ok so this can be annoying and tedious,  but everytime I don’t let my bank know I’m travelling they inevitably block all my cards, so that I’m stuck in the middle of a city without access to money. Not such a major issue when you’re travelling with friends, but if you’re on your own you really can’t risk it. Once quick call has saved me mountains of time in the past!

Anything else you guys think is essential to a stress free (and safe) flight arrival?

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DIY LEATHER HANGING PLANTER (MAKES THE PERFECT GIFT!) http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-leather-hanging-planter-makes-the-perfect-gift.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-leather-hanging-planter-makes-the-perfect-gift.html#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 16:00:00 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=12980 If you’ve been following for a while you’ll be all over the fact that my current approach to decoration is, technically speaking, ‘put a plant on it’. I’ve applied the concept at the studio, and at home (to a lesser degree) and I can honestly say that it works. Who doesn’t want to live in a jungle (or a desert – depending on what type of plants you’re into)? We recently got crafty with some leather we had in the studio and created this planter with our friends over at Free People. If you plan ahead a little this planter could be the perfect gift for your bestie or plant addicted hipster boyfriend. Naturally you’ll be wanting to use a substitute for leather if said boyfriend is a vegan. :)

How to make a leather hanging planter www.apairandasparediy.comHow to make a leather planter www.apairandasparediy.com

You need:

  • A piece of leather or vegan leather
  • A metal Ring
  • 2 x long screws and bolts
  • Scissors
  • Multi hole punch
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Plant Pot

Start experimenting with leather now using this DIY Leather Making Kit.

Leather Planter  2

How to: 

1. On the back of your leather, mark out 4 pieces of 1.5cm wide x 65cm long pieces of leather strips and then cut into strips.

Leather Planter  5

2. Take your hole punch and punch a hole over the points you have marked.

Leather Planter  6

3. With the back side of the leather facing up, lay the pieces out in a cross so that the holes match up and add the screw underneath.

Leather Planter  8

4. Cut a piece of leather 1.5cm wide x 8cm long and then mark 1cm from the edge on both ends.

Leather Planter  10

5. Hole punch over the 2 marked positions and then take your piece of leather and fit it though the metal hoop

Leather Planter  12

6. Create the same cross section on the other end of the strips of leather and insert the screw through the holes.

Leather Planter  16

7. This is what the top section should look like.

Leather Planter  17

8. Hold the top section in one hand and lay out the base of the planter like so.

Leather Planter  18\

Place your plant pot into place. And you’re done.

How to make a leather planter www.apairandasparediy.com

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WEEKEND LINKS #6 http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/weekend-links-6.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/weekend-links-6.html#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 13:33:43 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=13151 A rainy weekend in Hong Kong has meant guilt-free couch time (as well as one fairly drenched walk up Hong Kong Peak) – there’s nothing better than time to do nothing at all. I may have slipped one DIY project in there (can’t wait to share), re-runs of Curb Your Enthusiasm and sewing go pretty pretty well together apparently. If I hadn’t somehow wasted a couple of hours looking at Russian Women with Many Flowers I could perhaps have utilised my digital downtime a little better… Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend, a few of my fave links of the week below.


Have a cuppa. It’ll help!

A craft project I’m dying to do… The ultimate embellished leather jacket.

I know this Moonrise Kingdom inspired party is designed for a 10 year old boy, but I so want it for my next birthday.

I’m feeling matador and boater hats sooo much at the moment.

Apparently we’re skipping Glasto next year, but perhaps we’ll do this instead?

This beautiful boho home makes me crave greenery, vintage maps and books!

I’m feeling like this about Serial atm.

A  to X of Writing… Read this now! All your grammar questions answered (even the ones you didn’t know you had!)

Ps. I just made a delicious weekend breakfast of baked eggs… Butter beans, chorizo and cherry tomatoes cooked in a pan, with eggs added on top and cooked in the oven for 10 minutes. Yummy!

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DIY EMBROIDERED JACKET http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-embroidered-jacket.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-embroidered-jacket.html#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 06:51:05 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=12888 I’ve been crushing on statement embroidered jackets for some time now, but have shied away from crafting my own due to the (presumably) intense amount of work that goes into one – think of all that thread and sore fingers! Although embroidery is definitely on my list of things to master this lifetime, I was so happy when we came up with a way to make the perfect embroidered jacket, without all the time and effort of doing it manually. We simply added a gorgeous piece of fabric to an existing jacket! Cheating I know but it works! What’s even better is that we used fabric from a bag I had bought while travelling around Asia – both re-using something I was tired of and integrating memories of my travels into an everyday jacket, talk about a win win! Read on the see how.

Make an embroidered jacket www.apairandasparediy.comAdd some embroidered fabric to your jacket www.apairandasparediy.comAdd some embroidered fabric to your jacket www.apairandasparediy.com

You need:

  • a parka or jacket
  • brightly coloured fabric or in this case we recycled an old embroidered bag I sourced on my travels
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine
  • Glue

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

How to: 

1. The first thing we did was remove the embroidered piece of fabric front the bag we had.

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

2. We then laid it out on top of the jacket – it fit perfectly which was weird and a bonus.

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

3. We cut away the excess fabric and kept it to use later.

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

4. We then pinned the edge of the excess fabric underneath facing the inside of the jacket

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Using a machine (you can also hand sew or even glue), we attached the piece of fabric onto the back of the parka jacket.

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

6. We then took the access piece of fabric and cut it in half and then pinned it into place over the pockets

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

7. We hand sewed the piece of fabric through the inside of the pocket so that the pocket was still functional.

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com

8. We then took some ribbon in a matching colour to cover existing details of the jacket which we didn’t love.

DIY Parka Jacket Update www.apairandasparediy.com


Add some embroidered fabric to your jacket www.apairandasparediy.comAdd some embroidered fabric to your jacket www.apairandasparediy.comAdd some embroidered fabric to your jacket www.apairandasparediy.com

Photos by Marion Tessier

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DIY HOME: PERFECT YOUR SPACE WITH RUGS & PLANTS http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-home-upgrade-your-space-instantly-with-rugs-plants.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-home-upgrade-your-space-instantly-with-rugs-plants.html#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 09:30:40 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=13131 When it comes to updating a living space, I’m all about picking the lowest hanging fruit. And by that I mean doing the things that make the biggest impact for the least effort. Recently I went on a decorating binge at home – it was something that struck on a Friday and I wanted to make the updates by Saturday (people from out of town visiting – you know the drill!). The first thing I did was add a whole heap of indoor plants, and a big colourful rug. After doing this, I was honestly shocked at how major the difference was, it went from creepy dorm room rental feel to cosy, lived in home feel. And literally nothing else had changed other than the rub and plants (oh I also added these shelves). I have to surmise, from this, that rugs and plants are the foundation of a space you can feel proud of and want to be in.

So if you’re looking at your living room this weekend with a frown and want to give it an instant lift, investing in a new rug and a bunch of indoor plants is the first thing you could do. Call it the lazy girl’s guide to getting a Pinterest inspired nest. Yes, you could get yourself some vintage chairs, a bar cart, a pouffe and a bunch of fancy pendant lights, but that would just be the cherry on top – the icing being your rug and plants.

To test this theory with me, go through and in your mind remove the plants and the rugs from the following images of pretty living spaces. Doing this (for me) shows that those spaces would be no where near as nice without the rugs and the plants. Would you agree? Or do you think a few extra updates are needed?

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

Remove the rugs and plants from this space and all you have is a leather couch and a few nice blankets! Ok and flowering bougainvillaea outside but meh. (image via flickr)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

This eclectic space would be much less interesting without that vintage rug and pretty plant. (image via Damsel In Dior)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

When the room is really simple, a whole heap of plants and a nice rug makes such a difference. Right? (image via Design Sponge)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

I love that you can create interest in an otherwise basic room with the perfect rug and a fiddle leaf fig. (image via A Beautiful Mess)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

If you’ve got time and money, seeking out a few pretty chairs will also lift a room! But it’s the rug I love the most… (image via here)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

If you’re feeling skint, use a simple and cheap basket as a pot plant! (image via The Every Girl)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

For me, plants break up a room and give it a softness that makes you want to stay there – and curl up on the couch :) (image via The Design Files)

Add a rug and a plant for an instant lift to any room www.apairandasparediy.com

Thoughts? (above image via Style Files)

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DIY PUMPKIN PLANTER http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-pumpkin-vase.html http://apairandasparediy.com/2014/11/diy-pumpkin-vase.html#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:01:18 +0000 http://apairandasparediy.com/?p=13098 Fall has finally arrived in Hong Kong, and with it a penchant for all things warm and cosy – finally it’s not too hot to contemplate eating soup! *cue dancing, and probably soup spillage* The sweetest little round pumpkins have started turning up all over Hong Kong we’ve been busy making yummy warm salads and roasts out of them. Instead of throwing away the skin, we decided to create something out of one of them. At first we considered a vase, but given our lust for plants in the studio we decided to go for a planter instead. This is super easy to make and I think a few would be a great centrepiece. Enjoy!
Make your own planter out a pumpkin

You need:

  • A Pumpkin (we could only find an orange one so painted it white, but if you like the organ or can find the naturally white pumpkin, use that).
  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Chopping Board
  • Paint and paint brush (optional)

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Turn your pumpkin on its side and cut the top off.

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Cut a cross section across the middle and spoon the pumpkin flesh out with a spoon. Save for making a batch of pumpkin scones!

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

3. Stop once you have emptied the pumpkin

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Lay down a piece of scrap paper and turn the pumpkin upside down

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Paint the entire pumpkin and allow to dry

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

6. Once dry, turn the pumpkin back around and paint the top of the pumpkin and any spots you might have missed. Again allow to dry.

How to make a pumpkin vase www.apairandasparediy.com

Select the centre piece for your pumpkin vase like this sweet little succulent. We simply popper the succulent in there pot and all, so that we could take it out once the pumpkin started looking a bit sad. We got a few weeks out of it which was perfect!

Make your own planter out a pumpkin

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