February 22, 2016

Plantcare for the Botanically Challenged

Interiors are all about the greenery these days.
Every interior photoshoot on every blog and in every magazine features a few strategically placed houseplants; tradefair stands are dressed up with jungle-walls; greenhouses are turned into restaurants; creating full-on interior urban jungles is no longer the exclusive terrain of the hermit down the street (who you suddenly feel like you should be asking for botanical advice).
Photograph by Livet Hemma: Ikea
I love this trend!
There are so many reasons to have houseplants: the hint of nature in your home; the improved air-quality and healthier moisture levels; the overall beauty of plantlive... What's not to love?
Not so sure about the botanical trend? Read this blogpost for 6 reasons to get houseplants now (5 of which are backed by science)
by House of Thol
However, for those of us with major black thumbs (me), houseplants very seldomly become a lush and blooming urban jungle to take pride in, but rather turn into something that can only be described as a painful representation of an apparent inability to take care of living things (which can be pretty depressing).
all photographs from the House of Thol Instagram account
Anyway, fear not. -All is not lost.
Although we'll probably kill a lot more plants before truly mastering the art of plantcare, over the last three years we've managed to create a pretty green home and a small urban jungle in our studio.

And... if we can do it, so can you! - Here are 7 tips to help you along.
1. Start easy
Luckily some plants are pretty resilient when it comes to bad plantcare. Killing those plants might even involve some skill (from personal experience: it can be done).
A few of the easiest plants to maintain are Spider plant, Devils' ivy, Aloe Vera, Peace Lily and Snake Plant.
illustration by House of Thol
2. Keep the plant-tag
You know the little tag on each store-bought plant? Don't throw it out.
You'll probably want to take it off because in general it doesn't look very pretty, but make sure to keep it somewhere so you'll know how to properly care for this plant.
A plant doesn't always come with a tag. If it doesn't, make sure you find out the type of plant, and don't forget the name (you can add a nice-looking label).
If you run into trouble later on, you can google away and spend hours and hours researching the yellow tips /  white spots /  brown edges of your Musa.
Photograph from our Instagram
3. Water regularly.
If you're anything like me, your first thought when looking at a houseplant is 'when was the last time i watered it?'.
I always forget. I forget right up until the moment the leaves start to droop, which is when i decide i'm too late and try to 'save' the plant by throwing in a bucketload of water. Which drowns it.

What most people don't realise, is that houseplants sooner die of getting too much water than of drying out.
When dried out, a plant can pretty often be revived with the proper care. A drowned plant however, usually suffers from irreversably rotted roots and has passed the point of no return.

There are a gazillion helpful tips out there to make it easier to water your plants: from apps to grandmothers' tricks.
We based our natural watering system Waterworks on ancient irrigation techniques and it works wonderfully, we even use a Waterworksset (with a small cone) in our Cactus, and it's thriving. More about Waterworks here.
Waterworks by House of Thol | photograph by Masha Bakker photography
4. Pick the right spot.
Use your plant-tag or google to read up on the best situation for your plant: most plants like their sunlight to be indirect and might even develop burn-spots when put in a brightly lit window-sill. Although very few plants thrive in the dark, there are plants that can live happily in badly-lit places like bathrooms.

The ideal place for plants is about more than sunlight: they often don't like drafts or being touched by the door every-time it opens, and not every plant is happy too close to the central heating.
Also: plants usually do not like to be eaten by your pet.
Note that some plants (like the peace-lily) can be toxic to cats and dogs and should be placed somewhere the pets can't reach them. (some plants are even toxic to humans, so keep those out of the reach of children).
from Pinterest - unable to find the original source
5. Repot. 
This might sound daunting, but most plants won't last long if you keep them in the plastic container they came in: they'll run out of space or nutrients and you'll need to repot them.
Knowing when or how to re-pot your plants is one of those things that doesn't come naturally to us black-thumbed people, but i'll promiss you: it's worth the effort, most plants really thrive when their roots have enough space in a soil filled with fresh nutrients.
There's this pretty good Wiki-how about repotting plants.
When repotting, always use a pot with holes in the bottom and/or add a layer of large stones underneath the soil so it's well-drained.
NB Make sure to run a quick google-search on your plant. Some plants can only be repotted in certain seasons or they won't make it.
Photograph from the Wikihow 'Repot a plant'
6. Use the right soil and keep it fertilized.
The plants in your house come from different habitats. Some  will originate from a jungle-like environment, while other (for example cacti) stem from a desert-like area.
It will come as no surprise that those different types of plants thrive in different types of soil.
Get the right kind for your plants and don't forget to fertilize it once-in-a-while (if your plant likes it).
Alabama Hills | By Forest Mankins / a life alive
7. Be nice, be patient.
Imagine being a plant: you're happy in the garden-centre: surrounded by fresh air, warmth, other plants of all shapes and sizes and workmen to cater your every need. But then... suddenly someone picks you up, moves you around, has you wrapped, possibly keeps you in a trunk for a while, after which you're gifted to someone who cannot even keep a cactus alive.
Most plants are not a big fan of being moved: they'll need time to adapt to their new environment and growth will stagnate for a while.
Don't give up on those plants. Give them time. And love. And play some classical music for them, they dig that (click).
Plant Gang | photograph by Tiffany Grant-Riley for Urban Jungle Bloggers
For more green inspiration, follow Urban Jungle Bloggers or spend an hour or so on Pinterest  for the best urban jungle images.

Good luck keeping that greenery alive!
Any tips you'd like to add?
Don't hesitate to comment on this post, i'd love to hear them.

February 15, 2016

Get ready to start your greenery / Spring is coming

photograph by House of Thol
Last year we discovered Waterworks can help you create a pretty thriving balcony-garden.
This photograph was taken during the summer, but in order to get the lush greenery at this level when the warmer weather sets in, it's almost time to get into action and start your seeds.

Don't worry, you still have time to prepare, most seeds can be sown inside from March onwards.
I made a Pinterest board with some gardening-calendars i found online, check it out here.

While we're on the topic of balcony-gardening and herbs, an important side note about supermarket-herbs: After years and years of stubbornly trying and being 100% sure they were watered right, i'm pretty certain the living herb-plants sold in (Dutch) supermarkets are just not made to last. They're grown to harvest and be discarded. Not even a Waterworks-set will help you there.

Better to grow your own kitchen-herbs from seed: You notice the parsley in the photograph? That plant still lives, we were able to keep it green(-ish) all winter by moving it indoors into our cramped kitchen during the (few) colds spells of the past months.

February 12, 2016

New Confetti & Fireworks & why we have jewelry in our collection in the first place

Confetti necklace | brass, enamel, gilt steel | 2016
photograph by House of Thol

Aside from interior products and design-solutions for the day-to-day, House of Thol designs jewelry.
Random, right?
Maybe i shouldn't actually say 'House of Thol designs it', since jewelry is really my (Jana's) background, and what i focused on when working under company name 'World of Driftwood'.
Confetti & Fireworks necklaces | brass, enamel, gilt steel | 2016
photograph by House of Thol

Taking the step to work together with Thomas meant that part of my 'World of Driftwood' projects would have to be put on the side-burner for a while. Which i didn't have a problem with at all.
But jewelry ideas kept popping up, and although we still haven't quite figured out how it fits in with everything, we decided to incorporate some of my jewelry designs into our House of Thol collection.

Short answer: There's jewelry in our collection because i couldn't help designing it. (saving possible unconscious significance for retrospection)

Glad we got that covered.
Now let's talk about the new Confetti & Fireworks necklaces...
Animated preview of the Confetti & Fireworks necklaces by House of Thol

Confetti & Fireworks is a new series of contemporary brass and enamel necklaces, similar to the Neotribal collection.
The speckled finish, bright colors and geometric shapes make Confetti & Fireworks a perfect modern accessory, both for the everyday as for a dressy special occasion.

Brighten up your day with the light and bright Confetti-necklace, or go for mysterious chique with the darkblue speckled Fireworks.

Fireworks necklace | brass, enamel, gilt steel | 2016
photograph by House of Thol

All Confetti & Fireworks necklaces are handmade with care in our studio in Zandvoort, at the Dutch seaside.
Each necklace comes in a sturdy cardboard giftbox and has a lengthy gilt ballchain that slips on easily.

A bit of a 'salesy' text? 
That's possible, part of it is taken from Crowdyhouse, where Confetti & Fireworks will premier this Monday. - CHECK IT OUT

Get in touch for prices, high-resolution images and retail-information.

February 9, 2016

Flowery loveliness in the not-so-wild west of Rotterdam

These lovely bouquets are all made by Susanne from Niche Flowershop in Rotterdam,
Aside from beautiful flower arrangements and greenery of all kind, the store offers a large collection of gifts, many of them botanically- or florally-themed.

And, -well, you probably figured that out by now- we're pretty happy to let you know Niche also sells Waterworks!

Worth a mention: Niche has the best Instagram account, all photographs in this post were taken from it.
Follow them for more gorgeous bouquets and flower-themed photographs (lovely close-ups as well!).

Visit the website for more information about the shop, their floral work and the flowery workshops they offer.
This shop is definitely worth a visit next time you're in Rotterdam, they're open Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 - 18:00.

Nieuwe Binnenweg 235a
3021 GC Rotterdam

For a full list of our stockists click here.

February 5, 2016

Amsterdam Made: Makers united

Amsterdam Made is a community platform for makers in and around Amsterdam.
Lucky for us, the 'around'-range extends to Zandvoort (it's pretty much Amsterdam Beach here anyway), which means we got to be part of the community and have House of Thol featured on the website.

The initiators of the platform were inspired by 'SFmade' a thriving platform established back in 2010 to boost the local manufacturing sector. Amsterdam Made has pretty much the same goal: a more diverse and sustainable local economy, where companies who design and manufacture products locally thrive.
Furthermore, Amsterdam Made is licensed by the city of Amsterdam to award an official 'Amsterdam Made' quality label to high quality products that are locally made, sustainable and innovative. 

Most importantly: Amsterdam Made connects makers in and around the city and strengthens the bond between entrepreneurs.  
Check out the growing network of entrepreneurs, craftsmen, manufacturers, artists, brewers and designers on Amsterdammade.org. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...