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nina

Cacao Tree Planting Instructions

Your plant requires temperatures between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature your tree can handle is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. no wild temperature fluctuations. High humidity is very important as well as good air circulation, but never expose plant to dry wind/air. Dry air will kill this plant, so maintaining a humid environment is vital. Lots of water but not standing water, you can water every day if drainage is good. never let it dry (it will kill a plant in a day and cacao plant will not recover) Full shade for the first 3 months, then full shade to partial shade. Will tolerate some sun when 4-5 foot tall. Sun will kill this plant. Cacao plant does not need direct sun, filtered sunlight is optimal. Very fertile soil. If planted in pots, I would recommend mixing Pro-Mix BX potting soil (for keeping moisture) mixed with Pro mix HP CC (for good drainage) and with good organic potting soil or very well rotted compost (for fertilizing) 1:1:1. You can also add 1/10 part of sand. Optional- polystyrene beads (not biodegradable) on the bottom of the pot (1-2 inch) Plant it in 5-7 gallon pot when received or a week later and increase the pot size to 10-20 gallon pot in 6-12 months. Many hydroponic fertilizers (organic or not) will work just fine (6:2:8 or similar) Water, rain water or rain water with reduced PH to 6-6-4. Non organic fertilizer (cheap)- miracle grow for acid loving plants – 1/2 tsp in 5 gallon bucket.  you can also add Epsom salt 1/4-1/2 tsp in 5 gallons bucket. many growers prefer the organic fertilizer. Lower leaves turn yellow and fall off. It is normal for this plant when nicely growing at the top.

Cacao seed planting instructions

Sow your cacao seeds as soon as possible, 2 inches deep, in regular potting mix soil. Keep moist with sufficient lighting. Room temperature should not drop below 68 degrees Fahrenheit/ 20 degrees Celsius. You can cover the pot with plastic wrap to increase humidity (make sure to remove it when the sprout appears.) Repot in a bigger container when your cacao has true leaves. An ideal mix would be potting soil, garden soil (or sand) and compost. In summer, take the plant out but avoid harsh sun rays on the delicate leaves. In winter, sprinkle the leaves with water  (without chlorine) to increase humidity if the air is too dry. In their natural environment, there are always leaves on the ground, so consider mulching your tree. If the temperature where you live never drops below 68 decrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius, you can plant the tree outside, otherwise, it will need to remain in a large container in a greenhouse or inside your home.

UFOs and How to Attack Them

I am 7% creative, 15% inspired, 2% talented, 60% motivated and 92% human so it likely comes to no surprise to anyone that my creativity comes in spurts. I am easily motivated and born to work with my hands. As I scroll through Instagram, a carefully curated album on my feed can jettison me into a tailspin of making. Quilts, collages, crafts and gardens of a multitude of scales and complexities can be attributed to these spurts of motivation and inspiration. I have been easily sidetracked from one adored project to another. Any single misstep, sleepless night, unfortunate combination of occurrences or even a change in my daily routine can be the demise of a once cherished project and send it spiraling to the depths of my collection of UFOs otherwise known as Un Finished Objects. Any quilter, scrapbooker or crafter can tell you stories of their own UFOs and how a project once shining bright at the top of his or her to do list became a forgotten relic only to make appearances in the back of their stockpile of guilt and conscience in the basement of their mind. I know a lot about UFOs. My husband would tell you I know too much about them. My stack of UFOs is taller than I am. Almost all of them are quilts. I sincerely want to finish each one but I can honestly admit that I likely never will. Recently I sat down and took inventory of my UFOs and discovered a commonality. At the moment when I was creating each of them, or to be more specific, when I quit creating each of them I didn’t exactly pin point the reason I abandoned them. Sure, I was sidetracked by life and my creative motivation had slipped away but why didn’t I come back to them the next time I felt creative? Why did I start something completely new? Taking inventory of my collection it became clear. I did love each quilt, I still do. When I made the decision to make each one, I carefully selected the fabric to match the feel of the pattern. I had the machine quilting design in mind when I chose the weight and texture of the fabric. I had an end in mind. But in the end, here they are, in a forgotten pile that I hide in my basement. I pick up my favorite of the bunch. It is a chicken applique quilt that I started about 10 years ago in class at huge quilting store which could be described as more of a warehouse thank a shop. Located in San Marcos, CA, the quilt shop is no longer in business although quilting guru Eleanor Burns purchased most of the stock and sold it in her store Quilt in a Day. So here is what is left of that shop and this quilt. A charming chicken quilt that appears to be close to finished. I remember the day I set this quilt aside. It was the week I found out that my husband of 15 years and the father of my children was divorcing me. I had already been stumped as to the proper technique to measure, cut and sew the inner border on the quilt and with the rug being pulled out from under my life, I knew I just didn’t have the time, luxury, energy or motivation to even try to finish this quilt. In later years I would pull it out and think of finishing it, then realizing I had lost the original fabric to complete the job I would place it in my pile of UFOs once again. My mother recently ordered the fabric for me, I sewed it on, had the piece professionally machine quilted and now it is in my UFO pile again waiting for a binding, my least favorite part of making a quilt. The next UFO I reach for  is a modern block quilt which was given to me by my mom as a kit. A quilt kit usually includes a pattern along with fabric and notions needed to complete the project. Buying a quilt kit for someone is like buying lingerie for someone. You can never get it right. I mean, what do you get? Edible panties, lace strapless bra, a body stocking, lycra, silk, chiffon, fuzzy slippers????? That’s how I feel about quilt kits. A giver will purchase what he or she likes and what matches their aesthetic. My mom gave me a kit that matches her aesthetic perfectly. Retro fabrics in colors of teal, orange, salmon and white were stuffed in a sweet gift bag. I love gifts like this and although it didn’t match my style I was excited to make the quilt my mom gave me but I never did. I put the kit in the mail and sent it to the most talented and meticulous quilter I know, my grandma. Grandma began quilting in the early 80’s taking quilting classes at local quilt shops in California and perfected her skills over the years made easy by retirement and time on her hands. She is meticulous, a discipline she adopted after many classes at Quilt in a Day (no they are not paying me. I just have a immense respect for their teachings) and Grandma cringes when she watches me and my relaxed techniques. Grandma took this quilt and whipped it up in a couple of days, my mom machine quilted it and they turned it back over to me in need of hand stitching on the binding. That was three years ago. See the pattern in my madness? I have a story such as this for my entire UFO stack. It is clear that with each project I found myself puzzled by the next step, unable to move past that step and then a personal roadblock sealed the fate of my creation. I am trying what I can to remedy this habit. Recently I have pulled out a UFO and placed it on my sewing table with the supplies needed to complete it. I admit that even doing this took me nearly a month of contemplation. I’ve have to knock the dust off of it several time so far but I am determined to finish this quilt sooner than later and I promise that it will not ever go back into my pile of UFOs. Have you ever tackled a forgotten or stalled project? Do you have UFOs. What is your best technique for avoiding the creative block that comes from mental or physical roadblocks? I feel like this new system will get me back on track and turn my spurts of creativity into a waterfall of creation. I mean after all, I am just 92% human

Hello world!

What are your plans this summer? I’m thinking about taking the kids on a trip to someplace exotic or at least a place that requires a little advanced planning, real luggage and walking shoes. Ideally this place would have delicious coffee, stunning scenery and air conditioning. Is this too much to ask for? As a mom, I often feel like most requests are too much to ask for. Considering my hometown is practically a vacationer’s paradise, why do I crave a getaway at all? Please tell me why I feel this way every time I intend to plan a trip.

Fashion in the City

It’s not hard to imagine Gwyneth Paltrow in a flowy peasant top and cutoffs or Emilia Clarke in wool cashmere coat by Raph Lauren but can you imagine yourself in your ideal style? If you had the perfect body, perfect skin, perfect face, what style resonates with your consummate aesthetic? Would you wear your feelings on your chest with literal statement pieces with boldface graphics or refine your approach with muted tones and classic features? I say let your freak flag fly if you want and mix it up.

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Calm Before the Storm. A Caribbean Love Affair

Imagine yourself here. Can you almost imagine the experience that transforms your ordinary week into an extraordinary adventure? With its cosmopolitan cities and a wild side just resting under the surface, Puerto Rico swings both ways. The 3,515 square mile island is both modern and remote. You may fly into the bustling city of San Juan in the morning and be in the stunning tropical rain forest by lunch.

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