Masthead header

We had so much fun globe trotting this past summer, that not only do we have a dusty badge of honor around this home, but we also lost a good, long battle with our dinos, Leonard and Mabel. See that empty plot of terrain?

We had some wonderful home-sitters during our travels, but while going over our checklist of things such as feed the cats and water the patio plants, we left out the memo for our dear terrarium, v.3. As our Instagram follower @sohappyhome said, perhaps the dinosaurs were an omen for its inevitable fate. Ah, touché.

In our defense, v.3 went strong for a full year. On the other hand, it was our third version of a similar plant + dino combo, so for v.4, we switched it up.

With the help of a few air plants and a cheery penguin from our patio planters, we started over yet again. This time, we went with something we hope can handle a bit more neglect than the usual houseplant – succulents! We picked up a trio of buds from our local florist Fleur, and re-potted our vase from scratch. (And to be honest, our current set up needed a good scrub down, as minerals from our watering was making it a bit hard to see inside.)

The very patient lady at Fleur told us to water just once a week; this we can handle. Kiwi the shop pup – and easily the tiniest, sweetest angel of a pooch – helped us pick out our bundle of succulents, which we likely couldn’t have done without her. Already, we’re off to a good start.

If you’re brave enough to follow our advice (although to be fair, we know how to make a decent terrarium by now, it’s simply the black thumb issue that’s getting in the way) here’s what you’ll need:

You only need about 1-2″ of drainage rocks, but we pushed ours (it’s actually aquarium gravel!) up along the side of the vase so it only appears deeper. It’s followed with a thin layer of charcoal and a good 4″ of cactus soil (again, it doesn’t look like 4″, due to the way we pushed up the rocks – our succulents are situated in the center of the vase at the deepest point). Remember to have fun and complete your look with dried billy buttons, toys and dried moss! Here’s a great step-by-step tutorial for building, care and maintenance.

Fingers crossed for round 4. Our penguin pal is surely better luck than a duo of battling dinos, right? And now that we’re up to v.4, we wonder, has anyone else kept a terrarium alive for a good, long run? What’s your secret?

PS: On another note, The Pet Shop is excited to announce our newest partnership with One Tail at a Time for October through December! See the details right here.

  • Kati from sohappyhome - October 1, 2012 - 10:08 AM

    Hey, thanks for the honorable mention. Here’s to hoping that the penguin isn’t a harbinger of a similar fate. Go Team Succulents!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 1, 2012 - 10:14 AM

    Kati, we can’t imagine a sweet little penguin being one to stir things up… famous last words, perhaps?ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - October 1, 2012 - 12:01 PM

    I collect milk glass and plant succulents in them along with building terrariums. For watering a spray bottle is key, though I strongly believe that some succulents I buy aren’t meant to live past a month.
    I’d also recommend African Violets for planting, I have one that is huge and thriving in a fish bowl. Also Ferns, they seem able to handle a little over watering.
    Good luck!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 2, 2012 - 10:05 AM

      Alexis, thank you for the tips! We haven’t tried African Violets, but you never know if we may have a v.5…ReplyCancel

  • krissy - October 1, 2012 - 12:08 PM

    I really appreciate these posts about the failed terrariums, I can’t seem to keep one alive either. It crushes my green-thumb soul a little every time I have to rebuild, so I just stopped, but these posts give me hope and inspiration not to give up. Thanks for the updates!ReplyCancel

  • Emma - October 1, 2012 - 1:07 PM

    Good luck! This is a great looking terrarium. I’ve had the same abysmal luck with terrariums (have lost two so far). I don’t understand why they are so much harder to sustain than regular potted plants. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for the penguin.ReplyCancel

  • Amelia @ House Pretty - October 1, 2012 - 10:57 PM

    Love the penguin! I’ve had the hardest time keeping any plant alive, even succulents, since we moved into our house (nearly two years ago). I can’t seem to figure out where plants are happy, so I don’t dare try a terrarium. I’m happy to live vicariously through your photos :)ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 2, 2012 - 12:06 PM

    I’ve always wanted to do a terrarium, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I might just have to copy yours entirely, because I love everything about it! You can’t go wrong with succulents and billy balls, and penguins are my favorite. :) Thanks for the tips!ReplyCancel

  • [...] Three. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Marlene - March 15, 2013 - 1:22 PM

    This is my favorite terrarium, no joke! I’ve featured it on my blog ( I see the pingback already got here. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - March 15, 2013 - 1:45 PM

      Marlene, aw, thank you! And thanks for including us in your round-up!ReplyCancel

  • Inspired By: DIY Terrariums Jade and Fern - September 21, 2013 - 10:19 AM

    [...]  Three || Four || Five [...]ReplyCancel


This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. Thanks to all who participated!

You may know how much we love our pals Rick and Amber at Row Boat Press (so much so that we’ve partnered with them in the past here and here, and we have their art prints all over our bedroom), so when they asked if we wanted to give you more stuff, we said, yes, please! And because we just updated our favorite print above our bed with another one of Row Boat’s prints, the timing felt good. We love those guys. (Did we say that already?)

You see, not too long ago, they offered up custom I’ve Always Known It Was You art prints in the colors of our choice. We already owned it with black text on kraft paper, but give us a chance to make it ours, and we are there. We picked it up in grey on white, swapped it into our current frame, and now we have a fresh, fun take on our favorite print.

If you like it too, Row Boat is offering our grey + white color scheme as a limited edition print, right here. But in addition to their text prints, did you know they also have tees, cheeky posters and printsults?

But let’s talk about what’s in it for you. Rather than have us choose what you can win, we’ve all agreed to just give you some moolah to use in their store! Row Boat Press is giving one lucky reader $25 to use towards anything in their online shop – from the posters to the dry erase art to their ever popular text prints.

  • Up for grabs: $25 credit towards anything at Row Boat Press
  • To enter: Simply comment on this post and let us know, what would you buy with the $25? Would you keep it for yourself or get a head start on your holiday shopping? Or maybe you’ll stock up on the Printsults when you just can’t bear to say the words …
  • For additional entries: Share this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter, then come back and leave a comment letting us know. (One additional comment for each method – up to 2 extra entries!)
  • Giveaway ends: Tuesday, October 2nd, 5pm CST
  • Shipping restrictions: US of A only, please.
  • And just because: Don’t forget to peep the limited edition I’ve Always Known It Was You right here, and get free shipping on all orders through October 5th using the code YBHSHIPPING

The lucky dog winner will be selected using and announced on Wednesday, October 3rd. Good luck and happy entering!

Product photos via Row Boat Press.

  • Mrs. Foot - September 28, 2012 - 6:08 AM

    What a great giveaway! I would use the money to buy some prints for my master bedroom. We are sorely lacking in decoration in there!ReplyCancel

  • Val - September 28, 2012 - 6:47 AM

    What cute prints! I see a few that would make perfect wedding gifts.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - September 28, 2012 - 7:03 AM

    i know i should be thinking ahead for christmas or birthday or anniversary presents, but i would probably just end up buying something for myself. such cute stuff!ReplyCancel

  • WhitKae - September 28, 2012 - 7:07 AM

    I would use the credit to buy a gift for someone else then I would absolutely feel justified in spending money on something for myself. Too cute – thanks for sharing!!ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - September 28, 2012 - 7:51 AM

    I am in LOVE with that “Tools of the Trade 2: Design” print…Way too cute not to grab.ReplyCancel

  • Jen N. - September 28, 2012 - 8:03 AM

    Love them! I have the original “IHAKIWY” poster. I would love the Night Flight diptych.ReplyCancel

  • Mallory - September 28, 2012 - 8:06 AM

    I just moved to a new apartment and am seriously lacking in the art department. I would use it to buy “Always” which I love because it reminds me of Harry Potter!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - September 28, 2012 - 8:20 AM

    Liking “you’re my best friend” :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura B - September 28, 2012 - 8:29 AM

    I’d be hard pressed to choose which romantic print I’d pick up for the walls for me and the hubby but I know I have several people I need to give a Printsult to, especially the Mustache one!! Holy Crustaceans that’s the best card ever!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura B - September 28, 2012 - 8:29 AM

    Just shared on FacebookReplyCancel

  • Laura B - September 28, 2012 - 8:30 AM

    Just shared on TwitterReplyCancel

  • Ilana - September 28, 2012 - 8:49 AM

    A print. I really like the one you guys have.ReplyCancel

  • Molly - September 28, 2012 - 9:02 AM

    Love their printsults!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda @boucksy - September 28, 2012 - 9:17 AM

    I love Rowboat! I’d buy the dry erase “I love you because”!!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie - September 28, 2012 - 9:27 AM

    We have gotten so many comments on the Row Boat Press “kitchen utensils” print we won from you guys a few months back! I constantly peruse their website trying to decide which piece I want next! The “I’ve Always Known It Was You” one might just be the next purchase!ReplyCancel

  • L - September 28, 2012 - 9:36 AM

    I’d stock up on greeting cardsReplyCancel

  • Amanda - September 28, 2012 - 10:08 AM

    I’ve had my eye on “I have always known it was you” for a while but I just saw the dry erase board, “I love you because ____” and think it’s sweet too. But then again, “Everything is going to be okay” would be a good choice for my house too. So many options!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - September 28, 2012 - 10:13 AM

    I love the “I think I Can” Print with the train!ReplyCancel

  • Traci - September 28, 2012 - 10:30 AM

    Either the No Love Lost shirt or posterReplyCancel

  • ReneeD. - September 28, 2012 - 11:10 AM

    I would love to get the “I have always known it was you” print! My boyfriend and I will be finally moving in together and he is just too amazing for words, sometimes. haha.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Y. - September 28, 2012 - 11:13 AM

    I LOVE the Tools of the Trade, Kitchen version. I have the perfect place for it in my kitchen!

    Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • jessica w - September 28, 2012 - 11:36 AM

    I would buy the bacon shirt!ReplyCancel

  • jessica w - September 28, 2012 - 11:37 AM
  • jessica w - September 28, 2012 - 11:40 AM
  • Annie - September 28, 2012 - 11:44 AM

    I love the mustache print – perfect for a holiday gift!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - September 28, 2012 - 11:52 AM

    I’d either get the bacon shirt or the Ironic slogan shirt.ReplyCancel

  • Beth - September 28, 2012 - 11:54 AM
  • Beth - September 28, 2012 - 11:55 AM
  • Rebecca G. - September 28, 2012 - 12:06 PM

    I like the Genius Bee for a gift for my nephew or Tools of the Trade 2 for me!ReplyCancel

  • Marja - September 28, 2012 - 12:07 PM

    We love our prints – we have three of the dry erase “I love you because…” hanging up in our hallway.

    So, to share the love, I’d use the $ to gift one of those to a favorite person. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jen - September 28, 2012 - 12:10 PM

    I would totally buy a bunch of Printsults to send out when the occasion arises. So. Freakin’. Witty!!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - September 28, 2012 - 12:12 PM

    I love the Tools of the Trade Kitchen poster! I would love to display it my kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Leonora from Yellow Heart Art - September 28, 2012 - 12:17 PM

    i got to meet them at renegade craft fair a few months back! I love their “I love you because _______” print, NEED IT!ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina Packman - September 28, 2012 - 12:19 PM

    Upon winning the $25 I would promptly buy more art. My living room walls have many prints from Row Boat Press on them already but considering the rest of the house is jealous and I do fear some sort of Amityville scenario if I don’t don the other walls soon with prints!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - September 28, 2012 - 12:30 PM
  • Lucy - September 28, 2012 - 1:05 PM

    What an awesome give away! I’d use the credit to purchase the “I’ve Always Known It Was You” print for our bedroom. As a recently married couple, this would be the perfect touch for our new home!ReplyCancel

  • leslie - September 28, 2012 - 1:24 PM

    I would buy a sweet, romantic print for my brother and his new wife.ReplyCancel

  • Eligonma - September 28, 2012 - 2:34 PM

    Great giveaway!
    I would get the Tools of the Trade 1: Kitchen.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer M - September 28, 2012 - 3:25 PM

    Please pick me! I would get some prints for my new house!!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - September 28, 2012 - 3:27 PM

    I’ve been wanting the print you two have for so long! Such a great giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • April - September 28, 2012 - 4:28 PM

    I would get a print for the bedroom.ReplyCancel

  • Gina - September 28, 2012 - 7:20 PM

    I would get the train print!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - September 28, 2012 - 8:05 PM

    I would order the “I’ve always know it was you” print like the one you guys have! I’ve wanted it for ages!ReplyCancel

  • Mike Springsteen - September 28, 2012 - 8:29 PM

    Id buy the Melvin’s lite
    Print which I somehow missed
    at the show!ReplyCancel

  • Christy M - September 29, 2012 - 7:00 AM

    I would definitely put $25 toward one of the dry erase pieces – what a great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Christy M - September 29, 2012 - 7:02 AM

    I shared this post on Facebook.ReplyCancel

  • Amber - September 29, 2012 - 8:35 AM

    too many to choose, but I would definitely go with the Night Flight – diptych… I love it!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 29, 2012 - 6:03 PM

    I would get the print you guys chose in white and grey! I love it!ReplyCancel

  • krissy - September 30, 2012 - 9:45 AM

    OHMYGOSH-all the snarkiness that is RowBoatPress is totally warming my heart right now, I am officially obsessed, all because of the “Printsults”. I would definitely buy a ton and frame those-they are all sarcastic perfection.ReplyCancel

  • Katie R - September 30, 2012 - 2:34 PM

    I’d get the power up and warp prints for my husbands game room/basement! love it!ReplyCancel

  • Kaylan - September 30, 2012 - 3:45 PM

    I’d buy something for my office space. It could use a pick me up.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - September 30, 2012 - 5:04 PM

    I love the Brooklyn winter and Chicago summer prints!ReplyCancel

  • Jesse Doogan - September 30, 2012 - 5:54 PM

    Oh man. I’m in love with that glow-in-the-dark Winter Solstice print. That’s what I’d go for.ReplyCancel

  • Emma - September 30, 2012 - 8:54 PM

    Love! I would have to pick the “Every Week” print. Naturally, I would keep it and hang it in my office at work.ReplyCancel

  • ann - October 1, 2012 - 8:01 AM

    I could be selfish and use the gift certificate for myself, but would probably find the perfect item for just the right person as a gift.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - October 1, 2012 - 9:18 AM

    I love that I’ve always known it was you print. I think that would be the one for me.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - October 1, 2012 - 9:39 AM

    Would love that print for a wedding gift! How sweet :)ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - October 1, 2012 - 12:20 PM

    so fun! i love the “i have always known it was you” print. and the ironic slogan t-shirt is pretty hilarious. but the printsults? they are totally making me do that quiet-because-i’m-at-my-desk laugh. =)ReplyCancel

  • Summer N - October 1, 2012 - 12:57 PM

    I’m a shirt junky… and a bacon junky… It must be fate.ReplyCancel

  • Brianne - October 1, 2012 - 4:52 PM

    I would absolutely buy something for … me. All the prints are super fun. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Deb - October 1, 2012 - 7:27 PM

    I’d buy more more more of Rick’s stuff…ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 2, 2012 - 12:03 PM

    What a tough decision! I’d probably save it for gifting, because the “I love you because” dry erase boards would make fantastic gifts for my married/live together friends. So sweet! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kate - October 2, 2012 - 12:13 PM

    I really like the Genius Bee prints. I would use the $25 toward that…for me :)ReplyCancel

  • Joanie Hoffman - October 2, 2012 - 2:15 PM

    Thanks for the giveaway! I am savoring the anticipation!ReplyCancel

  • Katharine - October 2, 2012 - 2:28 PM

    I would get the “Chicago Summer poster” and put it in our living room!ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - October 2, 2012 - 3:46 PM

    Cute! I would get one of the posters for the new nursery we’re creating!ReplyCancel


After our adventures in the PNW, we came home with a lot to be thankful for. We were so lucky to spend time with friends both old and new, and our silly dinner conversations, cupcake eating and (let’s be honest) drunken, playful nights together will forever be the starts of later conversations such as, remember when we…?

Although many thank yous, hugs and kisses were involved, we wanted to (snail) mail note cards as another simple way to say, we think you’re great! But after shopping around for unique and cheery thank you cards with no luck, we decided on the next obvious course of action: DIY.

Solid color note cards and envelopes with a stripe of decorative tape are not only sweet and simple, but they’re more personal, don’t you think? We used kraft cards, gold envelopes and Smash tape (all picked up from our local art supple store), but there are so many ways to mix and match to suit your style (and that of your friends, too!). The best part is that most paper bundles come in packs of ten, so you’ll have more on hand when the time comes (and save a few trips to the craft stores).

Do you still send out traditional cards? We might not be holiday-card-givers (they say that’ll come after your first human child; is this true?), but we do love a good piece of unexpected snail mail.

  • Rebelwerewolf - September 26, 2012 - 6:33 AM

    We give out holiday cards, and we have two dogs and zero children. I was thinking of getting special cards printed with Badger and Mushroom on them for this winter.ReplyCancel

  • jane - September 26, 2012 - 6:57 AM

    Absolutely love to DIY cards. I got some plain mini cards and am stitching them with my machine to add some color, and will offer them with any items that customers want gift wrapped at my upcoming art festival. Alsoam addicted to washi tape :) but i never thought to use it as you did on a card!ReplyCancel

  • Miranda @boucksy - September 26, 2012 - 7:45 AM

    These are totally cute. I know that this kind of tape has been getting pretty high up there as far as fame and usage goes, so I think maybe now it’s finally time to cave!ReplyCancel

  • Sadie - September 26, 2012 - 8:57 AM

    I am a HUGE letter writer (as in I send out snail mail daily)…Hazel on West Montrose has the very best stationary selection ever. With my addiction, it’s almost dangerous to walk in the door :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 26, 2012 - 9:25 AM

    Jane, I love stitched cards! Ugh, if only I knew how to sew.

    Sadie, I haven’t heard of Hazel. Will have to check it out! (But it seems I may get into a bit of trouble doing so…) Thanks for the tip.ReplyCancel

  • Trude - September 26, 2012 - 1:11 PM

    Love them!! I think because I grew up in a house where most of our friends and family lived in different states and countries, we sent lots of mail, even now. I love doing cards, I usually find fun ones on Etsy (my fave artist is Laura George) or make my own. I’ve been doing holiday cards with me and my dog since I was 23, I guess I’m just an old lady at heart! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kim - September 26, 2012 - 1:17 PM

    Trude, old ladies unite!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Lynn - September 27, 2012 - 8:55 AM

    Kim, what art supply store do you go to around these parts?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - September 27, 2012 - 9:05 AM

      Hey Amy! Most of the time, I’ll go to Blick’s off of North Ave (but there’s a huge one downtown at State & Monroe), Utrecht (on Wabash downtown) or Paper Source on Armitage.ReplyCancel