Experience · Hobby · singapore

My First Lithops

I got a lithop on my birthday as present and was so happy! My first Lithops! When I paid attention to it, I saw the lithop looked wrinkle and dry. Hmm.. it is not supposed to look like this. I know it because I saw a lot of Lithops photos before lol. They are small plump thing looking like a rock. I felt like something was wrong with this one and I did some research to find more about this plant. I know this plant is similar to succulent in term of can’t water too often, so I was only making sure I didn’t do anything wrong to it (or even worst, killed it..).

Lithops Horizontal Wrinkle Thirsty
Lithops arriving at my house!

There are A LOT of blogs and vlogs about this little guy and the information are overwhelming. Some of them are contradictory and some people didn’t really explain the detail about how to care for this plant. I spent one day (on and off) reading and listening to all those, while doing my job ( I did it when I was on train/bus commuting from one place to another for my work ). And finally the next day, I found something that seem make sense. All of those information need to be stored somewhere in case I forgot about it, so here we go! I’m gonna put it here and maybe can help someone else too who is wondering on how to take care of Lithops. Disclaimer : I’m a first time Lithop owner, so the info here might be inaccurate, BUT I will always update my findings and results to see which one works for them.

1. You got your Lithops, what to do?

Always check for the roots for newly bought plant (or if you got it as present like me). It’s good to see the root’s condition and also the kind of soil used in the pot. Pour out all of the soil and if some soil stuck to the root, clean it under running water. Gently remove the soil. Check the root. Healthy root should be white and firm when touched. Red and mushy root is bad. We need to trim that and wash the root. Be gentle. Let them dry up before repotting them. It can be within a day or even for a couple of days depending on the weather condition at your area.

Healthy Lithops Root
Check for their root. White root is a healthy one.

2. Soil and Pot

Lithop needs a well-drained soil and pot. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. Use a deep pot, minimum 3 inches deep for Lithops as they have a very long tap roots. I’m using a 3-inch terracotta pot. For the soil, I use the mix of pumice and akadama soil. If you want to use cactus soil, use at most 10% of the total, and use perlite/pumice for the 90%. Do NOT use organic soil, such as peat mossm as it can hold moisture for too long and Lithops hate that. It can cause root to rot.

Pumice Akadama Lithops Soil Mixed
Pumice and Akadama Soil Mixed

3. Lights

They like bright location both with direct or indirect sunlight. Four to Six hours of direct morning sunlight is ideal. Move them to location with indirect sunlight in the afternoon as they can get sunburn if get hit by direct sunlight at that time of the day. If you are forgetful or too busy to move them around, just place them in location that is bright with indirect sunlight, and they will be happy. Lithops hate shades, location with not enough light. They will try to reach for light by elongate their body. If the light condition doesn’t improved after some time, they can die ( I know… I was also shocked when I read this in a blog, died due to lack of light ). I have a south-facing balcony, so I placed him there. There won’t be any direct sunlight but at least the location will be very bright most of the time.

4. Watering

When I read about Lithops, this is the most important factor that I need to master. Most people killed their Lithops due to overwatering, so I was so scared to do it. I need to find something that is helpful enough for me to tell whether it is the correct time to water them. And, I found out about they have different stages as well! How am I supposed to know on which stage they are in? Lol. I also read the general rule of watering which are “when you have doubt whether to watering or not, do not watering them” and “only watering when the soil is completely dry”. The problem is they also can’t be left out underwatered too long or they will die. So how to tell they if they are thirsty other than checking the soil? Because on some stages of their life, we can’t water them as well even though the soil is dry. Confusing, right? It was, until I found out about the trick , tried it and it worked (so far). Let’s get to know about their cycle first, while I will add a note about watering on each phase.

5. Cycle

Lithops has several stages in a year so it’s good to know on which stage they are in. If you are in northern hemisphere, water them on spring and fall season. During summer (or the hottest time of the year or your region), they go into dormant. Therefore, they don’t need water. If during summer they wrinkle, give just a little bit of water just to plump the leaves back to normal. Then how about me who lives in Singapore? We don’t have 4 seasons here. Only dry season dan rainy season. I read on one of the blogs rainy season is the time for Lithops to grow so let’s see.. Next, when they split to have a flower, you can water them. Make sure the soil dry before watering again. Then stop watering when the flower has wilted. They will grow a new leaves by using the water retained on current leaves. When the old leaves has become very dried and easy to remove, you can water them.

How to water them? Some people do the bottom watering. Dip the pot in water for a few minutes and that’s it. Or, what I always do with my succulents, water them until the water is coming out of the drainage hole (soak and dry method). They will store up that water and use it for the next couple weeks (or even months).

In summary, here we go :

  • Dormant phase : when nothing is happening –> Water only if you see wrinkle on Lithops, or if they have flattened down. How much water to give depends on how much wrinkle on their body.
  • Flower phase : when they split to have flower (usually on Lithops older than 3 years old) –> Water them. Make sure the soil is completely dry before you water them again.
  • Flower wilted –> Do not water. Wait for next phase.
  • Split to grow new leaves –> Do not water. The new leaves will grow by using the water retained on current leaves.
  • Old leaves dried up and easy to remove –> Water them. Then wait until they are thirsty by looking at the wrinkles on their leaves/body.

The lithops that I got didn’t seem to start flowering or splitting, and it had a lot of wrinkles which appeared even more in several days. Therefore, I watered him until the water came out of the drainage hole and wait. After about 1-2 days, he revived! He looks plump and healthy even more a couple of days later. I haven’t watered him again since then.

20 August 2021 – I watered him a little on 18 Aug’21 but the wrinkles were still there
The transformation after watering. I watered it until fully soaked on 23 Aug’21.

I hope you can get what you need to know about growing Lithops from here, especially if you are living in South East Asia. I’ll update here again if my Lithops has gone to the next phase. Right now, it still doing nothing. I heard they would only grow flower if they were happy. So I guess my mission now is to make it happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank you for reading. Ciao!

Experience · Hobby · singapore

Terrarium Workshop at J2 Terrarium

I’ve been interested in terrarium since years ago actually but never really encouraged myself to learn about it. Taking care of succulent has been my interest recently. Although, I don’t know yet how to really take care of it.. (I’ve killed 3 succulents! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ). Frustrated with succulent, I’m thinking of learning about terrarium instead. Not sure if it’s a good idea though haha.

I searched online about terrarium workshop and everything seems so expensive.. But then I tried to search on fave and found several terrarium workshop. I chose J2 Terrarium after googling about them and seems legit. So I bought the voucher on fave for S$22 for 1 person. On the app, it said I need to do the booking via message. Apparently, they are on whatsapp with the same number so that makes it easier to book an appointment.

J2 Terrarium is located in Yishun area inside the Aโ€™Posh Bizhub building (1 Yishun Industrial Street 1, #04-06, Singapore 768160). From the lift lobby, just look for number 06. It’s quite easy to find. When I arrived, there were some other people as well so I guess this workshop must be good then (or at least, considered cheap?!).

The voucher from fave is valid for the small jars. There are 2 options for it. And if you decided to choose another jar, you just need to top up the difference. At first I was lazy to top up and just used the small jar, but after looking at other people’s jar I decided to opt for the dome model.

The small jar for fave voucher

After I picked my jar, she showed me the place where I can sit. Most of the participants came with their partner or friends. On the table, there were tools, gravels, colorful sands, soil, sphagnum moss and stones. So excited to learn about this!

There are 2 types of terrarium, which is closed terrarium and open terrarium. Closed terrarium is suitable for plants that can live with moisture/need watering often, while open terrarium is suitable for cactus and succulents because they don’t need watering that often. Closed terrarium will act as a small ecosystem where it can hold the water inside and circulate it, that is why we sometime see condensation on closed terrarium.

The first thing to put on the jar is gravels. I put the colorful gravel on the bottom and covered all of it. The gravel is used to contain excess water if any, so the soil won’t stay wet for too long because that can cause the root to rot.

Next is sphagnum moss, I put it on the gravel and pressed it especially around the glass because on top it we will put soil and we don’t want the soil to fall to bottom part. That’s why they used sphagnum moss to separate the gravel and soil. This is the important part.

On top of it, we put soil. No need to pressed it just pour it loosely until about 1 cm. We can put colorful sands as decoration (optional). If we want to use colorful sands, then it doesn’t need to pour on the whole surface with it, just put them on the edge where we can see it behind the glass while the middle part we can put soil instead. Noone will see what’s inside it anyway ๐Ÿ˜€

Next, we put soil. Lots of soil but not too much. We need to give space for the plants as well. For the dome jar like mine, I need to stop pouring soil about 1 cm from the jar edge because on top of soil we will put small gravels as decoration and we don’t want it to reach the edge.

After we’re done with soil, then it’s time to pick the plants! For closed terrarium, we will use fittonia and holland moss. And for open terrarium, they will use succulents and preserved moss (not live moss and comes in different colors). Jason then explained to us on how to take the plants from their pot and place it in terrarium soil. Since I was making closed terrarium, I picked my fittonias! It can fit 3 plants in my jar so I chose 3 different colors of fittonia ๐Ÿ˜†

Fittonia for terrarium
Fittonia

We are allowed to pick 1 figurine for free to put inside the terarium. I picked totoro figurine (was torn between totoro or dog figurine but totoro won). Back to my table, I arrange the plants, holland moss and figurine. Then I covered the soil with pebbles as finishing touch. Before I put the cover of my jar, Joy told me to spray the plants and moss about 3 – 4 sprays.

And tadaaa!! I present to you my terrarium creation ๐Ÿ˜

totoro closed terrarium

Overall it was a very nice experience and surprisingly relaxing. I love making terrarium! The problem is if I have to do it myself at home I need to have the tools and stock up on the equipments. J2 Terrarium also selling a DIY terrarium kit for S$18 at their website though so maybe if one day I want to make another terrarium again, I just buy the DIY kit so I won’t have too many extra. They gave us a paperbag to bring home our terrarium, and that paperbag worth S$2 if we bring it back to purchase something from them.

If you’re looking for thing to do on the weekend in Singapore, you can try this terrarium workshop at J2 Terrarium. For first time customer, you can buy voucher from fave! I think it’s worth the price!

Ho Chi Minh City · Hobby · Vietnam

Hana Vietnam – A wonderful shop of handmade bags

On a bright and beautiful day yesterday, I decided to go shopping for a bag. I always wanted to check this shop out. It is very famous among the Japanese ladies. Hana is the name. Located in District 2, inside Hem 47 at Quoc Huong street. It is near the clinic where I go to every day actually.

When I arrived at the address, I wasn’t sure if they were opened. The gate was closed, also the door inside. It is just like a normal house with some rattans outside. I saw the opening hour and they should be open until 5 pm (they only close on Sundays), so I rang the bell and someone came out of the house. A very nice Vietnamese lady.

placargo

I stepped in into the house an amazed by their products! They are very beautiful and nicely made. There are many kinds of rattan plait bag in the shop. I looked around and found the one I like. Then I asked for her permission to take photos of the product to put them on my blog. I feel like more people should know more about this shop.

They made all of the products by themselves. She also mentioned that her mom still helps to make the bags! Some of the bags also produced by their relatives in Mekong area.

The price is fixed. I tried to bargain but no luck ๐Ÿ˜ฆ There was someone buying for wholesale as well. She gave different prices for wholesale. Hmm, maybe I should try selling it as well!

Rattan Plait Bag with Tassel

I bought one bag for myself and another one for a birthday present. Luckily I had enough cash because they only accept cash payment. Prepare your cash before you visit this place! You might end up with more bags than you’ve had planned because they are so beautiful. It is good to buy as a souvenir from Saigon as well!

 

Address : 47/3 quoc huong, thao dien, district 2, hcmc

Facebook :ย https://www.facebook.com/hanavietnamshop/

Ho Chi Minh City · Hobby · Vietnam

Lunch at La fentre Soleil (Tahu Telor, Soto Betawi, Rawon)

This afternoon we were craving for some Indonesian food, even though we just came back recently from Jakarta! Luckily, we have La Fenetre in Saigon. They have a good Indonesian meals so it can fulfill our craving.

For lunch today, we ordered dishes that we’ve never tried before here. They were Tahu Telor (fried egg and tofu with peanut sauce and petis), Soto Betawi (beef in coconut milk soup) and Rawon (Indonesian Beef Black Soup).

Tahu Telor La Fenetre Soleil Saigon

Rawon at La Fenetre Saigon

Soto Betawi La Fenetre Soleil Saigon

All dishes were delicious. It did lack of richness compared to the original one in Indonesia. But I think it is because they adjusted the taste for foreigner. I posted about this on local foodie facebook group and the owner of the restaurant explained about this “lack of richness”. She said “Yes we cut on coconut milk for Soto Betawi as it is too rich for most of people also for “petis” on tahu telor as it is quite strong for non Indonesian for the smell and flavor.” Just as I thought!

Overall the taste was delicious, especially the sambal. They gave different sambal for different dish!ย Tahu telor was a bit spicy for me, but definitely will recommend this one to my friends since they like this kind of dish and spicy food. For rawon and soto betawi, I don’t think it will be interesting for them to try because most of them don’t like eating meat. Although…they ate Fried Chicken here lol. But mostly because of the galangal that was used as one of the spice for it.

Have you been to La Fenetre? What is your favorite dish there? Let me know in comment.

Ciao.

Experience · Hobby · Travel

World of Ghibli Jakarta

Japan Studio Ghibli was having an exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia until 17th September 2017. My trip to Indonesia was before it ended so I had a chance to visit it if I got the ticket. I haven’t checked on how to buy the ticket, maybe online or through tokopedia or gojek. One day before my departure to Indonesia, I saw my cousin selling her ticket on facebook. I quickly grabbed the chance and bought her ticket. She couldn’t watch it because of her working schedule and it would be a waste. So it was a win-win solution for us.

I went there on weekday. It was Thursday afternoon. I had to exchange the ticket with an exhibition wristband. There were people who bought the ticket on the spot as well. Same price with online ticket, which was IDR300.000. My friend was there as well at that time so he decided to join me to the exhibition. Yay have someone to take my photos lol. ย After we got our wristband, we walked to entrance and a security guy helped us putting on the paper wristband. I felt silly because we should have been able to do it ourself without his help. But hey.. he was very kind to assist us ๐Ÿ™‚

A guy took a note manually on his book after reading the code on our wristband. Then a girl approached us and telling us that in the next area until movie area we were not allowed to take photo of the exhibition. Only the 3D area is available for photos. The girl had to explain to every guest ! Wonder if they can arrange it better next time. Poor girl..

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When I first came in to 2D area, I was thinking “Oh okay, no photo. I don’t think there is anything worth to take photo, so let’s just read the info and enjoy”. But as I proceed to next room, I was sooo tempted to take the photo of the wall! There were a lot of illustrations and stories. They were beautiful! Each wall has its own story and images. It was helpful for someone who hasn’t watched the movie. There were some which are famous as well such as My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, and Princess Mononoke. But it still nice to read about it again. From that exhibition I found out that they are still producing movie in 2014 (titled : When Marnie was there)! Didn’t know that before..

Next after the 2D area is the theater. A big room with no seating. Everyone sits on the floor (or standing at back area). I watched the film a bit. It was The Tale of Princess Kaguya. I like the drawing style in this movie, also the concept of no talking (at least on the first 10 minutes when I watched). And yet this movie is adorable and cute in its way. I like how the grandparents “struggle” in taking care of Kaguya and how little Kaguya is so lively and spontaneous. Too bad I couldn’t watch it until end because I preferred to finish the sightseeing first and planning to go back in later.

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In 3D area, we were allowed to take photos, so this is the chance! There were not many people at that time (it was during working hour! lol), but there was 1 exhibition that has a queue. It was the bakery shop on one of the movie (Kiki’s delivery Service). Every guest who came in has 2 minutes to take photos inside the shop with all the props. I was too lazy to queue.. Queued on totoro instead ๐Ÿ˜€

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There was a small area that imitates a dark forest. A glowing deer from the movie “Princess Mononoke” was there with all the small creatures here and there.

We took some photos until our friend called us to meet him. We went out of the exhibition hall and the security guy told us to get a stamp if we plan to go back in. On the way out, I saw the souvenir shop! Many totoros.. and other things but we had no time to look around. We got our stamp on our hand, then we left the Ritz Carlton ballroom to see our friend.

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After our meet up, I met another friends then another one! In the end I couldn’t go back in there and missed the chance to see the shop! Maybe the universe telling me not to buy any stuff lol. Overall it was a great exhibition. They made the figure / sculpture in fine details. It was sad to hear that they had to destroy everything (except Totoro and cat bus) because it was hard to ship them to Japan ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Anyway, Good Job Studio Ghibli!

Ciao.