How to Cut Mosaic Hexagon Tile

After many months of plumbing, electrical, drywall, repairing and painting, it's finally time to get the tiling going in our guest bathroom remodel. 

I picked out this matte black porcelain hexagon tile for the floors from AllModern.com. Our home was built in 1947 so hexagon tile was an easy, classic choice. This gorgeous bath via Canadian House and Home was one of the inspiration images that I used when planning the space. So simple and gorgeous right?!

Via House & Home March 2013, photo by Michael Graydon, designer Mandy Milks

Via House & Home March 2013, photo by Michael Graydon, designer Mandy Milks

My husband, Chris and I had done plenty of tile projects in the past so late last week we got the kids to be early and figured we would have the floor installed by midnight at the latest. With the tile saw at the ready we mixed up our thin-set and then... we quickly realized we had NO IDEA how to cut this stuff. 

The wet saw didn't work, it just flipped the small tiles up and on top of the blade. We tried our tile nippers only to have the tiles shatter when we tried to cut them. We needed to do some digging so we dumped our thin-set (goodbye $30!) and started Googling. 

We found a few online tutorials like this one from Young House Love for how to cut penny tile that helped get us started and after a bunch of researching, and some trial and error, we landed on a method that worked really well for us. 

Here's what you need - 

Ceramic Tile Cutter | Tile Nippers | Painters Tape | Scissors | Measuring Tape | Scrap Container

And here's how we did it - 

1. Tape the tile to a piece of cardboard (we used the pieces that were shipped with our tile) on the line that you will be cutting. The tape gives you a guide, helps to hold the tile in place while scoring and prevents tile breakage when nipping each tile.

Tile Cutting with The Forest Fern

2. Using the ceramic tile cutter, score each tile along the tape line. You aren't cutting the tile here but rather just setting a line to help encourage a clean break when you use the nippers.

Tile Cutting with The Forest Fern

3. Place your nippers on the scored line in the middle of the tile and slowly apply pressure until you break the tile on the line.

Tile Cutting with The Forest Fern

4. Save all of those cut halves that don't break! You will have some pieces that still shatter despite your best efforts. You can simply pick those pieces off of the mesh and replace them with your stash of cut pieces.

Hexagon tile cutting with The Forest Fern

5. Start laying out your tile. We dry fit all of our tiles before we started to set them. Yes, this was time consuming but it really saved us a lot of headaches during the installation process since all of our tiles were already cut and labeled.

6. Speaking of labeling, use some painters tape to label each sheet of tile so that you know where they go when it's time to install. We printed out a photo of the floor and made a little directional map to help remind us of the pattern.

And that's about it! I actually really liked cutting the tiles this way - it was far less messy than working with a wet saw and a lot quieter too - perfect for those of us who do projects while the kids (and neighbors) are sleeping.

I hope that something here might help you with your next tile project. We can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel with the guest bath. On to wall tiles! 

Our Guest Bath Remodel - Planning and Tips

Hello friends, it's been a while! Admittedly, the blog has been much neglected this year. When it's May and your last post is about Holiday baking (eek!), you know that it's time to jump back in. I'm feeling inspired and this year I'm hoping to bring you even more content including sharing my passion for interiors, more highlights of local gems like my favorite shops and interviews with amazing makers and artists.

I'm excited to share the plans for first big remodel in our current home - our guest bath. When we moved into our 1947 ranch about two years ago we knew that this would be one of the first really big projects that we would have to tackle. There was pretty obvious water damage in this room - so much so that our plumber recommended that we not use the old shower at all - so up until now, this bath has served as a powder room.

The before's are too bad aesthetically, but all of the damage was lurking underneath piles and piles of plaster, wire mesh, bad vinyl flooring and tile. 

You can see that the shower was already partially demolished when I took these since we had attempted to retile the shower about a year ago only to find that THERE WERE NO STUDS IN THE WALLS since they had been eaten away from extreme water damage. So yeah, we put that project on the back burner, covered the shower with plastic to keep out kids and guests and affectionately dubbed this "The Murder Shower". Cute, right?

But, before we get to the construction breakdown, let's look at all of the pretty stuff.

I wanted the space to be modern and little bit traditional with a slight midcentury vibe. This bathroom from Design Sponge served as the primary inspiration for the space.

Photo by Paige French and Chris Isham for Design Sponge 

Photo by Paige French and Chris Isham for Design Sponge 

I love the simplicity of the classic black and white tile as well as the thoughtful mix of materials and accessories. Our home is a strange mix of a formal Pennsylvania stone ranch and a California Modern ranch so after much searching and Pinning, this felt like the right direction.

As my husband Chris worked on the demo, I put together a mood board for the space to clarify my ideas and give us a good starting point. I've become a big, big fan of developing mood boards. It saves me a ton of time and helps to keep us and our team on point - even our contractors. I make all of my boards in Keynote and then export them to a PDF that we hang on the wall for reference.



Since we don't have room for a pretty clawfoot tub like the inspiration room, the Kohler Brockway Sink was my first choice for the space. I knew I loved these sinks since I had seen them at the incredible Foxfire Mountain House and the cast iron enamel is a timeless yet modern look. Bonus - this sink is a major space saver in our small footprint. 

We went with a porcelain matte black hexagon tile for the floor and a large format white subway tile for the walls. For the inside of the shower floor and the shower niche we are using this marble hexagon tile from Home Depot. The ceiling will be a faux shiplap and since we are keeping the original V-groove wall cabinets on either side of the window, the shiplap will be installed to mimic the lines of those cabinets. 

The more permanent fixtures in the space like the sink faucets, the shower fixtures and the shower door handles will all be in a warm stainless. We are bringing in some mixed metals with this light fixture from Cedar and Moss as well as brass accessories and knobs (see source list below). 

5_10_17BathroomFlatLay.jpg

We almost have all of the materials and fixtures ready and waiting for installation - yeah our garage is pretty full right now! In regards to the sourcing, I wanted to share a huge tip on saving both time and money with this kind of remodel.

When you are finding and buying all of your materials yourself, something like this can easily become very overwhelming. I saved myself a ton of time and money by working with one supplier for the majority of our purchases - Build.com. I used the company's live chat feature and worked with one customer service representative for all of our purchases including the Kohler sink and faucets, the Delta Shower trim kit and valves, our Tile Redi shower pan, drain assembly, Kohler soap dish and the vent fan. Build.com beat any advertised price that I could find and also worked with me to get the very best price possible on their already low prices with free shipping and no tax. The whole process was a breeze and we saved hundreds of dollars. This is in no way sponsored, I just really love the service that they offer and wanted to pass along that tip!

I have a few other fun projects for the bathroom in the works like custom artwork and that DIY shiplap ceiling that I'm excited to share with you as well as all of the construction details. In the meantime, here is the list of sources for the mood board. 

This week our tile board and drywall is going up and I'm pretty darn excited! It feels like we are inching towards actually finishing this thing!

xx, Sara

Treasure Hunting: Clover Market, Bryn Mawr PA

This past weekend, I made the trip to Bryn Mawr for Clover Market, a seasonal open-air market with over 100 vendors featuring antiques, vintage finds, original art, handmade items and some of Philly’s best food trucks. If you haven’t been to one of their market events, it’s definitely worth checking out. 

One of the best things about Clover Market is that it is a juried event so all of the vendors are carefully selected. I was impressed by the consistent quality and uniqueness of the handmade and vintage items. The weather was perfect for a spring treasure hunt - bright and sunny and just a little bit cool.

Here’s a little glimpse of some of my favorite finds.

This awesome bar set up at Soldier 58 was one of the first things that really caught my attention. Great Mid-Century styling and they also had several sets of vintage glassware that were very tempting. 

I really loved the feel of the mugs from Mud & Maker. It had a great weight and shape and who can resist a bee motif?

I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a hand crafted candle. The candles from Candelles were not only all natural with a soy wax and phthalate-free fragrance oils, but the scents were light, inventive and irresistible. We left with eight new candles and my favorite scent is the Sweet Tobacco.

I was particularly taken with these garlands from Untold Imprint. Each garland that founder and maker Phoebe creates is hand dyed, torn and knotted in small batches. The colors are perfection with subtle graduation. 

I was very impressed with the jewelry from Michele Sky Jewelry. Her designs are refined and delicate with a global influence. You can see more of here limited edition designs here.

Check out these amazing stained glass figures from Le Puppet Regime. Each one was so unique and I could see the passion that maker Genevieve Geer puts into each design. 

The ceramics from Stanley Chester & Albert were awesome with their Victorian and Edwardian motifs and I really loved these small vessels. I could see one of them in the nook above my sink. 

Some of you know that #ihavethisthingwithtextiles and Clover Market did not disappoint. The hand dyed textiles from Riverside Tool & Dye were simply amazing. All of their products use natural materials like these raw silk throws. From clothing to home goods, they are turning out beautiful work. I have my eye on these pillowcases. They also had some lovely indigos that were hard to resist.

Here’s just a sampling of some of my other favorite textile finds. The lovely white chenille blanket now resides at my sister Beth’s home in Philadelphia. 

My sister and I also both came home with fabulous baskets from Gypsy Fish Studios. Mine is the perfect place to keep all of my air plants and my son really likes it too.

My friend Beth Taylor (some of you might recognize her from my post on The Broad Street Market) found these stunning garden orbs. She came home with three of them in various sizes and I can’t wait to see what she does with them. 

After a full morning of treasure hunting, we had to check out the amazing food trucks at the event. We loved the Fried Chicken Bowl from Poi Dog and my favorite was the Crab Salad Sandwich with sweet chili sauce from HEART Food Truck. The Made in the Shade Lemonade was perfectly refreshing. 

This is Butch Cassidy, the cutest Australian Shepard puppy around. We met Butch and his mom Sandy having lunch and Butch was really enjoying his slider from Oink and Moo BBQ

My absolute favorite food find was this outstanding ice cream sandwich from Weckerly’s Ice Cream. Weckerly’s French-style ice cream is all small-batch and features local and organic ingredients. Each flavor is made completely by scratch and highlights seasonal flavors. We had the Meadow Mint - perfect local bergamot mint ice cream and dark chocolate sea salt fudge sandwiched between two delicate classic shortbread cookies. This might have been the most amazing ice cream dessert I have EVER had. Yes, it’s that good. I really wish I had another one right about now...

Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better day or a nicer event. Check it out if you get the chance, it’s a great place for a treasure hunt. 

You can find more information about Clover Market including upcoming market dates and vendor applications at www.theclovermarket.com

Follow Clover Market on Instagram @clovermarket

*All opinions expressed here are my own and I am in no way associated with Clover Market. If any sources are missing or credited incorrectly please contact me at hello@theforestfern.com and I would be happy to correct them.

Fiddle Leaf Love: How To Repot Your Fiddle Leaf Fig

Oh fiddle leaf fig, how I love you! I was giddy when I finally located my fiddle at my local nursery. Yep, I was that crazy lady with two toddlers trying to get a giant tree into her car. The kids promptly named our new friend "Figgy" and you've probably spotted him in many of my photos and posts. 

I knew right away that Figgy needed to be repotted. His roots were pushing through the top of the soil and when I watered him, the water just rushed out of the drainage holes in the grow pot. 

We found Figgy a new larger pot at Ollie's Bargain Outlet. Seriously, Ollie's has some pretty fantastic pots at amazing prices. You don't want to pick a pot that is significantly larger than the current grow pot. A few inches larger will do the job. We picked a pretty blue and green terracotta number and paid $23.  

The first thing that I did to get ready to repot was to mix up my potting mix. This is something that I learned after having many house plants suffer from over-or-under-watering problems. Most commercial potting soils are just too heavy for house plants and they don't do a great job at letting water drain away or letting roots breathe. I started to make my own potting mix by combining 1/3 organic potting mix, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 perlite. My plants are so, so much happier since I started to do this!

For a big job like this one, I like to make my mix in a big plastic container. I find that I am always either repotting a current plant or adding a new plant to my home so it's great to have a bunch of potting mix ready to go. 

After you have your mix ready, you can add that mix to your new pot. Add enough mix so that the top of the root ball of your fig will sit even with the top of your pot. I was lucky enough to have a small helper for this job.

Now it's time to gently remove your fig from the current pot. I like to do this by squeezing in the sides of the grow pot until the root ball gently slides out of the pot when it is tipped on the side. As predicted, my poor Figgy was terribly root bound.

I decided to do some root pruning. The trick here is to remove no more than 20% of the root structure. I used an old knife to gently remove just the outside layer of roots all around the root ball.

Here is the end result...

trimmed.jpg

Next, we picked up Figgy by the bottom of the root ball and moved him into his new home. Use your potting mix to fill in around the sides of the root ball using your fingers to gently push the soil into any air pockets. I also like to water as I go here to ensure that the soil is nice and damp (not wet!). When everything is filled in, give your happy plant a good watering.

Keep your newly repotted friend out of direct sunlight and you may need to water a bit more frequently at first. You will also probably notice that you fig is looking mighty perky - mine sure does!

finalfiggy.jpg

Hey there Figgy, aren't you looking lovely!

Local Spotlight: The Broad Street Market

Located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, The Broad Street Market is a midtown landmark that is experiencing rapid growth. My dear friend Beth Taylor took over as Market Manager late last year and she has helped to usher in a lot of changes. From new vendors to kid-friendly spaces, The Market is noticeably fresher and brighter. If you haven’t been to The Market recently, you are missing out on a great shopping experience and the some of the yummiest local treats.

Beth has amazing personal style and has been an inspiration to me since we were lucky enough to meet in birth class four years ago. When you visit The Market, you can feel how her style is infusing into this vibrant community space. 

"I have always had a deep love and respect for old buildings" said Beth. "Since our market houses are the oldest continuously operated market house in the Nation it is an honor to bring them back to the glory that they once were. Deep cleaning, adding some modern amenities for our modern customers, and the families that visit us, and overall making it a space where you want to do your weekly shopping, stop for a bite to eat and gather as a community are my main goals. The simple things also make it a place where the vendors are happy to house their business and they are all such wonderful people - we are a big, diverse family working together towards success."

My family went to The Market last Friday and visited a few of our favorite vendors. Evanilla is usually our first stop, especially with a couple of toddlers along. Eva makes amazing gourmet cake doughnuts with lovely flavors such as caramel lavender and orange with candied orange peel. 

Right next to Evanilla is Elementary Coffee. Elementary uses a pour over method to prepare their freshly roasted coffee and offers some stand-out specialty drinks. My personal favorite is The Abacus with flavors of wild cardamom and maple syrup. 

Elementary is flanked on the other side by Radish & Rye. Radish & Rye carries only locally grown and produced food and I can tell you that the breads from McGrath’s Bakehouse are delicious. You can also find other local favorites here such as coffee beans from One Good Woman in Camp Hill and spice blends from Callicuts in Lemoyne. 

Also in “the brick building” is Hummers Meats. If you ask my family, Ryan Hummer carries the hands-down best cold cuts. We particularly love his slicing pepperoni and my kids are usually asking for a few beef sticks to munch on as we finish our market shopping. 

Long-time market goers will notice some of the biggest changes happening in “the stone building.”. The space is cleaner, brighter and busier with new vendors like Phyllo and Mel’s Rock ‘n BBQ recently completing new permanent spaces. I asked Beth about what else is in store for the stone market.

"What's happening in the stone market house is very exciting" said Beth. "We are creating a wonderful food hall full of quality and diverse food options. When I first came on board we had only a few vendors housed in the stone market but the set up and atmosphere didn't do them any justice. Bringing in natural light, replacing many of the overhead bulbs (a project that continues) and bringing in more vendors is reestablishing the stone market as a place where you want to eat and discover - whether it is grabbing lunch with friends or picking up take out for dinner on your way home. In the coming months we are adding Indian Food, a full European bakery, Italian pizzas and paninis and a few more are in the works towards a full market once more."

After our shopping was complete, my family sat down with some of Mel’s BBQ. We had the mouth-watering pulled pork and my son loudly told everyone around us that “I love BBQ!” At $10 for a platter with a sandwich, two side dishes and a drink, it’s a pretty great deal too. All of the meats are smoked on-site and served with the sauce on the side as the meat should “speak for itself”. It surely does. 

Of course, no Central Pennsylvania market would be complete without some of the classics like the buttery soft pretzels, juicy local apples, amazingly fresh seafood and some tasty popcorn.

We'll be back at the market this weekend. We hope to see you there.

Since our market houses are the oldest continuously operated market house in the Nation it is an honor to bring them back to the glory that they once were.
— Beth Taylor, Market Manager

The Broad Street Market is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and is located at 1233 North Third Street. More information can be found at www.broadstreetmarket.org