Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pinwheels and Rattlesnakes

Rubber Rattler
Now I'm the strange lady with pinwheels in her garden. I always used to wonder who on earth would want to "decorate" their veggie garden with pinwheels and now it's me. I managed to keep out all but the tiniest of the Rascally Rabbits (yes, they are still squeezing in - but they don't eat as much as mom rabbit does). Now I'm having trouble with robins and turtle doves. They wander in (can birds wander?) and with one dainty nibble, SNAP! there goes a seedling.

Pinwheels in the Garden
Do you have this much trouble getting along with nature? Hopefully, the twirling sparklers and scarry snakes will help - I'll let you know.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nature Always Bats Last

Stella de Oro Lily
If left on her own, Mother Nature will fill a space with something green in no time. Mostly these are not the kind of green things we would choose to look at when walking up the front path or sitting on our porch.

Welcome to My Home
After selling jewelry at the farmers market every Saturday from April through October for several years, my gardens suffered much neglect.  I was blessed to have the market as a venue for my jewelry, but between my full time office job, the hour and a half commute, making jewelry, packing and unpacking my tent and display, and the time I spent actually at the market,  it left me very little time for my yard.

French Hollow Cottage Style Garden
Rock Star is not a gardener. He refers to it as “yard work” while I think of it as a relaxing wonderful way to spend time with nature. He takes care of mowing and edging, but flower beds are my baby. It took no time at all for the weeds and invasive perennials to completely take over. Opting out of the market has not only allowed me to expand my Etsy business into vintage and home d├ęcor items, which I have always loved, but I now have time for my gardens.  

Cool Green Ferns
I spend a half hour or so before work weeding, planting or deadheading. I tackle bigger garden projects on Saturday and still have plenty of weekend and evening time left for vintage shopping and crafting.  I still love making jewelry but I’m under no pressure to produce enough pieces to fill a 10’ x 10’ booth space every week.

Shady Front Garden

I can even enjoy the sweet pleasure of sitting by the shade garden with a glass of iced tea and listening to the birds chirp. Now that’s something the Rock Star likes about gardening!

 Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have time to enjoy a little piece of nature today!

Monday, May 14, 2012

An Easy Care Curbside Mailbox Garden

I love any excuse to go to French Hollow and walk in the woods. This is the view on the way to the creek. You can hear the water gently moving just on the other side of the tree on the right.
On the way to the creek
My poor mail carrier (and the neighbors) had been subjected to my weedy sad mailbox garden long enough! There was virtually no soil around the post so my pinks were trying to grow on cement.
Mailbox Before the Makeover
So, off to the creek at French Hollow for some nice flat rocks to make an enclosure to hold good potting soil.
The Creek at French Hollow
I chose dwarf coreopsis because they bloom all season and can withstand the heat of the pavement and all day sun.  
Dwarf Coreopsis
I moved the pinks into the front garden near the Stella de Oro daylilies where they will show off their  lovely cool green leaves when their blooms are spent. Right now there are about two blooms left to open.

The Last of the Blossoms
I’m especially pleased to have a little bit of French Hollow Farm right here in my suburban yard. I hope the sunny blossoms and smooth creek rocks give the postal carrier a little smile too.
Creek Rocks and Newly Planted Coreopsis
In just a few days these will be covered with yellow blooms (and the grass won't be all mashed down). Thanks for letting me share my tiny garden. I promise to show you an update as it progresses - I just couldn't wait to share.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

DIY Chalk Paint Update

Shabby Chic Magazine Rack

The Wing It method is definitely a learning experience! Here is what I learned with my magazine rack project:  your surface should be fairly smooth to start out with; and your paint texture should be slightly thicker than heavy cream - thick and creamy, but thin enough to drip off the brush, not spatula thick like mine was. You may need to add water as you paint because chalk paint dries quickly. Mine thickened in the jar as I painted.

sanded the lumps and chunks off my first coat and then applied a second, thinner coat. The second coat filled in some of the rough patches and gave me a smoother finish in spite of the rough start. Then I went about distressing. Thank goodness nature isn’t as rough with us during the aging process!

I applied a thin coat of Johnson paste wax which went on very easily with a small piece of terrycloth. It dried for about 15 minutes before I buffed it with a soft flannel cloth. I paid a total of $27.44 for enough paint, plaster and wax to do several more, larger, projects.  

I’m happy with the results and, now that I have learned by doing (and hopefully made all the possible mistakes), I think the process will be much easier next time.  I intend to try ASCP someday soon. I love Annie Sloan’s colors and the results the ladies in the blog world get with her paint are fabulous, but for now, I’m going the thriftier route. I may kick myself when I finally do use ASCP – I’ll let you know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY Chalk Paint - The Wing It Method

Phase I - bumpy project
Not having a clue what I'm doing has never stopped me from trying new things. It only took a little encouragement, which I got from my last post, to jump into the world of chalk paint with both feet - all the way up to the elbows. I'm thrilled to share my process with my readers:
Step #1 - Google search for instructions OR use my favorite method - the Wing It.
DIY  Chalk Paint
I am cheap thrifty, and since I would have had to wait until Saturday to get to my Annie Sloan chalk paint stockist miles away, I decided to try the highly touted DIY recipe at, which is 1-1/2 cups latex paint (Valspar antique white), 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup plaster of paris. I mixed it up in a big plastic mayo jar. Actually, Hellman's might have been a good consistency to shoot for. My peanut butter chalk paint was maybe a teensy tiny bit too thick. The Wing It method is full of surprises.

My magazine rack has a character that makes me think it may have been a high school shop project that did not get an A+. It boasts a crackledrip finish and lots of extra nooks, cracks and crannies where the piecesparts don't exactly match up.  The peanut butter chalk paint dried very quickly in spite of the thickness and went on with one coat (applied 3 at a time with each brush stroke).

This morning I surveyed my work in the light of day. I think it is a fine looking chalk adobe painted magazine rack!
Step #2 - find instructions for - I'll Wing It!