Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gelli Printed Tape Stickers

I've been playing in my art room, mostly making embellishments .    I saw this video on the Gelli Arts site and immediately gave it a go  - whoo-ee- what fun!

The technique is simple but genius.   Spread acrylic paint onto Gelli plate,  add marks with acrylic paint ,  leaving some areas unpainted,  letting each  paint application dry completely , then place packing tape over the painted design and lift off the painted design.  You then either dust the unpainted, sticky surface with pigment powder or press some text paper onto it or both.    Watch the video for details , but it's super easy.   Pretty sure you could use regular tape to get narrower strips or even a sheet of clear contact paper to get one huge sticker- more options to try.

So here is my painted Gelli plate.  This is different than regular Gelli printing - it is important to let each color dry completely before adding the next.    You will notice some areas that have no paint - also important.    Make designs, marks whatever on the dried paint, then let those marks dry completely.

Here are some of my fancy mark-making tools- a paper tube,  a silicone basting brush from the Dollar Store, a hand-made cork stamp, a whisk from the Dollar store , and the cap from an embossing marker.   

Packing tape strips laid down on the plate and lifted off - here they are in all their painty goodness.

And here they are after dusting the sticky side with Perfect Pearls - I used Blue Patina and gold.   I also stuck down a few strips of book paper.   The areas without paint take up the Perfect Pearls and provide a space to add some text (or sheet music) bits of paper.   The pigment powder will also fill in around the painted areas, adding a great shimmer.

I'm going to be cutting these into thinner strips and some shapes - such fun !

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tower Hill Gardens

Winters are long and dreary here in the Northeast, so when things start to green up, we go a bit overboard, leaving no garden store or garden unvisited.

This week my friend  Amazing Grace and I went to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts.  In 1986, the Worcester County Historical Society began work on the 132 acre Tower Hill Farm and transformed it into the botanic gardens.  (I got stuck on why the garden is called "botanic"- what else would a garden be?   Turns out that while plants may be wild and free, the folks in charge have R.U.L.E.S. and Botanic Gardens Conservation International {seriously!}  has set the definition for a botanic garden.  It's dull, but if you must, you can read it here.)

The site is beautiful, overlooking the Wachusett reservoir.  The grounds and gardens are meticulously maintained, wth plenty of benches for sitting and soaking in the pretties.   Here we are, at the Garden cafe after a great lunch.

We started  with this amazing wall of plants- annuals, perennials, grasses, lettuces and herbs - so lovely.

A  couple of close-ups of the wall.   The wall is a grid of three inch rectangular pots in  a frame.   This makes for a lush solid wall of colors and textures.  I've seen a much less grand version done with wood pallets - it's on my to-do after seeing this one.

Love the little succulents in the stone fireplace.

I just bought a weigela for $3.00 from a nursery store's Death Row - wonder how long it will take to turn into this beauty.

 Winter?   What winter?    Everything is green and blossoming and life is good.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Beacon Hill Garden Tour

I love neighborhood tours - kitchen, garden, whatever.   It's sanctioned snooping, for crying out loud - what's not to like?  When that neighborhood is the very chi-chi Beacon Hill section of Boston, even better!  The Captain humored me by tagging along and being very helpful with his map skills.

The tour is hosted by the Beacon Hill Garden Club whose members  have to have a secret garden and agree to open it when needed for the tour.   The gardens are all the small walled -in  spaces of very old homes on Beacon Hill.  These spaces were originally designed for the not so chi-chi quotidian activities managed by the servants like  laundry, deliveries, and trash storage. The street level garden entries are often though narrow tunnels so the servants didn't schlep through the grand house while doing their jobs.

The gardens in these small spaces are almost all (at least the ones on this year's tour) minimalist in style .  Some have large trees or smaller trees espaliered  along a wall.   The gardens can also be reached through the living space, so many have tables set for  dining or relaxing.  Once inside these walled gardens it is hard to imagine the Boston busyness  outside.

 These are mostly shade gardens, given their high brick walls and surrounding tall brownstones, "full sun" isn't part of their vocabulary.

This garden in Mount Vernon Square was my favorite.  It's larger than most and owned by the only man in the garden club.   His style is more exuberant than some of the restrained, structured gardens, and the space allowed for huge trees and bushes.

He also has a sense of humor - When I told him I laughed at the pink flamingo hidden under a bush he said that he added a plant tag with the genus name to class it up since " the Garden Club ladies aren't fond of pink flamingos in the gardens".    Note that the tag also indicates that the flamingo does double duty as a snow gauge!

I love this sweet little vignette.  Oh, and the very best thing about this garden is that it smells like chocolate !  That brown mulch is crushed cocoa bean shells, and when the sun warms them  the garden smells like freshly baked brownies.

This neighborhood takes window box planting seriously with an annual competition for "best in show".   

Tiny spaces along the street side also get star garden treatment.

And let's not forget entryways.   What's not to love about Beacon Hill with its old buildings,  miles of brick, and understated, old-money elegance?

If you get a chance to go, wear comfy shoes.  Uneven brick walkways and cobblestones can be challenging, plus it's called Beacon HILL for a reason!   Lines are long when the tour opens, so plan on late morning/early afternoon so you don't spend too much time waiting in line.  

The tour is a great chance to explore the Beacon Hill area , sneak a peek into some gorgeous homes and gardens - oh, and maybe even enjoy a lovely lunch.

{Bin 26 Enoteca}

Sunday, May 15, 2016

DIY Mason Jar Succulent Planters

Big doings around here - DC son is getting married!  Lots of festivities in the works, including a bridal shower.   Soon-to-be Daughter - in- Law loves succulents and mason jars, so this idea for shower favors was a no-brainer.

Started out with these little jars from Hobby Lobby :

Then,  two coats of chalk paint.   The first coat of chalk paint always looks bad- streaky and spotty, but the second coat covers all of that.

I did a little sanding to highlight the raised designs on the jar .

Then the planting.  Here is the sink full of tiny succulents that I used.

I filled the jars about 2/3 full with cactus potting mix, then added a succulent and carefully filled in with more potting mix as needed.   Chalk paint has a matte, chalky finish giving it a wonderful vintage look,  but that super - matte finish means that dirt sticks to it and doesn't wipe off easily.  I tried not to smudge too much potting mix on the paint.

I had these fabric tags from the Michael's in my stash.  I tried stamping  Future DIL's initial on them,  but found that writing the letter with a medium point Sharpie worked best.

Wrapped some twine around the jars, tied on the tags and the sweet little jars are done.

 Here they are on display at the shower:

And en route home to DC:

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