May 19, 2014

Peonies in July, or forever

Cannot imagine my garden without Peonies. Here in Illinois we have the perfect climate and soil. Not perfect for much else, weather that is......I was driving in a blizzard last Friday! Anyways, Peonies love hot temps and our heavy clay, alkaline soil.
The colors  and varieties are staggering. 
This gardener prefers the "bomb" varieties, big floriferous blossoms.
This gardener also loves to cut and preserve
 this most feminine of flowers.
 Noooooo Waaaaaay am i bringing those indoors! What if I get ants in my house!! Is the oft heard refrain.
Repeat; In order to enjoy these beauties, you will have ants so do not spray, nature is at work. The flower buds require ants to aid in opening, the sweet and sticky substance the buds exude attract the insects.
Prior to bringing them in give a good shake upside down several times, all ants should be dislodged.
 What if you want peonies in say late July? Easy! Cut the stems when they are just showing color, in a tight bud stage, about 20-24" long. Remove the lower half of the foliage.
Wrap each stem in newspaper followed by a wrapping in plastic wrap. Place all of your wrapped stems in a plastic trash bag, close and place in the refrigerator crisper. Remove the number of stems for your bouquet, 2-3 days prior to needing, cut the bottoms and place in a vase with fresh cold water. Viola!
Long term preservation is best accomplished via drying in a hot dark place, an attic is perfect. When the upside down bundles are half dry, place a blow dryer under each bloom for a short hot burst. The petals fly open, stay and will dry full blown.



May 5, 2014

She came....She taught.....She inspired

The venue was warm and inviting and the same can be said for our guests, Amy and Gene Howard. The duo behind the remarkable paint and decorative finishing line.

You could hear a pin drop, she had our absolute attention as Amy shared her trials and successes in life and business, followed by a demo of the products in their line.

Part of the fun was learning about the new items in the line. All of which we have on order.

My favorite, the Cracked Patina
A very easy three step process offering an authentic renaissance patina.
Look closely.......The first coat is Bauhaus Buff one step paint color, when dry, the Cracked Patina solution is applied, when dry, a second paint coat in Selznik Gray was added. The reaction is a mottled, fissured and cracked effect replicating a century of wear

On the left, one color Cracked Patina. If the wood is revealed underneath, that is good

What to do with the heavily grained wood of Oak? Well let me say, it is a good thing I am busy with the start of the landscaping season or I would be stripping floors over here to create this effect, Liming Wax. Above reflects the wax in raw Oak.

But this one has a wash of a gray One Step paint which is then limed!!!! This is what I want to do to my kitchen flooring. Anywhere you have Oak, this can be achieved

Mica Powders, in a variety of colors, and effects, even a clear called Diamond Dust. A little goes a long way. Mixed into a wax, see the effect below

Utilize with a light hand revealing a whisper of gold (silver, red, bronze.......) or with a heavier hand

I brought a show and tell. In the concrete ornament line we carry are these Fox heads to be hung on a wall, book ends, paperweight, on a shelf atop a stack of books........ In and of themselves the patina is beautiful, never the chalk white of concrete but with a mottled look of age.

When painted in the black One Step paint, waxed, pounced with Dust of Ages to get into the crevices, then would swear you are looking at an old piece of iron. Hmmmm, can I do this to my outdoor concrete urns and ornaments? YES!
Aging mirrors and creating the old world art of Eglomise, stenciled patterns etched into the glass. For a personal effect, stencil the back with paint and Mica Powders

And Greek Key Patterns

The new size has been wildly popular, easy to ship, less expensive allowing for more experimentation, collect all

At the end of Friday, Agnes suggested I do a drive by of a house in town before heading home. I thought, maybe, I'm really busy. as she guaranteed I would be thrilled, I followed her directions. On a private property, I have never seen such a perfect mass of THOUSANDS of tulips.

The pictures were from my car, it was a drive by after all. As far as my eyes could see, not a single bit of damage from marauding animals, nothing

I fell in love the instant Sandra, a resident artist, shared this fox terrier she painted. These were my childhood breed and I adored these spirited dogs, suddenly I NEED one. As soon as she frames it, watch for it's appearance in the shop.

Happy Mothers Day week!

In the area? Hope you can join us!

May 8th  6pm

Pamper yourself

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