Mossy Gardens Part: 1

Saturday, August 29, 2009
I must confess a deep dark secret:

I'm a serial plant killer.

There I said it, glad that is off my chest, it feels so much better to have that out in the open.

For all of my craftiness mojo I have been blessed with it seems I make up for it with my lack of horticulture mojo. Don't get me wrong, my garden does ok... but only because I let Mother Nature do 99% of the work. Any plant brought into the house though, that's a different story. I feel sorry for any plant brought into my home either by myself, or by some wonderful friend or relative who gifted me with said plant. Any plant brought into my home is pretty much guaranteed a one-way ticket to that lovely garden in the sky. It's only a matter of time - trust me I know.

See this lovely Hibiscus:
That's what it looked like when I got it in July. Yes a mere month and a half ago. I won't show you what it looks like now, I'm too ashamed. Honestly it would be completely dead if Mr. PD hadn't stepped in and taken over caring for it.

You think I would have inherited my mom's green thumb - I would have been happy with just a fingernail! My mom doesn't even have to try. Everything sprouts, blooms, and grows for her. She called me the other day and told me how she had eaten some cherries and so she took a few of the pits out of her mouth and "tossed" them into a flower pot. 2 weeks later they have sprouted! Cherries People!

I have finally found something I can't kill: MOSS

I've seen mossy terrariums popping up all over the internet. You can find tons on Etsy and Flickr. I gave it a go at some of these lovelies in TN and guess what? YES I killed them! ok it was through no fault of my own, well sort of.

I recently got in touch with Patricia of DoodleBirdie on Etsy. She has some of the greenest, prettiest terrariums I have seen. She was kind enough to answer my main question: Why did my terrariums die? She got to the root of the problem very quickly. It seems my terrariums died simply because I didn't have them in an enclosed environment. She had some open air moss gardens and told me that even she killed them some times! It seems it is a lot harder to keep the moss alive in an open container!

So I made some terrariums and they have been alive for the last month!!! They are even green, healthy and growing!!! I will be posting a tutorial early next week on how to make your own mossy garden terrariums.

If you are not up to making your own or already have one, head on over to DoodleBirdie's and she'll set you up. She's got mossy gardens and the cutest terrarium decor I have seen!

Photography-along Lesson #2

Friday, August 28, 2009
It's Friday and time to move on to lesson #2 of the Photo-along. How did you do in lesson #1? Did you get in closer? I sure have and I must say getting in close yields amazing results. I'm not sure I did very well on the whole abstract thing but it was fun to try.

How did you do on assignment 2 of Lesson #1? This was shooting a subject from various angles. I kind of count my Jelly Fish pics as my submission for this assignment. It was fun to snap away and let me tell you, Jellies are interesting from every angle! Did you know they swim upside down too? I just assumed they swam upwards, but I guess it makes sense that they would have to swim in all directions! I just have always seen them in photos/movies swimming upwards! How do they keep from tangling up in each other?

So this week we are moving on to Lesson #2 which can be found over on morgueFile. This weeks lesson is all about aperture and shutter speed. Aper-what? Don't let the first couple of diagrams scare you off though! I took one look at them and almost ran in the opposite direction. Just chug along and later this week I'll be posting a couple of other links with awesome explanations of aperture and shutter speed. This is a hard one to learn and the more ways it's explained the more sense it will make!

Oooh there are 3 assignments for this lesson. This might become another 2 week lesson.

Now go out and shoot!

A very important tip

Thursday, August 27, 2009
I forgot to mention in my previous post a very important tip when working with Prismacolor pencils. The soft leads tend to break and fall off when you use a regular pencil sharpener. I highly recommend sharpening your pencils with an Exacto knife. I learned that little trick in art school and I never sharpen my Prismacolors any other way. Just whittle a little bit away at a time until you get a stubby yet sharp point! I'll post some pictures tomorrow so you can see what I mean.

Fabric Tinting Tutorial

Finally! I have found some made some time to sit and write this post. I know some of you have been waiting on pins and needles or not fro this post. I will now reveal the secret to tinting my peacock quilt.

*dramatic pause*
Yeah I know, I just gotta milk it for what it's worth! And the super secret weapon is...

Colored Pencils!!!

Yup you read that right! Colored Pencils. That's it. oh yeah and one more tiny little detail : acrylic textile medium (don't forget this or it won't work.)

So how does one achieve this awesomely easy look?
You will need:
Colored Pencils (more on that soon)
Textile Medium (found with the acrylic craft paints)
Brushes in different sizes (love these, $3 at Walmart)
Cup o noodles er water
Paper towel
Scrap piece of fabric or muslin
Your iron

There are 2 ways to go about this. Tinting before quilting or tinting after quilting. It's up to you so experiment with it. The Peacock quilt was tinted once all the quilting was done. The Birdie block was tinted before any quilting (see below.)

For this tutorial I will be outlining the steps with the Birdie Block (which will someday be turned into something - but you wanted a tutorial right? Beggars can't be choosers!)

sorry for the poor lighting, again you want the tutorial or not?

You can get your very own bird pattern over on Cinderberry Stitches (this is one of the birds found on the Tail Feathers block of the month quilt pattern-block 5) Her stuff is gorgeous and if I wasn't so awful ... umm lazy ... umm awfully lazy at hand stitching I would be making The Tail Feathers quilt.

So anywhoo do as follows:

1) tape down your pattern so it doesn't move as you are coloring
2) tape down your fabric on top of your pattern (use some painters tape)
3) start outlining and coloring in your pattern as desired.
4) you may choose to color it all in or work in sections (up to you)
5) when you are done with the coloring/section take a brush and dip it in some textile medium and go over each area (wash and dry off brush between colors)
6) Take your piece over to your ironing board and lay your scrap piece of fabric over your item. press to set the colors. Some colored pencils have more pigment and will stain your scrap piece of fabric. It's better to get that excess color stuck to a scrap of fabric rather than your iron. I didn't exactly check, but I would imagine that the color that got transferred to your scrap muslin might get transferred to other fabric so be sure you are pressing on a clean area every time!! You don't want to end up with color transfers where you don't want them!
7) Follow the instructions on the bottle of textile medium for the amount of curing time before washing your fabric. Some suggest 24hrs, others suggest a whole week!

That's it!

You can see my work in progress and see my pattern taped underneath the fabric.

A word about colored pencils:
I tried this out with cheapo pencils and premo pencils. They both worked but gave very different results.

The Birdie block was dome using $0.97 Rose Art Pencils. Regular colored pencils have a hard lead and are referred to as hard lead pencils. They didn't blend as well and a lot of crosshatching is required to build up depth.

The Peacock Quilt was done with premo Prisma Color Premier pencils. I forget the actual price since I got mine in College 7 years ago sheesh has it been that long? The come in boxes of 12, 24, 36, 48, 72, and 120! They are much softer and are referred to as soft lead pencils. The Prisma Colors trump the Rose Art on pigment quality and content. They are also way more expensive ($12-$80+), but use a Michaels or Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon on a set of these and you are ready to go.

The Prisma Color pencils went on like buttah. I was able to blend colors together before and after I added the textile medium. Once the textile medium was added the pigments acted almost like paint, mixing and blending wonderfully. You can't even see the pencil marks on the peacock quilt. You can't even compare the richness of the colors! The Prisma Colors are so rich and deep just gorgeous! Hands down I prefer the Prisma Colors, but I can see myself also using the cheapo pencils as well.

Just so you know there are other brands of artist grade soft lead colored pencils.

Etsy Love Wednesday. Double the fun

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I know I missed last week's post so I'm doubling the fun. Instead of 3 featured shops you get 6! Told ya I'd make it up to you.

I love the simple sweetness of PepperPlum's peasant style dresses and tunics.

I'm seriously going to have to start giving these as gifts for ALL occasions. How creative is Java Jane Designs? She takes architectural images and spells out words and name with her photographs.

Choosing a favorite bag from Kathryn Bloom is hard to do.

Here is on for the boys, not that I would mind having my own marshmallow gun by Boy Toys to shoot my kids with!

Next we have an awesome pdf tutorial by Auburn Studios for a Traveling Art Show. This looks like a great way to keep the kids quiet at church!

And last we have custom rubber stamps by Sweet Paperie. I have given her stamps as wedding gifts and the recipients love them! The service is awesome to boot!


Friday, August 21, 2009


1. light, airy, or tenuous: an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination.
2. extremely delicate or refined: ethereal beauty.
3. heavenly or celestial: gone to his ethereal home.
4. of or pertaining to the upper regions of space.

These guys were so mesmerizing I could have watched them for hours. I'm so glad I am taking the time to learn to use my camera other wise these shots would not have been possible! Oh but trust me there were many, many bad shots in order to obtain these few gorgeous shots. (Taken at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta)

"Who's behind?"

Thursday, August 20, 2009
I've watched Toy Story 2 one too many times and I just want to answer "Mine" (said by slinky dog - get it? "Who's behind? Mine" ... as in his behind is behind! ok maybe it's just funny to a 5 year old! ...and obviously me)

Yes I AM behind! So behind on the nine-patch quilt a-long, behind on my DQS7, behind on my cleaning, and behind on my posts. Did you notice I missed Etsy Love Wednesday? I'll make it up to you, promise! So what has got me behind, besides life in general? My in-laws are coming to visit tonight and are here until early next week.

I love my in-laws so them coming isn't a big deal. The big deal is all the cleaning I have to do. My house is normally clean, messy but clean. Not filthy and dirty - big difference! But every time my MIL comes to visit I basically have to do my "spring cleaning." In fact I save my deep cleanings for when I know she is coming - which is usually about twice a year. It just so happens my MIL is very allergic to most everything including my 2 dogs. Thus the deep cleaning. I'm talking MAJOR cleaning people! Moving furniture, vacuuming baseboards - the works! Oh and I also have to pass out my doggies to friends and bribe them with free babysitting and yummy deserts.

So I have until about 4pm to finish up my cleaning, I have the kids room, bathroom, kitchen, and the sewing room/guest room left to clean, then I have to pack and drop off my doggies because we are heading to Atlanta (and IKEA!!!!) to play until Saturday night. So here I am procrastinating because we all know what a crafting/sewing room looks like in reality!

see ya next week, but hopefully sooner!

A Little Bit of This and That

Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I've been wanting to do this for a loooong time.

I finally found a pair of wrought iron brackets that I liked (on clearance no less) at Hobby Lobby. I've had them for a couple of weeks and Mr. PD surprised me (cause I had already given up) by putting them up when I was out one night. basically we have a huge cased opening going from the living room to the dining room. I love the way it really adds a special touch to the opening. I love it!

These brackets normally cost $9.99 each. Even with my 40% off coupon (and going back twice, cause they only let you use one coupon at a time) they would have been $12. Now $12 isn't all that bad but I just couldn't justify spending it on something that wouldn't get any actual use. I finally stumbled upon these in the garden clearance fro $2.44 each! i love the look and it makes me so happy to see them in my doorway/cased opening. Now that I have them I think that $12 would have been worth it, but I'm also glad I got them for $5 saving myself $15 from the regular price!

Did you notice the pie safe in the previous picture? Are you getting bored of my pie safe yet? Well I found the ca-utest wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby the other day. I even paid full price for it ($4.99) because it was the last roll and I didn't have my 40% off coupon with me. It is a dark brown toile print featuring the cutest nursery rhyme art I have ever seen. Nursery rhymes? What am I 3? Yes I know a little childish but I love it. My kids love it too and love to point out their favorite ones and recite the rhymes. Besides, once the pie safe is full of display items it won't be as noticeable.

ugh I need a better picture
What do you think? is it an improvement or not?

Don't fret all you "natural wood is better" people (Mr. PD is one of those) it's just stuck up there with tape and quite removeable! Which is great for when I get bored of it. I stil haven't decided if I like it or not.

Oh and I stuck my new (thrift store $6) ladder back chair in there just to show it off. I actually got 2 of those chairs to be at the head of my new dining room table. I'll be painting them black soon to coordinate with my other chairs. I had planned on getting another 2 matching chairs at IKEA this weekend, but lately I'm into "no matchy matchy." I'm starting to see the beauty of mismatched decor.

On Saturday I placed an order with SewDearlyLoved on Etsy. And guess what I got on Monday? Talk about speedy delivery!

Aren't they gorgeous? I'm loving the Joel Dewberry print (blue and red) but also loving the Heather Ross orange seahorse print and let me tell ya I'm not really a fan of orange.

Oh one more thing. I'm extending the Photography-along Lesson 1 for another week. I've heard from few people that will be joining me at the end of the week.


Pie Safe Update

Monday, August 17, 2009
So I went with black for the pie safe. Mainly because it is a safe (no pun intended) color choice for me. While I really loved the aqua colored pie safes, I thought it would be harder to display my lovelies in it. There are not many colors that can go well with aqua and I didn't want to be limited by what I could display in it (I'm a color geek like that.) On the other hand, black is a fairly neutral color and for the most part will set off whatever I choose to place inside the lovely pie safe.

Rather than using a paint to refinish the pie safe I chose to use Minwax water based stain in Onyx. This stuff was so easy to use! After thoroughly sanding the piece to remove the varnish, I used Minwax water based Pre-stain Conditioner. This helps the stain absorb more evenly into the wood. I applied 2 coats of stain with a sponge brush. After letting it dry I finished it up with a coat of wipe-on poly. What I really loved about using the stain instead of a paint is that there are subtle hints of wood visible under the stain. I think it adds more depth to the piece and definitely more interest than a straight deep black.

Now I'm just waiting for Mr. PD to get crackin on removing the door panels so I can finish those up. I'm also planning on painting the inside and off white color so that it will really show off anythign I put inside.

Here it is in my dining room. It is still waiting for one more coat of poly, thus the plastic bags under the legs.


My single person Profile Silhouettes are available for $12 from Monday through Friday of this week (regular price $15). You can visit my Etsy shop to purchase them or visit my Flickr gallery for examples of my work.

Photography-along Lesson #1: Assigment #1

Thursday, August 13, 2009
I feel kinda weird posting about the photography-along since no one decided to join me *sniff* Maybe I should change the name to photography-alone. I know lame, right! I'm pretty sure my SIL will join me when she gets her modem working though... and I'm still hoping to inspire a few of you to bust out your cameras and manuals and join me in the near future!

So for Lesson #1 over on morgueFile there are 2 assignments.

The first is to take some abstract photos using some of the basic composition rules outlined: getting in close, the rule of thirds, triangles, frame within a frame, leading lines and a few others.

So here are some pictures I have taken recently trying to implement my new found knowledge.

So this is a close up of a fence with another fence behind it. I think most of the lines fall on the "thirds" of the frame.

Here's a landscape shot where I tried to place the bottom of the building along the "rule of thirds" horizon line.

Here's my favorite picture so far. I think that the principle of "leading lines" is used here and I tried to place the center of the wagon wheel at an intersection of the" rule of thirds".

Well that's all for now!

American Pie -- Pie Safe that is.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So you may remember my previous post were I drooled over the "quilt cupboard" posted by The Painted Quilt. Well I did not find what I was looking for at WLYS (world's longest yard sale.) In fact the only thing I did find was...

a Happy Apple!
I was so excited to find this little apple! I had one growing up and so did Mr. PD. I had found one about a year ago at a flea market but the seller wanted $15 for it and wouldn't budge!!! Well, at the WLYS a nice old man had this one for sale. He was asking $3 for it and let me have it for $2! You have no idea how happy this Happy Apple makes me. Not only does it bring back lovely memories but I love the music it makes. I held this in my hands on the drive home loving the sounds it made as we hit every bump in the road!

Sadly he's already gotten abused lovins from my daughter. I have had to re-attach the left leaf with super glue. So now he sits on a shelf and is a special toy to be played with gently.

Something I should have bought:

I love these vintage ball jars! The blue aqua color is amazing. I'm kicking myself now for not having bought 2 or 3. I can't get the beautiful blue hue out of my head and I will now be on the search for these vintage jars. At the moment I didn't think Mr. PD would approve of spending $5 on a jar so I didn't even try to talk the lady into letting me have 3 of them for $12. Well now I have time to research the actual going rate for these jars for the next time I come upon them.

So back to the title of the post... I did a little more research on the cabinet I liked and found that it is basically a pie safe that has the door panels replaced with glass. Pie Safes were used to cool down straight from the oven pies - thus the name! The doors usually had panels that were either screens, or tin with punched designs on them. These doors allowed for the goods to cool down while keeping out flies, mice, and children!

So I started researching pie safes online and my spirits were crushed when I realized these babies run anywhere form $300 to $800 and up! There is no way I could afford that anytime soon, but that didn't keep me from looking :) And that is when I stumbled upon this on CraigsList:

I had to drive 1 hour and 20 minutes each way to get this lovely pine pie safe. But it was so worth the $67 it ended up costing me. The lady was asking $75 but she lowered the price - it doesn't hurt to ask! This is a very substantial pie safe at about 51" tall and about 45" across made of solid pine. It's not authentically old but it will look like it when I am done!

I'm not a big fan of the heart shaped panels but I think I will be able to pop them out and replace them with glass, or maybe some chicken wire - or maybe both! The question now remains what color to paint/stain this. I'm not a big fan of the orange-y pine.

I'm thinking black, but I'm not sure if I'm ending up with too much black in my home.

Plow & Hearth Country Pie Safe $700

Massie Furniture 6 Tin Pie Safe $700-$800

Lately I'm drawn to shades of aqua and peacock blue.

Fable Porch Lousiana Pie Safe

Source unknown Blue Pie Safe
I also love red - sometimes.

Fable Porch New York Dry Good Pie Safe

Source Unknown Red Pie Safe
I was also thinking of painting it in an off-white distressed look with black hardware. I couldn't find any pictures of what I'm talking about.

In this rental home the pie safe sits in the right hand corner behind the dining table.
This room is in the process of being decorated in greens (I have to work with the current curtains), browns and teal/peacock blue for an added pop of color.) If we ever get to move back to TN it will sit in our living room which has off white walls, a cherry colored piano, a dark brown man chair, and a dark sage green couch. So it has to be able to work in both rooms.

So... If this was yours what color would you paint it?

PS Click on over to Serenity Now for a Decorating Dilemma Party
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