Thursday 20 September 2012

Vintage-look garden sign tutorial

Recently on Pinterest I came across a link to this laundry makeover. I really liked the rustic sign they had made, and I thought a similar one would look good in my potager. It was easy and cheap to make, and best of all looks like it has been there for years! Read on for a tutorial.

 You will need a piece of wood for your sign. I used a piece that the builders pulled out of our house when they were taking the chimney down, but pallet wood would also be excellent. Give it a rough sand to remove any splinters, but leave it quite textured.

 You need two colours of paint - black and white (or thereabouts). I used test pots which were super cheap, the dark one is more of a green black but that is fine for these purposes. Put the wood on a work surface, with a couple of small plastic pots or jar lids to hold it off the surface. Paint it with your black paint. Do two coats and let each coat dry thoroughly.

 Take a candle and rub wax all over the sign. It will stick to the raised wood grain. (If you don't have a candle, omit this step. It's not essential but will make distressing the sign a bit easier.)

 Paint ONE coat of white paint on the sign.

 Using a word processing programme, print out the lettering to go on your sign. You can print it in outline to save on ink. Cut around the letters and arrange them on your sign. When you are happy with the arrangement, trace around the letters with pencil.

 Use your black paint and paint in the letters. Do two coats for these. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours, then take to it with sandpaper!

Lightly sand along the edges to remove the top layer of paint. Be very gentle if you go near the painted  letters as it's easy to remove that layer as well. You can go a bit heavier near the ends, the more distressed the better here! When you have aged the sign to your liking, coat it with some clear varnish if desired, or leave au naturel so the weather can continue your work.

 I decided to hang my sign on the arch leading into my potager garden. I attached it firmly with wire so it doesn't get blown down in a breeze.

And that's it. A house name sign would be really nice, or a coffee sign for your kitchen. The possibilities are endless and all it takes is scrap wood and paint. Happy signwriting!

Monday 17 September 2012

Spring posy

 This weekend I spent some time with my old library friend Vintage Flowers again. I was feeling inspired so I whisked into the garden this morning, scissors in hand and gathered up a posy of spring flowers. I made a hand-tied posy, which is a technique I love now that I've learned how to do it, since once tied you can pop the flowers into pretty much any vase and they'll hold their shape.

I had a few spare stems so I made a mini posy to go alongside.

The main bunch has hellebores, freesias and linaria, and the small posy has one freesia, one hellebore, one linaria and a few white carnations.

After my flower arranging I gave the garden a leisurely water. The forecast was for rain, but they said that yesterday too and it didn't do much. I decided to give the potager a good soak, especially the garlic, broccoli and little seedlings I planted out on the weekend.

 Shortly after that, I noticed dark clouds beginning to loom menacingly. I raced out and quickly picked some veges for dinner - carrots, onions, leeks and silver beet - all the time watching the clouds pile up overhead. It was like someone had drawn curtains across the entire sky. 

From day to night in an instant. And did it rain?...

 Oh, yes.

Sunday 16 September 2012

September flowers

It's been a mixed start to spring this month. We've had some beautiful warm, sunny days, and also rain, gale force winds, thunderstorms, sleet and hail. It's been exciting weatherwise but not so good for the early performers. The blossom on the almond tree was half knocked off by hail and finished off by wind, and the daffodils have been pummelled. Fortunately there are some hardy souls throughout - Miss Rose Chiffon the miniature peach tree (pictured top left) has kept her blossoms on, and there are ever present pansies cheerfully blooming away. The potted pulsatilla*, mostly kept for it's spotty foliage, has put out shoots of quirky pink and blue flowers. The first ranunculus are pushing through, although slugs and snails are finding them tasty.

 I always like the look of a group of assorted glass bottles with flowers in them, and springtime is one of the best times to achieve this display (mostly thanks to the wild abundance of grape hyacinths). To break up all that blue, I put in the first pink carnation buds of the season. Height and fragrance come from some stems of earlicheer daffodils.

This post is linked to Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What is blooming in your patch this September?

*Edited to add... it's actually pulmonaria not pulsatilla. So many plants with 'p' names to trip me up... pulsatilla, pulmonaria, penstemon, platycodon. In general I prefer common names but the common name for pulmonaria is lungwort which is kind of gross! However, lungwort it now is!


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