March 30, 2010

Robin’s Egg Topiary


If you have been reading this blog for anytime now, you know how much I love topiaries.  Egg topiaries are not new, but I wanted a fresh Robin’s egg blue.


I started with a basic double ball Styrofoam topiary form, scored for $1.99.  (any shape will work)


I used the painted plastic Easter eggs and started hot gluing them on the Styrofoam.  (put the glue on the egg, not the Styrofoam, push it onto the foam and hold it for a second while it sets)


I used the larger size on bottom and a smaller size up top.  I tried to have them point in random directions.


After I had filled in as many gaps as possible with the eggs, it was time for the moss.


I put very generous amounts of hot glue between the eggs. 


(almost puddles)


I used a paint stick (because it was handy) to push the Spanish moss down into the crevices.


I used a brown filler moss (from the Dollar Tree) on top of the bright green Spanish moss.


I stuck it in a pot, and covered the base in the brown moss.


Here are a few detailed shots.



I completed the look with a mirrored Christmas topiary, a little Pier One mossy bunny in a galvanized watering pail and a blue bird from the Dollar Tree.  I plan on showing you the rest of this vignette tomorrow!


What do you think?

March 26, 2010

Painted Plastic Eggs


Ok, it’s official.  My paint addiction knows no limits.  I started painting (my daughters) plastic Easter eggs last year.  I made a topiary and an egg wreath, which I will show you over the next few days.  This year, I have a few new projects that used these painted eggs, so I wanted to have a little tutorial on them first. 2

I needed so many of them (last year) that I would have needed a shopping cart full of the paper mache ones, and real ones are just out of the question.  (I am a germaphobe when it comes to raw meat/eggs so there is no way I would risk salmonella for Easter decor.) So I used the generic plastic Easter eggs (the kind you fill).  Bonus: they are super cheap (40 cents a bag at Hobby Lobby and they have three different sizes) and they don’t break when kids play with them!3

After some trial and error, there are two ways I would recommend doing this.  If you plan on using acrylic craft paint, then prime them first.  I used cheap-o  Wal-Mart gray spray primer ($1 per can).  I like to paint them in those giant Rubbermaid containers because the paint doesn’t stick, you can easily roll them around without getting your hands covered, and the overspray stays in the box (which wastes less and doesn’t make as much of a mess).  Let them dry and then add the acrylic base coat.  (The brown ones were done this way, I used Anita’s acrylic in Cafe mixed with a little cream for the base)


OR you can skip the primer and use latex instead.  I mixed a couple of colors I had in the garage and came up with this pretty Robin’s egg blue color. (Baby blue, a small amount of a mossy green and a teeny bit of a nutmeg brown).  It took two coats to get really good coverage.


After the base coat was totally dry (with either acrylic or latex) I used three different colors on top along with the base.  Taupe (Americana Mississippi Mud is the perfect shade) Cream (Americana Light Buttermilk), and a tiny bit of burnt umber (Anita’s)


I put each on a lid or bowl, and used a sponge brush.  I would dip into a color (lightly) and randomly sponge over the egg.  While the first color was still wet, I would do the other two.  I only used the burnt umber to darken the shades, not as an accent color.

The good thing about doing it this way is that it stays wet so you can easily wipe it off if you don’t like the way it looks.


I stuck them all back in the plastic containers to dry and then splattered them with burnt umber (that was really watered down).  I used a one inch paint brush, but a toothbrush works much better to give you the perfect small speckles.


I would shake the box around and do it again to make sure the other sides were covered.  Have a paper towel handy to wipe off any large splatters.10

I can’t wait to show you the six different projects I have made with these.11

I also have them in bowls,  jars and nests all over the house.12

These are in a vintage glass bowl on an antique tea cart.13

These are on the kitchen counter under a cheese dome. (Ha!  If you look really closely these have holes in them, they were the first batch…from the Dollar Tree…don’t get this kind :))


In fact, if you look super close at any of them, you will see the seam.  But they survived a group of Hannah’s little friends last week :)


What do you think?

March 25, 2010

Crucifixion Nails


Easter isn’t just about bunnies and eggs.  It’s about pain, suffering, hope, and love.  I want to celebrate that.  I want to see that.  What better way to symbolize it than the crucifixion nails?  When I originally envisioned how I would use them, I thought I would use railroad tie nails.  Hannah was sick that week, and a trip to the hardware store was out of the question.  So I made my own :)

Sprayed them with gray primer.7

Used acrylic craft paint and dabbed on (with a wet paper towel) spice brown and rust colors.8

Dark chocolate browns.9

Dark and medium gray tones.  And a final wash of really watered down black.10

I had the oval chipboard wood (originally came from the dollar store)  I used white copy paper, dyed it in coffee and let it dry.  I ran it through the printer with my text (formatted in Adobe, but you could easily use Word).  I used my script stamp and stamped over the top (if you look closely, you will notice I did it upside down.. Whoops :))  I cut out the oval shape and Mod Podged it to the chipboard.11

I ran twin through two hole on the top.  I hot glued my nails on top.  Raided the backyard rose bushes for some thorny braches, and hot glued them on top.12

On our mantel in the living room I went simple with a grouping of apothecary jars.  


I used the same dyed and stamped paper for the backdrop.


Filled the bottom with moss, and added the nails.


I wired more than one thorn branch together to make a crown of thorns, and was bleeding by the end of it.  It gave me amazing perspective.


“He chose the way of the cross where mercy triumphs justice because of love.”

~William Paul Young




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March 22, 2010

A sweet bench makeover

01My cousin had a garage sale with several family members and friends all adding things to sell.  Her friend wasn’t able to sell this cute children’s bench, and encouraged me to take it. 
First thought:  Sweet!  Free furniture!!
Second thought:  Hmmm, Josh is not going like it if I bring home another piece of furniture… Maybe I will hide it in the garage.02
It needed some fresh paint, and  I originally envisioned tufting the back. 03
Here it is today.  (I can’t find the pictures of the paint process.)04
I have it in Hannah’s closet.  It’s the perfect place to read a story to one of her (many) babies…or dinosaurs. 05
First I primed it with a brush on white water based primer.  The previous colors were really bright so I used a really generous coat.  (I think it was Zinnser, but I have used both Kilz and Zinnser and they are both great).06
Then I top coated with Dutchboy’s Sugar and Cream (just a creamy white….I had it leftover from these cabinets.)07
I then glued on the piece of decorative molding (which I had already painted the same color as the base).  I added it after painting the base because, the latex is thick.  This gives it crisp edges, if I had glued, then painted, the thick paint may have puddled around the edges, from where I was trying to get in the small nooks.  08I used my favorite Benjamin Moore , Raw Umber finishing glaze.  I painted it in the edges, corners, and crevices.  I wiped away the excess with an old sock.  I took the same small brush I was using and splattered small amounts randomly to simulate water marks.09 The cushion is actually……..from Hannah’s crib bumper.  It’s one of the small end pieces.10
I just tied it to the back.   It fits perfectly (the exact dimensions).  I am a sucker for sentimental too!11I had originally intended to cut a piece of wood to fit the back, add foam and cover it with a sweet blue floral fabric, then tuft it with covered buttons.12What do you think?  Leave the crib bumper, or tuft the back?13