the fresh flower market case.

Sometime last summer I came across this wooden case at a garage sale.

I have to admit, I walked away from it at first thinking it was too big and cumbersome, and it felt a bit too utilitarian for my tastes.  But then I realized that of course I could change that last part with some paint, and maybe a stencil or some transfers.  So I went back and grabbed it.

Here’s what the inside looked like initially.

The whole thing looks very much homemade.  I do wonder what it was made for, a ventriloquist’s dummy?  an accordion?  a secret stash of gold bouillon?  Hopefully it wasn’t anything creepy, like that time I accidentally bought an embalming table at an auction.  It’s made out of solid wood, so it is rather heavy for toting things around.  Any of you have any ideas about its original purpose?

After scuff sanding and cleaning the case inside and out, I painted the inside in Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens, and the outside in their Drop Cloth.  Next I added some sections from the I.O.D. Wall Flower transfer to the inside lid.

I think the florals in this transfer have that look of old 1940’s wallpaper.

I also added some pieces of the Wall Flower transfer to the front of the case, and then I pulled out a new stencil from Wallcutz called Fresh Flower Market.

I couldn’t quite fit the entire thing on my case, so I masked off those trim lines around the outside as well as the bottom line of wording using painters tape.  I then stenciled the word “MARKET” in Dixie Belle’s Collard Greens, and the rest of the wording in their Holy Guacamole.

I used a small artist’s brush to fill in the bridges on my stencil, and I think that really made the cursive font of ‘fresh flower’ work better.

For a final little touch, I added one of the bees from the I.O.D. Brocante transfer near the handle of the case.

You can’t have a flower market without bees, right?

With it’s fresh new interior, this wooden case could be used to store all kinds of things.  Maybe your spare linens, or your heavy winter sweaters?  Or even your ventriloquist’s dummy.

Or, you could just simply use it as décor.

It would be sweet just hanging out in your foyer, or on a protected porch.  It would also be perfect in your potting shed …

assuming you can get to it.

Earlier this year when I was planning for this project, I thought I’d be able to photograph the finished case out in the potting shed.  But then we got a lot of snow, and then we got a lot more snow, and then earlier this week we got another 7″ more.  I basically can’t get to the potting shed at this point.

Well … I could if I was willing to trudge through a couple feet of snow, and then shovel away the giant pile that fell off the roof and is now blocking the door.  But I’m not.

This was a bit of a tactical error on my part since most of my garden themed photo props are out there too.  I sure do hope spring is just around the corner.

In the meantime … an indoor photo shoot it is.

What do you think?  What would you use this case for?

The fresh flower market case is for sale, check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint, and to Wallcutz for providing the stencil used for this project and sponsoring this blog post.

a rose window.

I picked up an old window at a garage sale last year.  I tend to grab chippy old windows, especially when they have a unique shape like this one.

This particular one was in pretty rough shape with the glass practically falling out before I got it home.

So, I started out by giving the window a good clean, and then I re-glazed the glass.  Now, you should be forewarned that I have very little talent for glazing and I really don’t know what I’m doing.  But, I need to get it figured out because we have quite a few windows at our house that need re-glazing and I want to do it myself.  So this seemed like a good way to get some practice in.

However, I’m pretty sure I picked the wrong product.

I saw the words ‘window’, ‘clear’ and ‘paintable’ on the label and thought it was what I needed.  I also thought a ‘sealant’ was what I needed.  In the end, this worked OK for my purpose here, which was basically to hold the glass firmly in place.  But it’s not really the right product for glazing windows, so I’ll be going back to the drawing board before I attempt to work on my house windows next summer.

In the meantime, here’s how my totally imperfect sealant looks on the back side of the window.

Fortunately it’s on the back, and it’s clear, so it really isn’t noticeable from the front at all.

Next up I debated re-painting the frame.  But the thing is, I like the authentically chippy look.  So rather than paint it, I sanded off any loose paint and then added a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat to seal it.

Next up I pulled out two sections from the I.O.D. Ladies in Waiting transfer to add to the glass.

I cleaned the glass well before starting and then applied the transfers to the front of the window.

I have to confess that I nearly applied the first one to the back of the window before coming to my senses.  The transfers do not work that way.  Here’s how that would have looked …

Yep, I dodged a bullet on that one.  Don’t know what I was thinking.

Ultimately the Ladies in Waiting transfers were the perfect fit for this window.  One on each side (the full set includes four of them).

I added a number to the side of the window frame too.

That came from my pile of transfer scraps, so I’m sorry, but I don’t know which particular transfer it was from originally.

One question I get frequently is whether or not I use a sealer over transfers that are applied on glass, and I do not.  The transfers stick to glass extremely well.  However, they can be removed using a razor blade, if one should ever want to remove it down the road.

As for cleaning, I would simply dust it using a soft cloth.  I would not recommend using a spray glass cleaner of any kind on a transfer.

This window looks great hung on the wall over a desk.

But you could hang it anywhere.

What do you think?  Are you a fan of transfers on glass?

If so, here are links to some other projects I’ve done with transfers on glass; this one is on a mirror, this one is on a barrister bookcase, and this one features glass cannisters with transfers on them.  Check them out!

In the meantime, this window is for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

a beautiful white Christmas.

Merry Christmas dear readers!

Since Christmas just happens to fall on a Sunday this year, I thought I would take advantage and bring you a holiday greeting from the garden.  Once again, not technically my garden, but a garden.

The Sunken Garden in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park does a different holiday display every year.  This year they went all white.

Well, white and green anyway.

Of course there were lots of white poinsettias, plus other flowers that I think of as typical Christmas plants like paperwhites …

and amaryllis.

They also used plants that I think of as typical summer annuals in our area like euphorbia and dusty miller.

Plus, there were plants that I think of as potted plants like the little lemon cypress trees, and white kalanchoe.

I find an all white color scheme very serene and peaceful.

I’ve often thought about adding a white garden to my yard.  White flowers really pop in a shady area, or in the moonlight at night.  Some options for white flowers in a shade garden include impatiens (of course), white bleeding heart, lily of the valley, astilbe, snow drops, bloodroot, sweet woodruff, foam flower and anemones.  There are so many to choose from!

But if you’re not a lover of the all white look, you might enjoy last year’s red, orange and yellow theme at the conservatory a bit more …

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the serene all-white look, or do you prefer a lot more color?

Leave a comment and let me know.  But in the meantime, happy holidays to you and yours.  I hope you are enjoying a serene and peaceful holiday season, or possibly a vibrant, colorful one … whichever one works best for you!

winter interest in the garden.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the movie A Christmas Story.  You know that scene where Ralphie wakes up on Christmas Day and looks out the window to find it has snowed over night to create a magical winter wonderland?  I always feel that same sense of magic when I wake up to find that it snowed overnight, as I did last Wednesday night (and Thursday night, and Friday night).

This was the view from our bedroom window when I got up on Thursday.

I’m not sure my photo does it justice, it really was magical.  It got even better on Friday.

So I thought this might be a great time to bring you a Sunday morning in the garden post, winter version.

Most of the garden vloggers that I watch on YouTube have been talking about adding winter interest to the garden lately.  I have to admit that I’ve never really given ‘winter interest’ much thought in the summer when I’m planting.

So most of my winter interest plants are totally coincidental.  The many hydrangeas that I’ve planted for their fabulous flowers, also look quite pretty after a snowfall.

Even my dismal failure of a lilac hedge adds some decent winter interest.

Otherwise, most of the ‘interest’ in my winter garden comes from the trees.

Or the garden ornaments.

Things like statues, trellises, and obelisks are a quick and easy way to add interest to the winter garden, although not necessarily the cheapest way.

Another recommendation for adding winter interest is to leave attractive seed heads on plants like echinacea (coneflower), astilbe and bee balm.  I have those perennials, but in our climate they pretty much first get battered by a heavy snow, and then buried in it.  They work better for autumn interest rather than winter interest here.

We need to rely on sturdier options in Minnesota like evergreens, or shrubs with winter color like winterberries or red twig dogwood.  They can stand up to a couple feet of snow.  And the red of the winterberries and dogwood look especially amazing in the snow.

But until I get some red things planted, I will have to just admire how the red paint job on the carriage house really pops in a snowy landscape.

How about you?  Do you have any recommendations for adding winter interest to a garden?  Or perhaps you enjoy living in a perpetually green climate.  Leave a comment and let us know!

a tropical garden for Christmas.

Welcome back to Sunday mornings in the garden.  Once again, this post is not coming from my own garden which is currently buried under a couple of inches of snow.  Instead, this one is coming to you from Puerto Vallarta!

As I’ve mentioned, my neighbor’s family invited me along on their family vacation to Mexico.  Yep, I’m very lucky when it comes to neighbors.  I think I won the good neighbor lottery.

So I spent a week at Velas Vallarta with my neighbor Karen and her parents.  The resort was gorgeous, and so was the weather.

  We had 7 days in a row of mid-80’s and sunshine, not a drop of rain or a cloud in the sky.  Perfection.

We basically spent the bulk of our time looking at this view while a very nice waiter named Edwin delivered pina coladas and nachos.

Most of the time it felt like we practically had the place to ourselves because the resort was only about 50% occupied.  The week immediately following Thanksgiving week is not very popular apparently.

We did venture out to the beach a couple of times.

And we also ventured out to the marina to do some shopping.

But I said this was going to be a garden post, and that’s because the grounds at Velas Vallarta were just beautiful.

Not only that, but many of the plants had markers so it was a lot like being in a botanical garden.

I enjoyed finding out what the various plants were called, like the Washingtonia Robusta or Mexico Fan Palm.

And the Musa X Paradisiaca or the Banana!

There were two flowering plants that stood out as my favorites.  First up, the bougainvillea.  This is one of my mom’s favorite flowers, and she would have loved how they were spilling out of a multitude of planters on the balconies at this place.

But I think I liked the Blue Sky Vine even more.

They had long pergolas around the several swimming pools that were covered in this vine and provided perfect spots for shady lounging.  There was one small problem in that they really attracted the bees, and Karen got stung twice in the pool.  Ouch!

I have to admit, I find it difficult to feel properly Christmas-y in the tropics.  But the resort was doing their best to add some holiday vibes.  One morning I woke up to find that they had planted poinsettias in the garden the previous day.

They’d also put up a huge tree in the lobby.

It was decorated with these beautiful silver lanterns.

Still, it took coming home for me to get back into a holiday mood.

As much as I enjoyed that gorgeous warm, sunny weather in Mexico, I need a little snow on the ground to feel like Christmas.  How about you?  Do you enjoy a tropical Christmas?  Leave a comment and let me know!

gardens around the world.

Good morning from the garden.  Unfortunately, I came home from Florida last weekend to a garden that was pretty much completely done.  All but the most hardy of perennials have died down to the ground, and most of the leaves are off the trees.  So I’m not sharing my own gardens today, instead I thought those of you who are gardeners would enjoy seeing the gardens of Epcot’s World Showcase.

For anyone not familiar with Disney World, Epcot is one of the four theme parks there.  The back half of Epcot is devoted to the World Showcase which features 11 areas themed to specific countries situated around a large lagoon.

Back in the day, Disney offered a guided tour of the gardens in the World Showcase and Mr. Q and I did that tour.  I loved it.  You got to go into the World Showcase in the morning before it was open to the public.  This was back when the World Showcase didn’t open until 11 a.m.  (this was also before the Norway ride became the Frozen ride, ahhh, the good ol’ days).

Anyway, unfortunately they no longer offer this tour.  But I did get a lot of insight back then into how they use landscaping to enhance the feeling of each country’s pavilion.  The attention to detail at a Disney park is always impressive, and no more so than in the World Showcase.

The garden in Canada is modeled after the famous Butchart Gardens in British Columbia.

It’s filled with big swaths of flowering annuals, as well as colorful coleus.  If you want constant color in your garden, annuals are the way to go.  But you’d better have a Disney sized budget for that since you have to replace them every year.

It inspired me to consider putting a few patches of coleus into the ground in my gardens next year though.  The only problem with that approach here in Minnesota is that it takes most of our short growing season for the coleus to fill in, and by the time it starts looking spectacular our first frost is only weeks away.  So maybe not.

But Florida can definitely pull it off.

By the way, here’s a quick q tip for you.  If you want to explore the World Showcase without hoards of people, these days you’ll want to head there immediately when the park opens.  Everyone else will be getting in line for rides.  You’ll have about an hour to make your way around the lagoon (roughly 1.2 miles) before the crowds catch up with you.

The shops and dining locations may not quite be open yet, but you can explore the details of each ‘country’ while having it practically to yourself.

Next up is the U.K. pavilion, and it’s definitely one of my favorites.

It’s so dang charming.

A formal sort of hedged garden is right up my alley, and they have them in spades in the U.K. pavilion.

Hedges and topiary, I need to add both in my own garden.  I’m putting them on the wish list.

There was a liberal use of annuals for color again, and also big masses of caladium.

The light green on the left and the pink on the right are both caladium.

We cross over the Channel into France next.  The landscaping here feels even more formal than the U.K. with more hedging and topiary.

But aside from the hedge garden above, the France pavilion doesn’t have much else in the way of gardens (it does have a lovely water feature, but I neglected to take a photo of that).

The next country you’ll encounter on the way around the showcase is Morocco.

Once again, there aren’t any large garden beds in this pavilion.  But really, the tilework is so impressive that you wouldn’t want to detract from it with gardens.  Plus, Morocco has a dry Mediterranean climate which isn’t really conducive to lush, green gardens.

Here’s a quick bit of trivia about the Morocco pavilion.  It was sponsored by King Hassan II and is the only Epcot pavilion sponsored directly by a country’s government rather than a corporate sponsor.  The King sent Moroccan artisans over to design and create the tile mosaics.

Next we head into Japan.

You just know that this pavilion is going to have some gorgeous gardens.

And specifically a lovely koi pond.

I love the simplicity and serenity of a Japanese garden.

Just a sidebar, if you’re interested in Japanese gardens be sure to watch Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens series (available on Prime).

The next country on your way around the world is Italy.  Once again, it’s a gorgeous pavilion with architecture borrowed from Venice, Rome and Tuscany.

They don’t have any formal garden beds in this pavilion, instead they seem to rely heavily on terracotta pots.

There certainly are some gorgeous pots though.  That one in the back of that trio above has an annual in it that I used myself this past summer.

I believe it’s Evolvulus Blue Daze and it performed really well for me.  I need to make a note to plant it again next year.

I was a little surprised to find that they had hostas growing in containers as well.

To me they look a bit sad though, don’t you think?

Germany has a very unique garden, it’s a model railroad garden.

There are several trains running around the tracks at all times.  The plants seem to mainly consist of small, pruned evergreens.  But I did notice that they have quite a few of the Berberis thunbergii ‘Concorde’ that I have in my fairy garden.

That’s it in the lower right corner of the photo above.

Next up we have China.

The garden in China is mainly dominated by a beautiful pond filled with water lilies.

Again, very peaceful and lovely like Japan.

Norway doesn’t have a very structured garden area, but they do have a building with a sod roof which is quintessentially Norwegian I think.

As is the lefse that my sister purchased at the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in the Norway pavilion.  I’m not much of a lefse fan myself, so I went with the Verden’s Beste Kake, which was delicious.  We enjoyed our treats in the seating area under that sod roof.

The royal sommerhus also has a sod roof.

The last country on our journey around the world is Mexico.  I was hoping to find an orchid garden in this pavilion, but apparently they only do that during the Flower & Garden event.  So really the pavilion just features lots of tropical foliage.

It’s certainly pretty, but definitely not my favorite.  I have to say I’m not really all that into tropical foliage.  I have no desire to plant things like hibiscus, or orchids.

Any of you familiar with Epcot have probably noticed something missing in my post.  I completely skipped over the American Adventure pavilion.  Ooops!  Well, aside from flowers in red, white and blue, there wasn’t much to write home about in that one.

Looking back at all of these pavilions, the U.K. gardens are definitely my favorite with Canada as a close second place.  How about you?  Which would be your favorite?  Have you ever toured the gardens of the World Showcase?  Leave a comment and let me know.

feels like 12.

We woke up to a bright and chilly morning last Tuesday.  The actual temp was 21, but the ‘feels like’ temp was 12!  Twelve!  In October!  Yikes!

I don’t really remember when they switched out ‘wind chill’ for ‘feels like’, but I did a bit of googling and apparently the ‘feels like’ number takes humidity levels into consideration whereas the ‘wind chill’ did not.

Either way, ‘feels like 12’ is too cold for October.  And as I’ve discovered, it’s also too cold for mums.

Dang!  I probably should have covered them.  But then, the soil is frozen rock hard.  I’m not sure that covering would have helped.

It’s funny, when I planted all of my bulbs a couple of weeks ago I thought I was planting them way too early.  But here we are in October with a hard freeze already.  I guess my timing was pretty good after all.  Likewise, I also pulled out all of my caladiums last weekend in preparation for saving them over the winter.  Just in time I think.

I used quite a few caladiums in my planters this summer.

That tall white one above was one of my favorites, as was the pink and green one I planted along with some double impatiens …

Caladiums are another fantastic way to add colorful foliage to your garden.  They will grow in full to partial shade and perform best with some dappled morning sunlight.

They are not fond of cold weather though.  Caladiums are only hardy in zones 9 – 11.  Here in my Minnesota zone 4 garden I have always treated them as an annual and just tossed them at the end of the season.  But, you know what?  Caladiums are kind of pricey.  They are around twice the price of other annuals that I plant.

So this year I’ve decided to try saving the bulbs for next year.

The first step was to dig them all up, and gently shake off any loose soil.  Do not rinse or wash off the dirt with water as this will make the bulbs more susceptible to rot.

Leave the foliage in place and allow the bulbs to ‘cure’ for a week or so (sound familiar, feels like we’re painting).  I just left mine in the potting shed on vintage plates to dry.

Once they are ‘cured’, or dried out, the leaves should drop off or at least be easy to pull away from the bulb.  Go ahead and remove all of the leaves.

At this point you should inspect your bulbs for any signs of damage or rot.  Be sure to toss any that are damaged, moldy or soft.  As they say, one bad apple (or in this case, caladium bulb) will spoil the bunch.

It seems like with the many caladiums I had, I should have a big pile of bulbs.  But after weeding out the bad ones (maybe about 25% of them were bad), I ended up with just this one plate full.

Then again, if each one of these becomes one plant, I have plenty!

Next up comes packing these away for winter.  The bulbs need to be kept dry, therefore the packing materials should allow them to breathe.  A cardboard box or paper grocery bag should work.  I’m choosing to nestle mine in a cardboard box filled with shredded paper.

I’ll put the box in the basement where they will stay cool, dry and out of sunlight.

The big trick for me will be remembering to pull them out again next spring.  I plan to pot them up indoors 4 to 6 weeks before our average last frost date.  With our short growing season here in Minnesota, it makes sense to give them a good head start before transplanting them out into my pots.

I’ve put a reminder on my calendar for the end of March.

Hopefully next summer I’ll have lots of beautiful caladiums and will have saved myself a few bucks by not having to buy them.  Wish me luck on that!

just for judy.

Thank you to those of you who took the time to leave an encouraging comment about my ‘sunday mornings in the garden’ posts. I was reminded that even though many of you never leave comments, you’re still out there reading and enjoying (hopefully) my posts.

I think the most surprising feedback I had was from my neighbor’s mom, Judy.  I popped across the street for lunch one day and Judy was visiting and she mentioned how much she enjoyed my gardening posts and wished I wouldn’t discontinue them!  I didn’t even realize she followed my blog.

So just for Judy, and the rest of you who said you didn’t want me to quit posting about the garden, I am going to continue with ‘sunday mornings in the garden’, just maybe a bit more sporadically.

Which brings me to today’s garden subject, fall color in the garden.  I have to say, I really do think fall is the most beautiful season of the year.  It’s an unfortunately short season, but I sure do enjoy it while it lasts.

Now I have to admit, I have not done all that well with adding fall color to my garden.  I don’t have a single tree that turns a beautiful color in fall.  Well … that’s not entirely true, I do have a huge maple next to the driveway that eventually turns a pretty yellow, but it’s not a show stopping orange or red.

But that photo is from a few years ago, this tree turns really late in the season and it’s only just starting to show a tiny bit of color now.

We’ve attempted to add pretty fall color trees to the front yard, but we’ve had bad luck with trees in that spot.

Since we’ve lived here we’ve had two trees in front that have come down in wind storms.  I feel like there’s something about this spot that funnels the wind through in some way.  The last one came down in September 2019 and we still haven’t talked ourselves into replacing it.

But gosh, that tree sure was pretty in the fall.

I think I’m talking myself into replacing it again as I’m writing this post!

Anyway, I also have to say that luckily I don’t have to just rely on trees in our yard to provide fall color, just down the street there are some trees that put on an amazing show every fall.

I get to admire those regularly from my piano room window.

In addition, you don’t have to rely solely on trees for fall foliage.  There are shrubs that provide some fabulous color too.  One of my favorites is Tiger Eye Sumac.

My Tiger Eye is planted right next to a Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea, and the flowers on that also turn a deep red as the season progresses.

And of course, all of my various hydrangeas add nice color to the garden in the fall.  The Limelight turns a pretty combo of pink and green.

I also get a surprising amount of pretty fall color from some of my perennials.  Have you seen how many gorgeous options there are out there for heuchera these days?

This one is called Fire Alarm, and it’s the perfect color for fall.

Believe it or not, there are also some varieties of hosta that change color nicely in the fall.

Not all hostas turn color like this, but if you google it you can find lots of recommendations for those that do.

I also rely a bit on annuals to add some fall color to my garden.

I feel like a few of my favorite garden vloggers have been dissin’ the mums lately, but I like to pop a few into my containers after pulling out the more brightly colored summer annuals.

I try to stick to a moderate budget of $100 for that though because the fall season just tends to be so short for us here in Minnesota.  I filled the front window box with some inexpensive mums from Home Depot, and then filled in with some of my dried hydrangeas.

I left the Lemon Coral sedum in place because it’s pretty hardy.  It won’t make it through the entire winter here in zone 4, but it can handle some freezing nights in fall.

But speaking of fall being a short season, we went from 80 degrees last Tuesday to snow on Friday.

So, I guess you could say our fall season lasted about three days this year.

The snow didn’t stick around long, it was gone by lunchtime.  But it was certainly a reminder that summer is definitely over and winter is coming.  We should all enjoy fall while it lasts!

adding some fall color.

Before getting on with today’s post, congrats to Cynthia Goscinak.  I drew her name at random to win the giveaway of the white Silk paint colors (Cynthia, I’ve emailed you to get your mailing info, if you didn’t get my email check your spam folder).

Our temps are dropping, the nights are getting cold and the leaves are starting to turn pretty shades of yellow, orange and red.  We’ve had a couple of nights that dipped into the 30’s already and that killed off some of my coleus, so it was time to start pulling annuals out of the planters and replacing some of them with mums and ornamental kale.

Although I don’t really decorate inside the house for fall, I do like to change things up a little outside for fall.  You may remember the Fresh Flower Market sign that I made up last year using a stencil from wallcutz.  I had it hanging on the carriage house in 2021 …

And then this summer I had it hanging on the deck.

As I was looking at it earlier this week I thought it looked just a bit too summery for fall, so I decided to make it reversible.  I simply removed the hooks from the front, flipped it over, removed the hanging hardware from the back and then gave it a good clean.

Next up I pulled out some fall paint colors.  I started out with Suzanne’s Fall Colors from Dixie Belle.

However, I realized that I must have given away the Pumpkin Spice color because I couldn’t find it anywhere in my stash.  Hmmmm.  What was I thinking?  Well, no problem, Dixie Belle’s Mojave from their Silk line would work just as well.

I painted the flip side of the sign in a base coat of Juniper.  Then I pulled out my Farmers Market stencil, also from wallcutz.

By the way, this is not the sponsored project for wallcutz that I mentioned on Wednesday.  I had already purchased this stencil a couple of years ago and I’ve used it on several projects already including some old table leaves that I turned into signs last fall.

I had to make a few adjustments to the spacing and design of the stencil to work with my uneven surface.  I started by stenciling just the bottom line of wording on the raised border at the bottom of my cupboard door using Cashmere.

Next I stenciled the words ‘always fresh’ in Dixie Belle’s Cocoa Bean.  Then I adjusted the stencil slightly over and down and stenciled just the word ‘farmers’ also in the Cocoa Bean.  Thus I created a shadow behind that word when I moved the stencil back into place and stenciled over the Cocoa Bean with more Cashmere.

Creating a shadow this way is so, so simple and it adds a ton of impact.  I highly recommend it for the wording on signs especially.

I completed the rest of the stenciling just using Cashmere straight up.  If you look back at the image of this stencil, you’ll see that there is a box around the word “market”.  I left that out on my sign because I thought it would be hard to get that to look right going over that raised piece in the middle.

While we’re on that topic, you might be wondering how I stenciled over that raised section in the middle.  Basically I was just very careful to hold the stencil as flat as possible and to not get too heavy handed with the paint.  Then, once I pulled the stencil away I went back in with a small brush and touched up those letters that fell on the uneven surface and needed a little more paint.

Next up I stenciled the little do-dads on either side of the word ‘market’ in Mojave.  This is where I would have liked to have that Pumpkin Spice color on hand, but I think the Mojave substituted nicely.  Once that was dry I added a little swoop of Cashmere to give them a little more dimension too.

After all of the paint was dry, I sanded my new Farmers Market sign to distress the edges and make everything look a little more worn, and then I added a coat of Big Mama’s Butta to finish it off.

I added some mums, a faux pumpkin and a little wooden lantern to the bench under the sign.

That’s part of the I.O.D. Label Ephemera transfer on that bucket, and the pot on the right with the yellow mum is concrete, but has been given the faux rust treatment using Dixie Belle’s patina paint (you can check out how to do that here).

I absolutely love how this sign turned out!

And that might be a problem come spring when it’s time to turn it back around to the flower market side.  I may have to re-paint that side in similar colors now because these colors look great up against the dark green of my siding.  Plus, I also have to admit that my sign stenciling skills have improved greatly over time.

What do you think?  And how about you, do you change up your outside décor for fall?  Leave a comment and let me know.

fall bulb planting.

It seems as though my Sunday morning garden posts aren’t terribly popular so far, so I’ve decided to re-evaluate.  I’m guessing that many of you spend time with family and friends on Sunday’s, rather than reading blogs.  In addition, I’m finding it a little challenging to pull together four blog posts every week.  It’s really cutting into my actual gardening and/or painting time!

I’m not ready to give up garden posts entirely though, even though gardening season is going to be wrapping up here soon.  So I may throw in a few here and there on a weekday rather than waiting until Sunday.

If any of you want to provide feedback on that, feel free to leave me a comment.

That bring me to today’s post, where I want to share a huge q tip on fall bulb planting!

Over the past five years or so, we’ve developed a bit of a deer problem in our garden.  They like to come and munch on my tulips as they come up in the spring.  Add to that how stressed and busy I was during my last several years of working a day job, and you might understand why I’d pretty much given up on bulb planting.

But this past spring a bunch of tulips came up in my garden that I hadn’t seen in years.

I’d forgotten how fabulous it is to see these early flowers in the garden after a long winter.

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I decided to do some more significant fall bulb planting.  Back in July I placed an online order with Longfield Gardens for tulips, daffodils and three varieties of allium, and my order arrived this week!

It was perfect timing because we had some gloriously sunny days, and some much cooler temps at night.

You’ll know it’s a good time to plant tulips when you’ve already had your first light frost (ours was on Tuesday) and your nighttime temperatures are between 40 to 50 degrees. In my zone 4 garden, that’s usually late September to early November.  I have to admit, I may have jumped the gun slightly here.  I probably should have waited another couple of weeks to plant my bulbs.  But it’s so much more pleasant to plant bulbs when it’s 60 degrees and sunny rather than 40 degrees and blustery, right?

I had a lot to plant, so I thought it best to strike while the iron was hot.

At this point you might be wondering, what is the huge q tip?

Today’s q tip; fall bulb planting is SO much easier with a garden auger!

OK, so I don’t actually own a garden auger, but my neighbor nnK got one for Christmas and was generous enough to share it with me.

This post isn’t sponsored, and I am far from being any kind of an expert on power tools.  So I can’t really help you figure out what brand to buy or any of that stuff.

However, I will say that you might be tempted to think you want a smaller auger for planting bulbs.  And sure, if you are someone who puts each bulb in its own hole, each spaced precisely 4″ apart like the directions say, then you might be happy with the smaller auger.

But I used that big honkin’ 6″ one shown above.  I like to plant tulips and daffodils in clumps.  They look so much more natural that way.

Depending on the bulb size (those above are daffodil bulbs that were quite large), I can get 4 to 6 bulbs in each 6″ wide hole made with the bigger auger.

The process is super simple.  Dig the hole to the appropriate depth with the auger (one thing to note, the one I used is quite heavy, so bear that in mind).  Add some bulb tone to the hole …

Plop in your bulbs, pointy side up, then cover them back up.  Water them in well, and you’re done.  Easy peasy.

And hopefully next spring I’ll have lots of lovely tulips and daffodils.

And I won’t have to buy so many to stage my photos!

How about you?  Are you going to be planting any bulbs this fall?  Or have you ever used a garden auger?  Leave a comment and let us know!