In my previous post, I talked about the paper maché pumpkins that will be a part of this build. Let me start by saying that the idea for this build came from Pinterest. The site the pin linked to is Grim Hollow Haunt
I’m following most of his instructions with a few exceptions. I didn’t use pre-made pumpkins for my build, I’m did mine entirely from paper maché. I feel like I covered those pretty well in the previous post, so I’ll skip to the steps that make the grim different from the little guys and what’s different from my inspiration.
Done entirely of paper maché, homemade paper maché clay and acrylic paint. I built this by wrapping an actual pumpkin from the grocery store. The reinforced eyes and mouth were done with strips of cardboard glued in place and a few toothpicks.
I used paper mache clay to amp up the lines and create the eyebrows/forehead scowl. The waxy drips were just hotglue that I painted over.
I coated the entire head in gloss black, let that dry (mostly) and then went over it in a couple shades of orange. I wanted the black underpaint to show through, so I used a fairly dry brush and went over the steaks with a completely dry brush. (You can see this in the video below.) After the orange dried, I detailed the stem and drips around the eyes.
We’ll be working on the framework for the body this weekend. I’ll add to this post when that part is finished.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN friends!
We had our party this weekend and the kids seemed to love the Grim. Not sure they loved him more than the fog machine I had set up in our fake graveyard, but ah well…
I promised to finish telling you how I did all this, so here it is. My husband Tom helped me with building the frame of the Grim because I have arthritis AND I’m only 5’5. He’s 6’0 and if you look at the pictures of him standing next to it, it’s somewhere around 7′ or so, which means I need a stepladder to reach past it’s hips.
Most of the frame is built from 1×2’s and 1×3’s which means it’s very light for lumber, but also fragile and not especially stable. We changed up the build a bit from the Pin I was working off of, which helped some, but he still lost an arm during a storm the following evening that had to be put back on once he was moved to the barn. I managed to knock the other off as well while moving him.
Betty Cat decided she wanted to help with the build. 🙂
I can’t tell ya’ll how glad I am to be on here right now instead of TikTok. I had NO freaking idea how incredibly awful it would be to listen to myself talk for 6 minutes about this stuff. I’m so bad at it. Give me the keyboard any day. I can’t freaking backspace when I’m talking and it’s incredibly annoying.
I found this wad of green bailing twine lying on the floor of the tractor barn and decided it might be just the thing for tying up the joints of the Grim. It also looked kind of cool hanging down, like he’d ripped himself loose from the garden or something. This firmed up the joints enough I was confident that the arms would stay on well enough to let me do the next part.
I used two kinds of Saran Wrap on this build. The regular see-through kind and the opaque kind that will stick to damn near anything it comes into contact with. Normal Saran Wrap doesn’t hold in cold very well either, but the Press and Seal stuff is crazy sticky and will hold to itself even if it freezes. I used the expandable foam that you get at the hardware store for sealing up gaps and cracks in your house. It also sticks to raw wood pretty well unless you pick it off. The foam was used to make “vines” all over his body, to form the feet, fill the gaps between boards and create knobby joints. It expands as it dries, so it gets into all the tiny splits in the wood that we made while screwing it together. (Even pre-drilling, 1x lumber is delicate)
The ribs are garden stakes that I jammed through the foam in his spine, then bent to curl in like a ribcage. I wrapped them in Saran Wrap and a bit of twisted foil to give them a bit more girth. I then wrapped the entire Grim in clear Saran Wrap, from his neck to his ankles.
Using the heat gun on the clear Saran Wrap shrinks it down against the foam and wood, puts a few holes in in it here and there and wrinkles it up so it looks like aged, desiccated skin. I thought this was a really cool effect. The opaque sealing wrap does not behave this way though, it only shrinks up and contorts or melts. I used a combination of both on the Grim’s hands since I wanted some of it to shrink and form to the fingers and some of it just to add bulk.
I made fingers from twisted foil first, then used the sticky opaque wrap to go between and down each finger, wrapping the remainder above them to form a palm for the hand. After I had the sticky wrap on, the fingers were stiff enough to be posable. I left what looked like a creepy hot mess overnight and came back to paint it the next day.
I used a combination of black, brown and green over the entire body, keeping the green mostly over the places where the foam stood out so that it would look like winding vines on the skin. Covering all the foam and wrap really made him look like something more realistic.
Here’s the final build, with the head on, his little Jack O’ Lantern captives over his arm and a few dead vines from our garden to drape over the rib cage.
My daughter added some red glow sticks to his head before the party and a white tea light in each Jack O’ Lantern so he’d glow after dark.
And that’s it! My first monster build. We’re already talking about what we may create next year. Have a safe and happy Halloween everyone!
I’m working on a few paper maché projects for a 4-H Halloween party we’re having. I’ve also started a Tik Tok account to share my art with a new audience.
Holy hell ya’ll. I never imagined speaking for 2 minutes coherently would be such a struggle. I write MUCH better than I speak. On video I sound like a complete freaking Goober. I’m going to do them anyway, but fair warning, do NOT expect miracles. LOL
I spent several hours driving in circles in Downtown St Louis last week (by choice, I wasn’t lost) while Tom and the kiddo went to see the Cardinals. They won 2 tickets, mom played chauffer, which meant I had lots of time to cruise around, people watch and think.
I’ve decided I need to step up my art game. I need to share more stuff, try more things, look for places to get new ideas. I also need to ride that monster Ferris Wheel at Union Station sometime, but that’s beside the point. Now that they’re relaxing some of the Covid restrictions, we might be able to go up there and see things again.
This week, I’m doing a bit of writing and building paper maché things for our party. I just completed 3 small Jack o’ lanterns that I’ll share with you- they are part of a larger build I’ll post later.
This video, I didn’t talk in, so no sounding like Pennywise doing a bad impression of Stuttering Bill.
Here’s how I made those paper maché pumpkins:
STUFF I USED– Glad Press N Seal Wrap, painter’s tape (masking tape works too), string or yarn, small bowl for holding watery glue, newspaper, magazines, etc to tear into strips, white glue (like Elmer’s school glue). Acrylic paint. If doing texture, you will also need cheap toilet paper (maybe use some of the 2020 stash you tossed in the back of the cabinet when Charmin came back in stock), Premixed joint compound (not DAP brand), more white glue and flour to make the paper maché clay.
1)Wrap a halfway solid object.
I have a weighted handball that I use for therapy. It’s bigger than a softball, but not as big as a grapefruit. I covered this entirely in wax paper and tape, then wrapped that with Glad Press and Seal saran wrap. After I had several layers, I cut a split and removed the ball. I forgot to take pictures of this part. Sorry!
2) Stuff it. I restuffed the Saran Wrap ball with plastic grocery bags and taped up my cut. I then used yarn to tie around the ball. I left the tops of the yarn until the end. Tie your yarn like you would secure a package. Slip under the ball, bring the ends over the top, tighten down. The more you tighten the yarn, the deeper the lines on your pumpkin will be.
Turn the ball and tie again at least twice more, then twist the top leftover string and trim off to about a 1/2 inch. This will be your stem. I wrapped tape around the string ends to secure them to each other and thicken the stem up a bit.
3) Paper maché
For the paper strips, I use what I have. I get a ridiculous amount of plant and clothing catalogs, so I used a lot of those. Tear or cut your strips (if you have issues with jagged edges) into manageable pieces.
I use plain white Dick Blick school glue (like the white Elmer’s) thinned with water for paste. I don’t like the idea of the old fashioned flour paste, since it can mould. How thick or thin you want it is kind of personal preference, my solution was about 2 parts glue 1 part water.
Drag your strips through the glue, then gently through your fingers. You don’t want it dripping, but coated enough to stick to itself. Use a very light touch or you’ll tear the paper.
I alternate the direction of my strips to prevent gaps and help with strength. I went all the way around vertical, then horizontal, the next layer vertical angled right and so on. I found it easier to do a couple layers, let that dry overnight and add 2-3 more. You want to let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.
4) Let it dry and cut faces.
You want your paper very stiff with no give before cutting. If it gives or you have weak spots, repeat layers and let dry again until it feels strong. It can pull apart or collapse if you skimp on layers or dry time.
I cut the faces of my Jack O Lanterns with an exacto knife, then I cut the bottom out of each pumpkin and removed all the stuffing, wax paper, Saran Wrap, tape and string. The Press N Seal took a little effort to remove, as it wants to stick to EVERYTHING including itself.
At this point, you should be left with pumpkins that are nothing but paper and look like this:
That larger pumpkin in the back is the head for the other part of the project I’m working on.
5) Texture. (This step is optional)
At this point, you can start painting if you like. I added another layer of detail here to give my finished pumpkins a bumpy appearance and beef up the vertical lines on them. If you’re going to do the texture step, I would paint the entire pumpkin with a primer coat first and let it dry, so that the texture doesn’t make your paper shell wet and heavy, causing it to lose shape. Also, the texture will require a minimum of 24 hours dry time, depending on how thick you put it on, but in my opinion was absolutely worth it- it added a lot of character they would have been missing otherwise.
So for texture, here’s your recipe:
They call this paper maché clay, but I found the texture of it be less like clay and more like slightly congealed oatmeal… which is is as gross at it sounds to stick your hands in. I wore medical gloves. Google paper maché clay if you’d like to experiment with other recipes. I modified this lady’s recipe, she makes some really cool masks with it.
PAPER MACHE CLAY-
-1 1/4 cups wet toilet paper (They recommended putting it through a food processor. I just used a kitchen wisk to break it up into tiny mush in water.)
-1 cup premixed drywall joint compound (Don’t use DAP brand, it has something in it that will prevent the clay from setting properly)
-3/4 cup Elmer’s Glue
Her recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 cup of white flour and 2 Tablespoons of mineral oil. I skipped both of these, which may be why my consistency wasn’t as smooth and was more like oatmeal that clay. For these pumpkins though, my version worked great and I don’t have to worry about the flour/mildew/mold issue. I’m allergic to mold, so the flour formulas are a big deal breaker for me.
I will also confess that I didn’t actually measure my ingredients, I just dumped the stuff in a bowl- pretty much the way I cook too (this drives my husband nuts. he likes precise, linear steps to follow)
I didn’t get a great picture of this on the little pumpkins, but I took some of the larger one, so you can see the detail.
Like I said, play with your recipe. If you want these texture details smooth, I think adding more joint compound might do the trick- even make it so you can sand it with a drywall sanding block.
If you’re going to add much detail around the facial feature openings, you might reinforce them first with cardboard and hot glue to keep them from becoming mis-shapen.
I just stuck a bit of the ‘clay’ (oatmeal) where I wanted it, then smoothed it into lines or shapes with my fingers, a scrap of cardboard, Q-Tips, whatever worked. When it’s completely hardened, it will be bonded with the maché strips and will feel stiff and solid. At this point, it’s ready for paint.
6) Make it pretty.
I kept my painting pretty simple, since these are going to be outside, in the dark and you won’t be seeing a lot of detail on them. I used a white acrylic primer coat inside and out, followed by 3 different shades of orange on the outside, then painted the stems a grey with a touch of brown mixed in.
I cut some some small circles for the bottom, painted white on one side, and curved the edges slightly to get them inside the bottoms of the pumpkins, then hot glued them to cover the hole in the bottom and painted the outside of that orange as well. You could leave the bottom open if it’s going to be displayed sitting on a surface. It would certainly make it easier to get the lights in them, as I had to shove mine through the mouth, taking care not to damage their faces.
7) Light it up
I used electronic tea lights inside mine to make them flicker and look like a candle. Any small LED light or even a glow stick would work. Obviously you don’t want to stick a real candle in these with a flame, unless for some reason you want them to burn.
Here are my little guys all finished.
I’ll try and get another post on here of the Grim (and how these look added to that build) so you can see the whole thing once it’s put together. The Grim is hopefully going to be about 8 ft. tall and carrying these small pumpkins in one hand. They will be lit as will the Grim’s head.
Don’t ask me where I’m going to store all this stuff after the party. LOL
If you want to hear me be awkward on video, you can check out my Instagram or TikTok accounts. 🙂 Or if you’re an ‘old person’ (as my daughter calls us) and still use Facebook, I’m there too.
I just finished a new painting, which is going to be another in a series- kind of like I did with the native wildflowers on the gourds. These are actually on canvas, instead of a strangely shaped object, so I can make prints available as they are finished. I’m not yet ready to sell the originals yet, but maybe later. I have to be careful how I present these, so as not to get sued for copyright stuff. So I can’t share with you any lyrics or song titles. So… I’ll just let the art speak for itself.
If you’re a southern rock fan, you should be able to hear the lyrics just looking at this painting. 🙂
This was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager, go out and drive all night (buying gas didn’t require taking out a second mortgage then), listening to music and look for a road with a particular number of bridges on it. I found one that almost fit the bill, down in Devil’s Elbow once. It lacked the Spanish moss in the trees, but it did have a fair amount of Virginia Creeper growing over everything, so almost the same ethereal feel. It also didn’t have the right number of bridges.
I looked up the actual inspiration behind this and there are claims that it is Woodley Road in Montgomery Alabama, although some debate the validity. Wherever it is, it’s always reminded me of warm summer nights, driving with the windows down, the scent of honeysuckle, water and deep green everywhere. Moonlight, stars and Spanish moss in trees. Fireflies and whippoorwills. It always made me yearn to break away, get out on the open road, explore and be in touch with earth and nature. I wanted to put that road on repeat and just drive it forever. I’m in Missouri, but I believe I’m a southern girl at heart. If I ever leave this farm, I swear it will be for a cabin on stilts out in the bayou somewhere. Maybe I’d sell my truck and buy a fan boat.
Anyway, here’s the painting. I have prints available on Fine Art America. They put it on everything from posters and blankets to t-shirts and bags. The next one I’m working on has a bullfrog in it. And maybe some grapes… 🙂
This is two months growth. The weed fabric is the thick, expensive stuff you get at the nursery. It seems to stop small stuff like grasses, but thistles, polk, the blackberry canes all push right through it.
The cardboard is so far blocking everything. The grass that came through is only there because the cardboard there isn’t overlapping in that spot.
I’ve had some health stuff going on (yay arthritis) and now garden season is here so haven’t had a chance to post much but I wanted to share a quick tip.
Save your cardboard boxes for the yard and garden! I’ve been weeding and weed-eating around trees for years.
While laying down cardboard to create grass-free areas in my garden for walkways, I realized I should have been using this stuff around all my trees too.
Cardboard is great garden material and if you do a lot of online shopping like I do, there’s an endless free supply. In the garden, it holds in moisture, it keeps weeds at bay, worms absolutely LOVE the stuff and it biodegrades slowly over several years. It’s also soft enough it won’t girdle trees, which could be a danger with the plastic ‘mulch’ discs.
If you’re concerned about the look of cardboard, throw a little mulch on top. I put the discs down and jammed my tree cages through the cardboard to hold it in place. I use the heavy, thick stuff for tree rings. The thin stuff can be used to line pots, or I give it to our rabbits to shred (which eventually winds up in the garden) or tear up and throw in compost.
I’m currently painting a series of birdhouse gourds featuring Missouri wildflowers.
I grew these bottle gourds in our garden year before last. I made a post here about making birdhouses from these, in which I said, “Remember all those birdhouse gourds?” And I just realized that I never actually posted them on Dirt, only on Dirt’s Facebook page, so unless you followed that, no, you don’t remember. I just knew I’d posted them somewhere.
These have been hanging in the utility room now for a year and I’m finally getting around to painting on them. I started out with violets- just because- and decided to make it a thing- a whole series of paintings featuring different wildflowers from Missouri.
I’ve got several more ideas in the works. My daughter suggested black eyed susans. I’m starting one of redbud, prickly pear cactus and butterfly weed. I’ve got 3 more to come up with an idea for and probably eight more to prep.
Finally finished that last TV table I was working on. Had to take a 3-week hiatus, my kiddo brought home Omicron from school and shared with the whole family. I’m still fighting with my lungs trying to get them back to where they were, last time we had Covid it took almost a month and a half before I felt myself again- that was back in 2020.
I still have to get three of these coated with epoxy, but the painting is finished. I’ve moved on to working on birdhouse gourds, so I can get some inventory back on the website before spring hits and I’m living in the garden for 3 months. Last year, my daughter threatened to build me a little house out there so I could just live with my plants. (Don’t tempt me kid) We’re talking/thinking/considering building a greenhouse at some point, but that has to be after I fence in the field behind the garden. I’ve been promising her we’d get her a horse and I’d like to make it happen before she’s 45. Best time to get those post holes dug for gates is just after “mud season” has passed. When the ground here is still soft, not glops of heavy mud but not near-concrete clay either. I have topsoil here, which is a new experience after years of living at Lake of the Ozarks, but it still only goes down 6-8 inches before you hit clay.
Anyway- I get distracted. I blame this week’s full moon- it’s got me crazy. Couldn’t hardly sleep last night and I’m SO ready for warmer weather. I must have woken up 20 times last night. We’ve been watching Supernatural, and I was dreaming about Castiel, guess I have a thing for angels… in trench coats… with black tattered wings… LOL Ok, I’ll just leave that there.
My reason for doing this one was two-fold. I wanted to learn to do rays of light coming through the trees and I wanted to learn tree bark texturing. The grass on this was SO freaking labor intensive. I’m not overly happy with the turkeys. The light turned out ok, I’m fairly content with the tree bark. I think the violets, dandelions, Star of Bethlehem and Queen Anne’s lace in the field are the best part of the whole painting- the violets made that log pile look like it wasn’t just floating in the middle of the picture. I had fun, I learned stuff. These tables are ours, they aren’t for sale, so I used them to experiment with techniques and things I’ve been wanting to try out. I’d rather do my learning on something like this than an antique saw blade and mess it up.
I have a wall of gourds to work on, so that will probably be my focus for a while. I’m thinking of doing a series on them of different plants… I like those scientific drawings you see of trees and plants where they show the plant in all its various stages. I’m kind of wanting to do something in that style of different Missouri wildflowers. I’m working on violets right now; I’m thinking maybe dandelions next. Yes, I know many people consider it a noxious weed, but I love them. I pick them here and blow wishes all over the yard. The bees love them too.
Aside from flowers, I’m probably going to have to do something with rainbows on it too- because I heard that Rolling Stones song the other day- “She comes in colors everywhere… she combs her hair… she’s like a rainbow” and I can’t get it out of my brain. Yancy once told me to sing “Love Shack” if I couldn’t get a song out of my head, but She’s a Rainbow is persistent, the B52’s aren’t touching this one. So I’ll paint it. Maybe if I pay homage to it, it will go on its merry way. LOL
Here’s a shot of all the tables together. SO MUCH GREEN. You think I like green a bit? That said, the dark, moody horse sunset picture is my favorite. I will likely do a saw blade at some point with something similar on it.
I have to go clean house and get some stuff together for this weekend. I’m teaching a crafts class on Sunday. Next month is going to be BUSY, not sure how much I’ll get accomplished- I’ll be running back and forth to Sullivan twice a week again for PT on my neck. It is much improved since my trip to St Louis, I’m hoping therapy will help as much as it did last year, I have SO much I want to get done in the garden and I don’t want stupid pain slowing me down.
Friends that visit our house in summer and see the massive garden next to our house often ask me where I do my plant/seed shopping and what I like to grow out there.
I’ll start by saying that my family are not especially adventurous when it comes to vegetable eating. My husband likes his starchy basics: potatoes, corn, peas- pretty much in that order. My daughter is a bit more adventurous; she’ll eat tomatoes, cucumber and snow pea pods in addition to the starchy veggies. They both love strawberries, blackberries and Tom’s jelly from my elderberries last year was a huge hit. I will eat just about any fruit or vegetable, even try some that I’ve never had before and can’t pronounce. I’m less adventurous in the meat department. It took a year or two of living here before I would try venison again, I still won’t touch squirrel or rabbit. Forget the more mid-west exotic fare like groundhog, snake or snapping turtle.
I’m trying to branch out. I’ve been following several Missouri homestead, wildcrafting and foraging sites. I’ll try a lot of mushrooms and edible weeds that my family isn’t too keen to put on their plate. I figure if nothing else, this stuff could keep us alive if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse (might re-think that snapping turtle then too).
This year I’m branching out into more herbs and growing a few unusual things like Stevia and my own tea.
First of all, I have to say that for live plants, my local nursery is the bomb. It’s a little place called Huffman’s out on Highway B, just outside of St James. The staff there are lovely, the owners are wonderful, everyone I’ve dealt with there has been knowledgeable, considerate and they always tell us they’d love to see us again. Huffman’s is my go-to place for mulch, live plants, landscape fabric or just to go wander around browse for ideas. They have a really cool gift shop inside; tons of yard art and they carry that potting soil with the frog on it that the marijuana growers supposedly like. (If it’s good for growing pot, it should be stellar for tomatoes, right?) I’ve gotten several blackberry plants from there that have done very well and we always go get at least several annuals to decorate the back porch rail each year. So this is my shop local place, hands down. In fact, since I’ve found them, I hardly step foot in the garden center at Lowes or Menards, which is where I used to get 90% of my plants from when I lived at the Lake. If you’re in the area, go check them out. They’re on Facebook and online at https://www.huffmansflowersofthefield.com/
Ok, now for the Online shops. These are who I do a lot of my pre-order of seeds from, for the stuff I want to start in the house early or when I want something really specific as I’m planning out the garden in the winter months.
My #1 favorite (and where I spent the bulk of my $ this year) is Baker Creek Seeds. I do most of my seed shopping in January/February before most of the local nurseries are even open after winter break. I’ve found that if I wait until March or April, most everything online is out of stock or extremely picked over. The very well-known sites like Burpee are already having stock issues. Baker Creek had to send out a notice that they were having issues with paper shortages, so seed packages and catalogs could be an issue for them next year. No worries about the catalogs though, they have their entire catalog online with the same pictures and descriptions as the print version.
You’ve probably heard a lot of hype about heirloom seeds in recent years, but not everyone knows why. Heirlooms can be saved year after year. They are true to the parent plant, which means that they are consistently the same, year after year from one planting to the next. Some of these seeds have been around since the 1800’s, passed along from generation to generation. This means you can grow the same pink beefsteak tomato that your great, great grandmother grew in her garden when you were two or the same flowers she had lining the walkway to her house. These plants are tried and true performers, you know what to expect. You know what they are going to taste like, you know that they’ll be the same year after year after year. Baker Creek sells a lot of heirlooms. They are not all native heirlooms though- they get their seeds from farms all over the world. They pride themselves on carrying unusual varieties that you won’t find anywhere else and you certainly will never see at a Big Box store garden center. The homepage of their website is a testament to this- showcasing all the black vegetables and flowers that they are carrying this year. The main office of Baker Creek is out of Mansfield, Missouri (Home of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Festival- if you’ve never been, you should check it out.) You can order online from them at https://www.rareseeds.com/
My #2 this year was PineTree. This is where I picked up the things that were out of stock everywhere else or other sites just didn’t sell. They still had garlic bulbs in stock (out on every other site I checked!), they also had white sage, pinto beans and an heirloom green onion that doesn’t produce bulbs, just the green tops in bunches. This is my first-year ordering from them, so I’ll have to let you know how I liked them later. They shipped my order quickly; I should be seeing it sometime this week. The garlic will be shipped in fall when it’s time to plant. They have a nice selection of loose-leaf teas and herbs for purchase on their site also. Website is https://www.superseeds.com/
#3 Ferry Morse.
I’ve always associated Ferry Morse with Walmart seed shopping- I think because this used to be the primary brand that Walmart Garden centers carried every spring. I’ve purchased a lot of Ferry Morse seed over the years, both from Walmart and online and have had decent results. A couple years ago, they were the only place I could find that had birdhouse or bottle gourds in stock when I went looking for them in late spring. Their prices are awesome. They have a nice little live plant sale going on right now- I’ve not tried their live plants before, but I ordered a couple of tomato plants, we’ll see how it goes. They don’t have a massive selection and most of what they offer is pretty common, but if you’re looking for good basics, their prices can’t be beat. I plant marigolds in EVERY raised bed as companion plants and they have just about every basic marigold available for under $2 a pack of seeds. Also, it was free shipping for any order over $35, where most garden sites don’t offer free shipping until you hit the $75 or more mark. https://ferrymorse.com/
#4 Burpee Seeds.
These folks were always my old favorite and I looked forward to their catalog in the mail every year because it meant spring was almost here, regardless of what that stupid groundhog had to say. In the past couple years though, I’ve had trouble with a lot of Burpee’s stuff being out of stock very early on. I just got my catalog a few weeks ago and already they are completely out of every kind of garlic, several varieties of onion and some of the tomato packs are unavailable. I blame the stupid pandemic- people who have never gardened started gardening during 2020, even if it was just a pot of tomatoes or strawberries on their apartment patio, they had something. Burpee is well advertised, well known and popular, meaning they sell out of stuff faster than the more obscure, lesser-known sites. Because of this, I didn’t get a ton of stuff from them this year. I did find a Chocolate Peppermint plant that I searched for and couldn’t find elsewhere. They also had table grape plants. You would think being in St James, which is considered “Midwest Wine Country” that grape plants could be found in abundance, but if they are out there, I’ve yet to find them. I found a couple at the big box stores, that did well until I took them out of the box. 😦 I’m trying my luck again this year with a pair from Burpee. The Amish that used to own our property once worked in the grape fields outside of town. I see lots of folks in town with backyard grape arbors. I have no desire to make wine, but would love a few table grapes to pick each year. If you’re going to visit Burpee, I would do it now rather than later, they are selling out of their more popular items fast! They still have lots of flowers and landscape plants. https://www.burpee.com/
Just as an FYI, I’m not an influencer and I don’t get anything from any of these companies from sharing my opinions about their sites or products. I’m not a paid endorser or affiliated with them in any way. I did post a link on Facebook for Ferry Morse because they gave me one of those, “Share this link and we’ll give you a percentage off for every person that signs up for an account…” So I guess if we’re friends on Facebook AND you click that AND you order stuff, THEN I am getting something from it… but it’s only a 10% of coupon or something. Nothing all that exciting. LOL
I would first and foremost though encourage you, especially if you are a new gardener, find a local nursery. Not the garden center at Lowes, Menards or Home Depot- but an actual local nursery like Huffman’s above. Try several of them. We have two in our town, both are decent, Huffman’s people won me over in the end though and I’ll go to them every time. Local nurseries will know which plants do best in your area. They’ll know how those plants perform, they’ll know what issues they may have, they can make recommendations based on your space and growing conditions or the amount of time you have to dedicate to your garden. The people working at Lowes will stare at you confused when you ask for Blood Meal and say, “We’ve got Miracle Grow?” They don’t know about most of the plants there and they don’t care. They go out and drench them every day as they’re told and stop if something turns brown and crunchy. You’re not just paying for a plant; you’re paying for knowledge and help making an investment. Local nursery staff can tell you whether that plant will do well in your space. They can tell you if deer will devour it or not. They can tell you if it’s going to draw hordes or Japanese beetles to your yard. They can tell you if it will spread out of control and should be kept in a pot or if it is ok to put in your landscape beds. The people at Home Depot do not notice or care that you bought mint and you’re planting it in your landscape beds. Responsible local nurseries won’t sell you things off of the conservation invasive list that will make your neighbor’s curse you for years. (Dear Lowes, stop selling people Bradford Pear please!!!)
So, this isn’t just another “Shop Local!” pitch. If you find the right fit, you’ll find someone that actually cares about the plants they sell, they want their customers to be happy and come back, they want your garden to be a raving success because it will mean your friends and family will want to shop with them too.
I don’t know if anyone will find this interesting or not- I find watching other artist’s progress fascinating. I could (and have!) sit and watch YouTube painting videos for hours. Especially if they dispense with the annoying step by step and just do their thing.
This is my design for the 4th and final of our TV tray tables. These are about 2×3 ft, I primer the top with a thick, bonding primer before I start.
Above is the original sketch for the scene in pencil. I don’t go into a lot of detail because I’m just going to paint over it anyway. I usually do an even rougher version on paper first, because the primer on these tables is not especially easy to erase mistakes on. You can see where I decided I didn’t like the position of the left turkey and attempted to erase it. I decided f%#$ it, it’s easier just to paint over the old lines. I take pictures of all this so if I do paint over something and can’t tell what was there before, all I have to do is look at the photos from the last steps. The lines across the picture map out the direction of my light source. I’m going to attempt putting in streaks of light in this one.
I’ve done similar once before with a saw painting, but wasn’t thrilled with the result. In that one, I used diluted white to go over the scene I’d already painted. It’s not a horrible way to go about it, but I noticed it made everything underneath kind of chalky looking, not just washed out with light. So I’m going to try a new method that is in a book I just bought about color and light. In this way, you actually mix different color combinations for each section, depending on where the light hits.
Right now, with the color blocking it looks like something you would have seen on a t-shirt in the 1970’s. I finished that part last night, I’ll probably start adding some detail in the background area tonight. I need to get these finished so I can get busy painting gourds. Spring is coming and I’d like to get those birdhouses on the Etsy shop!
I’m debating on whether I should go set the shower up for an acrylic pour on the other two so we can start putting them back in use. I plastic the shower, put them in there with an oil heater set to about 80-85F, do my pour and then let them sit in there for at least a day. I like to let them set another week after fully dry to cure before any use. I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups re: epoxy work and acrylic pour art. Some of the stuff these people make is absolutely stunning. They’re making resin tables from huge slabs of wood, counter tops, huge art installations that look like a real beach, sometimes with sea shells and stuff embedded in them. I do nothing near that technical- just clear coats over paintings. I have a couple pieces of acrylic jewelry with plants in them. I’ve found several folks in Ukraine that make amazing jewelry from the stuff.
Anyway… I will post more as I make progress. I’m working on the utility room floor slowly, trying to finally get the tile down that’s been sitting in our kitchen for over a year now. This doesn’t normally detract from me getting art done, since I mostly do that at night, but it does hinder my posting stuff online. (As if I’m SO great about updating this anyway, right?)