Friday, November 6, 2015

DIY Gardening: Christmas Tree shaped Topiary

Making Your Own Topiary Frame:

Tools and supplies needed for this project:
Wire Tomato cage,
Wire clippers and/or Bolt-cutter,
Small shovel,
Large flower pot
Dirt
Green electrical wire
Ivy plants

With the gorgeous weather we had in Chicagoland this week, much of our time was spent out in the yard, and not so much blogging this week.  But seeing all the Christmas posts inspired me to plant all my ivy in one pot (I use ivy in almost all my outdoor planters) and try and make a Christmas tree topiary from scratch. Topiary frames are hideously expensive, so I had to make it from scratch.

oldnewgreenredo

First thing, I planted all my ivy (7) in one large pot...and made sure the plants were around the edge. I already had treated my plants with an organic fungus/pesticide ecologically safe for pets/children when we had the frost. I bagged all my plants after heavy spraying and then tightened the bags around them for three days. In the two weeks since I have only seen one tiny spider. So this really works well. I did this for every plant I brought into the house.

Since I wanted a Christmas tree shape, I began with a large green tomato cage, and clipped the bottom rings off. This left me with a 24" tall frame on the left. I used green plastic covered electrical wire and closed the top three wires first. TIP: use the heaviest clippers or bolt cutters you have to cut the cage.

oldnewgreenredo
Here is the dissected Tomato cage...I used the part on the left, really one ring with legs and the long original legs used as the top.

oldnewgreenredo

I set the frame into the pot to see if the proportions were right. The bottom legs were a bit larger than my pot, so I had to secure them inward. Removing the frame from the pot I worked on tightening IN the bottom legs, first.

oldnewgreenredo
Here I am just deciding where I may want my extra wires. The greens of the wire are different but when they are covered with ivy it will not matter. You could spray everything with spray paint to match if you wanted.

oldnewgreenredo

I added an inner ring on the bottom to bring the bottom ends in to fit the pot. Then I added an additional bottom outer ring securing at each of the frames legs by wrapping around twice. From the outside bottom ring, I added three more vertical sides up to give the outline of the tree, these were attached at the top and to the originally frame by double wrapping.

oldnewgreenredo

Next, I took two long pieces and wound them from top to bottom loosely to give the horizontal wires. In the shadow above you can see my rings mimicing the original ring...the shadow looks great.





oldnewgreenredo

Pushing the legs deep into the pot, I began untangling and spreading out my ivy vines. This took some patience. Working some on the lower rings and the longest on vertical wires, it actually started to look great.

oldnewgreenredo
 The bottom will be completely covered because of all the short vines. Using the longest to wind up all the wires on the frame will fill it up.

oldnewgreenredo

It is sparse for now, but I have done simple circle frames before and know the ivy thrives with light, daily sprays of water and plenty of plant food. So hopefully in a month or two this frame will be totally full and will be ready for bitty lights.

oldnewgreenredo

 I have it in the front window right now, as it receives lots of indirect sunlight as we have a large overhang here.

oldnewgreenredo
 If I get desperate, I can always add another ivy or two.

oldnewgreenredo
But it so thick on the bottom with short vines, I'm sure they will go nuts now. I will wait a week and let the plants acclimate to their new surroundings before fertilizing.

TIP: Turn your pot everyday or two...as the ivy will go toward the light source and you want it to grow toward the outside.

This project cost nothing, as we had all the materials on hand. Ivys were originally purchased in garden centers in spring for 1.99 or less. Tomatoe cage was used, originally 4-5$ because plastic covered.

Time: 1-1/2 hour at most.

Thanks for stopping by, commenting or questions always welcomed.

 All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own or I am in possesion of the originals, 
I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or products used. 
Please do not use my photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

Sharing at these fine parties: 



Sandi





Tuesday, November 3, 2015

French Antique Print for my Living Room

"Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld." Martha Beck


oldnewgreenredo
When we were in Wisconsin last month, I found this OLD gorgeous colored etching/aquatint probably circa 1910-25. It's hand numbered and signed by an Henri....somebody---I can't read the last name.
Which is a shame because this is a stunning piece and I would love to find out who the artist was. It wasn't very much money...but, I absolutely loved it.

oldnewgreenredo
Having taken Printmaking I, II in college, I can appreciate the techniques involved. Aquatint which has been in use since the 1600's as a method of creating tonal colors through a series of acid etchings on a plate(s) through multiple techniques and formulas. The goal is to make colored multiple-identical prints. A similar print on Worthpoint is said to be a Antique French Lithograph, also with an illegible signature, I don't agree as that is an entirely different medium and would not leave a plate mark which this print clearly has on the edges.

oldnewgreenredo
If I am guessing right, this is a print made from 4-5 plates. Gray-green, rust, brown/tan, dark-green and the etching itself, perhaps in a black-brown are the colors used. Each color had it's own plate. The depths of color depend on how long the plate was left in an acid bath with a particular treatment on the plate. A plate would be removed and reworked multiple times, resulting in multiple shades of the same color when printed. It's tricky to say the least. One has to be able to envision one's work and desired result in layers. Once a plate is etched it can be softened but not totally erased. (I thought of this as art by suicide...when working on plates in my classes. I'm not a meticulous human being, so this was simply not my media.)

Henri's result was a full-fledged Fall landscape of murky waters and misty backgrounds with a cottage/mill detailed and yet in shadows...truly this printmaker was skilled at his craft.

Here is the reflection in the murky waters, just a hint of the house.

oldnewgreenredo

The print itself, is a large piece @20"x24" and is quietly matted in multiple mattes with gold imprinted edgings, and the frame is softly gilded. I am waiting for a framing sale to REDO replace the glass with glare-proof, for anywhere I place this picture, I get fierce reflections from our windows, or worse the television.

oldnewgreenredo


Anyone recognizing this signature please contact me or having any information on this print, I try to be accurate on posts, but this post is guess-work. The dealer I bought this from, agreed on my guess, and she confessed she had searched futilely herself.

Perhaps I will find out more, when the framer takes apart my print, and realigns the original mattes.
Perhaps the artist will reveal himself. I have searched all the French lists of artists and printmakers. Another Henri (Jourdain) made prints in the 20-30's similar, but the signature does not match at all.


After WWI, many returning veterans built French and English cottages, chateaus and homes in America. Entire sub-divisions were dedicated to these styles of Tudor Revival, English Stone Cottages, and French Revival.  It is understandable that prints of the beautiful French countryside would be chosen for artwork in such homes.

oldnewgreenredo

On a side note, an American gallery owner, Sidney Z. Lucas contracted French artists to produce landscapes under the label, “Paris Etching Society.” His prints can also be identified by a distinctive circular or triangular symbol with the initials “SZL.” These were very popular in the 1930's and later. This is not one of his artist's prints.
For more information on Lucas see: http://antiqueprintsblog.blogspot.com


oldnewgreenredo
It doesn't matter, I will never sell it, as I'm totally in love with the elusive Henri's whoever he may be, his river, trees, and the cottage mill, (I really want to live there).

All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own or I am in possesion of the originals, 
I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or products used. 
Please do not use my photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle


Thanks for stopping by and visiting, sharing at these fine parties: 
Sandi


 


Monday, November 2, 2015

DIY Desperation Breakfast


Croissant Roll-ups!

In my October frenzy of trying to clean (GREEN) out my cupboards of OLD food stuffs, and the refrigerator and freezers, I managed to let our food stores dwindle to starvation level.

This morning...no eggs or eggbeaters, no milk/or evaporated milk, one piece of dry bread, no juice, no bacon, ham, or sausage...but we had coffee, thank heavens. We are usually big breakfast eaters as we are always busy in the mornings. As my husband and I split a heel of bread...yugh...I thought of this!


In the drawer was a roll of Pillsubury low-fat crescent rolls, a package of low-fat smoked turkey deli-meat, and a hunk of mild cheddar cheese--all a base for what turned out to be a NUMMY breakfast.



Starving, we pulled apart the crescent dough, Hubby was fast on this, 
I had to catch up with the camera.
I placed a half a piece of turkey (next time will place both halves on)


and about a tablespoon of shredded cheddar cheese to the dough.




We added a dab of lingonberries (IKEA)---or this could easily be cranberries, or applesauce.



At this point they really looked good enough to eat. (Can't you tell we are hungry?)




We did a quick roll up, and placed them on parchment paper, popped them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 14-15 min.


They came out toasty brown and bubbling, (all the ingredients are precooked anyway) and these were ready to serve.


And were absolutely nummy, roughly 130 calories each as made. We each ate two and split a half an apple and another cup of coffee.


They were actually so good, next time I need to bring a brunch item, I will make some up with some ham/turkey and maybe some brie, with the lingonberries. I popped the other four into the freezer for a quick microwave breakfast in the future.

Now to clean the fridge and go shopping! 
Have a great day...and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Sharing at these great parties:
Sandi









Sunday, November 1, 2015

DIY Barbie Dollhouse: Week#4 Part 1-House Assembly and Moldings


Last week was a busy week with the NEW DIY Barbie Dollhouse. Chicagoland had cold weather and rain from the hurricane. We had intended to get to the lighting, but all the moldings and house assembly came first.

Choosing some composite moldings was an easy decision from Home Depot and Menard's and were perfect in scale and prefinished. They are fairly inexpensive for an 8-foot length, cut clean and easily.


oldnewgreenredo


Some fancy moldings were purchased at Michael's for the roof edge shown here with our hand made straight moldings we used for the window frames.

oldnewgreenredo

Tools we used, were simple and complicated: the square from my tool box, pencil, scissors for cutting the uneven edges of the composite trim, an exacto knife for cleaning up the edges. Composite molding edges clean up nicely with just a scrape from the knife.

oldnewgreenredo

Tools we used, were simple: the square from my tool box, pencil, scissors for cutting the uneven edges of the composite trim, an exacto knife for cleaning up the edges. Composite molding edges clean up nicely with just a scrape from the knife. The mini mitre-box on a wood surface and lots of clamps and PATIENCE.


oldnewgreenredo

My trusty little mitre box and my husband insisted on using glue, (Tite-Bond 3-Ultimate wood glue) which was messy and marked up all the prepainted walls and surfaces, but he is the construction foreman, so I just gritted my teeth and thought of all the touch-up I will have to do.

His wood glue is amazing though, and it holds pieces totally tight. Set-up time is 30 min, and he clamped my cut door moldings.



oldnewgreenredo

My creative second floor landing opening for the stairs proved to be more of a challenge. My husband showed me how to make the complicated angle cuts.


oldnewgreenredo

Here the clamps hold the moldings in place so the angle cuts can be marked.


oldnewgreenredo

After I made the cuts, the molding are glued and clamped. The green side goes to the kitchen side of the second floor.

oldnewgreenredo

Next Hubby installed the inside walls. These were screwed or nailed from below and from the outside walls. My husband and his clamps held the walls straight while the glue (more touch-up) dried.

oldnewgreenredo

I set a few pieces of furniture pieces which need to be flush against the walls, to work around for the floor moldings. I did the measurements and cut all the pieces and set them in. At this time, the entire kitchen will be molding free because of all the cabinets will be built in. Just like a real house.

oldnewgreenredo
The kitchen (green) will be filled with appliances and cabinets, no need for moldings along the walls.
oldnewgreenredo

The bathtub will be up against the wall, the trim placed along the corner walls.

oldnewgreenredo

Floor moldings on the second floor living room. More glue to cover up, LOL.

oldnewgreenredo

Here are the outside edges, showing the shape of the moldings. Whoops-- touch-up needed on the outside window trim.

oldnewgreenredo

 The molding on the second floor opening, with floor molding installed.



oldnewgreenredo

Hubby used shakes for the roof. He said it went quick and gives a nice look to the exterior. The scallop trim finishes off the front edge. He still needs to add pieces on the side.  Another trip to Michael's.

oldnewgreenredo

 You can see the screws holding the floors together, on the outside. This will be covered up with wood putty.

oldnewgreenredo

The shakes are large, but small ones looked so busy, we opted for the large shakes. Hubby glued the shakes and used a nail-gun. The roof cap is still under construction.

oldnewgreenredo

DIY Barbie Dollhouse so far. Now, what's next?


oldnewgreenredo

The stairs, at this point all the planning is out the window, we measure and build as we go. The risers are spotted through the floor. There are actually two being held together, you are seeing the stripes of the 1/2" plywood. Golly, I hope these work. Hubby has been delegated the stairs. More on next post.

oldnewgreenredo

I call this Fall Tablescape #2...LOL. With cookies for Halloween, all the tools and work going on in our kitchen.  Next week is supposed to be nicer weather, so the porch can be utilized. It's amazing I served dinner for 6 in the kitchen the next day with my regular Fall tablescape.


All the opinions and photographs in this blog are my own or I am in possesion of the originals, 
I have not been paid or reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, posts or products used. 
Please do not use my photos without linking back to this blog without my permission. 
Thank you for your cooperation, Sandi Magle

Thanks for stopping by and I will be sharing at these parties:
Sandi