Thursday, September 30, 2010

Garden Mushrooms

Garden Mushrooms

This summer I got it stuck in my head that I wanted some decorative mushrooms in my garden. Don't ask me.......I don't know what it is about mushrooms, but I just love them.
It took me a long time to figure out how I was going to make these things. There wasn't much to google about them because not too many people have made these things.

I knew what I wanted them to look like, but wasn't sure how to actually go about making them. After much thought, I figured it out. Like everything else it was trial and error. The first one wasn't made the same as the second one, because I made changes along the way.

They have to go outside, last through rain and wind too, so cement seemed the best way to go. I researched that and decided on mortar. I was going to paint them, but decided on glass mosaic squares. My reasoning-color. I wanted color! They are going into a shade garden and that's where I need the color.

Here they are finished and I'll explain below how I made them.
I started with a very large, plastic bowl. Not the easiest thing to find, mind you. I landed up using an old halloween candy bowl. I sprayed the bowl with cooking oil, poured in the mixed mortar (morter + water according to the directions) and waited 2 days for it to set. Mortar dries smooth and this helps when you are glueing on the glass. The cooking oil allows easy release of the mortar. Mushroom caps-done.

The next step was to cut up the squares and circles out of glass. My years of stained glass experience helped a lot. You can buy these squares all ready cut out in the craft stores. You also can start breaking up old plates and use them. I glued all the squares and circles onto the mushroom cap and then mortared around the squares. I used white mortar as you can see.

I used an empty soda bottle for the smallest mushroom stem. This worked out, but I wanted taller shrooms too. I used 4 inch PVC pipe (home depot), cut it and glued the shroom to the top. This worked great. In the future I would stick to the PVC pipe and skip the soda bottle. It's easier and you can leave it white.

These mushrooms look just great in the yard and everyone loves them. So far they have lasted through all kinds of weather. I plan on planting some Mondo grass around them.

FYI-the red shroom is poisonous......

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Paint Quaility Institute sent me some more great tips for improving your home. It's all about paint!

Paint Quality Institute



Recent surveys reveal that consumers will be doing a lot of remodeling this

year. But with the sluggish economy, many are opting for do-it-yourself

projects to squeeze the most out of their budgets. One of the most common

undertakings: interior painting.

“Nearly everyone agrees that some jobs – like reroofing or electrical work – are

best left to the pros, but most people think they can do their own painting,”

says Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute. “And,

generally speaking, they’re right.”

Many people regard painting as a weekend project. As such,

they want to see the fruits of their labor by Sunday night. “That’s a realistic

goal, but to achieve it, you have to plan out the job and be well-organized,”

she says.

If your organizational skills leave something to be desired, Zimmer offers some


1. Get all of your furniture out of the way by moving it to the center of the

room, using plastic sliders on heavy items so you don’t have to lift them.

Cover everything with plastic, blankets, or old sheets. Then, put down

drop-cloths to protect your floors from stray droplets of paint.

2. Scrub all the surfaces you’ll be painting with a sponge and mild household

detergent solution before going to the paint store. That will give them time to

dry while you’re out shopping.

3. Making multiple trips to the paint store can consume gobs of time, so try to

do all of your shopping in just one visit. Before leaving your home, see what

painting tools and accessories you have on hand, then create a shopping list. .

. or save even more time by going to to download a helpful


4. Buy technologically-advanced top quality 100% acrylic latex interior paint.

These durable paints, some of which serve double-duty as both primer and paint,

are better at hiding the color that’s underneath. As a result, you may need to

apply just a single coat – saving you not only time and effort, but money as


5. Tape the edges of the surfaces you’ll be painting to enable you to apply the

paint faster. You’ll quickly recover the time spent doing this. And taping

will make your finished paint job look a lot neater.

6. Work “top down”: paint the ceiling; then the walls; next, the windows and

trim; and, lastly, the baseboards. Following this sequence will help keep

just-painted surfaces free of paint spatter or drip marks and cut down time

spent on touch-up work.

7. When painting a ceiling or wall, start by “cutting in” a corner section with

a paintbrush, applying a 3” band of paint around the edge. This will enable you

to quickly fill in the area with a paint roller. Repeat this process in 3-foot


8. Apply the paint liberally. Trying to “stretch” your paint by applying a

thin coat is false economy: You might end up needing a second coat to

completely hide the original color.

9. Assuming that you purchased top quality 100% acrylic latex paint, your

cleanup will be a snap. Being water-based, these paints can be quickly and

easily cleaned off of brushes and rollers with plain soap and water.

10. The last time-saver when using top quality latex paint? Not having to wait

for the “paint smell” to go away. Eco-friendly latex paints have very little

odor, so you can put a freshly-painted room back into service right away.

For more tips on saving time and money when doing interior painting, Zimmer

suggests that you invest a few minutes checking out the Paint Quality Institute

website at

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