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Latest posts by obelixx

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 04/08/2014 at 12:34

Hope you had a good time.   Exhausting weekend here manning the stand to publicise our classes but good fun too.

We're off on hols soon and have a long weekend in London coming up so lots of house cleaning and garden tidying and preparation going on.   No new projects till autumn and winter.

Cutting down perennials for a second crop of flowers

Posted: 04/08/2014 at 09:31

Cutting back can renew vigour and give you fresh looking foliage which is less susceptible to rust, mildew etc.   Just be sure you give the plants a good watering and maybe some liquid tomato food to help them renew themselves.

I do it for my hardy geraniums and usually get a second flush of flowers.   With things like pulmonaria I just get fresh new foliage.   For geums and astrantias I usually just take off all the spent flower stems and any browning foliage.   

Beautiful Thugs

Posted: 04/08/2014 at 09:04

Hypericum or Rose of Sharon is a thug that's difficult to dig out.   The yellow form of lysimachia can get very happy and spread by root invasions.   It's cousin, lysimachia clethroides alba, is much more attractive and much easier to dig or fork out or pull up after rain.

Alchemilla mollis is only a problem if you let  the flowers go to seed.   I cut them off anyway as I have never liked acid yellows and greens.

My echinops ritro is very happily seeding itself about but the seedlings are easy to hoe or pull up or dig up witha trowel and ot up for friends. 

Phytolacca americana self seeds all over the place too but again is easy to deal with at seedling stage.

Well I'll be pickled!

Posted: 03/08/2014 at 08:29

Pickling vinegar is just vinegar with added flavour from herbs or spices.  There''s a recipe here if you want to make rather than buy -

I have rhubarb chutney I made 2 years ago, just stored in the garage and still fine to eat.    Don't like pickled beetroot but love it roasted, souped, or just boiled and sliced and added to a red cabbage salad with red peppers, red apples, red onion, red radishes and a sweet and sour vinaigrette or grated raw with carrots for a beetroot slaw and it makes the most delicious, moist chocolate cake or brownies.

Lots of recipes on BBC Good Food.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 02/08/2014 at 18:59

Thanks Artjak.  The cupboard is just a plain pine IKEA dooberry for their IVAR shelving range which I picked up in their bargains corner years ago. 

I put it on rollers and used a mitre saw to cut some trim for the top and bottom edges then I gave it 2 or 3 coats of  local brand matt white, chalky, water based emulsion - similar to F&B but not as expensive.  Then I stuck on the découpage houses and trees (cut out from wrapping paper) and varnished it.   No aging effects as it was about to be bashed about by my small daughter and her friends but it's actually stood up very well to the wear and tear.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 02/08/2014 at 18:14

Sorry - been out all day at the braderie where the dance club has a stand for publicity for the coming season of classes.    The braderie includes a flea market where I found an old grey enamel colander to use for plants and a blue and white china ginger jar which I shall use for mint tea bags.

Just add boiled linseed oïl to the turps and vinegar and shake well.   Do not use raw linseed oil - don't know why.  My notes just say it must be boiled oil.   It's 15 or 16 years since I did the class and the lady who ran it went home to Canada 12 years ago.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 02/08/2014 at 07:04

Good idea.   It'll be good for the wood whichever you decide to do in the end.  If you don't paint, use yacht varnish as it hardens really well.   Wear rubber gloves and make sure you're working in a well ventilated space and protect other surfaces - floor, table etc - while you apply the mixture.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 02/08/2014 at 06:36

One tip I can give you before starting a project is to clean old wooden furniture witha a mixture of equal parts of boiled linseed oïl, turpentine and white spirit vinegar.  If you intend to paint, first remove any knobs, handles etc.   Rub the mixture on with a soft cloth to remove all dirt.  Keep applying till it comes clean.  Use an old toothbrush to get into awkward corners and carvings.    If it's really ingrained, use finest mesh wire wool that doesn't scratch.  Wipe off excess with another cloth and leave to dry and air for a day before doing any repairs to holes and starting to paint.

This method avoids the need for heavy sanding which can remove any patina you wish to preserve.   It's great for bringing new life to something you don't want to paint such as oak or antique pine furniture and feeds the wood of anything you do intend to paint.  Bit like moisturising your skin before applying make up.

If you're using water based paints, leave it to dry an extra day before painting and protect the finished effect with a couple of coats of acrylic varnish but not more than 3 as it will go milky.


Posted: 02/08/2014 at 06:15

Excellent news.    Make sure it's kept free of slugs with a few wildlife friendly pellets.   Baby clematis shoots can be slug caviar.

Shabby Chic Anyone?

Posted: 01/08/2014 at 21:44

In Brussels there are ex-pat women's clubs - destined for trailing partners of business men, dilomats etc posted here - and sevreal years ago one had a woman doing paint effect and découpage classes and so on.   Off I trotted and duly painted a coffee table pristine chalky white, then a few stencils, then a crackle glaze and then the aging effect.

OH completely baffled as to why I would deliberately repair and renovate something then make it look old and used.    Sometimes I agree so when I made a cupboard for Possum's Duplo collection about 12 years ago I left it fresh.

It' now in the study and holds printer paper, envelopes etc and the printer.

Later on I found an old and very battered kitchen unit and fixed and painted it.  No need for paint effects here as it looks old and shabby anyway.   Very practical unit and suits my unfitted farmhouse kitchen.

 Next big  paint job will be my collection of rusty obelisks and then the wooden seats and back struts on cast iron garden chairs.   Just plain as cushions will do the shabby chic effect.






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