I am having just as much fun with my garden plot here in the somewhat “urban” area of Greenwich, CT known as “Byram,” as I did with my largish land holding in the Hamptons hamlet of Amagansett, L.I.
Even though this house was built in 1878 (and has four different cobbled stone foundations to prove it) and is a true farm house, I have little in terms of acreage.
Yet, the southern exposure and rich soil are extremely productive. I wouldn’t call myself a “Doomsday Prepper” by any means, but I am SO looking forward to canning and freezing my Roma tomatoes.
Recently I did some “sun drying” of this variety, best known for being optimal in sauces, in the oven at a super low temperature for a long period of hours. Drying tomatoes like this makes them sweeter and juicer, almost like a tomato “raisin” and I look forward to enjoying these preserves on those cold nights looming ahead.
There are those that are predicting a “Polar Vortex” for those of us here in the Northeast….this September!
I recently discovered “chalk paint.” At first I thought it referred to the black pigmented paint that was used for actual school chalkboards. Upon further investigation, I learned that some commercial producers make chalk paint in light and lovely colors.
As an artist and erstwhile home fixer-upper, I had an abundance of partially filled latex paints in my basement. What to do?
Thankfully, the answer became clear…..While perusing the internet, I found some recipes for chalk paint. I “cheated” using only one of two ingredients required, and I got the desired results. I simply thinned the sort of whitish, grayish (think Restoration Hardware palette) latex with water and added some Plaster of Paris. I would assert that the Plaster of Paris is really the pivotal ingredient to add the “tooth” to the paint mixture.
You will notice that I am using a commercial chalk paint in the photo above. It was just too convenient, staring me in the face in the aisle at Michael’s. For this small experiment, it will serve.
I took a nice enough “store bought” rattan handbag with nice bamboo handles and lovingly hand sewed bits of pearls, fabric, vintage jewelry and buttons (heavy with crystal) onto vintage lace. In my studio in Greenwich, CT I have a vast storehouse of treasures; tiny toys, fabric, feathers, fur bits, lace and scads of buttons!
More “little surprises!” I always hand wash each trinket; be they buttons, broken up vintage jewelry, and fabric is always hand laundered.
I actually started a very skeletal drawing with a light wash on this canvas two years ago. These added washes and vertical lines will begin to indicate my attempt to define shapes, light and foliage when I am looking at a myriad of greens.
I lay in bright splashes of pink, maroon and blues with the idea that these colors will show through from the underpainting.
Now that I have moved into my farmhouse with its studio, I am ready to create! Here I show a rattan purse with bamboo handles that I have hand sewed vintage elements that I have collected over the years. I have scoured estate sales, flea markets, junk yards and the like to find treasures like vintage buttons, keys, lace, thread, fabric and jewelry to glorify in new permutations like this.
You could call it “up cycling” or “repurposing” or “recycling” but I prefer to think of reusing vintage and antique elements as “historic preservation.”
I have recently moved across town into my 1878 farmhouse, complete with white picket fence, tine ceiling in the kitchen, gingerbread on the front porch and a pretty nice garden.
Repurposing some first growth wide pine floorboards into raised beds for the garden, here I show two Roma tomato plants being supported by a pair of perfectly matched wrought iron cars I spray painted a cream color. This photo was taken about a month ago. Soon I will show the progress of these plants as they have totally covered the chairs.
Last Sunday, May 18, 2014 was breezy and cool…a perfect environment for the throngs that attended the Elephant’s Trunk flea market. The markets claims that it is the largest in the Northeast, with parking for 1000 cars.
I was there to visit with my friend Pam, who was selling her Mother’s mid-century jewelry and accessories. I plan to be there soon, selling my upcycled accessories, Treasure boxes, original artwork and vintage items.