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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rainbarrels and Coleus

Just figured I would do a rambling blog about this n that....  you know I LOVE to do "projects" so had a few I can share.

Last week I decided that my rain barrels needed to be repainted.  Using spray paint from Krylon called Fusion, it's made specifically for plastics and isn't supposed to chip or peel.

This is the way I painted each of them last year. 
I did different abstract leaf designs with silk flower stems as stencils.... 
they were fun but were kinda wild. 

This year I decided to use the same stencil that I used on my watering cans.  So I first sprayed them all white, and then I taped the stencil into place and did them section by section around each barrel. One barrel sits near the back door rain gutter downspout from the house and the other sits at the back corner of the garage at that downspout.  I love using rainwater to do my flowers and tomatoes.  Our city water has chlorine and other chemicals that I don't want on my plants.  They do much better with rainwater.

They kinda match up with the vintage old light fixture shade. Steve's co-worker Linda gave to us from her old family homestead. We put this out as our back porch light and has a similar pattern to what I painted on the barrels.

I did another "paint project" too... I found this cool knick knack shelf at the thrift store for a buck... and then it was 50% off day on top of it!  So for a whole 50 cents, who can go wrong with that?  I loved the style, but it was made from some kind of multi-plied wood in a light blonde 1950's color.  It had a layer of varnish or finish on it so the best thing I could think of was to change it.  I used a can of hammered spray paint in a deep brown color and it came out pretty nice!

I hung it up in our guest room and put on a precious hummingbird musical globe I had been given by Steve's mom Maryann and then my little white hen from my Grandma Kafehl.  I think the shelf looks nice there.  Oh, that is my new quilt I finished while on vacation in Florida.

Speaking of guest room, ours has been invaded all winter with a folding table full of my precious coleus!   I know I have mentioned it before, but I have kept these same plants going since the 1990's when my friend Connie gave me the first plants.  I dig them up from my flowerbeds in the yard each fall before the danger of frost comes.... and winter them over in pots in the house.  These plants are generation after generation from the original plants, due to cuttings and rootings and splitting up the plants.

They are messy plants while in the house and shed off leaves, and shoot up spikes of little purple flowers that the tiny petals fall off and dry up too.  I have my insurance gal/house sitter Sarah take care of them while we are on vacation, and her green thumb keeps them going until we get back.

Today I decided to move them out of the guest room and bring them downstairs to the front porch.  This way I can set them out during the day on the front porch steps to "harden" for the eventual planting into the outdoor flower beds.  But with the cold nights yet we are having here in Wisconsin, it sometimes gets down below 32 degrees!  We can not yet trust the spring time temps around here to leave them out full time yet.

The dogs "helped" me carry each pot down the stairs to the porch, following me up and down and up and down.  As I set each one into the porch, the plants had to be snipped back of the long stragglers.  I put the snippings in the water vases on the left, and within a week they will be rooted and ready to plant again too.  I share them with family and friends each year to "spread the love"---- Thanks Connie!
(and my doggie planter from mominlaw MaryAnn with a bromeliad plant)

Yup, I will finish this blog post up with doggie shots... they have been so good together and having Finnegan has completed the household again after losing Ducky last summer.  He will never "replace" her, but he has found a warm cozy spot in our hearts.    Boy oh boy he is growing up fast.  He is 9 months old now and almost as big as Duke!

Saturday we are going to an event called "Bark in the Park" in Appleton at the Timber Rattlers Baseball Game.  The public is invited to bring their dogs to a baseball game!   The Wisconsin Shetland Sheepdog Rescue Group is going to be there in full force with about 40 folks and their dogs.  We are going to meet up early to "tailgate" and then take our dogs into the stadium for the game at 1pm.  Our daughter Heather and her husband Jesse, along with our grandson Jameson are bringing their dog too!  Radar is a Welsh Pembroke Corgi... we will just say he is a "short-legged-sheltie"  HAHA

Since our kids all moved on to lives and families of their own, our sweet doggers are pretty important to us.  We try to take them out for walks each evening, the first lap around the block for Duke, then we drop him off to rest.  We take Finney for 1-2 miles to wear him out and enjoy seeing our little town of Chilton.  We have been reading and researching information about various historic houses and buildings --- seeing how Chilton evolved since the mid 1800's to now.... but we like OUR house the best!   So do the doggers! 

Off now for a walk to the post office to ship out a few packages.  I sure enjoy having a post office only 2-3 blocks away from my house.  The temps are finally up over 60, though we are due for a storm later this afternoon.


  1. Love the designs that you put on the barrels and light cover. You did a good job.

  2. I love your house too, Karen. You are so creative, and it is fun to see your projects. It isn't always about traveling, and sometimes when I get to know people from the travel stories, I love to see them at home as well, whether that home is a house or a gorgeous RV full timing somewhere. Rambling posts are fun. Actually, I tend to do those as well, and you have encouraged me to not be afraid to do them. I liked yours, so why wouldn't somebody enjoy mine?!

  3. About the quilt...did you machine quilt it, and if so, did you use a regular household sewing machine, or take it to a professional quilt shop?


  4. Yes, I made the quilt on a household size machine in two panels...

    1. I quilted the two panels on the machine through all three layers of top, batting and backing.

    2. I joined them up the middle by sewing a seam of just the quilt tops. ...

    3. I butted the batting edges to each other.

    4. I made a bottom flap of the two backing panels where they joined that I ironed into place with stitchwitchery tape.

    5. Then I handsewed the backing seam with a blind hem stitch.

    6. once that was all joined and done, then I machine sewed on the binding all around, folded it over and handstitched that with a blind stitch on the backside.

    Here is a blog post of my finishing up the quilt while on vacation at my folks in Florida:

  5. Cute picture of the puppies on your front steps.

    I absolutely love your guest bed. The quilt turned out beautifully. I just got the quilting bug last year. Made a lap and baby quilt, but a kitchen renovation sidetracked me for a bit. Now summer with gardening and travel. Oh well.

  6. Very clever, the designs you painted on the rain barrels.

    But then, why would I expect anything less from you? :c)

  7. I love the newly painted barrels! And I still love your house best, too. :)


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