Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Audrey's Garden: A Birthday Gift

There is an odd pattern to our family's busy times. It seems like late summer and post-Christmas winter are usually the quiet times, but spring and fall are both crazy-busy. This is probably because of school, activities and holidays--plus all the birthdays. 

Me, my hubby and younger daughter all have spring/early summer bdays while my older daughter, in-laws, dad and stepdad all have autumn/early winter bdays.

The spring birthdays, however, start with my mom. She's the first in early March. Every year it kind of sneaks up on me. I'm not already in birthday mode like I am once all the other birthdays roll around, plus I'm thinking about Valentine's day, then spring and hoping all the snow will melt soon and then BAM! It's my mom's birthday.

My mom is not like other moms. She's really hard to shop for. I've never seen her burn candles. She doesn't like to read. She's not a shopper, not the type who goes out to eat or watches movies. Plus she hardly ever wears jewelry or perfume. She leaves me with nothing. NOTHING.

So, like any daughter out of her reckoning, I turn to my inner creativity. The one thing my mom does seem to like is her garden. She's one of those green-thumbed people who can turn a handful of seeds into a thriving grapevine, armloads of asparagus and about three hundred tomatoes.
So I say to myself, "Self! Let's make mom a sign for her garden!" And I got to work. 

First, I located a lovely piece of old barnwood in my basement. Actually, Hubby dragged me down there and said, "pick one," which I did before screeching and cringing away from all the creepy crawlies that live down there and scuttling back up the stairs as fast as my feet could go.

Then I went to my trusty computer and chose a couple of fonts for the sign. I like to pair sensible, straight-lined sans-serif with the flowy curves of a script. In this case, Gill Sans and BlackJack. Then I printed it out on two sheets and cut/taped them together.

I needed to transfer it to my barnwood, so I sanded the barnwood just a little to knock off the poky, pointy edges. Next, I painted it with a country white latex house paint, filling it in towards the middle and dry-brushing the edges to let some of the wood show through. I also painted a cutie-patootie little wood applique to add to the top for a sweet, almost French, touch.

Then I colored on the back of my print-out with willow charcoal, taped the print-out to the barnwood and traced over it with a pencil. 

After transferring, I filled in the words with acrylic paint and a small brush: light gray and dark gray.

When dry, I lightly sanded the words to give them a worn, weathered look and then sealed it all with a coat of Minwax Walnut stain... simply brush the stain onto the wood (use gloves) and wipe it away with an old cloth (in my case, Hubby's old t-shirt). It will leave behind a little stain to give the sign a vintage feel and also helps to seal it.

After it was all dry, I had Hubby (what would I do without him?) add a chain for hanging. I carefully wrapped it and presented it to my mom.

"You made this?" she asked.

"Yes!" I said, brimming with pride.

"But I don't really have a garden anymore," she said.

Next year, she's getting perfume. ;)

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