April 23, 2011

Tuscan Painted Pots

Its funny how things change. When you are young, you think gardening is a waste of time and you resent being dragged along to nurseries, or having to help water the plants when the weather predicts rain in a day or two anyways ... But in time you grow up, get your own place, and suddenly it doesn't feel so foreign to want to grow something in that backyard instead of just maintaining a lawn. And so my younger sister, who teased me just 2 short years ago about playing around in the dirt, is now thinking about growing tomatoes and flowers, and she likes Clematis!

For her birthday this year, I wanted to give her a couple herbs to grow and keep in her kitchen window to cook with. I figured we'd start with the basics: Sweet Basil and Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, the 2 easiest and most common culinary herbs. I saw this Tuscan Painting Kit in a craft store the other week and the picture on the front looked really nice. They use 3 colours of Americana acrylic paint, which you can find in any crafting store, and you create a really great antique-effect ... or so the box claimed! The colours are Tuscan Red, Cranberry Wine and Splendid Gold. The instructions tell you to paint the basecoat with the Tuscan Red. Then you use a sponge (almost the same as the sponge-painted effect when painting a wall in a room of your house) and dab with both the Splendid Gold and the Cranberry Wine (a darker maroon colour) to create the effect.

I was a little apprehensive about the sponge painting part ... having never done it before ... but it was surprisingly easy and I really like the effect! I left the rims plain gold.

These are the two pots after painting:

And after planting ... Sweet Basil is in the pot on the left, and Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley is in the pot on the right:

A couple hints:

The sponge works better if you dampen it before use. Don't leave it wet, but just a little bit damp.

Also, I would use a piece of paper as a blotter. After you dip the sponge into the paint, blot it once or twice on the paper before using it on the pot to remove the excess paint from the sponge. You don't want big blotches.

And finally, the best part about using this type of paint is that is dries very quickly. You won't have to wait long in between coats. I finished this project in two stages: on the first day, I painted the base coat of Tuscan Red on both pots and the bases beneath them. I also painted the rims in gold. I did 2 coats, to make sure the colour was strong. On the second day, I did the sponge-ing. I decided to apply the gold first, waited till dry, then cranberry over top. I wanted a darker look. If you wanted a lighter, gold look ... with the gold as the dominant colour, you would just reverse the order and sponge the cranberry first, and then the gold!

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