Tea Towels-The Louisiana Collection

Tea Towels in my shop Paper Gumbo on Etsy

Tea Towel

$18.00 each, measuring about 15″ x 25″, these are printed on a beautiful white linen cotton canvas material. They are printed from my watercolor illustrations, the ink is bright and vibrant, and I stitch them myself! Most of these are made to order. Please allow 10-14 days for delivery.

Makes a great gift! More designs are being created. Visit my shop Paper Gumbo.

DIY Seashell Wreath

DIY: How to make a Seashell Wreath

As most DIY projects, this one starts at the craft store for a 16 inch dry foam wreath. It was shaped with a square edge on the top which I didn’t like. I wanted it to be more rounded without any real edges, so I used a serrated knife to cut off the corners and make the shape more rounded.

DIY Seashell Wreath


I sprayed it with a cream colored spray paint. I have been saving seashells for several years, many of them from Louisiana. They have an abundance of the chevron shaped shells. They’re pretty small, but good for filling in spaces. I also bought a few small bags at the craft store and I picked up some seashell jewelry at yard sales. I took them apart and washed everything in soapy water and let it dry for a few days. Then I used a clear gel tacky glue to stick the shells to the foam. If you glue the largest shells first then you can fill in the spaces with the smaller shells. I was surprised at how many shells it takes. As you can see, I’m not done yet.

Be Aware

It’s pretty heavy, I had it propped in a box so that I could glue the edges and the inside section, it fell on the floor and broke into 3 pieces, so I had to do a little repair job on it. Oh well! Not everything works out the way you want it too I guess. 🙂 I filled the cracks with white glue, reinforced the back with cardboard and covered the cracks in the front with shells. I think it should hold up pretty well.

Once it’s complete, I want to put a clear coat of polyurethane on it, just to help hold it all together and give it a little gloss.

What do you think?


DIY Cloche for Gardening

DIY Cloche

I recently returned from a trip to Louisiana visiting family and brought back multiple varieties of cuttings of Camellias from my mom and aunt’s yard. I removed all the leaves but kept the new buds on the stems, dipped them in rooting hormone and placed them under these DIY Cloches. A cloche (bell in French), is like a small terrarium for the plants. It holds in the moisture and heat, encouraging it to root, while protecting it from the wind and cold. If the temperature gets up to around 70º F, I’ll have to vent them to prevent theheat from killing the stems. I bought these glass vases at the thrift store for $1/each.

DIY Cloche

DIY ClocheDIY Cloche 2DIY Cloche 4

There are over 250 species of Camellias. Here are the results I’m after:

Camellia Varieties I’ll let you know how it works out.

Crepe Myrtle’s in Full Bloom!

The Beautiful Colors of Crepe Myrtle Trees
What I love most about the August and September is all the beautiful Crepe Myrtle trees are in bloom. Here in Southern California, the city plants them in the many of the parkways. They are so pretty when they’re all in bloom at the same time. There are many colors to choose from. I’ve seen Red, Lilac, Light Pink, Dark Pink and Purple. They originated in AsiaCrepe Myrtle Trees and once established, they need very little water.


Growing Black Tomatoes

Black Tomatoes are a Great Addition to your Summer Garden!

Black Tomatoes

I was lucky enough to taste a large black tomato in a salad last summer — it was absolutely delicious. So this year I planted some. Here’s what they look like on the vine. They tend to grow in small groups, kind of like a cherry tomato. I wasn’t sure how large they would get or when they were ripe. This particular strain only gets to about 4 inches in diameter at it’s largest. They start to get red or orange colored from the bottom up. I have found that when the red color is about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the tomato, it’s ready for picking. Although these are on the smaller size, they pack a whole lot of flavor.

I had no problem with any bugs or rotting on the vine. These tomatoes were very easy to grow and they look great. I would highly recommend them for your garden.

How to create a white washed, pickled or limed finish on wood.

White Washed FinishI have a small, cute footstool made out of oak, it had a traditional brown stained finish. The brown was horrible, so I wanted to lighten it up. Since it was small I was easily able to take it apart and sand all the brown finish off of the wood. It came off rather easily, it was a really cheap finish. After sanding, I washed it down with a wet rag and Spin N Span in warm water. I let it dry completely.

Then I used a can of Picked Oak colored Minwax stain and brushed it on. I like the oil based stains, I think, for me, I can get a more even color on my piece. I find the water based stains dry too fast and then they look uneven. It could be because I live in a very dry climate, if you’re in a humid climate the water based stains may work well for you.

Minwax stain

I applied the stain generously and gave it a few minutes to absorb into the wood. Then I wiped the excess off. I finished the piece with a water based polyurethane. I normally like an oil based poly, but this piece is so small and won’t get handled much, so I think the water based is fine. I used a matte finish so, there is really no shine to the final coat. I used  2 coats to finish it.

I’m happy with the results. You can get a real coastal look with this color stain. What do you think?