Sunday, August 9, 2015

Enchanting the Pokey Bush

 We interrupt all this fun Letter of the Week stuff, for this important DIY!

As soon as we moved into our townhome, my children took over this over-sized juniper bush in the backyard for their own.  Christening it "The Poky Bush", it became their archaeological dig where they went in search of dinosaur bones, their hideaway from bad guys, their castle that they protect with swords, bows and arrows, and cuteness.

It is a large bush, and gives great cover from the sun which is important in the Mile High City.  I swept out the many dried juniper needles that can really do damage to bare feet, and it was just a dry and dusty place, that was charming only because of the many imaginary adventures that took place there.

Daniel and I conspired.  What could we do to make their special hide-out even more inviting?  And a timely free ad popped up on craigslist, offering a bunch of flagstone to any would come to get it.

We told Caedyn, "We're getting you a castle floor", and put in the flagstone, which was quite exciting, and the kids had fun hopping from stone to stone.

Daniel and I conspired some more, and soon a lush carpet of Scotch-Irish moss was growing here and there, between the flagstones.  In its shady covering, the moss is thriving, and my hope is that with the extra watering, the poky bush itself will not be quite so dry and likely to drop its needles.

But I realized a problem with our outside area over the summer: there is no seating for my three little munchkins.  We have one outside kid's chair and they have taken turns with it.  But aside from the fact that it is an unattractive little contraption, one is just not enough.

So, Daniel and I conspired again.  And with the help of this beautiful photo of a very neat (but expensive!) product...

...we were inspired.

Here's how easy this was.

Find a set of stainless steel nesting bowls (they don't have to be similar, but consistency looks more intentional in my book).  These are sturdy, and will not break or bend.

I began by painting them red and brown, streaking the brown upwards with my fingers.  This was inexpensive acrylic paint.  After painting them, I gave them their first coat of mod-podge.

Next, I took some orange slick puffy paint and sponged it on the top of the seats.  The texture adds a fun look.

Then came the white detail work:  the cracks in the mushroom lids and the white spots.

Here's when Daniel stepped in:  Using a large branch, he sawed it evenly into three pieces, sized for the mushroom chairs.  We decided that in order to make these really sturdy, we will have to dig straight down and bury the bases quite deep.  That should make them sturdy enough for our munchkins.

First, he drilled holes in the stainless steel bowls.  And screwed them into the log bases.

Then, I came along and repainted over the surfaces and added the second coat of Mod-podge.  (I double-coated the kids' bathroom step-stool and it is still in spotless condition with no scuffed paint, so I have a lot of faith in Mod-podge's durability.)

And in the meantime, the Morning Glories are growing prettily, so we have an enchanted doorway to the Pokey Bush that has happened on its own.

We dug down (I recommend moistening the soil the day before with a hose left on a drizzle), and set the mushrooms in their holes.

I think we're there:   once our green mossy carpet grows in all the way, we'll really have a cozy get-away back here!

  The mushrooms are nice and sturdy since we left so much tree branch for the base under the soil.

We have begun the enchantment...the rest will just take a bit of time.  But if our Morning Glories begin to bloom and our Scotch-Irish moss fills in the rest of the way, I think the enchantment might just be complete.  :)  I'll post a picture then, too.

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