Auntie Jackie's Potting Shed

You know that feeling when something really wonderful is about to happen? You've dreamed of the thing, you've planned it all out, tried to think of everything, could think of nothing else for days? Well, that's where I'm at - gripped by anticipation!

For Christmas 2013 I had made dollhouses that were also lamps for both my parents. Dad's was a fishing cabin made from a kit I'd had for a couple years called Lisa's Country Cottage (can't believe I didn't take a photo). Mom's was the Charming Cottage kit from the 2013 HBS Creatin' Contest. It turned out to be her dream beach cottage.

They both loved them, and it was such a great feeling to see them like "oooh look at this", and "wow did you make that". Yep, they were giddy like I am with minis and it was awesome to recruit them to the dark side!

So my crazy fun auntie Jackie comes to visit from Southern California last summer, sees them at my moms, and says "oh I want one". Well, it just so happens shes got a 70th birthday in June, so making something for her now seems apropos.

She loves flowers and cats - trust me. I had to water for her and help her feed and capture and fix all the strays in Orange County when I lived there after high school. Her little sports car smelled like Friskies and if the drive was very long you did too. Cats would follow you and stuff...

Anyway... I decided a potting shed would just tickle her. Can't be too big as she lives in Leisure World and her place is very compact. She does have a screened in porch tho, so I thought something to hang on the porch wall would be perfect!

I've plotted, I've planned, I've checked and restocked my craft inventory. I waited for the 20% coupon from HBS and ordered what I needed. I've checked all the measurements time and again. I scoured every craft drawer and cupboard and pulled anything I could come up with an idea for. AND NOW I'M JUST WAITING FOR MY PACKAGE!!!

It's supposed to be here Thursday... Two more days!!! Now if only I can keep myself occupied.

I'll post progress pics in the Aunt Jackie's Potting Shed page. Stay tuned!

And so it begins... Sanding, priming, sanding again, paint, wallpaper, tile, glue, forget to eat, lose all sense of time... In other words, HEAVEN!

 I like to paper and finish a good portion of the interior trim before I glue the walls and floors together. That way, once the walls are up I can spackle a little and just touch up the paint. In this project, which is the Little Shop Kit form Hobby Builders Supply , it's not that hard to reach in to trim out the interior as it is with some larger kits, but it's a habit I've created and continue to employ.

So after I'd affixed the wallpaper, I measured and cut bead board (actually corrugated card stock leftover from making blinds in the little beach cottage). Then I measured and cut the baseboard, chair rail trim, window and door trim and the crown molding. I did a light initial sanding down with a paper lunch bag, then primed all the pieces.

The outside is painted in a soft green. The gingerbread trim is a soft pink. For some reason I'm getting hungry for butter mints!

My son's friends wedding invitation was enclosed in this beautiful card stock. It will be perfect for the window coverings!

The gingerbread trim has been attached, and the "lace" curtains painted, trimmed, attached to the cornices, then glued in place.

I added a trim piece to the interior window seal so there'd be space for some delightful little mini items!

I've never tried the egg carton tile or brick idea before, but taking chances is part of the fun of working in miniature (as opposed to experimenting in real life). So, I've laid out the pattern and glued them down to the porch. This afternoon I'll be experimenting with getting just the right paint colors on them. I might try some artists chalk too, to help vary the color.

According to Connie at My Miniatures, after they are painted and sealed you just grout them like other tile work. Wish me luck!

Between the drying times, I figured out and assembled the light sconces for the inside, and repaired and old exterior light that's been floating around in a drawer for a couple years.

I got out the mini spray booth (an old box from a pair of boots), and turned some icky brass fixtures into wrought iron, and some plastic junk drawer items into enamel flower pots and galvanized looking buckets,

It seems like the common theme running through the day is recycling! Aside from it being our actual recycling day in my neighborhood, everything I've touched on Auntie Jackie's Potting Shed today is derived from something created for something else.

I was rummaging through my desk drawer a couple weeks ago, and came across some little black rubber pieces. For the life of me I have no idea what they were for and why they ended up in the drawer. The great thing tho was that as I pulled them out of the drawer a tiny gate remote control battery had gotten stuck in the end of one. I immediately thought GARDEN HOSE SPRAYER! A piece of an old Chrysnbon stove kit, a shrink tube, a bead finding and some green wire later and now I have a wonderful garden hose!

A screw came out of an old pair of glasses I'd had from several prescriptions ago. I stuck them aside thinking someday they may be useful.  As I was making space in by bins I took a closer look at them with my mini eye. Suddenly, I realized I had the perfect garden hose reel, too! It was the piece that sits on your nose. Add to that a scrapbooking plastic scroll work piece painted black and now I'll have a fancy and more realistic looking reel and hose for FREE!

Some other mini junk drawer items got a fresh coat of paint to make a candle holder, hanging light fixtures and some wall decor. I also found an old watch that will make a perfect shabby chic wall clock! If I replace the battery it will actually work, too!

I had a recycled piece of walnut flooring for the interior floor, so I gave it a heavy sanding and then white washed it to help it look old and shabby chic.

I painted the porch in a linen color, then began to cut up the egg carton to make the pieces for the tiles.

The piece of scrap walnut wood flooring turned out just how I'd hoped after a heavy sanding and some whitewashing.

The painting of the "stones" went much better and lots easier than I'd expected! I used a very warm, light grey and a soft neutral brown color, then applied with part of an old kitchen sponge. I like that the colors blend in with the shed rather than competing with the cheerful green color.

I really hate sitting there when I am waiting for paint or glue to dry - mini minutes are precious time!!! During the down time on the rock paint and grout, I began to make the potting bench for inside the shed.

A gluing jig and misc extra wood is a blessing! Especially when my brain is firing on all cylinders! 

I had lots of leftover grout from doing the laundry room several years ago. It's the powdered stuff with tint already in it. I mixed up a batch and then put it into an old frosting gun with a very small tip. This worked great, as I just traced the grout lines, then went back over them later with a soft sponge to help the grout look better. I then did an all over wash with a soft cloth several times.

Overall, I like the look, and will be even happier as soon as the embellish the grout lines with moss.

Now it just needs a couple coats of shabby looking paint and some adorable accessories!

Today was all about working on the small details - namely turning all of this...

Into this...

Tonight after dinner I hope to turn my attention to more wood crafting. I need to make a bench, a birdhouse or two, an "electric box" to house the 9 volt battery for the lights, lattice, flower box, and flower flats.

Today was a fun and productive day! I still have many things on my "to do" list, and it seems like for every task I cross off I add a couple more, but I am on a creativity high and am having awesome and giddy moments!

I made, painted and sealed some flower crates and the window box. I painted the rain barrel. I added the sealer to yesterday's painted items. I added a couple coat hooks to an old drawer front floating around in the mini junk drawer (it's actually a large plastic unit with several drawers, some better organized than others). I finished a couple bird houses, a floral arrangement in a pitcher and used a decal from a Chrysnbon stove kit to adorn some canisters.  

Just putting the items in front of the little shed makes me happy, and I'm excited for the next projects on the list!

More tomorrow!


Last night I sat at the computer with the hubbs - we do that a lot just to plan new adventures or drool over new tools we find and stuff. We feel better doing that than sitting in front of the TV!

Anyway, I searched for awesome shabby chic labels and patterns that I could decoupage onto some of the mini items I'm making, and also searched for cute flower seed packets etc. I found some really fun stuff!

The first order of business this morning was to cut everything out and get them affixed to said objects. That was fun! I love that the colors from the printed patterns become more vibrant with Mod Podge!

The next little project is very dear to my heart. My grandma was one of the kindest, funniest, most caring people I've ever known. In spite of having seven kids and many grandkids, she always found a way to single me out and make me feel very important to her. She passed in 1998, and there is never a day that goes by when I don't think of her. As a matter of fact, I have her dining room set and a pair of peacock metal art sculptures she had in her dining room while I was growing up. I even painted my dining room blue just like hers was. This helps me feel that she, in some way, is still here with me.

My auntie Jackie, who this project is for, was grandmas first child. I know Jackie misses grandma very much also. I wanted to put a piece of grandma in the potting shed for Jackie, so here it is...

When I was a child grandma made quilts for every member of the family. It was always great to look at everyone's because it was like going back in time. She'd take pieces from someone's favorite old shirt or dance costumes or Halloween costumes she's made and we grew out of. The quilts were like a tribute to our family's history. 

Mine is well loved and well worn after nearly 40 years, but it is still so special to me. I took a sacrifice square of my quilt to make a miniature apron for the potting shed.

I know when I tell Jackie about the apron she'll be just as moved as I am to have made it from a part of grandma Ellie.

After tears of gratitude for having had someone so special shaping my life were wiped away, I moved on to drilling holes to install the lighting.

I so love that this entire project is all about love, family, and especially gratitude.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

And I am definitely having fun! Here I am painting some white plastic babies breath flowers from Joanne's in more vibrant colors.

While paint was drying my wonderful husband showed me the "math" behind cutting angles on his miter saw. The roof that came with the kit was flat, and I just thought it needed a little character. Plus, I had wires to hide! 

A couple layers of drywall compound, and a LONG drying time later, it was time for sanding. I did this in the garage rather than my dining room! It was also nice to use my husbands compressor to blow the dust off my jammies and the potting shed!

I noticed that a lot of the potting sheds I looked at on Pinterest to get ideas had metal channel roofing. I liked the look, so adding 1/8x1/8 strip wood to the roof gave me just what I was after.

A couple coats of Linen paint and some sealer later, I had time while they dried.

Why not start the rain chain?

I used Chrysnbon cups for the actual water cups on the chain (after I drilled holes in them to run the chain through). Next I'll apply some copper paint and bronze glage to the whole assembly. That glaze takes a good long time to dry, so I'll post completed pictures later.

Intermittently I am working on the plants, planters and flowers. Very soon now I am going to be able to start loading in and gluing down treasures. Since Jackie's birthday isn't until June, I'll get a little time to enjoy this little beauty before it leaves for California!

Auntie Jackie's Potting Shed is almost completed. Just a little touch up here and there and it will be finished.

I'm always really happy to see the vision in my head come to life, but it's a little sad, too, because I've so enjoyed actually working on the project. Sometimes I feel like the creativity is being channeled through me from some unknown source, and when the project comes to an end, I never know when that source will flow through me again.

For now I'll get to enjoy looking at it while I begin a new project, then soon I'll ship it off to Jackie. I hope she'll be thrilled to marvel at all the little items, and know just how much she is loved and thought of.


  1. It looks amazing! I also love all the family history.

    1. Thank you, Penelope! I have so many great family stories to tell! There are some.... Interesting characters in the family!