SHHHHH – it’s a secret (garden)

I’m not sure how the name came about but it’s the description a few people have come up with when they first see one of these creations…”it’s like a …. secret garden” they say.

So, the name has stuck. These are my secret gardens.

I find old clock cases and turn them into whimsical wall decor.

This is the first one I made from a clock case I found in Lynden, Washington on one of my “Lynne Days”. I have a circuit of thrift/antique/consignment stores that I go to between here and Bellingham and the rule is “don’t worry about the exchange rate and don’t worry about paying duty”.

First “Secret Garden” from Lynnesworld

Mere minutes later, I found a bigger, better clock case at Value Village in Everett, which is hands-down my favorite VV ever. I find the best treasures at this store.

I love this case – especially that it has side windows too.

I chalk paint them, finish them off with some sanding and patina, and then apply gold leaf to bring out the decorative details.

I’ve added LED lights which really make it magical and enhance some of the shiny things inside.

This one has a birds and butterflies theme and it has lace, paper, beads, brooches inside and a lot vintage paper cut-outs. There is a plaster picture frame, a miniature gazebo, clocks and paper roses. This beauty has just made its way to Edmonton to a new home.

Literally, just as I was writing this, I got an email from Rebecca with a picture of the secret garden in its new home.

The day we were leaving to go to Costa Rica I was running some chores – not much time and loads of things to accomplish. I didn’t have time for frivolous shopping and so I tried really hard to stop myself going into the Bibles for Missions store opposite Superstore. But I was literally DRAWN in and found this awesome big clock case.

This is out at Voila Lash Lounge in Abbotsford right now – about to come back into town. Because it’s so big I was able to fit a cute plaster cukoo click in the top section.

The latest Secret Garden has a Love theme…and it’s a wee clock case I found at the Sally Ann. When it had its clock, it was a $200 piece according to the price tag on the back.

See the little boy and girl at the bottom left? Adorable!

I deconstructed a clock and set it into the top portion of the clock case inside a little plaster archway. I kind of like the idea of the clocks being repurposed into a clock case and it makes them practical in a whimsical way.

This is currently in my foyer at home. I am not sure whether this is one I will part with…

Reflecting on an Obsession Part 1


I am very partial to mirrors – and it would seem I am in a minority because when I go to auction I can pick them up for peanuts.

I’ve bought some very ornate ones and some very simple ones and I like to change them around to suit the season and my decor.

I am very happy with my bedroom mirrors…they go with our handpainted Indian furniture perfectly.

I fell in love with this mirror and picked it up for $15. Very happy camper!

This one goes with our bedroom set – which was from Pier One. No bargains there!

I bought this mirror and hallstand to sell, but once I got it home, Jim put it in place in the hallway and said “we’re keeping it”.

It was quite a buy – the hallstand and mirror for $35.

Oh yeah, and just to the right there’s an antique brass fire extinguisher which we found at

an auction in Tacoma, Washington when we went on a Picking Expedition. The only one we ever went on, incidentally…

This is my entrance at the B&B which I change many times a year:

Christmas, Valentines Day, Spring, Summer, Fall, Hallowe’en

The blue ceramic mirror was made by a wonderful Irish artist and friend, Orla Kominski

It is now in my stairway

I picked this one up for $45 at the auction

It is really nicely gilded and it has a really nice inlay

I love the simplicity of this solid old oak mirror and it looks great with the hall table.

Cost me $25

(part 2 is a gallery of my mirror creations – coming soon!)

#mirror #decor

Mirror Mirror

A couple of years ago, I put an absentee auction bid on a lot of 8 plastic containers of beads and baubles. They were packed full:

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • White
  • Black
  • Wooden
  • Clasps and findings
  • Glass beads
  • Pearly green, pink and cream beads

I was pretty surprised to get it. I bid high because I wanted those beads BADLY. So $32 later I had a treasure trove that was conservatively worth around $400.

This is the first mirror I decorated with beads, a few brooches and some ceramic flowers

The next mirror I decorated was a big cream wooden rectangular one which I decorated with broken ceramic tiles, some beads and brooches and ceramic flowers.

My next attempt was more pleasing I started playing round with some of the cool beads from those treasure boxes. In combination with brooches and bits of thrift store jewelry, they started to take shape. It takes a lot of time though and more materials than you might imagine.

The next two I really went to town on. The first – a white wooden frame has a cluster of ceramic flowers on the top in the middle. I like to think of it as a bouquet.

This is an interesting shaped frame. It has a shelf too, which I put a cute gold and yellow plate to keep it from getting water damage. I envisage this in a washroom.

This black mirror was the most fun to do. I gave myself carte blanch to go over the top.

It seems kind of New Orleans-y to me.

The mirrors are down at Musicworx right now but as I write this I am thinking of where else I could put them…


Time for More Secrets

Summer is crazy round here with guests coming and going and I have little time to myself, let alone time in my workshop. Plus, while people are in the suite I can’t really work in there because it seems intrusive being right next door to them and of course I can’t paint (fumes) or use tools (noise).

I have been sneaking down whenever I can and my goal is to finish as many projects as I can…a kind of de-cluttering. (yeah, right…)

So, here are some before and after shots of some of the things I have been getting finished. I love these plaster candle pillars which I bought for about $2 at the Sally Ann in Abbotsford. I love that they have little lids.


I have a pretty extensive elephant collection in my office…

Seriously, I try to stop myself from buying more, but occasionally fail. Here are a couple of candle holders which were a nasty shiny enamel black.


I did lots of other bits and pieces too…but the main things I’ve been working on are more “Secret Gardens” and I pulled a couple of older ones apart and redid them. I am so happy with them!

This is one I’ve had around for ages but was never 100% happy with it so I changed it up and put some lights in it – such a big improvement!

This was an old picture frame with a naff wedding verse in it. I think this has turned out to be my favourite. Click the arrows for more pics.

I picked the big one on the left up from Voila the last week and had never been completely happy with the bottom part…so I revamped it. Much better!

I had this little wooden mirror and had a fun afternoon jewelling it. It’s a thing of beauty! Click the arrows for more images.

Sooooo, I found these little curio cabinets I guess you’d call them: 2 of them. I have one almost finished and this is the one I completed tonight. Click for more images.

It’s late, I’m tired and I’ve got early breakfast.

My thoughts are with all the people affected by the wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes.

#floral #creations #secretgarden

Airy Fairy

I was in Calgary a couple of weeks ago visiting Stacy and Craig and wee Maya who is about to become a BIG SISTER!

Stace is nesting, and has the new baby’s room ready for his arrival any day now! She’s got air plants and ferns in his room and one of the things we did was visit her favourite shop “Plant” – it is amazing and funky and friendly, and has become quite an icon. Should be a franchise we reckon.

I bought some decorative moss and started thinking about some of the things I might do when I got home: I had lots of shells and crystals and vases and bits of driftwood and some very cool river stones…

When I got home I took a quick trip down the road to Minter Gardens and picked up some airplants. I harvested my own succulents for the most part…and found some crazy “Desert Gems” at Walmart. The hardest thing was finding cactus soil at this time of the year.

 So these are Inspired by Stace, spurred on by “Plant” and facilitated by many great You Tube videos and Pinterest boards!

This first one combines a little glass box (I rescued it from my garage sale); a hunk of rose quartz, some pretty Petalite stones, some coloured moss, a couple of air plants – under the watchful, or maybe even whimsical, eye of a little fairy.

Over the years (and many trips to Mexico), Jim and I have collected loads of shells. I love this little air plant nestled in a shell with a big pink pearl.

I painted this little wall plaque during the winter and had no idea where it was going to go. It looks really cute on the wall in the main foyer.

These are the Desert Gems I found at Walmart. I think they look gorgeous with the contrasting coloured moss. They’re in some old glass vases I had kicking around.

I found a couple of pots at my favourite Dollar Store and planted them up. They’re just the right size for the windowsill in my dining room.

Little driftwood arrangement with airplants and some shells

Jim found this driftwood “skull” down at the river at the weekend and planted succulents in all its “orifices”

…the orifi

The Airplant in the picture below reminds me of my hair. Weird, I know. It is actually identical to the one Stace got the day we went to “Plant”

Last one, I promise! This is actually the first one I did. I love the way the pink and green thulite stones match the polka dot acanthus plant

#plants #secretgarden #floral

Secrets and Shadows

It’s doing it again!

Overnight we had a ton of snow followed by icy sleet. Lovely.

I had 2 snow days.

I had a lot of admin to work on, and also got a chance to finish off some projects.

I’ve got my new year decor done with a nod to Valentine’s Day.

I love putting Christmas decorations up, with the exception of the tree which I hate doing. But I am SO ready to take it down again and this year the snowy weather gave me the chance to stay home and get it all done on New Years Day.

I am particularly smitten with my mantle. It came together pretty nicely and a new addition is a beautiful “friendship ball” from my cousin Debbie in England.

I got a few hours down in my workshop and got some new pieces started, and actually finished.

This would certainly fall into the “Secret Garden” category.

This is a container thingie I found in my thrifting rounds. It was just an empty cylinder when I started and it’s now taken on a life of its own. It’s marked The Bombay Company and I have searched online to see what it might have been but to no avail. Never mind what it USED to be I’m quite taken with it in it’s current iteration.

A couple of old frames found new life too:

I was pleased with how this shadow box came out. I was watching “All Eyez on Me” (the Tupac story) while I was making this so I am kind of surprised how zen it turned out, considering the ambiance at the time.

I haven’t decided where they’re going yet – I am running out of wall space. But since the weather is so disgusting again today I am about to go and finish off a couple of other bits and bobs.

#crafts #art #whimsical #snow #frames #jewels #shadowbox

Crystal Towers

A few years ago I saw some of these cool glass towers or “totems” on Etsy and Pinterest – and then I was having my nails done at Carolyn Manchulenko‘s house and she had made a couple of beautiful, elegant and quite whimsical ones…which of course got me inspired.

Our balcony is 55 ft long and it seemed like a great idea for my pot plants, so I made a bunch of them.

Six summers later and most of them are still intact. When they break, I throw them out.

This little red one (above) is the first I ever made – I had the little cake plate for ages and used it for one photo I think – and it seemed like a perfect “topper”. Of course that meant it was useless for putting a plant on, but I used it for fruit to attract butterflies.It worked like a hot damn to attract BEES and WASPS.

I learned quickly what NOT to do.

Don’t use a cake plate on the top unless you are making a cake tower!

The pillar on the right is only really useful indoors because the “bowl” on top collects water and is a pain if I use it outside.

Don’t use a bowl on the top

This is another one I use indoors a lot

because of its proportions – it works as a plant stand and also as a lamp stand.

It was useless outside because all of the layers gathered water and went green.

Place plates and bowls facing down so they don’t collect water

I was really pleased how this one turned out and it was always intended to be used indoors.

I love the elegant proportions and the way the 2 mid-section plates are like flower petals

The divided appy platter I used on top works really well as a plant stand.

I feel that these 2 green glass ones belong together. They were two of the last ones I made. You can see I’ve mastered the bases – they are upside down platters and neither collect water or have a lip that can be easily chipped or broken.

All the plates are pretty much flat or upside down and the top is nice and flat for the plant to sit on.

The last one is my all-time favourite. I love how the pattern of the base and the middle vase match, and I find the proportions very elegant.

#glass #crafts #towers #totems #plantstands