My good friend, Joseph Slattery, is back in St. Louis after several years of vagabonding (is that a word?) around the world, and I, for one, am thrilled! Some of you may remember Joseph from his work in my Home Companion magazine. His distinctive designs showed up on everything from tiles, to garden accessories, to entire walls! He also hand-painted every one of our stores when we had them in malls across the country. He is going to show up periodically on this blog with clever ideas for your house or garden, and today I'm going to show you his first project for us! Get your garden or patio or deck ready for spring with these cuter-than-cute mushrooms, made from flowerpots and bowls. The tall one even has a light inside! I'm going to let him tell you exactly how he made them…

Now is a great time to create your own "Dotty Mushroom Patch"!

All the Garden Shops have restocked their clay pot inventory and this is good since it provides endless possibilities for mushroom stems and toadstool tops. All you need to do is plant yourself in front of the the newly stocked shelves and let your creativity take over. Any standard clay pot will work as a stem. Then you just have to find an appropriately suitable bowl pot to become your mushroom cap. Nothing makes my eyes glaze over (in a good way!) like newly stocked garden inventory. While at the garden shop I just began matching clay pots and stems to clay bowls and tops until I had assembled a fine patch of shrooms. Embrace the odd glances you get as you pull your assortment of fungi together. The two older ladies who initially rolled their eyes at me as I took over the clay pot aisle also decided they needed nearly the same pots as I gathered. I would like to think that somewhere across town they had a fine visit as they painted and dotted their own mushroom patch. Try this project, its easy, fun, and there is no wrong way to do it—there is only your own way.   

Materials: Clay pots of choice (unglazed and clean), latex craft paints (I prefer eggshell), assorted foam craft brushes with circle tips, and spray acrylic topcoat. Thats it—oh and since your using a spray, this is an outside endeavor.

1. Arrange your clay pot bottoms on a generous island of newspaper, do the same with the tops. 

2. You can spray the pots or hand brush them with an acrylic sealer. Do at least 2 coats and let them dry well. Sealing the pots helps achieve a smoother finish and you use less of your craft paint. I also chose to spray my tops and bottoms. 

3. With everything painted and perfectly dry you can decorate to your hearts content. I chose to mimic Mary's awesome dotty magic mushrooms. They are bright and and cheerful and fully embrace all the green yardscape of summer. If you decide to get all dotty with your mushroom patch, the circle foam brushes make it a snap.

4. When all your detail painting is completed and fully dry, you then protect your handiwork with at least two coats of the spray sealer in your finish of choice. FYI…I find that its best to finish with at least a satin coat since birds will be birds and it makes clean-up easy.

I like for my projects to be fun but maybe serve a purpose, so on the largest mushroom I popped a citronella candle into a squat jar and tucked it under the mushroom cap.

Enjoy and Happy Crafting! 


April 10, 2015 by Mary Engelbreit