Garden Stepping Stones

5747FD88-7FB8-4288-9B8A-DDCFD2ED130D67B95B52-FE7D-4F69-9D71-385708B23572 In the first photo you can see the first leaf casting that I attempted. I used the back side of a hosta leaf the veins on the back sides of leaves are usually thicker which gives good grooves or definition to the concrete. Advised cure time of concrete depending on the type of concrete differs. My bag stated at least 30 days before waterproofing or staining. So my hosta leaf sat in the shed for 30 days to cure. It has been painted in the second photo. The waterproof label states that the waterproof material added to the concrete should be allowed to cure for 48 hours before submitting to natural weather. Tonight I will waterproof the back and reveal my banana leaf steps.

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This is the concrete waterproofing product that I am using.  About a week ago I water proofed the top of the painted concrete leaf, but I did not photograph the process, I was wearing gloves and had never done it before and was not sure how it was going to turn out.  Today I finally carved out 10 minutes of my evening and waterproofed the back of the leaf, and got photos of the process.

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I shook the gallon container a few times to make sure its mixed well and to make sure there was still liquid in the container.  I poured it directly onto the leaf back, the liquid is very thin and has a milky look to it.  It soaks into the concrete quickly, it is not very easy to spread.  I ended up pouring the liquid on in several different places on the leaf back to make sure I got all the back and sides completely covered. Within minutes the leaf back looked exactly as before. But suggested cure time for waterproofing with this product is 48 hours.  So once again, we play the waiting game.

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This photo was taken about 3 minutes after I had applied the water proofing material to the entire back side of the hosta concrete leaf.

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Stepping stone was put in the ground this weekend! So cute! So little!

My husband and I finished painting our grape leaves tonight.

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My husbands’ leaf is on the left and mine is on the right.  We figured out this evening that all of the super cool shiney leaf castings we have seen have probably been using metallic paints. Which is what I have used this evening.

 

Side Hustles!

It has only been a few years that I have known about the facebook market place but it is definitely one of my favorite side hustles. We have been working on living a more simple and frugal life style, which means cleaning out of what we dont need, want, or never even use.   Post a photo and give details-people find you! Its an all day every day garage sale but you’re not sitting in the middle of all your unwanted items in the heat smiling at everyone or no one that stops by when you have 5 loads of laundry and dinner to cook. They message you if they are interested in the item and you set up a time and place for the exchange. SIMPLE! I have slowly but surely been able to cut down on all the extras or spares or 8 back up pots and pans we have stacked in the basement and attic.

Banana Leaf stepping stones.

 

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Big storm today took our Banana tree down to the ground. I have been working on making stepping stones to make a more permanent pathway through the woods, down the very steep hill to the beautiful creek. I have been putting off using the banana leaves because they are so big and a bit intimidating. But today’s storm said to me “Buckle up buttercup!!” It is a good thing I stopped at the local home improvement store to pick up a second bag of concrete made by Quikrete.  It took more than one 60 pound bag. I wasn’t able to use all of the leaves because my two tables are smaller than I remember sometimes. 890D92EF-563B-460B-B82A-B578BA2BFC0C

I noticed I had a few small open spaces so I popped into the yard and cut off 3 nice hosta leaves to make the most of the table space.  It is a bit of back breaking work and slightly time consuming. I am very lucky and my husband helps me out and it makes the process go so much quicker. With help about 2 hours later, set up and clean up included. C8F52DB4-41CF-4882-8D5A-701D470A6C65.jpeg

And the waiting for the concrete to harden begins. These leaves are pretty large so I plan on waiting 2 days instead of 1 before I flip them over and pull off the leaves.  I made several other stepping stones about a month ago. 30 days for proper cure time of concrete is advised before painting or waterproofing.

 

UPDATE UPDATE!!

I let the concrete dry for two days! Big leaf castings, which I will use as stepping stones are below. I am so happy with how well they turned out. Details of some things I learned this  time are below.

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I was afraid that if I added too much water the concrete would just run everywhere, off the leaf, off the table, onto the garage floor. Big mess!! (Storms like crazy-working indoors), but what I have noticed is the concrete mix needs to be just slightly runny because when its drier it tends to be chunkier or a bit rocky looking. Which leads to air bubbles that stay in the castings. When I was doing stepping stones in boxes I was able to gently jostle the boxes to work out the air bubbles. You can see where the casting looks rockier with permanent air bubbles in the close up photo below. Then following is a close up photo of the same leaf but you can see how much smoother and better defined details are presented with just a bit more water in the concrete mix. D720255D-1C88-4CA5-86A4-A0D3801685D6AF3FC2B5-22AB-44C2-857C-93BCAB86E3C4

Lawn Killing Dog Urine

My husband and I have a 5 year old German Shepherd/Collie mix puppers whose urine kills the grass.

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Belle is 75 pounds, she is big and her urine is lethal to everything she urinates on. If she pees on it today, dead tomorrow. We have tried pills from the pet stores, no difference. We have also tried watering directly after she goes, helps a little. We thought when we had a smaller yard it was because she did not have enough room to spread out her lethal urine.  We now have an acre, nope, Belle is still the best grass killer around. We did a bit of research on WHY her urine kills all the grass. Her urine is acidic. Baking soda is a base and when we have mixed about 1/2 of a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water, it has been effective. But only after directly applying it to the urine on the grass seconds after she pees. When the grass is dead, it is dead, no bringing it back to life, you will have to start over, replant grass. We are still using the urine pills from the local pet store in conjunction with our water mix. We have the jug right outside of the door that leads to the back yard.  If my husband uses the last in the jug, he fills it up, if I use the last in the jug, I fill it up. This way there is always grass saving water available and never an excuse to not use it.  We love our green grass. Hope this helps you to prevent dead spots in your yard too!

Belle is such a big dog and we use baking soda in with our laundry as well.  This is the kind we get-the big bag.

ARM & HAMMER Baking Soda, 13.5 Pound