By Leslie Linsley
(July 28, 2014)
Can you resist taking a photograph of a perfectly-gorgeous window
box? I can’t. Even though I’ve lived on Nantucket for most of my
life I never take the window boxes for granted. They are a picture
just waiting to be found. Now that we all take pictures with our
phones it’s so easy when we pass a box brimming with summer
flowers. Right now, on my street, Union, every house seems to have a
window box or two, all vying for best in show. This is a great focal
point for your vacation here.
What flowers seem to work best in a
window box? I took my own very casual survey and discovered that
petunias mostly hang over the edges, drooping down and multiplying
when deadheaded regularly. Geraniums and impatiens, while commonplace
here, make a great show. I am partial to lobilia in that gorgeous
deep marine-blue color. It also comes in white. Right now they’re
doing really well in an old blue tin I found at a yard sale and
secured to the side of my house. I am not a garden expert so I stick
to the flowers that I know best and seem to work from year to year.
Years ago when I was the craft editor
for Family Circle magazine I did a lot of craft projects with
window boxes. One year I spray-painted several metal boxes white and
stenciled the names of the plants on the front. One held basil,
another parsley and a third rosemary. I used large stencil letters
and green acrylic paint. Another box held a row of pink geraniums and
I used pink paint for the letters on that one.
Stenciling is an easy craft for anyone
to do and it’s a lot of fun to create unusual items with just a
small design. You can even stencil market-umbrella covers. Think
whales, the shape of the island, a hydrangea, or your family name.
How fun would that be? For inspiration check out my Nantucket Name
umbrellas in home furnishings at Marine Home Center. You might
stencil your own with the place names on the island like Madaket,
Sconset, Monomoy or Cisco for an afternoon project. Here are the
Stencil brush or a sponge brush
Acrylic paint in chosen colors
Window box, can be wood or metal
1. Paint item to be
stenciled. Spray paint will give you a nice smooth background.
2. If you are
stenciling a word, use a pencil and ruler to draw a line where you
will place each letter.
3. Tape the first
stencil letter on the line on the front of the window box.
4. Squirt a small
amount of acrylic paint on newsprint and dip brush into paint.
5. Wipe off excess
so your brush is almost dry.
6. Hold the stencil
down with one hand and pounce the paint brush onto the cut-out
stencil area. Do this with a light tapping motion. Do not overload
with paint as it will seep under the stencil and you won’t have a
nice clean outline. The idea is to apply the paint very lightly with
two or three coats rather than one gloppy one.
7. Peel stencil away
and let each letter dry before doing the next (it takes minutes) so
you won’t smear the one you just did.
It’s as easy as
that! Once dry, the acrylic paint is permanent and you can leave the
window box outdoors without fear of having it wash off in the rain.
Other Ideas for
• Stencil each family member’s name
on a box to hold their “stuff” like suntan lotion, sunglasses,
keys, etc. It’s a great way to get organized.
• Use it to hold
• Use another for
• Use one to hold
fruit. Spray paint it yellow or orange and fill with lemons and
• Use in the pantry
• Fill with picnic
utensils and stencil “Picnic” on the front with each letter in a
• Use for a
centerpiece filled with glasses holding cut flowers. Stencil your
family name or NANTUCKET on the front in blue.
• Use in the closet
to hold sox, underwear or costume jewelry.
• Use to hold small
toys in a child’s closet.
• Use to organize
accessories for your guests in the guest bedroom: reading material,
map, water bottle, etc.
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