I thought I would write a quick post to say Hi and give a big, warm welcome to new followers. I hope the new year is off to a fantastic start for everyone.
I’ve had the luxury of being a little lax the last two months.. The added task of homeschooling our two grands last semester prompted me to put my Etsy shop in vacation mode, and step away from my glass work so I could get ready for Christmas. I’m back to Etsy now, but with another semester started, new designs will be minimal for a while.
With the holidays behind us, I’m more than ready to start working on a new upcycled or repurposed project. I’ve pulled some interesting pieces in from the garage, but haven’t had the chance to get going on anything yet. But, very soon!
We framed a large piece of beautiful glass for my wall last week. It’s been one of those things on the “to do “ list forever, so it really feels good to finally see it done. It’s nothing extraordinary, but I like it. It has a little story behind it that offers me at least something to share with you.
My sister spied a large gorgeous piece of glass at an auction we attended a couple years ago and pointed it out to me. As soon as I saw it, I knew who would be taking it home with them. I sat near it so I wouldn’t miss it when it came up; I was going to be a serious bidder. I can’t remember what amount the auctioneer started at, but I waited as he worked his way down to $2.50, then held my number up. I was on the edge of my seat, prepared to keep bidding, and nothing happened. I got that sweet thing for $2.50! It really made my night!
When I got home, I stood it behind a tall cabinet in my work area to protect it until I could get it in a frame. And, LOL, that’s where it has been all this time, until last week. Funny how some of the simplest projects can take the longest to accomplish.
My husband made a long frame from ripped lumber. We screwed and glued the corners because the glass is quite heavy. The frame was painted a pale gray with speckles, but it looks white in the finished picture.
I guess that’s all I have for now. I promise to try and step up my game for the next post. 🙂
Well, here I am, four days out from Christmas, and writing a blog on the easy Christmas sewing project I mentioned in my last post. Guess that pretty much tells you things didn’t go as quickly as I thought they would.
There’s been an old, soft, wool army blanket floating around here since forever. It’s actually two pieces of wool blankets sewn together. It’s been used under our tree many times and has been packed away with the Christmas stuff for the last 30+ years. One Christmas, when my kids were young, I said I was going to make a real tree skirt out of it someday, and it’s kind of been a running joke every year when we pull it out. Well, this is the year, I did it!
I love fabric and textures, but sewing has never really been my thing, I don’t know why. Not having a concrete plan for this project, I decided to approach it like I did most others, use what I have on hand, and visualize as I go.
I was able to fold and cut a 60” circle out of the darkest end of the blanket. There’s all kinds of easy instructions for folding fabric to cut large circles on the internet.
I traced the corner of a cup to cut a small hole in the center of the circle.
My first idea was to cut small holly pieces from the leftover end of the blanket and stitch them along the outer edge of the circle. But then, with such a big circle, I thought a larger pattern would look much better.
I drew a large holly leaf pattern about 20”L and 12”W, then cut eight holly pieces out of newspaper to arrange on the circle and give them a look. Sorry, the picture is a little fuzzy, but I liked the design.
Then, there was a hitch. I laid the holly pattern every which way and there was not enough leftover blanket to get the eight pieces out of. I could have made the pattern smaller, but I liked the big holly.
Just playing around, I cut the holly pattern in half lengthwise. Using two colors on the holly could add more interest. Half of the leaf could be cut from the leftover blanket, and something else could be used for the other half.
After two days of trying to find something to use, it finally dawned on me that I had the perfect thing all along, a faded pair of green army fatigues. As a saver of buttons, I always have a bag of old clothes waiting to have their buttons removed before they’re tossed, and that’s where I found them. The legs alone offered enough material and I could use the buttons too.
I didn’t have interfacing for the green cotton material. With plenty of the dark wool left, I cut eight pieces of that and adhered it to the back of the green cotton with a spray adhesive. I trimmed a few edges where they didn’t match neatly.
The design was laid out on the floor again and the pieces arranged where I wanted them. A slit opening was cut up through the center of one of the holly pieces. The pieces were adhered to the circle with spray adhesive. After the adhesive was dry, each piece of holly was surrounded with a six strand, dark brown blanket stitch. This step took me over a week to complete, there’s a lot of stitches. I’m sure my lack of experience in this area and only working evenings, slowed the process too.
More was needed, so I chose yo-yos. I cut eight 4” circles from the scrap green cotton material. After stitching them closed, they were painted with red fabric paint, giving them a deep rich red color. The buttons from the fatigues were sewn in the center of each yo-yo, then the yo-yos were sewn to the circle between the holly. I love the little yo-yos.
A zig-zag stitch was run around the outer edge of the skirt, and a strip of wool cut to fold over the raw edge of the small inner circle. My daughter, she’s a quilter, peeked in on me as I was pinning the wool strip into place, and offered me her binding clips to use. They’re the neatest little things. I stitched some knots to attach the strip, then ran a blanket stitch along the edge of it on both sides.
I found some tie strips in a craft drawer. I don’t know what they were off of, and they didn’t match, but that’s okay. They were stitched into place on the backside of the circle, along the edge of the slit opening.
And, finally, done. After all this time it feels pretty good to have this one particular project completed. I’m very happy with it.
I moved presents from under the tree to get a picture, then replaced them, covering my new creation. It’s a little wrinkly now, but it can make it’s grand debut Christmas morning after everyone has opened their gifts and Santa’s surprises.
Merry Christmas everyone, and many wishes for a bright, shiny New Year!
A garden gate was nowhere in my radar this fall. But, after pulling some beautiful rusty sunflowers from a pile of junk someone dropped off at our house, I had to use them. Having a husband in the salvage business does have its rewards. Anyway, they were on tall stems and looked like they had held a candle or solar light of some sort.
I laid them on a rusty gate, along with a faded, metal flower. The materials looked good together, but the sunflowers were too small to use. The yellow flower would be the perfect size, but I only had one. What to do?
I left everything laying out, pondering over them as I piddled around with other things. I really wanted to use those rusty flowers, I just wished they were bigger. Could I do something to them to make them look bigger? Put something behind them, and make them the centers? That was it! Once I began looking at them as the centers of flowers, things started coming together.
The plan – cut two new flowers from scrap aluminum, using the yellow flower and its leaves as a pattern, then give each a rusty flower center to pull them together.
First, the sunflowers had to be taken apart. With my husband’s help, the welded hinges and other small pieces were removed carefully with a low temp torch. I slowly pulled them off with pliers as he controlled the heat. The stems were saved for later.
Flower pieces and leaves were cut from thin aluminum.
I taped the flower head pieces together and wired them to the gate to determine their placing. The leftover stem pieces were held up to the flowers and cut to the lengths needed, making sure they were long enough to go behind and be glued to the back of the flower. The placing of the leaves was determined the same way. Shorter leftover stem pieces were curved slightly and cut for the leaf stems.
File the sharp edges of the aluminum pieces. Buff them with steel wool before priming and painting.
Glue the rusty sunflower centers to the front of the flowers. NOTE – Always when gluing, the paint must be scraped from the surfaces to be glued – both surfaces must be clean and paint free. Let dry.
The short curved stems were glued to the backs of the leaves. Let dry.
The flower was placed face down and propped level to glue the stem to the back of the flower. Let dry. Touch up paint, over the glue.
Glue leaves to the stem. Let dry. After the leaves were dry, the flower was turned over and glued on the front of the leaf stems too. Let dry. The stems and leaves were painted.
The gate was scrubbed clean and sprayed with clear sealer.
The flowers were wired to the gate in several places along the main stem and behind the flower. Because they were glued on, I avoided putting any pressure on the leaf stems. I painted a little green paint over wires that were showing. A small amount of white paint was lightly sponged on the rusty centers. The thin aluminum petals and leaves were curved and shaped to add dimension.
The little dragon fly from the yellow flower was wired on after it was brightened up with some glass wings and a nugget. I don’t know what I’d do without my squeeze clamps. 🙂
And there you have it! Now, let’s just hope winter doesn’t get here before Thanksgiving.
I’m stepping clear out of my comfort zone with my next post and will be attempting an easy Christmas sewing project. We’ll have to see how that goes …
Please, mask up, wash those hands, and stay healthy and safe my friends, I’ll be back soon.
Oh, how I love spending long, fun filled Fall days full of junk jaunts and tag sales with my daughters and sisters. With all the virus concerns, we’ve not been out to any all summer, but are hoping to get masked up and maybe squeeze one in next month. While poking around in my overloaded garage, sorting and tossing, I’m discovering a lot of treasures from our past outings, recalling the plans for them, and remembering some of the crazy times we had.
One such past find was a pair of metal sunflower candleholders; perfect for Fall decor. It really makes my day when I find a treasure like this to bring home, repurpose, and play with. When I found them, I knew right away I’d be filling the center with something.
The small round legs popped off easily with pliers. The leaves were removed with bolt cutters, and saved. To build up height in the centers, a small circle of ½” plywood was glued into each one. I wanted some shine to show through the translucent glass nuggets I would be using, so I cut circles from a discarded piece of antiqued mirror to glue over the plywood. Small circles of thin metal could also be used in place of the mirror. Different sizes of amber, brown, and clear glass nuggets were glued to the mirror, leaving a small space around each one. After letting the glue dry 24 hours, the nuggets were grouted with sanded grout. I mixed a small amount of brown paint with my black grout to get the color I wanted. Let grout dry overnight before sealing.
Searching through my stashes, I found an awesome piece of rusted steel wire and some beautiful green and gold blown glass grape bunches. The wire, I pulled from a salvage pile last year, and the grapes were found in an antique mall in Texas several years ago. They had broken leaves, and I paid a bit more than I would usually do, but they were so darned pretty. And now, I’m really glad I did.
Not being one for flowery, frilly things, the wire piece worked perfectly for my taste; I could use the twisted wire knot to take the place of a bow.
With 22ga, thin black wire, the flower was wired on first, then the leaves, and grapes. I added some rusty springs to give it just a little bit more.
I love the versatility of projects like this. These sunflowers can be attached to just about anything, and used indoors, or out. I did a little playing around with some other ideas too, and thought I’d share them just for fun. You’ll have to let me know what you think ..
Keep it simple. Paint a couple metal leaves to add around a flower; attach it to a chalkboard, or a welcome sign.
A wire wreath is big enough for the pair. No ribbon for a wreath bow? Cut strips of fiberglass window screening and loop one. There’s easy bow instructions on YouTube.
How about a mailbox cover? A metal nail strip was stitched to wire hardware cloth and shaped in an arch. Hold it in place underneath with mini bungee cords.
For an open porch, I think a small arrangement with a sunflower and raffia would look great too, tied around the neck of a milk can filled with tall florals, or ornamental grasses; but I didn’t have time, a porch, or florals to get that put together. 🙂
A wide variety of small, inexpensive metal and glass pieces can usually be found at garage sales, and tag sales, so keep an eye out if you like repurposing and working with salvaged materials. It’s good to get in the practice of looking at a piece and taking it apart in your mind to see how it’s parts can be used in other ways before carting it home.
Please feel free to comment, or share my post if you like. Take Care and Stay Healthy.
The amount of stuff in my garage is crazy! Something’s got to give. I used three bottles in this current project and sent about 50 to the recycle bin. No more, I’m not keeping any more unless it’s something really unique. After all, wine bottles are not that hard to come by. A few boxes of wire and salvaged pieces were given the boot. But, I couldn’t part with more than a baggie full when it came to sorting through my lamp parts, small bits and pieces, and odds and ends. They make up the brainstorming center of one of my favorite creative spaces. I could spend many happy hours playing and creating with all those wonderful little pieces. They’ve been used in so many of my projects, including this one.
So, here we go. A bottle cutter or wet saw will be needed. I used the Creator’s Bottle Cutter, but have had great success with the Ephrem’s Bottle Cutter too. Both are easy to use and have instructions included. The Ephrem’s Bottle Cutter is less expensive and needs to be attached to a board before using.
Place the bottle in the cutter. With even pressure while turning, score the cut line on the bottle. Rotate the score line about ¼” over a candle flame for about a minute. Holding the bottle at the top and bottom, plunge it into a bucket of ice water to easily snap apart. Sand the cut edges with 150 grit emery cloth to smooth and remove the sharp edges.
I don’t often share pictures of my messy places, but here’s that brainstorming center I mentioned a little earlier. I know, it’s a little out of hand, huh? But, it’s so much fun having a lot of options when in a creative mood.
I had parted out a pair of bent candlesticks my sister found for me at a garage sale. They were a steal at fifty cents each and chock full of some beautiful heavy glass donuts. I was able to use the top and base also. The rod was cut out, and my husband used a die grinder to remove some excess solder. A die grinder isn’t hard to use, I just don’t like the noise or the flying sparks it makes.
I liked the idea of using a glass donut on each jar to make them look like they belonged together if they were displayed as a set. I stacked and played around with pieces to fit the donuts and the jar openings until I was happy with what I had. When making pieces like this, I like to take pictures of them laid out in the order they were stacked so I can remember how they go back together after the painting process.
Clean the metal pieces and buff them with #0000 steel wool before painting. Prime and paint. I used an Oil Rubbed Bronze finish.
I was able to use a short piece of threaded rod for the two larger lids and they screwed together really slick. E6000 was used to glue the small lid together. It was stacked and glued in small steps, letting the glue dry in between steps, so it would stay straight. When using glue, scratch away a small area of paint on both surfaces where glue will touch.
I noticed a flat bottomed glass globe while I was working. What the heck, why not put a lid on it too?
After priming I used a Silver Hammered Metal finish on this one. When dry, I sprayed a light coat of Silver Looking Glass Paint, and then buffed it lightly with #0000 steel wool after the paint was thoroughly dry. It was glued together. Don’t forget to scrape paint away where the glue will touch. Sometimes glues can soften or eat through paint and not adhere properly.
All I have for now. Thank You so much for visiting my blog. Please feel free to share my posts with your friends, re-purposing helps keep things out of our landfills.
I’ve started working on some Fall Sunflower decor to share soon; hope you come back to join me.
Hi All! I know, it’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? No worries though, nothing major happened after my last post; I just got busy with glass work, wrapped up with the grand kids and their activities, and just got out of the swing of things, I guess. You really have to give a lot of credit to those that do blog regularly, it’s a lot of work. I don’t know how they manage it. I love sharing on my blog, but think I may have to be content with only posting occasionally. I want it to stay fun and not something I feel I have to do.
Anyway, with that out of the way, I’d like to know how everyone is doing? This virus business has sure created a strange and crazy time over the last three months. I hope everyone and your families have been staying safe and doing well.
Like many, we are still staying home, social distancing, making essential trips only, and doing curbside pick-ups. We’ve opted to stay put at home this summer, and not plan any weekend road trips or junk jaunts. That plan is what prompted me back to my blog. I was looking around my garage the other day, taking stock of what projects I might work on over the summer, when I realized I already had plans for many of the treasures I have gathered. I took that as a sign to get refocused and get stuff done. Not sure what I’ll be starting with yet, but I’m anxious to get going.
With no tutorial to share today, I thought I’d just do a big pictorial of pieces made for the vintage market last year, and some of my glass work and what’s been keeping me busy since last fall. Hope they arouse some inspiration …
I’ll start with one of my market favorites. Remember the painted window screen poppies?
A piece of aged and painted mirror was glued into the bottom of a 25 cent garage sale find before wiring poppies to the front. Isn’t it the cutest? I love the colors.
My daughter had some beautiful pieces of scrap lumber from putting in new windows. They were the perfect length to put together a big mudroom shelf with Chicken Wire Brackets.
A large vintage, embossed Fluer de lis glass tile was rescued from an old medicine cabinet, surrounded with leaded glass and inserted in an empty window pane.
Wooden cabinet doors were up-cycled with glass inserts and hung on open backed, vintage style wall curios constructed with scrap and pallet lumber.
Pretty textured glass, an old cabinet door, and a piece of door molding came together nicely for a decorative shelf.
In my glass world –
Oh! And last, but not least, are these two. They own me heart and soul, brighten my days, but can really keep me hoppin’.
That’s it, all I have for now. Thank You for hanging in there with me and continuing to follow my blog. Please stay happy and healthy. I’ll be back …
I knew I’d be making suet feeders someday after buying our curious grand kids a coconut to sample over a year ago.
I’d never made a coconut feeder, but thought it would be a lot of fun to play around with some scraps from my salvage stash and make something quirky to hang in our front yard tree.
The shells were already dried and had holes, so once I gathered some old springs and wire pieces they went together pretty quick.
I had planned on shaping wire into hangers, but found two wire pieces that had been cut from the top of old lamp shades and popped them into the holes instead.
Wanting to provide some sort of a perch, I cut the small end off a bed spring, and wired it in with the wire arms of the hanger.
For suet, I melted a pound of lard (use lard/shortening or fat that will stay solid at room temp) in a saucepan over low heat. After the lard was melted, I removed it from the heat and stirred in 2 C birdseed, a handful of raisins, ½ C breadcrumbs, and ½ C unsalted peanuts. Let it cool.
To ready the shells for suet, the outside hole openings were covered with tape, and for a little added measure, the inside holes were plugged with peanut butter.
Wadded newspaper was used to keep the shell halves level in a shallow pan.
Fill the shells with cooled suet and let them sit until the suet solidifies.
A super easy hanger was made by attaching a 2” metal ring to a 5” spring, and some bling on a jump ring to catch a little bird’s eye.
This rusty, country style wreath may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it looks right at home in my rural garden, so I’m sharing it just for fun!
While going through old garden magazines last year, I caught just a glimpse of the side of a tin can wreath hanging in the picture of a garden, so of course I felt the need to make one. I threw a bunch of dog food cans in a tub of water to soak outside for a few weeks and start the rusting process.
After dumping the cans to dry, I creased them in the center with the side of my foot, and drilled a ½” hole through them.
I used twenty eight, 22 oz. cans for my wreath, and a 5 ft. length of heavy fencing wire. Cans are heavy, my wreath still sagged a bit, but the fencing wire helped it hold a circular shape.
A small loop was bent in one end of the wire to hold the cans as they were threaded on. I did a pattern of three as I threaded .. two with the crease one way, them flipped the third, but they can be put on any way you want.
After all the cans were threaded on, the wire was cut close to the end, a hook was shaped to go into the loop, and squeezed tight.
That’s it, easy peasy.
My wreath has been hanging in the garage for the last year, out of sight, out of mind, until now. An awesome find of a big bird nest, dislodged from one of our pines during a recent thunderstorm, prompted me to adorn my wreath with Mother Nature and hang it in the garden. A step out to the gravel road provided a few stones for makeshift eggs; a little surprise for my four year old granddaughter when she sneaks a peek … she’ll be delighted!
I love the look of rustic art in the garden, don’t you? Being a collector of lots of glass things, wire scraps, rusty junk, and all kinds of tidbits, I’m excited when I can gather some of my pieces that all work together, and make something eye pleasing for mine.
With salvaged art, there’s no rules, right or wrong, that’s the fun of it. Just do what works best for you.
Duplicating the items I used is not feasible, I know, but, I wanted to share some tips and tricks I used in hopes of spurring inspiration for fellow creatives.
I asked my husband to save a pile of heavy springs when they showed up as salvage last fall. I’ve walked past them 100’s of times and always had the same thought; I’m gonna make a wreath out of one of those someday. I knew there was a metal flower collecting dust in the garage that would look great on one, I just never got going on it.
Recently, I was breaking down some bottles for other projects when the idea of glass leaves popped into my head… that was it, now it was time to make a wreath.
Tackling the heavy spring was the first step. It was about 30 inches long and wouldn’t hold a circular shape on it’s own. A length of heavy fencing wire was shaped into a circle and inserted inside the spring for support. The ends of the fencing wire were hooked together and squeezed tight to secure.
The funky ends were cut off of the spring. With the help of a screwdriver, a scrap piece of wire was wedged into the first end rings of the spring so they could be held open for wiring the ends together flush.
The barbed wire stem was cut from the flower, For added interest, a short, chunky spring was wired into the center of the flower. A long wire was used for this step so it could go through the flower and be used to wire the flower on later.
Pieces of a Captain Morgan bottle were used for leaves. I smoothed the edges of the glass with a glass grinder, but a piece of emery cloth, or a Dremel tool with a diamond grinding bit will work too.
Arrange the leaves and flower on the wreath, covering the wired spring ends. After deciding placement, wire the leaves on first with a thin pliable wire, then the flower, covering the wired ends of the leaves.
Take advantage of any small curves in the glass leaves to help hold the wrapped wires tightly. As an added precaution I glued chunks of glass, or washers, near my wires to prevent any slipping. Washers can also be glued between the spring and flower/leaf arrangement to tighten or brace an area.
The ends of my heavy wire leaf shapes were difficult to bend. I opted to attach a thin wire on one end of them, then thread it through under the flower and between other wires. Secure the wire to the other end of the leaf shape. Arrange and tighten until snug.
Before finishing up, I decided to add another glass leaf, used E6000 to add a couple interesting rusty bits, and tuck in one of my salvaged art blooms.
I do believe, this is just what that little corner of my garden needed!