Recycled Bottle Christmas Ornament

Hi All, It’s me.  I was looking over my blog and realized that there were so few posts over the last year that I probably wouldn’t even qualify as an occasional blogger; but I’m going to keep trying, lol.  I still owe everyone an update on the Inventory Sale I had last May.  I have a few pictures of more display trays that were made, so I’ll post a short catch up on that after the first of the year. Yes, I will!

But, today, I wanted to get on to wish everyone New Year blessings and share a quick post on a fun recycled bottle ornament that was fused together for this Christmas season.  I know not everyone does glass art, but these pretty little ornaments combine both my love for glass and recycling/repurposing.  And, they’re my favorite pale green color too.

They’re so simple that I thought just a picture collage would suffice. 

After fusing, I used a crystal snowflake and smaller crystal beads threaded through the kiln formed channel for embellishing, but any variety of beads and charms can be used.  I like to seal jump rings and wire connections with a bit of solder so everything stays neatly in place. 

They look so delicate and shiny!

I’d like to try a long dangle with three of these hooked together, but haven’t had time to figure it out yet.  When and if I do I will definitely share it too. 

Another, more traditional, fused ornament design was offered to my followers again this year; a set of happy little gingerbread people. 

Sadly, at the moment, the terracotta brown color used for these is out of stock everywhere.  It’s the preferred color for my candy house and reindeer too, so I hope it or something very similar is back in production soon so it’s available by early next fall. 

Well, that’s my quick post.  I truly wish you and your families happiness, health, wealth, and much more in 2023! Happy New Year!

Vintage Style Display Tray DIY

With the summer dates on the calendar filling in almost quicker than I can write them down, I’ve had to kick my garage clearing project into a higher gear.  A tag sale is being planned at my home toward the end of May so there’s going to be a lot of crazy going on here for the next 2 ½ weeks.  Fun crazy!

But first, I wanted to put up a quick post on a newly finished display tray created from a vintage springform baking pan, a brown ceramic insulator, metal lamp ring, wooden finial, and a zinc Ball canning lid stacked on a short length of ⅜” threaded rod.  It may seem like an odd assortment of pieces, but the different materials melded together beautifully.

Before starting, a ⅜” hole was drilled in the center of the zinc lid, and a 11/32” hole was drilled in the bottom center of the wooden finial.  The hole in the finial is slightly smaller so the threaded rod will fit snugly. An assortment of washers and nuts were found to fit the threaded rod.

As with previous projects, all pieces were cleaned well and waxed before laying them out to be assembled.

The finial was constructed first.

The rounded end of the insulator sits into the pan’s center opening.
Insert the rod down through the insulator.
Turn the piece upside down, holding the finial firmly. Drop the zinc lid in place over the rod, add washers and the nut; tighten. The insulator may shift as you tighten. If so, loosen the nut and adjust.

The biggest challenge I had with this piece was to find an item that would fit perfectly inside the pan center from the bottom and not slip through. The zinc lid was the solution for me.

The little metal piece on the outside of the pan was bent up slightly so it would not scratch any surfaces.

Would love to know your thoughts. Please feel free to comment and share. Until next time …

Tiered Tray DIY Repurposed Enamelware

I’m back with my first tiered tray. As mentioned in my previous post, I’m working to clear out old before bringing in new. I would like to use as many of my gathered pieces as possible, so you may be seeing several small projects over the next two months and occasional tag sales at my home to help achieve my goal.

To get started, a collection of three worn enamelware pans were taken to the drill press and 5/16″ holes drilled through their centers. The enamel coating will chip away during drilling. I applied a coat of clear fingernail polish around the drilled holes and any chipped edges of the enamel to prevent any further chipping. A clear sealer could be used for this step too. After the fingernail polish was dry, the enamelware was waxed and buffed.

I chose two decorative spindles to use as spacers between the pans. I thought their design worked well, they already had center holes in one end, and one already had a finial; perfect. After cutting them to the lengths desired, they went to the drill press and a hole was drilled through the length of them using the original hole as a guide. They were sanded, painted, and sealed.

A piece of 5/16″ threaded rod was cut to the length needed and a washer and nut found to fit it.

The pieces were slipped on the rod, working from the top down and secured with the washer and nut.

I thought it was finished at this point, but after looking at for a week, I had to add one more detail; a wire ring at the top.

With bolt cutters, a circle was cut from a steel bedspring; sanded, painted, sealed. The tray was taken apart and the finial drilled through at the drill press. The steel ring was almost unbudgeable. I had to hold the finial while my husband stretched the ring enough to get it the holes; its a tight fit.

The tray was reassembled and done! I have my first item for a future tag sale!

Please like, comment, and share as you wish. Keep recycling, repurposing, and upcycling, each small step helps.

Repurposed Garden Tote Garden Basket DIY

Look, I’ve found the way back to my blog.  There’s no doubt at all that if I had to rely on this to make a living, I would starve, lol.  

As most know, I store treasures in my garage.  It’s pretty cluttered, and, with no tables, I mostly work on the floor, or move out to the old picnic table when weather permits.

Late last fall one area of my garage got a big improvement when my husband was looking for a place to temporarily store a lift. He had no problem if it was covered and used as a work table.  Wow, what a difference it made and I can stand up to work! 

BEFORE

AFTER

Most of my treasures were collected pre-covid and way before, when I was actively participating in more shows and events.  I’m excited to get out to this summer’s junk jaunts and tag sales to find some larger pieces for my home and discover some new ideas to play around with.  But, first, now that the weather is getting warmer, I need to get back to work on some of those projects in the pictures above; they’ve been waiting for me all winter.

I was in the process of making myself a simple, rustic garden tote last year.  The pieces were gathered and laid out, but I got busy with stained glass work and didn’t follow through.  So, that seems like a great place to start now.

A large capacity bowl, and an easy grip handle was what I wanted and why I chose the pieces I did for this project. 

A drill press was used to drill a 5/16” hole in the center of the pans and an 18” length of an old shovel handle. The depth of the hole drilled in the shovel handle is approximately 3”.  A 2 ½”L lag screw and a flat washer was screwed into the shovel handle for safe keeping.

To keep further rusting at bay and for easy cleaning, a coat of Briwax was applied to the cleaned pans and buffed. A car wax or Shield spray could also be used.

The shovel handle was stained and sealed.

For added strength, and to give the shovel handle a more solid seat to rest on, a small area of Briwax coating was sanded off the bottom of the large pan, and a large scrap washer was adhered with JB Weld; weighted down to dry overnight. E6000 could also be used.

Both hands and a crescent wrench was needed to get the shovel handle screwed on securely.  I found the best way to do this was to work from the bottom up. After laying the inverted pie pan on the bottom of the large upturned pan, the lag screw was pushed through the flat washer and the pans.  

A large bead of E6000 was laid on the cut bottom of the shovel handle.

While holding the pans on their side, the shovel handle was lined up with the screw and started. I then held the shovel handle with my left hand, balancing the pans while I tightened the lag screw with my right; went together quickly, and done!  Clean away any excess glue.

The handle looked bare, so it got a scrap of wire wrapped around it, under the grip, just to break it up a little.

We’re a ways off from our gardening season yet, but, I’m ready for it. My new garden tote will be much handier than our big green Tupperware bowl. Hope you don’t mind, I grabbed a few props from the frig for pictures. 🙂

Although I’m planning on using this piece as a garden tote/basket, it could also lend farm house country charm filled with pots of flowers or herbs on a patio; just a thought.

We’ve got another week of nice weather in our forecast and I’ll be moving on to another project. Pondering over the pieces on my new work table, it looks like some tiered trays will be on the agenda next, and soon. I hope you’ve liked what you’ve seen today, please comment, like, and share. Repurposing and upcycling with salvaged materials can help lessen the load on our landfills and have a huge impact on our environment. Thanks for visiting my blog, stay well, stay safe, and have a great day!

Upcycled Chicken Feeder Birdfeeder DIY

Couldn’t resist making one more fun piece for my garden before getting on to things I should probably really be doing. 🙂

I’d like to attract more birds, and thought a small feeder in the garden would help.

An old metal chicken feeder has been hanging in my garage for several years now, so why not put it to use.

Of course, what fun would it be to hang it just the way it was?

I found a pair of silver plated flower votive holders that had been sitting around for a long time too. Aren’t those petals gorgeous? And, they were simply put together with a small nut and bolt.

After drilling a hole, two of the flatter petals were attached to the feeder with the small nut and bolt. To cover the bolt, the top of a decorative metal bead was painted silver, then indented on the backside with a screwdriver tip and a quick whack of a hammer. Adhered with JB Weld.

A rectangle of thin scrap aluminum was flattened and cut to make a top. The sharp edges were filed where needed and the corners were notched. The fold lines were scored on the backside with the tip of a screwdriver before bending.

That’s it! One afternoon! This may be one of the quickest and easiest upcycles I’ve ever done. I did let the JB Weld dry overnight before hanging it outside. Isn’t it cute? It’s perfect for my garden.

We’ve got a local vintage market coming up this Saturday, Dysart’s Back Roads Vintage Market https://www.facebook.com/events/422893409128982. Can’t wait to get there. It’s been awhile since I’ve been out #treasurehunting, I’m hoping to bring home lots of good stuff!

Repurposed Strainers Planters Fun DIY

This time of year is the greatest … back out in the garden, doing yard work, and mowing. I get some of my best thinking done while on a mower. 

Best of all, our year of homeschooling was successfully completed last week!  I think the whole family let out a big sigh of relief over that, lol. You definitely have to give teachers and others who homeschool every year a standing ovation; it’s a lot of work, and patience.

Anyway, having a little free time on my hands now, I made something quick and fun to hang on a couple of ugly poles in my yard.

I have a small pile of metal strainers and such that I’ve found in the salvage dropped off for my husband.  Seems no one wants the poor things unless they’re a special vintage piece. 

I used to collect the most interesting ones and we would heat the handles a bit to bend them upright and be used as hangers.  I’d sell them at vintage markets for a couple bucks each. The large mesh ones were the most popular, but not as easy to come by anymore.

Many of you know I have a thing for metal flowers too.  If you’re lucky you can find some that are constructed with a screw and nut which makes them really easy to work with.  I usually find flowers at garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. My stash was getting pretty thin until I recently scored some beautiful ones from my sister and her husband who own Mc’Do-its Upcycled, Repurposed and Flea Markets. It’s awesome having them so close, they’ve had just what I was searching for on several occasions.

I’m ready to share what I came up with, but please remember there are no limits when it comes to projects like these.  Use whatever you have; paint, washers, glass donuts, wire, buttons, etc.  I played around with several ideas before settling on the ones I wanted.

Had to have a touch of blue –

I was going for a blue enamelware look with this little guy. Exterior blue paint, white speckles, and clear spray sealer.

An eye bolt was added to the back to help it hang evenly and provide a loop for a wire to be threaded through and secured to prevent rocking from side to side. Two glass donuts were wired to the handle.

This vintage look might be my favorite –

I love this combination. Red exterior paint, clear spray sealer. An eye bolt was added again, this time with an extra nut glued to the exterior before painting. I used JB Weld for gluing. After determining placement, holes were drilled for the screws on the back of the flowers and they were tightened into place. The stem was wired on. Decorative metal beads were painted and sanded lightly for the flower centers and glued on.

Here’s another useful tip – slide pieces of wax paper under the pieces you are wiring on to prevent your base paint from getting scratched.

Boho anyone? Just because it has a hanger doesn’t mean you have to hang it.

Exterior orange paint, red speckles, clear spray sealer. A medallion was made with a large decorative coat button on top of a glass lamp piece. The wire is threaded through the button and through a hole in the glass piece. The wires went through an old button on the inside of the basket to hold it securely.

And then there’s this one, just because I thought it would be cute in the kitchen.

So, what do you think? Don’t these look like fun? Please, feel free to comment if you like. I love hearing from readers.

Back soon!

Succulent Wall Planter DIY Tutorial

Spring break gave me the time needed to complete my latest project.

I’m pretty excited about this piece.  Not only do I get something for my bathroom wall, I discovered a nifty new way to make a basket that may come in handy in the future.

I started with a chunky, long, oval wooden frame purchased at a vintage fair a few years back.  It needed a little work to get squared up and made sturdy before a cardboard template could be drawn for the opening.  

Tracing the template, I cut and shaped a piece of mirror, a piece of clear glass, and a piece of old chicken wire.  The mirror was cut from an unwanted, inexpensive, thin, full length mirror I had in the garage, and luckily I found a large enough piece of clear glass in an old window pane. Another option for this planter would be to use chicken wire alone.

I removed the back of the mirror with a spray stripper, and used a wide plastic putty knife to gently remove it.  Spray stripper is pretty awesome; much better than using a brush for this step. Once it was stripped and washed clean, I used bleach to sponge the back lightly in a few places and speckle with a toothbrush splatter. Always protect your eyes and wear gloves when doing something like this. I let the bleach sit for about an hour. After washing off the bleach, you can add black speckling, metallic powders or paint, or vintage papers to show through the mirror, but I left mine plain.

After a few layers of stain, paint, and sanding, the frame was sealed with a coat of clear, satin,  water based sealer.  After the sealer dried, the cut pieces were inserted in the frame opening, sandwiching the chicken wire between the clear glass and the mirror.  Secured with glazier points.

I cut a 10” hanging wire basket in half and laid it on the front of the frame to see what it would look like and figure out where I would need to trim it to fit well.  I left extra length on each end of the top rim wire so L shaped corners could be bent. (I had to find a pair of stronger hands to help with bending.)  I ended up with two loose side wires and glued them in place to get the shape I wanted. When dry, the glued areas were touched up with a little brown paint.

I found some very simple hardware to hang the basket onto the frame.  One is just a cut eye hook, but I’m not sure what the other pieces are.  I found them among some of my stained glass hangers so they may have come from a glass supply source; I don’t know.  If anyone has a clue what they are, please chime in and let readers know.  I wouldn’t mind having a few more myself. 🙂

I attached the two brass hangers to the frame first, then hung the basket to mark where the small hook would go under the basket and before drilling a hole.  I removed the basket, screwed in the hook, then painted the hardware to match the frame. When the paint was dry, I replaced the basket and hung the frame on the wall to fill.

A fiber planter liner was cut and fitted inside the basket, along with an old deflated ball for a pliable, leak-proof planter.  The ball was turned wrong side out before placing it inside the liner and adding succulents.

I’m pretty happy with my new planter.  It has kind of an Old World charm and looks right at home hanging above our tiled tub surround.  It hangs almost directly across from a large East window, so I’m hoping with the benefit of the mirror it will get plenty of light.

I hope you found something interesting or picked up a few useful tips from my project. Thank You for visiting my blog.  Please, let me know what you think. I love hearing from readers, fellow up-cyclers and re-purposers.   

On to the next project —

Wool Blanket Christmas Tree Skirt DIY

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!

My Sunflower Garden Gate DIY Tutorial

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.