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!

Wine Bottle Apothecary Jar DIY Tutorial

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. 

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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.

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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.

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I noticed a flat bottomed glass globe while I was working.  What the heck, why not put a lid on it too? 

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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.

20200827_120241 (1)Take Care and Stay Healthy!

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

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. 

lg fluer de lis 1

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’.

kids

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 …

Quirky Coconut Suet Feeders DIY Tutorial

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.  

Bring on the birds!

 

 

Recycled Tin Can Wreath DIY Tutorial

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!

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Rustic Garden Wreath DIY Tutorial

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!