Junk Jaunt

Spring season fun has begun!  Yesterday, our little group took off on a short road trip to Fairfax, Iowa. There, the owner of Simply Iowa (aka The Mad Hatter) was hosting her spring opening at the “rabbit hole”, a special on site place that does kind of make you feel like Alice entering a magical, peculiar land where unexpected treasures can be found. It is suggested that you wear grubbies, and bring a truck, which is very sound advice.

I’m often asked what type of places I look for and/or go to for gathering unique pieces.  Well, the rabbit hole is a favorite spot, so I thought I’d share it with all of you.  If you’re near, you may want to visit.

A ton of pictures have been narrowed to 13 which will still give you a good idea of what it’s like. There’s stuff on stuff, in front and behind, and high and low. I usually go around at least twice so as not to miss anything that was peeking out at me on the first round.  Enjoy!

What did you think?  Curious place, huh? Simply Iowa is on FB and has a blog if you’d like to follow.

I kept myself in check and only brought 5 small pieces home.

Oops, sorry, make that 6. I spied this as I was walking to the car.

No judgments please, lol.  I usually have a thought in mind when I choose things and they’ll probably be shown in some way later.

I have my first tiered tray finished and will be posting on it in a few days. If you get the chance, please, stop back by and give it a look. Thoughts are always welcome; good ones preferably. 🙂

Have a great week-end!

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!

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.

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!

can wreath 2

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Repurposing with Salvaged Aluminum Screen Guards

Aluminum screen guards – look at all those pretty scrolls!  You may want to keep your eyes open for these my repurposing friends, they’re a treasure, and have so many possibilities, used whole or cut into smaller pieces.  I’ve had a small pile of them hoarded in my garage for sometime now and recently pulled them out when I was making for the market event last month.

My first thought was to cut them into separate scroll pieces and make brackets by trimming them with thin wood pieces as in the finishing step of my last post.  I haven’t found time to follow through on that yet, but did get them used in a couple other ways.

For pieces, we used a hack saw to cut the guard in half before grinding off the head of the rivets with a cutting wheel on a die grinder. Thank goodness my husband is much handier with a cutting wheel than I am. He got the job done smoothly and didn’t leave hardly any marks on the aluminum. After grinding, tap the rivet out with a punch if needed.

    

Scroll pieces were attached with small wood screws, in the holes already provided, to quickly dress up old boards for indoor/outdoor decor. If more holes are needed, I would suggest using a drill press.  The one with the hooks is my favorite.  The top board can be hung with the scrolls up or down, away or against the wall.  The scroll piece on the bottom board is from an old mailbox; wouldn’t it be fun to personalize?

Two guards, with their side ends cut off, fit nicely into a couple empty window panes to make a flower box and decorative wall panel. To achieve an iron finish, one guard was first spray painted with Rust-oleum gray hammered paint, let dry, brushed with a black glaze, then burnished with #1 steel wool.  The aluminum guard pieces each ran a different direction on these two projects.  With no rule of thumb to follow on how to secure them, I did what was easiest for me.  E6000 was used to glue short lengths of 1/4″ wood into the notch of the flower box guard, held tightly in place with tape until completely dry, then painted.

 

 

A notch was cut from a very thin piece of wood to fit over the painted guard on the wall panel, glued and nailed in place with a brad nailer, then touched up with paint.

  

Anyone eager to go scroll hunting yet?  I know I’ll be toting home more if I come across them while out gathering this summer.  Don’t limit your search to door guards, give those old picnic tables and awning legs a good look over too!

  

I’ll be back with an update on those brackets ……..