Pumpkins, Strawberries and Spiders

Today’s post deals with my attempts at gardening. I’ve been pretty successful with growing houseplants and indoor trees. Five or so years ago I planted 24 seedling evergreens that today are more than 12 feet tall. Last year I planted strawberries in the space under the deck, and got a few little fruit during the season.

I was out in the backyard recently and found that the strawberry plants had nicely weathered the winter and were growing well, spreading out establishing new shoots. A few weeks back, I noticed that the plants were covered with little white flowers and yesterday, I saw that the little white flowers have been replaced with little tiny berries.

DSCN2443 DSCN2444 DSCN2441 DSCN2442The Kid has planted pumpkins, he had saved a pumpkin from fall that lasted all through the winter and into early spring. A few weeks ago, we started them in a long rectangluar planted in the kitchen near the window of houseplants and they sprang into life overnight! Last weekend, we removed sod in a great patch beneath the big tree, laid down some Miracle Gro soil and replanted the pumpkins. The Kid has been out everyday, tending to the plants and giving them water. I am excited to see his enthusaism and we are looking forward to at least one or two pumpkins by Halloween.

DSCN2439We had a house guest last night. But I am a firm believer that killing spiders is just wrong. So, we coaxed it onto a fly swatter and gave this little guy a ride into the back yard. Its cool that spiders are out there reducing the insect population, but they need to be outside and not in my kitchen!

DSCN2449We’re working on a garage-full of projects, they all seem to be in the middle of being done. Argh… it is so frustrating to have so much work to be done and yet so much time is spent waiting. Waiting for paint and stain and glue to dry. And while stained and paint are drying, you can’t get saw dust in the air, so that has to wait. And yet, while I wait for this to be done, I am busy acquiring other projects to work on. Its a crazy cycle!

julie

A Quick Chime Report

So, in closing yesterday’s post, I showed you the pieces I had ready for the next chime. I simply cannot be that close to a conclusion and not finish the project. So first thing this morning, I set up threading the chime.

Collander ChimesUsing an old colander as the base, I had also purchased a much smaller one. This originally was meant to be used in the American Girl dollhouse (you can see the post about it here), but the scale was a bit too large. And it was blue (the dollhouse kitchen was turquoise). So it was appropriated this morning for the wind chime (after being spray painted silver). Since most of the utensils that I was planning on using were silver or red (or both!), I thought that the two colanders being the same color workable.

As a side note, I just wanted to discuss painting. Painting in all forms is one of the easiest, quickest and least permanent ways of changing the look of just about anything and everything. A room or piece of furniture or frame or just about anything can be easily and usually inexpensive changed. And if you don’t like the new color or you’ve changed the decor of the room, it can be easily changed again. That said, use caution when applying paint: be sure to read instructions, follow cautions and use proper preparations. And always paint with with proper ventilation. End of lecture!

Using a larger red ball that was left from the disintegration of wind chimes past, I threaded into the silver colander. Then the larger red colander was threaded atop the small silver one. I was lucky with the length of string that I used and only had to discard but a few inches while allowing the threading to rise from the top colander and onto an “S” hook (also from the pieces box).

Then it was just a matter of again threading through the existing holes of the colander (so easy!) to hang the utensils. I only used one red spoon to provide an even number which worked perfectly with the design of the colander.

Colander ChimeSo there it is! I really like how it came out and now proudly hangs from the eves on the kitchen deck. Which is a bit poetic, since these were kitchen utensils and colanders. And is my favorite kitchen colors.

We’re expecting storms in the Midwest tonight, so I am hoping this will make for some beautiful music!

julie

 

Wind Chimes Redux

I love wind chimes. I heard once that the music from wind chimes will prevent evil spirits from entering your home. I kind of like the sound of that. But what I really love is the music that comes from wind chimes.

When we moved into our new home, I knew that I had to hang chimes. Not those twinkly little chimes, but large, full chimes that ‘bong’. Almost like church organs. It didn’t take long for me to have the roof lines of both decks lined with wind chimes.

But, as things do with time, the chimes began to break down. We would find tubes or hangers of various chimes on the ground below the decks. I would dutifully collect the pieces and soon, I had a box full of tubes.

With the advent of spring and the upcoming neighborhood garage sales, I knew that I would have to get this project completed. I had done this once before (you can see the blog post here) but there was a big flaw in my execution.

This time around, I determined to do it better. The design had two 2×2’s about 36 inches long, with two shorter pieces at each end. Then the pieces were bolted together (thanks to the help of The Kid).

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Once this was done, we drilled holes about one inch apart for the length of the open portion, which turned out to be right at 30″. Then it was just a matter of threading the tubes on, varying the length and colors for an interesting look.

Once complete on both sides, all that remained was to add the change for hanging. I threaded two eye bolts on each end and ran a short length of chain between them. Then, using the remainder of the chain, I threaded the chain between the ends.

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Then, it was time to hang the chimes.

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The chimes were hung at the right time… we’re expecting a typical Midwest thunderstorm which promises to bring some wind which will equal some beautiful chime music.

I was able to hang it alongside of the other chimes that I created at the same time. This one has lasted much longer. It was created using a enameled pot lid and half of a dozen enamel-wear spoons, using a large ladle as the clanger, topped off with a small cup. I love the way this turned out (you all know my love of red and white)!

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Whenever I go thrifting (as I call visiting thrift stores) I am always on the lookout for unique pieces that might make for interesting chimes. Below are the pieces next up for an interesting chime, the base is a red colander and the clanger is a small colander in silver. I think this will make for a unique chime in the end.

Collander ChimesI had written this particular post and made the mistake of not saving it. So this is the second re-write and I am sorry, but I am sure that I missed some important parts in the re-writing. Please, if you have questions, I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

julie

Tale of Four Victrolas, Part Red

So, with the last post, I began telling you about four old Victrola cabinets that I picked up for free from CraigsList. I showed you the first (along with a purple vanity makeover) and here is the second Victrola cabinet.

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Technically, this cabinet isn’t a Victrola, but the brand name is Cecilian. Personally, I’ve never heard of that brand, so out of convenience, I will just refer to as a Victrola cabinet. 🙂 This one is the one of the left in the picture above.

This next cabinet was destined for the same treatment as the turquoise one, until it hit me one day. I have a little area of the dining room table where I do bills and mail. I have, for some time, been trying to get the dining room table cleared, so that we could, oh, I dunno, eat dinner there?

So, I opted to keep this one and turned it into a mail organization station. I think it was kind of inevitable, considering that it was already painted the perfect red (remember how much I love red?)… which, I assure you was coincidental.

This particular cabinet started out much like the last. The body was in need of some real reconstruction, but the top was in pretty good shape. So, the body was primed, sanded and painted and the top got the customary two coats of walnut stain (with a light sanding in between) and then two coats of polyurethane. Once I decided to keep this one, I opted for some really nice hardware (read: paid some real money!) and got just the right look.

The inside was finished, again, much the same way as the first. Hate to be redundant because I am feeling like I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the inside was so nicely preserved that really a good wipe down with cloth and then a very light coat of poly to seal it all.

DSCN2397Then, with the help of my handy assistant, we installed two metal rods to hang folders in the open side. It was really very easy and inexpensive. The 5 foot steel rod was a mere two and a half dollars at The HomeDepot and The Kid was able to cut them easily and a couple of drilled holes and they were installed. I had this little pencil holder gadget from something I had taken apart in the past, and I thought it was the perfect finishing piece to keep a pen or two handy.

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The other side, I left without any changes (I think this was where the records were kept when it was a music player), so I can keep whatever I need close at hand.

DSCN2398So, after completing it, it was a matter of pushing it into place and loading it up. I know that I have a habit of filling up a space (and then some!) and I am worried this is a little much for the space. I’d like to think that if it helps me organize the space, then it should be okay. What do you think?

DSCN2396So, originally when I thought that the piece would be for sale, I painted a matching mirror. If you recall, I picked up three of these mirrors from the Penney’s Outlet store for a pittance and the idea was to include one with each of the cabinets.

I definitely don’t have space for a mirror in this room, since this one is pretty much filled with windows. So, I will either include this with something else or sell it by itself. Either way, I love that red! 😉

DSCN2406Okay, now I am down to the last two cabinets. One will require that we build a new lid but I am excited that the Kid and I have the skills to do this. I promise I will take more pictures!

Today was an ‘off’ day, I think that the Kid and me deserved to sleep in late. Right back at it tomorrow though!

julie

 

Tale of Four Victrola Cabinets (and a Vanity)

Have I told you how much I love CraigsList? In my city, it is amazingly active, including the Free section. For instance, a few weeks ago, I picked up four Victrola cabinets from a man who restores them… but it often took many different units to get enough parts to get a single player in working condition. He had accumulated quite a few and apparently one night, it was more than he could store.

01414_146BGjp6j5f_600x450You can see that he still had a few more that he had to give away. Those four were enough for me. 🙂

So, I have finished the first two. One for me and one to sell. Let’s start with the one for sale. It would be the one to the furthermost right in the photo. The top was in decent condition, so it was sanded down to the original wood. Following, it received several coats of a dark turquoise color. I was careful to paint only the body. As I said, I sanded the top down to a beautiful wood grain, so I gave it two coats of a walnut stain followed by two coats of polyurethane. The top just shines.

DSCN2365I fitted the right side (where the megaphone and the actual phonograph had been) with a plastic tub for ice. I found one that fit almost perfectly, adding a ledger for the lip of the tub to rest.

DSCN2402All of the interior wood was cleaned and a coat of walnut to enhance the existing wood finish. This thing was in absolutely beautiful condition. I added the brushed nickel knobs to complete the cabinet. I had wanted to purchase some old decanters and at least one set of high ball glasses and maybe some champagne class to set a nicer stage for photos, but the whole idea of this thing is to make money – as much as possible.

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I picked up three mirrors a couple of years back from Penney’s outlet store, they were $200 originally and marked down to their final price of $20! When I saw them, I couldn’t say no, even though their wood finishes were very scratched. My instinct was to paint them anyway, so I had purchased all three. I painted one with the same paint as the cabinet and am selling them as a pair.

A few more photos of the cabinet for your viewing pleasure.

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I have another almost finished that I have decided to keep. I will show you that one soon. The next project I finished though, is this nice vanity… well, the finished product is nice anyway. It was in pretty bad shape with I picked it up though. This one took quite a bit of work to get it to the point of being able to paint it.

DSCN2336I had determined to do something different this time, rather than the standard pink or (off) white. Lots of young girls like pink, but there are probably about just as many who like purple. So I started with a purple I had in stock.

DSCN2354After the first coat of this particular purple, I thought that it looked a little too much on the red side of purple, so I purchased a purple that leaned toward blue spectrum and started the painting process all over again.

DSCN2410I also added the wood detail on all four of the drawers as well as the rope trim, since sanding required most of the original trim to be removed. I also purchased a piece of quarter inch glass for the shelf in between the cabinets. I think this came out really beautiful.

DSCN2409One of these days I am going to have to figure out how to take good photos of furniture with mirrors. I always seem to get a reflection of the weirdest stuff when I take them!

DSCN2408Here it is in all of its purple glory! I have these two pieces listed on CraigsList and hopefully they will sell quickly. I am working on one more, almost done and then there are two more that I have to get started on.

julie

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