Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Rocking Body

I bet you thought it was a photo of Sofia Vergara.  Nope, it is my metal flamingo with a rock for it's body.  I guess I should start from the beginning and explain.

It was probably 8 years ago that I purchased a metal pink flamingo with a gazing globe for a body.  I immediately spray painted the flamingo in oil rubbed bronze spray paint because my house was trimmed in dark brown.  Then we moved and the flamingo was spray painted satin black.

The very first year we had a storm and a branch fell on the flamingo.  The flamingo survived but the globe did not.  Since that time she has been empty.  I decided to give her a new coat of paint while I was on a spray painting spree.

Then I had an idea.  A friend of mine finds those Christmas decorations that are metal deer with lights on them.  She removes the lights and spray paints them brown,  Next she fills the body, legs, neck, and head with rocks.  Because of the weight she needs to hammer long rods into the ground to hold the deer upright.  She currently has 4 deer behind her up north cottage.  It looks really cute,

So that gave me the idea to use a large round stone for the body.  I didn't find a round stone in the rock pile but I did find a pink granite stone which I thought would be perfect for a flamingo.  The rock doesn't photograph pink but it is pink.

I put the rock in place and pushed the flamingo into the dirt.  In the time it took me to go get my camera, my flamingo did a beak dive into my zinnia plants.  I had just weeded and the dirt was kind of loose so I repositioned Ms. Flamingo and took her photo.

We'll see if she is still standing tomorrow.  If not....then I'll have to remove her rocking body.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cast Iron Umbrella Stand Part 2 and the Next Project

Today I was able to spray two coats of the navy blue paint on the top of the cast iron base AND we love it.

If the weather cooperates on Saturday I might just spray one more coat on the top.  The weather forecast is for rain but who knows what it will do.

I still need to buy the bright yellow for the lettering and also spray the umbrella pole and the finial on the top of the umbrella.  Black in a satin finish will match the umbrella and not clash with the cast iron base.

In between mowing the front and back yards today we started the next project.

A 1890's cast iron garden chair.  The details are really starting to show but the blasting is going slow because the paint is thick and hard, especially those first original coats of paint.  It looks like the original color was emerald green and then it was coat after coat after coat of white.

This chair will not need any repair work.  We are going to try and salvage the original fasteners. Fingers crossed that they do not snap off.  Once R gets the paint off the fasteners we will apply a lubricant that helps dissolve the rust on the threads and this might allow us to remove them without snapping them off.

On the garden front, we have harvested our first two banana peppers.  Looks like the mulberries and wild black raspberries will be ripe in the next week or two.  Jamming!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cast Iron Sign Base turned Umbrella Stand

We are still sand blasting away and I have sand in places I shouldn't have sand ......don't ask me where.....just know it is uncomfortable.  We have 4 additional projects in the wings.

Here is the back story on the cast iron base. Waaaaaaaaaay back when R raced motorcycles he bought a cast iron sign base at an auction.  He wanted the base to make a light stand so we could have light in the pits.  Plus, he liked the cast iron base.  Well, so did someone else.  R and this elderly man went back and forth with R finally winning the base with a bid of $35.00.  The other bidder stormed off.

R brought it home and fashioned it into a light stand.  Like racing on a motorcycle at 130 mph with just a helmet and a leather suit to protect you wasn't dangerous enough,,,,,we also tried to electrocute ourselves in between races.  Look at that cord......egads.  We survived and the light base moved on to a few car races until R and later G upgraded to a real light set up.

In the meantime, it was stored away with all our other stuff until a couple of weeks ago when my mother gave us her back canvas umbrella because she was getting one of those crank out awnings for her deck.  The only problem with a free umbrella was that all of our patio tables have glass and no hole for umbrellas.  Bummer.

Then I saw it, the cast iron base, waaaaaaaaaaaaay in the corner of the barn. The idea to turn it into an umbrella stand hit me.  R was not happy when I told him about my plan.  He doesn't do change very good and that light set up was a reminder of his go fast days.  His only go 'fast' days now a days are days when he has blood work or a colonoscopy.

He hauled the base out into the light of day and I explained it again and he was not impressed.  I started taking the light pole out of the base and marveled at the fact that we didn't at least get a little tingle when we used the light.

R spent a day and a half sandblasting.  In the meantime, I went to the store.  My plan was to paint the base in it's original colors.  What colors, you ask?  Blue and bright yellow.  You see, this base is so old it pre dates SUNOCO.  The base says Property of Sun Oil Company.  I bought a spray can of bright blue and a spray can of bright yellow.

During the last little bit of sand blasting on Wednesday, R found some original blue and today he found some original yellow.  I had bought the wrong colors, so back to ACE Hardware I went to exchange them.  No problem,  I bought a spray can of navy and a can of spray primer.  I decided spray yellow wasn't going to work so I will buy a small bottle of bright yellow at Michael's and use an artist brush to highlight the lettering.

The base was originally painted navy blue, then industrial gray, then dark beige, and finally white. You can see some of the remaining navy paint around the word 'PROPERTY'.

Today after the sandblasting was finished, we hauled out the umbrella and went hmmmmmmmm. what now.  First, we unscrewed the pipe because we figured we would just buy the correct size but SURPRISE!!!! there was another smaller pipe underneath.  Geeeesh.

R then thought the umbrella would slide over the top of the pipe but the bottom of the umbrella had a plastic plug in it.  I walked away because I was starting to bum out so I went and watered some plants.  When I came back I found this.

R said when he removed the plug from the umbrella it was a perfect fit and slid right over the pipe.  It was meant to be.  The base is very heavy and not tippy at all.

I sprayed two light coats of primer on the bottom.  Once the primer was dried, I sprayed two light coats of gloss Navy Blue by Rust-oleum.  You can tell when the primer is dried by the matte finish. Once the finish is matte it is dry.  When it is shiny, it's wet.

The navy spray paint has a primer already added but as a precaution for both current rust and future possible rust, due to the fact that it will be out in the elements, I decided to use primer plus the paint with primer added.  I think it also helped to even out the paint coverage.  I was afraid that too many top coats would start to obscure the details that we just spent two days uncovering.

I used a 5 gallon bucket to support the base as I painted.  It worked great because it raised it up and I could get under the edge of the base.  I'm letting the bottom cure completely overnight and tomorrow I will paint the top of the base.  

R's reaction?  He said he had "no idea" what I was talking about and thought for sure "it wouldn't work."  Ye of little faith.

Can't wait to see it finished.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sandblasting and a new kitty

Not this kind of kitty.......
but this kind.  The concrete kind.
The statue looked like this before we began our quick make over.  The kitty was given to us by someone who knows we love kitties, old stuff, and a good project.

I used a wire brush to remove the loose paint but we soon realized that we needed to haul out the portable sand blaster to remove the remaining paint.  We have two sandblasters.  One is a cabinet style that recirculates the abrasive particles.  Our cabinet blaster isn't hooked up right now but our son has one in his race shop, so we use that occasionally.  Our second blaster is portable total loss blaster. We use a tarp and can retrieve and reuse the abrasive until it becomes too fine or too contaminated. We reserve this blaster for large projects.

The abrasive that you choose depends on what is being blasted and what you are removing.  We used plain old play sand today to remove the paint off of the concrete.  Worked like a charm until the sand became too fine.  So off to Ace Hardware where I bought a bag for $4.99.

Due to recent rain storms the sand was damp when we opened the bag.  R poured it onto a large piece of cardboard and finished tidying up the kitty by hand using a utility knife to flick out the last little bits of paint.
                     Two kitties checking out the newest kitty
Sasha says..."I'm leaving before he decides to do that to me!!!"
Elvis says....."I'm leaving, too.  That doesn't look like fun"

Looks like the kitty needs a little paw and ear repair but that will have to wait until we use the concrete patching material on another project.  So for now she sits on the front porch.

While we are in the blasting mood we have decided to take care of several other projects like....

Removing the paint from 3 concrete bird baths (2 large 1 small)
Restoring an antique tire changing machine
Restoring a vintage petroleum sign base and repurpose it to hold a canvas umbrella.
Repainting a tiered fountain that we purchased at a garage sale for 15 bucks and changing from 110V      to solar
Restoring and repainting two pieces of antique (1890's) cast iron lawn furniture.  These were given to      us by a friend of my sister.

We have no idea how long it will take us to complete these projects but we will plug along and see what happens.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What do you do when the rain barrel is full

Due to the heavy rain, we have had recently, and the lack of a need to use our rain water we have found ourselves with a full barrel of rain water.

We attached a section of garden hose to the barbed fitting at the top of the barrel.  This lets the rain water flow out of the barrel when it becomes full rather than overflow the top of the barrel.  By attaching the hose, we can direct the overflow where we want it to go.  In this case, it is towards a small spruce tree and towards a downward slope away from the garden shed.

Another option would be to add a second barrel and connect the two barrels using the overflow hose from the first barrel to fill the second barrel.  This configuration would be beneficial in areas that get very little rain and have the need to harvest as much of the rain as possible.

Because we know that more rain is on the way this weekend we have flipped the diverter into the normal winter position which allows the rain water to flow out the downspout in a normal fashion. We figured that since the barrel is full and everything is thoroughly watered due to the rain, the barrel will still be full when the rain starts up this weekend thanks to the Tropical Storm that made landfall in Texas.

It took three rain storms to fill the rain barrel.  The roof on the garden shed is small compared to the roof on the barn so I can only imagine how much rain water we should be able to harvest off the barn roof. Our plan is to install 3 rain barrels, one on three of the four corners of the barn.

So far we have been pleased with the ease of set up, the appearance of the rain barrel, and the ease of having water available to water our plants without the need to lug a heavy garden hose all over the yard.  The only downers are the unavailability to locally purchase rain barrels and diverters and the cost.  The cost though is a one time occurrence and with proper maintenance and winter storage the barrels should last for a long time.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Front Door Done for Now

I was able to finish the threshold painting about two hours before it started raining.....yet again.  I sure hope that the fact that we have a rain barrel isn't the reason that it's been raining because we have 6 more barrels.......eek!  May have to put 'Build an Ark' on the to do list.  R still needs to rebuild the door handle/lock set and we also need to install the new V bronze weatherstripping. But first I need to buy a large box of band aids before we install the weatherstripping.  If we get through that project without one of us bleeding profusely.....I will be totally surprised.
The new cast iron door mat.
The grass is finally filling in in front of the dining room windows.  This was the area where we brought in dirt from behind the garden shed to fill in this low spot and lower the high spot by the shed.  Sometimes I think that all we do is move dirt from here to there and there to here.
We removed the shrubs and planted perennial flowers so that we can get to the windows to clean them.  The flowering shrubs were beautiful but we couldn't get to the windows and the area was too low anyways.  The sedums (Autumn Joy) will give us fall color, the Russian Sage will add some lovely blue/purple color in July/August, and finally the pink cone flowers will give us a summer full of tall sturdy pink flowers.  The best part was that I only had to buy the 3 Russian Sages which were 75% off.  The rest of the flowers were freebies from my yard.
I moved the wrought iron chair (curbside treasure) from the garden shed to the porch.  I needed something there until I find the perfect something (I'll know it when I see it).
Thursday is an appointment day for both of us.  We both have dentist appointments (different dentists) and I also have a doctor's appointment so I can see that we will get very little accomplished on Thursday.  We need to mow AGAIN!  I swear I can hear the grass growing.  Speaking of growing, we already have banana peppers that will be ready to pick next week.  Our tomato plants are covered in small maters and flowers BUT the dang wabbits keep eating my lettuce plants.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Front Door Update

Rain makes painting impossible but it makes pulling weeds a lot easier.  My fingers and fingernails look horrible.  Thanks to no shortage of weeds, I still have more to pull.  Tuesday looks like the first day that we will be able to paint again.

I was able to get one coat of paint on the threshold before it started raining.  The concrete threshold was painted when we purchased our house and it's only been this one color so we stuck with that color and was able to match it perfectly.
 The before photo shows how most of the paint was missing from the top surface.
This photo shows the first coat of threshold paint.  I also need to use my flat artist brush to cut in next to the white paint.  That will require some weird yoga position to pull that bit of painting off without getting red paint on the white paint.

You can also see the blue painter tape is missing in the second photo.  R spent the last two weeks working on patching the concrete where the porch meets the shingles.  Over the years it looks like some chunks of concrete broke away and left a low spot next to the house where rain water would flow and ultimately get into the basement.  R added the PVC trim piece before we installed the new cedar shingles. Now with the concrete replaced and slightly raised higher at the house, we no longer have rain getting into the basement.  Yippee!

It will take a year or two for the concrete patch to lighten up but we I'd rather have a dry basement.

I located the cast iron door mat.  Believe it or not, it was right where I put it.....LOL  I've already spray painted it a satin black because it came as a rusty brown.  Details details details.