Tag Archives: art

Fixing up a roadside metal table

The last few weeks have been overwhelming, painful, and psychically grueling. My thoughts and heart are heavy. I have yet to form a cohesive way to approach all of it – the murders and protests and upheaval coming on the heels of a brutal pandemic which isn’t over – on the blog. I’m not sure that I will or that I need to (yet/now). But I can’t post about other things, simple, everyday things, without saying something more definitive to expose where I’m at amidst so much turmoil. I want to be hopeful about this country, its ability to adapt and evolve and right wrongs of the past, but I’m afraid. There’s so much beauty and so much ugliness. I want us to be better and I’m fearful that we won’t be.

I grab onto small pleasures and diversions. It helps me cope and it’s what brings me satisfaction. Creating is where I live. I was walking along the street, dodging other people, when I saw a rust-tinged metal table tossed out with a pile of yard debris. I examined it. My hands came away rust-shaded.😐 The metal top was wicked hot from being out in the sun. The top was too heavy for its 3 skinny legs and it wobbled or rather vibrated. I almost walked away from the castoff when I remembered how I pushed similar metal legs into the soil to steady them. That sold me; the wobbly quality wouldn’t matter if I used the table outside.
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I had cans of black and red spray paint. I figured black would get pretty hot in the sun and red would be more interesting.
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I added a coat of gloss to protect the top. I added a friend too. I love it! A simple feature with a vaguely art deco vibe that raises the spirits a bit. I can’t make life beautiful but I can make little things beautiful. From trash no less.

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Not dull as rocks

Earlier in the week I saw this sign on someone’s fence. It was set back away from a path so I went to investigate (I MUST read signs!)
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I was charmed. I’ve never painted rocks but have heard it’s a “thing” and since I have creative talents, I thought it might be fun. As suggested I took a rock and a tiny set of paints.

I was tired & working some for the next few days and didn’t feel inspired. Then yesterday I put a coat of white on the rock thinking it’d be a good base. Also, studying my rock, I decided it had fish qualities.

Today I got my rock & the little paints out only to find the latter dried up.πŸ˜• However, I did have a few bottles of acrylic paint of my own. These too were mostly dried up πŸ˜• but I added a bit of water and revived them enough for this small endeavor.

I tried using a paintbrush of mine but it broke so I just used the brush end. IF I do this again I need a better brush. A very TINY brush.
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I looked at a few fish photos online and got my idea. I assure you this isn’t a known fish so far as I am aware!πŸ˜€ Considering both my supplies and that this was my first painted rock, I am satisfied. Besides, if it looked like crud I wouldn’t post it here. (I considered whether to sign my rock in any way and opted to print “COLETTE” on the flat bottom inconspicuously.)

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I returned my rock to the place I got it. This time a small table was there with a few rocks so I added my fish. I enjoyed this – it was a nice diversion.
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Let’s make a chimes/mobile thingee!

Here’s what I made this morning.

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Against the wall so you can see it better

But what is it you ask? (Pretend you asked.) I’m so glad you asked! For many years I’ve used a vegetable steamer or steamer basket which was prone to falling apart. For those unfamiliar a steamer is a metal contraption placed in a small amount of boiling water in a large pot. Food goes in the steamer, a lid goes on the pot and the steam cooks the food. Steamed food is said to retain more nutrients and it tastes pretty good too. When a tiny leg came off, my basket finally fell apart beyond my ability to repair it. I detached all the pieces (recycling the center piece) and set them aside waiting for inspiration because the metal sections looked interesting.

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A steamer basket


When an idea came to me earlier today, I tied the pieces together with dental floss (cheap & strong) and attached the three links to a piece of scrap wood. I made the top hanger from picture hanging wire. The whole thing is about 2′ long. The pieces make a satisfying “clink” when they touch plus each individual metal piece is prone to spinning. I haven’t decided if it should go outside. For now I’m admiring it indoors.

(NOTE: pleased forgive a day or two’s delay in responding to any comments.)

Rethinking the room

Sometimes you change one thing and it makes something else not work right. This is true whether it’s a change you make in yourself or in your life and also in more practical matters like home decor. Such was the case after IΒ made a headboard. It looked okay but I realized the art I had above it wasn’t quite right anymore. I needed to lighten up. I switched out the dark black and white canvas for a framed photo poster I’ve had a very long time. I’ve grown older and some of my tastes have changed along the way but I still adore this picture. This is the wall I see when I enter my room so I look at it often. I may eventually get creative/brave and make something for this spot – I’m thinking about possibly building a large wood frame and attaching a beautiful piece of fabic across it but I presently have neither the wood nor the theoretical beautiful fabric so for now I like this! (Also, I’ve since removed the black/white border at the ceiling to go with the lighter look.)

 

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I am so crazy about this photograph that soon after I initially bought it in a store (long ago pre-internet) I found and bought a companion poster, a closeup of the flowers, which is on an adjacent wall. It doesn’t bother me to have two pictures of the same thing; each makes me happy and they don’t readily suggest they’re from the same photograph.

 

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Let’s fix up a roadside find!

I took my bike out for a short spin and on my way home, I spied a piece of furniture by the road that hadn’t been there on the way out. At a distance I thought it was a wood chair, which I wasn’t too excited about – wood chairs, broken and not, turn up a lot.

As I drew closer and got a clearer look, I grew more interested. A bench! Ohhh, benches I like. Now, I knew if I wanted it, I’d have to take it right then and there. I have learned my lesson. If you find something you want in a spot 15 miles due East from the Last End of the Earth with no signs of human activity or habitation in sight, and tell yourself, “I’ll come back and get that later,” and go on your (naive) merry way without it, I’ll be damned if when you return, that thing will be GONE, even if prairie dogs and rattlesnakes had to drag it off to their dirt homes.

As found, no wonder they threw it out

As found, no wonder they threw it out


I took a cursory look at the bench and this not being my first rodeo, knew the best option was to get it onto the bike and walk it home from there. I easily picked it up and balanced it on the seat and handlebars (watch and learn kids!). Just as I’d done that a man came biking behind me and said, Would you like a hand with that? I can help carry it as far as I’m going. Ha ha! He really said, That will be hard to take… on a bike. As he continued on by. Yeaaaah. It was already on the bike for starters. And I mean, come on, I’m fairly spry and such, but I was going to ride the bike while carrying a 3.5 foot long bench? Perhaps I could balance a person sitting on the bench with a dog wearing a party hat in their lap, like in the circus, too.

I easily walked the bike/bench the short distance home. Once I got in there, I saw it had a few issues, ones that might have made me disinclined to take it had I noticed them earlier. The front left leg was broken near where it attached to the bottom of the seat, and not cleanly either. A spoke came apart. The seat was unbalanced too, even with a clearly homemade “peg leg” addition to the right front leg. The dull black surface looked like it had been painted with tar.

Although the bench seemed old – both from the state of the wood and techniques used in its design – it did not cry out “valuable antique.” Old but poor workmanship are an odd combination. Plus features: the arms “scroll” under at their ends, the legs taper at their tops and actually go up through holes in the bench seat, the two long slats on the bottom sit in cut-outs in the legs, and each of the nine back spindles taper to a surprisingly skinny and more surprisingly, unbroken 1.5″ diameter.

On the not-so-plus side in addition to the flaws already noted: one armrest visibly turns out and the other turns in, sloppy-looking screws attach the arm rests to the back and seat, the wood is cracking in spots on the seat, and that seat at a depth of 13.5″ is very shallow for sitting. The bench would offer a few challenges, but this is the kind of project I really enjoy. I get to be analytical – solving the problems – and I get to be creative – making it purty.

First, I used Shoe Goo, the best glue I had on hand to connect the spoke that came apart and more importantly, reattach the leg to the seat. I pried off the homemade leg additions and pulled out a host of odd nails. I used a white plastic bottle cap to prop up the right front leg. Then I put on a coat of primer; I had just enough left in a can to eke out the job.

"Ghost bench" but still looking better

“Ghost bench” but still looking better


I knew I wanted red and just two days earlier, someone I’d received Freecycle paint from last winter, offered me a quart of “Cabernet Red” which I was delighted to have. Once I started, I thought having the legs and back spindles white would make it more interesting than solid red.
First coat, what a difference!

First coat, what a difference!


Welcomed inside after its second coat

Welcomed inside after its second coat


"Fancified" with cushions I already had. Voila!

“Fancified” with cushions I already had. Voila!