Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Found by the side of the road I

I confess, I love to collect things that show promise, i.e., possibilities for repurposing. This item was once a post on our neighbors' bed frame that they put out for the semiannual brush and bulky trash pickup a few years ago. I snagged it and put it at the center of a circular flower bed that has since become a vegetable garden.
It had a dark wood stained and varnished finish then, which the weather eliminated fairly efficiently. It was easy to stand it up in the garden as there was a hole in the bottom, so I sunk a piece of rebar into the ground and then put the post onto it.
     For its later incarnation I didn't sand it or anything; I just used the same techniques to stand it up in a bucket of dirt (using cans to keep it upright and balanced) and painted it with a coat of primer. Hardly high-tech, but it worked.

(That's a kitty litter bucket. They come in very handy for many uses.)

When the primer was dry, I began adding color. I used four colors: gold, turquoise, purple, and red, so I just started with gold and counted the sections, painting all the gold first, then all the purple, turquoise, and finally the red.
 The latex paint came in sample jars from Home Depot, much more paint for less money than buying the craft acrylic at Michael's or JoAnn, and you can have them mix up exactly the color you want for $2.99. I got good coverage with one coat on the first three colors (the purple is much more purple than the pictures show), but the red, not so much, as you can see in the picture below. I eventually wound up putting on 3 coats of red (this picture shows it with only one). Now all that remains is to give it a couple of coats of clear polyurethane, as it's going back outside, sort of, either as a doorpost to the shade house or somewhere in the front entry In either case, it won't be subjected to the harsher elements as much as it was in the garden, but it will need more protection than just paint can offer.
One of the things I like best about projects like this is that I didn't buy ANYTHING; every part of it was either found (yep, by the side of the road) or left over from previous projects, like the primer, paints, and polyurethane.  I've got a companion project to go with it that also fits in the "found or leftover" category, but haven't begun work on that one yet. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

hooks and needles

I'm nearly done with a big knitting project/birthday present for Joe, but it won't be finished by tomorrow, which is his birthday. It's okay, though. He understands and knows he'll have it within the next two or three days, and then I'll post photos, etc. In the meantime, I took a few hours off to crochet this little hat for our little friend Rory, shown here with her mama.

It's an owl, and there's no real pattern; I was just winging it (I don't mind if you groan at the pun). I'd read the dimensions (circumference and depth) for a hat for a 2-year-old and tried to match those; it's double crochet in the round, with the earflaps added when the rest was done, then the eyes and beak crocheted and appliqued on, and finally single crochet in turquoise (to match her new jacket) around the bottom edge, with braids attached to each earflap.
     As you can see, Rory and her mama were both pretty happy with it. Sheep are Rory's favorite animals, and I'd found a cute pattern for a sheep hat, white with black ears, but it just wasn't coming out right so I unraveled it and used the yarn for this one instead.