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Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my creativity and DIY projects. I'm four years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Front Deck Flower Planters

Last year, soon after we moved here and while I was still undergoing radiation therapy, my son and grandson built us a new front deck. Here's what it looked like last July.....


Molly Brown, our chocolate lab, started enjoying it right away. I didn't have many flowers last year but I knew I'd hit on a winning color combo with the hot pink petunias and turquoise blue railings. So this year I went all out/completely crazy.



THIS year I've got a few more flowers, lol! Everything is in roomy planters so I can move them around as each pot fills in with colorful blooms.




I've redone that wreath at least 4 times and I really like this fresh green look. The glass marble balls are sitting on a candelabra built by the Welding Man. The corner plant stand is also one of his designs. On the top shelf is another marble covered ball in the perfect turquoise color.


More petunias in box planters, with creeping jenny and sweet potato vines. Needlepoint ivy on trellis towers built by the Welding Man. More planters with petunias, alyssum, dianthus, snapdragons, coreopsis and impatiens. And, of course, more blue glass marbled garden balls!


I love the golden lime green contrast of the creeping jenny against the hot pink flowers. Lavender, petunias, miniature roses, coreopsis, ivy, coleus and succulents are in these pots along with more balls and garden art. The green glass globe in the bottom planter is a "crackled glass" ivy bowl disguising a solar light.


I made the tall pillar for the blue garden globe out of a two foot length of PVC pipe. I glued on the glass marbles and other glass bits with Silicone II adhesive. The smaller blue glass pieces are Christmas ornaments which I've repurposed for the garden. The fleur de lis trellis tower is also the Welding Man's design.



Weed cloth and a layer of gravel keep grass and weeds in check around the groups of planters. I like the contrast of the exuberant plants with the zen look of the pebbles. This photo shows dwarf nandina, alyssum, succulents, "bamboo" grass, creeping jenny, dianthus, salvia, petunias, vinca and ivy on another tower.


I love how the cool cobalt blue glass cools down the hot colors of the pink and purple petunias. Can't have too many blue glass garden accents OR hot pink flowers!


This dining room chair had seen better days, so I dry brushed it white, popped the cushion off and found a planter to fit into the hole. Golden creeping jenny and dark green vinca spill over the sides and a pink snapdragon adds contrast. The Green Man planter is filled with ferns.


This blue ball is made from a bowling ball! The same Silicone II adhesive holds the marbles and sea glass in place. I am always on the lookout for different size balls to use in the garden, with and without glued on marbles. I've used different sized Christmas balls, styrofoam balls, light globes and ivy bowls. Anything spherical will work!


So pretty! Many of the plants I've used will return next year and the petunias are easily replaced each spring. The creeping jenny and ivy are so prolific that I'll be dividing them into even more containers next year. And of course, the blue garden balls will look good all year long.

Between a HUGE amount of family activities, my continuing treatment, my Etsy shop and this front yard project, my time has disappeared in great chunks. But as you can see, I have something to show for the time spent outside.

AND, this year we've planted all our vegetables in big planter pots in another part of the yard. Gardening in planter pots works so well for me, next year I plan to use even more. Because with beautiful plants and flowers, more is better, right? I'll let you know when I reach my limit!

Wind Chime Rescue

When we moved from our mountain side to our new home a year ago, the Mountain Man saved a few of our many wind chimes and brought them with us. I thought I would buy new wind chimes for our new yard but the prices shocked me! So, you know how I roll; I told him I was ready to take a look at repairing the old ones and he gave me this "wind chime stew" in an old canning kettle. (A wonderfully dented, chippy, rusty and blue enamel canning kettle which would look great holding a big bushy lavender plant and maybe some cascading petunias and alyssum....ahem, I digress. )


Whoa. What is in there? I see parts of four wind chimes! I sort of wondered if I'd really be able to salvage four complete sets out of this smorgasbord.


Here is my wind chime rescue kit...four and six pound clear fishing line, plastic beads, a yarn needle, split rings from 1/4" to 1", plastic rings, scissors, jewelry pliers, wire cutters and needle nose pliers. 

Just a note-Light fly fishing line is also excellent for wind chime repair and it is not expensive. It is very similar to the cord used in commercial wind chimes.One roll will give you enough to make/repair LOTS of wind chimes.

For these repairs, though,  I used clear fishing line and a 2" long yarn needle with a large eye. 


I set up on the front porch on a warm summer morning and got to work.


                                                   

I had a gorgeous view of my 3 barrel fountain with ivy and flowers cascading around. It's just me and the hummingbirds and the butterflies out here. With a little Pandora on my Kindle and a big cup of coffee, it was a wonderful way to start the day.


So, DON'T do this first thing. Yeah, how pretty the shiny rings look against the porch boards! I couldn't believe I did this.  Moving on.....


I untangled a surprisingly intact wind chime that we'd made out of flattened and drilled kitchen ware and some light metal rods. I hung it inside this trellis tower and went to work. The top is a soup ladle that the Welding Man drilled to hold everything in a balanced design. He also drilled a hole in the middle to hang the "clapper," which is a spoon. I added more beading to each peace and triple tied the fishing line back and forth thru the mounting holes. One down!


Here is a light and airy metal wind chime that I am surprised is still around. I reattached all the pagoda pieces and the hanging chimes with fishing line. If you are repairing a wind chime, take a close look at how the chimes are attached. The lines for the chimes should not be rigid and should let the pieces swing freely. When in doubt, tap your hanging chime parts and listen for the best tone. You will soon hear the difference that long or short lines make to the sound of your chimes.

Since both of these wind chimes sounded good but  still looked beat up, I hit them each with a coat of silver metallic spray paint. 

 Ooh aah!
The silvery paint made all the metal look just shiny enough and the colored plastic beads are a perfect blue touch. The flatware by itself is not too "chimey" so the addition of the metal rods gave this a beautiful, tinkly tone. I like this so much I think I'll have to make another!


And here is the "pagoda" wind chime after a shot of that silvery metallic spray paint. Pretty and delicate and perfect for a gentle tone when the wind blows.



Here is the largest wind chime, the parts of which you can see scrambled up in that canning kettle. I put it back together with fishing line and the Welding Man made a new "sail" for the bottom out of a scrap of wood and an eye bolt. The metal and wood were grungy so I primed it with white spray paint followed by a good coat of that same silver metallic spray paint. Now this wind chime looks almost brand new!


Here's what's left after all the other chimes were put back together. The soup ladle is already drilled and we saved two pieces from an old wind chime. I gave the Welding Man three pieces of yard sale flatware to drill so I can get this chime repaired and hung up. Since I don't have any small metal rods left I am thinking of using some old keys and other metal hardware. I hope it comes out as neat as my mental image!
I'll post pics on my blog if it looks good. And if it doesn't it will just quietly go away, never to be mentioned again. :o)

I'll be joining the parties in my sidebar, come visit and link up. You never know what cool, creative and interesting ideas you will find!