I happened to be out taking pictures before work Monday morning, thanks to the reminder to practice with the aperture, by Sarah at The Winthrop Chronicles. This gerber daisy had a double-headed bloom, which was unusual, so I thought I'd better compose a shot before the sun had a chance to start bleaching it out.
This dahlia was a good subject.
There is something about the variation of color as well as the lights and darks that make them very photogenic. That's about all I had time for that day. I didn't have a lot of success with getting the aperture as low as I wanted, but that, in part, had to do with the lens I was using. My time did net me these dahlia shots though, and I was quite pleased with them.
The mockingbirds have a nest in bush at my friends house. Usually if we come anywhere near a mockingbird's nest, they dive bomb us, but on this day, the mother just flew off when we approached and watched us from a nearby perch as we got in close, stuck the camera in the bush and tried to get a decent shot of her eggs waiting to hatch.
On Wednesday evening (trash day's eve) here by us, Casey and I were on our way to the gas station and to Publix when I spotted these sticking out of a pile on our street.
Once our errands were through, I managed to coerce her into stopping, and just as we rounded the corner to the pile, a truck came from the other direction and turned in front of us. He slowed as he passed the pile, but he kept going. We stopped, and I jumped out to nab the planters. As I crossed the street and reached into the pile, I noticed the truck had turned to come back. Not sure if he was coming back to look through the pile or not, but I got the goods and he drove on. You snooze, you lose, and these ended up coming in handy later on in the week. You'll see.
The other night, quite late, I spotted this guy outside on my clothesline that hangs under my back patio awning. Talk about beady eyes... and his little neck was beating like crazy. Maybe it was his heart, but if it was, his heart was in his throat (ha!).
Then yesterday afternoon, I went to turn on the faucet to water my flowers. These little baby lizards thought that they were at a waterpark. They climbed all over this handle, but didn't seem inclined to let me get my hands on it no matter how close I got. I went to get my camera and they were still there when I came back.
These lizards assume I pose no threat. Unfortuantely, I have accidentally helped a few meet their maker, so they better look out! After this, I went inside, and while on the phone, I found two little ones in my house and had to shoe them out while I talked. They are overpopulating my property. Lizards are house guests that do not seem to know the bounds of common decency. They sneak in unannounced and never leave without being chased out the door. Enough with the lizards already!
I saw this cute idea over at The Decorating Files and thought I'd give it a try. Peggy had her paper plate boxes displayed with popcorn in them, but I thought I'd see how they do as hibiscus holders. Her boxes were much nicer. I tried to wing it and do it from memory and didn't cut them right (I cut pieces off, which she didn't do). Check out her tutorial and you'll see how easy it is to make these (if you follow the directions). You'll also see how much better hers look. :)
I didn't have the gumption to go searching through my supplies to find my raffia, so I just tied twine around mine as a simple way to hold them together.
It really does add a lot to the living room to have colorful flowers in the center of the big coffee table and the little boxes made a cute and easy temporary display.
But enough photos of that. Onward...
Becky at Timewashed had a great little tutorial on painting bottles with acrylic paint. I have quite a few bottles and jars and thought that if colored, they would make a nice addition to my coffee table when there are no flowers available.
I began with a test jar that I could easily get to the inside of, so that on the off chance I screwed this up royally, I could clean the paint off the inside and reuse it for the purpose for which I have been saving it.
I poured some acrylic paint in the jar and then some more and then more again...it takes more than you might realize, especially if your paint is a bit thick.
I recommend thinner, runnier paint for this. Otherwise it's hard to get it to roll around and cover the glass. One of the paints I used was perfect. Others were pretty thick. I'm sure I could have thinned it and it would have worked fine. I'm learning.
Once covered, I tipped it upside down to drip and dry. It took overnight to really dry well. See Becky's post for good instructions. It really is a quick project with a lot of bang for no real investment. I already had bottles and paint. They didn't come out perfectly, but good enough for my purposes.
I had to wait for hours for Casey to get home so someone would be there to drive me to the hospital in case heaven forbid, there was an emergency. I wasn't taking any chances. I was exceedingly careful, being a new circular saw user, but just in case, I thought it wise to have a driver in case I made a grave error while cutting. Thankfully, this was not necessary.
So those planters I got in the trash on Wednesday became my sawhorses. A bit hesitant about attempting the use of the circular saw for the first time, and having been busy for three weekends in a row, I finally gave it a go.
Once I read the operating instructions and some basic information online, I stepped up to my makeshift saw horses and started in on my project. Casey took some pictures of me out there, but most involved close ups of my rear, which seem to be her trademark. I had to delete them all. In this shot, it looks like I am wearing orchids in my hair, but I assure you, there was no such "pretty" going on. I was wearing safety goggles (which leave indentations around my eyes) and I had on my go-to yardwork outfit. I was sweaty and ended up covered in sawdust, and my hair was in a rats nest by the end of the day. There wasn't a bit of pretty to be found. Maybe I should have put flowers in my hair.
More mess from my sunny back patio workshop
Here is one of the headboards. I had already moved one plank of the wood up (it used to be where the lighter spots on the wood are.) I needed to cut the legs down. So this was to be my first really big cut of thick wood.
Waa laa! Did it. Loved it. It cut like butter. It was exciting to zip right through such a thick piece of wood. I felt so accomplished too. Casey came out and held the wood for me. Having an assistant is a huge plus. After I cut both of the headboards, I abandoned that project to move on to the next while I figure out how that planter is really going to come together. I'm not good at planning. I just think stuff up in my head without really putting it on paper in the form of measurements, etc. Sometimes that works and then sometimes you hit a sticking point where you haven't thought things through well enough to know what to do next. I'll have to get back to that project later. Other simpler ideas were calling me.
I had this other wood I found in a pile in an industrial area. I was going to use it to cover a cabinet I found in yet another trash pile (are you sensing any habitual behaviors here?), but I changed my mind and ended up using it for a new project instead.
This was actually the very first piece I cut with the new saw. I started with this thinner piece of wood to get the feel for using the saw. Actually, it was my first cut ever with a circular saw that I can remember. I know, I guess I'm just a late bloomer. I suggest you not wait until you are at an advanced age before you accomplish this skill. A whole world of possibilities has now opened up to me. It's like being set free from a sort of bondage once you can cut your own wood. You no longer have to agonize over asking your neighbor or waiting for someone handy with construction to stop by or dragging all your wood to someone else's house. You can do it yourself!
Some of this wood was already joined lengthwise. I decided to make long wood boxes with them to use as table center pieces. I have seen these many times so I don't have any particular person or blog to which I can point you. I just knew I'd seen long wood boxes on tables, and the wood I had seemed to lend itself to such a purpose. So I was winging this.
Update: I just saw that I have a picture of one of the boxes on my Pinterest board. It was from Hyacinth For The Soul.
My first attempts to join the boxes with these nails did not work. The nails were too big, were hard to get through the wood and then they split it.
Next I had to get out my drill, E.B. and try to find a way to get the wood attached. E. B. is turning out to be a dream come true. I forgive him now for being difficult at the beginning of our relationship. He's a keeper! Long may he live!
None of our nails were the right size and I only had bright shiny screws. I went ahead and used the screws on the first box because I was desperate to just get moving. When the box was complete, I wasn't happy with the look of the screws. I had left the wood of the box very rustic; shiny screws just didn't match that aesthetic.
I got some "new" old nails at a garage sale for 25 cents the day after I made this box. I came home and made two more boxes using the "new" nails. They are dark brown and look rusty. Perfect! I drilled a tiny hole to help get the nail started and I glued each box together with wood glue as well. They are still very "primitive", which is just a nice way of saying "amateur". However, when I make these for people as gifts, I'm presenting them as "rustic" or "primitive". Think they'll buy that?
With each box I made, I realized something that I should have done the last time, and by the time I was had finished the third one, I pretty much had my system down pat.
- sanding all wood first, even if you think you want it rustic. Rustic is no excuse for splinters.
- using wood glue to hold the pieces together
- having all tools at my fingertips:
- extension cord
- circular saw
- measuring tape
- wood glue
- safety goggles
- reading glasses
- cold drink
- wet rag
- needle nose plyers (for pulling out errant nails)
The first box I made got populated with white vases and candles and was placed on the big coffee table. Nice, but I was underwhelmed with the white. Of course, I also have burlap under the wood, which is too similar in color. So it was a bit ho hum, even with the flowers. I really made this box for the dining room table, but it was too much work to set up for a quick picture. I was happy to see that it worked here too.
Since the white items were just okay, I took the bottles I painted...
and added them to one of the three wood boxes I pumped out this weekend...
I like the color here and will love it when I have a few more done to add to the collection, along with the final accents. As for the box, I'm thinking a rope handle or some other pull on each end might be nice. We'll see.
Of course, I still like the color of this little bird too.
Thre bottles look nice, but more would be better. As soon as I mix some more paint (none of the colors I have is really right), I'll do a few more. The one on the left needs another coat. I stuck a flower in there before it was dry and ruined it. Be patient if you do this and use a hair dryer to speed up drying if you just can't wait.
I also sanded the lid to the iced tea bottle, which was one of the ones I painted.
I managed to eventually get all the paint off of it, but then washed it and sat it on the sink to dry, where it promptly rusted overnight. I got the rust off, but it just shows that you have to be careful about getting the bare metal wet. Sealing it is probably necessary.
The tea bottle says it right: Homemade goodness!
And just for fun, here is the companion birdie to the orange one I like so much.
And finally, the twine and the sanded lid finish the look...almost. There is one more thing I may do to the lid, but that will have to come another day.
For now, that's what I've been up to this week and weekend, along with my house work, yard work and junk excursions, which netted me a few good finds. I'll post those later if I get a chance.
Hope you had a fun and rewarding weekend!
I'll be sharing this with:
One Creative Weekend @ One Creative Mommy
Share It @ The Winthrop Chronicles
Knick of Time Tuesday @ Knick of Time
Inspire Me Monday @ Create With Joy
Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ Nifty Thrifty Things
Get Schooled Saturday @ Too Much Time
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Show & Tell Saturday @ Be Different Act Normal
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Say G'Day @ Natasha in Oz
Hot Fun in the Summertime Party @ Somewhat Quirky
Fabulously Creative Friday @ Jennifer Rizzo
Show & Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Frualicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Hodgepodge Friday @ It's a Hodgepodge Life
Fridays at Redoux @ Redoux Interiors
Tickled Pink @ 504 Main
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Simple & Sweet @ Rooted in Thyme
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Home Sweet Home @ The Charm of Home
Creative Things Thursday @ The Vintage Farmhouse
Delightfully Inspiring Thursday @ Delightful Order
Wednesdays Adorned from Above @ Adorned From Above
Live, Laugh Party @ Live, Laugh, Rowe
Made You Look @ Made in a Day
Share Your Cup Thursday @ Have Another Cup of Mrs. Olson
Time Travel Thursday @ The Brambleberry Cottage
Open House Wednesday @ No Minimalist Here
What's It Wednesday @ Ivy & Elephants
All Star Block Party @ Full Circle Creations
Primp Your Stuff @ Primp
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Your Whims Wednesday @ My Girlish Whims
Cowgirl Up @ Cedar Hill Ranch
Be Inspired @ Elizabeth & Co.
Craft & Tell @ Cherished Bliss
Open Call Tuesday @ Salt Tree
Tips and Tricks Tuesday @ Stringtown Home
Tuesday To-Do @ The Blackberry Vine
Show Me What You Got @ Our Delightful Home
Metamorphosis Monday @ BNOTP
Terrific Tuesdays @ Adventures of a DIY Mom
Motivate Me Monday @ Keeping It Simple
Craft-O-Maniac Monday @ Craft-O-Maniac
Manic Monday @ Serendipity & Spice
Mop it Up Monday @ ISBMTF