Saturday, January 20, 2007

Not very fancy, but an easy way to recycle...

So, a while after I had finished painting my living and dining rooms, I was FINALLY able to start having people over again, which was a good thing, since being able to entertain well is a good deal of the reason I wanted a house to being with. Anyway, on two separate occasions, two friends commented that as lovely as the place was (and I must admit, they are right there), my paintings were hung too damn high. So, I dutifully went about the business of lowering them. (These were gay men after all. What was I suppposed to do? Ignore the advice of two gay men on a matter like this?) After I had lowered the art, which DID look better, I had another problem: little holes where the higher picture hangers had been. So I had to spackle and paint them. This little styrofoam thingy came in quite handy. The little rollers are perfect for these kinds of little jobs, but you really do have spread the paint around on it before applying it to the wall. (I learned this the hard way, which resulted in splattered paint and much swearing and running for a wet rag.) So, my method is to dip the roller (carefully) directly into the can to pick up a little paint, then use the styrofoam thing (there must be an actual word for this, but I cannot find it at the moment) to distribute the paint around on the roller, before going to the wall. And it cleans up very easily. I didn't know why I saved it when I did, but now I'm glad I did!

Monday, January 15, 2007

It looks like art to me

The best kind of trash-to-treasure story is when I can tell you that I just ripped a board off an old building and nailed it to my wall and called it art. Okay, so there was bubble wrap to buy (which went completely against my grain), ticket agents to be placated, planes to be boarded, several states to be flown over, luggage to be retrieved, so on and so forth, between the said ripping and said nailing, but let's not quibble, okay?

It went like this: my sister and brother-in-law (seen here) and I were exploring a great old ghost town in Montana after a family reunion in July 2005 - Elkhorn Abandoned. I saw many things I would have like to save from the eventual ravages of weather and abandonment, but most were well beyond the patience of any ticket agent. Then I found this roof board on a low lying roof of some sort of old mill. I pulled it off pretty easily, but it was about 10 feet long, so my brother-in-law kindly stepped on it just so, shortening it to a manageable 6 feet. Next day, I flew out of Bozeman, back to the East coast, with the board safely stowed in the bellies of the planes. It eventually made it all the way to upstate New York, with its lovely lichen and rusty nails perfectly intact.

When I finally found just the right spot for it, I couldn't figure out how best to hang it, but then I noticed the hole just the right size for a rusty nail I retrieved from my basement. And so here we go - a great piece of trash-to-treasure art!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Things I Dragged Out of the Trash

Well, since my last couple of posts didn't in fact involve anything actually I found in the trash, I thought I should show a few things that I have, indeed, saved from the eternal obscurity of America's landfills. Truth in advertising, and all that.

First, we have seven lovely pinecones with floral wires, even lovelier, attached. Neighbors had thrown away their Christmas wreath, so these were lying there, in the snow, ripe for the picking. While my dog was shitting at the next house down (yes, I did pick it up), I wrestled these little beauties out of the wreath. They'll come in handy next Christmas, so into the pile they go.
Next is a perfectly good, and nicely sized, dog crate. I found this in the trash in the last town I lived. I intend to give it to a local, donation dependent animal sanctuary which always needs whatever basic supplies they can get. Why I moved this to my new house rather than donate it before I moved is a good question, indeed. But a better question is why people throw out perfectly good stuff that others would be happy to have.I found this perfectly good pair of scissors in the metal dumpster at a dump ( in Nottingham, NH) for which I have great affection. The dump now thinks of itself a recycling center and so there is a place for everything and everything has its place. The metal dumpster is something like 20 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 8 feet deep (or whatever is normal for a normally large dumpster). Everything metal or mostly metal goes in, and these scissors were right on top which meant that, as an extra bonus, I neither had to go beg for a hook from the minders of the dump, nor risk falling in to get them. And, yes, they cut fine. Again, why would someone throw these away? In other words, what exactly is wrong with people?!? Given my predilection for scissors (see here), I was very happy to have found these. There is a little cognitive dissonance going on here: I'm perpetually frustrated by how much America just throws away, but also happy to have treasures to take home...
In the past week alone, I've dragged even more great things from the trash, but this is all I've got time for tonight!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Who Says Christmas Is Over?

So, why is it that I never have enough time to do Christmassy crafts during, oh, I don't know, Christmas season?!? Oh well, at least I'll have this to use next year. I finally, finally got around to making this Christmas card wreath , the idea of which I got from a magazine god only knows how long ago. I honestly don't remember which magazine, but it certainly has the feel of an MSL idea to me.It was very easy. I bought a wooden embroidery hoop for a couple of dollars at Joann's, and glued the two pieces together. Then I tried different sizes of clothespins, but found that the ones I had were either too big (normal sized) or way too small (minis, at 1"). So, I found some on Ebay which were just right (okay, so now some nursery rhyme has found its way into my head), at 1 3/4 ". I glued them on with wood glue (which swells the wood a bit for a really good attachment), spaced about 2" apart. I put every third one facing into the circle, with the idea that the middle of the circle has less space than outside of it.

Later (and by 'later' I probably mean next year, in a not-enough-time sleep deprived pre-Christmas frenzy) I'll do something ribbony around the top to hide all that wood. And I'll try to get a more reasonably sized bolt, before this one puts my eye out.
Yeah, Christmas never ends!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Double Letter Score

So, I was working on amassing my little pile of Christmas and belated birthday gifts for my best friend from college, when I hit upon the pretty simple idea of hot gluing some magnets to the backsides of scrabble tiles. I have built up an impressive cache of extra scrabble tiles, usually acquired for a dollar or two per hundred at thrift stores and yard sales, and I've done other fun things with them, which I'll save for future posts. My friend is a competitive scrabble player (meaning that, among other things, she studies the scrabble dictionary for two and three letter words, which can come in very handy), so I thought this would make an especially appropriate gift. (Although it later occurred to me that, living in the UK, she doesn't have an American sized fridge, so she will have to find some other place to use them.) I spelled out a pair of words, and then added a few more letters to the mix. No, these magnets are not an especially original idea, I know. But the importance of originality is overestimated, if you ask me.