Category Archives: Lewis projects

Popeye

We changed our mailbox decoration this morning, taking down the Tazmanian Devil and putting up Popeye.

We really love to make these decorations. We choose the designs together. My husband changes the image into code that our CNC computer-guided torch can understand and follow, cutting out the design from various thicknesses of sheet metal. My husband makes the piece that attaches the decoration to the mailbox with two bolts. He welds it on and smooths out any rough edges.

We wipe down all sides of the front and back with PRE, a spray that removes any oil on the metal and allows the paint to stick better. We then attach the metal piece to a holder in the shop and use a transparency we made and an overhead projector to allow me to mark the bare metal with a magic marker front and back with the design as much as possible. I then paint both sides of the piece and the attachment piece. Finally, the piece is sprayed on both sides with clear protective polyurethane so deterioration will be slowed.

This piece is tall (about 3 feet), so we added a rod vertically to the back before I painted, to keep gusty wind from bending the piece. I try to paint it so that any rods and the attachment piece blend into the design on the back as much as I can.

In the background of this picture, you can see our 6 foot tall robot holding our address sign welcoming visitors, and one of the two owls we have on either side of the driveway. They sit on top of the gate poles. Everyone’s eyes glow as car lights hit them at night. Farther up the driveway is a flying pig hanging down, a guard dog with a rifle, and various other pieces at the top. :0)

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Filed under Art From Found Things, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art, metal art

Hummingbird Birdbath Clean!

With the combination of the occasional rain followed by really hot temperatures, our hummingbird birdbath water decoration became overrun with algae within a few days’ time. It was really awful, so yesterday I took everything out, scrubbed and hosed out the bin, the bricks that sit on the bottom of it, and all the rest of the stuff. I took a tool we made and unclogged the holes in the PVC pipe that runs the length of the bin, providing the spray. I brought a lot of stuff inside and scrubbed it in the kitchen sink with a variety of things that finally got everything looking pretty good again.

Then I felt under the weather most of the day, so I didn’t put the things back out. I did that a few minutes ago. I had to clean out the PVC holes again, but everything else looked much better.

We have a trash can on the deck under the bin and a pump in the bottom of it. This recycles the water. We have a garden hose hooked up to the pump. When the water goes below a certain level, the pump allows the hose to fill the trash can to the proper level again.

 

We made this because I saw a really pretty design on Facebook. Of course, we couldn’t really replicate that, so we did the best we could with what we had. Ours is deeper than the one on Facebook, so I put bricks and rocks in the bin for the hummingbirds to sit on while they bathe.

 

Last year we didn’t see any takers, but we’re again hopeful that the birds will find this cooling and fun. Even if they don’t, the water makes a beautiful, relaxing sound that WE can enjoy when our doors are open or we’re sitting on the deck.  I’m happy that everything is clean now and invite all birds in the area to come and take a bath!

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Ammo and Clothes Washer Pump

We order lots of things online, but we don’t usually get such an interesting combination in one delivery. Today the Fedex guy delivered 9mm ammunition and a replacement pump for our clothes washer.  Amber greeted him in the driveway having just gotten out of her pool. She jumped into the truck with him, making him laugh, even though she was dripping copiously.

We got a really good deal on 1000 rounds of 9mm ammo.

 

We didn’t get a great deal on the replacement clothes washer pump, but we needed it. Our washer has been sending us terse messages for the past couple of weeks saying it was unhappy. We got an “F02” which meant we should check the drain hose to see if were kinked or clogged, and a “SUD” which indicated that there were still suds in the rinse water.

We made sure the hose was fine. I figured out how to go ahead and use the washer, bypassing the error messages until the new pump arrived. It was delivered this morning, so when we got home from Lunch Bunch, we tackled replacing the pump. My husband found a video online that showed him at least the idea of what was required and how to attack it. In half an hour, he had the old pump off and the new pump on.

The old pump had a long screw and a penny in there which my husband thinks caused the clog to form. We don’t know when that happened, but the washer and dryer combo are 13 years old. We really don’t know how the washer was able to function at ALL with as much ‘stuff’ as it had in it. The washer is running happily now, free of clogs. It’s GOOD to have a husband who is good at diagnosing and fixing things.

Now I won’t have to shoot him with my new ammo! :0)

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects

Insurance Project

woodtrekker.blogspot.com

I’m “slogging my way through deep snow,” trying to build the mother of spreadsheets, trying to list each thing we own (item name, when we bought it, what we paid, etc., plus trying to make sure that the pictures we have on the DVD we burn for our insurance agent is correct and complete.

So far, I’m in my art room. I discovered the pics of the actual room was really outdated, taken before I purged, cleaned, and reorganized. So I’ve taken new pics I’ll go through today, making sure that every I CAN list (there is really no way to list all the gazillion art supplies I have) and that the spreadsheet is as complete as I can make it.

This is really an awful project, so I try to do a bit each day, working in one room at a time.

My husband says we’ll never need this. Our agent says that if we DO need it, the first thing the company will ask for is a complete list (as I’m trying to do now) written in our handwriting (which I’m NOT doing).

I figure we

  • won’t need it
  • MAY need it, but it won’t be finished,
  • I’ll die of old age before I can finish it

If I DO finish it, I’ll print it and put the spreadsheet (all million pages of it) in our safe deposit box.

Slogging through the snow, I go, “Hi, HO…..”

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Lewis projects

Hummingbird Bird Bath is UP!

Last year I saw the prettiest picture on Facebook of a hummingbird bird bath. This one is very different from the one we saw, but we enjoyed putting our spin on the idea.

This tub has a hole in the center where the water can come in. We have a trashcan under it with a pump. The system is set up to recycle the water, only using more water if the level in the trashcan goes down below a certain point, at which time the hose automatically turns on to add the needed amount. The PVC pipe is drilled with holes to make the spray.  The system is on a timer, so it starts up at about 8 am and turns off at about 8:30 pm.

 

I put bricks and stones in the bottom to be at a level where hummingbirds can sit or stand. They can play in the water, then warm up and dry off on the rocks. For some reason, we didn’t have a lot of hummingbirds visiting our deck, even though we had several feeders out and then built the bird bath.  I like the bird bath enough, though, if only for the calming sound of the water, to make it well worth the effort – whether the hummingbirds like it or not. :0)

I’ll put out feeders this morning, just in case we have some hummers around.

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Filed under Arkansas, Greenwood, Lewis projects

Project Refurb Continues

I always walk around the yard while taking the doggies out. Lately I’ve been deciding which of our yard art pieces need refurbishing, like the gloves, bow tie, and bandana on the two robots in the previous post. I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the pieces I looked at today –

I call this critter the “Crow.” I like him because of his simplicity. He is attached to a big boulder to the side of our driveway, watching all comers.

 

We found a picture on the net and did our best to make one similar. “Dog with Bone” has a moveable tail and moveable head, so you can ‘face’ him any way you want. He has a spot where the paint is peeling on the left end of his bone, but I think I’ll let that go for now.

 

A group of emus is called a ‘mob.’ We have these four just off the driveway and two more on our back deck. They need their faces washed, but I think that’s all.  You can also see part of our “watermelon” propane tank in the background on the top left of the picture. :0)

 

This is our flying pig. He hangs from a sturdy line from a tree in the driveway. He turns and twists in the breeze. He’ll probably have to fall down for me to refurb him. He’s too hard to get up there!

 

This is the gazing ball I covered with a mosaic design a couple of years ago. It needs a good scrubbing with a brush, but it looks okay, otherwise.

 

 

Our “Guard Dog” is bolted to the big boulder on the other side of our driveway. He is made entirely of cut out metal, wire, some tubing, and ball bearings for his toes.

 

“Mama and Baby Snail” are made from rolled up strap metal and some beads for eyes.  I think they mainly need washing.

 

The “Peacock” has lost a lot of his flat beads from the spokes the make up his tail feathers. I’ll try to find the beads, or replacements for those.

 

The “Pop-a-Doo” Bird seems to be holding up pretty well. I spray him heavily with wasp spray, as they like to nest around his neck for some strange reason. His beak needs a good scrub.

 

I may need to paint the shovel part of this shovel bird this year after a good scrub. The birds like to eat seeds off his back.

 

 

The “Sitting Bird” needs some paint on his legs, as well as a repaint of his chest, plus a good cleaning first. I’m going to put a rod in the planter so that I can sit him on the corner of the planter behind the rod. He tends to blow over in a hard wind.

 

This wonderful stone turtle is from a Mexican treasures shop in Van Buren, Arkansas. We bought him several years ago. He was plain, without eyes or any coloring on his shell. You can see he needs a good cleaning and a refurb of the paint on his shell.

 

The turkey just needs a good scrub.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the partial tour of the ‘stuff’ we’ve made. You can see that I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Our “box turtle” is in the shop now. His eyes were falling off and his paint is peeling. I’m going to start on him next.

 

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art, project refurb

It’s Coming Together Now

The mailbox decoration comes from an image we found on the net. My husband did his magic, writing code so that the computer recognizes the drawing and can replicate it. We cut it out with the computer-guided torch on the CNC table in the shop.  The above is what the decoration looks like when we separate the cut part from the sheet of metal on the table.

My husband makes apiece that will allow us to bolt the decoration onto the mailbox and welds the two together.

We then attach the piece to a ‘holder’ so that we can use a transparency of the design and sharpies to mark the metal with the inner design so that I can paint it.

This is what the decoration looks like when it’s ready for me to paint. You can see where the attachment bar is welded onto the design across the bottom. I paint the back of the piece first so that I can work out any problems. The picture above is actually the front of the design. I finished painting the back a couple of days ago. I turned it over yesterday and “color blocked” the front. (I say “color blocked” because it looks really bad when I do the first coat. I’m mainly just marking where each color goes. The paint doesn’t stick well or show up well on the bare metal. On the first decoration we did, I almost gave up at this point because it looked so awful. Thank goodness I discovered that this is the way it is when one paints on metal.

This is the back of the piece I finished yesterday. I’ll work on the second coat on the front today, and then probably finish it up tomorrow.

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, metal art

Working on the New Mailbox Decoration

Kurt Vonnegut via CrafterHours via Cathy Ruggiero

I’m taking this quote to heart as I work in the shop on the new mailbox decoration for December.

This is the decoration we THOUGHT we had already made, but hadn’t. We went out to the shop at the beginning of the month last December, only to NOT find the decoration! This is along the same line as being able to hide our own Easter eggs…..

I almost have the back of the piece finished. I have some accents to add and then when it’s dry, I’ll turn it over and start on the front. I’ll take a picture before I begin painting the front so you see what is done to ‘mark a piece’ using the overhead projector.

Right now the weather is really nice here, with bright sunshine. This won’t last, though, as the forecast is, “Saturday:  Showers and storms will arrive mainly after sunset lasting until midnight.” This is bringing a strong cold front that may bring sleet and snow to NW Arkansas tomorrow, but will just bring US a cold, wet, Easter morning with temperatures decreasing during the day….

I hope you’re having a wonderful Saturday.

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, metal art

New Christmas Mailbox Decoration in the Works

 

 

We found this cute drawing on the net and decided to use our CNC setup in the shop to cut it out for a mailbox decoration next December.  My husband did his magic, generating the G-code the computer uses to guide the torch on the cutting table to cut out the design from a sheet of metal. The piece is about three feet wide and about 2-1/2 feet tall.

 

We used an overhead project and a color transparency to mark the piece. I’m starting to paint it now. I’m doing the back side of the piece first to work out any problems. The first code I call ‘color blocking’ because the first coat on metal is so awful that it only serves to mark the areas as particular colors. The second coat enables you to finally see the design well and then put accents on.

I did the first coat on the back side yesterday. Today I’ll try to do the second coat. I’ll take some progress pictures and post them.

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Latest Mailbox Decoration Progress

In December last year, we discovered that my husband and I shared a ‘senior moment,’ with both of us thinking we had created a new mailbox decoration for the Christmas season. We looked in the hanging bar where we keep all of our mailbox decorations, but it wasn’t there. We looked laboriously all over the shop, thinking maybe we had started it, but hadn’t finished it. Nope. Nada.

After finally admitting we were definitely losing it, we started over. My husband used the reference picture we got from the net and generated the computer code that tells the torch what to cut.

Yesterday afternoon he made the piece we use to attach the piece to the mailbox and got it welded to this. We attached the piece to our stand with a huge clamp, then used the overhead projector to mark the piece on both sides. It is now ready for me to paint.

I always start with the back, making decisions and working out any problems there before I turn it over and paint the front. I’ll post progress pics as the piece is painted.

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The Robot is Back Up!

We built this robot several years ago and placed him at the bottom of our driveway to welcome visitors by doffing his hat and tell people our address. We put a chain around his neck and attached him to one side of the pull-down gate so he wouldn’t topple. He weighs around 200 lbs., so it’ no easy thing to work with him.

As I told you yesterday, the latest gusty winds blew him down. We could only see his feet sticking up at the edge of the driveway. The land slopes really steeply there, so there isn’t much place to stand securely, put a ladder up, etc. I was really dreading trying to put him up today. The last time we had to do it (the only other time he has fallen) I was really afraid one or both of us would end up in real trouble.

Today we used a come-along

to help pull him up the hill and over onto the driveway again. From there, we were able to get on both sides of him and boost him up onto his pad again. I encouraged my husband to think of something more we could do to keep this from happening again. We’re getting a bit long-in-the-tooth around here, and if we can keep from having do to things like this, we might manage to stay in one piece longer. We talked about it, deciding to add another length of chain – this one running from his neck to the tree down closer to the road.

My husband re-welded the top of his hat on, and we put the arm with the hat in the back of the truck. We had already put his head in the truck because it’s too heavy to try to lift it over your head and fit it into the hole on top. We got some chain and some couplings at the hardware store. After lunch we loaded a ladder in the back, put Amber in the back seat, and went down to the bottom of the driveway. It was easy to attach the second length of chain. The robot can LEAN off the driveway to the right if we get a high enough gusty wind, but we thing that’s ALL he’ll do. We can easily pull him up from that. My husband wedged the ladder down the slope against a tree, and climbed up. I handed the heavy head to him and he was able to drop it into the neck hole, and then we did the same with the arm holding the hat.

He is now again welcoming visitors to the Lewises!

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The Art Room Reorganization Project is Finished!

BEFORE:

To refresh your memory a bit, this what my art room looked like before the purge/clean-up/reorganizing. This had gotten to the point there was hardly anywhere to sit down and no clear surface on which to work. Finding something was an awful prospect. NINE+ 39-gallon leaf bags of donation and FIVE 39-gallon leaf bags of trash later, things look a bit better.

HALLWAY OUTSIDE ART ROOM:

The shelves on the left WERE full of art supplies – glassware, gourds….. Now this is where quilts, Afghans, comforters, etc. are stored. The super-large Ziploc bags will keep the dust off and you can see what’s what. The fabric curtain at the right of the picture keeps dust off sheets, etc.

ART ROOM CLOSET:

This is a combination gift wrapping center, some finished artwork and mainly paint. This is also the entrance to our attic; hence, the ladder.

 

 

MAIN ART ROOM:

This area is set up for drawing (I’m trying to work my way through “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”) and the use of alcohol inks – a fun, messy art form I’m really enjoying.

 

This is my drafting table that was completely buried in the before pics. I paint note cards, thank you notes, stationery, etc. here. The drafting table is protected by a sheet of black and white vinyl, and then there is a thick piece of glass on which I put the work to paint.

 

This is the area where I tie ribbon on my stationery and note cards. I also do a bit of jewelry making.

 

Paper supplies, craft envelopes, etc.

 

I HOPE that you can see a difference. It will never be completely ‘tidy,’ because this is my play room. I could stack things neatly and finally have it ready for some enterprising person to photograph it for a magazine (in my dreams) but then I wouldn’t want to go in here because I didn’t want to mess it up. :0)

Now I feel free to go up there in the next few days and get started with a new idea I have for a line of stationery, note cards, thank you notes, and greeting cards. I’ve been dreaming about it for a couple of weeks now, so I’m itching to get started!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Treasure is in the Eye of the Beholder

National Treasure Film Set-Wikipedia

Somehow the ancient, old, chaotic feel of this photo reminds me of my art room right now. I’ve pretty much finished gathering things for donation, though I’ve started another bag. I’m down to the nitty-gritty of going through things carefully, getting ruthless about whether I actually plan to USE whatever it is, and then deciding its fate.

This is harder because I’m finding lots of things, like pictures torn from magazines, that get my juices flowing. I’ve decided to pare these down to about 1/4 or less of what I currently have. I’ll make files of what I keep so that I might actually be able to find them later.

I’m finding ‘treasures’ though – things I’ve had for years that have been buried. I’m loving this – but the finding of wonderful things makes it harder to make significant progress on my efforts to purge/give away/throw away/clean and reorganize.

I did finally uncover a chair, so I can sit in the middle of the chaos and go through things. I put in two sessions yesterday and will do at least that much today. I’m hoping to be able to share pics with you soon.

In the meantime, who knows what treasures I’ll find today!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, Delightful Surprises, Favorite Things, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Hahahahahahahahahaha!

Garrett’s Moving & Storage

This isn’t my art room, but I guess it COULD be.  My husband came in last night, hoping to see a good amount of progress. However, this is one of those projects that looks worse until it’s completely finished.  He looked shocked, and then, trying to say something tactful, managed, “I guess it’s got to look like an explosion to show you’re doing something.” (He’s sill alive, so I guess it worked.)

I’ve centralized our quilts and comforters storage, pulling things from our bedroom, the guest room, and two cedar chests. I should finish the reorganization of my linen closet area in the hallway today. I’m reorganizing the art room closet, as well as the main room, so things that come out of there are going

  • into a donation bag
  • into the trash
  • onto a table in the main room until I make a place to put it

I also took everything out of a drawer in the drafting table. I was looking for a key for the cedar chest under an art room table. I didn’t find one, but when things go back in the drawer, it’ll be much nicer. :0)  It turned out that I didn’t NEED the key for the cedar chest! I pulled it out laboriously (the thing really seems to weigh a TON). I found that you push IN the area of the keyhole and lift up on the lid at the same time. Wallah! It was filled with ‘stuff’ of all types. UGH. It is now empty, pushed back under the art room table, with a FEW large things that need to be flat on top – at least for the moment.

The plans are to bring the bags of trash down to be put out tomorrow night, AND to bring down the donation bags that we’re planning to take to the Veterans Thrift Store Monday or Tuesday.  Those two things will clear the decks for more rearranging of the stuff remaining in the room….

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

The Welding Lathe Project is Finished!

My husband finished his project of building a ‘welding lathe” this morning! He used plans he bought on the net. Of course, he made changes to the plans to make this more workable for him. He’s sending pics to the man who made the plans, showing him what he did differently.

The purpose of this tool is to make many welding projects easier. Usually, you spent half the time or more moving the pieces you’re trying to weld around, making sure they’re touching in the right spots, and that you can reach the spots you’re trying to weld together. You do a bit and then you have to take it all apart, move the pieces to weld another area, turn it over, and so on, until the two pieces are welded. With this tool, you put the pieces in, latching them together the way you want the two pieces to be welded. There is a motor in this tool that moves the piece at the speed you set, so that you can continue to weld the whole piece without having to change anything. There are vertical and upright settings, so you can easily flip the piece over and then start the motor and continue to weld.

My husband likes things to be moveable, so he added the extra angle iron at the bottom, attached casters with breaks and a plywood ‘shelf’ to hold things. He also added the coiled up tubing so that he can be grounded while he works. A handle he added will allow him to steer the tool, moving it anywhere he likes. He added an ‘arm rest’ so that he can prop up his welding arm while he works, adding accuracy for a smoother weld and keeps his arm from tiring.

This is the nice face plate he ordered for installation of the control buttons and display .

He attaches the pieces to be welded to the top of the chuck.

The red handle connects to a rod that determines the attitude of the tool. You can weld the pieces in the upright position, and then pull out the red handled rod in order to move the whole top into a horizontal position to continue welding.

The blue handle with the black gripper is the handle for moving the whole tool to a different spot. The unpainted rod that comes up vertically and then has square tubing welded to it is his arm rest.

He thinks he’ll use the new tool for about half of the welding he does. This tool usually costs about $1,000. He built it for around $400.

 

 

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And the Rains Came….

We are FINALLY getting some nice rain. It rained a bit during the day yesterday, and again last night. We have a 90% chance of more rain today, and really good chances through Saturday! In fact, some are estimating we may get 3 to 4 inches by the end of the week. Woo HOOOO! Hopefully, this will go a long way to solving our drought problems.

Meanwhile, I told you that we have two 8 foot brick planters along the front of our house that are falling apart as we watch. With all the rain, we will have to wait to empty the planters, pile up the soil somewhere and knock down the bricks of each planter – down to the concrete pad under it. The nice lady at the brick place just called, though, and said the truck with the bricks should be here before lunch time. We figured out the best place for the guy to put the groups of bricks with a fork lift. Our next step – other than breaking down the planters, is finding a good, affordable brick layer. We’ll ask at our local hardware store to see if they know someone.

 

hairbrainedschemes-etsy.com

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Slogging Through the Art Room Clean Up Project

blog.photosi.com

I’m having to do really short sessions on cleaning my art room. I keep getting distracted when I find something interesting I didn’t remember I had and wanting to do something ‘artful’ with it, instead of continuing to go through things.

Last time I got the idea for a new line of stationery, note cards, thank you notes and greeting cards. The idea is rattling around in my head, plus I’m dreaming about it, so I guess I’ll need to make time and space to at least get started on the idea soon, but I really need to get the art room ‘healed’ first.

So far, I HAVE cleaned off my drafting table. If you walked into the room, though, you wouldn’t be able to tell anything else had been done. This is the kind of project that looks worse before it even THINKS about getting better.

I’m going up there now to see what I can do….

I would appreciate your sending good wishes, persistence, and focus in my direction today…

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Thankful and Happy

Humor Mash

It’s cold for Arkansas today, well below freezing and a gusty North wind. The wind chill is ‘too-darned-cold-to-be-out-here!’ We got freezing rain last night and our deck is treacherous. The evergreens are looking really weighted down, but all else looks like we dodged a bullet weatherwise.

Still we froze our parts off taking animals out this morning. My husband went back out because he noticed that we only had ONE feeder with seed in it and a gazillion birds – plus a squirrel – all trying to get something to eat. The one feeder that still had food was one I filled with small bird seed, rather than the sunflower seeds we put out for everyone else. We decided that the feeder is defective and that the sweet birds aren’t getting anything before the seeds freeze at the bottom. So I’ve washed out another feeder and will put the small bird seed in the better feeder and we’ll put it back out. We’re thankful and happy to be able to stay home today where it’s safe and warm.

Projects Update –

1) My husband is working on the welding lathe, some in the shop and some in the office. He got a nice face plate for the control box that will house the motor so that he can mount the buttons on the front nicely. Otherwise, we’re waiting for some parts to come in.

2) The new-computer-for-me project came to a screeching halt when we had a defective motherboard. We returned that, got another, only to find after my husband worked with a tech on the phone at the place we’ve always trusted to get computer parts couldn’t make it work, either. So the 2nd motherboard was mailed back to them yesterday. They should get in Monday and hopefully have a replacement in the mail to us next week.

3) My clean-out-the-pantry project is entering Day 5.  I’m hoping to finish up today. I have to get up on a high ladder to reach things up there, so my husband has agreed to receive things we’ll give away and put them somewhere until we’ve culled out all that needs to come down. Then I’ll clean and organize the rest. Pics to follow.

Since it’s so yucky outside, I’ll start a stew in the crock pot before getting up on the ladder. I know after going up and down and cleaning a bunch today, I won’t feel like cooking later.

I hope YOUR Sunday is a good one.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Lewis projects, Mother Nature

Slug

saga

I’ve been a slug today. I guess I wore myself out yesterday, feeling 110+ years old when I woke up today, joints creaking, muscles aching. We did errands, but that was it for the day. I had a nice nap under my throw in my recliner this afternoon.

One thing I forgot to tell you that I did yesterday was finish the repainting of the Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin mailbox decoration for October.

I don’t think he’ll glow in the dark, but he’s the very brightest orange I could find, and I think he’ll light up well when headlights shine on him.

 

He looked okay on the mailbox last October, but I was hoping for a Day-Glo type look, if not glowing in the dark. I used a paint called, Neon Orange. The only actual glow-in-the-dark paint I could find was in a spray can, which I couldn’t use on the piece.

 

This is the front.

 

And this is the back. We hung him up on the proper hook in the shop, waiting for next October.

Next, I’ll be doing a refurbishing on our ‘box turtle’ who has an eye falling off and paint pealing off his ‘shell.’

We’re on the edge of the map as to whether we’ll get a wintry mix this evening into tomorrow morning. We’re thankful to have a warm, dry home with our animals close around us.

I hope you’ve had a happy day, too.

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, metal art

Productive Day and Play Tonight!

Freude

We had a really productive day! We

  • took 8 large leaf bags of donations to the Veterans Thrift Store
  • exchanged an empty bottle of Argon for a full one (for my husband’s TIG welding)
  • got cash at the bank
  • got parts for the welding lathe at the hardware store
  • found coconut flour at the grocery store for the low carb blueberry scones recipe I’m planning to try
  • found a new welding supply place that is closer to us AND a bit cheaper when we signed up for an account
  • I got the guest room bathroom clean and reorganized (this finishes the guest room reorganization project)
  • I gathered trash – managing to fill an extra bag for the week – according to my plan for the year.
  • I put our bowling balls in the back of the truck for tonight, gathered bottles of drinking water for the women
  • put the bags of trash in the back of the truck so we can put them out on the way to bowling tonight
  • cleaned up the rear seat of the truck, whisk brooming/vacuuming/using a lint roller/and finally a damp cloth to get Amber’s hair off the seats and floor. I also washed the inside of the windows because Amber tends to slobber while enjoying the ride in the car.
  • I made us a late lunch (we don’t eat dinner on bowling night because we want to enjoy some Braum’s ice cream after we play)

Tonight we’re bowling with good friends, catching up with what’s been happening since last week, and enjoying ice cream.

A great day!

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Refurb Projects Progress/Plans

I finished the front side of the Jack-O-Lantern mailbox decoration. As soon as it dries, I’ll turn it over and work on brightening up the back.

 

This is a “box turtle” we made from metal scraps. As you can see, being outside in the weather has taken its toll on the poor guy. He’ll be my next project.

 

The top of his ‘shell’ has peeled off in several places.

 

His face looks like he was in a fight and lost.

 

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Filed under Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Lewis yard art

Project Glitch

motherboard

Recently I told you that my husband had two projects going on simultaneously – building a welding lathe in the shop and building a new computer for me.

Yesterday we got the CPU finally and he put that and the fan that goes with it into the computer and turned it on. It wouldn’t boot despite everything he knew how to do. After the New Egg people (from whom he bought the computer parts STILL didn’t call as they said they would, he called ASUS, the maker of the motherboard, since he suspects that this is the reason the computer isn’t booting. After a long talk with them, they said to send the motherboard to them and they would look at it.

We now have the motherboard packed up and ready for UPS to pick up Monday. We’re hoping they’ll send us another one quickly, or fix this one and send it back. There is nothing more that can be done until we get one that works, so the project is on hold now.

He moved all the parts off my work area, thank goodness, so I’m functional at my computer again without having a lot of problems finding stuff or moving around a bit, checking my calendar, etc.

He’ll switch projects now. The power supply for the step motor for the welding lathe arrived today, so he’s waiting for the heat to work in the shop and will probably spend the rest of the afternoon out there.

I’m planning to put a coat of orange on the jack-o-lantern mailbox decoration I’m repainting, and then I’ll go back up and work on figuring out what to do with all the ‘stuff’ I took out of the guest room closet….

I hope you’re having a fun day.

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Filed under Challenges, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects

Current Projects Update

(1) My husband put a HEAVY piece of 1/4″ thick metal on the CNC table yesterday. He loaded the code he wrote to talk to the computer that guides the torch. He was able to cut out the rounded triangular piece with the holes in it that you see in the model picture just below the horizontal tubing above. He had to turn the speed of the cutting down to crawl because the metal was so thick, but he was able to do it! There is no way in the world he would have been able to cut the piece out by hand and cut the holes to specifications if we didn’t have the CNC machine and my husband’s expertise. Hooray!  I think he’s going to work on the horizontal tube next. I’ll post pics as he starts putting the tool together.

(2)  We cut out the new Christmas mailbox decoration yesterday before my husband did the heavy metal cutting. (He DID have some ‘heavy metal’ playing on the speakers while he was doing it :0) )

Here’s the picture from which we are working.

First, my husband created the code needed that tells the torch needs to cut to create the design we would like. The computer-guided torch then cuts the design out while we watch. This is the cut out metal design. We’ll get the rough spots off the back and then my husband will make the part that attaches it to the mailbox and he’ll weld the two together. Then we’ll mark the piece using a transparency printed on our printer and an overhead projector. I’ll show you pics as the work progresses. I’ve stored this in my painting area for the moment, because it won’t be needed until the end of the year. I’m working on the pumpkin mailbox decoration you can see on my painting table in the background, trying to pump up the orange color. I would LIKE for it to glow in the dark when car lights hit it…

(3) Our third project started yesterday was the complete emptying and cleaning out of our front hall closet – made unusable due to our stashing of ‘stuff.’ My goal was to put things that should be elsewhere in their proper place, see if there was anything we wanted to donate to the Veterans Thrift Shop, throw stuff away, and reorganize what was left, putting it in a clean closet. That project is FINISHED!

This is the closet when I started.

 

This is the cleaned out closet.

 

 

 

We now can use the closet as a front hall closet – hanging up visitors’ coats.

We have a bin in the basement where we store extra out of season coats, vests, etc., so we moved what we didn’t need now down there until the spring. We now have two large leaf bags of nice winter things for the people who shop at the Veteran’s Thrift Shop, plus some exercise stuff that was redundant to the equipment I’m using, or not being used enough to keep.  We want to add to the donation bags a bit more before we make the trip to Fort Smith, but should do that by the first week in February, at the latest.  Another area checked off!

TODAY’S PROJECT:

I have a set of nice, big shelves on my side of the bedroom, plus an even larger set in the guest room. I’ve been going through both, but at a very slow pace. I’m going to try to get both sets of shelves so that I can find and reach the books on the shelves, getting rid of a bunch in the process. A lot of moving, hauling, shelving and cleaning ahead – my exercise for this wonderful rainy day!

 

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Friday’s Projects – Thing One and Thing Two

THING ONE:

We’ll use our CNC table and computer set-up to cut out this metal design for the mailbox. It’ll be about 2 feet high and 2-1/2 feet or so wide. (My husband converted the image we found on the net to computer code.)  We’re doing this today because my husband wants to work on a part for the welding lathe he’s building. We have about half a sheet of metal on the table currently, so cutting out this design serves two purposes – a start to the mailbox decoration AND being able to clean off the table and put the really heavy metal for the welder part on it.

 

THING TWO:

Front Hall Closet Clean-out

This is a closet used for stashing. We hardly ever use it, otherwise, because people come into the house from the garage, rather than the front door. I’m going to change that, making it a closet where we can actually hang guests’ coats! (What a concept!) :0)

 

It’s embarrassing to post these pictures, but you already knew I was a slob. I hate housekeeping, second only to bookkeeping, taxes, and other legal stuff. I’m determined to go through my house, one area at a time, and take everything out, go through it to decide whether we want to keep it, donate it, or pitch it. If we’re keeping it, I’ll decide where it needs to live. A lot of this stuff should probably be elsewhere. I’ll clean the closet thoroughly and then reorganize what we’re keeping.

 

Here is a close up of the top of the closet.

 

And a close up of the bottom.

I don’t know how long this will take. I’ll put everything I take out onto our couch. That will give me the motivation to keep going until all of it has been sorted. I’ll post pics when the project is finished.

First, we enjoy our good friends at Lunch Bunch. We’ll do a few errands while we’re out. We’ll take care of animals when we get back, cut out the mailbox decoration, get the metal sheet remaining off the CNC table, and then I’ll begin.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis Mailbox Decorations, Lewis projects, Organizing/DeCluttering

Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3

We are in the middle of three main projects at the moment:

PROJECT 1: My husband convinced me to change from my current MAC computer back to a ‘regular PC’ with Windows 10 and Microsoft. He has been really upset that ever since I’ve been using my MAC, he was unable to help me fix problems. Our son, who wanted me to change to the MAC originally, lives and works in Thailand. He’s a good communicator and very patiently tries to help me when there is a problem, but there is a 12-hour time difference and he has a life other than being available to help MOM with her latest weird problem.

 

This is my new computer. As you can see, it needs a bit of work. :0)

My husband has ordered the parts and case so that he can build a new computer for me. We’ve now gotten everything except the CPU. When we get that, he can finish the hardware part of the project and start fighting with software. I won’t switch over to the new machine until everything has been moved and tested from my MAC – at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. I’ll be happy when the changeover is finished and I’m sure it’s all working – and I know how to make it all work again.

PROJECT 2: I’m trying to work my way through our house, going through things that have been stored or stashed for some 30+ years now, gathering dust and taking up space. I’m forcing myself to take things one at a time, taking everything out of shelves, drawers, desks, buffets, etc., and deciding whether to keep each thing I find, whether it belongs here or somewhere else if I’m keeping it, if it would be better if I donate it, or it should be thrown away. I’m then deep cleaning – starting with the bulldozer, if needed – and then reorganizing what I’m keeping. My goal is to have one donation for the Veterans Thrift Store each month, and one donation to the local library as needed. So far, we’ve made a donation for January to the Veterans, but we don’t have enough books yet for a donation.

Today’s project was to finish the cleaning out of a set of shelves that live next to a window in our office. This was not only a ‘catch-all,’ it had become a ‘stash-all.’ I had piles of articles I had torn out of magazines, like exercises I should be doing, how long to keep things in the freezer, what I should be planting when, how to avoid problems at tax time, etc, etc, etc. I had previous year’s tax paperwork, cards of customers of Creative Artworks, greeting cards ready to send, the pile of stuff we’ll dump on our CPA as soon as we receive our records for the year from Schwab……

I’ve been working on this set of shelves for three days. I’m not sure if ONLY our lab puppy is shedding, or Molly is, too, and the cats – but I’ve been really fighting animal hair the past few weeks. I’ve vacuumed every day this week in here, plus dusted, and I’m STILL fighting it. And THEN the stashed ‘stuff’ is dusty…

The shelves finally look as though a normal person lives here. The pile beside the notebooks will go to the CPA, so that will be clear soon. Things are better than they’ve been in years. :0)

PROJECT 3: The other project we’re working on simultaneously is that my husband is building a “welding lathe or positioner.” This is a tool that would allow him to put a piece he wanted to weld on it. He could weld it at one angle, then turn the piece over, still secured on the positioner, to weld the piece on the other side without having to take it loose, reposition it, etc. This would save a lot of time and effort for him.

This is a picture of what he’s trying to build. He saw one on the net or in a magazine, but it cost over $1,000, not including tax or shipping. He decided to build one. He was able to secure some blueprints for the project. He already had a lot of what was needed to build it.  The round part at the bottom comes up to make a mini welding table, if needed. There is a computer that runs a motor that turns the piece at the top.

He is trying to figure out the triangular piece that is right under the horizontal part – not only how to make the piece, but how to get the holes just right…. To say that this is a complicated tool is a vast understatement. He’ll have to order some of the parts, such as the motor, a chain, and the round piece at the bottom, but he already has the small raspberry pi computer to go inside the box behind the round thing. Big project, but he’s smiling as he tries to figure out how to do it. :0)

So, that’s what we’ve been doing around here. The days fly past, but we make a bit of progress each day. Life is good.

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Can You Smell It?

“Falling Rain” – quotesgram.com

 

We had a bit of drizzle, and sprinkling on the windshield as we went to town for errands yesterday. Then we had a more serious rain late yesterday afternoon. The intermittent rain is still going today. We really need it. We’re in a drought and under a burn ban. I’m not even complaining as I stand outside in the rain waiting for the doggies to take care of things. :0)

I’m especially grateful because we have an excellent chance of a cold front with rain that MAY change to flurries this weekend! A double gift from Mother Nature for sure if we get more good rain PLUS a pretty, white Christmas with snow that will look pretty, but not cause problems on the road. The very BEST kind of snow!

__________________

Yesterday I consolidated two notebooks of low carb recipes into one, plus punched holes into a whole stack of recipes I printed from the net and put them into the notebook. Now I have all the loose recipes in one place, organized so there is hope of finding the one I’m looking for again! I have the notebook on the kitchen desk along with the most used low carb recipe books.

Today’s project is moving my warm weather clothes OUT and my cool weather clothes INTO my closet.

 

balletpumpsandroses.com

 

If I finish that, my poor little duck and hedgehog yard ornaments are awaiting possible repair after our 81 pound lab puppy, Amber, bit off beak and nose respectively. I have some pieces I retrieved from the yard, along with the critters, but I’m not sure I have enough for a full repair. Fingers crossed.

I hope that your day is productive and fun.

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Filed under Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob, Lewis projects, Mother Nature, Organizing/DeCluttering, project refurb

Project of the Day Update

Before

 

After

Ahhh. There was actually a place for most everything that was on the desk. I did bring a pile of recipes that need to have holes punched so that they can go into the recipe book, but everything else found a home.

Caution:  Look quickly – I’ve had a LOT of practice in piling things up….

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Project for the Day

Sassy Senior Lady via Doreen Adamson-Liber

If I haven’t admitted it before, now you know what a slob I am.

Despite my efforts here and there – I’ve never been a great housekeeper – things ‘accumulate’ and, then, I think, reproduce like rabbits, causing the jumble you see before you. My husband and i both contribute to it.  On any given day there are other priorities, so it gets lost in transit.

Well, today is the day THIS will be the focus.

I’ll take everything off and TRY to organize this so that it’s not a catchall. I’m planning to move some of my cookbooks here to get them off the other counter space in the kitchen.

I’ll report back to you later on my efforts.

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Composter

We built a composter a couple of years ago. I finally made a good batch of compost this year!

I say this as if I won the lottery because even though I followed directions I found in books and on the net, I ended up with the wrong combination of ingredients and ended up dumping it out (holding my nose) and washing out the inside of the composter with a hose.

I’ve finally learned to add a whole lot more yard waste and much less food waste in order to come up with something that I hope will be a good addition to the composts for the square foot garden.

I cleaned it out today because I don’t want to leave it in there for the winter. In the picture above, you can see that we used a plastic food container type barrel we bought from the hardware store. We poured a concrete pad for the composter to sit on, with stakes coming up out of the concrete. We pounded the legs onto the stakes to make a good, sturdy support for the composter. We cut the opening in the front, making it so it opens wide enough to put new items in easily or use the tool my husband made for scooping the compost out. The barrel is on rollers. We attached handles on three spots around the barrel so you can pull the barrel, rolling it over and mixing the ingredients inside. This way you can be sure everything is mixed well.

This is the tool my husband made. It’s rounded to conform to the inside of the barrel, making emptying it really easy. It has a rubber grip, and the tool is plenty long enough to reach all areas on the inside of the barrel. The tool “lives’ on its side beside the composter.

You can see one of the three handles on the top of the composter. The metal ‘wand’ keeps the latches shut and the door firmly closed. My husband made the handle for it on the mill. The end slides through the parts of the latches, or pulls out if you’re opening it up. The end also helps pry the ends of the latches up.

After cleaning out the composter today, the trash can under it is a little over 1/3 full. We can mix up Mel’s Mix behind the shop, and then wheelbarrow some out to add our own compost to the mix next spring.

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Filed under Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

So Lucky

Williams Sonoma Raised Bed Planter – $179.00 plus shipping.

This is typical of what is called a “raised bed planter.”  It’s wonderful because you don’t have to worry about building up your soil or heavy duty weeding as you do in typical gardens. You can grow a good amount in a much smaller space, and it’s up from the ground. This is a nicely made one offered by Williams Sonoma.

When we first started square foot garden, this is what we did. We had two rows of raised bed planting areas –  The thing is, I still had to either bend over double to plant, weed, and harvest things from this. It was good, but it didn’t go far enough.  I’m old and I can’t do a lot of kneeling or bending over double anymore.

 

We decided, when the wood was beginning to deteriorate, that we could do better.

 

When we decided to break down what we had and redo it, we made metal table-like supports for boxes to ‘sit’ in. They are at about chest level on me, comfortable to stand up and be able to reach any side of the boxes with an easy reach. I have six 4’x4’x8″ wooden boxes on my supports, with hoses stretched down each row of three boxes for automatic timed irrigation. I can spray weed killer under the boxes or around the perimeter of the whole garden without bothering my veggies.

I stretch string across the wooden boxes to create 1 foot planting areas. Then I can plant according to the advice of Mel (the square foot gardening expert), either one plant in a square (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.), 4 plants in a square (lettuce, spinach, etc.), 9 plants in a square (carrots), or 16 plants in a square (radishes.)

I can plant standing up or sitting on a tall stool. I can pull weeds or harvest without kneeling or bending over double. The Mel’s Mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find) has all the nutrients needed for the plants, replenished when you harvest all of a plant when you add a bit more. The soil’s consistency is such that pulling weeds is easy. The planting plan makes it easy for a beginning gardener like me to see what is a ‘good plant ‘vs a ‘weed.’

I’m really lucky that my husband spoils me rotten, figuring out how to tackle things like building the square foot garden in the first place, then improving it when we needed to pull up what we had done after several years. We also built the new greenhouse recently so that I can hopefully grow my own transplants, rather than having to depend on what is sold in stores locally. I’m hoping I can get a jump on the spring season, plus have more transplants growing in the greenhouse, ready to plant in the garden at the proper time.

Trying to grow some of our own veggies, plus flowers around the yard, is one of my favorite things. There is never enough time or energy – or cooperating weather – to do all I’d like to do. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Changes, Greenwood, Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Greenhouse Repair

This picture shows you the break in the pvc pipe rib for the greenhouse.

 

My husband drilled into the wood uprights on either side of the louvered fan and attached guy wires to the wood.

 

He used a cement drill to drill a hole in the ground at the proper angle for the guy wires, ran the wire around the stake (held in place by a hose clamp.

This picture shows you the completed guy wire fix for the end of the greenhouse.  It’s nice and sturdy now, thank goodness.

 

Here’s the fix from the side.

So, thanks to my wonderful husband, things are once again in good shape. He’s definitely a keeper.

When he came in, and could man the phone, I went out and got an 8 foot brick planter cleaned out where we have two really large hydrangea plants. I cut off all the branches and disposed of them. I have 4 more planters to clean out and then I’ll put mulch in them. :0)

 

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects