Category Archives: Lewis yard art

Fun in My Art Room

Yesterday afternoon I finished digging out the iris from the backyard planter. (I still need to make sure the planter is completely cleaned out, add more potting mix and  replant some of the iris, but I declared victory for the day.)

I rewarded myself with some time in my art room.

I’m working on some Christmas presents for my good friends from Lunch Bunch. (Shhhhh!  It’s a secret!) The time flies by while I’m up there, thinking of my friends and trying to make something I hope they’ll enjoy. I have quite a few things to make, so I’m hoping I can sneak up there a lot in the coming weeks.

I also have some refurbishing to do on some of our yard art. Our ‘box turtle”

needs an eye re-glued, plus some touch up on peeling pain on his back.

 

I found some orange “neon” paint. I repaint the orange on both sides of the jack-o-lantern, hoping the paint will make him pop when headlights hit him next year.

 

We have an 8 foot tall (with stem and leaves) metal flower attached to a power pole in the back yard. Some wasps figured out a way to get between the metal of the flower and the plastic saucer type thing we glued to the center and covered with glass beads. We think our spraying has finally at least caused the wasps to relocate, if not die outright – so we’ll bring this into the shop. I’ll remove the center piece, clean everything up, caulk the center back on and replace the glass pieces that have fallen off.

I’ll work my way around the yard, repairing things as best I can. We’re also looking to repair some other critters still in the shop so that we can attach them to the ham radio tower extra length part we stood in concrete recently.

We have a few things in the shop that need to be repaired or finished that we can hang on here, plus critters we make in the future. This will be our “Critter Tree.” :0)

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Thing Two – Tower for Critters

We had an extra section of tower when we got the parts for our ham radio tower awhile back. My husband had put it in the pile of stuff we would take to the next city clean-up. I suggested we use it to display some of the critters we make.

My husband made a form recently and dug the hole a couple of days ago. Yesterday we got 4 bags of Ready-Crete, mixed them up and poured the concrete for the tower. This pic shows the project before we started mixing the concrete.

 

Here’s a close-up of the hold before the concrete was poured.

We plan to attach things like shovel birds, dragonflies, and other weird things we make to the tower at various points. The tower is beside our ‘watermelon’ propane tank and will greet people when they get to the top of our driveway.

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Propane

You wouldn’t think a guy coming to fill the propane tanks would be fun, would you. We had the best time two days ago when the man came up the driveway.

First, he made sure we wanted fill-ups on both tanks (we have a 1,000 gallon tank for the house and a 250 gallon tank for the shop). Then he turned to his truck to get started and stopped, and started to laugh. He looked at us delightedly and said, “Oh, this is wonderful! I wish all my customers were so creative!”

 

We told him that it wasn’t OUR creativity, that we had seen this on the Internet and decided we wanted to try it. He said he didn’t care, he thought it was GREAT.

We’re still walking around about 3 inches off the ground from his nice pat on our heads. :0)

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The Fedex Man

Fedex

Last evening our Fedex man brought us a delivery.

He jumped out of the truck with a serious look on his face. He looked at me and said, “You should sell this stuff.”  When I looked a bit blank, he added, “My wife and I just joined an artists group and they’re going to have shows. You and your husband should bring your artwork and sell it. I bet it would sell really well.”

 

Well, THAT made our day! :0)

We discovered that his wife is into interior design and furniture, and apparently has a real gift for decorating. But then he started talking about our critters again. I told him that it was harder and harder to find scrap metal. We used to be able to go to a junk yard and prowl around, gathering things that looked interesting. We did that at auto salvage places, too. Now, due to liability issues, no one will let you prowl around anymore. Sometimes we luck into things, but it really has limited our critter making.

He told us he would be on the lookout for interesting scraps and would bring them to us when he found them.

Isn’t he wonderful?

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Break Time Goodies

I took my camera on my way out to see my husband in the shop.

Right now I’m really pleased at the display of twice-blooming deep purple iris we have around the yard. Here are some pictures –

 

 

 

 

 

Here you get a feeling for how they’re blooming much of the way down one side of the driveway. (You can also see the flying pig we made :0)  )

 

Here are a few I cut to bring in today.

 

The orchid my friend, Nora, gave me several years ago is going nuts. I don’t think it has ever bloomed this much. :0)

 

My spinach sprouts on the window sill croaked. :0(    I’ll try again.  Meanwhile, here are the latest celery plant and several spaghetti squash plants ready to transplant into the garden. (The glass on the left is a try at being able to grow romaine lettuce from some bought at the store.

And last, but most important, the reason I went outside in the first place (other than to stretch my legs), is my husband at his reloading station in the shop. I offered him lunch, and he took me up on it.

 

Now that my break is over, I’m back to my ‘important stuff’ list…

 

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Refurb of Taylor’s Shovel Bird Complete

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This poor shovel bird was desperately in need of some attention after standing out in the Taylor’s yard for several years. I wish we could figure out a way to combat the effects of sun and weather better, but so far, we haven’t.

His refurbishment started with pulling off the remaining google eye. I wiped him down to get excess debris off and then gave him a scrubby bath – first with Simple Green, then with soap and water, and finally with “Pre” a spray-on degreaser that makes paint adhere to metal better. I put fresh primer paint on the spots that had rusted, then repainted the mail colors.

 

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I used a metallic pen to do his ‘feathers.’  When the painting was dry, I sprayed him with polyurethane to protect the new paint as much as possible.

 

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The last step was gluing on new googly eyes. I used Liquid Nails as a glue, then held them tight with clothes pins and heavy rubber bands until completely dry.

We’ll take him to the Taylors this Monday evening, when we pick them up to go bowling!

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Shovel Bird Refurb Project – Take 1

 

We made a shovel bird for our good friends, the Taylors, and gave it to them several years ago. Mother Nature has done a number on him, as she always does, making it necessary for some serious refurbishment. I’ve taken pics of the sweet bird BEFORE I start cleaning and repainting him.

 

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One of his googly eyes fell off, and his beak looks like it was never painted.

 

 

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Even with using rust resistant paint and then spraying on several coats of polyurethane, there are patches of rust. Of course, he’s dirty, also, having stood in the garden, weathering wind, rain, sun, and snow.

 

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The first thing I did was pull the other eye off. Then I spent a long time cleaning him from top to bottom with Simple Green. Now I’ve painted the first coat of paint.

It will probably take two or three coats of paint, then I’ll use a silver pen to do the ‘feathers.’ I’ll paint on some polyurethane, rather than using just the spray, for as much protection as possible, and finally, I’ll glue new googly eyes on him.

I’ll take pics when he’s ready to go back to the Taylors.

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Lewis Metal Yard Critters – Take 6

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This sun face is HUGE and HEAVY. I was afraid my husband would hurt himself trying to lift it onto the humongous hanger we put on the tree. We made some templates and cut out each ‘flame’ separately and then welded each to the round sun face. The eyebrows, nose, mustache, lips and beard + sunglasses are all separate pieces, as well. After all the pieces were welded, I began the painting. The final part was making and attaching the sunglasses. The tree is toward the top of our driveway. He greets all comers. :0)

 

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This is my husband’s design for a butterfly. (No light, delicate, ‘sissy’ butterflies for HIM!) This is made totally from scrap metal pieces welded together, plus old satellite dish arms. The eyes were made by cutting a rubber ball that had ‘studs’ on it in half. I painted the ball halves black, then dabbed paint on all the studs in iridescent green, then sprinkled glitter into the wet paint.

 

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This dragonfly clown hangs from the ceiling in the shop. He’s made from scrap metal, some round glass for his eyes, and welding rod for feelers.

 

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We bought this wonderful turtle from a shop in Van Buren, Arkansas. He was totally concrete colored – much too tame for our tastes. I mixed up several shades of green and painted his shell, plus gave him an eye, a mouth, some toenails, and a bit of webbing on his legs.

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Lewis Metal Yard Critters – Take 5

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This photo shows you several of our critters –

  • 2 dragonflies with stained glass wings
  • gecko
  • ladybug
  • frog
  • farmer robot

 

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This is Mama and Baby Snail

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The Watermelon Tank is Finished!

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My friend Carla came and helped me do the light green base coat It took me two evenings to finish the darker green (almost looks blue, doesn’t it?)

 

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It’s not as good as the picture from which I was working, but few things are. That doesn’t bother me.

 

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I couldn’t bear to repaint the tank white. It was truly boring and ugly – except that it was filled with propane, which we love.

 

 

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Now, at least, it’s different. I can wait until the UPS delivery guy sees it. He laughed out loud when he heard our plans. :0)

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Painting the Propane Tank Project – Light Green!

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This is our 1000 gallon propane tank after pressure washing. It looked a LOT better than it did, but paint was peeling and we had to repaint. My husband thought we should paint it white again. I decided that was boring and looked for other ideas.

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I found this cute idea on the net, but don’t know who came up with it.

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Our friend Carla came over about 7pm last night and we got started. Since our paint sprayer didn’t like the exterior latex paint, I opted to use rollers for the base coat.

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We got most of the base coat done last night.

 

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I’m going to paint the pipe that goes in front of the tank the same green to help it blend in.

 

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I have feet of the propane tank, areas we missed, and some that need a second coat with a brush today.

 

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My husband painted the dome with a brush. I decided to give it another coat with my roller and knocked the whole thing off, upside down, into the grass. :0(  We sprayed off the grass and dirt and left it to dry. I’ll repaint it today.

Once this is dry, I’ll start with the darker green paint. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to try to make it look like a wedge has been cut out of the watermelon or not.  I would try to mainly do the vertical slice. I haven’t decided about painting the wedge, either.

I would welcome your opinion.

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Painting Party and Cookout

My husband and I tried to use the paint sprayer a couple of evenings ago to paint the light green basecoat on the 1000 gallon propane tank. We tried adjusting the spray and changing the nozzles to no avail. My husband now has an order in for a nozzle that is supposed to be for exterior latex paint, but I’m going to go ahead and do the tank.

 

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This is the watermelon design we found on the net, created by some creative someone. I wish I could give credit, but it wasn’t supplied. Anyway, we laughed when we saw it and hope visitors to our place will do the same.

Our good friend Carla wanted to know if I wanted help painting the tank. DID I!!!!! My husband is showing no interest in the project, particularly now that the spray painter let us down. Carla is coming for a ‘Painting Party and Cookout’ this evening about 7, when it starts cooling off a bit (we hope). While we’re painting, my husband will grill some delicious burgers for dinner.

We have short rollers and a long roller and several roller heads, so I’m hoping that the two of us can make pretty short work of the painting of the light green first coat. I have no idea if we’ll need one coat or need two to get a really good base, but we’ll see. Then when it’s dry, I’m hoping she’ll return to help me free hand the dark green paint.

I’ll post pics when we get the first coat of light green paint done.

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Propane Painting Project – Cleaning

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We used the pressure washer to get the tank as clean as possible. We got the front and both ends, but ‘somehow’ missed the back… I got out and cut off a gazillion branches that were either hanging over the tank, almost touching it, or making it so we couldn’t even think about doing anything with the back.

 

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While I was pruning and weeding in the front yard yesterday,  my good husband did the rest of the pressure washing, so the tank is now as clean as it will ever be. You can see where we need to prep before we paint, scraping off peeling paint.

 

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If the weather will give us a bit of a break – it’s really sunny with a heat index of almost 100 degrees F out there right now – my husband will remove the dome. We’ll tape baggies over the gauges and put down some kind of protection for the concrete pad.

The first step in the actual painting is to paint the whole thing a light shade of green. My husband said he would try to set up the paint sprayer so that it feeds right out of the can, rather than our having to stop over and over again to refill the sprayer.

With any luck, we’ll have a 1000 gallon light green tank the next time I take a picture!

Here’s the ‘watermelon’ design we’re trying to emulate – found on the Internet –

 

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Propane Tank Painting Project Plans

We have a 1000 gallon propane tank.  We used a pressure washer on it recently because it had all kinds of sticky, grimy dirt all over it.  I thought we had finished the cleaning, but discovered my husband didn’t do the back of the tank.

We were talking about the fact that it needed repainting. Part of the paint is peeling on one end, and the whole thing just needs attention. My husband was talking about getting several cans of white paint.

I told him I wanted to do something less boring. I looked on the net and found this –

 

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I love it and will ‘borrow’ the idea from the ingenious person who came up with this. I’m sorry, but the credit for this wasn’t given with the image.

We had two shades of green paint created at Yeagers, buying two gallons of light green and one gallon of darker green paint.

I did the first part of the project last night – cutting LOTS of branches that hung over the tank and cut branches all the way across the back of the tank. I can see why my husband decided not to bother with the back. It was impossible to get to!

The next step will be pressure washing the rest of the tank.

I’ll report again when we’ve made more progress.

 

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Lewis Metal Yard Art – Take 4

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This (of course) is a box turtle. He’s made from a box, cut metal pipe, sheet metal cut out for the feet, tail, ears and nose. His eyes are cut glass.

 

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This is a turkey. His body is a 25 gallon propane tank. His legs and feet are rebar. His head is a tooth from an agricultural implement. His cockscomb is rolled strap steel. His neck is pipe and the wings and tail are cut out sheet metal.  He has googly eyes.

 

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This “daisy” with stem and leaves is over 6 feet tall. The flower is about 2 feet across, with all parts, except the stem, cut from scrap metal. The center of the flower is an upside-down plastic pot covered with circles of glass.

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Lewis Metal Critters – Take 3

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Dog with Bone

We had fun making this piece particularly because he is in three pieces: body and legs, head, and tail. He lives close to our propane tank. We can move the head so that he’s looking at people, and his tail can be moved so it looks perky. Our pit bull’s reaction to him when we first put him out was to walk over, sniff him, and then calmly pee on him. Not our best compliment….

 

 

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This is our guard dog. He is attached to a huge boulder to one side of the upper part of our driveway.  He is made completely with cut out sheet metal. We used some pipe as part of the rifle,ball bearings for his fingers and toes, and wire for his whiskers.  We attached a “Beware of the Dog” sign.

 

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This is a black kitty cat. The head and feet are sheet metal. We used welding rods for his whiskers, ball bearings on his feet, and cat’s eye marbles for his eyes. He is powder-coated, so he won’t have any problem being out in the weather.

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Lewis Metal Yard Critters – Take 2

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“Flying Pig”

You’ll see our flying pig as you come up the driveway. He twists and turns as the wind blows. He’s made of a 25 gallon propane tank, pipe, and sheet metal, plus googly eyes.  Several years ago we decided that pigs were – indeed – flying!

 

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“Janitor Penguin”

Our hard-working janitor penguin is made from a 25 gallon propane tank, some kind of disk vehicle part for the head, part of an oil can for a hat, pipe, weird farm implement scraps, old fireplace tools, a pair of my husband’s shop gloves, googly eyes, and a bow tie we got on the net.  He stands to one side of our garage door.

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Lewis Metal Yard Critters – Take 1

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We have a gate we can close across the bottom of our driveway. It has two long metal pipes – one on either side of the driveway. We made these owls, whose dimensions are approximately 2-1/2 feet high by about 1-1/2 feet wide. They’re mainly painted thick, heavy metal. The eyes have two sizes of car reflectors, so they light up at night when light hits them.

 

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In front of the owls, closer to the bottom of our 650 foot STEEP driveway is our greeter robot.

His torso is a large exhaust pipe from a huge farm implement. His arms and legs are various sized pipes welded together. His head is scrap metal. His eyes are car reflectors. His mouth is a piece of scrap metal welded to the head and painted. The hand that holds our address sign is a shovel. His upper hand doffs his hat. He has a yellow antenna type thing sprouting from the top of his head. His feet are huge, heavy blocks of metal. He’s over 6 feet tall. He weighs a LOT, so we wrestled him into the truck in 4 pieces and assembled him where he stands at the side of the driveway. He has a heavy chain around his neck attached to the pole behind him to keep him from falling over.

Also at the bottom of the driveway is our mailbox, for which we’ve made lots of decorations.

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