Tag Archives: Lewis yard art

Happy Chinese New Year!

This is the Year of the Pig.

“Flying Pig” by Harvey and Linda Lewis

We think that in a lot of ways, pigs are flying and have been for quite awhile.

My husband and I had a great time creating this flying pig from a 25 gallon propane tank and leftover parts, plus sheet metal. This picture shows him hanging from a tree over the driveway during an ice storm last year.

 

This is a closer look at him in better weather as we prepared to hang him from the tree.

He makes us smile every time we go down the driveway or come up again. :0)

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Wonderful Way to Start a Day!

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I’m walking 3 inches (at least) off the ground this morning.

We received a delivery from Fedex this morning. The driver wasn’t our ‘normal’ driver, but a very nice young woman. She fended off Amber kindly when Amber was trying hard to greet her, wagging her tail, trying to knock her down, and trying to get into her truck at the same time. She reacted by laughing, immediately winning our feelings of relief and approval.

I got Amber and put her in the house while the lady got a huge box out of her truck. While my husband was wrestling with 60 lbs of dog food, the lady started to get back into her truck. She stopped, came back around and said something to the effect of, “I love all your artwork. I slowed the truck down so I could try to look at everything, waving at the two robots standing watch on either side of the garage door.

My spirits soared and I tried not to break my face as I grinned at her. I told her that she had made our day and thanked her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re never sure what the reaction will be. Some people probably look at our stuff and shake their heads or wonder why anyone would clutter up their yard like we do. This lady particularly mentioned the robot and owls at the bottom of the driveway and the flying pig hanging from a tree midway up.

When someone is this nice, giving compliments on our stuff when there is no need (such as our saying, “Look what we made!” and then them trying to come up with something similar to, “Well, that’s a lot of stuff!” – it brings real joy.

A wonderful way to start a day!

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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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Robot Critters Refurbished

It’s one thing to gather metal scraps of one kind or another, weld them together to make a yard critter, and paint them. Then you enter a whole new stage of trying to repair what sun, wind, rain, and changing temperatures does to them.

We have one “robot” on either side of our garage door. This one is the “Cleaning Robot.” He has a fireplace ‘dustpan’ in one hand and a fireplace ‘broom’ in the other. His paint was holding up all right, but his gloves were almost completely rotted off. His bow tie had turned pink and brittle, and he needed a good cleaning. I brought old gloves from our shop, stuffed them full of plastic bags and then we did a combination of putting screws through the gloves and then wires to hold the fingers. I ordered a new child’s bow tie. Now he’s spiffy for another spring and summer.

 

The “Farmer” robot is on the other side of the garage door. He also needed new gloves, and his bandana was almost completely gone. I couldn’t find another bandana in any color other than pink yet, so I used this piece of cloth in the interim. He loves it when people come to our house, enthusiastically waving, and saying, “Hi!”

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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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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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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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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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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 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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