I’m of two minds about putting up decorations on our mailbox these days.
One of the school buses comes right by our house, and used to stop at our driveway years ago when our son was attending school here. I think about the kids seeing what we have put up twice each month, hoping they get a kick out of the decorations.
Since the schools are closed, maybe through the end of the school year due to the threat of COVID-19, it may be like throwing a bottle in the ocean. Maybe no one sees our decorations but us and our good mailman.
Now we put them up in a spirit of hope that the world will soon get through this awful time.
Even though we are having mostly spring-like weather here in Arkansas this year, we wanted to be sure to honor one of our favorite cartoonists, Bill Watterson. I’m really hoping that we can get through this month and half way through March without more ice or sleet or snow, but I AM smarter than my daffodils – already blooming and probably soon to have their beauty cut off by Mother Nature…
We had fun with this one, particularly because of the 3-D nature of the piece. We had to make his arms and hands, welding them carefully to the two pieces without blowing holes through the sheet metal. This is one of our larger, more bulky mailbox decorations and we smile each time we put it up.
We put up our Valentine’s Day mailbox decoration yesterday on the way to do our other errands.
This cupid is about 2-1/2 feet tall by almost 3 feet wide. It is made of heavy sheet metal, cut out by my husband using our CNC set up. We found the design on the net. He uses a program to convert the picture we have found to what is called “G-Code” a language the computer can understand. We save this on a thumb drive and take it out to the shop. We put the thumb drive into the computer and decide speed of cutting and a few other things. After set up, we start the program which guides the torch to cut the design out of an 8 foot x 4 foot sheet of metal.
Once the design is cut out, we add the piece that will attach the design to the mailbox, welding it on. We use an overhead projector and a transparency we have made to mark the salient points of the design onto the metal – both sides.
I then paint both side of the metal and the attachment piece with paint made for outside. When the painting is finished, I spray the piece with polyurethane spray to protect the piece as much as possible from sun, wind, and rain.
We change our decoration twice a month.
If you look carefully in the background of this picture, you can see our 100 pound robot made from scrap metal who welcomes people who want to come up our driveway. You can also see two metals owls – each about 2-1/2 feet tall, perched on top of poles that hold a gate we can close.
We really enjoy making decorations and yard ‘critters’ together.
My husband is trying to find a good design now for “Wonder Warthog.”
We just returned from doing errands. On the way, we stopped and got our mail and put up a different mailbox decoration. We love the classic, cheesy Japanese movies featuring different ‘monsters,’ and Godzilla was a favorite. This is the back of the decoration. You can see where I tried to paint the mounting bracket to include his feet.
This is the front. I like to picture the kids who ride past our driveway on the school bus morning and afternoon. I hope they get a kick out of this one.
I’m not really into the holiday spirit yet, but we have now started by putting up one of two mailbox decorations.
This one is about 2-1/2 feet tall by about 3 feet wide. It is painted on both sides. The white on the hat and the popcorn on the tree are done with Sno-Tex, a texture-y white paint that gives a nice 3-D quality. The white also shows up nicely at night when headlights hit it.
“Mr. Natural is a comic book character created and drawn by 1960s counterculture and underground comix artist Robert Crumb. ” ~ Wikipedia
Since my husband and I started creating decorations for our mailbox, we take turns on favorite characters to make. Mr. Natural is one of my husband’s favorite comic book characters.
We found the image on the net. My husband does his magic, transforming the image into computer code that our CNC computer-guided torch can read. We save the code to a thumb drive and take it out to the shop. The computer-guided torch cuts out the image from a 4′ x 8′ sheet of metal. We then make a mounting attachment for the mailbox and weld it onto the cut out piece. We use an overhead projector to mark the salient features on the metal, front and back. I then paint both sides of the piece using outdoor paint, and then protecting it from the elements with polyurethane spray.
This piece is about 2-1/2 feet tall and a bit wider.
We’ll change the decoration again on November 15th or 16th, depending on the weather.
“Pepé Le Pew is a character from the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons, first introduced in 1945. Depicted as a French striped skunk, Pepé is constantly in search of love and appreciation.” Penelope is a black cat who catches Pepe’s eye. She is constantly in a situation where paint falls on her, or something similar, so she has a white stripe down her back. Pepe is mad for her.
This was one of our favorite cartoons, so we delighted in making this decoration for our mailbox.
The decoration is about 2-1/2 feet high and about 2 feet wide at the widest point. We cut the design out using our CNC machine (computer guided torch) from sheet metal. We welded the piece onto an attachment section so we can bolt the design onto the pole of the mailbox. I then use an overhead projector to mark salient details and then paint both sides of the piece. The final step is spraying it front and back with polyurethane to protect it from the elements as much as possible.
Hoping this will bring a smile to YOU, plus people who drive by the bottom of our driveway.
We got our blood pumping on the way to Lunch Bunch this morning. We wanted to change out the decoration on our mailbox. Usually, this is a very quick thing. We take off the old one, put it in the truck and replace it with the new one.
Today we started to take off the old one and wasps came flying out of the holes in the post that holds up the mailbox and acts as the attachment bar for the decorations. We had this happen once before, but we hosed it with wasp spray and hadn’t seen any wasps since. My husband got ‘grazed’ (but not actually stung badly) before we could get back into the truck. We took the can of wasp spray we now keep in the truck and hosed down the post again before heading for Lunch Bunch and errands.
We checked things out carefully when we returned before getting out and putting up the caterpillar with the Hookah pipe from Alice in Wonderland. This time, no problem, but we’ll remain wary for awhile.
We went to do errands this morning with Catbert in the back of the truck to put up on the mailbox as we left. When we got out to change the decoration, we found 8,011 (more or less) wasps had taken up residence inside the supporting pole that is between the back of the mailbox and the decorations. It is filled with a bunch of holes in line vertically so that we can attach the decorations with bolts and nuts.
This has never happened before, and they were really swarming. We decided to do our errands, add a stop at Yeager’s Hardware for some cans of wasp spray, and then see what we could do when we got back.
They were having a buy one, get one free sale on wasp spray, so we took advantage of that. We parked at the bottom of the driveway and my husband hosed down one side of the pole after telling me to ‘stay in the truck.’ I thought of all the movies we’ve seen where a character tells someone else to ‘stay in the car’ and they never do, resulting in all kinds of bad things. I also thought of created a cheesy horror movie – naming it, “Revenge of the Wasps” in my head as I watched. He had to use almost one whole can in order to get things under enough control that we were able to
We left the partial can and the 2nd full can of wasp spray in the truck so that we are armed to get our mail tomorrow. I also want to make sure the wasps are gone so they don’t sting our wonderful mailman.
When I told my husband it was time to change mailbox decorations, I really wasn’t expecting such an ordeal.
Fritz the Cat is a comic strip created by Robert Crumb. Set in a “supercity” of anthropomorphic animals, the strip focused on Fritz, a feline con artist who frequently went on wild adventures that sometimes involved sexual escapades. Crumb began drawing this character in homemade comic books when he was a child. ~ Wikipedia.
This is one of my husband’s favorite comic strips and characters. This decoration will stay up until the middle of August.
We cut the outline out of sheet metal using our CNC machine. My husband did the computer coding that makes it so the computer can ‘see’ the design we’re trying to make and can guide the torch. This was a difficult one for me because it was mainly just bare sheet metal with the mailbox mounting on it. I did a lot of work with our overhead projector marking the metal so I could then try to paint the design on both sides of the piece. We sprayed the finished piece with polyurethane to protect the paint as much as possible.
You can also see our ‘welcome’ robot and one of the two owls on either side of our driveway.
It’s easy to see that you are passing a weird place as you drive by. :0)
We put Yosemite Sam on the mailbox this morning.
He was a favorite cartoon character of both my husband and myself. I can still hear him yelling, “I’m-a warnin’ you, Stranger!”
We found a picture of him on the net. My husband used a program that converts a picture into code the computer can recognize. We have a CNC set-up in our shop. (A computer, plus a big metal table on which we put 4′ x 8′ sheets of metal. The computer-guided torch follows the code and cuts out the design. My husband creates an attachment piece for the mailbox and welds it onto the design. I then mark salient points on the bare metal, both sides, with the use of an overhead projector.
I then paint the piece on both sides and then spray the sides with polyurethane spray for protection.
This piece is about 2 feet high and 2-1/2 feet wide.
The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland went up this morning.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” ~ Alice In Wonderland , Lewis Caroll
One of our long-time favorite cartoon characters is Popeye the Sailor Man. My husband and I both grew up watching these cartoons. When we started cutting out designs for our mailbox, we had great fun choosing these characters, and we quickly agreed that Popeye should be one of them.
We cut these out of heavy sheet metal using a computer-guided torch on a CNC setup. My husband converts the image we find on the net to a code the computer recognizes. We save the code on a thumb drive and take it to the shop computer. The program guides the torch to cut out the design. We then mount the design on the special attachment piece my husband welds for attaching it to the mailbox.
We use an overhead projector to mark the significant part of the design on both sides of the cut out metal and then I paint both sides, using outdoor paint. We spray the finished piece with protective coats of polyurethane.
We hope people who drive past the bottom of our driveway smile when they see him.
On the way to the grocery store this morning, we changed our mailbox decoration. This one is about 1-1/2 feet tall and about 2 feet wide. We loved the comic strip by Bill Watterson, his wonderful sense of humor and surprising touches of warmth, like this design of his.
We captured the design from the Internet. My husband then converted the design to G-code (a language computers can understand.) We took the thumb drive out to the shop and put it into the computer than guides the torch on our CNC set up. This allows the torch to follow the directions in the G-code, cutting out the design for us. My husband then makes and welds on the attachment piece that we can mount on the mailbox.
I then use the overhead projector to mark the salient lines on the metal on both sides and then paint both sides with exterior paint. We then spray the piece with polyurethane to protect the paint from the sun and weather as much as possible.
This decoration will stay up until we replace it later this month with an Easter decoration.
This is the Year of the Pig.
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)
We put up our Valentine’s Day decoration this morning on the way out for errands.
We cut this out on our CNC set up out of sheet metal with a computer-guided torch. We use an overhead projector to mark the metal and then I paint both sides with outdoor paint. We spray polyurethane on to protect the design from the elements as much as possible.
Sweet and sappy – my kind of Valentine’s Day!
We just put up our “Happy New Year” mailbox decoration. We made this Calvin & Hobbes design using our CNC machine and computer-guided torch to cut out the metal. My husband made and welded on the mounting bar, and then we marked both sides. I painted the sides using outdoor paint and then sprayed a protective layer of polyurethane to help it withstand the sun and weather as well as possible.
This is the back of the decoration. You can see the mounting bar clearly on this side.
Happy New Year!
My husband and I made this decoration last year to replace this smaller one made years before. This is the back of the piece.
I liked this one okay, too, but it was really small compared to the new one, and I like the kids being on either side of the larger tree.
We went for Chinese take out last night, and I was happy to notice that the glitter on the star caught the light of our headlights and sparkled. :0)
We got our pumpkin up on the mailbox when we went for errands this afternoon. This will stay up half the month and then we’ll put our ghost up for the 2nd half of October.
I hope that the kids who ride the buses in the morning get a kick out of our decorations. They probably could use a boost, having to get up so early.
Even though our weather is still hot and muggy, it’s time (almost) to officially welcome the fall. I’ve been more than ready for quite a while now, so I was happy to call an official end to our summer, trying to put a bug in Mother Nature’s ear.
This decoration is about 3 feet high and 2-1/2 feet wide are the outstretched arms. It’s painted front and back after welding a support arm vertically up the back side for support, and then sprayed with a protective clear coating of polyurethane to help it withstand the sun and rain better.
We had a FEDEX delivery the other day from a person who has never delivered to us before. She was effusive in her praise of all the critters we’ve made. You can see part of the welcome robot and part of one of the owls on our gate post. She was laughing over the pig handing from a tree branch alongside the driveway. We think it’s definitely time pigs are flying, and of course, we put lipstick on our pig…. It really makes us happy when someone likes what we’ve done.
We put up a different mailbox decoration this morning. This one has interaction between Wyle E. Coyote, Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Roadrunner.
We liked the look of the decoration, and we enjoyed the challenge of adding some 3-Dimensional to the design with the roadrunner’s legs, made from rod and welded together.