Showing posts with label Garden Junk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Garden Junk. Show all posts

Recycling Sports Balls in the Garden

Guest Post by: Stacy Tornio

Stacy Tornio is an editor at Birds and Blooms magazine and has just released a new book called Project Garden.  Check out my review of that book here and enter to win a FREE copy of Project Garden here.  And don't forget to visit Stacy's blog at

You know those old sports balls in your shed, garage or at the bottom of a bag or bin? Well, start digging them out because they could have a second life in the garden!  Here are three ideas for upcyling some of those balls. All of these kid-friendly ideas are in my month-by-month gardening and activity book, Project Garden, so look in there for full instructions and more recycling projects. 

Soccer Ball Birdhouse. First off, figure out how big you need to make the entrance hole. Then slowly use your tool of choice to cut a small hole into the middle of the soccer ball. Use a piece of wire (or even an old wire hanger) to loop through the top of the soccer ball. Hang and wait for visitors! (Keep in mind that you’ll need to clean out the house after nesting season. Or it might be good for just a single season.)

Golf ball Caterpillars. Take a few old golf balls and paint your favorite color. After they dry, glue together, gently curving the body around like a caterpillar would do. I like to glue my caterpillars onto a cork mat, which you can find at a craft or garden store. For the caterpillar antennas, I curled paperclips around a pencil. Then for the final step and to add a little personality, attach googly eyes or draw on your own with a permanent marker.

Basketball Planter. It seems like basketballs are always going flat or leaking, and then it’s difficult to patch and fix them. Here’s a way to give them a new life instead of throwing them out. Outline where you want the opening of your basketball to be. Then cut with scissors (it’s easier to make the shape along the ridges of the ball). Add drainage holes to the bottom of the basketball, and then fill with soil and plants.
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My Winter Garden - Part 2

This first photo is of one of my plate flowers.  I have it hanging on the fence that goes around the veggie garden.  I plan on listing some on Etsy in the next few weeks.

Last year I really wanted to buy an antique millstone, but frankly, I do not have that kind of dough, so I made one out of hypertufa.  I think it turned out great and I have plans to try and make a bigger one sometime soon.  Instructions on how you can make your own can be found on our website here.

This photo below is of our Bridal Wreath Spireas.  They are so gorgeous in June when they bloom.  If you've never seen one in bloom, you can see a picture of ours here.

Proof that I do actually leave my totems out all year.  Snow, sleet, nor freezing rain can harm my glass totems.  And don't they look so pretty in the snow?  I've been testing the adhesive I use for years and I can only say it is the best.  To find out how to make your own totems, check my instructions here.  You can also purchase totems I have made in our Etsy Shop.

This last scene for today almost looks as if it should be in a scenic park doesn't it?  I am so lucky we have the little bit of land that we do.  It's always nice to come home to a little bit of paradise after a hectic day.  This picture was taken from the view of our shade garden. I leave the hydrangea blooms on the stems until late winter or early spring when I trim them off to get ready for the growing season.  They are so pretty after a snowfall.

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My Winter Garden - Part 1

We have had a very mild winter with very little snow.  We are currently on track for one of the least amounts of snow of all time in Central New York.  I think we are about top 2 or 3 at the rate we are going right now.  But last night it was hovering around freezing so the rain turned to gigantic fluffy snowflakes and everything was so pretty this morning.  I had to take a few pictures to show you all.

First up is the latest Adirondack Style Birdhouse that my husband makes.  We are testing the adhesive we used for the stones to make sure it will hold up to the elements before selling them in our Etsy shop.

I love old gears.  Here are tow just leaning up against a tree trunk.  I like the look in the winter, but will most likely move them once lawn mowing season starts.

 This photo below is of a wrought-iron hummingbird I got last year at the Regional Market in Syracuse.  This wonderful artist was set up for a short time early in the season and I am so lucky I got to purchase something from him before he left.

Below is a metal grate that is nestled up against a tree trunk highlighting the tree root that is coming up out of the ground.

 And finally for today, here is one of my favorite little coal stoves that contains a metal flower Gary made me out of an old plow coultor.  The center of the flower is a metal jello mold he JB Welded onto the disk and then the stem (which you can't really see in this photo) is a flat metal bar he found lying around at his parents farm.  There is also a giant ceramic insulator from a utility pole to the left of it along with one of my glass totems.  Yes, I do really leave them outside all year round.

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Awesome Salvage Garden Art

I was surfing the net and found some really cool garden art ideas.  You know how much I love my junk and I think I can make something like this for my own garden.  Besides, a girl's gotta have a hobby during the winter months to stay out of trouble, you know.

These first two ideas were discovered at This Old house.  I wonder if you could use JBWeld on this project if you don't have a welder?

And this birdhouse is incredibly cute, but not sure if I would use an oil can as the base unless I was very sure there was no oil residue left in the can.  I would also make sure it was in the shade so that it didn't get too hot for the baby birds. See more about this project and others here.

There are several rusted junk ideas on favorite garden junk forum here.

If you have never visited my friend the Empress of Dirt, you have got to visit her blog.  Check out her awesome wind chime creation below and see more of her projects here.

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Totem Teaser

I am so happy to tell you that I've been working on nine new totems for our Etsy shop.  They are all glued up but will need a few weeks to cure, as I use Lexel, which is by far much clearer than silicone and lasts much better in the weather than silicone.  The only drawback is the long cure time.  But I think it's well worth it.

I'm really pleased with how they turned out.  I was lucky enough to find just the right pieces that fit together well.  If I can find a few more odd pieces this weekend, I should be able to put a few more together.

As you may or may not be able to tell, I use a lot of lamp parts and sconces along with candle holders, vases, toothpick holders, bowls and plates.  Bells and ring holders make great toppers.  Some of these will come with painted pvc pipe, but the majority will not.  They have smaller openings for rebar or copper pipe and I just thought that it would be easier and cheaper to ship them without any pipe.  Most of my totems are on 4' or 5' long pipe in my garden, and that size pipe is impossible to ship.  I would be happy to help anyone find appropriate pipe if they'd like to buy their own length.  Just e-mail me thru this blog or at

Just one last reminder that the next D&G Gardens and Crafts Newsletter will be going out to your mailboxes on Saturday morning, so if you haven't signed up yet, you can do so at the link on this sidebar or go directly here.  Go here to see a list of past issues to get an idea of what you'll get 6-8 times a year. Pin It

My New Garden Buddy

I read a lot of Mother Earth News and have been thinking about how it might be nice to have a couple of chickens or ducks in the garden, so when I saw this at the flea market I just had to have it.

I don't know if I want to leave it "as is" and let it get nice and rusty, or paint it a bright color so it will stand out even more in the garden. What would you do?

As for the chickens or ducks, I'm not sure I have enough time to devote to them since we both work full-time, but it sure would be nice to have a couple of slug eaters in the yard full-time and not just when the mallards pass through from time to time during the summer months.  And the fresh eggs would be a nice perk. not to mention the companionship in the garden.  Since my kitty stays indoors 24/7, I sometimes wish I had a pet that could hang out with me in the yard.  I can usually count on the catbird to sit on a branch and sing to me, but there is something to be said for critters scurrying around your feet, you know?

Does anyone out there have any chickens or ducks?  What's been your experience? Pin It

Plant Holder Wall Art from

I got this in my weekly JunkMarketStyle newsletter and just had to share it.  I think it's so neat.  This is a victorian plant stand hanging on a wall.  What a great way to display an antique so you can appreciate the structure of it.

To see the full article on this item and to see more photos, check out this link.
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Garden Junk Made From Soda Cans

Drink Can Craft - More DIY How To Projects

What a great idea.  I bet you could create some really cute garden junk with these.  If you had a fence you could decorate the fence with them.  Or the side of a shed or greenhouse. 

And you could even paint them with Rust-Oleum if you don't want them to rust.  Personally, I think they would look even better once they got a little rusty.  Although, since they are aluminum, I guess they won't really rust, but they will develop an aged appearance. Pin It

Gardenscape 2010 | Series 5

My favorite display at the Rochester Flower Show was a giant corn crib that was made up to look like a bird cage.  It was probably the most inventive display I had seen in a while.  Of course, I'm partial to birds, so I guess my opinion is a little biased.

There were bird houses surrounding the entire display (which I will save for another post).

The inside was decorated and had two old metal chairs for seating and a bench swing.  It was very sweet and a great alternative to a gazebo if you have a garden junk type setting. 

The only problem was the doorway.  They did not modify it, so you had to bend over to get inside, but a full size door could be easily modified with a torch and a welder. Pin It

Idea for an old window

I just love old windows.  And since I can't paint, I've replaced the panes with stained glass or mosaicked the panes, but this idea I saw at the Rochester Flower Show would work well also and is perfect for a person like me who can't paint.

These windows are covered with paper pictures.  Actually, the paper is on the back side.  Basically, you just cut up a poster or picture so that each pane is part of the picture.  Then glue the picture to the back side of the glass and coat with several coats of an outdoor polyurethane.  I would think you'd need between 6-10 coats to protect paper from the elements. 

I'd bring the windows indoors for the winter, but I think they'd hold up really well during the summer months.  My only concern would be fading, so it might be a good idea to coat the papers with a fade resistant polyurethane first before gluing to the window panes. Pin It

Flowers for Valentine's Day

Gary and I don't usually celebrate Valentine's Day.  Everyday is Valentine's Day married to him anyway, so I don't need someone to tell me a specific day that I need to show my love for someone.

It's ridiculous how much more flowers, candy and cards cost just because it's Valentine's Day.  Restaurants are packed to the hilt and it's just a big pain in the butt...LOL.  I'd much rather get flowers on a random day of the year (which Gary does quite often) than on one specific day.  It's much more of a surprise and much more appreciated in my opinion.

Despite the fact that we don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, Gary usually gives me a little something, and this year he gave me a garden junk flower for the yard.  I just love it.  

The flower itself is a coulter disc off a molboard plow, from his parents farm.  The center of the flower is an old fluted jello mold that was attached with J-B Weld, also from his mom.  The stem is an old metal bar that may have been part of a fence at one time.  Not sure if this was found under our house, or if it came from the farm as well.  Since he had to bolt the flower to the stem and the disc already had holes, he added bolts all the way around to act as the seeds of the flower.

I already have an idea where this will go.  We will be fencing in a vegetable garden area to one side of the greenhouse and I was thinking this will look super cute bolted to one of the fencing panels so it sticks up above the fence.  We'll see how that goes when the time comes.  It's awfully heavy, so not sure if that will work.

One thing I really love about garden junk is the history of the pieces involved.  This is way better than some store bought piece of resin crap, and will last forever.  I figure I can even change up the paint colors from year to year if I want to.

So what is your favorite piece of garden junk? Pin It

Getting your garden junk ready for winter

For the most part, the majority of my garden junk stays out for the winter. Only you can decide what you want to leave out and what you want to bring inside to be protected from the elements. I live in zone 5 and we have long cold winters. If you are in the south, you may be able to leave more outside than I can. Here are some guidelines I go by to decide how to prepare my garden junk for winter.

1. If it's breakable bring it inside. The exception to this rule for me are my glass totems. I started leaving them out two years ago, and have had no problems. If you have a lot of tree branches that fall in the winter, you may want to move them to a more protective spot. Experiment. If you have as many as I do, it won't matter much if one gets damaged.

2. If it's irreplaceable and you love it, bring it inside for the winter. Plain and simple.

3. If it's metal, it's usually safe to leave outside.

4. If you want to preserve the paint job, bringing it inside for winter will usually prolong it's life.

5. Anything that can crack should be brought inside for winter. Examples would be plastic, clay or glass items that can fill up with water and crack when frozen and bowling balls. I never leave my garden spheres out all winter. I've put too much time and love into them and I don't want them to crack.

6. Fountains and birdbaths should be drained if you live in areas with freezing temperatures. Turn birdbaths upside down and cover fountains with a large plastic bag or bring inside after being drained and dried. Once I had a cheap clay birdbath crack even though I turned it upside down. It could have be due to the heavy snows that piled on it during the winter. It just sort of cracked right in half. I have plans to try and repair it and then mosaic it, but I haven't gotten around to that project yet.

7. Good quality concrete statues will usually be fine outside, but covering them with plastic or bringing them inside will prolong their life.

8. Any mosaics should be brought inside for the winter. My only exception are wall hangings that were properly prepared on wedi board or concrete backer board. I usually hang my mosaics where they have some protection from an overhang or porch, so they are not totally exposed to moisture all the time. And since they hang on a vertical surface, they don't have a chance to collect water. As long as they have been sealed well they should be OK outside. When in doubt, bring it in.

9. Furniture made from wood should be covered with plastic during the winter or allowed to weather naturally over time. Sealing the piece every spring helps to prolong it's life. Painting every couple of years is also helpful and it gives you a chance to change up the colors once in a while.

10. Delicate wind chimes should be brought inside, especially if you experience high winds during the winter months. I tend to leave my metal ones out all winter, but they may require a little re-stringing or cleaning come springtime.

There you have it. My tips on winterizing garden junk. It might sound like I bring in a lot of stuff, but I really don't. I love to collect junk, so I don't mind a few casualties over time. If it all survived, where would I put it all!?!

As you can see by the photo above, my metal tipsy teapot totem stays out all winter, as do my glass totems, glass insulators, copper trellises, leaf casting birdbath and wall hanging, metal bird tree and assorted wind chimes and glass garden dangles. Any decorations that hang on the side of the sheds also stay out. These include old tools, metal signs, and syroco wall hangings to name a few.

Have I missed anything? I'd love to hear how you winterize your garden junk. Pin It

Latest Garden Junk

While we were on vacation in the Poconos, we stopped at the cutest nursery called Richard's Tree Farm just north of Marshall's Creek, PA on Route 209. Apparently they have been in business for over 75 years.

They had a fabulous selection of trees, shrubs and perennials as well as some exotic tropical plants. But what really struck me about the place was the beautiful setting they had created for themselves. There was a large selection of indoor decor that was very artfully displayed as well as a pond that was highlighted by the Pocono Mountains.

I wish now I had stopped to take a few pictures of the place, but I just wasn't thinking. I did pick up too new pieces of garden junk.

This metal dragonfly is Gary's favorite of the two. It's pale green in color and just starting to rust in all the right places. It's a pretty substantially large piece and goes well with the wild looking ostrich ferns in the background where I currently have it displayed.

I think this little hummingbird is my favorite. It's just so sweet and truly a work of art in my opinion. There is more white paint visible than what this photo shows. Pin It

Garden Junk After A Long Winter

We had a lot of snow this past winter. More than average. However, March has proved to be a lower than usual snowfall. Nearly all the snow is melted in our yard, so I took a stroll to see how some of my totems did over the winter. This is their second season being left outside and so far, so good.

Some of the totems that are in shade, need a good cleaning as they have a little algae growing on them, but the totems that get a fair amount of sun look like new. The first one you see at the top is one of my favorites. All the pieces go so well together and it looks almost like they were meant to be put together in that manner. I think that is what makes a totem great...if you have a hard time figuring out if they are dishes or an actual art piece, well then you've done your job.

I also really love this totem. This is a good example of how more pieces can help a totem look more finished. I could have removed the smaller plate from above the salad bowl and it would have still fit together fine, but I think it adds something to the overall look of the piece. Once again, I tried to utilized cut class or pressed glass to help hide any condensation that may form inside the totem.

Here's a good example of why I like to use cut glass now. The condensation forming in the top piece can be a little unsightly. If the piece were camouflaged in some way, you wouldn't even notice it. All my totems were put together inside, over the winter, when humidity in the air was at it's lowest, but as you can see, you can still get condensation. You can see how I made my totems by visiting our website.

Here's a photo of our old windmill. Gary has had this thing for years. It's been knocked down, the blades bent and is starting to rust something awful. I had always thought I'd remove the top, sand the blades down and repaint them, but now I kind of like the rusty look. I still think the blades could use a little straightening, but now I don't think it should be painted. What do you think?
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New Junkie Acquisitions

After visiting Gardenscape on Saturday, Gary and I stopped at Ontario Mall Antiques to see if we could find any more treasures for our collection. I found this blue insulator. I don't have one this color and the price was very reasonable. Not sure if it will stay indoors or be put to use outdoors. For now, it's staying inside. I'd like to do a fairy garden with a bunch of my larger insulators. I could arrange them to look like a little village or something.

I've been looking for a set of bookends for my cookbooks, but couldn't find any traditional ones that I liked. I'd been storing the cookbooks inside a cabinet that had doors, and it was so cumbersome to get into the cabinet and find the book I needed, so I wanted to store them on top of the cabinet to make it easier to retrieve the book I wanted. I think they are working out just perfectly. And at 9 lbs. each, these books aren't going anywhere.

These aren't old, but I thought they were pretty darn cute. They are iron, so I won't have to worry about them holding up outside. The frogs can be attached to a wall or fence and the little iron bugs will probably sit in and around our conversation area.

Two weeks ago, we had a Hobby Lobby open in our area. I had always heard such great things about this store. If you have never been to one, it's like a craft store and a home decorating store in one. They not only have fabric, but metal furniture and accessories, stained glass supplies jewelry making supplies and pretty much anything else you'd think of at a craft store. We purchased some metal items to use in the garden and to add to some birdhouses.

So you see, junk doesn't have to be old. I usually prefer that it be, but sometimes the price is too good on new items. Just make sure that what you are buying is really metal. They have some new materials out there now that appear to be metal but are in fact some sort of resin based product. Pin It

Pictures from Gardenscape 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody!

Here are a few pictures from Gardenscape. As you enter, they had a wonderful display of doors. I could only get a picture of these two as the crowds were pretty large at the entrance and people kept walking in front of me while I was trying to take a picture.

I love how the one on the right had garden scene painted on it. The one on the left could easily be displayed against a wall in the garden or against a garden shed or the back of a house. In the right setting, doors can look especially inviting in the garden.

Immediately upon entering, there was a lovely display of bonsai. I am always amazed at how they can get these plants to grow in such tiny pots and be so lush with growth and blooms. I was pleased to see that this display was out in the open this year. In the past, they had the bonsai display in a hallway leading to the Marketplace instead of out in the open with the rest of the garden displays.

This next display was of an old rail car and I just loved their use of old barrels and milk cans, a truly garden junk display if I ever saw one...LOL.

There was even a little desert display this year. I don't know if these are all hardy to this area, but I do know that there are several cacti and succulents that are hardy to zone 5. Cactus do not interest me at all, but I do like many succulents, sedum being one of them and do incorporate those in my gardens.

The last picture for today is of a little garden junk birdhouse display. I love everything about this display. I need to work on making some of my items look more aged.

Tomorrow's post will focus on all the water features that they had at the show. There are quite a few. I will also post a link to my Photobucket album so that you can view all 82 pictures from the show.

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