Saturday, November 7, 2015

Bicycle rim wind spinner

I wanted to load a video of our wind spinner spinning but I couldn't get it to work, so above is a picture.  The video is much better.  If you want to see the video you can visit my facebook page.

I have always been fascinated by kinetic sculptures and have been wanting to try making one.  The one I made (with help from my husband) (I had no idea bicycles had bearings in them) is the simplest form of wind spinner, but I hope to make a better one in the future.  Here's how we made this one.

If you know me, you know I normally make my projects out of things I have on hand, or things that are easily found, inexpensive and recycled.  I am the queen of thrift and upcycling.  My projects require more creativity and work than $.

I removed the wheel from a medium sized bike.  I also dis-assembled an old steamer.  I wanted something small, and light weight to catch the wind.  I thought the steamer fins would work perfect, and you can usually find these old steamers at the thrift store.  

I bent the end of the steamer fin so it would stand up using a pair of pliers.  The fins are soft and easy to bend.  To attach the steamer fins to the bike rim I loosened the screw holding the wheel spokes and slid the bent steamer fin underneath.  Then I re-tightened the screw.  I placed them at a slight angle to catch the wind.  

Below is the rim with the fins installed. 

I had pictures of the whole process until I got a new phone and they didn't transfer to my new phone as promised :(  So, you're going to need to use your imagination a bit for the rest.

We put the rim back onto the bike where it had been previously, minus the pedals, chain etc.  If you look closely at the picture below you can see the front of the bicycle is upside down.

If you look at the picture below, the part on the pole is where the handlebars used to be.  Basically the bike is turned upside down.  We cut off the back of the bike.  The part to the left that catches the wind used to attach the seat and the back part of the bike.  We covered this section with some aluminum flashing we had on hand.  Hubby helped a lot in this part.  He cut the bike apart with the sawsall, and riveted the aluminum sheeting on.  I was going to use screws to attach the aluminum sheeting to the bike frame.  We added the aluminum sheeting to both sides. 

To get the shape of the sheeting to match the bike, I laid the aluminum flashing under this section of the bike and traced the shape with a pencil.  I then cut it out with tin snips.  

I know it's kinda primitive and basic but we sure enjoy watching it spin in the breeze.  

You could easily pretty it up by threading beads onto the spokes, painting it bright colors,etc.  Just try to keep it light.  

If you make one please share, and have fun!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Witch Soiree

My oldest daughter Angie is about to turn the big 40, and decided she wants to celebrate by having a Witch Soiree.  Basically, an excuse to have a witch themed costume party.  It is being held in our back yard, and she has invited friends old and new, near and far.  So, I've been working on my attire.

My first thought was basic witch everyone else does, then my daughter told me that there are lots of different types of witches.  This thought reminded me of Radagast the Brown in Lord of the Rings.  So, I decided I would be a forest witch.  You know I have to be different.  So, this is what I've been working on. 

I picked up a Halloween mask for $1 and ripped off the feathers and trim it had on it.  I then painted it flat green and brown.  I then glued tree bark over the nose area, added a dried mushroom, pinecone, acorn, lichen, moss, sticks..... and more bark.

I am pleased with the way it turned out. 

Now for my witch hat.  I decided to go with the traditional witch hat shape, but with a forest twist. 

I inserted a Styrofoam cone shape into the top portion of the hat for stability. 

I gathered pieces of bark that our pine trees had shed and glued them onto the conical portion of the hat.  I added several types of moss, lychen, berries, acorns, pinecones, etc to cover the areas between the bark.  I used a piece of ivy and wound around the conical section for more stability and interest.

I am working on my attire, but am happy with the hat and mask so far.

What do you think?  Will I look earthy and project the image of a forest witch, or do I need to start over?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Found object owls for our garden


I have made a parliament of found object owls and installed them in the pine trees surrounding our garden.  I know these aren't everyone's "cup of tea" but they amuse me, and will amuse my grandkids.

Here are some pics of the details so you can see how I made them.  I used 2 standing graters, a silver plated platter and a large black enamel lid off a canning pot for the owl bodies.  I gathered the lids off water bottles, soda and beer caps, and lids from various foods such as pickles, pesto, dried beef, and even two red lids off the Kentucky Fried Chicken carry out containers.  I used whatever I could find, which made each a bit different. 

I very lightly spray painted the graters brown.  I didn't want them to be perfect, I wanted light and dark on them, so they looked a little more like feathers, as you can see in the picture below.  The owl below has wings made out of an old metal steamer.  I removed the "fins or petals" and threw the main part of the steamer away.  I bent the fins at the end to make a right angel and using a small bolt attached the wing.  On the other side of the grater I had to drill a hold to insert the bolt.  You attach a nut to the inside to hold them tight.  (see bolt in picture)

These bottle caps had a smiling sun in the middle but I punched holes in the middle to add my bolts.  I also punched a hole in the cap and lid underneath.  If you look close you can see these lids don't match, but they are close in size and both white.  I used a small pair of old pliers I had in my scrap box as the beak and ears.  I added a bolt to the middle and a nut to the inside of the grater to hold it securely.

Below is a close up before I added the wings.

On this owl I spray painted the top of two lids the same size, and then added beer bottle caps on top of those for the eyes.
(These lids had lots of writing on top.  I didn't want that, and I wanted a pop of color to attract your eye.)
I used two mis-matched spatula's for the wings on this owl.  You can see they are similar in shape and size, but not exactly the same.  I used a small screwdriver to pry the spatula apart from the handle.

I used an old wrench for the beak on this one, and bent the top of the grater for the ears.  I had to drill a hold in the wrench and grater to attach it.

The wrench nose wasn't showing against the brown grater, up so I added a bit of yellow paint to the beak portion of the wrench.

This owl is made from an old silver plated platter.  The beak is an old spring.  I drilled two small holes under the spring and used a piece of wire to hold it in place.  The eyes are two pickle jar lids, a deeper lid, and christmas bells from the Dollar Store.  I glued these onto the platter, and one another using GE II clear silicone.  I let them dry for two days before installing them.  The ears on this one are clips I found in my junk stash, held on with more bolts.  

I found it easier to use a metal punch on the platter when making holes than the drill, as I didn't have a small metal bit.

Here is the silver owl attached to the tree limb.  

This owl is made from a very large pot lid.  I lightly painted the lid handle yellow to represent the owls beak.  The eyes are made from KFC carry out lids, two dried beef lids, and bottle caps.  I glued these to the lid and each other using GE II clear silicone.  

Here are three of the owls in our tree.  These are placed in a pine tree along the path from our patio to the tree fort, thru a grouping of pine trees.  They will add a bit of unexpected whimsy as we walk thru this area.  

This is how I hung my owl.  I drilled a hole and hung it by a cup hook screwed into the tree limb.

Here are more of the supplies I used, in case you want to know what size bolts I used.

Here's the black owl on the tree branch.  This one is much bigger than the others, and is mounted on a limb about 10' up looking down over our grill and circular patio area.  It will add a bit of whimsy to this area.

I hope you can get enough detail from these pictures to inspire you to create something unique for your own garden. 

 I was inspired by some found object owls I saw on Pinterest.  I was unable to track them back to the original artist to give them credit, but they inspired me to create my own version of owl for our garden.

Have fun and be creative!