Thursday, January 26, 2017

Instant gratification

I've known for a long time that I'm happiest if I get results fast.  I like projects that can be completed in a short period of time.  Even if it's something like building a barn, I want each step of the process to move along quickly and keep me interested.  I'm not one to spend months building a fine piece of furniture.  I'm thinking more like a week and a half or two for a small table.  Maybe most of us are like that, I don't know.

I know the expression, it's not the destination, but the journey, is a sweet sentiment and I believe that in most parts of my life, but in all honesty, I really like reaching my destinations.  Yes, the journey is fun too, but.......c'mon, once you get there you can sit back and enjoy, right?

Since building my mom that side table for Christmas and having to decoupage the birds on it instead of paint them, I've wanted to improve my artistry skills.  I asked my friend, Kathy, to suggest an art teacher and she so very graciously offered to teach me herself.  I can't tell you how much fun this has been.  I've had 2 lessons.  In the beginning I thought I didn't really care if I'm great at it.  I just want to be able to paint animals on things or improve on things I already know how to do. Now that I've done a little experimenting I'm finding it so much fun that I want to keep seeing improvement.  I want to be good at it NOW.

Well, you know how that goes.  I started off feeling kind of cocky.  My first painting turned out better than I had expected, though far from the kind of stuff my artist friends produce.  Still, I felt encouraged.  I was even happier with my second painting, then third.  This is where it stopped.  I wanted to make improvements on all 3 of these paintings but the more I work on them, the worse they look.

I've watched Youtube videos on how to paint clouds and, goodness, that looked so simple.  Ha!  They lied.  I suck at mountains, clouds and pastures.  I'm ok at animals, surprise, surprise.  Here are my works in progress.

Painting number one.  Franklin and Kathy in our field.
Number two, Roxie and Wendell at sunset.  Yes, I know the clouds and shrubs need lots of work.  I need more help.
And lastly, the blue-eyed, curly-haired goat I've never owned.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

This is a lot of bull

Tonight I walked over to the field to give Keri her pills.  She seems to have relapsed and is back on medication.  While I was over there I couldn't stop watching the bulls play.  All 3 of them, large, medium and small, Franklin, Lennon and Mo, were having a great time, mostly chasing each other.  It was often a different bull in the lead and when they put heads together it was very gentle play.  Trailing behind are the 2 pigs, also males.  It appears they like being part of the action.

Maybe you'll enjoy watching them play as I do.  I took several videos of them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Garden gate beginnings

I had planned to wait until the garden gate was finished to blog about it, but today a friend asked me to share the progress as it moved along.  Also, James told me it was time for me to blog again so here I am.

This may be boring to some of you but so far each step of making this has been fun for me.  Instead of starting from scratch and buying all new steel I decided to use something we already had.  We used to have gates at the end of the driveway but we took them down when we removed some fencing.  They've been sitting behind a shed just waiting to be used again.  Here's what they looked like before.
Using a cutting wheel on my grinder I cut off all the curly scrollwork and the rounded side of each gate.  This left me with 2 pieces that look like this.
They're now stacked one on top the other to make one tall gate instead of two short gates.  I chamfered the edges of the flat pieces of steel that were to be welded together.  This gives a larger
area to weld for more strength.  See the beveled edge?  When the 2 pieces came together they created a V.
I've stripped most of the paint from the gate and plan to let it rust.  I like rusty gates and I think rust will look better with the copper.  So here's what it looks like now.  I may remove some of the smaller bars to make it lighter but I won't do that till I know what the final design for the copper is.
I did have to buy one piece of steel to close up the edge where I had removed the arched pieces.  Here you can see the two pieces of plumbing I'm attaching to use for the hinge.
You can also see the homemade clamp (2x4s) I made to make the gate the same on the one side as the other.  I didn't have a pipe clamp so I made do.  Luckily we only had to close it up 1/2 an inch.  I still need to weld the piece to the side but ran out of shielding gas today so hopefully tomorrow I'll get it all welded up and ready for the real fun to begin - covering this "canvas" with a copper design.

I really don't have a plan yet.  I'm not thrilled with any of my drawings and keep waiting for inspiration.  I did, however, make a flower (or sunshine).  I cut out several petals.
I hammered and shaped them into this.
The center pieces are riveted together but the rest of it isn't fastened yet.  That will require brazing, which I've never done.  Hopefully tomorrow.  I've got my oxygen and acetylene tanks and tools and can't wait to give it a try.

That's about it so far.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Table for Mom

James is home holding down the fort so I could go to PA to celebrate a late Christmas with my Mom, sisters and nieces, for which I'm very grateful.  It's been a really great visit and my mom and I have gotten a lot accomplished, i.e., stripping wallpaper and painting her bathroom.

One of my sisters suggested I make a side table for Mom to keep near her recliner to store her remote controls.  Since I had no other ideas for a gift I thought, why not?  It took me a while to come up with a plan so it wasn't until a week and a half before I was to head north I decided to get started and see what I ended up with.  It was a lot of fun but I wish I would have begun a little earlier.  I'm pleased with the end result though and my mom says she likes it.   The birds are images I got from the internet and decoupaged onto the painted table.  I painted the branches with some acrylic paints I had a limited supply of.  I wish I had more colors to choose from.  The drawer pull is a large bead a friend gave me and I thought looked like an egg.  The top is some beech tongue and groove flooring some friends gave us.  The whole table was made from wood we already had in our garage, hence a painted table.  You can probably guess my mom loves birds.

Just a note on Keri, in case you're wondering how she's doing.  She responded well to the antibiotics and seems to have made a complete recovery, thank goodness.  If your farm dog eats a lot of poop and loses control of her back end I can recommend a good vet and antibiotic.  Yup, it seems the reason she was so weak was because of her love of a manure diet and parasites.  Yes, I feed her real food.