Sunday, May 31, 2015

DIY Sunday: Satellite Dish Bird Bath


I'm very excited to share this project with you. I have come to the conclusion that a few things happen when you turn 30. You start paying closer attention to the wrinkle cream section, you start doing responsible adult things like look at retirement and estate planning, and you like birds.

Not that I had anything against birds before, but prior to turning 30, I thought of birds as weapons of window shield destruction. They still like to dive bomb my car. It's a good thing I have a white car to minimize the appearance of their efforts.

However now that I'm a wise old lady with leisure time on my hands (ha!), I have a new found appreciation for birds. I put out a feeder when we moved into our house and have added two more since. Next item on the "Crazy Bird Lady" DIY kit is a bird bath.

I had looked at purchasing one for a while, but as my motto goes, "Try to do it for free yourself first." Unless it's surgery. Please don't do that yourself first. Even if your husband is a vet and claims he could be a doctor during a Zombie apocalypse. No practicing for end of world events.

As we have discovered over the past couple of months, my new yard is full of all sorts of goodies from a old picnic table, an old bench to old stepping stones. It's also full of old satellite dishes. Three to be exact. Two small ones, and one that was considered high brow in 1983. I have big plans for the big one, but since it was apparently attached to the pole with super human bolts, it's going to have to wait.

So I have an old Satellite dish, an old metal pole stuck in the ground and Pinterest. This means I have two projects from one piece of old junk. I'll share how the old metal pole became another fun project at a later time. Today let's focus on the old satellite dish. You know you all have one, know someone who does or have seen one on a curb. They are EVERYWHERE. Why not reuse them instead of tossing them?

Old Satellite Dish Bird Bath


Old Satellite Dish
Spray Paint
Drill & Drill Bits

Optional: Scrap Wood and Water Bottle

Approximate Cost: $3.00


1. Remove Extra Pieces

Old satellites will have a big plastic like receiver. (Top of picture below) The receiver is attached to the dish with a couple of screws. You can easily remove the receiver with your drill or a screw driver. You may also need a wrench if your dish has bolts rather than screws. Clean the dish with some water and soap. Birds prefer a bath that slowly slopes and is shallow. Satellite dishes are perfect for that.

2. Paint

Using spray paint that is rated for outdoor use, paint the dish. If you haven't spray painted before, you want to start on the bottom/back first and work your way to the front (the most visible portion). You also want to make sure you keep your distance as you're painting and make broad strokes. Since the surface is going to be subject to standing water, you may want to do a coat of polyurethane after the color dries. I was impatient, so I didn't do a coat. If I have a problem with flaking paint, I will add the extra step the next time I paint. Bird like their bathes to be rough on the bottom as well. My dish was pretty rough from being in the elements so I didn't need to add any texture to the bottom.

3. Attach to Tree

I personally attached my dish to a tree that birds frequent. You could also use a pole in the ground and attach the dish that way. I drilled two holes in the "handle" and screwed the dish to the tree. Screwing into a tree is tricky business. It's not going to kill a tree, but you don't want to go crazy. You are subjecting your tree to a "wound" that could let in insects.

Initially my bird bath wasn't completely level as you can see. I unscrewed one of the screws, re positioned and now it's level. 

4. Optional: Attach Water Bottle

An optional step is to hang or attach a water bottle to the bath. The water bottle has a small pin size hole in the lid. I'm told the drops in the bath will attract birds to the bath. The drop also keeps the water from being perfectly stagnant and hopefully deters some mosquito growth. I will be cleaning the bath weekly to insure I don't have extra bug growth. I don't need more bugs in the yard! I personally started by hanging it from a branch...which promptly broke. I then used some scrapbook to create a perch for the bottle right on the dish.

My first attempted right before the branch broke. I decided to try something different and it worked out great. 

Hope you enjoy my bird bath! It's such a easy cheap project and keeps some more junk from the landfill!




Saturday, May 30, 2015

Small Business Saturday: Vintage Willows in Brookings, South Dakota


It's time for another Small Business Saturday! I recently discovered Vintage Willows in Brookings, South Dakota. It's a store with "vintage" in the title, so of course I love what is inside. I picked up a beautiful scarf with a bird design and a fun unique stone necklace. They have two different locations, one in Brookings and one in Loveland, Colorado. Fun fact, my grandparents lived outside of Loveland my entire childhood, so I have made many trips to the area.

Vintage Willows has a ton of unique clothing and accessories that are right on trend and reasonably priced. While they have many clothing items for a younger crowd, I still found plenty items for this old lady. (A sad tear for the loss of my 20's.) They also feature items made by local artisans.

Check out Vintage Willows!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Show & Tell: Darby Smart Wood Burning Kit


I have a ton of projects to share over the next week after a productive couple of days. My first project to share has been a long time coming. I got a Darby Smart box a couple of months ago. If you haven't heard of Darby Smart, it's kinda like a Birchbox for crafting. You can sign up for a monthly craft to be sent your way, or you can purchase a specific craft on it's own (or even just parts of a box if you don't need everything in the project). I previously received a Darby Smart box for metal stamp bracelets. I had so much fun trying out a new craft, I decided to get a second box.

This time I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new. My husband's grandfather and grandmother were a very talented team of furniture building and wood burning experts. We have some truly beautiful pieces they crafted. I'll never be that good, but it inspired me try it out.

I got the wood burner, a kit of letters and some wood pieces to try it out. My first piece is pretty shaky (who knew letters would be so difficult?!), but I think my second try (the spoons) turned out better. I am going to keep working on it and maybe I'll become mediocre!


Sunday, May 24, 2015

DIY Sunday: Spray Painted Pavers


We are spending a ton of time in our yard this time of year. That means I'm taking more time to "admire" the teal exterior with some sort of upside down check mark awning. However, there are some benefits to Ugly House's exterior if you look away from the house. I mean, I'd have to be completely mad to have bought a house, indebted myself in a mortgage by 25 years or so, and hated everything about it. There's a very pretty tree line in the back of our yard. I noticed there was a bit of a path through the woods to a big tree. I decided that was my daughter and I's "secret garden". Mostly it was me wanting to make a cool hide out. Maybe I shouldn't have told the kids about it, and I could sneak out there to eat Girl Scout cookies without having to share. I guess I'll have to stick with my closet.

We planted some wildflowers around the area, and we're hoping either this year or next, it will be filled with flowers. When I found a pile of pavers behind our shed (there's all sorts of goodies to find on the property, check out my bench and picnic table posts!), I decided I had to use some of them on the secret garden path. I saw an idea on Pinterest last year, and I was excited to try it out. The idea was to use some lace fabric, spray paint and pavers to create a pattern on each paver.

I tried it out, and I'm happy to report that with some specific tips, it worked really well.

Spray Painted Concrete Pavers


Spray Paint
Concrete Pavers (I tried several different types of pavers for this project. The best product came from smooth flat pavers. Brick or pebble pavers had too much texture to have a crisp line)

This pebbled stone didn't work out that well. Not nearly as clear as the smooth stone.


1. Clean Pavers

Our pavers were a mod podge of random pavers I found on the Ugly House property. If you don't have new pavers or yours are a bit dirty, make sure the surface is clean. Use a bit of water with some dawn dish soap and a wire brush to clean it up. Hint: You can usually find people want to give away old brick or pavers on Craiglist or Facebook garage sale groups!

2.  Lay Lace on Paver

This was the part that took me a bit of practice. I thought I could just lay the lace across all of the pavers and just start spraying. I don't know why I thought that would work since that's not how you would use a stencil. You will want to take a moment to place the lace on the paver so the desired part of the pattern shows up. That means you may want to center it or use specific part of the lace. You will then want to make sure it's flush with the paver. When I did two tone color (which was a product of messing up the first spray and needing to do a second), I found it actually worked better. The first layer was a bit tacky, but not soaking wet. That tackiness kept the lace from moving and kept a cleaner line.

Let's talk paint for a second. I'm not a fan of Krylon spray paint. I keep going back thinking at some point I might like the results. I haven't yet. So personally, I would recommend either Rustoleom or Valspar. On this project, the only paint that didn't create clean lines was the Krylon. Boo!

3. Remove Lace & Let Dry. 

I removed the lace immediately after spraying and let the paver dry. It usually only took a half hour or so to get it dry enough to move. I then moved each paver over to the path and let them dry completely.

Our secret garden is turning out well. I'll just have to keep an eye out in 10 years for our daughter to make sure she isn't snogging a boyfriend back there. ;)

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