The gardener knows how to turn garbage into compost. Therefore our anger, sadness, and fear is the best compost for our compassion.
For over a year I have had an image in my head of a vertical garden at the back of one of our lots. One problem: there were four bins of compost in the spot where this needed to go. The bins were in bad shape and needed redoing, and moving it would be a big job.
- flower beds and borders
- rose gardens
- a secret garden
- an herb garden
- a kitchen garden (the French call it a potager)
- bagging and dragging garden leavings for trash pickup (not to mention the extra cost of bags and hauling)
- bundling of limbs and branches (we have a muncher shredder to speed up the process)
- tramping to the garden center to lug bags of compost home – it just waits for me in my bin until needed.
The Vertical Garden Comes to Light
- T-posts left from other projects (5 x $3.00)
- Four weathered pallets left from the old bins (4 x $5.00)
- Screws and hardware from our stash ($25.00)
- A mixture of hanging baskets I have managed to accumulate over the years, and (of course) ($30-$60.00)
- composted soil and plants
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook
- a Stanley hand miter saw (that, as I said, I only use for 90 degree cuts for now)
- a small hammer (for small brads)
- a set of corner picture frame clamps (estate sale find)
- a multi-purpose screw driver
- a cordless power drill (my one power tool)
- Greased Lightning for cleaning the porcelain parts
- Nitrate gloves (to protect my manicure – of course!)
- Wood glue
- E-600 glue (it will hold anything!)
- Lots of small brads and screws (estate sale finds)
- Buckets of hex nuts and bolts (leftovers)
- Paint samples. I generally do not paint lath, but there are other bits I may add some color to.
- Cut the Lath into pairs of the same length. Most of the time I have already cleaned it, but if needed, I take a wire brush for a final scrub.
- Place into the frame clamps, gluing as you go
- Using a very small drill bit, drill two small pilot holes in each joint. Do not skip this step! 125 year old wood is well seasoned and can be brittle – this will avoid cracking.
- Nail each corner and let set for a few hours or overnight.
- Measure the bottom and cut the lengths of lath or other wood material for the base. I have used reclaimed cedar shingles or other bits of scrap wood as long as they are the same thickness
- Cut, glue and nail the base
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I have been leading a class at my church using the book: Living Forward. We have been meeting on Sunday evenings for two hours. Fundamental to this process is cultivating the ability to first, acknowledge where one is at present and then to “see”, to imagine, to dream about how you want things to be formed.
This takes courage, even grit, for most of us who are 50+. For us, life has formed and informed us in both good and bad ways. This process brings one face to face with baggage that needs unpacking. I suppose it is true for all ages, but there is a difference once one has a few years behind you.
For everyone it is a choice. Do we wish to:
- remain on our current path,
- simply tweak our current journey or
- make an about face?
Choosing, being intentional, will at least make us aware so that there are no regrets, no matter what choice we make.
Working in the Unseen
Imagination. Dreaming. Reaching into the invisible and acting on what we see. This is a cultivated skill.
In talking with our group, we have discussed real ways in which we can do this. One of the tangible ways I work my imagining muscle is through re-purposing and up-cycling found objects. Looking at a discarded, outdated or broken item and imagining it into something new, starts in a place within that only I can see. Most of the time it takes a combination of items that I put together to make this happen.
Formed – From Inspiration to Reality
My version started with a discarded chair, an old table, a bit of scalloped wood trim and vintage porcelain electrical insulator parts. A few dowels, decorative screws, glue and paint and here you go, a cute decorative shelf! It is looking for a permanent home at Kechi Korner.
Drawer. Noun: a sliding, lidless, horizontal compartment, as in a piece of furniture, that may be drawn out in order to gain access to it. Origin & History of “drawer”: A drawer is literally something that is ‘drawn’ or ‘pulled’ out. The coinage was perhaps based on French tiroir ‘drawer’, which was similarly derived from the verb tirer ‘pull’. (16th c.)
Old drawers, or more exactly, drawers that are no longer useful as drawers but remain in tact, call to me. If you have read some of my previous BLOGs you know a bit of my passion (obsession?) in reusing stuff. I come by this tendency honestly from both my mother and father. On my dad’s side, they just kept stuff because “I might need it someday”. And in some cases that was true. Usually it just meant that things stacked up. On my Mom’s side, the farmers, it was somewhat the same, but the German genes forced things into something useful. Not always in a pretty way but used none-the-less. Nothing and no one sits idle in a German household for long!
In both cases these things represented an asset; money and time that did not have to be spent. It represented frugality and, yes, in some cases a fear of not having enough since these were families whose psyche were formed by the years of the Great Depression. I did not know that kind of lack. Not even close. Cash was not abundant, but we had nice things. Mom knew how to re-purpose, up-cycle and re-cycle before it was a political statement. However, she did not abide clutter and enjoyed making things look pretty. Things in our home were neat and tidy.
Even the Drawers!
So when I see and old drawer my DNA takes over, times two. It takes some skill to build a good drawer. I am almost in awe of the old kitchen cabinet drawers from 70+ years ago, that are still solid and sturdy when the cabinets or cupboards that once housed them are long gone. They are not elegant, built primarily for function: to put things in. So when I come across an old drawer it goes into my project room.
- Lightly sanded and primed. There were stains that my favorite stain hider, KILZ, took care of.
- painted on the outside with a semi-gloss version of the wall color of the room it will reside in.
- then painted inside in a rust color from a bit of a paint sample I had on hand.
- given a “new” handle from my stash of cool vintage hard ware (let me know if you are interested, I have lots)
- put on pretty red casters that I acquired from an estate sale for a few dollars.
- topped with a padded lid so I can rest my feet in comfort while gaining some storage.