Home Improvement

The lamppost from hell

Our lamppost has been crooked since day one of moving into our house. Well, I’ve been on a mission this spring and summer to beautify the outside of our home. Landscaping, shutters, new doors, painted driveway, new mailbox, tree removal, new lattice for the garbage, redoing the rocks alongside the driveway… you name it, we’ve tackled it. My dad even removed the well from our front yard because he’s awesome.

He even took pictures for me to put on my blog.

RemovingFrontPipe1

RemovingFrontPipe4

With the biggest eyesore of our front yard removed, we pretty much had no choice but to tackle the crooked lamppost.

It also helped that while we were on vacation by dad cleared out a spot for plants and bought a few stones to circle the post. He basically forced us into it haha.

See how much it leans? Bad news bears.

Lamp Post1

So this lamppost was the post from hell. Originally, I bought a new post to replace it all together. Then my dad suggested I simple paint the current post in the ground. So I tried that.

Lamp Post3

Many coats of black spray paint later, and it wasn’t looking to bad.

Lamp Post2

Then came time to replace the fixture at the top, which I guess we didn’t have to do…. except that when we took it off we realized it was disgusting and broken.

The fixture came off the post just fine, but the ring and the screws holding the fixture to the post wouldn’t budge. At all. I tried every trick in the book to remove those screws, from WD-40 to putting a rubber band in the groove of the screw and turning it that way. Nothing worked. So I got fed up and started to tear the metal off the post. We were going to replace that part anyway, so what did it matter?

Well, here’s a fun fact. Hammering a screw driver into metal creates a lot of sharp metal pieces. And yes, I did manage to cut my hand. And yes, I did (eventually) get a tetanus shot for the cut. And yes, the place where I got my shot it still swollen because I’m a hot mess.

See why it is the lamppost from hell yet?

If you weren’t convinced, after all of my hard work on the darn pole, I got fed up and pulled it out of the ground. I ended up trekking back to Home Depot (that’s really melodramatic since Home Depot is less than 10 minutes away… not too much of a trek) to buy and even nicer lamppost than the first one I bought. I’m talking about a built-in light sensor and an outlet. Hot damn!

Hours later, my husband and I (mainly Brian — I was so proud of him!) managed to properly wire up the new post. I don’t think I’ve ever shouted so loudly with glee over a darn light working, but we were both really shocked and really excited that it worked.

Now our post isn’t crooked (we still need to cement it in place), it has a light sensor so it turns on automatically, and it is beautifully landscaped 🙂 Total win.

Lamp Post Finished

That lamppost ain’t got nothing on us.

And it looks nice, too!

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Craft Projects

Key and Crystal Wind Chime

As promised — new craft project!!!

Remember how I altered my aunt’s beautiful wind chime to match her preexisting one? That project inspired me to think out of the box to create her a final wind chime to complete her set. Both of her chimes are copper with key and crystal accents, and I happened to have a ton of old keys and chandelier crystals in my craft room. What luck!

{A Smith of All Trades} Old wind chime

{A Smith of All Trades} New wind chime

I set out to make my own wind chime using  keys, crystals, wire, chain and an embroidery hoop.

{A Smith of All Trades} Hoop unpainted

First, I separated my hoop into two pieces. I went outside and hit each side with some copper spray paint to match my aunt’s existing chimes.

{A Smith of All Trades} Hoops painted

Once the hoop was dry, I brought it inside and drilled six holes around the inner of the two hoops. This is where I attached the actual chimes, using the outer ring as a safety measure against the wire getting too much wear and tear.

{A Smith of All Trades} Hoop

When the holes were drilled, I started making each strand of the chime. I didn’t want my strands to be even, so I didn’t bother measuring out the chain. For this step, I laid out my supplies: pliers, wire, chain, keys, crystals.

{A Smith of All Trades} Tools

I had two sizes of crystals from a leftover chandelier: Large drops and small faceted octagons. I used the large drops at the end of each chain to give them weight. For keys, I had a nice mixture to choose from. I opted to not be matchy-matchy. I spray painted a few copper, but left others natural.

To get the crystals onto the chain, I took a copper wire and looped it through the pre-drilled hole.

{A Smith of All Trades} Wire

Once the wire was in and trimmed to a good length, I started to twist it around itself, creating a loop at the other end and hooking in the chain. Once the chain was hooked onto the wire, I came back down the wire, wrapping it around itself until the wire ran out.

{A Smith of All Trades}Wire Wrap

After the anchor crystals were on, I continued this process up the chain. Crystal, key, crystal, key. I added more keys to some chains, and fewer to others.

{A Smith of All Trades} Crystal bead

Once the chains were created, I attached them to the embroidery hoop using the same method of twisting the wire. When all six chains were added, I added two chains at the top (using the existing holes) to hang the chime from.

{A Smith of All Trades} Crystals

Aren’t the crystals beautiful?!

{A Smith of All Trades} Key

And I just love the different keys that I added to the chime. They are all so unique.

{A Smith of All Trades}Wind Chime cg

The chime is so pretty, I almost don’t want to send it off to my aunt. But it will match so nicely.

{A Smith of All Trades} Wine Chime1

{A Smith of All Trades} Wind Chime

{A Smith of All Trades} Wind Chime 2

What do you think? Will you be grabbing your space embroidery hoops and old chain to make a chime? You could make on using beads instead of crystals! Anything would go 🙂

Home Improvement

New lattice

Today I am tired. Seriously tired. My weekend was packed with an oyster night, painting of built-ins and replacement of old lattice.

If that doesn’t sound tiring to you, well then I am envious. But add 6+ hours of being outside in what seemed like 100% humidity… I guess it is no surprised I could fall asleep pretty much anywhere tonight. Anyway, the important thing is that I can cross another nagging project off of my list! Our lattice.

I of course have no before picture of this project, but picture nasty, rotten wooden lattice hiding our garbage cans. Except it didn’t hide our cans… it came about 6-8″ shy of covering our recycling bin.

Did I mention it was rotten? So rotten that the lattice simply peeled away and the posts came out of the ground with a few good kicks.

Once the lattice was out of the ground and out of the way, my dad and I got to digging new post holes. Our plan was to dig 18″ holes and cement the new posts into the ground for a more sturdier garbage hider.

Post digging

Here’s where I add that my bossy dad did most of the work for this project. I assisted and pointed out when he was building things wrong 🙂 He is awesome.

After we dug two holes up front, we built a frame out of pressure-treated 2″x4″s and attached the lattice — I opted for the plastic version instead of the wooden lattice. We plopped it into the holes and made it level before adding dry cement.

lattice edge

Then we started working on the other side. Same thing… dig hole, build frame, attach lattice. When everything was level, we added water to our cement to permanently affix the lattice in the ground. We then started tackling the brick pavers — we smoothed the ground out beneath the already-existing pavers before adding patio sand. We threw some tarp down and placed the stones back in the garbage area. Nice and flat! Woo!

At that point, the cement was dry, so we put all of the dirt back on top of the cement and around the base of the enclosure.

Tah-da!

LatticeBuh-bye ugly lattice, hello nicely hidden garbage cans

IMG_3860

And in case you were wondering how bad the old lattice really was… here it is waiting to be taken to the dump next to our new stuff. Gross!

Lattice Old V New… Go Ravens!