cleverchickadee


Bottle Cap Table by quornflour

A few years back I decided that I needed more color in my life.

If you knew me you might laugh at that statement. Anyway.

I always liked bottle cap art. The way they are used in shrines and other art forms to add a bit of color here and there. So I decided that I wanted to cover a table in them.

One of the things I liked about the idea of a table covered in bottle caps, is that crown caps (most commonly used for beer and “fancy” sodas,) is that they are all the same size.

Most of the instructions I found called for gluing, or putting them in a frame and then covering them with a lacquer or epoxy.

I wanted the texture.

First it came to collecting bottle caps. This table takes roughly 3.8 beers per day for a year, so either get drinking or ask for friends to help.

I had friends all over saving bottle caps for me, so that I could get a nice variety.

Then I picked up some ¾” – 1″ Crown Bolt Weather Strip nails, I got a mix of brass, copper and nickel. The caps are about a ¼” high so you need them to be able to go thru the cap and then into the table. Be careful not to get finishing nails since you will need something with a flat top to lay flush against the cap.

I also needed a table, so I searched on craigslist for the jokkmokk table from IKEA, it is made of pine and fairly inexpensive to start with and a pretty sturdy table, (I also use one for my sewing table).

Often you can find them for around 50-100$ usually missing a chair. It is about 150$ new, so avoid paying more than it sells for in the store.

Really most any pine table would work, this was just fairly cheap and accessible.

Pine is good because the wood is soft enough to pound the nails into and the jokkmokk is just the right size to evenly place bottle caps is you need it to be straight.

So in addition to loads of bottle caps and nails you will need a hammer and needle nose pliers.

Trust me, trying to use your fingers instead of pliers will only lead to tears.

If you want to paint the table, do so before you start. I painted mine black with a matte water based enamel.

Start at a corner and work your way around the table, try to keep them evenly spaced and count to make sure you have the same number along the sides. If you want to be super meticulous you could make a grid, but I was just winging it, so I didn’t.

It is super helpful if you can get a second set of hands for the border to help hold the nails in place, or make some starter caps, by putting the nail into the cap separately so that you can hold it in place with your hand.

Place the nail at the center of the cap holding with the pliers and hammer into place.

Once you have your border in place, lay out the rest of your bottle caps then working your way around the outside of the table work inward, nailing each cap in place. This takes a while, but in the end it is totally worth it.

If you wanted to you could then set these with an epoxy or lay a glass top over it, I didn’t bother because I like the texture and how it ages over time, because the caps are the same size the table top is even.

You may want to invest in a steam pressure cleaner in the event you ever plan to clean this.

I also painted the chairs to add to the color and I use it in my kitchen.

Simplified instructions

You will need:

Getting to work

  1. Place first bottle cap at the corner of the table.
  2. Using needle nose pliers hold nail at the center of the cap, hammer into place.
  3. Works your way around the table into the center, lining up each cap as you go.
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Staycation by quornflour

The first time someone told me they were taking a “Staycation” I thought they had said, “Steak-cation” to which I responded, “that sounds delicious.”

I took a few days off in November, then getting back to the swing of things I got a little busy and the result was a laps in blogging. But, that’s cool, because I was living!

At first I had planned to blog while I was staycating, but then decided that it was best for my sanity if I just stay off the computer. So I did.

It was a good week: I spent time with friends, shopping and sewing, and sewing and sewing.

First I pieced a small quilt, which I need to finish up. Then I made some bags and some dog toys and put them in my etsy shop.

It was a much needed break.



Flower Wash Clothes by quornflour

I do not have a ton of storage space in my house… I have a spare room, sure, but that is dedicated to fabric. I do not have a linen closet. So instead I use a flower pot, halve and roll up my face clothes and let them sit on a shelf in the bathroom like functional decoration.



Apartment Garden, Episode 4: Watering by quornflour

So far my garden experiment this year is going fairly well. We have had some really nice weather matched with serious downpours. My kind of summer!

That said: I have a neighbor who LOVES watering. I have even see her water after a rainstorm. Because the drainage in my bucket garden is different than it would be in the ground, my plants seem to be getting a little overwatered. There is no stopping her and I suppose it is better than everything just drying out. Regardless we have fruit!

I have a few tomatoes that have started, they are super tiny, but it is a start. My pepper plants are flowering so I am hoping for a few peppers. The cucumber plant has flowered again. The first never fruited, but the plan seems stronger now. I am not sure if there is another cucumber plant, but that might be necessary. I cannot remember if they can self-pollinate.

The herbs are doing well. Well except for the cilantro. Again, everything seems really wet. I have been moving buckets around the yard to try and dry things out. I am hoping nothing gets watered by a hose and asked Lil’ to avoid watering anything since it will just get watered again.

I have some ideas for improving the layout next summer and additional hopes that the tree that is blocking my sun will fall down in a storm (crashing though only a few fences, since there really is no place for it to go that is not a roof). I am going to see if I can score some pallets and maybe build a planter box on casters so that I can move things into the driveway for more sun on the hot days.

At any rate, so far this is way more successful than last year, even though it will by no means be a “bumper crop” of anything except perhaps basil. Good think I love basil.



Apartment Garden, Episode 3: Planting by quornflour

Last summer I attempted a little balcony garden planting seeds and swapping seedlings.

I was successful in the indoor sprouting phase and even getting them up to plantable size, but then I was gone and the weather was crap and the place I wanted to grow them was not really the best spot.

Overall however: I failed.

This year I am trying it again and have done things a little differently:

First, I rounded up some neighborly help from another resident in my building, my friend and neighbor Melissa. This way there will (hopefully) be at least one person around to tend to the plants.

Second, I did not plant seeds, and rather picked things up here and there, friends with seedlings, Melissa had a few she planted and got from friends, and I picked up a few at farmers markets.

Third, I found a new spot to plant everything. I asked, (ok more like announced) my land lady if I could use part of the back yard to plant. Not only did she agree, though she is a greater fan of roses and flowers than veggies, but she also offered up two plastic pools that were otherwise going to be trashed and a number of old puts that she had. I also managed to get some pots from my neighbor.

So after all of this was sorted out, I headed to the nursery and bought dirt. I had a fair amount of dirt from last year so I mixed my new dirt with my old dirt. My neighbors all commented on the smell. I had picked up organic soil, which had a much richer smell than the soil they had used.

Next I sorted out buckets, some needed drainage, so I used a screw driver and a mallet to puncture a few holes in the bottoms, the holey buckets would then be placed in the pools so that the excess water is not wasted and on hot days can be watered from the bottom without risk of burning the leaves if things get too dry. I will need to keep an eye on this with rain to ensure I do not end up with a breeding ground for mosquitos.

Of course after I got everything in it has decided to rain for the week. It is good though, I need to add drainage to one of the smaller individual pots and it buys a little time to get marigolds to help with pest control. In the few days that they have been in their pots, they all seem happier.

I am optimistic.



Everything Old is New Again by quornflour

Sometimes a white lampshade is exactly what you need, but then they get old, or you just need a change. Here is a simple project to pump new life into that old shade.

First get some acrylic pigments; you can buy them at most art supply stores.

Take your lampshade and wet it with a paint brush then add a couple of drops the pigments and brush it on, you can go for an even color or give it texture by leaving some spaces. Try not to over think it.

Now you need to let it dry completely.

Once fully dry you will need a glue gun and bead trim measuring about 2 inches greater than the total length of circumference of the bottom of the shade.

Starting at the seam on the shade, glue the trim to the bottom of the lampshade, if you are worried about getting it straight glue it to the inside.



Road Trip, Episode 2: the Top, part 1 by quornflour

So I ended up in Columbus, OH. Where I learned that if you are near campus and yelled O-H! Someone would be compelled to echo back with I-O. Now, of course I did not believe such a ridiculous tale, but it was later confirmed by folks so I believe it, though I failed to test it out.

I also checked out the Garden of Roses, which is this insanely huge lot of pretty much any sort of roses you could imagine. It has been raining off and on so it was empty and there was not a bunch of pollen flying around, because that probably would have knocked me to my ass.

All of that is not why I found myself in Columbus though; I got here because 3 years ago, I bought a Jeep Wrangler.

In that time I came up with this idea, that I really wanted a pink soft top for it, but discovered that this was not so easy to obtain. Impossible one might even say.

So, I thought to myself, I am pretty clever; I could just make one myself. Then I thought, I can sew, I can cut stuff, but I have never made something quite so industrial. So what to do: Then Flamestitch (FS) came to mind. She makes these super rad bags (of which I have 5) and things and has a past life in upholstery, has super duty sewing machines… so maybe she would want to help take on this feat of nonsense with me.

Seems good right?

Absolutely! Though, fact of the matter is we had only ever met on the internet. So, here I am, “hey stranger from the internet, want to take on a colossal undertaking and make a pink sparkly soft top for my Jeep, because I want one?”

Stranger from the internet agrees.

So here I am in Columbus, OH.

Now I have a 4 door Jeep, these things are not small. I am not entirely sure she really knew what she was agreeing to when she said yes. So after a number of exchanges, my dog and I show up at her door.

I had sent her measurements and FS had ordered some Naugahyde and we set out to work, realizing soon on that the heat sealed windows were going to be a little more of a hassle for a first attempt and so we decided to regroup.

This is how we came to the decision to reuse the back portion of the existing soft top and the windows and to embellish them. This was good since it turns out the measurements I had sent translated to the incorrect yardage of Naugahyde.

It is probably good that we did. Not that you would have to, but with a few challenges, if we had also had to deal with windows and zippers I probably would have been sent packing with a blue tarp for a soft top.

After a little planning, we started in. Taking pictures and cutting apart the existing top.

We also let our plan morph with the progress, changing designs, discovering things, dealing with a top that wanted to make us its bitch and then there was the rain. As a result of the rain there are seams that I need to waterproof, but otherwise it is road tested and ready to go.

What we ended up with is nothing shy of awesome. I will write up a (sort of) how to in a future post and share some of the learnings we made along the way. While you wait, check out the pictures.




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