Welcome to homelifescience. This is a fun blog where we talk about science, our travels, and neat house ideas we like to do. We are so excited to share with you the ideas that we have found.

Tuesday, May 29

Making Glass Garden Flowers

For Mother's Day, Erik and I wanted to make a nice gift for our Mom's that they would appreciate. I spent some time looking around on the internet and Pinterest, but I actually found our inspiration at the local Farmer's Market. There was a guy there who sold glass garden art. The art was made from old glassware shaped into glass flowers. Since we had given our parents the bird-feeder tea cups for Easter, we thought that they might like the garden flowers for Mother’s Day. Now we just need to find a present for Father’s Day. 

Once we had picked a project, I did some searching on the internet for ways to attach the pieces. The guy at the Farmer’s Market had drilled a hole through all of the plates that soldered on a metal backing. That just was not an option for us. Getting all the stuff needed for soldering on the back would be expensive, and we had tried drilling holes in glassware before and did not have good luck with that. I found a two websites that had used a metal to glass glue for the back and then used Silicone glue for gluing the plates together. We decided to go that route instead. 

We first stopped off at the Salvation Army to pick up our plates. Erik and I each picked out the plates for our own Mom. It made it fun because they had a different look to them. I picked a large glass candy dish that looked like it had petals, along with a smaller green glass dish. Erik picked a large clear plate and a milky-white bowl. We picked up some small matching white bowls for the insides of our flowers. All of the plates together cost us $18.

To make the glass pieces stick together, we used a tube of the GE Silicone for outside. We picked up a big tube for $7 at Lowes, and already had the caulk gun. So that made it a bit cheaper. We also picked the clear version, in case any was visible from the sides. We placed caulk generously on the bottom of the smaller and smallest bowls and then set them inside of each other. My middle bowl fit perfectly into the bottom of the larger bowl, which made the gluing really easy. Erik’s bowl was a little smaller, so it moved around a little. I found some glass beads from a plant project, and we arranged them in the smallest bowl and glued them down. I filled the bottom of the bowl with glue and nested each bead inside, while Erik put glue on the back of each bead and put them in the bowl.  They had a slightly different look to them, but both ways kept the beads in nicely. 
To make the glass flowers actually stand on a pole and look like a flower was the hardest part. One of the options I saw used a bent fork glued to the back of the flower then dropped into a pipe. I thought that it made the flower look like it was leaning though.  I also saw some flowers that were glued to the pipe directly, but that makes it hard to move around and not much surface area to attach to. 

We finally settled on using these copper “bells” that were suggested on a website. She found them at Lowes, and they are a “bell” attached to a pipe holder piece. We also found metal epoxy putty that could be used underwater. I was concerned that the epoxy would not work, but it works amazing! You take a chunk and mold it in your hands mixing it. Then we rubbed it into a long thin strand that we smoosshed (yes that’s a technical term) around the edge of the bell onto the glass. I did this twice to make sure that there was a lot of coverage area. 
We let the flowers dry overnight and then we shipped off to our amazing moms. They both liked the flowers and that we had made them something nice ourselves. I liked the flowers so much; I actually made two for myself. I made one for the support pole for our tiny blueberry, and I made the other one for some leftover copper pipe that I had from the bird feeder project. The flowers look great and have stayed together through the rain, wind, and sun. Hey we live in Oregon, so spring brings lots of weather quickly!

P.S. Looking for more information? Look here: http://www.homelifescience.com/2013/05/glass-garden-flowers-update.html
for pictures on the completed project!

Friday, May 25

Building Raised Garden Beds

As part of our backyard makeover, we really wanted to incorporate a larger more specific garden area. What do I mean by that? Well I really wanted a better place to grow plants that was easier to weed. I hate weeding, and weeds, pulling out the little buggers when they won't come out. See, they make me really angry. Anyways, in the last couple of posts, I showed how we made out nice little garden fence. We mapped out building 4 large square garden beds, and two long rectangle garden beds. Here is a really basic drawing I threw together with paint. Yes, I know it's silly looking, but it's the best I can do on my netbook, while I am running samples for my Master's thesis.
The tan boxes are the garden beds we are going to put in. Each box takes about 1/2 a yard of dirt. We liked this plan because it allows access to all sides of the boxes and easier weeding. We made the boxes in several different shifts because we were really tired with work and then I got sick. I did take some pictures though, so I thought I would share on how we made our garden boxes with you. 
We went to Home Depot and purchased 6 8ft long cedar boards. To make the square boxes, we had them the six boards down to 4ft long pieces. To make the rectangle boxes, we had them cut a 2ft section, leaving behind a 6 ft section. Having them cut at Home Depot meant it was easier to fit in the car, however, they did not do the most exact job the two times we went, so we made sure to lay out the boxes first and fit the lengths so they looked right. Home Depot generally got it close. 

We drilled two holes into each board on one end to help the screws go in better. We then put the boards in a square and attached two screws to each side.

We made sure to offset the board sides for each row to add some stability. I thought that it also made the box look more put together too. The ends were a little rough, but since they are just going to be outside, we thought that it would be fine.

To help the rows of boards stay together, we sunk a two holes on the top of each side, then sunk a screw down into them until it joined the board below it. We did this to rows, 3 into 2, and 2 into 1. We left the top of 1 without any holes so it looked smooth.

We moved the boxes into the backyard and then loaded them with about 1/2 a yard of dirt. We choose compost/soil/mushroom compost mix that was recommended by the guy at our local garden store. We are lucky, because there is a local garden store right down the road from our house, which is about all the distance our little truck can go with a yard of dirt.
We filled the boxes with strawberries, tomatoes, and broccoli.  So far everything is growing great. We have big spaces between the fence boards and Tesla can get her head through them. However, she just seems to sniff things and then leave them alone. In fact she only really goes over there when we are over there. We still need to fill in the space around the boxes with gravel and our homemade stepping stones. We have been so busy we have not gotten around to it yet. Soon though, soon!

Tuesday, May 8

Furniture DIY with Style

So I come by my DIY drive honest. I picked it up from my mom who started us young with a paintbrush in our hands helping do home remodel. Thanks to her, I was a little more prepared than most people when we bought out house for some major work. She is always coming up with neat pieces of furniture and redoing them with some flair. She sent me some pictures of this odd table that she picked up and remodeled last week, and I thought that I would share the really neat makeover here.
My parents live out in Eastern Oregon, where there are outstanding garage and estates sales. I have seen turn of the century money machines, impeccable 1930-50’s clothing, antique books and art. My mom recently picked up this table at a garage sale. She is not sure what it was originally for, but she talked the seller down from $40 to only $20 bucks!
The table had quite a bit of ornate work on it. There were several small metal medallions across its top and sides. It also had these heavy type finals on the back, and an odd temple like back with small wooden finals across the top.
They removed the finals and the medallions. They also cut the back down and shaped it to have a more traditionally western classic shape. After sanding down the table, they used an oil based primer to prep the wood for paint. My mom was really excited to use a spray fun this time for spraying down the furniture. It makes it go a lot faster, and according to her she sprayed 8 bookcases, several tables, etc. I believe, because I am guessing once she got going, there was no way to stop that paint spray. I will have to see if anything in the house is it original color the next time I go by.

After applying all the paint, she let it dry outside for a few days to deal with the oil paint smell. They put a new silver metal medallion on it and now have a cute table. I think right now she is leaving it outside on the porch. I think it would be a great potting table, or a side table for a deck area. It’s also cute enough to come inside and be a side table there too. All in all the table looks great.

And just as a reminder of what it used to look like, here are the before and after pictures side by side! It's a huge difference. Now that $20 table looks like a great buy. It is amazing what people can see in a piece of furniture and how to change it.
Since no post would be complete without showing my parents sense of humor, here are the signs I was greeted by the last time I drove home to spend some quality family time. Thanks you guys. I feel safer already.