old timer

Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Latest Alley Find!

Check these little babies out! 

What do you mean what are they?  Hahaha!  These are the grates that go over your floor or against the wall where the heat comes out of your furnace. 



When you adjust the amount of heat you want coming through,,, these flaps open or close.

Side View.

First realize, to me, they are garden art.  Second, they are metal scrap for recycling.  There’s no way I can lose bringing these home.

So!  What to do first???  Tear them apart!  YAY!  My favorite part of any project!  4 screws are all that keep these guys together.  Easy!

Very Nice!

See the silver paint?  I'm hoping by next May that will be rust!

Second, throw the scrap and screws in the bucket designated to go to the recycle center just down the road.

The scrap plus the tools I used to tear these apart. 
Several of the screws were rusted on. 

Third, throw one of them in the grass to get an idea of what these will look like in a garden.  I’d plant them with some low growing moss or herb.  FUN!

I just threw this on the ground to get a look at it.   FUN!!!

See the grass coming through the grate?

Imagine miniature flowers like daffodils coming through here!  How about moss?  Maybe some wheat grass for your cat? 
Oh the ideas!!!

That’s a fun, sweet, fast find!  These sweet babies will go to Sorticulture next year.  Some lucky person or people will get a funky piece(s) for their garden at a very reasonable, OKAY!  Cheap price!

Have you found any thing lately that’s fun to tear apart? 

I just love that part.  Why?  I can see how it’s put together.  I can also see the whole piece differently when it’s in parts.  Some times the piece never goes back together.  Some times the parts show me they need to be made into some thing else!  SCHWEET!!!

Hope you enjoyed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great week!

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shelley

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to Make Bird Feeders from Old Porch Lights

Okay!  So, last week I told you I have this giant GIANT mess in my back yard?  I'm trying to clean up stuff and use it as I go.  HUM!  That's not usually how it goes around here.  SO!  Here's one fun thing I made out old porch lights.  You might remember these from an earlier post.


Well, here’s a little ditty on how to make a quick, fun and inexpensive little bird feeder!


This WILL get a little long!  SO!  Bear with me.  There are 3 parts to this. 

First part: gutting the light. 
Second part: mounting the light. 
Third part: making a bottom to hold the seed in.

PART ONE!  Find the lights you like.  The before picture are the lights I bought at a thrift shop for $1.  YES!  That’s ONE DOLLAR each.  These are going to become bird feeders very soon.

Now we are going to tear each light apart.  My favorite part of some thing like this! 

While taking these apart I did each one a little bit different just to see what happens.  It’s okay.  You can do the same thing.  You DO NOT have to follow along with this exactly as I show you here.  If you do a step before I do,,, it’s okay!  If you do the steps out of order ,,, it’s okay!

Pull out the light bulb.

On a couple I took out the light bulb first because there was no glass inside.  In this case ,,, NOT a smart idea.  That was the hard way.  On 2 sides of this light I found a nut.  Once I unscrewed both, the whole bottom part came off making getting the light bulb out much easier. 

Can you see the nut?

Unscrew the nut all the way. 

Next, take the glass or plastic out of the sides of the light.  Mine had a couple lips on the inside that held them in place.  I just yanked and hoped.  Some came out that way, a couple did not.  That’s where I love my hammer!  YEP!  Give it a little smack over a bucket or some paper or some thing that will catch what ever it is that you just broke.  I love that part!  CRASH!

Pull out the glass or plastic.


See that wire inside???
Cut it off! 

YEP!  Just whack it off.  I used a pair of side cutters.  A heavy duty cutter of any kind will work.  They just need to be slim enough to get into that opening.  Don’t even try your scissors.  EEK!  Cutting this would ruin your scissors.  On the back of the light is the rest of the wire.  Pull it out.  Now, in my case, that wire will be used for some thing else.  So, I kept all of it.

Now twist off the ceramic piece that held the light bulb. 

HUM!  Easier said than done huh?  Some of them are tough to get off.  On the back of the light is a nut.  If you can put a wrench or socket on it to hold it in place, then turn the ceramic piece it should come apart.  Or hold the ceramic piece and turn the nut until it comes off.  Some times these are rusted in place.  One of mine was.  By the time I got it apart, it was in many little pieces.  That’s okay.  Just toss it out.

the nut on the back

By the way, I keep 2 five gallon buckets near my work bench all the time.  During projects like this when I have steel I want to throw away, it goes in one bucket.  When I have copper or brass to throw away, it goes in the other bucket.  THEN when they are full, they are ready to go to the metal scraper for cash.

At this point in your project you should have just the bare bones of the light. 

It's naked!

No wire, no sides, no nothin’!  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Place the nuts back on the screws that held the top and bottom together.  Voila, part one done! 

So I decided I wanted to mount these on a piece of wood.  These will be going to a show with me for sale.  So, this will let the buyer mount them easier. 

Soooooo, here we go with PART TWO.

First, I took a long board and got a good look at how this would look when it’s finished.  I also got to measure and figure out the board’s length.  Remember you are going to put 2 screw holes in the board so you can mount it on a fence in your yard.  That means you have to be able to have room between the ends of the bird feeder and where your hand will hold the screwdriver.  Some times when I am not paying enough attention I put that hole UNDER the end of some thing and you can NOT screw in that screw. 

This board is too long.  If I leave room on each end to put the holes where screws will go to hold this onto a fence,,, how much board do I really need???  If you cut yours too long, it's okay!  Better too long, than too short!

I used an old fence board I had laying around in that GIANT mess.  Once Upon a Time I stenciled it with the words: IT ALL BEGAN IN A GARDEN.  Because of the length of this board I cut it into 3 pieces.  I am really hoping some one will buy all 3.

See the holes on each end of the board?  This is where you'll screw the whole thing to your fence.

Now it’s time to drill holes in the fence board where the screws will hold this fun piece to your real fence.  You can do this now or after the whole thing is put together.  It will be easier for most people to do it now.  Nothing will be in your way when you drill.  Either way will work fine!  Mark your holes maybe an inch from each end of the board and close to the center of the board.  Drill a small hole.  Drilling a smaller hole will be what they might call a pilot hole.  It will keep the board from splitting like it could without this hole. 

Was that confusing?  Let’s say your board is 20 inches long and 4 inches wide and it is laying flat, right in front of you.  Start from the left end.  Measure one inch toward the right.  Mark it with a pencil.  At that pencil mark, measure 2 inches from the top towards you.  That is where you want to drill your hole.  Mark it with a black felt pen.  Now measure 19 inches from the left toward the right.  Mark it with a pencil.  At that pencil mark, measure 2 inches from the top towards you.  That is where you want to drill your hole.  Mark it with a black felt pen.   DRILL where your 2 black felt pen marks are!!! 

Look inside the feeder.  See that hole back there. 

That is one of the holes we will use to mount this onto our wood.  Notice how large that hole is?  It’s larger than the top of the screw I will use to mount this.   I’ll show you in a minute what to do.  Piece of cake!
Next we are going to drill another hole.  You will need 2 screws to keep this mounted onto your boards.  SO!  Let’s drill it.

I don’t think you need to worry about exactly how far apart to make your holes.  Just go down a couple inches and drill another hole.  What size hole???  Well, that depends upon your screws.

This wonderful tool

goes every where I go. 

I would be lost with out this.  You can get one of these at any hardware store.  They aren’t cheap (unless you can find a plastic one), but, I save so much time with this.  What happens here?  In this case put one of the screws you will use in a hole. 

Not quite right.

For this hole you want it to go all the way through so the bottom of the screw head is sitting on top of the hole. 

AHHHHH!  Just right!

Now you know exactly what size drill bit you will need.  SCHWEET!!!

When you are finished drilling the new hole, place your feeder on your board.  Center it as good as you can.  Remember to leave room on the top and bottom of your board for the mounting holes if you haven't drilled them yet.  These are the holes where you’ll place a screw through them so these will hang on your fence.  Screw in a screw in the hole you just drilled. 

Tighten this ALMOST all the way.

You can measure and all that.  NOT ME!  Just wing it.  It doesn’t matter if it’s just a tad bit off.  The birds won’t mind.  They’ll be so happy with what they are eating; they’ll just give you a one winged salute.  That’s their way of saying thanks.  It’s better than a one finger salute♥!!!

Now, look at the back of the board. 

See the sides hanging over the edge of the board???  Very close to even on each side.

Is it close enough to being straight???  IF not, move the feeder just a bit.  Close enough!!!!

Next, put in the next screw in the hole that was already there.  Remember how big the hole was?  Find a washer that will fit over the whole hole and will slide on your screw without being really sloppy. 

A little sloppy is okay.  Screw it in!   Then tighten the first screw.

OKAY!  So, your piece is finished except for one small piece. 


YEP!  The bottom of the feeder.  You have a fun feeder, but when you put food in it right now ,,, it falls out!  OOPS! 

Step Three:  You have many choices for this.  I had an old piece of Plexiglas here from a zillion years ago.  I used it.  You could go to your local glass shop where they sell windows and tell them you'd like to buy some Plexiglas and have them cut it for you.  Just be sure to bring in your lights with you.  They would need to measure.  They cut it wrong from your measurements.  TOUGH!  They cut it wrong from their measurements and they have to do it again at their expense!  

I measured the inside of the bottom of the feeder.  Sorry I didn't get better pictures for this part!!!  It was about 2.5 inches across in each direction.  It’s a square hole.  So, I used a ruler to measure 2.5 inches from one side toward the middle of the Plexiglas.  Then I moved down that side a couple inches and did that again.  Then I lined up the ruler from one of those marks to the other mark and drew a line all the way down the Plexiglas.  Then I used a jig saw to cut down the line just on the inside of the line.  I didn’t go right over the line.  I went just on the inside of the line making it just slightly less than my original 2.5 inch measurement.  This way it will fit perfectly.  Then I took that strip and cut 3 squares out of it doing exactly the same thing.  Measure 2.5 inches and cut on the inside of that line.

Plexiglas comes with a sticky, thick paper over it to keep it from harm.  Just peel it off when you are ready to use it.


I placed my squares inside the feeder then hung them on my back fence. 

I'm very happy with these 3!!!

My poor fence is trying desperately to fall over.  My neighbor has hit my fence so many times ... it’s sad.

As you can see,

Can you see the Plexiglas?

Now you can see the Plexiglas!

these are fun. 

Now, these aren’t feeders you can fill with tons of seed and walk away from for a week.  These are more like put a hand full out and come back the next day or even that night and do it again.  I’m thinking I might go back and redo the bottom.  Maybe drill a small hole in the middle of the Plexiglas and put a small bolt through there from the bottom up.  Then I could add a nut on the top to hold it in place.  The bolt would reach up about an inch high and I could place a block of suet on it.  I’m not really sure yet.  I’ll try a couple things then see what the birds like.  Once I figure that out, all 3 will probably get the same finish.  Only time will tell.

I hope you understood all the instructions.  If not, just let me know where I can help you if you’d like to try this. 

It comes down to:  no matter what light fixture you use, you have to tear out the insides and hang it with a bottom that can hold some food. 

I have a couple different lights in the garage I might try doing them too only in a different way.  I’ll see if they are any better.  If so, I’ll post them later!

Thanks so much for checking this out!  I sure appreciate it!!!

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shelley




Monday, September 17, 2012

A Birdhouse and Blue Bottles – SCHWEET!!!

UPDATE 9-18-2013 - plans to make the basic bottle ladder are now available on Etsy - click to see.

Okay!  So, I have this GIANT mess of a back yard.  While going through things, I found sooooooooooooo many goodies I want to start playing with!



I OWE some one a piece of art!!!

What do you think?

ONLY!  This time I added a …


I used to make birdhouses all the time.  The only material I was working with at the time was wood.  I would make a birdhouse out of scrap, recycled wood and then “decorate” each one with a person or a yard in mind.  Through the years many people have received one or more of these little birdie coops and most of them have been lucky enough to get birds to nest there!  Lucky us!!!

FYI ,,,, most birds in my area do NOT use a perch on a birdhouse.  I’ve had numerous birds stay in the birdhouses I’ve kept in my yard and I’ve never seen a single bird use the perch.  They fly directly into the hole.  Some sit on the edge of the hole to look in or out of their house, but, never the perch.  SO, that is why this perch is fairly flat!  Maybe it's because I keep a lot of bent rebar in my gardens and they use that all the time for sitting on.

Part of an old door hinge makes a great perch.

The funky piece of metal over the hole was some thing I found a while back while Joy and I were walking through the alley.  I love finds like this one.  I thought about using it in a piece of jewelry.  It’s heavy.  BUT!  I think a necklace would have been a lot of fun with that.

I do love rust and metal!!!!

The piece at the roof line was a find over in Eastern Washington last spring.

The spoon was added to use as a perch, but, I was hoping it would catch some rain water and the birds would have some water near by. 

The license plates will make the birdhouse too warm.  The reason I added those is because I wasn’t too sure about adding a birdhouse on top of the ladder.  I am not really sure I want to attract birds to this piece.  Reason?  I wasn’t sure how much bird poop would end up on the bottles.  This is a test piece to see how that goes.  I’m sure Nancy will tell me by next year when it’s time to make more for Sorticulture.  Please Nancy!!!

What do you think of the birdhouse on top?   Do you remember the 2 pieces I made for Sorticulture? 

Tell me, PLEASE!!!  Which do you like the best?  Can you think of some thing else that would be fun to try up there???  I was even thinking some thing as simple as a number 1 or a single letter.

Hope you like this one!!!  I’m hoping to post more etsy goodies this week.  PLUS!  If I get off my butt!  I’ll show you a cat house I’m working on.  It started off as a foot stool I found in the alley!

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shelley

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ETSY and the Alley Rat!

Hey ya'all!  How's it going???  I have to tell you a story about my neighbor.  The one who almost got a black eye!!!

The turkey!  Joy and I are walking down the alley and a neighbor says "Hey Alley Rat, how's it going?".  NO!  I didn't hit him.  Although, I really wanted to for a few seconds.  I just cocked an eye brow and said "Pardon me!".  He just laughed.  He said he thinks of alley rats when he sees us walking down the road with our bags full.  Kind of funny?  Sure.  Okay.

SO!  This alley rat finally put 2 whole items on ETSY.  I'll list more things as the weekend approaches.  I used to do a lot of stuff on eBay.  I forgot how time consuming this is.  I'm going to clean out my closets and try starting fresh.  It's a type of fall cleaning for my brain.  If I clean out the closets of stuff that I am finished using or I just don't need any more, it gives me room to find more.  Then my brain gets to go back to work making art with new parts and start fresh.  Make sense?  HUH!  Maybe!  :)

Here's a couple quick pictures of what I've listed. 

Brass Tags

Set of 8 great metal letters.

So!  Do me a favor and check out my etsy page every once in a while.  I have tons to let go, it just takes time.  The first 2 are experiments in listing.  It's a way to see how many mistakes I can make ... tee hee hee!!!

When you try to look me up you'll need to look up SHELLEYHOLM as a shop name.  From The Alley To The Gallery is just too long for them.  OOPS!  I'm going to put the word ART PARTS in the title of a lot of my listings.  Hope to see you there.

I'll try to remember to put pictures of what's new in my etsy shop on the right hand side of this page.  Look just above Joy and you'll find links to those items.  Just click on the picture and it should take you right to that sale.  THANKS!!!

If there is any thing you see on my blog you are interested in buying, just ask.  We might be able to make that happen!!!

OKAY!  Time to do some thing, even if it's wrong! 

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shell