old timer

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fireman Boots for Your Garden

Hi!  Look what Joy and I found on our walk the other day!!!




A pair of little boy’s boots were on top of some one’s garbage can waiting for us to come by and scoop them up!   

We did!

These little guys are always fun to plant with hens and chicks or some other hanging, sprawling plant.

These will be at the garden show called Sorticulture in June of 2013. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!  Shelley

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Recycle Center, the Pickup, the Girl … A Love Story!


It is too!!!! 

I’m totally in love with my neighborhood metal recycle center!  What can I say?  They bring in the coolest stuff.  Well, coolest, broken stuff for me to bring drag home!!!!

I was in there the other day and hung out for a while, chatting with the workers and a few of the people who brought in their metal to sell.  I had a ball.  Most of these people are the nicest you will ever meet!!!

After a while, we’re only talking 30 minutes or so, I was done and ready to leave when I remembered there was a “new” truck in where the vehicles go to death row.  J  CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!!!!  SQUISH, SQUISH, SQUISH!!!


There it was!!! 


I’m not kidding! 
The front and the cut off fenders!

The truck of my dreams!!! 

What a mess.  She looks like a beast now, but, she could be a real beauty in your garden!




I really mean dreams too.  It’s that nasty, vintage, crustic truck that you just have to have in the middle of a nice sized garden. 

In my dreams, this truck has tons and tons of flowers.  The hood on the truck is raised and the flowers are spilling out all over the rest of the garden.  Both fenders have holes in them where a shallow fused glass bowl sits and it’s filled with sugar water for the butterflies!   The cab is filled with wild grasses that wave when the wind blows.  On top of the cab is a small windmill and its turning as the wind teases its blades.  The truck bed is full of climbing, flowering vines that are spilling out of the bed or growing up and over the cab.  There are at least 6 bird houses of different heights coming out of the bed of flowers.  Each house is a different color and style and has old brass spikes coming out of their posts for the vines to grow up.  There are these bent pieces of wavy rebar sticking out from the end of the truck bed.  They are bent so they go out past the bed of the truck and the vines can grow on those too.  It looks like the truck is driving down the road and the vines are blowing in the wind!   

OH MY!!! 

It has blown glass headlights, fused glass windows all around the cab and stained glass tail lights.  The outside mirrors are mosaiced with funky, old coffee mugs attached at the bottoms.   The mug on the driver’s side is full of bird seed.  The mug on the passenger’s side is full of water.  Then there’s this long line up of birds just waiting to get to both.   The birds are all over the truck singing about how happy they are to have such a wonderful place to vacation.

Think of all the butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, bees, birds and small animals this would bring in!!!  Oh what fun!  I do love making garden art and this truck is a winner!!!!



I have no way to get this truck home.   AND, what made me KNOW I had to leave it ,,,,,, the front bumpers have been cut off!  DARN!  Oh ,,, wait!  Thank goodness! 


SO!  I brought home the seat. 

Yes I did! 


It’s awesome,,, it’s amazing,,, it’s craptastic!!!

Don't you just love springs and burlap???

This would make a great business card!

It will take just a short time to remove the old upholstery and batting.  The burlap I will leave in there.  Then I’ll make new sides for it with some type of metal hardware cloth.  I’ll also make a new bottom for it from probably the same thing.  I’ll “sew” them together with wire. 


I’ll plant the bottom with moss and vines.  What I want them to do is climb up the back and become one permanent, perennial flower garden.  You’ll just drop it into your garden where ever you would like it and you are done!  SCHWEET!!!

I do love to make garden art.  It is, by far, my favorite subject to make.

I hope you enjoyed this funky little piece and my idea of a fun piece of garden art.  Watch for the finished piece in May or June of 2013.  This will be at the garden show called Sorticulture. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!  Shelley

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Alley Finds and Cash For My Aluminum Cans

Hi guys!  WELL!!!  First let me say, WOW!  Okay!  Now I feel better.   Joy and I have had a great week so far. 

Look what we found in the alley!!!

Sweet little red metal folding chair.  It's just waiting for my plasma cutter to cut a design in the back and the seat.

The outhouse sign?  YEP!  I have an outhouse in my back yard.  My stepfather made it for me and I put garden tools in it.  There's room, as there is no seat inside!  You might call it a no-holer!

Joy and I also found this sweet little table that is in excellent shape and a great shade of yellow!!!

Joy helping me out!  I think she carried one end of the table!  :) 

This color isn't very good.  The first picture is the real color.

Under her skirt.

We had some luck finding both of those pieces!!!  They will be at Sorticulture! 

Today, Joy and I took a FULL

I'm not very good at smashing them!   :)'

30 gallon trash bag of smashed pop and beer cans to the metal recycler. 

I can just barely tie this!



They were kind enough to send me home with .... 

Wait for it!!!!




$12!!!  Okay!  So, some of you don't think $12 is a big deal.  BUT!  Here's the real deal.......

Joy, the wonder dog, and I go walking every day and I constantly see aluminum cans every where.  They just sit there waiting for some one to make a little money from them. 

There is a father and daughter (team?) who come by once a week and pick them up.  They usually have 30 gallon bags full and they can just barely carry all the cans they get.  Well, they never pick them up on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings and Wednesday around my neighborhood is garbage day.  Lately I've noticed no one is picking up the cans at all. 

So, Joy and I (Hey!  Joy made me do it!  LOL!) decided to try picking them up on just Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.  EEK! 

We usually walk around 12 to 15 blocks, 1 to 1 1/2 miles.  Tuesday night we only got 1 block from our house and had to take 6 plastic grocery bags back home and start over!  SO!  We walked 4 blocks from home, because that's where I've seen most of the cans,  and started picking them up and walking towards home.  WELL!  We got 2 blocks and had to bring home 7 or 8 plastic grocery bags full.  I wasn't smart enough yet to bring bigger bags!  We brought those home and walked back to where we had left off.  We finished, tossed them in the back yard and we both crashed (after washing my hands 2 times!).  It was messy and fun.  I got more exercise bending over and over and over and over and,,,, you get it.  Less walking?  BARELY!  

Now that was only Tuesday night and only 1/4 of our normal walk!  SO!  Wednesday morning we set off in a different direction.  We only went 2 blocks and had a total of 10 plastic grocery bags full.  That was enough for us.  I spent about 1/2 hour smashing the cans with both cats on harnesses and leashes chasing the cans around!!!  That was a riot!  Joy was busy chasing the squirrels up a tree and not letting them down.  What a goofy day!

That was last week.  This week we tried again.  Only this time we went out way too early Tuesday night and most of the cans weren't out yet.  SO!  We tried one more time later and still only caught a few in those same 6 blocks.

We were going to leave early this morning to see how many we could find and I goofed!  I answered the phone.  30 minutes later we left and the garbage man chased us down the road in his truck.  It was fun!  We only went 2 blocks and still managed to bring home 5 plastic bags full.

Now, between those 4 days we filled that garbage bag and they paid us $12 for it.  Not bad for just a little work and a lot of exercise!!!  I honestly don't know if I can walk down the street carrying several 30 gallon trash bags filled with cans and walk the dog at the same time.  I'm not even sure if I want to do that.  I do know, I'm going to find the 2 people who were doing it before and see if they still are.  If they are, I'll only do this close to home and only on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.  If they are not doing it any more.  I might just think about doing the full 1 1/2 mile route we walk.  There's a lot of money to be made with a little hard work and a lot of exercise.  I know I could use both!!!

Hope you got a kick out of our walks and cans!!!  We had fun and that's what life is all about!

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shelley

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to Shop or Sell at a Metal Recycler - PART 1


SO!  You’ve seen people, like me, who buy and sell at metal recycle shops all over the world. 


Have you ever wondered if there is any money to be made or any scores to be brought home???  I’m sure most of you have.  If you are reading my blog you have a “thing” about junk, crap and great stuff!!!  I know I do.  For me it’s the hunt.  It’s finding that “junk” that I just have to have. 

SO!  I was wondering how many of you know how to go about selling your stuff through a metal recycler?   When you look around your yard, your garage, maybe a shed or even the inside of your home … what do you see?  Items you would like to get rid of???  If you are like me you’ve had the thrift shops coming by to pick up your stuff or you’ve dropped your stuff off at one of the many boxes or transfer stations, like the Goodwill, out there just waiting for your amazing goodies!

WELL…  here’s a little bit on what you might look for to sell to a metal recycler and how to do just that.   Remember - if it's metal - you can recycle it here!!!

FIRST!  Find a recycler that is close to your home.  I have a few around here that will buy my stuff.  When I consider the cost to drive a heavier than normal load in my truck to the dealer farthest away, I have to consider the gas mileage I will get.  Then I have to know the price they are paying today, the day I am bringing in my stuff. 

This is the price board you should see some where in the office.  This is old, the prices may be completely different today!

You see these prices can change daily.  Most of the time the prices are within pennies of each other so I know if I go too far, it will cost me more in gas.  Not worth the drive then.  

Second!  You need to learn your metals and how the recycler you pick takes that metal.  Let’s look at a beer or soda can.  Right now the place farthest away from me is paying 3 cents higher, per pound, than the recycler one mile from my house.  HUM!  3 cents might not be much, unless, I’m going that way already.  By the time I get a big load ready it could mean as much as $5 more.  So, why not wait and go there?  While my closest guy lets me bring my cans in whole, the guy down the road makes me smash them.  That’s a lot of extra work.  Do I want to do that?  It’s messy, stinky and who knows what that can has had in it before you brought it home.  HUM????


Third!   You need to know that most places will pay extra for motors.  Like your microwave, blender or mixer.  Inside that motor is copper.   Keep them separate from the rest of your load.  If you drop off small fire extinguishers, they are made of aluminum which gets you more money, but, you have to empty out the contents and knock the tops off.  Do you want to do that?

Fourth!  Brass, aluminum, copper, steel and stainless steel all have more than one way to turn them in.  There is what they call clean.  Think copper here, the copper you would use inside your house we call electrical wire.  If you take the recycler copper that is still inside a jacket of some type, you will get less money for it.  If you took that jacket off the copper you would get more money for it.  They call that bare copper - clean.  First you need to know the difference in the price they will give you.  Then you need to know if it is worth your time to remove that jacket.  Most of the time, NOPE!  Most of us only have a little bit of wire to bring in.

Don’t worry!  This is not all that complicated.  Just a few things to know before you get there the first time so you can make more money.  Most of these places will NOT tell you this!  My guys by me will!  I love “my” guys!

Okay!  Let’s load your vehicle!!!

My truck ready to go to recycle center!

Every thing you see here was found in the alleys.

The fire extinguisher is aluminum, the wire is coated or dirty copper, every thing else is considered scrap.

Joy and I found this about 3/4 mile from our house in an alley.

This is worth about 50 cents (OOPS!) $5 and not worth a trip in by itself.  So, the owner put it in the alley for some one who is taking a bigger load in.  Thanks!!!

Now you need to load your vehicle so you can easily take out any thing that will be weighed on a smaller scale than the one you will eventually drive your vehicle on.

This will get weighed by itself.

Next to me they take everything, except scrap steel and junk, and weigh it on a small scale. 

Ready, set, drive!!! 

Drive to the recycler of your choice. 

This is what I see when I drive into my neighborhood recycle center!

Some times I find it best just to drive up to the office and ask them what to do.  I did that the first time I went into my local guys.  They were so busy I couldn’t believe it.  BUT!  Two different guys took the time and told me a lot about what I could do and how to do it.  To me!  This is the best way to go!!!!

By now you should be giving some one your copper, aluminum, brass or motors. 

The green bucket is full of copper and brass.  These will get weighed on a small scale.

They will weigh it for you by the type of metal it is.   They will tally up your totals and give that to the person in the office.

Then it’s time for you to drive your vehicle onto a large weigh scale. 

After you have driven you vehicle completely onto the scale ,,,  stop! 

That's grandpa behind the wheel!

Some place they have a light and a scale you can read.  The guys by me turn on a green light to tell you that they have weighed your vehicle loaded with your goodies and you can move off the scale. 

The scale will tell you how much it weighed.  Now, unload your vehicle. 

This guy has a dump on his truck!  SCHWEET!
Yes, some one brought that boat in for scrap!

When you are done, drive back over to the weigh scale and stop after you are completely on the scale.  Wait for the green light, check the weight and then drive over to the office.  Can you see the difference in the amount your vehicle weighed?  Some times it’s a very nice surprise!

At this point all your work is done.  Now, the person in the office will ask you for ID.  They need to put you into their system AND check you out.  If you are on a list that says you have a problem some place you will NOT be able to sell your stuff to them.  There is a list (from other recyclers and pawn shops) letting them know if you have been in trouble with the law selling stolen items.  OOPS!  Some times things happen and that’s the way it goes. 

Once you have gotten into their system they will pay you.  Some pay cash, some pay with checks.  That’s up to the dealer.

Now, smile at the nice person who just paid you to take them your garbage!  Wasn’t that nice of them?  I always think it is!  Otherwise my local garbage collector would be getting most of this and I have to pay them to take it away.  The difference?  You already have to do the work.  You have to take out the garbage.  Why not put it in your vehicle and drive it some place and take their money?  I love to!

The first time I did this I was getting rid of an old steel cabinet.  After I got done and went into the office the guy gave me $23!  That cabinet was 230 pounds of steel, clean steel.  I was a very happy lady!  This was well worth my time.  It took 2 minutes to load it into my truck.  About 5 minutes to weigh my truck, dump off the cabinet then reweigh my truck.  $23 was better than letting some one else haul it away!

Some day if you would really like to try this ,,, start with aluminum cans.  It’s the easiest and pays very well, if you ask me.  You can call ahead to the place you are taking them and ask them if you need to crush the cans.  If you don’t need to crush them great, if you do, stomp away!   They smash easy!  I figure there are approximately 30 to 35 cans in a pound.  I tried this last week for the first time.  I filled a 30 gallon trash bag ¼ full with crushed cans. 

Not very many cans,,,, yet we got $5 for this! 
We'll try it again soon!

It was $5!  Joy and I were on our normal walk and picked up the cans in only 6 blocks down our alley.  Not bad for just bending over on our short trip.  We usually walk about 12 blocks but my hands were over flowing with plastic bags full of stinky cans!  J   Next time I take them in, I’m going to make sure the bag is full! 

If you decide to pull cans from other people’s garbage… PLEASE be carefull.  You need to realize there are some dangers in doing this!  I find a lot of hypodermic needles on the ground in the alleys!  By that, I mean a dozen or so a year.  If one of those was in a garbage can and you poked your self with it, you could be in some serious trouble.  I put my self at risk doing some of what I do.  BUT!  I know my neighbors pretty good.  I know who lives in the houses I take stuff from.  I know of a couple cans I will not touch!  I know who lives there and their life styles.  Their life style is their business ,,, but my health is my business.  Better safe, than sorry!

I hope this helps you to understand how to sell your metal junk to a scrap dealer.  It’s relatively easy.  It’s just a little scary the first time!  Give it a try and let me know how your trip went!  It’s fun!  AND!  I have to say, I meet some wonderful people there.  I’ll tell you about some of them another time.

Thanks to Everett Recycling for letting me take a few pictures.  If you are in my area,,, stop on by and see "my guys".  They are great!

If you have any questions just drop me a note and I'll help you as much as I can!!!
Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shelley

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

SCORE! A Great Alley Find!

Look at this sweet baby! 

My oh My!!!

Joy and I were walking down the alley, a little earlier this summer, and we found her next to a fence.  My neighbors were cleaning out their garage that sits on the alley.  I talked to them quite often over the last year or so.  I’m sad to say they were cleaning because they were moving.  They were always really nice!  They were car mechanics and they loved to leave out their scrap metal for me and any one else who came by to pick it up.  Darn!  I’ll miss them and their wonderful junk!

I asked them if they wanted to get rid of their bench.  I was very surprised when they said yes!  MAN!  What a great work bench for my back yard.  I walked Joy home and we came back with the truck.  They helped me load it into the truck and Joy and I took off for home.  I’m not sure who was smiling more,,, me or the neighbor.  He got rid of some thing he didn’t want to take with him and I got this very sturdy bench!  SCORE!!! 

This bench will be my work horse for the next few years!

Now you see it,

Now you don't!

Plug in outlets on one end, on/off switches on the
other!  NICE!  Just add power!

Needs a new top!  Easy to fix!

The back board is in sad shape.  I'll replace it later.

From the back you can see the shelf under the table.

She's about 6 feet long and nearly 3 feet wide. 

Trust me when I say this is solidly built.  It took every thing I had to get this out of the back of the truck and into my yard by myself!  It's HEAVY!!!  BUT!  She's well worth it.  This will make life so much easier when I'm building nearly any thing!!! 


Today Joy and I found several license plates in the alley.  We brought them home and quickly made 3 very simple bird houses for our neighbor kids.   Yes, we used the work bench when nailing these together!

They’ll love them. 

Notice there is NO number 1???  I wanted to make sure they didn’t get a chance at fighting over being number 1.  I do believe know my kids would have.  I was just hoping this might save a small argument.

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shelley