old timer

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Hi guys!!!

Since Thanksgiving I've been busy replacing a fence and cleaning up the yard the fence went around.  EEK!!!  Not a pretty sight!!!

Now, it's time to get ready for a last minute holiday gift show at a local art gallery called  Falala.  The show will be December 14th and 15th.  Click here for more information.  I'll give you more as we get closer to the show too!!!!

I've been so busy I really didn't have any thing to say until a few nights ago when I was on Pinterest!!!  YES!!!  I love Pinterest!!!  You know I do!!!   :)

Well, I found a recipe that sounded really good.  SO!  I made it.  It's AMAZING!!!  The flavor is soooooooooooooo good!!!  It's for a soup called Tortellini Sausage Soup and it's from Mel over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I dropped Mel a note asking permission to put his recipe here for you to try.  I looked at a few more of his recipes too ,,, he's got some real winners over there.  Go check it out!  You will not be disappointed!

Tortellini Sausage Soup

*Note: If zucchini isn't in season, you could easily sub chopped spinach or frozen peas here. Also, if you absolutely can't find apple cider, try apple juice and in a last ditch effort, leave it out (although it does add a delicious hint of unique flavor). Even in my little town, I have been able to find Italian chicken sausage. It is lean, healthy and delicious. You want to look for sausage that is in a casing and is uncooked.

*Serves 4-6

3 links Italian sausage (the kind that is uncooked in casings - see note above)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 onion, diced
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup chopped carrots
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated (no need to peel)
2 tablespoons dried parsley
8-10 ounce package refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini

Remove the casings by slicing down one side of the sausage and peeling the casing back from the sausage. In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until it starts to brown, using a wooden spoon to crumble as it cooks. Add the chopped onion and garlic. Continue cooking until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked through. Drain any excess grease, if needed (alternately, if your sausage is extra lean, you may need to add a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking).

Stir in the chicken broth, apple cider, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, oregano, and basil. Bring the soup to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and parsley simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add the tortellini and cook until tender (usually only a couple of minutes, even when the packages call for 7-9 minutes cooking time, I only cook the tortellini for 4-5 minutes so it doesn't fall apart). Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.


OKAY!  So, I'm one of those cooks, bakers actually, that sees a recipe and has to change it.  You don't need to change a thing here!!!  I got a little lazy and only added one zucchini to this pot of soup because I had a bunch of celery left from Thanksgiving.  So, I added 3 stalks of celery and one medium zucchini.  It was so good!!!!

In my house it's just me, a dog and 2 kitties.  SO!  I should have frozen the rest of this soup that night.  I didn't.  Then I had it the next day for lunch.  I should have frozen the rest right then.  I didn't.  SO!  I had the soup the next evening and my tortellinis were laughing at me.  The were trying to fall apart.  It still tasted great, but, the pasta was past soggy!  OOPS!!! 
I'm pretty sure I'm taking this soup to our family Christmas get together.  It's fast, easy and full of taste!  Give it a try!

Time to get.  I promise to tell you about Falala soon and show you some of what I'm making for it.

Thanks for checking out Mel!!!

Thanks for stopping by and have a good one!  Shell  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am Thank Full!!!

Hi guys!

Just a quick note to say


I am a very lucky woman!

I have a great family!

Wonderful friends!

Purfect cats!

And a wonderful Joy!!!

Plus, I have those of you who have stopped by to say HI!!!

As I said,,, I am ThankFull!

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!


May My Fence R.I.P.

Hi guys!  My poor fence is so old and warn out it finally tried to fall over!  This poor thing is over 20 years old and the way it was put up ,,, well, let's just say the fence builder blew it.  AND!  Now the wind blew it ,,, nearly over!!!  :)

SO!  To get ready to put a new fence up I had to clean out the yard.....!!!!  HELP!  What a mess. 

I'm one of those people who like to do things just once.  SO!  When it comes to a job like this,,, I can't just move some thing out of the way.  I need to clean it, sort it, fix it, then move it.  What a job. 

Because I love to make art with metal and wood - all recycled - I have tons of it laying around in ,,, piles!  By this I mean, if I was in a hurry when I brought it home,,, well, it's still where ever I "threw" it.  Unless of course I used it or tried to use it in some thing I was making.

EEK!  What a mess.  While cleaning, sorting and moving things I found so many things I thought you might like to see.  SO!  Here's a hand full of "crap" from my back yard!!!

Have fun!!!

Yes, all of my panels of old fencing will be in my ... YEP! back yard ... hoping to become a piece of garden art in the near future!

My back yard might be messy!   BUT!   I LOVE IT!!!

A friend said "It's like Disney Land for artists!" 

Hope you enjoyed checking out the crusty stuff.

Do you have stuff like this in your yard???

Did you recognize many of the pictures???  What was that thing, huh???

Have a good one and thanks for stopping by!  Shell

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Check Out This Wonderful Find no, Finds!!!

Howdy! So today I have to show you what I just brought home.

You see last Saturday I took the amazing artist, Amy Duncan, with me to “my” metal recycle center. We goofed off and she got to meet the guys. Love those guys!

You should have seen her eyes. We drive in, she gets out of the truck and she’s instantly wide eyed and in “Ahz“. We walked around a little bit and she got the lay of the land and a glimpse at some of the piles and piles of goodies.

We dumped a nice load of scrap steel and aluminum cans. Ready for this??? In just 2 days Joy and I found 40 pounds of aluminum cans and we netted $16 for that!!! We walked about 10 blocks this time. SCHWEET!!! We left there with $38 for our little truck load. Thank you very much guys.

WELL!!!  Amy and I went over to the steel scrap pile and looked around.  We found a couple little things, not much, but not bad. After that I backed my truck up to the pile and dumped out my scrap.  After that we hit the copper and brass bins.  Amy was back in “AHz” again.  I showed her around the little bins where people first bring in their stuff. Then we hit the big bins. YUM!  Oh she liked what she saw A LOT!  She found a couple more little goodies.  Peek at her blog, she’ll show them to you! Check her out once in a while, no wait, all the time.  She does some really fun and amazing stuff.

Well, we went to leave and I thought before we left I needed to show her where they haul in the cars and trucks that are brought in for scrap.


There it was.

How sweet is she???

Do you remember me talking about an old truck I’d love to put in a garden? Oh, my dream vehicle was right there for the taking. With the price of scrap being so low right now I honestly took the weekend to thing about it.

THINK! HA! That’s putting it mildly. I fretted and fretted over that damn thing!   I told the boys I’d be back in Monday morning to take the doors and here’s what I saw….!!!!

Don’t you just love this old thing???

The dream!

Love the mirror!

I brought the missing mirror home Saturday.

The passenger side has a key hole while the drivers side does not,,, HUM!

Sorry about the pictures. It was raining that nasty rain. The kind that’s more mist than rain. Around here you get soaked in this stuff. It clings to you instead of rolling off you in big drops.

Well, it took me 1 full hour and I finally had to yell for help. There was just no way I could get the doors off.

I took this off while waiting for help.  Isn't it just yummy! 

WELL! One of the guys came over with this very large, gas driven cut off saw. OMG! In less than 1 minute he had the first door hinge off. SCHWEET! Only 2 left to go. I got one off by myself.

After he was done I got to work on the tail gate. Oh what a beauty this one is.

Great tail gate!

Look at this patina.  Love the logo!

I got 5 out of 6 bolts off and the last one was a bear! Some one replaced the old bolt with the wrong type and it was rusted on. I had to ask for help again. I hate it when this happens. BUT! Some times you just have to do what you have to do. PUNT! So, another one of the guys came over and beat the bolt to death with a chisel. VOILA! 30 seconds later he was done. I was in heaven. I think I’m still there!

I just love the 2 doors and tail gate I brought home. I thought about bringing the whole truck home.

Look at her teeth and those eyes!

I wonder what she's seen and what stories she could tell us?

Who and what rode back here???  Love the running boards!

I just had no way to get her home. I didn’t want the engine in it or the tires on it. SO, I knew I made the right decision to leave it there.

BUT ... 

   THEN ....

One of the guys walks up and what does he do??? He offers to tear it apart for me and HAUL it to my house. OMG! What’s a girl to do???

Sorticulture is 7 months away and I already have 3 large pieces to make for the show, while I usually only make 1.  How would I get it from home to the show?


Shoot me now!!!   J

I’ll be very sorry for this later. But, some times even I know I can’t haul it all home. I’m hoping I get lucky enough to find another truck in say,,,, a year??? Cross your fingers for me.

Well, as you can see I had a ball any way. I’m going to do some stenciling on the doors and put a phony landscaping or gardening company on them. I’m thinking I’ll use an old phone number with letters in it. FUN!

Watch for these at Sorticulture, June 7, 8, 9,  2013.

Thanks for stopping by and have a good one! Shell

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Copper, Brass, Steel Wire - Where to Buy It CHEAP!

Hi guys!

So today we need to talk about copper, brass and steel. WIRE that is!

I love copper wire. I use it all the time. I use it in garden art, in jewelry and nearly any thing that hangs. I love the fact that the older it gets, the better it gets! So does brass and steel (if you leave it out to rust), but copper still holds my heart!

The price on copper has gone up so high it hurts to buy it. I have never bought copper wire through a whole sale outfit, but, I’ve bought it in large quantities from companies knowing it was a good deal. YET! It still hurts.

The last copper I bought was 20 gauge from a jewelry warehouse. They changed their supplier and I didn’t notice. IT’S HORRIBLE!!! It’s covered with a thin layer of plastic. NOT NICE!!! It doesn’t say it any where in the literature or on the packaging. What hurt worse? I bought 20 spools in 25 foot lengths. Pay attention Shelley!!! That’s all I could think of after I got it home and was trying to use it! It’s still very usable! BUT! It will never get that old, aged patina on it that I love so much. OOPS!

SO! Here’s an idea. If you’ve read this blog before you know I have a thing about metal recycle centers! OH MY! Do I ever!

About a year ago I stumbled upon one right here by me. It had been there a long time, yet I just never “thought” of a reason to stop in. Then I painted my house. While doing that I asked the painters to help me load up an old metal cabinet in my yard. They did and I drove off to that recycle center. Oh was I surprised when they gave me a $23 check. In other words, that cabinet weighed 230 pounds. They were paying 10 cents a pound for clean scrap steel at the time. WELL! I was so happy I found some more. Then on the next trip, not only did I sell them metal, I found some metal I wanted to buy. YEP! They sell any thing they have there. WELL! Nearly anything. There are a few things, by law, they can not.

On that glorious day I bought a few coils of brass wire at $2.25 a pound. I was so happy and they thought I’d lost my mind. They couldn’t believe any one would want to pay that kind of money for wire!!! WELL! Let me tell you ,,, I WAS OVER THE MOON HAPPY!!!

Since that day I’ve been buying most of my copper wire from them. Before that I was buying large gauge copper at a metal recycler who has a contract with the local phone company. They are called an investment and recovery company. They take any thing the phone company has to get rid of. They go through it and sell most of that to scrap company’s. They used to have a day or two a month when they were open to the public and you could go shopping in a certain area that was full of phones of any type, office furniture and every thing you can imagine a large company has and wants to upgrade.

Well, the copper I was buying from them was large mostly #2 or #6 gauge. They charged me 2 different ways depending upon the grade of the copper. Remember, we are talking wire that was used as a grounding wire for your home phone service or that you find on the side of most utility poles. NOT smaller gauge you could use for most jewelry. The prices were going through the roof for the copper. At one point I had to stop at $4 a pound. It only took a few feet and I was at a pound. OUCH!!!!

When I found my local guys I asked about prices. NICE!!! Here, it’s copper no matter the size or grade! The price goes up and down with the current market. BUT! I have yet to pay more than $3 a pound.

Today! I’m going to show you approximately how much copper, brass and steel wire you can buy for only $3!!!

I PROMISE, if you love copper, you will love this!!!


First let’s look at some copper I bought recently.


Yes, this cost me a fortune. BUT! Not compared to a store front price!



This little bit cost me $24, one week ago, and it's 14 gauge.

This bucket full I bought several months ago at only $2 a pound!  The small coils are 14 gauge and the long "mess" is 20 gauge.

These are the gauges I use to tell what size any wire is.   I worked 25 years outside for power and telephone.

When you insert a wire into the slot, it should fit nicely.   This is 10 gauge wire.

This wire is 14 gauge.

I forget exactly, but I spent about $55 on all this.

Now, let's see how much I paid per foot!!!

Let's measure and weigh this coil.

14 gauge

7 strands that are about 74 inches each strand.

That's 518 inches or 43' 2" total.

I left it in a coil for easier weighing.  It weighs 7.9 ounces.


At last weeks price of $3 per pound and this coil being 1/2 a pound. 

It only cost me $1.50 for 43 feet of 14 gauge copper.

How are we doing so far???  Are you following what I'm saying?  I hope so.  If not, drop me an email!!!! 

Right now I can buy a 250 foot coil, of this same wire, at my local, large hardware store for $85.  That's not too bad.  But, that's 34 cents per foot. 

Go there and you get almost 5 feet of wire for $1.50.

Go to my local recycler and you get 43 feet of that same wire for $1.50.

HUM!!!  I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let's try this again only with steel!!!

This is a coil of wire I bought 2 years ago from the telephone company's investment and recovery contractor.  They get every thing the phone company wants to get rid of.  These guys then take that and part it out, scrap it or sell it to the public.  Their choice.  I love these guys.  I've been going there for 8 to 10 years???  Some thing like that.  They've come a long ways and are easy to deal with.

I've been using this spool off and on this past summer.  It's not full, but close.  This is the wire that holds the telephone cables up in the air between utility poles.  It's either steel or stainless steel.  This roll happens to be steel.  Let's see what it cost me!!! 

OH!  Are you ready to cry???  Don't go any farther until you find a box of Kleenex!!!!  It's okay.  I'll wait for ya!!!

This coil weighs 2 pounds 8 1/2 ounces.

First let me say,,, some one can't add!  OH!  That would be ME!

So, this next bit on steel wire,,, if you read this once, then noticed the footage has changed.  That would be because I oopsed big time!  Sorry!  STILL!  This is an amazing deal.


Trying to figure out exactly how much wire is on here is nearly impossible.  BUT!  I do promise there is a minimum of 400 feet on this coil.  I figured that by weighing the full coil, then weighing 10 individual rounds off that coil.  Each single round was 12.5 inches.  Then I did the math and came up with over 420 feet.  HUM????  Probably.  I retired nearly 5 years ago and I was thinking we ordered these at work in giant rolls of some where around 5000 or 10,000 feet.  DANG!  Wish I still worked there!!!  :)  HA!  I lied!!!!


2 years ago I paid 3 cents per pound for this coil.  I bought a couple.  That's all they had!  You see, this isn't some thing they get in every day.

This whole coil cost me about 10 cents!!!

Today this would have cost me about   30 cents!!!


Okay! Shall we move on to brass wire?

You bet 'cha!

This is a small bit of the 14 gauge brass wire I bought nearly a year ago.

I measured and weighed, in grams, a single coil of the brass wire.

Then I weighed, in grams, these 2 small coils together.

Then I remembered this would weigh enough to look at it in ounces.

So!  Let's see how I did here!!!!  READY???  Smile,  now you know where to find some of this stuff!!!

Now you need to know that the price of brass today and one year ago are different!  YEP!  It's cheaper today!!!! 

Last year it was $2.25 a pound.  This year ,,,, only $2 per pound!  So, I paid too much... :) !!! 


A single coil measured about 16 inches long and there were a little more than 24 coils.  The coils weighed in at 6.6 ounces.  SO!  That's 384 inches plus.   At $2.25 per pound OR 14 cents per ounce... 

I got 32 feet of 14 gauge brass wire for 93 cents!!!

There's a lot more of that here and I'm working on getting some more steel wire!  YUM! 

I go through a lot of wire when I hang things like this!

That's 10 gauge copper running through the middle of all that driftwood and recycled wine and beer bottle glass!
Around here, any thing "beachy" and fun sells!
I hope you get some good ideas on how and where to buy wire at.  I try to make art with affordable prices.  When you're using copper wire than can be hard.  Unless you find a good deal.  Then, every one wins!!!

Do your self a favor and look into any metal recyclers you may have in your area.  If you find one close by, go visit them.  Ask what they have that you can buy.  Then!  Do like I do.  Clean out any thing and every thing you own that's metal and you're ready to get rid of.  Take it in, sell it to them, then buy your new wire with "their" money!

If you've followed the last few weeks of this blog, you know that Joy and I have been picking up aluminum cans just for fun to see how much money there is out there.  WELL!  Between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning Joy and I walked 10 blocks and we now have 2 full 30 gallon trash bags of smashed cans!!!  WEE HAW! 

That should add up to about $14. 

Make that $14 worth of wire!!!  :)

If you need any help or have any questions, please drop me a note!  I'll help in any way I can.

Thanks for stopping by and have a good one! Shelley