Monday, May 23, 2011

Metal Stamped garden picks and decor!

I've been seeing the hand stamped metal jewelry and garden decor all over Etsy and the web and, just like I always do, I said, 'I can do that.'  So I did, lol.  Not only did I get myself into, my 12 yr old daughter's taken a liking to it.  It's super easy to do, and you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for a set of metal stamps.  Did you know that Harbor Freight carries them?  yes, they do!  In 2 different sizes, and they ALWAYS have a 20% off coupon floating around, so you can get a set of 1/4" for less than $10, and a 3/8" set for like $7!  Hobby Lobby carries the latter of the two, as well, and they're the same exact set, for the same exact price.  Next, you need a hammer and a hard surface like an iron block.  The hammer I use has a larger, flatter surface and a peen? however you spell it, lol.  And I use the hubs iron whatever kind of block from his tool junk box (he never uses it anyway).  Next, flatten the spoons, forks, ladles, whatever that you've picked up for a quarter at the junk store.  After that, stamp away. 

This is my creation.  Can you see what it says? lol  'Grow Dammit' lol  The fun part of doing this is that the letters don't have to be straight or lined up right.  It's more fun when they're a bit lopsided and caddywampus.  To get the letters dark, there's several different techniques that folks on the web use, but the most economic way is to use a fine tip Sharpie pen and just write inside the letter's groove.  When stamping the utensil, it's important to keep the stamp straight with the letter flat on the metal surface.  Use the flat side of the hammer to hit it firmly (not wimpy but not extremely hard!) and flat on the stamper's flat top a couple of times.  Many say not to hit it more than once in case your stamper moves, but we're not making heirloom engraved pieces here, we're making fun garden art, so hit it a couple of times and don't worry about it slipping.  It only slips when you don't have a firm grip on it...and you WILL have, won't you?  lol

There's all sorts of things you can stamp on a garden pick like this.  You can choose the basic words like herbal names: oregano, thyme, basil, etc.  Or you can use fun little sayings like I did.  My daughter used 'Farmer Girl.'  How about Queen, King, Prince, Princess.  Or Yin and Yang.  'I know I planted something here' Or even your name, your hubs name, and your anniversary date in the center?  There's so many you can do, choose from, or think of your own.

Then, with your new found talents of metal stamping, you can spread out and do more.  What other fun stuff can you do with letter metal stamping?  How about fun dog tags?  they're not just for pets anymore!  Use them as luggage tags, necklaces and other great things!  This is one that I made for my oldest:

Funky, eh?  That's what makes it cool!  She has it on a black cord with a silver peace sign.  As you can see, I used two different sized letters.  You can get these steel dog tag blanks at Hobby Lobby for a couple of bucks for a few in a pkg, or grab some aluminum dog tags at Oriental Trading! 

You can also use them to make serving utensil more fun and whimsical, or as a gift, along with some beads and wire, and you're done:

Or the ever-so popular initial necklaces.  I've made a few, but didn't take any pics of them, they were gifts.  But they're like these:
You can add a charm or bead/stone drop like the one in the photo, or leave it plain. 

There's so much you can do with your new set of metal stamp set.  You can pick up customized symbol stamps, like birds, music notes, and millions more, on the net (ebay, etsy, amazon, etc), but they can get pricey, as well as other fonts for letter, which can be VERY pricey, but starting out on the more less expensive versions are great for practice AND on the wallet!  What have YOU made with your metal stamps?  I'd love to see it!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My beautiful white Rhododendron and Red Cinnamon rose!

THIS beautiful flower is what my youngest (12 yr old) daughter got me for Mother's Day.  I've never owned a Rhododendron before so I've had to study up on them.  This particular one is a County of York variety, which is a hybrid, and I've learned it can grow up to 18 FEET!  Holy COW!  I've never known a flower to be able to grow that big!  Did you?  do any of you own one of these types of rhodies, a County of York?  does it actually get that tall and how much does it grow each year?  I'm so curious.  The hubs and I relocated a 2nd yr bush rose the other day that's at the side of the house (the opposite side of the cranky old man) where it should get the required amt of shade and sun, near the newly attached and working rain barrel (remember, it's the one that we bought over a yr ago? lol  I got him to finally hook it up as a Mother's Day gift).  Next to that, I'm planting 2 Japanese ferns.  These ferns don't mind cold weather at all, thankfully, and will survive down to about 25 below if needed, so they're perfect for the midwest.  I've told my youngest that she's given me a challenge, for I have no idea about rhodies, but that's a good thing, it keeps my gardening brain spinning. The white in this flower is stark, shining bright, solid WHITE!  Whiter than my white heirloom rose even.  Astounding.  And, I have to water it each day!  It literally takes a LOT of water.  I've put an aqua-globe in it, but it drains it each day, so it doesn't matter if I do that or water it by hand.

Now, look at THIS beauty:

THIS is a Cinnamon Girl miniature rose, that stands at about 24".  THIS is what my oldest (17 yr old) daughter gave me for Mother's Day.  This photo really doesn't do this rose justice.  I've GOT to get this girl planted because I just can't wait to watch her flourish.  We'll be working on the garden extention hopefully next weekend.  This rose will be along the fenceline of the new extension, as I have other roses along the fenceline of the current garden space.  The roses I have now are longstem roses, one read, one pink, and 2 newly planted roses that have not established yet, but are in the pink family.  When asked, my daughter said she picked this rose because it was a color unlike any that I have, and she's right.  The creamy centers pop out at you like nothing you can imagine.  Breathtaking.

I just had to share my Mother's Day gifts with everyone, I knew you'd enjoy seeing them.  I know it's been a couple of weeks since then, but I've been a bit behind on everything.  But no worries, I've not forgotten about my Lavender Cove, blog, eBay, OR Etsy.  It'going strong, and the latter two will be up and running soon.

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