Category Archives: Project

Dead Tree Living

I decided to put my dead tree on the landing. The tree base is quickrete. I made a mobile platform with recycled metal and wheels. Today I had the joy of standing in the blazing sun and putting a clear finish on the colorfully painted limbs of the tree. Those aren’t real birds perched on the limbs and blue nest. At least, I don’t think so. Given the temperament of the squirrels around here, I fully expect to exit my apartment and find a squirrel’s nest on the tree at some point.


I got a surprise when I came home today. A friend put a butterfly brooch out for Larkma, my resident sprite/fairy. It took me a while to know who it was. She can “out” herself if she wishes to. Doing so means that she willingly encourages this never-ending project I have going. I am even more tickled that more than one person in the last week has told me to keep on going with the art. (And also that people have taken the time to leave art offerings and whatnots to add to my wild collection.) Whether it is art is purely subjective.

As I stood out by the Gregg Street fence adding more tile patterns this afternoon, two Latino males were waiting at the light. The driver honked. As I turned, he gave me a big thumbs up. When I walked back into the parking lot, two neighbors at the end went out of their way to enthusiastically tell me that they love the color and jumble of it all. “Are they paying you?” one of them asked. I said, “No, but I didn’t ask for permission, either.” The other said, “It’s crazy and beautiful. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

I said a prayer for them both because neither has any idea how far I might go with this.

Love, X

Sawing Away The Morning

“Vengeance is mine,” sayeth the dude wielding the saw! My arm is still sore from yesterday’s antics – so I channeled that into a declaration of sawing this morning.

I started by the street near Gregg, cutting away limbs that my neighbors and visitors need to fear as they park. X:1, Limbs:0. One dumb thing I did was to saw and saw at a hard vine. After about twenty seconds, I realized that it was an ancient WIRE hanging with the limbs and vines. Any credit I get is lessened by that and also serves as further proof that I am not the brightest bulb.

I awoke to a high school friend posting on my timeline. She was visiting from Minnesota and took the time to drive by and see my decorative craziness. My only regret is that I don’t have every square inch of everything covered with color and nonsense. When I looked it up online, I realized that Minnesotans are legally obligated to NOT be frivolous. They aren’t even allowed to put both mustard and ketchup on a hamburger on the off chance they might like it. Just kidding. I think.

When I was by the street cutting limbs over my neighbor’s vehicles, the ones that precariously hang and annoy them, my neighbor Tobey walked by with his pitbull. I chased that dog until he couldn’t frolic. As the excursion train neared, I asked Tobey if he’d stand by the curb and Gump wave with me. Shockingly, he declined, indicating he didn’t like the trains and the noise that accompany them. I have NO choice except to purchase a 12V air horn from Amazon now, one I can remotely trigger. I think I’ll place it artfully in the trees out there, the ones I climb sometimes. He will lose his mind wondering why the frequency of the trains has multiplied exponentially. Honestly, I’ve thought about it before. Now, it seems like a MUST. I will claim it is for security as a way to warn would-be miscreants and malefactors if I spot them. If they ever finish the house they are building next door, I calculate the horn would be less than five feet from some of their windows. That makes me laugh: “buyer’s remorse” in action.

I worked in the back this morning too, clearing out a huge section of fence and limbs. A truck can drive around now, whether it’s an electric service vehicle or ice cream truck is up to the universe. So far, the landlords have not removed any of the tons of limbs and fences I’ve piled back there. A bonfire seems to be more and more likely, especially if one of the neighbors who smoke tosses a butt in there one summer evening.  I cleared out some more of the contents of what I refer to as the Drug Shed. That thing is definitely coming down at some point. I banged on it before going inside. Copperheads love the back corner of that thing. I’m not needlessly scared of snakes. (I work with middle managers every day.) I’d prefer to avoid snakebites, though, both at work and back in the Drug Shed. There are black snakes back there too, ones that probably miss the jungle-like atmosphere that existed prior to me turning my attention to clearing it.

When I needed a break, I sat at the bottom of the stairs and let another neighbor’s dog maul me with happiness. I was filthy already, so it didn’t seem to be an issue. The dog had no objections. My cat Güino, however, registered his disapproval loudly when I went inside and picked him up. His fur stood straighter than a sinner’s back in church. I was going to just burn my stinky clothes but then remembered that I have to pay for clothing or become a nudist. I tried that before and the screaming made it hard for me to relax in public.

My pictures are literal thirst (instead of thirst trap) pictures because it was already hotter than a rugby player’s nether regions. I don’t want anyone to think I’m posting to be provocative. Unless a cannibal sees them and thinks I’d be great grilled. If you don’t know what a thirst trap picture is, just imagine that one social media friend you have who shows more cleavage than a brassiere convention.

I made another table using discarded parts. Again, I controlled myself and didn’t paint any of it. I had to lie down for an hour to control my urge to do so. I ate a box of crayons and the feeling passed. Literally.

PS That’s tree corpse residue aka sawdust all over in a couple of the pictures, not dandruff. Legend has it that one must have hair to have dandruff. That’s a good thing because I’ve not used anything except bar soap to wash my head since I was 20ish. Yes, I purloin all my soap from bars. Lord knows that the typical bar patron doesn’t use soap, so it’s not missed.

PPS A joke a keep forgetting to post: you know your neighborhood is iffy if the ice cream doesn’t drive by and annoy you. To which I’d add: the cost of armor-plating ice cream trucks is cost-prohibitive. Also, this place is getting surrounded by new development on this side of Gregg. Displacement is inevitable. If you drive by and see a crater, you will know why.

PPPS The average password keeps people from accessing your accounts. In my experience, I’ve learned that it also keeps most of the actual account holders out of them, too. 

PPPPS I heard something yesterday that I’ve heard before but it struck me as insightful this time: insurance is a reverse lottery because it pays only when you’ve already been unlucky. Bonus idea: If you have a foot fetish, sandals are lingerie.

A friend asked me to post the two unwritten rules for life.

Here they are:



You’re welcome!

Love, X


Limb Revenge

No pain no gain is a terrible cliché. I was cutting a limb high above my head. It must have been dead inside because it snapped unexpectedly and flipped. Because I had darn near put an eye out the other morning at work, my reflexes kicked in to protect my head. Which is foolish because I obviously don’t use it well. I had two major head traumas when I was a kid. Those couldn’t have been too bad because I still vote liberal. That’s supposed to be funny, all you politicos out there! I will be on the lookout for manholes without covers – and Baptist preachers… Sorry, that’s another joke. Please don’t tell me to be careful, because stupid people don’t heed that advice and cautious people don’t need it. I think it’s pretty obvious which camp I’m affiliated with.

PS I’ve decided that the bushes and trees at that horrible backyard at my apartment were plotting their revenge all along. I’ve got it down to the bare bones back there and my neighbors have even started doing social activities back there. So, it’s been worth it.

Dead Trees Everywhere!

I made another “dead” tree project. This one is made from ten different trees. I drilled holes for each branch and limb and then painted them one by one. The color is more vivid than it appears in my poor photo attempt. It’s not quite finished because it doesn’t have any nests in it. Of course.

I’m not too concerned about the birds pooping on it. The neighbors? That is possible.

Instead of using a bucket, I used a nice cooking stock pot, filled with quikrete, just to make it unwieldy to carry around.

I put it to the right of my tile art on the front fence.

It didn’t occur to me that it’s pride month when I made this one.

Doing these trees make me picture doing an entire grove of them. If I visit your house and your big stock pots are missing, just pretend you don’t know where they went, okay? Besides, imagine what it would sound like if you called the police to report, “X stole my pot.”


Rebuilt Desk

I rescued a desk that was broken. I disassembled it and brought the side supports home. (Although the idea of a broken desk strapped to the top of my little bitty car amuses me.)

I got a great quality top and lightly sanded it, then put a clear coat on it… instead of an outlandish color. The stripped down version is amazingly minimalist. The large x on both ends is all the flair it needs. I somehow resisted painting the side supports too. As a non-recovered paint addict, this was very tough for me.

More Projects Finished

I finished the child’s rocking chair project. It was a very old one that had been in use for a long time. I put new screws in it and shaved down some of the dowels, glued them, and then sanded until I was sick of it. Instead of crazy color, I used lacquer black. Because I decided to give it to a neighbor’s little boy, I painted his name on the back. I surprised the dad with it this morning. I love the idea that it’s an old chair, sat on by hundreds of children. Then discarded and rescued. Everyone needs a rocking chair. (Except maybe for those with hemorrhoids and skittish cats. Probably includes people with cats with hemorrhoids, too.)

On the new section of the fence facing Gregg, I painted a series of sizes and colors of hexagon tiles and made a spiral pattern with them. The picture is not great because it is hotter than a demon’s right buttcheek out there and the sun blinded me as I snapped a photo. I made a pattern to make each spiral exact. After starting, I did what I usually do and decided that I like asymmetrical much better and opted to wing it and let them harden regardless of spacing and orientation. Having finished it, I would like to say it didn’t take much time to do. It did, however. Now the passersby have another design to stare at as they whiz by on their way to whatever and wherever.

Love, X

Dead Tree Project Nest

I added a dozen more limbs to my dead tree project.

I thought about making a fake bird nest to perch inside it. I didn’t want to buy an artificial one.

Today, I made a quick getaway at work to walk down to the creek. I’m lucky to be so close to such a place of serenity.

On the Appleby bridge above Scull creek, I found a perfectly-preserved nest in the road. That it hadn’t been damaged by traffic was a surprise. I took it inside with me and brought it home.

As I painted tiles this afternoon, I painted the nest a vivid blue, which is rapidly becoming my favorite decorative color. I gave silent thanks to the birds that spent countless hours carefully constructing it. Their loss will become a part of my art project. It fits perfectly with the theme of bringing something dead back to life.

It’s odd that yesterday afternoon I was thinking about what to make a bird’s nest from. And voila, magic, one appeared in a place that it had no reason to be. (“Voila” is actually two words in French, meaning to ‘look there.’ I’m glad I did.)

I am still amazed that things just appear in my life when I’m not looking. There’s hope for me yet.

Don’t be confused by the door in the background. That’s how my pixie/fairy gets into the apartment. It’s not a full-size door.

Love, X

3 a.m. DIY Lights

There’s nothing quite like wiring a DIY light kit using liquor bottles at 3 a.m. On the fly. The cat thinks I’ve lost my mind. The colors are much more vivid than they seem. I’m using my “Don’t Do Meth In Our Bathroom” candle to melt wax to hold the tiny microwire leads in place. It doesn’t smell like meth, though. Not that anyone would notice around here. Half-jokingly, I’d add that meth or marijuana might be the essence of spring, given how both smells seem to compete with the mountains of pollen accumulating everywhere.

The mason jars are regular solar lights I converted into mason jar solar lanterns. They were originally home to some of the best homemade salsa I had in a long time. You can’t see my fence in the background, but I added several more tiles to the mix. I think I have three dozen installed on the fence now, a variety of colors and sizes. Anyone allergic to gaudy color is gonna have a bad time here.

I was accused of not having enough color around here, so I thought I’d repurpose my strings of outdoor lights to make the bottles. I love solar lanterns – but nothing beats the consistency of electricity to power the magic of light in a place that desperately needs more to remind the inhabitants that a place is as good as you make it.

There’s a metaphor for life somewhere in all that.

Love, X

Law of Increments In Action

I worked more on the horrible back of the apartment simplex. When it started raining, I kept going because it felt luxurious to be cooled by it. I was covered in mud and grime anyway. I have one more section of the 25′-30′ side alley that I can fill. I think it will be big enough to finish the entire stretch in the back. It’s unfathomable that I’m this close to finishing, considering how it looked when I started. The law of increments in action is something that is satisfying. That I did it all with a handsaw astonishes me. I’m certain that the landlords are going to be tired just imagining hauling it all away – assuming they ever do. And if they don’t, I’m scheduling a huge bonfire for May 7th.