My new paved corner!

Last summer I was casting oriental paver stones like crazy. This summer I have finished the paving and built a nice working bench.

First I removed the grass from the area and filled it in with fine-grained gravel to get a flat smooth base to put my stones on.

Then I started to fill up the area with my beautiful stones. This went fast but I lacked five stones in the end and had to cast them to be able to finish it.

To keep the stones at the edges from sliding, I hammered down some rebars all around. I also put extra rebars outside the paving to reinforce the string of concrete I put around the edges to even out the level between the grass and the paving.

Now I wanted to build a working bench. I edited a drawing that I found on the net and started sawing up the wood I needed for this. After removing all the saw dust from all over me, I finally could start building. This was fun and I’m amazed that everything fitted without modification, except for the hole for the sink!

I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

/Monica

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My big concrete ball

Two years ago I wanted to try making a huge concrete ball by using a Pilates ball that I covered with concrete-soaked pieces of terry towels. After covering it with several layers of towels I put on just concrete and tried to get the surface as smooth as possible. I left an area in the bottom uncovered so I could remove the Pilates ball.

At first I didn’t know what to make of the big ball, but after some thoughts, an idea began to emerge. I wanted to make a big face on it!

It is not easy to shape concrete freely, but it is possible! You can just do a little area at a time and let it settle before you put on more and also make sure to turn the ball so that the concrete does not start to slide. It takes layer after layer to build up the shape. The ears where hardest to make.

It’s fun to make free form concrete but it takes much longer time to make a finished item than using moulds. I will also make feet for it. It will be a big head with feet! Ha ha!

Now I had to decide where to put it. The best place was not far from where I made it, only four meters away but then there is a staircase in between. The head is huge and it’s heavy, 65 cm in diameter and it weighs just over 70 kilos. We had to drag it around the whole garden instead!

Now it has been in the garden for two years and the colours has faded a little since I made it, but that is easy to restore. During winters I just put on a small tarpaulin as protection.

Maybe I will make a hat for him also!

/Monica

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I love salmon

I often buy lot’s of salmon when I can find it at a good price. I love fried salmon seasoned with salt and black pepper. To this I serve oven-fried sweet potatoes seasoned with rosemary, salt, black pepper, garlic and a little olive oil. A good salad and hollandaise sauce goes perfectly to this.

Cured salmon

Another thing I like to make is cured salmon. I do this every now and then because it tastes so good. It’s very easy to do Just mix sugar and salt in equal amounts, then add dill and black pepper. Place a layer of the mix in the bottom of a food container. Lay down a piece of salmon and spread more salt-sugar mix on it. Add more salmon and salt-sugar mix until the container is full. Put the lid on and put it in the fridge. Turn the salmon once a day for three days, then it is ready. Smaller pieces only need two days to be cured. You can check the taste to determine if it is ready. Store in the freezer.

Sushi

This time I also made some home-made sushi. I love sushi and wanted to make some of my own. I don’t do sushi that often because it is so time-consuming. This is how they turned out.

/Monica

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Cast flower decorations

This winter I’m casting a lot of dahlia flowers to put on iron bars in the garden. I’m casting them using self-levelling compound, not concrete because concrete is too rough for this. The disadvantage of this, however, is that the flowers become more fragile and must be handled more carefully.

I’m using silicone moulds and I have bought several of these to make the process more time efficient. When I have filled and vibrated out the air bubbles, I’m putting in a oiled nylon stick in the wet compound to make the hole for the iron bar.

When the dahlias have hardened I remove the stick and the mould and then I grind the bottom of the flower by just rubbing it on a concrete stone. Fast and easy!

When the dahlia flowers have cured for a week or two it’s time to put on the first colour coat. This has always been a tedious job doing by hand. Now I wanted to try something else. I bought an airbrush and started painting. I also made a small turntable to make it easier to paint, and I also needed a stand for the airbrush. What a upgrade, this is working great! I also made a lifting tool to lift the flower off the turntable when painted.

Because I’m inside when painting I really needed an exhaust for this, airbrushing spreads a lot of paint particles everywhere! I already had a suitable fan for this but needed an adjustable arm and a funnel. After some thinking I got a brilliant idea. I went up to the attic and fetched an old desk lamp we had left over. I cut off the upper part of the lamp-shade and removed the lamp and then rebuilt it to fit the exhaust hose. We made a hole in the wall and mounted the fan. Now I have an exhaust that works great and I can adjust the funnel as I want. I’m so satisfied with this invention!

The next step is to paint metallic colours on them in several layers and shades to get them looking something like this.

When all the paint has dried I will put on some layers of clear varnish before they are finished. This will be made outside during spring because I use a solvent-based spray varnish for this, and it stinks!

/Monica

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3D paper star 2

After a lot of struggle, the second paper star is now ready. It took way longer time than I anticipated. This design is slightly different because the points are cut open. I wanted this star to have seven points so I could mount it on a stand, you know, one point has to be straight up.

The hard thing was to make the design so the points would close when ready. I had to make several attempts and changes before I got what I wanted. It took ages to cut and glue all the different stars. Not all the attempts are in the second picture!

The assembly is quite similar as the previous one, but I have made a new PDF instruction for this. You can find the new file and PDF instruction in the 3D Models section.

I think I’ll take a break from the stars and make something else instead for a while!

/Monica

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