Plastic Storage Jars: A Closer Look

These clear plastic storage jars are all around us and we pay for them when we purchase what is inside.
Recycle them by reusing them appropriately.
The labels usually come off easily with paint thinner and their mouths are of standard size with colored lids which can be interchanged easily to suit. The jars offer transparency to the contents and keep us organized.

large

These are large wide mouth jars and good to hold bulk such as rice, sugar, flower etc.  Find them at Costco with sometimes Biscotti and other items sold in them.  The lids are brown or black.

De Cecco is king!

The tall plastic jars are good for long items such as spaghetti and fettuccine.  Find them at Target with popcorn in them.  The lids are aluminum.

tall

Shown in the coffee jar is a flexible cutting mat which becomes very handy in delivering the goods with great speed and minimal spill.
From the jar pour straight into the coffee maker.  No spoons, no measuring cup.
How fast was that?
Add the time and the hand movements that it takes every time the coffee can from the store is opened, dealing with the spoon…spoonful at the time and then resealing the can.

medium

Both found at Costco, the hexagonal jars usually have jelly beans with red lids, the oval ones usually have mighty fine chocolates and black lids. forgot the rice They both hold about the same volume.

Found in supermarkets usually in two sizes these Parmesan cheese jars are handy to store goods and food.  Their lids flip open for pouring.

This container provides a great fast tool for delivering Miracle Grow with no mess.2 sizesmiracle grow

These small plastic jars are in the spices section of supermarkets which,
spices apart, have an interesting assortment of other small jars.
They are very handy for arts and crafts and for small items.
The lids come in different colors.  The plastic is thick and strong.small

These square plastic food jars come in a couple of different heights, have built in handles and are found anywhere.  Some have lids that flip open to pour.square
This kind of jar is really found anywhere containing goods.

toughThe jar with the silver plastic lid comes from Target and found in the food section.  As with the old classic peanut butter jars, these are of tough plastic and very handy in the garage to hold screws, nails, nuts and so on.

Also very handy to store things away that are really not needed for a while.  A descriptive note “Hardware for old bed” for example should be placed visibly in the jar.  Basically the jar becomes a clear box.
Stacking is somewhat possible.

just tapes

When the compact discs are all gone we are left with a container.  One of the best uses for this container is to impale all the kinds of tapes we have in the garage.  There is only one place the tape or ribbon we are looking for might be.  Of course at times the roll of tape or ribbon might be too wide to fit.

With the center rod removed they can store other kinds of items.

The CD containers also stack and interlock.stackingThe jars above have proven to be good everyday gifts to friends, donations to elementary schools or local industries such as Goodwill.  No jar is ever tossed!

Fake Watercolor

  • The original watercolor was photographed in black and white.1973 watercolor B&W1972 neg-film marker watercolor
  • Developed over 8×10 negative film which means that what was black on the paper became transparent and what was white became black.
  • Felt tip marker colors were added to the back of the film occasionally blending the colors with the fingers.
  • The original watercolor paper texture is visible but the colors are not watercolors.

Altered Felt Tip Markers

The two sketches were done with an altered felt tip marker.
By altered it is meant that three incisions through the wide felt tip and toward the barrel were made with a utility knife.  This generated the triple line brush type look.

1973 cinema - altered-marker

Take the amount of lines you see in parts of the sketches and divide by 3.  Those are the number of strokes that produced them.

The sketches have been taken a step further:
1.
Photographed in black and white.
2.
Developed over 8×10 negative film which means that what was black on the paper became transparent and what was white became black.
3.
White and red paper, as well as copper simulated film were applied to the back of the negative film for color.
1973 swamp - altered-marker

1973 neg-film altered-markerThe technique allows a single as well as multiple colors or even a texture to be used in back of the film.
If the negative film of the swamp had red paper in the back, because of the luster of the film, it would look like red ink.
1973 neg-film-marker

Tips:
One can easily take a Flair felt tip pen and give it a chisel point either by using a utility knife or a pair of scissors.
One can also alter the felt tips in other creative ways, even getting a spongy effect when they are way too butchered.

Some chisel pointed felt tip pens are out there for the purchase but the methods above can customize to suit needy situations and will not be found in the school supplies section.

If nothing else we could say “I did it my way”.

Tomato Plants: Free Range

tomatoes uncaged

Tomato season is almost over and the plant shown is not the greatest example of bounty but the idea here is to celebrate the rake.

Considering the high price of some tomato cages, the sawed off rake that would have been tossed otherwise, provided a certain “free range” growth for the tomatoes allowing them ample air and sun space.  Leave alone hand space for harvesting.
The small bungee cords never once severed the branches and easily allowed adjusting as the plant grew.

The rake never bowed in any direction because the bungee cords were arranged with a sense of balance and the pole set as deep as possible.

The growth of the tomato plant will gradually make the rake visually disappear.

A smaller rake might work also but gather the plant too tightly.

If you decide to do something like this in the dirt, embed 2/3 of the overall length to avoid over turning.

So maybe next year instead of buying a couple of tomato cages, for the same money or less you can get the aging rakes replaced, avoid waste and still support your tomatoes off the ground.

Ordinary Everyday Concrete Molds

The concrete molds shown with the exception of the helical pyramid and the shells are all around us and most of them have been used for garden art on this site.

Roughly 100 shells were made and about 30 helical pyramids.

We need to train our eye to evaluate not only the contents but also the packaging it came with.  Packaging is truly an art of its own.

Sometimes these molds may not be interesting by themselves but in composition with others, their synergy might produce something exciting.
everyday moldswaiting to serve

The flower pot saucers have proven convenient in a variety of ways.  Their depression in the middle has worked very well in centering a second piece like the helical pyramid series or the tupperoids made from a Tupperware bowl.
The fluted bases from a plastic bird bath have been useful also.
The rectangular form could make concrete blocks.
It came from the supermarket’s produce section as many others do.
The bakery department is also a good source for molds.

Tip:
These molds do not have to be confined to concrete.  They can come handy for ice sculptures also.

Refer to the ‘concrete for the home’ category for tips on concrete, tools and molds.

Tupperoid

As the name might imply, this is a byproduct of a Tupperware mold.  In this case a bowl.
It can be used by itself or with another piece making it an artistic garden composition.
tupperoid on top of moldlocation, location, location!

There is a tile in the middle of the saucer under the tupperoid.

If the tupperoid is removed, the saucer can still be interesting by itself.

5 tiles in saucer

Refer to the ‘concrete for the home’ category for tips on concrete, tools and molds.

The Oculus Pyramid

Also referred to as the Bald Pyramid within a small circle of friends, this is another variation of the Helical Pyramid.

This time an old slide projector lens was used. This pyramid also belongs to the sweating fountain type since the depression of the saucer will hold some water even when the saucer becomes totally dry.
The pyramid will remain wet, drying eventually from the top down.

It is called the Oculus Pyramid because, like the Pantheon in Rome, the structure is wet on the outside and dry below the oculus.

Refer to the ‘concrete for the home’ category for tips on concrete, tools and molds.

Pasta

Costco is a good source for bulk items and in return we save.
Another option is Amazon.com

Pick De Cecco pasta for example, the king of pasta which defines all else as a noodle.  I have never seen De Cecco on sale at the supermarket and usually it sells for at least $3.00 per box.

At Amazon one can get 10 boxes of fettuccine for $23.09 (as per today’s inquiry) making it $2.30 per box. That is about an $.80 savings per box.
Of course orders over $25.00 ship free.
New York based Ronzoni is also a mighty fine dish of pasta and can also be found at Amazon.
Like De Cecco, take it off the fire al dente and it stays al dente.
Take Barilla off the fire al dente and it will keep on softening a little more, it will however taste better than most.
Pasta al dente in this case means semi hard.

The Italians refer to pasta as pastasciutta, dry pasta, usually served at lunch with sauces.
For the Italian dinner, pasta is also the first dish but served in soups such as tortellini in chicken broth, minestrone (big…heavier content soup), minestrina (little…light in content soup), pastina in chicken broth, which is Dr. Mamma’s number 1 prescription and so on.

Tip:
At the restaurant order al dente and they will have to cook fresh pasta just for you.
Buon appetito!

For free clear plastic storage jars that can fit fettuccine, spaghetti and other long pastas refer to the Plastic Storage Jars category.

Concrete Shells

About 15 years ago a coffee shop gave me a large salad to go in a plastic container shaped as two half shells.  The bottom half was yellowish foam.  The upper half was clear plastic.

At home I realized how interesting they were but did not know how they could be used intelligently and I felt miserable just eating the salad and tossing the nice looking containers.

awaiting deploymentmolds in action

Recently, two at the time I made roughly 100 shells, about 12” in diameter, which I used to make a unique and curvilinear planter in the back yard.  After all those concrete shells, the half shell made of clear plastic finally cracked irreparably and after multiple tries to fix it with packaging tape it had to be set aside.

The second mold made of thin yellowish foam is still at about 95%.

Refer to the ‘concrete for the home’ category for tips on concrete, tools and molds.

Concrete at the price of $2.69 x 60lb bag would make the price of a concrete shell about $.34 if not less.  The calculator is telling me the curvilinear planter cost about $34.00.

Stepped Retaining Garden Wall

Problem:
A flower bed with a natural slope and tendency to shed to the left with heavy rains and watering, thus creating ponding over the walkway.

Solution:
A low stepped retaining garden wall made of concrete shells with an enclosure to trap, manage and celebrate the water that otherwise would be a nuisance.
Groundcover will control erosion and keep the concrete shells cleaner from dirt.

bay of piratesLemon Land beyond

The garden wall as it formed and things fell into place, suggested a whimsical composition titled Bay of Pirates. It was a procedure of patience and lots of tinkering.
Eventually it became suddenly obvious when the overall composition was complete the way it was.
Done!

The fable goes like this:

Water sheds to the left reaching the Bay of Pirates where it is contained. looking downBay of PiratesWhen the dirt is hosed wet just right during dry weather, a steel rake can provide a texture resembling water, sort of like Japanese dry gardening.

When the Bay overflows it does so into the Golden Pond which has been made with a 24” concrete saucer. The saucer has a drain hole and a solar light.
Erosion is the sole contributor to naming it Golden Pond. looking upGolden Pond
Power Point Observatory and light houseAbove it all sitting on a large 24” concrete saucer is The Power Point Observatory and Light House.
Across the walkway eventually there might be Frog Mountain, a 3 foot concrete volcano with a toad sitting on a carpet of baby tears in the caldera.

The volcano and Golden Pond will anchor the entry to a small area dominated by a lemon tree. This is Lemon Land.from Lemon LandRefer to the ‘concrete for the home’ category for tips on concrete, tools and molds.

Concrete at the price of $2.69 x 60lb bag would make the price of a concrete shell about $.34 if not less. All the shells together cost about $34.00. The total composition not counting tiles and marbles, the solar lamp post and the bird nest would be about $37.00.