Tag Archive | creative

Toy Hauler Mailbox: When Good Things Come From Bad

We live in a somewhat rural area, where there are no sidewalks and our mailboxes are at the street. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived with this situation. In the past, I had a walking mailperson, who dropped mail in my house-attached box.

In the past few years, I’ve become an Amazon.com addict, along with many other online stores and the amount of package deliveries have spiked to epic levels. I do have a wooden bench near my door that is under an eave for those large boxes, however some of the smaller ones still got jammed into the small mailbox, ultimately bending or breaking something. Frowny face to the mail carrier!! No Duncan Doughnut’s gift card for you!!

Along with USPS (United States Post Office), I also get deliveries from UPS, Fed Ex, DHL, and other carriers. Only the USPS can deliver items INSIDE my mailbox, the rest get placed on my bench. Here’s a tid-bit for you; Did you know it is a federal offense to steal mail (anything delivered by USPS, in or out of mailbox), however only a misdemeanor to steal packages delivered by carriers other than USPS? This is why smart-ass thieves tend to steal packages off stoops over cracking into mailboxes. Either way, I’d hope the Karma train takes care of these thieves!

We’ve been talking about making our mailbox into a travel trailer for years. However, the timing was never good to start the project, along with the fact we still had a working mailbox… Until a week ago.

My neighbor is slowly dying. I can’t recall the disease that is killing him, however it’s a reaction from a drug he took years ago. He is unable to eat because of reoccurring sores in his mouth and in a lot of pain from a previous neck injury. He’s on liquid morphine and has hospice folks coming by often. One day last week, he got into a large argument with his wife, and amazingly was able to get out of the house and behind the wheel of his truck. I was actually writing on my laptop, overlooking my yard and mailbox when it happened. BLAM! Mailbox up! Mailbox down! Neighbor back-up and off mailbox, neighbor drive forward and continue down the street.

I ran out there immediately and called his wife, as I knew he shouldn’t be driving. She told me the police were already in route, so there was not much else for me to do, but to pick up the many pieces of my mailbox. Not more than 10 minutes later, I watched the mailperson drive by, looking at the mailbox-less post, and continued on. Um, you could have knocked on my door and delivered my mail! But no. The mail carrier just carried on.

I was able to Jerry-rig a close replica of my mailbox with what was left of the box, some bungee cords and duct tape. It doesn’t really close, however it would work for the interim.https://youtu.be/sZnhtojtUYc

Meanwhile, we decided it was time to make out new mailbox, technically a ‘toy-hauler’, and impress our neighborhood with our skills ;^D

  • First, we started by ordering a LARGE (24″ long x 12″ wide x 15″ tall), gray mailbox from Amazon.com. In the future, we hope this allows for less squished packages.
  • Hubby painted on the windows, doors and details.
  • He then made the gas tanks out of PVC.
  • The bumper and hitch are made from copper and painted black.
  • The wheels came from a toy truck and painted silver instead of the yellow rims it came with.
  • The spare tire (also made from PVC) and the faux awning were then attached.
  • We found little reflectors online to create the taillights and side lighting.
  • Finally, we found a place that made little license plates for our address number. Yes, it’s a bit out of proportion, but we wanted it to be seen from a distance.

In the end, I’m really impressed at the turn-out of this project! I think it’s so cute!! If I recall correctly, without time and labor, material cost us about $85.00.

Ironically, my hubby sent a pix of this to his boss, who then posted it on his FB page, bragging about what a creative employee he has. Many of his friends responded back positively and even asked if his employee could make other mailboxes like fire engines and race cars! How cool is that?! Hubby has already been trying to figure out how to make mini hoses and Mars lights….


*PS – No one besides my mailbox was harmed by my neighbor. The sheriff found him parked on the side of the road, around the corner. Whew!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Glass Class – First Timers Creating Glass Art


My husband has always been great at finding activities for us. This time he found a local glass artist, Peter Patterson, that teaches his passion to others.


There are three ‘ovens’ in the making of glass. The first is just called the furnace, where the glass is melted in a crucible and gathered on the blowpipe or mandrel. The second is the glory-hole, which is used during the creation of the project. This photo is one of the final furnaces called the lehr or annealer. It is used to slowly cool the glass over a period of a few days, all of which depends on the size of the piece. This prevents the glass from cracking or shattering due to thermal stress. On top were some of the colored shards we used to color some of the projects.


Here were the 4 projects we were going to complete this evening. A swirled, molded paperweight, an ornament, a flower and lastly, a choice of ring holder / pen holder / card holder or another paperweight.


Tools of the trade.


Here is the seat of knowledge! I noticed right away that it was set-up for righties… No Biggie. It’s great us lefties generally are ambidextrous.

One of the glory-holes is in the background.


Here my hubby is creating a score line where the paperweight will be broken off the mandrel. He spins the mandrel and applies mild pressure with a tweezers type tool. Later, he will hold it over a catch bin and tap the mandrel to disconnect it.


After glass is gathered onto the mandrel, it must be pulled towards the end of the mandrel by rolling the glass on a steel table. This process is called marvering, which forms a cool skin on the exterior of the molten glass blob. This aids blown projects to not ‘pop’ it also blends colors when doing our non-bowing type projects.


After marvering his glass blob, the blob needed to be reheated to a more liquid state to be able to pour it into our card holder base. It was not easy to keep rotating the rod as the glass melted, not too fast to fling it off the rod and not too slow as to let it drip…


Here Hubby pours the molten glass, while twisting the mandrel to create the spin of the colors in the base. It was poured onto a rough base to create texture on the bottom.


The glass was pinched off and reheated with a torch so the hole for the wire clip could be added after it cooled.


Some things like making a glass loop was a bit too much for our first day. Here Mr. Patterson adds a finishing touch.



Here is the start of our flower. Colors had already been added (this was a yellow/green mix – doesn’t look like it at all when hot) and the texture of the petals crimped. Here, Hubby clips and elongates his petals.


To finish the flower, Mr. Patterson held the neck of the flower and pulled, while us students spun the mandrel which created the stem.

Here are our finished projects! I’m going to need more practice… My husband was a natural! Go figure… He’s a double art major and specialized in sculpture and molding metals.


Here are the rest. We had a bunch of fun at this class and intend on going to more. Mr. Patterson also has a gallery / museum and sells his art at great, affordable prices.