DIY Week, Part Deux

When last we left The Thrift Shop Romantic, our heroine was multi-tasking herself through a full-fledged DIY frenzy of thrills, chills and—yes!-- spills…

Experience the heart-pounding battle between human and wrought iron garden arch!

Discover how many times someone can plummet off a ladder before they learn better!

Thrill to decorative plates displayed in ways that aren’t even tacky!

Join us for this-- and more!-- in the exciting conclusion of… Whirlwind DIY Week!

(Hum theme music of your choice here.)

(Okay, you can stop humming.)



It’s been… interesting… this last week, between home projects and my Real Job. And yes, I am a little punchy. But I am also not flat-as-a-bug in the backyard.

Repeat: NOT flat-as-a-bug in the backyard.

Which I’m really excited about!

The reason I am NOT flat-as-a-bug in the backyard is because there is at least a point where even I draw the line in trying to do things myself. And that had a lot to do with a 150-pound garden arch.

You may recall last week, I was headed off to tackle a few million or so more tasks. Well, one of those was the 150-pound garden arch...

And I KNOW it weighs 150 pounds, because the box that the nice Fed Ex Man brought me says so.

Of course, I wasn’t necessarily worried about that at the time. Because the thing was in pieces, and thus, movable. So last weekend after I posted my blog and left you dear people, I ventured outside to put together this exciting piece of garden art.

I figured it would be in about three or four pieces and take me a half-hour—hour, tops-- and then I could get on to other things.

So I opened the box to inspect the pieces, and I saw this.

And this.

And this.

Oh, and these.

I revised my ETA for the finished arch.

So, I laid out all the parts and spent about two hours putting it together. Which honestly wasn’t bad. I had it in sections. And each of these I moved into place without a lot of trouble, and then connected it all together on the ground.

It was a beautiful arch, and I was feeling good.

But that was only because I was too stupid to think of physics.

You see, what I had neglected to take into account was that one average female, no matter how determined, cannot lift a 150-pound, seven-foot tall wrought iron archway into a standing position. It’s simple Garden Arch Physics.

Not, of course, that I didn’t try.

Oh, I tried crouching underneath it and balancing it on my shoulders and head. I tried, yanking it from above. I tried from the center. I tried from the end.

But up it would go about three feet and then… Clunk!

It quickly became my Arch Nemesis.

And it got me thinking about what the Egyptians did in cases like this. After all, the Egyptians built huge pyramids that have stood the test of time, without the benefit of all the technology we have today. I was fairly sure it involved pulleys and counterweights.

I mentioned this possibility to my friend Greg, of The Midnight Garden. But Greg reminded me that in addition to pulleys, he believed the Egyptians also used slave labor.

“How are you fixed for that in Pittsburgh?” he asked breezily.

Great. Thanks, Greg. Always insightful.

So what DO you do when you’ve spent several hours in outdoor futility and the slave labor market in your city isn’t exactly flourishing? Plus, you’ve already got bruises roughly the pattern of... oh.... wrought-iron trellis?

Why, you go indoors and climb ladders!

In this case, it was hanging my completed plate rails in the living room, as you see here.

I’m feeling pretty good about this, because not only have I been able to display a few more plates, but the plate rails are straight, and I only did a Wile E. Coyote off the ladder once!

Whirlwind DIY Week concluded with some planting in the backyard.

Here you see the addition of some dianthus/carnations, as well as some stepping stones and some woolly thyme. (It’ll look better once I get some new wood chips in there.)

So that’s what I’ve been up to. The arch is on its way to being in place (I HAVE actually managed to get a buddy to help, I just need to level out that area of the yard a little).

And best of all-- and I can't say it enough-- I am NOT flat-as-a-bug in the backyard.

I’ll call that a success.

Next week: what do you do when you’ve got a half business-related swing concert to attend, you want to look professional yet fun...

AND you’re supposed to meet the band, who’s actually a bit of a favorite of yours?

Join me as we see what it’s possible to thrift and still not embarrass one’s self in front of business contacts AND “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy”...

Hope to see you then. Later, alligator!