Perfectly Imperfect, Vintage

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall Window Boxes

I was looking for inspiration for my own window boxes for autumn - well, now I'm inspired. 
I think that a happy medium of real and fake plants can keep people guessing without being obviously artificial.  Currently, I’ve replaced all of the dead window box flowers with faux floral stems from the dollar store that were stuck into cut pool noodles and covered in potting soil.  And guess what? You can’t even tell! Eventually though, I’d love to turn this black thumb to green and exponentially boost my floral game. Until next time!

and now I'm off to the dollar store. Pool noodles - who knew. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fire Pits - Open Burn in Ma Illegal or Legal?

With the cooler nights it's kinda nice to sit outside and enjoy the peace and quite of the night.
What's better than sitting in front of an open fire - maybe roast some marshmallows, sip a glass of wine. 
Wouldn't it be great - if people didn't abuse that?  If people didn't get stupid drunk and not pay attention to their open fire pits - chock full of wood and spark flying everywhere? 

I'm writing about this because several of my friends have fire pits and they are responsible. They never leave the pit unattended nor do they allow children to play with fire.  I have a good size backyard I could easily fit one with no problem.  The BUT... is I have trees.  Naturally, I would hope my neighbors can see those same trees (they are pretty tall) and see the danger. NOPE! 

I also have several friends that have become increasingly alarmed at the fire pits - popping up in backyards.  There concerns are justified.  The houses in Lawrence are just to close together for open fire pits.  MAYBE... that's a big maybe if the protective tops were left on - as recommended by the manufacture and they didn't load in so much wood and they didn't leave the children to play with stick inside the pit, there might not be so much concern.  This is not just about the kids - it's about their homes getting burned down due to an irresponsible idiot. 

I looked and looked - but I can not find any city ordinance that allows or does not allow fire pits. 

What I did find was a Massachusetts state law on open burning. 

22 communities that do not allow open burning at all: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Medford, New Bedford, Newton, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham, Watertown, West Springfield, and Worcester.

I also found that the EPA - has some very tough regulations on burning:
The Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and your local fire department limit open burning for public health and safety reasons. Open burning pollutes the air and can make it difficult for people with respiratory problems to breathe. When the air is stagnant, open burning can pose smoke and odor nuisances - and health risks - to nearby residents, particularly in densely populated areas. Open burning can also pose a safety risk when it is not adequately controlled. The limits on open burning do not apply to outdoor cooking.

Open Fire Pits - Methuen  (Andover has the same policy.)

Methuen Fire Department's policy concerning the use of "Open Fire Pits" is this:There is no type of special permit required for the use of outdoor fire pits on private property. However, there are some simple rules to follow. 1. Keep the fire small and manageable (less than 3' in diameter).2. Never use wet, damp, or "new" wood. This creates needless, irritating smoke. Always use dry, seasoned wood, charcoal, or specialist fuel (e.g. wood burning briquettes).3. Do not cause a nuisance to neighbors.4. If Methuen Fire Department receives complaints from neighbors that the smoke or smell is bothersome to them, we will investigate, and if deemed necessary, you may be instructed to extinguish, or allow it to burn out.5. The fire pit should be sited on a flat surface that is non-combustible. An area should be cleared around it 15' in all directions of all vegetation and combustibles.6. If using a manufactured fire pit, it is to be placed on a flat and level surface. The fire pit should not wobble at all. 7. If assembly is required, be sure to read the assembly instructions carefully and attach any fastenings securely.8. Do not leave the fire unattended. It could pose a hazard to both children and pets. Note - it is possible to buy a safety guard.9. Make sure that the fire pit is placed away from other materials that could burn or catch fire, both overhead and to the side, such as tree branches, sheds, awnings, clothes lines, fences and plants.10.Use long barbecue tongs to handle wood or food to lessen the risk of burning yourself. A pair of fire gloves would also be useful - the sides of cast iron fire pits in particular get very hot.11.Never use a manufactured fire pit indoors.12.It is advisable to keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose handy, for quick extinguishment if necessary.13.Never use an accelerant to light any fire. There have been cases of people burning themselves while trying to light a fire with a "small amount" of gasoline. The fire will "flash back" on the person, and can cause severe burns, and possibly death.14.You should call Methuen Fire Department prior to lighting your outdoor fire at 978-983-8940 so we are aware that you are conducting outdoor burning.
This last week homeowners have called the Lawrence Fire department after noticing children playing with the burning wood and sparks flying close to their home.  The LFD - didn't make them put the fire out. 

So... what's the answer to the burning question.  Are fire pits legal or illegal in this city? If they are legal, then we all need some guidance, some clarification and something published. 

I'm really fed-up with people doing whatever they want - just because no one is paying attention.  

Update: 9-18-2014 It is illegal. 

As long as you have a package of hot dogs and a garden hose nearby - you can break the law.  And live with the consequences when you burn down your neighbors home. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Yes, you can Paint a Brass Lamp

It's all about the "prep" and the "paint." 
I picked this lamp up at a yard sale and paid $7.00 for it.  I purchased it because I liked the height and I love the curves,

The lamp is 29" tall from base to the top of the finial.
8" total width from arm to arm.
Weighs 6 pounds - this is a solid sturdy lamp.

If you've recently purchased any lamp, they are not as heavy. Very cheaply made. 

Step 1 - Clean with soap and water.
Step 2 - Sand - not heavy sanding just enough scratching to give the new paint something to grab onto.
Step 3 - Wash off again.
Step 4 - Remove or tape off any parts that should not be painted. Like the electrical cord.
Step 5 - Paint - I used spray paint and I paint outside in the sun. I used cardboard so I can easily move the item I am painting.
I use Rust-oleum or Krylon spray paint. Most of the newer colors already have primer included. But if not - then buy a can of primer. One coat of primer. Let dry.
Step 6 - Spray light even coats and you will never have drips or streaks.
Step 7 - After each coat, I let the item bake in the sun for at least 1 hour.
Step 8 - Let dry inside for at least 24 hours before removing the tape.

I have even baked items in my kitchen oven - and that's the key for a solid finish.
150 degrees F is more than hot enough for at least 1 hour. 

I have found that placing the item on the cardboard on brick or cement heats from both sides rather than putting in on my lawn or table. 

Here's the after.


I used Krylon Black Satin

All that's needed is a lampshade! 

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