Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I went outside yesterday and tried to take some pictures of the totems. It was so windy that it was hard as everything was blowing and swaying. I went out at the wrong time of the day, too, and I'm not the most camera savvy. Several of these Totems have been outside in the garden for 4 years and a couple just for 2 years. But they stay out there all year, we just bag them for the winter. So far none of the glass has cracked from freezing! They get dirty from the dusty dirt and dried rain but from a distance you can't tell. LOL! The birds, esp. the hummingbirds just love perching on the top of the totems. At the beginning of Spring I go out with a soft brush and give them a little TLC, maybe replace any baubles that came loose. I haven't done that yet, so these pics are the Totems after a long Summer and the Winter's nap. I've only ever had 1 to break and that was because when DH was snow blowing the blast of snow hit the same spot each time and it finally broke but it just came apart at a glued seam. He fixed it last Spring but last Winter broke it again so it's not there now. It'll get fixed again and set out in a new location! I also have some colored wine bottles that I decorate and put on stakes but they aren't out yet.

This one is 2 years old. It was a test to see what would happen if I set it close to the street. I wasn't sure if it would come up missing or someone might decide to have target practice with it. One never knows. But she still stands there in one piece! So I think you can see how this is made except for the very bottom that isn't showing. They all start with the same cheap flower vase as a base to start building on. This flower vase fits over a copper pipe which sets in the ground about a foot or bit more deep. You decide how tall you want the totem, you can set it close to the ground or raise it up. This one is nearly 1 1/2 feet off the ground. You can also forget the vase & pipe and start with a heavy bigger base and set it directly on the ground, building a shorter totem. Totems can be 2 or 3 pieces or however many pleases you.
You can see the sequence of building the Totem. Usually I start with a wide and heavier piece on the vase bottom to start to give it balance. Not always....depends on how tall I think I might be going. This starts with the plate (usually, upside down so as not to catch water and debris), I glued marbles on the plate, a bowl over the plate, a very thin glass vase that I spray painted inside for color, a clear stemware glass, a candy canister also spritzed with paint for a hint of color, a candle holder, a fluted glass shade (also painted), a crystal ashtray, a bud vase, another candle holder and a Fairy on top so she can watch over the yard! The paint used was stained glass spray and then spritzed with Mess off spray to make it run and just leave a tint. Some might have a frosted spray. Click for a bigger picture.

I managed to crop off the top of this but it really doesn't matter. This is 4 years old and needs a good cleaning and maybe some baubles, which were pink acrylic cubes, replaced. This a plant pot base started on the vase, then a big black fluted flower vase (upside down), then a decorative etched plate (14 k gold!) left up to show the design and so it stays dirty, a Kahlua bottle from Mexico, a candle cup and topped with another iron candle holder. The pink acrylic cubes were mounded in the top and several glued on down the pieces to make look like they were falling out. The metallic pieces are from jewelery I had laying around. He wears one dangly earring but you can't see it too well in this picture.

This is 2 years old. This is a amber pie plate, a bowl, a liqueur bottle, amber stemware, smaller amber stemware, bowl, tiki vase, ruffled light shade and a glass bottle stopper on top.

This is getting old and was one of the 1st. It's a bit lop-sided. The top I had on it, weathered and I replaced it with a heavy fairy and didn't get it set straight to balance. Oh well, she still sits there!! This starts with a crystal lamp base (hardware removed), a frosted lamp shade, a crystal vase, a ruffled candy dish, candle holder and a Fairy. It did have dangly earring hanging off the candy dish but they have rusted and fallen off. She's about a foot or so off the ground.

This one is old also. By now you can look and see the what the different pieces are. In the early morning the sun hits this one and shines through the green glass, lighting it up!

This is the fav of most people and was the 1st or 2nd Totm I did. It was named Pearly Blue because I did have strands of pearls looped from each tier. I just took them off as they were too weathered now. The blue glass plates are a set of 3 footed cake plates! The delft bottle on top is a liquer bottle and there's a glass bluebird perched on top. ( I bought the set of tiered cake plates for my mom at a rummage sale....she never got them! See what happens when you start doing these creatures?)
As you can see, our snow is just barely gone and so yard work and raking hasn't happened.  By July the Totems are mixed in with the flowers.


Diane said...

Star--these are sooo cool--I love, love, love them!!

Dragonlady said...

they look great Star, they really have held up well..

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