December 31, 2016

Make Toy Vehicles Look Old

Do you love the look of Christmas trees on cars (and in 
trucks) like I do? It can be pricey to buy ready made
ones to decorate your home but you can easily paint
 your own and save lots of money. 

I got this idea from Jennifer Rizzo's blog.

Look in the toy section of stores at the cars and trucks.
The miniature ones can start at $1. The bigger the vehicle
the bigger the price. If you want the vehicle to look old,
look beyond the way the car looks in the store. You can
paint the car/truck and completely change the look.
Sorry about the fuzziness of the cars on the back row. My regular camera lens broke and
 I am having to use the "fancy" one that blurs the background....even if I don't want it to. 

The trucks in the above picture were about $6 each.
They are five inches long. They came from WalMart
and Target. I think they all were from a line called
"Just Trucks". No fancy packaging or actions. 

The cars in the photo above are smaller. They are 2.5" to
3" long. They are only about $1 also from WalMart (but 
widely available at other stores too.)

The cars in the above photo are ones that I ordered off ebay.
I wanted some actual older cars/trucks as painting "go bys"
 and to hopefully add some authenticity to the Christmas
 display I was planning. These came out to being about $1 each.

Leanna Maksymuik got her toy cars and trucks at a thrift store.
See how she uses the vehicles to make winter scenes in jars at Poot & Boogie blog.

Here is my new vehicle collection waiting for paint jobs.
Some already have most of their paint on and some are
waiting for their first coat. I just used craft acrylic paints.

If you already like the look of the toy vehicle but want to
add some age quickly, here are some things to do that I 
learned from the actually older cars/trucks from ebay.

1. Get a bottle of medium grey acrylic paint
2. With a small brush dab full-strength grey paint along
the front edge of the hood and along edges of the
vehicle that might get lots of wear normally.
3. Use watered down grey paint to knock the shine
off of chrome and/or plastic parts.
4.Also use watered down grey paint on the tires
and hub caps.

Here are some examples of the quick-y method:

oops! This close-up shows that's a pretty messy paint job on the plastic grill. It will be
 easy  to fix with some water on a paper towel to wipe it off and start over. 

On the front row of the "parking lot" the red truck and the white/red car had the 

If you want to completly change the color of the vehicle
you can use acrylic paint for that too. 

For a complete color change you will probably need to
paint two coats of acrylic paint. 

With a small brush you can dab a rusty/red/brown color
 on places that you think rust would be on an old vehicle.

Have a paper towel ready to dab off paint if you get too
much on the vehicle. If you don't realize the paint covers
 more then you intended until after it dries, 
you can dab the base color back on top of the "rust". 

You can also add some gray with the rust color.

You can decide how rusty/old you want your vehicles to look.
The red pickup only got minimal aging. 

My "splurge" vehicle was one I got on ebay for about $12
(with shipping). The seller was honest about the condition of 
the truck. Even after cleaning up the outside of the Tonka
truck it was pretty gross on the inside.

There was not an opening on the bottom of the truck to be
able to get inside to clean out the algae and mold. I took a
chance and pried the plastic grill off of the rusty metal body.

After the grill came off, the plastic "windows"
came out like an odd-shaped box.
I had not even been able to see that there were seats also.
After cleaning the window box, the seats and the grill 
well, I was able to snap everything back together. Whew!

The only thing I painted on the Tonka truck was the plastic
grill to make it look as old as the rest of the truck.

Here is my "Put A Tree On It" car/truck Christmas vignette
in it's beginning stage. I used rusty or industrial metal objects 
as display stands. The "snow" is made of a layer of sheet or
buffalo snow with plastic snow flakes on top. Cardboard
cut to size holds up the "snow". 

Green bottle brush trees would look good too but all
of my artificial trees have been bleached. 

Here are some of the actually old trucks that came from ebay
in the display. This reminds me of "Ice Road Truckers".


There is a mix of old and new vehicles in the tray
 (from WalMart). Some of them were too small to put
 a tree on top. I'm calling this the "parking lot".
Kind of a catch-all for remaining vehicles not on display stands.

The top tier of this stand (from World Market) will never be 
 the same after I left it in the floor and then tripped over it.

I'm ending this post with my secret favorite vehicle in this
too-late-for-2016-Christmas post wishing you a great 2017!
P.S. If you want some "put a tree on it" vehicles for your
2017 Christmas be on the lookout during the year for them.

December 3, 2016

Fake a Front Yard Pumpkin Patch

My first fake front yard pumpkin patch was in 2013.
Here's the original blog post about how to do one yourself.

My life and my blog over the past three years since has
not been what I had hoped for due to family responsibilities.
Every year since, I have enjoyed having a faux pumpkin
patches in my front yard even if I have not been able to 
post pictures of them. I enjoy my "patches" and my neighbors
 do too. I found out that I am now "The Pumpkin Lady". 

So, as late as it is, here are pictures, tips and serendipities
 from my fake pumpkin patch 2016...

To me the difference between having pumpkins in your front
yard and having a fake pumpkin patch is that you attempt to
make the pumpkins look like they are actually still growing.

The way I accomplish this is with real plants and vines.

The plants that I can easily buy that look kinda like pumpkin
 vines to me is green sweet potato vines. Once they get 
established they "run" well and are easy to attach to the
tops of purchased pumpkins (some real, some fake) to give
the illusion that the pumpkins are still on the vine. 

Here are some small pumpkins that have long stems that 
have the vines attached to the tips of the stems.

Although mums have nothing to do with making pumpkins
 look like they are still growing in a patch, I was happy
 that some large mums I had purchased last year
 decided to come back this year.
The mums in the above photo had been total "goners". I had just cut them back to the ground.
This photo is before they bloomed out again this year. 

The mums just add some variety and color to the patches.
The ones in the photo below were purchased this year.
Some of the mums were put in inexpensive olive-type buckets from Wal-mart that
were painted to look older. The buckets added some height to the patch. 

The other end of this curved patch has a little bit different look.

The soil in this part of "island bed" is terrible so I just use
dead vines from the woods with the pumpkins. As leaves
in our area start to turn colors, I add some artificial leaves.

Actually I have two other areas in the front yard that I try
to make look like they are growing pumpkins too. 
You can see the location of the next patch in the top of the above photo.

Well one of those DID try to grow pumpkins this year.
Big pumpkin is from the grocery store. Little green pumpkin is on a real pumpkin vine. 

For several years I have dumped rotting pumpkins in this 
bed hoping that nature would give me some real pumpkins.

Look closely and you can see one of the seeds sprouting already. 

Most of the big pumpkins end up like this:

Last year I found this dumped small pie pumpkin
that looked almost like a pumpkin skeleton.
I thought it was interesting to see the little pumpkin seeds
inside of the skeleton shell. They are trying to sprout. 

All different kinds of pumpkins have been dumped there 
so I don't know which type it was that actually had a 
two vines come up this past Spring that lived. 

I tucked grocery store pumpkins under the vines.

The vines even started having flowers when the weather
cooled down some.

 That really helped the illusion that the
 orange pumpkins were still on their vine. 
Well sometimes I didn't do that good of a job of hiding the attachment of  the real pumpkin stem to the vine.

Can you see at the base of the flower a teeny tiny pumpkin?

The flowers whither almost the same day they bloom.

Unfortunately, the little pumpkins only got about this big...

...but aren't they so cute?!

The photo below is from the sidewalk pumpkin patch that
shows it early on. Sometimes folks ask me how I can afford
to buy so many pumpkins for the fake patches. Most of the 
real pumpkins come from the grocery store ($3-$5) so I just 
buy a pumpkin or two every time I go there. Not very painful.
 Most of the real pumpkins last at least a couple of months in the fake patches. 
When it is time to put out Christmas decorations I take the pumpkins that are still good to the food bank. 

Also I have bought fake pumpkins on sale over the years.
 Sometimes they have to be repainted because the sun has 
 bleached them out sitting outside in the Fall over the years.
For sure I have gotten my money's worth out of them. 

The third patch in the yard is small but probably the 
most closely viewed by passersby.  It is by the mailbox.

The pumpkins were almost overwhelmed by the foliage
this year. When the weather cools down the vines and
flowers get "a second wind" and start flourishing again. 

I try to make sure that each pumpkin stem has some type
of greenery or even a dried vine touching the end of the stem.

The photo below has nothing to do with pumpkin patches 
but I just want to share it. I was trying to photograph a butterfly
on the zinnas. My camera could not capture how fast his
wings were moving but it DID capture his shadow. 

The types of vines at the mailbox pumpkin patch are...

...Passion Vine...

...and Morning Glories.

They are my favorites because they all come back every year
with no effort on my part AND they don't need much water.

Each year I put a six foot garden pole for them to climb.
This year the morning glories would NOT stop growing.
I would chop off new growth that starting falling over
the height of the pole because I like the greenery on
 the pole to be rather neat and trim...not overgrown looking.

After a while I gave in and added another garden pole
for them to climb and they the tippy top. 

It wasn't easy to keep it straight because it was so tall.
I had to wire it onto the mailbox.

Into October I start adding some fake leaves to make
the vine tower look more Fall-ish. 

The front door area is not a pumpkin patch but here
is a quick look at it anyway. 

The real plants did not climb the metal obelisks in the urns
 this year so I had to add more fake stems than usual. 

I had a few packs of fake Chinese lantern pods bought
on clearance (who knows when). They got glued on to
real branches and arranged in the urn mix.

Well all the these Fall decorations are coming down this
weekend so I can get out my Christmas decorations.
Come back and visit to see what the front yard looks like then.

Pumpkins and wild vines were even used inside my house
this year for Fall decorations. Click here to see that post.

© Miss Kopy Kat. Design by FCD.