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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Long Does Wrought Iron Last?

Wrought iron has become an exceptionally popular material for both commercial and residential projects, and this is due to the many advantages it has over other metals, wood, and brick. For those that have begun their own project and are asking themselves how long does wrought iron last, here is a look at its average lifespan and some of the factors that will affect the durability of wrought iron.

Wrought iron can be integrated into almost any design imaginable, and this has made it one of the leading options for outdoor furniture, design fixtures, and fences. When properly cared for, wrought iron that is left outdoors will often last for well past an individual’s lifetime, often for 60 years or longer. There are some things to take into consideration, however, when it comes to the lifespan of wrought iron. Primarily, this will come down to its upkeep, maintenance, and the climate.

Due to the process in which wrought iron is created, there is a chance of weather damage over time. The aesthetic appeal of wrought iron comes from the slag, or a byproduct of removing the metal from stone. When these metals are twisted, they can become fibrous and show signs of weather damage in a relatively short period of time. In turn, this weather damage could lead to corrosion and rusting which is especially difficult to remove with this type of medal

Luckily, it only takes a small amount of maintenance to ensure that this does not happen and keep wrought products sturdy and attractive throughout the years. In areas with an excessive amount of rainfall, high humidity, or extreme changes in temperature, it is important to reapply paint or a protective sealant as often as possible. In moderate climates, sealants and paint will only need to be applied every few years. For those that would like their wrought iron to last as long as possible, it is also a good idea to occasionally inspect the wrought iron for any chips to the paint or sealant that will allow corrosion or rust to develop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Who Is Artist Lori Daniels?

Born in Wisconsin a little over fifty years ago, artist Lori Daniels began life brimming with artistic curiosity. She's always had a special relationship with color and the ever-changing patterns of the natural world. Her styles are inspired by Gustav Klimt, Marcel Duchamp and Piet Mondrian. She says her true role model is Louise Nevelson, who created monumental installations out of found objects. While Nevelson usually painted her pieces in a single color, Daniels enhances her work with rich rainbows.

Daniels was brought up Catholic, and says her artistic career is like a vocation, the call from God felt by people who take holy vows. She says she eats, breathes and smells color. Her art has been exhibited in major galleries.

Daniels now lives in Mapleton, Illinois with her partner, folk art dealer Stephen White. They share an 1870 Victorian farmhouse. The surrounding land is now an art compound filled with antiques and supplies. Decorative tin pieces salvaged from the ceilings of old houses wait to be transformed into Daniels' famous creations, more like ceramic sculpture than embossed metal.

Assisted by a work crew, White scours the country looking for decorative tin ceilings from old buildings that have been demolished or remodeled. After cleaning the tin, White cuts it into pieces. Daniels assembles the pieces on wooden stretcher frames or as collage designs, some over nine feet tall. She then primes and coats them in her own personal oil paint mixture. She finishes with many coats of glaze, also her own patented formula, protecting the work as well as giving it a unique glow. No two works are alike, partly because the glaze affects the paint differently depending on temperature and other factors. Each piece is signed and dated.

Tin ceiling art is just the beginning. Lori Daniels also works her magic on old license plates, wrought iron and even wooden ammunition boxes. She salvages, cleans and restores forgotten treasures, bringing them back to life to be displayed and used in your home. Her shop is called Antique Tin Expressions. She plans to write a book about the history of decorative tin ceilings, and another about Majolica ceramics.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Are The Best Outdoor Candles?

Looking for a way to add lighting and ambiance to an outdoor living space? Outdoor candles are a beautiful option for lighting up an outdoor area. The best outdoor candles can vary depending on the climate of the area and the needs of the people setting them up.

Outdoor Candle Options For Everyone

• Flameless Candles - Flameless candles use an LED light and either replaceable batteries or a solar battery to produce a flickering light that looks like candle glow without the danger of fire outdoors. For people in hot and dry climates, flameless candles are a safe way to have outdoor lighting that won't start a fire. Modern options flicker and look just like an open flame most of the time. Flameless rechargeable solar candles are also a great option for outdoor lighting that doesn't need constant supervision.

• Citronella Candles - For anyone beset by bugs, citronella candles will easily stand out as the best outdoor candles available. Citronella candles and torches can help to keep an outdoor living space well lit and bug free. When combined with the scents of the outdoors, citronella provides an area with a smell that many like as well. Citronella outdoor candles come in a variety of styles that should suit all needs.

Candle Lanterns - Most candles can be outdoor candles when used with a good set of candle lanterns. The right lantern can allow a home owner to use standard candles and scented candles outside without worrying about flame risks or problems with breezes or rain. Candle lanterns for outdoor spaces are the best option for those looking for a way to safely and effectively get the same look that interior candles provide in an outdoor area.

The best option for outdoor candles can change depending on the climate the candles will be in and the needs of the people setting them up. Flameless candles are great for safety and long term lighting, citronella is unbeatable for keeping bugs out, and candle lanterns allow standard candles to go anywhere. With these choices, giving an outdoor living space lighting ambiance is easy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Makes Something Antique?

In today's day and age, we are often so quick to label items as "antiques", but what makes something antique? Is it based simply on the way the item looks or is it derived more so from how old it is?

Well, most antique dealers refer to anything that is 100 years or older as an antique. However, if there is an item that is pretty old but not quite at 100 years yet, then it is usually called vintage. In fact, in 1930 the U.S. government even created a tax law where an item had to be put together before 1830 to even be considered an antique. That's because 1830 was known as the Era of Mass Production, which is when many products at the time were made. In this law, antiques were described as "works of art (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustration of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble, terra cotta, parian, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value which shall have been produced prior to the year 1830."

As many people already know, antiques aren't usually taxable items, so that's why in 1966, this concept of antiques needing to be at least 100 years old was adopted. Now, people can't pretend something they own is an antique in order to cheat the government. At this same time, the tax law set forth in 1930 was revised a bit. It was changed to include the phrasing, "if the essential character is changed, or more than 50 percent of the item has been repaired or restored, the item is no longer considered an antique and is subject to duty.” Of course, though, an exception to this rule would be products like cars, since they are always being used and therefore don't last as long as other items would. For them, an antique would be considered any vehicle over 25 years old.

It's important to note that while this is the guidelines some antique dealers go by, a lot of others don't. There are a bunch of dealers that instead feel that an item between 80 and 100 years old is what makes something antique.

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to Clean Wrought Iron

It is likely that there are several items in and around your home that are made from wrought iron. Wrought iron has been used for hundreds of years because of its strength and durability, and it is used today to make patio furniture, fences, shelving, ornamental decorations, and so much more. Due to the fact that wrought iron has been worked and molded, it is easier for dust and dirt to collect on it and figuring out how to clean wrought iron may prove to be difficult. Luckily, there are ways to get the job done.

The first thing you will want to do before cleaning any wrought iron is to remove any cushions or non-wrought-iron materials so they do not get wet. Once this has been done, depending on the amount of wrought iron you will be cleaning, either fill a bucket or a spray bottle with warm water. You can then add any liquid dish soap to the warm water; a good ratio is about 1 tbsp of dish soap for every 1 quart of water.

Apply the dish soap and water mixture to a rag or sponge and then begin to wipe the wrought iron in a circular motion until the debris has cleared. You may re-dampen your sponge or rag as many times as necessary. For more stubborn areas or rust spots, you can use a wire brush or sandpaper. Keep in mind, however, that this may lead to paint removal. Once you feel that you have cleared away most of the dirt and debris, empty your mixture and refill your bottle or bucket with plain warm water. Rinse the soap and water mixture off of your rag or sponge, then using the warm water, use the rag to rinse the wrought iron. If you are washing outdoor wrought iron, it may be easier to use a water hose for this last step.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wine Doesn't Grow On Trees...Or Does It?

Beautiful and unique, wrought iron artwork has become quite popular in modern day culture. For homeowners, gardeners, and art lovers alike, these pieces seem to capture a rustic taste that so many desire. The wrought iron wine bottle tree is a noteworthy style of art in itself. These trees take what some would consider trash and turn it into something incredible and remarkable. Twisting and turning the wrought iron will form it into a gorgeous tree-like shape. The trees can vary depending on size; some will be straight and tall and others will resemble a Weeping Willow, mangled and distressed. Even before adding the empty wine bottles onto the wrought iron branches, the tree looks like a magnificent piece of art.

The wine bottles that hang on the branches may be painted or decorated in lavish ways. The most popular are empty, blue bottles that seem to give the most bucolic feel. The number of bottles that a tree can hang also varies depending on size and structure. Some smaller wrought iron wine bottle trees will hold only a few while others can hold twenty or thirty. Some trees will remain fairly simple, with just the bottles accentuating it, while others may have beautiful iron leaves or vines wrapping around the winding branches.

However simple or intricately they are decorated, the trees look breathtaking in a backyard or garden where the sun or moonlight can twinkle off the wine bottles. They make a wonderful conversation piece and will create a comforting, tranquil atmosphere wherever they are placed. The trees will leave a lasting impression on all who see them and have become the longing of many art-lovers. Such a seemingly simple piece of artwork has the ability to inspire, motivate, and encourage any one who comes into contact with it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What is Wrought Iron?

You've admired it on Parisian-style bistro sets or enjoyed the view from a balcony rail made of it, but have you ever wondered how this classic building material got its name?

One of the most common malleable metals, it was used for centuries in the manufacturing of tools, weapons, railways and even warships. This low-carbon form of iron was prized for its ability to be easily worked while still being strong enough for functional and decorative elements. It was referred to as "wrought" because the metal was beaten out by hand with a hammer.

When steel became more commonly available and the methods to work it improved, it replaced this form of iron in most commercial applications. Similar in appearance to mild steel, the difference lies in its strength and durability. It resists corrosion and is able to be worked under hotter conditions which allows it to be easily formed into many shapes. As proof of its permanence, railings on 200-year-old Victorian townhouses and stone cramps on 500-year-old Tudor bridges have survived into modern times with little maintenance or repair.

Most items described as wrought iron today are actually made of steel or cast iron. Although you will not be able to see a difference in the overall appearance, the mild steel or cast iron will succumb to corrosion in time. These items include garden or patio furniture, gates, fences, balconies and stairway banisters.

If you are in search of items made of the original form, you can find reclaimed pieces at antique markets and scrap metal dealers but they won't be cheap. A pair of small brackets can go for as much as $1400!

When your next project calls for classic ornamental details that can weather the elements, wrought iron is the perfect choice. Even if the genuine form is not in your budget, today's reproductions can add class and style to the interior and exterior of your home.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What Flowering Plants are Easy to Maintain?

Many times the best plants to grow are those that are easy to plant and require very little maintenance. Whether you are looking for shrubs or taller plants, easy to grow plants of different types can be found in the anywhere.

Lilacs are a great plant to grow. They can be left to grow tall for use as a natural privacy fence between neighbors or pruned into smaller bushes to add a colorful spot in your landscape.

Lilacs do not need to be watered frequently, but if you have a long dry spell, a ground soaking watering now and then is important.

Adding a general fertilizer to your lilac will increase its growth and add to the size of the blooms. This only needs done once a year.

If you want to change the look of your lilac, a colored mulch can be piled around the base of it. Consider the color of your lilac when choosing a mulch color to make sure they work well together.

Sunflowers are another easy to grow plant. Although most sunflowers are yellow, recent years have seen the emergence of red ones. Seeds are available that produce different sizes of flowers and that grow to different heights as well.

Seeds for all sunflowers are sown no more than one inch deep. They do not have to be watered often, but when they are, it should be a soaking watering to encourage the roots to grow deep for the plants' stability. When growing the taller varieties, plant the seeds next to a wall or sturdy fence to assist in keeping the stalks upright.

Depending on the variety being grown, the flowers may produce seeds that are edible. The seeds do require some drying time once they are harvested and may be roasted and salted according to taste.

These versatile plants can be the best plants to grow to have bright spots of color in your landscape with very little time investment. A little watering and trimming when needed will keep beautiful plants in your yard all season long. Both lilacs and sunflowers look lovely in our wrought iron planters for those of us that prefer a potted garden.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Types of Iron Garden Structures and Their Uses

When a homeowner's yard is barren, they often find themselves wondering how they can spruce it up, personalize it, and make it a suitable area for relaxation or entertaining guests. Wrought-iron garden structures are simple and inexpensive additions to any yard, and they can truly last for a lifetime. This is an in-depth look at the different types of iron garden structures and how to use them!

Topiaries and Trellises

Topiaries and trellises are a great addition to any yard or garden. These iron structures are perfect for climbing vines, or just accentuating any yard or garden with various animal shapes, stars, or plant shapes. Not only do these structures make any home landscaping look fantastic, but they also help achieve that personal touch. Some homeowners use these types of yard ornaments on their patios, as well as in their homes as well.

Gazebos and Arbors

Arbors are extremely useful for adding an inviting piece to the garden or yard. Likewise, a gazebo makes for a great spot for relaxation or hang-outs. The gazebo can also be used to showcase a particular part of the garden or a handful of plants that a homeowner is proud of. What's best is that these garden structures make the perfect standing hosts for climbing vines and plants. Once the structures have been covered with vines and plants, it's easy to even add a bit of lighting around it to create a relaxing ambiance at night. This type of decoration makes it a great location for a late afternoon barbecue or cookout.

Metal Screens

Metal screens are popular not only in the garden, but also inside the home and on patios for decoration. Metal screens are useful for defining specific areas in the garden or home, or separating large spaces where there is too much open emptiness.

Iron garden structures can bring completion to any yard. Make sure to place a few around your own for to spruce up the garden or enhance the look and feel of the landscaping!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Gate Wrought Iron Combines Beauty with Function

The look and feel of wrought iron brings old world elegance to any home or business. It is an extremely durable material that is perfect for fences and gates. Gates specifically get a lot of use, so it important that they are made of a material that stands the test of time while adding a decorative touch. A first impression is a lasting one, and a gate designed to match the décor really sets the stage for the rest of the home. The eyes are drawn to the artistic look and feel that a gate wrought iron creates. Security is another reason to consider using a wrought iron gate on any property.

Gates are used inside and outside of a home to protect and secure an area. Wrought iron gates are excellent for stairways, doorways, and openings in fences. They come in a variety of styles and can be customized to fit the needs of the customer. The gates are made to match any fence and are available in 3’, 4’, 5’, or 6’ heights. The Iron Double Driveway Gate is the perfect way to enclose a large driveway to create a protected sanctuary, and it comes in different widths to accommodate any space. The Wrought Iron Center Divide Gate is divided into two sections that swing from the sides making it easy to open and close. Smaller gates provide great privacy for fence openings anywhere around the home such as play areas, gardens, and yards.

A gate must be custom made to fit the area perfectly, which ensures that it performs its intended purpose flawlessly. The interlocking fence system pairs well with a gate that is designed to operate easily without any gaping holes or spaces. Gates for a taller fence allow access to people but keeps out unwanted animals such as deer and elk that cause property damage. Protection has never been easier or more beautiful than buying a gate from a company who takes pride in their work. Their products are a functional necessity but also a work of art that will last for many years to come.