When I bought our male budgie "Humble" a number of years ago, I answered an ad in our local paper that said the owner had a baby budgie for sale, with cage and accessories for $15. I went to pick up my new little pet and was both excited and unhappy when I saw his cage. On the one hand, the cage was clearly not big enough for him to remain in very long. But, on the other hand, the cage was absolutely delightful to look at - a real vintage metal cage with a lovely shape and loads of potential. I bought a new cage for Humble very soon afterwards and relegated the old cage to the barn, thinking that I would have a creative moment some time soon and transform it into something else. Well, eight years have gone by and finally I've transformed it!
Yesterday, Donna over at An Enchanted Cottage revealed a charming makeover of her "swingset garden" and included in her pictures was a sweet one of a birdcage planter she has made. She linked to a previous blog where she explained how she made the planter (Donna's instructions for a birdcage planter). I loved what she had done and have to give her full credit for the inspiration for my own birdcage makeover.
So yesterday afternoon, inspired by Donna's blog and finally ready to tackle this job, I headed out to the barn to dig out that old birdcage. The last 8 years have taken their toll, I was actually rather delighted to see that the "fake brass" paint has chipped away leaving a lovely rusty cage to begin the project.
Here's how it looked before I started:
My first step was to brush on a "shabby" coat of cream-coloured paint, using loads of paint thinner so the rust would show through in lots of spots.
Next, I rooted around in my kitchen for a "dollar-store" plastic container that would work as a planting insert, puncturing a few holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. I chose several different colours of alyssum and an asparagus fern because I wanted something delicate and tiny to match the scale of the birdcage, and also because I love the sweet fragrance of alyssum.
Once I had assembled the planter, I needed a stand as I didn't think it would be safe to hang it. I finally decided on this old iron cafe chair, another "found" item that I discovered in the scrap pile at our shop (see Objet Trouve). I used an old board to give it extra stability underneath since the chair has no seat in it. When I painted the cage, I had removed the glass inserts on the sides. In returning them, I deliberately did not clean them because I really liked the way the "rust" stains on the glass hid the plastic container from view and added to the "shabby chic" look.
But I felt something was missing. Donna had used a lovely little garden sculpture in her birdcage. I wracked my brain to think of what I had on hand that would be small enough. And then inspiration struck - this pretty coloured-glass butterfly suncatcher would look beautiful hanging above the alyssum!
So here's what the final product looks like:
I haven't yet decided if the chair needs repainting. It might be a little more "shabby" than is strictly necessary in its current state!