Meet Sue Gerdes
“I love to learn and am addicted to.. every type of ART out there, making ‘thrown-out’ treasures funky and functional again.” it says on Sue’s ‘About me’ at Flea2Fab.
Sue Gerdes has been a member of Flea Market Gardening since the beginning, I think. She lives in South Dakota on her family’s third generation farm. Her two girls and three grandchildren live only an hour away. She likes gardening, …loves crafting for a non-profit shop and she is active in her Church.
Sue tells us, “Junking and art are my hobbies! Being green is my thing…not so much trash because we cannot recycle here in the country, but with furniture and big items or relics from the past,… it is my passion to give them new life. A self taught artist, I dabble in oils and pastels and charcoal, too.”
Sue’s Artsy Garden
“My thumb is a little green but not all green. I garden but rely on rain because our Artesian well is salt based, making the soil we do have concrete hard from the build-up of minerals.” Sue says. “Rain barrels and hauling water by truck from the nearest town is our only option. If it’s too dry then I concentrate on decorating with color from objects I collect.
“This sparkler took a long time but I think it’s worth it. I used rebar tie wire and a small hose clamp to tie them together. I shoved them down a pipe that I pounded into the ground. For sparkle, I took the beads and strung them on wire, then made a loop with my rounded pliers so the beads could start and stop…worked well! hmmm note to myself: make these much taller, maybe on a pole about 6 ft instead of 3 ft…..the cats had way to much fun with it last night.”
Sue has a vegetable garden shown here with a dish flower and a baby crib spring. She has a special recipe for Jalapeño jelly great for anytime.
1 1/2 cups white vinegar, 3/4 washed jalapenos and roughly chop ( I wanted mine hot so left seeds in) 6 cups of sugar 2 pouches of liquid pectin. I use Certo Pectin.
1 tsp red or green food coloring or what ever color you like. I do a batch of red and a batch of green for Christmas. First put peppers in 1 1/2 cups of vinegar and put in the blender and chop finely. Then strain out the chunks leaving just your strong and spicy pepper vinegar juice. In a sauce pan add your sugar and pectin and pepper juice and boil and stir well for 2 min (rolling boil), scoop off the foam and put into six 8 oz jelly jars. When serving this pour a jar over one brick of room temp cream cheese and serve with crackers on the side for dipping.
“Why I drag junk home? What a silly question, Sue laughs, “the junk from years ago has quality that is rarely made anymore. Everything is mass produced and we live in a throw away society. Things from the past are not hollow… they are solid, they are not pressed… they are cut and welded with such wonderful designs and elegance. Junk that I drag home is made to withstand time and wear.”
“I love making things from these cast-off beauties, to breath new life into them and save them from the dump and showing others what can be done so they can do the same and say with pride” I made that.” Look at all the good things saving junk does for us, …we can save space in our landfills, save buying materials from stores and make something no one else has. It gives us pride. I also drag junk home cause I am cheap!” (Ha! ~~ Sue)
All I did was drill the plates/bowl with a ceramic bit on a drill press, Hubby connected them…he used threaded ready rod that fit the size of the whole we drilled. Then attached with bolts to hold the plates up and a eyelet on top to attach the chain for hanging. We didn’t have a eyelet for supporting the chain so he welded a washer at the top and it works just as well.”
“This is made from a block of cement and will not blow away with our Midwest winds. Next year I can see this with a bejeweled sparkler on each side in a bed of white and blue flowers,” Sue says.
“‘Gnome Homes’ made from smooth river stones, wood putty and paint. Wood putty makes the ‘eaves’ and the chimney. Use outdoor paint and spray with a fixative or paint on a cement sealer to keep it.”
My little arbor made out of twigs and branches. We have tree shelter belts nearby so hubby chain sawed the branches them the size I needed. I made pilot holes with a drill bit so the wood wouldn’t crack, then inserted long screws.(hardest part is finding straight branches) buried it into the ground about a foot…replace this every 6 years or when it needs it. Never throw the old one away I put them in the back yard after cutting off the rotten wood that was in the ground. They make small arbors for my birdhouses. ;o)
“I have had these deer for 12 years but they get re-strawed every year because birds take the straw for their nests in the barn and cats use the legs for scratching posts. The frame is welded and made from metal fencing. The horns are from a deer and the rest is straw and wire and string. They are dug down into the ground at least 7 inches so the wind doesn’t tip them over. Every few years I strip everything off of them and they are rewelded. They only come out during Fall and Winter.”
Sue says, “I just couldn’t throw this scrap wood away! There’s even a drawer from a dresser in there somewhere. It’s really tall! I just can’t seem to make things small. It’s pretty bright once lighted.”
Sue has a Facebook page called Flea2Fab where she shows more of her creative garden projects. She sells her creations on consignment to small shops in her area, but it the actual creating,…the doing that she enjoys most!
She says, “I’m so glad to have stumbled upon Flea Market Gardening for ideas on planting, names of plants and ideas on the latest fun things to display.
More from Sue G: