Sometimes you get an idea or see something on the great big internet and something compels you to give it ago. Sometimes this is a good idea and other times it is a case of never mention it again. I have loads of ideas rattling around in my head. I’ve started writing the more viable ones down on a ‘to do’ list so they don’t become forgotten. I also have a few ideas bookmarked on my computer that could be worth my time attempting.
Over the last few months my You Tube feed has been inundated with a similar type of video, tempting me to try and have a go. I don’t know what the internet is trying to tell me, but I felt like it was speaking straight at me and it would be rude to ignore it. Besides, what it was suggesting was it was not only really cool, but quick – most of the videos were only 15 minutes long, and importantly easy – every single version got great results every time!
I rounded up two beach balls left over from the summer and a neglected cheap bouncy ball. The kids have loads of balls – they’d never notice it was gone! I ordered a large bag of cement, dug up a bucket of ‘good sand’ without an excessive amount of plant debris in it and nabbed and old winter sheet that had seen better days an cut it into small pieces. That part was probably the hard part as your really don’t appreciate how large a queen sized sheet is until you have to cut it up into small pieces. I ended up with a blister!
I laid down a tarp, so my nice new deck didn’t get ruined and set to work. I made a 50:50 mix of sand and cement and added water to make a rather runny mix. Then I mixed in a handful of shredded sheet and began applying it to the balls like doing papier mache. My expectations were at odds with reality and I learnt a few things in the making.
- Firstly, my sheet pieces were too big so I had to cut them up again.
- My rubber gloves were too old and started to perish and now I understand the importance of fresh gloves and not getting cement on your skin. – Nothing too serious, but gloves are good.
- It is not quick or easy.
- This is a job best tackled in small parts.
- If you try to cover the entire ball at once, gravity will work its magic and all the lower bits will fall off. Concrete is actually quite heavy. So, you need to do the top half, let it set and then turn it over and do the bottom half.
- It won’t be perfectly round after the first layer – in spite of what the videos suggest. I ended up with a lumpy mess and it took several half layerings to get something that remotely resembled a sphere! But each session only took a few moments, once you got the hang of it.
- Oh, only the bottom layer needed the sheet pieces – the rest was a thicker paste – still a 50:50 mix of sand and cement, just less water. This is used to try and smooth things out.
- In the videos they all kept a hole in the bottom to remove the ball. In the end I thought ‘bugger it – the ball is staying in there’. Much easier and so forever more the balls will endure, encased in cement. Its not like we’d be using them again after what I put them through.
- Make sure there are no holes in the beach ball. My big one went flat under the weight of the cement and everything just fell off… It was a complete disaster and a terrible mess.
It is worth persevering with because eventually you get something to be pleased with. I was at a point where it was almost round enough and every time I applied a new layer it wasn’t smooth and lovely like I wanted it to be so I thought I’d give it a gentle mist with the hose to smooth it over. That didn’t work but I got a lovely texture that disguised all the lumps and bumps and I happily decided I was done.
I didn’t take many photos because with the gloves and the cement and the mess it was a little tricky, so I have a before and after for you. The rest of the images are from yesterdays efforts on the nook. The day was nice and sunny so I was pleased I’d been out on the rainy day before to get paint so I was able to finishing the painting. Then I dug down a spades depth all around where we want to put plants, to remove the kikuyu roots. They don’t seem to go down too deep, but I dug up a mountain of them! I think I’ll need to put in some kind of barrier to keep them away. After that effort I was stiff and sore and a little weary. I’m pleased today is a rainy day again, so I can get a break from making hay while the sun shines to do some computer gardening.
Come again soon – the veggie patch is calling to me and its cries are getting louder.
Sarah the Gardener : o)