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How to Turn an Old Window into New Stained Glass Yard Art

stained glass old window

Old windows are always alluring. Not only do they have an innate charm, but they can stir up fond memories of living in a farmhouse somewhere in Kansas – even if you’ve never set foot in Kansas in your life.

They also make for an incredible art project that can add a pop of color and coolness to any home or yard. Mine ended up in my yard just because I really have no more room in my home. But the stained glass project can look equally as dazzling propped in front of a kitchen window as it can hanging on the side of a backyard archway.

What You Need

  • Old window
  • Sandpaper and scraper
  • Painter’s tape (invest in the blue one already)
  • Glass cleaner and degreaser
  • Rags
  • Patience
  • Paint for window frame
  • Paint for window glass
  • Hanging hardware
old window for stained glass project

What You Do

Your first step is to somehow obtain an old window. Prying one off a farmhouse in Kansas is always an option, although you’ll probably do better scouring shops that sell used building materials. Betcha Tucson’s Gersons has a few.

I lucked out by inheriting my old window from the Tucson Citizen prop room when the newspaper folded in 2009. Think they used to put in the background to make photos look like they were taken near a farmhouse in Kansas.

Putting the old window in the garage where you can ignore it for at least nine years is an optional step. I finally dug out my old window for good during the last garage cleaning spree when I tidied up so well I had nowhere left to hide it.

Window Preparation

  • Sand and scrape the crappy old paint off the window frame.
  • Clean the glass panes with cleaner and degreaser.
  • Put painter’s tape around the front and back perimeters of every single pane.
  • Tape pieces of paper over the center areas of the glass if using spray paint for the frame.

Window Painting

  • Spray the pane wildly with paint.
  • Peel off painter’s tape before frame paint fully dries.
  • Make sure panes are free of smudges.
  • Use glass paint on the panes.
  • Add hanging hardware.
  • Hang in backyard.
  • Make your boyfriend admire it at least three times on the first day and regularly thereafter.

 Additional Stained Glass Window Project Tips

Picking the frame paint: Select a paint with a hammered finished to help hide the multiple imperfections and wood chunk chinks old windows are known for. If you want to retain that beat-up look, keep it alive by using contrasting paint in the frame’s chinks, dents and dings.

  • Rust-oleum is my spray paint of choice. I used flat black mixed with hammered bronze for the window frame.

Picking the glass paint: I’m a big fan of Pebeo Vitrail paint, particularly the transparent paints for stained glass effects. Use a combination of at least three different colors in the same color family to add interest to the project.

  • All the Vitrail colors blow my mind. Well, except maybe the brown. My old window project mingled Turquoise, Apple Green and Green Gold.

Applying the glass paint: Using a paint brush with glass paints can be tedious and leave brush marks. I prefer to use an eyedropper to blob or draw thick lines with the glass paint, and then mush with a sponge to cover all areas of the glass.

Hanging your stained glass project: Propping it against a wall or low on the ground doesn’t do justice to what you’ve just created. Hang or prop it somewhere at least eye-level where sun can shine through to reveal it’s true beauty.

Also opt for heavy-duty hardware. Those old windows are heavy!

My old window came with two eye-hooks embedded in the top corners of the frame and a quadrupled-up piece of picture wire looped through them. It’s hanging on a metal archway where the sun filters through in late morning, so my boyfriend can admire it every single day.

Hope your old window project comes out just as dandy!

old window stained glass project

Love the rynski stained glass window project? Just wait until you see what she does with sheet metal.

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Art Therapy Project: REBIRTH

floating goat illustration

The art therapy topic of REBIRTH immediately brought to mind born-again Christians, which brought to mind all sorts of religions, which brought to mind cults.

This then prompted me to think of the creepy cult episode of Netflix’s Encounters with Evil where the Heaven’s Gate guy said humans need to remove their genitals so they can be more like aliens and then everyone killed themselves.

And I just didn’t feel like going there.

So I took another path with the rebirth topic instead.

  • Topic: Rebirth
  • Result: Rebirth painting alternatively known as “The Mystery of the Floating Goat.” Acrylic, glass paint and paint markers on canvas. Note the floating goat is in an orb of light, protected from all the demonic things writhing around him.

Artist Q&A

What’s with the floating goat?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been convinced that if I were ever reborn I would come back as a goat. For some reason, reincarnation/rebirth always makes me think of goats – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The goodliness of it all was reinforced when a Gen Xer pal pointed out that the letters from GOAT stand for:

  • Greatest
  • Of
  • All
  • Time

Pretty cool, no?

What’s with the demonic things?

The demonic things represent evils of the past. These evils include less-than-boastful behaviors and the horribly negative mindset I used to succumb to on a regular basis. Self-care, therapy and lots of love have helped me escape the demonic things of my past to become reborn as, well, a floating goat.

Anything else we should know?

Changes throughout our lives cause us to be reborn constantly. Whether it’s with a new job, a new relationship or an entirely new mindset. This is a good thing.

Coming back as a goat would be a good thing, too. I had five pet goats in New Mexico and they’re tons of fun. They hop. They play. They climb trees. And it sure beats being reborn as a gnat or something.

Where can we get more Rynski goat artwork?

Oh, I love that question!

Check out a whole goat collection of goodies on Zazzle.

Enjoy!

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Gone to the Dogs: Origin and Meaning

dog proverb from rynski doggie dictionary

gone to the dogs

What it means: Deteriorated, became worse.

Variation: Gone to pot.

Another variation: Gone to hell in a handbasket (like my Grandma P. used to say).

Origin:

This expression is believed to have come from ancient China, where tradition dictated dogs weren’t allowed inside city walls. Stray canines hung around outside the walls, amid scraps and garbage.

When criminals and other ne’er-do-wells were expelled from the city, they ended up out with the trash and stray canines. Hence, they had gone to the dogs.

Author’s note:

The above excerpt is from The Rynski Doggie Dictionary. It’s also one of the expressions mentioned on-air when Rynski was a guest on Prince J’s DowntownRadio show. Thanks, Prince J, it was fantastic meeting you. I had a blast!

Spiffy call to action:

Love words, proverbs, origins and/or dogs? Get more of the same in The Rynski Doggie Dictionary. Buy now on Amazon or Etsy.

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Top 3 Reasons You Need the Rynski Doggie Dictionary

rynski doggie dictionary

More than 80 full-color dog cartoons. A humorous take on dog terms, expressions and proverbs. A basic dog info section that helps to ensure you don’t mess with an angry hound. If these reasons simply aren’t enough to convince you to buy your copy of The Rynski Doggie Dictionary, perhaps these next three reasons are.

Here’s what the doggie dictionary can do for you:

raining cats and dogs
raining cats and dogs, illustration from the rynski doggie dictionary

Help you wow the crowd at dinner parties

You’re at one of those stale dinner engagements where, alas, the hottest topic of conversation is the weather. Rather than yawning along with the rest of the crowd, you can perk up the entire party with your astounding knowledge of dog expressions and proverbs.

This is especially a propos since someone just so happened to mention it was raining cats and dogs. Since you read The Rynski Doggie Dictionary, you have the full background on that expression, as well as several others. Suddenly the party is a total blast. Someone even started dancing naked on the table!

let sleeping dogs lie
let sleeping dogs lie, illustration from the rynski doggie dictionary

Earn you extra cash

Whether you’re trying to save money to buy a new robot vacuum or your overall workflow is slow, extra income is always welcome. With The Rynski Doggie Dictionary at your side, you’ll have the knowledge you need to earn it, pronto. You can find instant employment as a fortune cookie writer.

The dog proverbs you find inside the book provide you with fabulous fodder for penning those fortunes.

  • Let sleeping dogs lie.
  • Children aren’t dogs; adults aren’t gods.
  • Every dog is allowed one bite.

Yep, you’ll soon be watching the millions roll on in, thanks to the proverbs in this cartoon dog book.

dog anatomy cartoon
dog anatomy cartoon from book. flews are no. 7, btw.

Increase your chances of going to heaven

Let’s say you’re at the gates of heaven and you have to answer a single question to get in. A massive angel stands before you with one simple inquiry: “What are flews?”

If you read the Rynski Doggie Dictionary, you’d remember flews were mentioned in the dog Basic Body Parts section. It’s simply a term used to describe a dog’s lips. The harps play, the gates open, and you live happily ever after in paradise.

Sound good to you? Then get your copy of The Rynski Doggie Dictionary today!

Thanks in advance for helping to support a Tucson artist, writer, and dog Reiki practitioner (who is diligently applying for positions as a fortune cookie writer).

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Have You Tried PaintNite Yet?

paintnite tucson

Sitting around talking to your dogs and binging on Netflix is absolutely dreamy, but the thrill can only last so long. Sooner or later you’ll be itching to get out of the house to protect your sanity. This usually occurs when you’re watching “Women Behind Bars” for the eighth time – or your dogs start talking back.

That’s when you know it’s time to try PaintNite.

What’s PaintNite?

Billed as the “original creative nite out,” PaintNite involves a very casual, full-of-fun group class of sorts where you all work on painting your version of whatever picture is on the canvas up front. Local artists host the event, so you’re apt to meet talented, friendly and really cool people. This counts for the teacher as well as the people in the crowd.

You don’t find too many people in bad moods when they’re eating, laughing and tapping into creativity while playing with paint. The event is held at local venues, which can include restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, bars or other places that don’t mind a bit of paint on the chairs or floor.

What You Do

Round up a few pals, whether they think they have any artistic talent or not, and promise them they’ll LOL if they go to PaintNite with you.

Head online to search for PaintNite options in your location, picking a painting that doesn’t make you vomit. (Yeah, some are pretty cheesy, but others are fabulously cool). Book your desired date, then show up to LOL.

Get there about 30 minutes early so you can order food and drinks if available. This will also help you get a seat that’s not crammed in the back with an unobstructed view of the bathroom.

Why You Need to Try It

The event is just too much fun. I attended one at Mimi’s Café in Tucson with pals Vicky and Lynn (pictured above). We laughed. We cried. We spilled things. In short, we had a rollicking good time.

OK, we didn’t cry, but we could have since we were laughing so hard. And I don’t think anyone spilled anything, either, although I did come close to making a major mess when I nearly dipped an apron string in the paint palette when I was trying to position the apron to save Vicky’s seat.

Part of the fun came from our talented instructor, Tucson artist Kimberly Tipton, whose creativity spans the board from blacksmithing to painting Van Gogh reproductions as a toddler. She set down the one and only rule for our class:

Don’t Hate on Your Painting

Everyone’s painting is going to be different, unique – and good, no matter what you may think. The point is to unleash your creative spirit and have fun, not obsess about making your painting look exactly like the example up front. Spewing negative energy not only hurts the creative flow, but it defeats the entire purpose of the evening. Let go, enjoy and love what you create instead.

 

Additional tips for making the most of PaintNite include:

Get discounted tickets: Groupon is always running PaintNite specials, and you can usually score a discount on the PaintNite website itself if you poke around enough before buying.

Don’t expect to look good in the apron: It’s green. It’s baggy. And it tends to make even athletic types look like a dowdy fat housewife. Don’t sweat it. At least it’s protecting your clothes.

Feel free to add your own creative spin: In PaintNite circles, veering away from the example painting is called “going rogue.” And Kimberly said some of the coolest PaintNite painting’s she’s seen came from those gone rogue. I went semi-rogue to add a layer of meaning to my PaintNite creation.

paintnite tucson painting
PaintNite painting gone semi-rogue.

Rogue elements include collection of yellow-eyed monsters along the terrain and spiritual beings in the sky. Clouds were crafted to pay tribute to those who have died and gone to heaven, including Dad and dog Sawyer (aka The Bubble).

Love what you see? Head to PaintNite to create your own masterpiece.

Or head to rynski’s etsy shop for additional art and inspiration.

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