Saturday, September 17, 2011

A No-Frills Drying Rack

The time had come to start drying some of the things that we managed to keep alive this year. They weren't many, but what did grow and produce needed to be taken care of. My husband took a coat hanger and hung it on a hook on the ceiling, taping up a few beautiful, ripe, bright red hot peppers.
Well, the tape didn't hold. The next step was to wrap heavy thread around the stems and hang them that way. That worked, but it just seemed there was something out of place. Not quite right. Not at it's full potential. It could be better!
A few things started rolling and bouncing around in my head, doing their usual jumbled and disorganized dance, trying to find their mark. Up popped a clothespin. Hmm.
Where there's one, there's more. Attach the clothespins to the coat hanger.
Okay! That's good. Attach how?
 We can do that! But the coat hanger has a curve to it. The actual gluing surface is very small compared to the surface available on the clothespins. It was then that I remembered I had a very old wood coat hanger that was more flat than round. Let's go look. When I found it, into the studio it went.
This old hanger had been painted a horrible green a long time ago by my great aunt. There must have been a sale on that color, because so many things in my old house are that color, including the outside of the house. And mine's not the only one.
Anyway- my husband's favorite color is green, and he really likes this antique green acrylic that I have, so a slight change in color was called for. Here's the line-up:

The only pizzaz would have to be on the clothespins, and any color could only be on the front and sides. Any place on the clothespins that might come into contact with your herb or spice should be natural- unfinished, so as not to taint your hard-grown product.
Well, I didn't want to paint the clothespins the same color as the hanger, so I pulled out the color chart I made and found a good match with the peridot metallic. This paint pretty much finishes itself after it is dry.
Here's the mix:

I was happy with the match. After painting the tops of all eleven clothespins, I started on the sides:

 I stopped painting when both sides were done. The back, bottom, and top I left untouched and natural.

When the first coat of paint on the hanger was dry, it didn't look consistent. As you can see in the picture below, there is a definite difference between the left side (2 coats) and the right (1 coat). After the second coat was dry, I was satisfied. It was going to be hanging from an arched ceiling, so any holidays would not be readily apparent.

For a finish on the hanger, I chose a triple thick gloss than is brushed on. This was good because I did not want to apply finish on the front yet- at least not until after the clothespins were glued down. With the finish on and dried, I placed the clothespins in a few different positions, finally settling on the center of the pin for  the glue point. I let the glued pieces dry overnight and made sure they wouldn't slip or fall off when hanging from the ceiling. It's hotter up there, remember. Brushing the gloss on between the pins was the final step, and after an hour, the drying rack was done. And, a frost was due, so the rack was right on time to be put to use.
Here it is, happily doing it's job:

It was 35 degrees this morning. I haven't gone outside yet to see the state of the remaining plants, but I can imagine they're a little droopy and sad looking. One of the momma deer was just here with her baby and the baby she adopted, and momma is turning dark mighty fast. They love the apple trees we have on the property. The Autumnal Equinox is next Friday, but Mother Nature has her own time table and pays no attention to the calender. The trees are just starting to turn color, so Fall is here. Our harvest might not be up to our past standards, but it's something, which is better than nothing. I sincerely hope your harvest is everything you wanted it to be.