The bird bath found on Facebook. There are variations of this do-it-yourself creation all over FB, Etsy, and elsewhere online. / Photo on front from iStock.By Stephanie Cavanaugh
MY FRIEND the illustrious architect and artist Judith Capen hates “one-of” ‘s: the last of a dozen wine glasses, a lonely platter, a single sconce shade. Or a hand-me-down that you shuffle about, and about. Sometimes there are three-ofs, which is honestly not much better.
The Prince and I have many of these odd things, the detritus of a lifetime in one place. Things that are pretty, but also pretty useless.
Toss them, she says. Yard-sale time. Or just kick them to the curb and let someone else say, Oooh pretty, and take them home to do nothing with for a decade or two.
So, when I came across a bird bath on Facebook, constructed of such strays, I thought, Yes! I can do this.
It’s like Swedish Death Cleaning, getting rid of things you don’t need or use so those who are faced with your home after your sad demise are not saddled with the job. And, you’re not actually getting rid of anything! You’re repurposing. What a hoarder’s dream.
What we have here, in the photo above, from the ground up, is a colorful Moroccan-style candle holder. It’s set upside-down on a solid thing to give the structure stability. Sitting on top is a kind of bobèche, an amber glass “collar” that may have belonged to a chandelier. On top of that is a green water glass filled with clear glass marbles. Repeat with another bobèche and another water tumbler and one more bobèche atop that. Then a pie plate is set on a mosaic glass platter.
The whole thing is glued together, except for the pie plate—which we’ll get to—and, Voilà! A bird bath that would be at home in Wonderland.
I know I have everything to create one—including a mirrored Moroccan-style candle holder. Also, some really sweet margarita glasses, pink with green stems, that I picked up somewhere years ago and have not used once. How could I let those go? And, I have enough plates and platters and unused vases and cups and saucers and bowls to take this to six feet, if I have enough glue.
Though, one could start with a pan on a platter on a bowl (glass or pottery—metal could burn birdie footsies), possibly no glue, which would take about 12 seconds.
Around now, and especially now, birds need water more than food. When it’s dry and hot, they’re frantic for a drink. Just set out a shallow bowl of water and see how they flock.
If you’re fearful of mosquitos, which are particularly nasty this year, just change the water in the pie plate each day. This is why it’s not glued down: You lift and dump and fill each morning. Mosquitos prefer standing, turgid, disgusting water. Not the cool, clear stuff. So, no issue. You get the joy of watching the birds splash about while you have a gin and tonic on the porch.
And if the bird bath falls over and smashes to bits, pat yourself on the back for getting rid of things you weren’t using in the first place—and start on another.