1. tammigirl
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:00 am

    Darling, you know I adore you and all your crazy skills… but maybe we need to talk about waxing your arms?

    You* (or whoever) went through a lot for this giant old (now-new-looking) thing!


  2. Lori @Vintage Charm Restored
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:03 am

    What a fabulous restoration. And a great tutorial on how to do it. I recreated a foot to a French dresser using bondo and like to have died over the smell and headaches I had for a week. Thanks for sharing how you made your mold, on a larger piece that is awesome!!


  3. Callie
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:08 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! I have to admit also being partial to the pre-restoration state, but looks like it will hold up better in its shiny new state!! Also, great thinking of you (or Paul) to *not* make the plaster stabilizing-part of the mold till *after* you get the original piece out of the mold. This is the kind of project I would accidentally do the stabilizing plaster too early and then not be able to get my original piece out without ruining the mold… *_*


  4. Kate Sparks
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:09 am

    I’m betting that sucker weighs a ton and a half!!… I would put a protective liner into it and then just drop in a hanging [minus the hanger stuff] basket of ferns or something.. that way you don’t have it filled with dirt…. We’ve done this for several years in various pots in our yard.. the only thing is you do have to be consistent with watering and fertilizing… but you sure have a much better selection of craiglist stuff than we get out here in the boonies… But then again, my cousin did furnish her first apt in NYC by cruising the high rent district for stuff left on the curb….
    You go girl!! ps… your hubby is super awesome!!


  5. Diane M.
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:14 am

    Wow! It looks Great! What a wonderful job! So much patience! Love it!
    I would want something planted in it, lol!


  6. My Crappy House
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:17 am

    I once used this latex procedure to repair a chess set that I had ordered on ebay that the seller didn’t bother to protect when shipping that arrived sounding like a box of broken Christmas ornaments. I was so mad I wished him herpes, but my repairs came out really good. Your urn looks beautiful.


  7. Andrea
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:20 am

    Kudos for the restoration, even though I must say, I do love me some of that pre-fix rusty-peely finish. Your work preserved it for another hundred years, and the tutorial was truly an eye-opener. I had no idea that was even possible. You totally are the urn-whisperer!


  8. Di Elliott
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:41 am

    Wow great job! The thing is if you leave it unfilled it will fill with dust and dirt and rainwater, which will attract mosquitoes to lay in it, perhaps fill with water with a couple of gold fish (if the paint is suitable) and a water Lilly so that the fish eat the bugs and you have a water feature and the magnificent pot to show off… Just a thought…


  9. Mandy Fish
    May 13, 2014 @ 10:45 am

    You’ll have to put your ashes in it when you die.


    • tammigirl
      May 13, 2014 @ 10:58 am

      Yes! This!

      (You do know I was kidding about your hairy arms, right? I’m sure they belong to Paul)


    • Jenny Loomans
      May 13, 2014 @ 11:16 am

      The urn looks fantastic! I wish I had one! And I agree totally about putting dirt in it, but I would probably put in a container arrangement. Something with tallish spiky grass, medium-height color, and then blue lobelia and some light-colored viney things spilling downward (like decorative sweet potato vines or something). But definitely NOT planted directly in it.


  10. Kelly
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    QUITE impressed by your willingness to go through this process. That must have taken a lot of patience and here I was thinking you were a little like me in being impatient ; )


  11. g
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:20 am

    This is amazing!
    Do you have any recommendations on how to find a good place to do the sandblasting and powder painting?
    I have a glider rocker that I’d like to have done….but I’m not sure where to start!


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 13, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

      I found mine about five years ago… (I guess I must have googled powder coating.) I called around and got estimates.

      The place I ended up using had a website that had before and after pictures of their work, AND I was able to email them photos of the patio set I was working on at the time… All of that combined made me feel like they would do a good job.

      You could also ask any friends who are into cars or motorcycles… Sometimes they will know where you should go.


  12. Garden, Home and Party
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:26 am

    I’m always impressed with the knowledge you and Paul share on how to repair, move or improve items brought to your Victorian. There is no way Mr. B or myself would have had an inkling on how to recreate the missing piece on the urn. It definitely looks identical. I would have kept it rusty and watched with glee as my $200 purchase disintegrated of rust damage over the years.
    Maybe after a few years you’ll soften on wanting to put some wonderful plants in it. You know, like after the new-urn smell dissipates? It is a showstopper for your patio.


  13. judy
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:30 am

    The only problem with your fabulous finds in this instance is they make a glaring contrast between GFT and the not quite so fancy patio. I know if you stand back and stare long enough at that Urn you will come up with something that rises to the elegance of the Urn, preferably from Target or the dollar store( keeping in mind the budget) Maybe its the lack of furniture ,pillows, an umbrella and a Marine serving mint juleps that would complete the vignette. Of course I forgot (living in Virginia) that your area just emerged from its own ice age. Very impressed with your descriptive abilities and I second the waxing suggestion TeeHee…………………


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 13, 2014 @ 12:31 pm

      “a Marine serving mint juleps ”
      this is why I love you all… and yes, the ice age has JUST ended.


  14. Kimberly ~ SerendipityRefined
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:31 am

    This is probably one of my favorite GFT’s of all time…well, except for maybe the kingdom mirror…which I’m not the least bit shy about coveting openly. Move to Illinois….I need a friend like you to do this crap with….or at least come for a visit…I’m pouring concrete in the dining room for the new fireplace hearth and you KNOW that you want to be a part of that (and the subsequent electrical trim out).

    Go ahead, admit it….it’s not as cool as a restored garden GFT but pouring concrete in the dining room IS kind of sexy.

    Well done, girlfriend! xo


  15. Marilyn
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:45 am

    I can just see some one flicking their cigarette ashes in the urn!! Put some flowers in it!! Love your stories….whatever happened to the BIG BED??


  16. Judith Caldwell
    May 13, 2014 @ 11:51 am

    There seems to be a misconception here about the effect of rust on cast iron, which is very different from steel. Due to the high carbon content of gray cast iron, the surface rust itself forms a protective layer, and any further oxidation happens very, very slowly. Unless you desire a painted surface, there is really no structural need to remove the rust. The urn would not disintegrate because of rust, at least not in any of our lifetimes, though it would bleed orange onto your lovely patio.


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 13, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

      I did not know that!! The part Paul was concerned about, (you can kind of see in the photo where we had just picked it up from the sandblasting place) was the stem… It could not have deteriorated any more and still supported the bowl.


  17. Rena
    May 13, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

    Tammigirl you did make me laugh outloud!! But the Urn is absolutely at home!


  18. Chad
    May 13, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

    Do you mind sharing who did your sandblasting and powder coating? My cast iron radiators are in pretty sorry condition – like someone dropped joint compound on them and then painted over it, so I might want to have at least 3 of them sandblasted. I have a neighbor who highly recommends someone in Conshohocken.

    Side note: sandblasting probably will make keeping the radiators officially more expensive than replacing them with forced air and having central air conditioning would have been. But I’ve always coveted my neighbors’ cast iron radiators. No regrets, right?


  19. Lynne Hoover
    May 13, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

    I WANT this. It is absolutely fabulous. Good–no, wonderful–job!


  20. Terri
    May 13, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    I don’t know which I like better, the terrific ideas and creative things you do, or the way you write about them. You are very entertaining.


  21. Deborah Wilkins
    May 13, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

    On a completely unrelated note, you might want to pick up the most recent copy of Vanity Fair – the one with Don Draper on the cover! You will love, love, love it! I thought of you when it arrived in my mailbox…….


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 14, 2014 @ 9:02 am

      I already tore off the cover and internal pages and taped them to the bedroom wall. Paul is so pleased.


  22. jane
    May 13, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

    Love this whole crazy restoration and mold. Without going into a chemistry seminar — the electrostatic part of powder coating …bla bla magic! Something something ionic bonding properties between the metal and the powder.


  23. Helen
    May 13, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

    So, wait – how did you remove the floral swag from the base to make the mold?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 14, 2014 @ 9:08 am

      All of the swags were attached with brass screws, (which don’t rust) and amazingly, they actually unscrewed… We got something similar for the swag that was missing.


  24. Elizabeth Speicher
    May 13, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

    Do you have a giant Disco Ball to put in the top at Halloween?


  25. Becky
    May 13, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

    I love that you go all in on things!


  26. Jessica
    May 13, 2014 @ 5:14 pm

    Okay, LOVE the restoration job. Way to go!

    If you want the look of flowers in it without actually planting stuff then pick up a hanging basket, take off the strappy bits that make it hang and put it inside the urn 😀 I do that all the time! Easy, fast, cheap and no damage to the amazing urn.


  27. Suzanne Melton
    May 13, 2014 @ 9:18 pm

    Your tutorial is a keeper for sure.

    Now, I’ll be out looking for things that are missing things so I can make a mold.

    I hope you kept the mold. When I saw how great it looked, I immediately went to how it could be used to mold more wreaths to attach to, I don’t know, an outdoor fireplace, a seating area, or some other fancy thing for the patio.


  28. Melissa
    May 14, 2014 @ 8:23 am

    Gorgeous urn and great tute-one question how did you attach the cast iron and bondo swags?


    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      May 14, 2014 @ 9:10 am

      The three swags that were intact were held on with brass screws, (which don’t rust,) and we got something similar for the one we made.


      • judy
        May 16, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

        just another take on the comments that the Urn now looks too “new”. I don’t know if any of you have looked at the pictures posted on line of stunningly beautiful mansions and abandoned buildings, some even filled with what seem to be priceless antique furniture, carpets and art work rotting away and forgotten. This made me sad enough to weep. I can’t believe that they at least wouldn’t have been stripped of their contents by someone. Any hoo the urn gave me the same feeling. That it had once taken pride of place in some lovely garden or the entrance to a grand home and it was dying out of existence-and now it has life and beauty again and will age again and perhaps some one in 50 or so years will rescue it again and that makes me smile.


  29. Julian
    May 14, 2014 @ 10:44 am

    Your husband is way hotter than Don Draper…not that any of us are keeping score on the severe skill set sexiness of your husband.


    • judy
      May 14, 2014 @ 3:25 pm

      wow! I’ll second that vote and let us not forget this manly man can Dance!this makes him as rare as GFT on my Craig’s list. Ours is devoted to giant ugly things and small disgusting things people no longer want and one wonders if anyone ever did-want them that is.


  30. Randi
    May 14, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    Good job on the restoration. You and your husband are way more adventurous than me and mine. Not knowing the best steps to get from point A to point B, but being an avid watcher of ‘How It’s Made’, I’m wondering if you did/considered any of the following: coating the original swag with a releasing agent (vaseline, silica, etc.); using packed sand as a base for the mold; selling the urn and using the profits as start-up funds for your own restoration business. 😉

    Now that you do have a fancy swag mold on hand, will you now be using that to create Christmas and Birthday presents? The time and effort going into it demand a future use.


  31. mariad
    May 14, 2014 @ 8:33 pm

    have you thought of maybe antiquing it, just so it is not sooo……i don’t know, shiny??
    it looks brand new. maybe a mat finish or top coat or a light dusting of a green paint (which is then brushed off and only left in the corners or recesses of the edges ) to give it that ‘made in the 1800’s ‘ like of look??
    looks fabulous but it now looks like it was made yesterday or last month….
    i agree with you, the before looks better.


  32. Barb Chapman
    May 14, 2014 @ 11:54 pm

    Hi Victoria!
    I just read your Victorian Garden Urn post in earnest, then I wrote down how you did every step. I keep a binder with all kinds of “how to” goodies and decorating/interior/garden design stuff in it for future use. Thank you!!!

    I have also heard that “Turbo Builders Bog” is another useful molding material. Still waiting to find my carved, wooden roses out there at some giant estate/company/tag sale that I can use to create all kinds of wonderful mouldings out of. (bad grammar, I know)

    Happy hunting/creating!
    Barb 🙂


  33. Carollynn
    May 16, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

    Wow, this is really hardcore. How long did this actually take you, err, Paul to complete? A month, seriously? Guess that’s why your home looks fabulous and mine looks like a little cape cod.


  34. Elizabeth
    May 17, 2014 @ 3:00 am

    Really enjoyed reading about this project. The restored urn looks superb. Good work.


  35. Lydia
    May 19, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

    Love the urn, it makes my heart go pitty-pat and thrills me with its sheer giant fanciness. The black gloss is great, it’s SHINY. I’m in agreement with Suzanne, I will be looking for things to mold now LOL! Thanks for the inspiration!


  36. LibraDesignEye
    May 22, 2014 @ 10:24 am

    Confess! All this shiny stuff and garden sharing is to make us forget (or make Paul forget) there is a kitchen in waiting. (likely for savings to support its future fabulousness)
    I don’t mind , I love to visit your garden and patio which has charm and beautiful indulged growing petals and this fabulous couple in residence . . . May I suggest you throw a party and LIVE in the house for a weekend. Restoration must be balanced by martinis and mint juleps, though i confess all the Marines at Camp Pendleton wouldn’t take me away from a dancing fellow who indulged my passion for swag. . . (in this case, we have something in common, though mine would draw the line at bondo and confines himself to a passable lindy hop!)
    Hope the wintertime threw you for a loop news has resolved dahling.


  37. Marnie
    May 30, 2014 @ 10:39 am

    I was breathless reading about your find and the restoration project. Well done! Love your blog too. I think we all had someone like you nearby. You’re such a neat lady!


  38. nancy will
    January 21, 2015 @ 9:19 am

    Victoria, I love everything you do and I would not ever suggest doing something differently, normally, but YOU YOURSELF said you liked the urn better before so, uhm…. what about doing a finish on you finished urn? Like, res-praying lots of flat black, then some faux rust or patina here and there…or even doing a copper look with green coming in all over? I mean, I know you are already finished and would hate to repaint, but I’m sure your husband would not mind and has LOTS of free time on his hands…. I only suggest looking into this because my husband and I are re-creating a 1600,s English pub where there should have never been a 16oo,s pub in America….. and with effort (lots) and time (oh God, LOTS) we have managed to make what we are doing so far look older than old, even though it isn’t. So, just a suggestion that you don’t have to compromise on the old urns you liked. just sayin.


  39. nancy will
    January 21, 2015 @ 9:26 am

    oh….and don’t look for my website for our pics of a 1600s’ Pub yet…the website is not up yet and won’t be for awhile. Too busy working on it! LOVE yours, though! again, just sayin….

    Nancy Will


  40. Wendy M
    May 29, 2016 @ 9:24 am

    Hi! I love how you restored the urn. I do have a question about stabilizing the mold. Did you place the mold on top of the original piece and then fill around with the plaster? If not, how did you keep the mold from buckling and warping when adding the plaster to firm it? I love your blog! My husband and I are like you and Paul. We are restoring a 1945 Craftsman that was about to be condemned. Mt GFT is the fountain in the front yard. It is huge, and wonderful. We have been at it 1 1/2 years, and are starting our kitchen. It has been completely gutted, and now we are beginning the cabinets. Keep up the inspiring blog!


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