Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grapevines and Exercise Balls

The stone loading and moving is still going on, weather permitting.  Carl has been helping me with the tidying up whenever he has a few spare moments since Aaargh construction has come to a halt.  I have a problem with the changing seasons; I'm just not ready to throw in the towel for this year yet.  Someone told me today at exercise class that next week is Thanksgiving.  Wow. I was stunned.  It can't be that late already, can it?  I don't have the statuary put away, there's flower pots all over the place, garden hoses need draining, the garage and barn needs organizing and, ok, I'll get a grip.  There's a whole bunch of stuff to do.

Carl loading stone on pallets.

 And then I go and dream up some more work.  First the grapevine saga:

 We had an abundance of grapevines growing on the old rock pile in the picture above. Trying to get to the rocks on the pile was a hassle, talk about a tripping hazard; I swear if we held still long enough, they'd have us engulfed, too.  The vines were growing up into the spruce trees nearly twenty feet and yanking on them by hand was proving an exercise in futility.  Tractors to the rescue; Carl hooked chains up to the roots and with me backing the tractor, the vines came down bringing along with them spruce branches and sumac trees and anything else in their path. By the time the silly things were free of the rock pile, the tractor and I were nearly out to the road. 

Well, what do you do with grapevines?  Burn them?  Compost them?  Yes, you could.  Or we could make wreaths out of them, but I already have a couple.  That's when I got the bright idea of making a big orb.  But how do you make it perfectly round?  I had done some research and came across an article where a lady was using beach balls to make grapevine balls.  Ernie the Urn needs something for the winter but we don't have any beach balls.  And a beach ball would be lost in Ernie.  We need to think bigger. 

Hmmmmm...I do own an exercise ball.

I'd been wanting a new Swiss ball  for quite some time.  My original one is over ten years old and has seen better days; there was a particularly deep gouge in it on one side.  Since I've started the weight lifting routine one of the exercises I have to do is called a 'Prone Jackknife'.   As you can see from the video above (no that's not me) there is a lot of stress placed on the equipment.   There's a few other silly exercises I have to do, too, and the thought of the old Swiss ball suddenly exploding mid-jackknife or pushup was rather terrifying.  I know the resulting crash of my face plowing into the hardwood floor wouldn't help my looks any.  And I would hate to startle my snoozing Shih Tzus, too.

So, I purchased a new Swiss ball (with sand inside so it doesn't roll away so easily) and we put the old ball to use as a grapevine form.  I didn't do much with the construction other than fetch and trim errant branches off the grapevines for Carl as he rolled and tucked them into place around the ball.  It was amazing how many grapevines were required, but we had enough to go around.

 I forgot to take pictures of the process, but here's the end result.
Ernie's Ornament
One thing we forgot to do was deflate the ball and take it out of the middle before there were too many branches in place.  I didn't think we'd ever get the ball out, but Carl didn't have a problem.  We might make a few more this jumbo size before the snow flies, but first I had Carl make me some smaller ones, too.

Smaller ones lining the driveway on the plant stands.
Carl just rolled the vines into a circle without anything in the middle for the smaller ones.  They're not perfectly round, but they're close enough.  I've got some ideas for decorating them with mini-lights and some greenery.  We'll see if I get around to it.  As you all know, I'm dreadfully unorganized. 

In the meantime, I'm getting the hang of the new exercise ball.  It's so much more stable with the sand inside.   When I'm not exercising, I could use it as a step stool to reach high things in the kitchen cupboard, too.

On second thought, maybe that's not such a good idea.


Sue said...

Don't you dare try something stupid like that! What on earth was she thinking?

LOVE the grapevine balls. Keep making them--and set up a stand by the road!! I'd buy one!

FlowerLady said...

I was thinking the same thing, DON'T DO THAT. Good grief, you'd have more problems than you want.

The wreaths look GREAT.

Have a wonderful week. I thought Thanksgiving was two weeks away. I better get my frannie in gear.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

Gatsbys Gardens said...


The balls look great and they are expensive to buy. I saw some online with little white lights wrapped around them and then put in containers.


Andrea said...

Oh how sweet, your Carl is such a real big darling! Imagine giving in so easily to your whims of making those balls! hahaha, someone not as loving might not give in to that. And it's been years but everytime I read the word Aaaargh i still smile.

Junebug said...

I love the grapevine orbs!!!!!!!! I can just see them with white lights!! Way to go Miss Creative!!

Karen said...

Hi Sue, I have a friend who tried the same thing with an exercise ball and ended up clunking his head on a piano bench on the way down. He's ok, I hasten to add, but told me it's really not a good idea to work on your balance that way. I'm assuming there was 'some' alcohol involved. I had the idea of making grapevine people too, but I'd have to buy a blow-up doll...and procuring one of those might be more of an experience than I bargained for. Still, it's an interesting idea. Stay tuned. LOL

Karen said...

FlowerLady, I know! How did the time go by so quickly? I haven't cleaned or washed windows or done much of anything. And don't worry, I won't be trying any fancy moves like that, ouch!

Hi Eileen, I really do want to put some lights on them, too. Maybe I could outline Ernie?

Andrea, yes, Carl is a big pushover for my ideas, poor guy. I'm surprised he hasn't figured out how to fake not knowing how to do something, he'd get out of a lot more work that way. :-)

June, looking at the white lights I rolled up into a ball and tossed into the closet last season, I guess I didn't need the grapevine ball, I already have an electrical one. I may be creative, but I sure am a slob. Maybe I'll just buy new ones.

Peonies & Magnolias said...

Awesome grapevine orbs, I just love them. I hope you have a great week.


Alison said...

You're so clever to make that giant grapevine ball. I love it.

HolleyGarden said...

I have an exercise ball but rarely use it. I, too, keep wondering what would happen if they burst in the middle of exercising! How smart of you to think of yours for the middle of your grapevine orb. I love the way you have smaller ones, too. So smart of you to use what was there instead of just burning all those grapevines. And they look fabulous!

Beth said...

Love the grapevine balls, Karen! They are AWESOME! You are so creative. Good luck on your continuing garden clean up and Happy Thanksgiving, Karen.
Hugs, Beth
p.s. Can't wait to see you and your garden next summer. We hope to go to Larry's first and then head on to your way (that is, if it's okay with you!)

africanaussie said...

Those grapevine balls are sooo cool - I can just imagine them with a little snow over them....very clever!

Karen said...

Thank you, Sandy! They were kinda fun to make.

Alison, it turned out better than we thought it would, lol.

Holley, It will be interesting to see how long the grapevines will last. I've had a wreath hanging outside for over five years that still looks the same as the day we made it.

Beth, I'm so excited you're going to be visiting next summer! We're looking forward to it!

africanaussie, thank you! How (or if) I decorate them remains to be seen, but I'm sure snow will improve them.

Shirley said...

Oh Karen you are so funny!! What an ingenious idea to recycle the old exercise ball! Your orbs look great!

Karen said...

Thank you, Shirley! They were fun to make.

Zoey said...

Love the giant grapevine orbs, Karen. What a great recycling idea that was!

Indie said...

Love, love, love the grapevine balls! They would look so gorgeous for the holidays with lights in them, too. We have a sorry excuse for a grapevine in one corner of the yard - this post almost makes me wish it was taking over our fence so I could cut it down and make giant orbs out of it!