The first time we walked out to get mail on the farm we were greeted by a disappointing sight. We discovered the door to the mailbox was figuratively hanging by a thread, literally one loose screw.
It dangled in the breeze that way for a few more days until it altogether detached; rather symbolic of this property as a whole.
Unloved, neglected and let-go.
That’s about to change. This old farm will get whipped into shape, slowly but surely, inside and out. On the exterior, the reform begins at the street with a new mailbox. A mailbox befitting of the cute, charming farm I envision this place can potentially be. A chicken mailbox. Helga, to be specific.
I saw a picture of a mailbox available for purchase from Mailboxes and Stuff.
It’s so cute, isn’t it? The $160 price tag, however, was enough of a deterrent for simply purchasing the mailbox, so designing and constructing a chicken mailbox myself quickly landed on my to-do list. I enjoy the occasional craft project when the mood strikes and this seemed like a fun way to express a little creativity. Unfortunately, my artistic skills are nowhere near gifted, meaning this project had the potential to resemble a product of preschool art time. Be that as it may, I decided to take a chance. I’m very pleased to say Helga turned out adorably well. Equally pleasing is the fact I paid nowhere in the vicinity of $160.
This is how I made Helga.
I free-handed a chicken head, wing, foot and tail on a few sheets of the kids’ construction paper.
I cut out the pieces and taped them to a white mailbox (bought on clearance for $10 from the local hardware store) to assess if each was the right size and shape. After a couple corrections, I was satisfied with each template.
I traced my templates onto a 1×10 board, being sure to make two wings and two feet.
Ryan bought a new jig saw and was happy to have an excuse to test it out. (He is putting together quite a useful workshop of tools!) After satisfactorily taking a practice swing on some scrap wood, Ryan did an impressive job cutting out each chicken piece for me with his jig saw.
I sanded each piece with 100-grit sandpaper until the edges felt smooth. Then they got a couple coats of white paint. When they were dry, I painted the legs and beak yellow, and gave Helga a red wattle and comb. I used a black sharpie for the eye.
See the knot in the wood on Helga’s neck? I ended up filling that in with wood filler, sanding it smooth and repainting it, along with a few other spots that weren’t quite up to Helga’s standards.
We glued the chicken pieces onto the mailbox with heavy-duty construction adhesive and placed her in a safe somewhat less-dangerous spot to cure.
She’s finally ready!
Ryan got home from work this evening and raced to get my mailbox installed before sundown. After a few unexpected (not really, we know better by now) installation obstacles, we have a new mailbox.
Now doesn’t that look better?
It’s so satisfying to get a project completed, even a small one like a much-needed new mailbox.