Decorating the Barn Addition

In Creativity, family, farming, Quilts by Brenda2 Comments

Well looking back on a blog from November of 2015, I found I never followed up on my promise to keep you posted on the installation of the recently purchased windmill blade.  Well your patience has paid off.  Sorry about the wait. Here is the story of my second barn quilt, and the windmill blade accent I installed with it. The plan was to install it on the north end of the barn addition we had built that was finished in October of 2015.

After purchasing the windmill blade for the barn addition, I proceeded to paint another barn quilt.  I used the same colors of paint I did in the first one (as I had loved them) and used the design that was my second choice from the last one I painted.  After doing one barn quilt, it was a lot easier to do the second one. I had the process down.  No sweat.  (If you have interest in the process, check out the more detailed blogs of my earlier barn quilt hanging, in Barn Quilt, Barn Quilt 2, Barn Quilt 3, Barn Quilt 4, and Hanging of the Barn Quilt.)

After painting this barn quilt, I applied the clear coat with anticipation of installation.  We had an Amish crew building the addition to our barn.  They were quite agile in climbing, over the roof, and across the rafters.  It was really something to see!  One of the best motivators for me to get my sign ready was that these men could hang the sign and the windmill blade for me.  I wouldn’t have to beg my men to do it for me, risking their life and limb.  Alex was good to make some brackets for hanging the windmill blade.  But those wonderful, young, agile builders were willing to hang this for me.  They had never been asked to hang decorations on a barn.  Imagine that.

To prepare, the windmill blade needed painting.  I bought some Rustoleum paint.  Instead of getting the bright silver color, I got a pretty darker silver color.  I got some black to paint on the supports.  With Mike’s help, we got the painting done. Sign and windmill blade were both ready for hanging.

As exciting as the hanging was, I have to share with you it was anticlimactic.  The men did a great job.  It was hung exactly as I had asked.  But there were surprises.  First, this was a north end of a barn.  It didn’t occur to me that this end of the barn would mostly be in the shadows all the time.  Second, the angle that the windmill blades angled left the windmill not having as nice of an effect from the road as I had hoped.  Next, the darker color of silver that I had chosen to paint the windmill blade with made it less of a stand out too (in addition to being in the shadows).  I wish I had painted it the bright silver, same as our grain bins.  The angle of the blades couldn’t be corrected.  But if someone would be so kind as to take it down for me, I’d repaint it in a heartbeat.  Only problem is that the building crew did this as their last project before leaving, so until a bucket truck stops by and offers to help us take it down, I think I’ll live with it as it is.

Next disappointment is the quilt sign.  Not only the shadows cast from the sign being on the north end of the barn, but I felt like the colors that I had loved on the first sign, didn’t seem the same on this sign.  I was baffled, but have since figured it out.  I used a different brand of clear to protect the sign.  This time I used a Minwax clear coat, the last time I used Varithane Spar Varnish.  I looked back at the Varithane can to find that it said “dries crystal clear.”  I am now aware how important that is.  The Minwax was not crystal clear and yellowed the clarity and brightness of the colors that I had loved so well. (You can see this if you compare to the pictures I took above during the painting process, before putting on the clear coat.)


And another thing that was a little of a surprise is that the windmill blade ended up looking like a headdress on a Native American chief!  OK, that’s the final surprise.

So overall, this project was a little anti-climatic, missing the “wow” factor that I had intended.  I share all of the details with you so you won’t suffer the same surprises.  Note to self: North end is in shadows; use crystal clear coat, and remember if adding a painted metal accent, to consider the value of the shade of paint you choose.

I still enjoy looking at my original sign out my kitchen window every day.  Although I don’t hate this one, I’ll just say I’m glad I’m not looking at it out my kitchen window every day.  🙂

One more project completed.  Live and learn. So as you can see, this is the rest of the story.





  1. Your windmill blades look handsome and sophisticated in it’s rich dark color. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    1. Thank you, Paula. But I will add that the pictures I posted are up close. The decorations just don’t draw attention from the road (where most of the viewing would occur). Someday I’ll find someone to bring them down so I can at least brighten up the quilt. But until then…I’ll just keep looking at my quilt on the south side of the barn. 🙂

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