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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Modern Stool Makeover

Hello World! Well, I'm waiting for the sun to come out so I can shoot some pretty shots of the backyard bench that we FINALLY finished! I'm so. so. SO happy to be done with that thing. It was the biggest hurtle back there, and with it out of the way I feel like I can do whatever I want. I'm free! If you want to travel back and see what I'm talking about, hop over here.

But in the meantime, let me share the easiest little makeover on the planet, whose technique can be applied to so many pieces of furniture.  It has a modern look that's easy to achieve. Piece of cake as they say. (Is cake easy?)
Start with a simple piece of furniture. Pretty much anything made of plywood is likely to have very simple edges. Here's mine:
A certain stool from IKEA called Frosta is made of flat edge plywood, and is pretty common to find in the thrift shops. Or, I guess, Ikea itself. My stool here I SWEAR is from a daycare furniture set. I worked in daycare for 1,000 years - believe me, I know this stuff. It's super glossy plywood furniture.  I found this beast in our local thrift shop, for $1. I'm guessing it was too rough to make it home with anyone else. Lucky me! Just look for something flat, with flat edges. That's the best.

In the spirit of keeping it clean & modern, I painted all the interior legs white.
White used to  be a rare color choice for me, but I've really come to appreciate it lately & I'm hooked.  I'm using a plain white gloss paint, the gloss also helps down the line when you're staining, you can quickly wipe off any drips.  While your painting the interior flat edges,  don't worry too much about getting on the main edges. If anything, you WANT to overlap a little.  Because you can do this after:
Using a fine sandpaper (#220) on my sander, I gave a quick, flat swipe down the sides to remove my overpainting issues.  See how clean that got?

Up next, Pre-Stain the areas of the stool you're going to stain:
Love this stuff. I never used to use it, and then when I finally tried it? Worth it! You only have to wait about 15 minutes before you can start  the real deal. I'm using, Dark Walnut of course:
Just make sure that the pre-stain conditioner you are using is the same type as your stain. In my case, both are oil based. If your stain is waterbased, use a water based conditioner. Makes sense.

Stain the top & the legs.  I have a pile of old T-shirts, and I just cut a good square out and I dip right into the stain. That's my favorite way to stain wood, I'm not the biggest fan of the brush method - but to each their own.  Also, the T-shirt way helps you cleanly stain the edges:
That's my lil T-shirt square. just a tiny dab, and carefully stain the edges.  If you have any drips on the white, quickly wipe it off with another square of T-shirt that DOESN'T have the stain. Faster!

Let it dry, give it a coat of your favorite clear coat (I use Minwax Polycrylic, Satin in this case)
That's it! This is the perfect addition to our wildly colored patio, and ties in the white from one of our tables, the white in the rugs, the white in the banister behind the barstools, and as you'll SOON see, the white backing on our big bench/daybed thingy.
Plus it's handy for a short person like me. Whenever a light bulb goes out on our string lights, I can hop right up all by myself.  The rest of the time, it's a cute little floater stool that offers a seat, anytime anyplace.

Flashback....
If yours has screws in the top like mine, and they bother you, you could always screw them down a little farther - fill them with wood putty - sand & stain. I, didn't really care about them, and left them.

OK I'm off to photoshoot the backyard, can't wait to show you! Have a great rest of your week & a wonderful weekend, get out there and enjoy the days before winter hits - yikes!

-Jesse


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

String Update! September 2014...

Wow, a rainy day? This is great! We are in the middle of one of our worst droughts out here in California, so I'm not going to complain about rain at ALL. It's so refreshing, and it's forcing me to work inside for once. Yay, computer time! (I'm an addict).

So in string-land, here's what I've been up to lately.  When we were gearing up for our first show ever (Santa Cruz Mountains Makers Market!)and I was stringing as much as I could. I wanted something new, and just coming back from Hawaii Ralph suggested Aloha....how appropriate:

I think I can pretty much say it's my new favorite! It was reserved for sale by a friend literally minutes after I posted it on Facebook, so these are now made to order. Which means you can swap out the colors! Click here to hop over to Etsy.

A bit before all that I made this neat two tone one for the giveaway on Better After:

I guess it's technically 3 color, since the stripe in the middle is natural. Oops, three tone.  Also for sale here.

Here's one I made for myself, because it seems like lately I'm obsessed with all things faceted.  I don't know where these obsessions come from, but I'm rolling with it...

I'm keeping that one, but you can order them in the shop....clicky here!

Speaking of faceted, I'm continuing down the rabbit hole & found a great way to make my letters in this style too... Click here for a direct link to Etsy. 
And naturally, diamonds... 

One last link here for Diamond.  Lots more going on here, Marilyn Monroe sold so I'm going to be creating something big & new to fill her shoes soon, which I'm super happy about because my idea list is longer than my time allows.

Thanks for browsing my newbies!


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Backyard Brick Patio: A Quick Update

Hello again! I'm still around, I hope you haven't forgotten me! Summer has been wild & crazy in all the right ways, but the downside is that I've totally neglected blogtime.  Womp! Between vacations, string projects & the Maker's Market (a first for my sister and I!) I've been a busy boy. Warning, this is a long, picture heavy post - I recommend a coffee refill...

Yet - I still found pockets of time here & there to chip away at the long list of ideas for the brick patio.  While I admit, I am not ready to lay all these out in tutorial form yet, I figured it would still be fun to play around with the camera so you could see what's been changing, and so you know I didn't fall off the face of the earth.

So, here is where we are right about now -
Aaaaw... isn't that lovely.  This is one of my favorite times of day out there, it's about 3ish... sun comes blasting through, and with all the bright colors we've been adding this is now by far our cheeriest patio. Hands down. Oh, so you may think at this point "That is NOT brick" and you're right. This area of the brick patio is wood, but the bulk of the rest is brick and I had to call it something. You'll see the overwhelming brick side in phase 2. Here's another angle:
I'm a total sucker for a good depth of field shot. Mainly what I love about the background being blurry, is it gives you a nice little color swatch of the area, highlighting what's most dominant without focusing on the details of the items. Ok mainly it just looks coool...
This little stool I found at a thrift store for ONE DOLLAR.  I swear it's from a childcare set (you know how those lofts & such are always built of over polished plywood? Yea, that was this) Oh lucky us, I found a photo:
I turned it into this:
With all the wild colors going on, I wanted some more white, and I thought this stool was the perfect candidate.  I'll post a friendly tutorial soon, but in short I painted the insides of the legs first, sanded off the edges where any paint overlapped, and stained the top & edges in dark walnut. Very... carefully...

Now for the stools! (If you haven't seen the bar area, click here to go read)
In a complete impulse decision at Home Depot, Ralph and I grabbed a yellow paint card and ordered a sample of 5 different yellows that were in a row.
Sunny & bright!
The fade is pretty subtle, you know I love ombre & I couldn't care less if it's "trending" or not anymore, I think it just. looks. great.
These aren't quite done, we have to adjust the heights & sand, stain & seal the tops. Thinking dark walnut? I should be responsible and give the paint color names, I always feel horrible when I lose these & people write me asking for them. So here goes, from left to right, all paints are BEHR:

  1. Extreme Yellow
  2. Smiley Face
  3. Yellow Jubilee
  4. Banana Mania
  5. Vanilla Ice Cream
Up next, a random angle shot that highlights the fun fluorescent pink table we have. I guess I could have cleaned it before taking a photo, but you know how it goes. I'm lazy. These two metal tables were also thrift store finds, around $12 each:

Here's the before, lots of rust that you can't really see here:
I was browsing craigslist for tables when I saw a bamboo & glass coffee table that immediately begged for me to email the owner. I imagined solid white, with a glass top, on top of this crazy rug, but alas, it was sold.  But the simple, glass table idea stuck, and now we have these pups.
So pretty! If you're wondering about the rug situation, a large rag rug was beyond $200, so I am taking 6 (or maybe 8 by the time I get to this project) smaller rugs that were $5 each, and stitching them together to make a large rug. $30-$40 vs. $200, I think I will come out ahead.

Close up of pinky, with it's possible accessories:
It's always so hard for me to be patient and wait to accessorize a space. I start collecting things from the house, thrift stores, wherever & begin immediately.  I end up redoing it like 10 times before we're "done" (let's be serious, nothing is ever done).

Ah... another fun blurry & colorful shot... so happy the deer are completely uninterested in this fern:
Aren't the colors fun?? I love them!  Oh, see that giant blue pad on the bench to the left there? Let's talk about that thing.. So first we had built a bench over that crazy stump:
It was a medium pain that we'll touch on someday. Since it is so big though, I imagined a large... couch style seat... almost like a daybed. So I made a cushion from a moving blanket! It sounded cheap, durable, large & easy. Perfect for something that can potentially be ruined by the outdoors.

I folded the blanket in half, and sewed it up like a sleeping bag, leaving the top open:
Then I found this foam online for super cheap, (find it here!) it's shredded poly, and was about $14 for 13.5 cubic feet! Shipping was around $16 to California, and came in a small cube the size of a milk crate. But expanded to this once I opened it:
Again, in another tutorial I can over-explain how EASY it was to get the filling into my sleeping bag type pillow, and sealed it up to be this:
Winchester immediately approved!
Now I know it looks enormous, and that's because it is - but I was confident (er..really hopeful!) that it would squish down as time went by. Which, update, it has.
It's the coziest cushion ever. When you sit on it, you can't feel the bench underneath, and it's so big you could sprawl out & nap.  The current project for this bench is adding arms, a back, & pillows upon pillows. Upon pillows! Mark my words, I will nap here one day, soon.

Another project was taking one of these oh-so-common light fixtures & turning it into a planter.  You see a lot of people turning these into terrariums, but some of the glass was already broken so I had to improvise...
Plus the glass was tinted & I wasn't into it.  I kept the top 8 panels in, since that will be my planter, and had a little fun with spray paint:
I used the TOP as the planter because it is the side with the closed panel, in-case you tackle this yourself.  And here we go:
I primed the glass & then painted copper right over it.  I used a little tape to keep a clean line for my cyan top section, the middle is plain brass, and the bottom is copper.
I chose a perennial I hoped would survive, and planted away:
It's no terrarium, but it's a perfect little cage. You could probably plant a fun annual vine on here & it would look great climbing the structure.
Oh, here's what it looked like before... I held onto this stupid thing for 3 YEARS... I'm so embarrassed, but happy to finally have given it a life other than the one behind our dryer...
I totally kept that center light fixture by the way, I can't resist a fun light fixture... I couldn't fight my inner hoarder on that one.

So there you have it, I'm still around, still balancing too many projects, and finally feel like I'm seeing the finish line on this back patio.  On a dose-of-cute note,  we adopted a new kitten from the shelter... his name is Hamilton.  See, Winchester moved in a year ago, and he's an indoor maine coon who loves to play, and we felt so bad that he was all alone in here! (No more outdoor kittens, the cars drive too fast here & we lost Reuben that way)  The other two cats (you read that right, other TWO) only come inside for about 5 minutes a day - Tyler moved out (he fell in love with the neighbors, and they are all very happy it's adorable) and Charcoal loves the outdoors, so we hang out with her out there.  So Winchester, now has Hamilton (anyone from Campbell will know those street names!) and the two absolutely love each other:



Have a wonderful Wednesday! What projects are you working on?  Huge thank you to those who wrote me during my hiatus to check in, that was so nice to hear from you!  Definitely motivated me to take a breather & hop back on here...feels good..

-Jesse

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Quick DIY Secret Mossy Hiding Pail

Well I guess not so secret anymore now that I've blasted this all over the internet.  Oh well, I guess if you come to my house you'll know this secret spot & head straight to it. 
Good thing for me that I don't keep anything in it! Yea, I've always had some weird obsession with hiding places. I used to hollow out books, just because it was cool. And then I'd put them on the shelf. Empty. I don't have anything to hide really, no gold coins & cash burns a hole right through my pocket.  But, during this fail-fix I couldn't resist the opportunity.  

It all started during that long winded downstairs bathroom redo, one of my accessories was to be ferns. I chose ferns, because that room is "light challenged" and I figured they'd fit right in. Look how they did:
Mind you, this is not a case of not having a green thumb, I have a bunch of healthy plants that will tell you otherwise - I gave this puppy everything I had, and he quit. Fast forward to problem #2 - I used a wood bucket.  Even though I had the fern in a separate plastic pot for drainage (I thought I thought of everything!), and sealed the heck out of the bucket, the water seeped on through.  But whatever, we all have fails & new things sprout from those, right?

I wanted to rush out and buy (see what I mean about the cash problem) something else to go here, but in an effort to try and use-what-I-have-around-here, this is what I came up with. And it's what I should have done in the first place. (sorry lil fern...)

Step 1: Paint the bottom half of the bucket. This was dual purpose, it hides the horrible water damage to the bucket, and looks all color-blocky.  Unsuspecting people will think this was the plan all along - good!
Step 2: Raise up the floor so I don't have to literally fill this bucket with moss.  This is where the secret hiding spot came in at the last minute! I hoard keep all those jars from finished Bath & Body works candles & freeze the wax out (freezing the candle is the easiest way to get the wax out - just take a butter knife to it to crack out the wax). They are super handy, and this one fit perfect:
A little newspaper padding to keep it steady......pop the lid on....
Step 3: Fill her up with moss! This is my favorite moss, it's about $26 on Amazon (find the link here) for a HUGE box of it, but you can find smaller packs too.  I use it all the time, I cover the soil in my other houseplants with it, just to make them even cuter. Because, why not? Back to the bucket:
Done! Much cleaner. I love that fluffy lime stuff. I still get my touch of green in here without having to buy a fake plant, and a hiding spot too. Again - because, why not?
From failed to fixed in like, 15 minutes. And it didn't cost me a thing since I had it all here.

Back to work on the backyard brick patio for me...  enjoy your summer!

-Jesse


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