Google+ Nine Red: July 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Painting the Living Room Green

Little by little Ralph and I have started working on the living room.  We spend so much of our time in here that's it's hard to leave it until later, even though we should be outside doing retaining wall projects.  These are just more fun.  After we whitewashed the fireplace we thought it would stand out more if there was a little color on the wall.  A little turned into a lot, and we chose Martha Stewart's "Rhododendron", take a look: (Ignore the towel on the floor, we were preppin' to paint)
Grr... that heater! Originally I wanted to take it off, take it outside and give it a high heat spray paint job, but it's wired in, due to a blower on the top. So that project is not as easy as I thought it would be... someday. I can't stand that spot!  Here's the after:
I love it! I've never gone with this type of a green before, but it makes for a very comfortable living room. It's weird too, in the daytime it's more of a soft green, and it night it has a hint of lime in it. It was a bold decision that made us a little nervous at first, but we figured we could always paint over it, right? I'm happy we finished... Here's the other side:
There are normally really ugly book shelves under that window, more on that soon.  I think the size of this room really helps with the green, we don't feel closed in at all. In fact, it's bringing the room together in a good way.
Because remember our couch is also green:
Which you might think, take it easy pilgrim - too much green, but the couch is kitty corner (is that the right saying?) the green, so they don't touch at all.  When you're sitting on the couch you see green across the room, and when your standing in front of the green wall, you see green couch opposite you. Make sense? I'll have a whole tour soon, we're doing all kinds of projects on this room.

So that's an update, we did this a while ago recently and I've meant to post, but so many other fun tutorials hopped in the way. Stay tuned for a how to on that TV stand in the right of that picture, we built that too.

Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your day :)


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Thursday, July 25, 2013

String Tablets Show & Tell

Gotta few newbies finished up last week, I'm thrilled with how they came out.  Here's my new favorite, standing proud on a 9.5" x 16" dark walnut tablet:
People have trouble figuring out the size, so I threw in an object we are all familiar with.

Then, by request, here's the state of Illinois with a star over Chicago, let me just say, these states are some of the hardest string art I've done yet! States are not shaped very nicely, like animals...

Here's an electric looking name for a nursery, "Ruby" is done in a new font I found called "Japan" with the colors fuchsia, gray and chartreuse inter-layered within the letters. I love it!

Here's one that I did for Makeably, as a thank you for including me on their Airbnb project... I made it to match their websites font & logo exactly, and I'm glad it came out nicely:

The stain above is an interesting one, first I stain the wood with a dark tea, then I come back the next day with a concoction of steel wool and vinegar. It reeks while I'm doing it but the smell goes away once it's dry, luckily.  The color can't be beat though!

Then another thank you gift, the letter "B" for Karen over at Redoux, for hosting a giveaway for me. Another Dark Walnut tablet, this time with a more typewriter style font. Her choice!

Then last but not least, this is one of the gifts I gave my sister and her husband for their wedding last weekend.  She gave me the general colors of their living room and I chose this combo:

So that's the latest in what's been keeping me busy in the string world, I've listened to a ton of This American Life in the process.. it's been great! If you are interested in ordering a tablet for your home, please go to my etsy shop or email me directly to start the conversation.

Thanks for reading, have a great one!


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How To: Paper Crane Chandelier

I've mentioned my Paper Crane obsession before, but I just kicked it up a notch. A while back I did a few sneak peaks on the facebook page of my finished paper crane chandelier, and now it's time to share how it's done! I'm really happy with how it came out, and decided to swap the bulbs out for nightlight bulbs, as it makes a great accent light in our living room.  The cranes send angular shadows on the wall behind it.
You'll need: 

  • Old Chandelier Frame - anything you can tie strings of cranes to will do.
  • Embroidery floss in your color choice and a needle.
  • Paints: Primer & Top coat color
  • 200 Paper Cranes - I got mine in this etsy shop, but you can also make them if you're amazing.
  • Embroidery hoop - just the inner complete circle - (if you need to add hanging room)
  • Super Glue
  • Long Extension cord or wire by the foot & a plug kit.
  • Wire Nuts - 2
  • Tape: Masking and Electrical
  • Sawhorse (optional, for hanging the light)
  • Wall Anchors & Screws (if ceiling mounting)
This project is more time consuming than it is difficult, most the steps are fairly easy.  So here's my light fixture, it's one of those 1980's ceiling mounted fixtures:

I've liked these for YEARS but hadn't thought of a use yet. I got this for $4. I love that the glass comes off so easily, and the frame is ready for whatever use you want.  Disassemble your light:
I decided to keep the wiring and the ceiling mount, because even though I'm turning this into a plug in light, I thought it would look nice to mock install it on the ceiling, instead of using a hook and chain. The wiring looked very clean, so I didn't need to replace.

Once you've taped off the wires and the sockets, start priming. I hung mine from a sawhorse.
First you prime, then you paint. You know the drill with spray paint. Nice thin coats, and REMEMBER! Recoat within ONE HOUR or AFTER 24 hours... it's crazy that this rule actually matters, as if the paint had some sort of built in timer. I re-coated about every 15 minutes.
Blurry pic, but you get the idea:
Now - I wanted more than 6 strands of cranes hanging down mine, so I decided to use an embroidery hoop to add a ring at the top of my chandelier. These simple and cheap babies are wonderfully useful:
After finding the right size, I rested it on the top and painted it green with the rest of the fixture.
Now while your top coat is drying, time to string up your cranes. Since I bought mine (from origamiyyc) I saved a ton of time here. I know, cheating, but look at it this way - I supported another DIY'er, huh? 
I wanted an ombre effect, and found that I had 50 of each of four colors. This doesn't divide evenly into 12 strands, but since I imagined semi uneven strands anyway,  I divided like so: 6 strands at 16 cranes each, 4 strands at 17 cranes each, and 2 strands at 18 cranes each. If you stay consistent with the color order, you'll get your ombre.

Just take your needle and thread, with a LONG piece of floss (folded in half, just like sewing!) and string them up through the  bottom of the crane, and out the back (top) of the crane. A double knot at the end was enough to hold the first crane, and since the floss is so thick the cranes stay up on their own. Thank goodness! I can't imagine a knot after each crane.
Do this as many times as you want, I wanted a very full look, so I did 12 strands.
After those are done, you'd better get to wiring up the light.  You DON'T want to deal with that after you have attached the birds.  I didn't need much wire, so I just chopped the end off a 12 foot extension cord:
Since I'm not rewiring, this connection was pretty simple. I matched the ribbed side of the wire, to the ribbed wire in my fixture, connected with a wire nut and wrapped it up in electrical tape. And vice versa. If you are rewiring, you can revisit the Jute Wrapped Chandelier tutorial for some wiring tips. General rule is smooth wire to black wires and ribbed wires to white wires.
I sort of bent the rim of the part that mounts to the ceiling, because I needed the wire to pass through somewhere since I'm not actually hard-wiring this to the house. 

Now, earlier you may have wondered "How did he attach that hoop the the fixture?" Fantastic question, and here's the scoop.  To hold it in place I just used hot glue, but I knew that wouldn't last forever on metal, so the trick is in the crane strands that tie to the fixture:
I tied the floss around, then crossed over and back under, a few times.  Doing this on each of the six arms creates a secure tie.  Later, we will super glue the floss to the hoop, which will secure all the knots. Here's a close up:
So just continue on, tying your crane garlands to your light.

Once you're done tying, it's important to come back and add a dot of super glue to your knots.  For some reason embroidery floss knots come loose over time, and once you've trimmed the excess string, retying will be impossible!
A lil dab'll do ya. Now plug it in, admire it, take some photos....

When it came time to flush mount to the ceiling, I held the fixture up and marked where my screws will go. I used the 2 existing holes in the mounting plate, but will be using long screws and drywall anchors to install them. Just drill a hole in your ceiling, install your anchor, then put the screws through the mounting plate and into the anchor. Done.
 My last step will be hiding the wire, but that part is boring so I figured you didn't need to be subjected to that... hah.  And now for some fun photos:

 Looking straight up:
So that's it! Took me about a day, lots of breaks and a lot of back to back episodes of Bob's Burgers on Netflix while I made the garlands. What do you think, will you give this project a try? I love how it came out, hope you do too! Here's the cover image if you want to pin it for later:
Enjoy & good luck! Send photos if you try it, I'd love to see all the different ones you all make! For more lighting projects, head to my Project Gallery and scroll down to "lighting".


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Friday, July 19, 2013

Technicolor Glassblowing

I took the morning to browse around the blogosphere, and found myself totally mesmerized by this Technicolor Glassblowing video from The Etsy Blog.  The 1958 film is set to music, and completely hypnotic. Check it out ~ 

This week was pretty productive, we took three enormous truckloads of bushes from this project to the dump. Totally covered in scratches... No projects for us this weekend, my sister is getting married! So we're heading over the hill to celebrate. 

Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Front Deck Details: DIY Pots & Planters

Hey! We're back from camping and I'm just now getting caught up on all my emails! (Thanks for writing, love hearing from you guys!) First thing that needs addressing, is our deck.

I love our little front deck, it's so cozy now! And sitting out there the other morning I realized - hello! -  I never shared the rest of the details of my projects from the Front Deck Tour.  There aren't too many, just a few little things some of you might be curious about.  Here's one of my favorite places to be:
It's a cozy zone, right off the kitchen.  And while it's always growing and changing, I think we gave ourselves a great start in the right direction.  I of course wanted to keep the costs low, so a lot of the efforts to make everything match were of course DIY. Here's a quick tour of the details, all things you can easily do at home for your own deck, or yard, or whatever.

I knew the colors we wanted were blues, with accents of orange & yellow since this is all totally visible from the kitchen. To make it look like a coordinated effort vs. sort of thrown together, I used the pots as a way to tie it all in. Mainly in this zone:
This area kind of sums it up, right? The main colors are here, and because things outside get that less than new  quality so quickly, I figured - if we run with that distressed look we can let these things age gracefully. Plus it's way easier than having to repaint every year!  The plants look small now, but once they are lush and overflowing this will really pull together.  The pots were a Saturday morning quick project.  Pretty straightforward:
I keep these Martha Stewart Paint sample around. They are great, the brush is INSIDE, so it's easy set up and clean up. Well, there isn't any clean up. haha..
I collected all sorts of things to be potential planters.  Affordable clay pots. Thrift store salad bowls.  A pasta strainer. A basket. Anything that could hold hold soil and hopefully had a little drainage.  Then a cup of coffee and I just did whatever, and it was fun.
The terra cotta's are my favorite. I kept the top band clay, I think it looks neat. This next pot was on sale at CVS of all places, for like $7.. I should have bought 3! I jazzed it up with paint and a little jute.
The most important step is you've GOT to seal at these pots with minwax polycrylic, or any other water proof sealer. Clay is extremely absorbent, and your paint will chip off if you get  a bunch of water under it. Outdoor paint eventually chips off anyway, but this extends the life tremendously.  Couple coats, the whole thing.  Hello, salad bowl succulent:
Oh did you spy that little orange candle holder? $1. Yep.......goodwill again. Used to look like this:
That creepy cat statue is for another post for our living room.  It doesn't look like that now!

Moving on, I found this rocker at a goodwill, and was perfect for a weird corner on our deck:
Not really my style, so I gave it the Ombre paint technique from this old tutorial. 
 Ralph and I nicknamed this Rocker "Candy Corn Sunrise":
For good reason! Totally looks like Candy Corn.  That table to the right was ALSO a thrift store find ($5!) and was made of glass and metal, so I knew it could live a life outdoors:
It was hard to paint over the brass, (fake brass I mean) because I kind of liked the shiny-gaudy quality.... but I knew it would look a little out of place by itself amongst all these colors, so to the spray paint it went.
Paired with an old colander painted blue & full of chives, a dollar store salmon plate as a catch, and next to one of the Antique Crate end tables.  For some reason those chives are growing SO slow.... but eventually it will be overflowing.  This would also look great pouring over with lettuce....

I wanted some more planters for around the deck and used a simple technique to get the exact sizes I needed.  I didn't want to hunt around, so I just got a bunch of lumber, and went crazy.  Specifically, this tall corner behind the lounge set:
It's about 3 feet tall, give or take, and was built using some 2x2's and some cedar fence posts. Cost me under $20, and fits perfectly.  Here's a quick how to that you can apply to any size planter.

It's essentially four corner 2x2's connected with cedar planks. Cut your 2x2's all to the same length (height), lay two of them down, and start connecting:
Continue until you've built two of these: Note, I left the ends undone to later act as feet. 
Then, stand the two sides up, and repeat. If you were going for a square like I was, remember you need to measure your finishing sides to be a little longer, to account for the thickness of wood that will stick out on your first two sides.
You can see how easy it would be to make this into a rectangle, just use longer sides!  See how the feet are working now?
For securing I did a combination of screw and finishing nails. Usually the end two were screwed in (easier to hold by myself!) and then I filled in with nails.  It's a good idea to line up your pieces first to make sure they all fit.
Once you've done all four sides, flip it over and start measuring the bottom:
I used more planks cut to the matching width, and a notch cut out of the corner to account for the legs. Then flip it over and seal it for a longer life. Again, minwax poly is my favorite.
I had leftover scraps and was having fun with the miter saw, so I added these little tops:
That's it. The same technique was used for the square planter behind the clay pots here:
And the skinny planter behind the crates here:
Hard to see, but it's back there and full of beans. 

SO those are the finishing touches on the deck! I added some lights along the side of the house for night time, the fountain give some great ambiance... (someday would like to build a NEW fountain... but that's later)

To see the full front deck tour head over to this post.

Today we are meeting with someone regarding our retaining wall... that we have to rebuild... I'm very nervous, I know a lot of work is ahead!

Wish us luck.......


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