Google+ Nine Red: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

String Art Giveaway on Better After

If you're a fan of the blog Better After, or follow me on Facebook, you already know about this giveaway.  I've had so many new designs & orders lately that I didn't realize it's been forever since I had a giveaway! In the words of Stephanie Tanner, how rude.. (Tell me you remember Full House...) I'll keep this short & sweet, hop over to Better After to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway, where she will choose 2 winners on May 1st. Hurry! 

And since you've seen my photos & styling 3 million times, I'll share Lindsey's photos of two pieces I have done for her over the years instead. Tyce was the most recent, and the first time I have done a color block background. I'm glad she likes it!

Good luck!


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How To: Modern Timber Slat Coffee Table

Well, I'm finally getting this tutorial put up! Last month was a whirlwind, and I was one of the lucky ones chosen to compete in the East Coast Creative Creating with the Stars challenge.  If you missed that chapter, pretty much it's a contest where 12 bloggers & their superstar mentors duke it out for 4 weeks, competing for the best project. Plus some fantastic prizes.  Round one's theme  was "Knock Off" where we were to choose an existing item for sale, and copy it ourselves.  I chose this Restoration Hardware Timber-Slat table. One, because it was $1600 and I was sure that I could make it for a tad cheaper.  Just a tad, haha. And two, well just look at it! I wanted one for our living room:
Here's how mine came out:
This wasn't just a table project either. The pressure was on, they wanted it completely staged (if I wanted any chance of winning that is...) - I was under the impression that people were going to try really hard to figure out whose was whose during the voting, so I had to go all out and stage a space in the house. Anyway, I loved the challenge, and want to share the tutorial with you. I did this all for about $80.

Learn from me: I stained my table after I built it, and while it wasn't impossible, I'm pretty sure it would have been easier to stain before making the cuts, then come back and do patchwork where needed. Up to you!


  • Twelve 1" x 4" x 10' boards - these will be our slats (I had some extra, but I always over buy just in case)
  • Two 1" x 3" x 8' boards - these will be the spacers in-between the slats on the top piece.
  • Miter saw
  • Air Compressor (for the nail gun & paint gun)
  • Nail-gun & 2" brads, as well as a few 1" brads. Just buy the assortment box, you never know. (Here's what I used)
  • Wood Glue
  • Fine Steel Wool
  • Vinegar (about 3 cups)
  • Water based Minwax Stain - I used "Coffee"
  • Minwax Polycrylic Clear Coat
  • Gravity Feed Paint Sprayer (if you'll be spray painting)
Well the first thing you need to do, is make a ton of cuts. Take your 1x3, and measure how wide it is. These things are never actually the width they say, and we need squares. Mine was about 2.75", so now I knew I needed 2.75" squares. 38 of them! 19 spacers on each side.

Chop chop... I found stacking 2 at a time cut the job in half. Literally. Lots of puns & jokes in that one. 
Once that is done, break out your 1x4's - it's time to cut the slats for the top piece. Decide how wide you want this beast, I wanted somewhere in the ball park of 30x30. Plus, with a 10' board, this works out to exactly 4 pieces per board. 

I lined them up just to see how many I would need to make my top piece. Don't worry, we'll do the legs later. Let's just focus on the top piece. I ended up with 20 slats for the top, at 30" a slat.
I didn't sand much, or at all, until the end because this is a reclaimed timber slat table. Though my wood isn't reclaimed, the reclaimed look we are mimicking gives us this freedom!
Ready for some nailing? So the idea here, is to sandwich our small square spacers inbetween our slats. To get the look that they are floating, we need to put the squares nestled in from the edges. To save time, I made this little device out of scrap wood:
That shows it upside down, so I could put the nails in. It's easy to make. Just decide how far in you want the squares, and make an "L" that fits. These photos explain a little better:

With the L in place on a slat, you can simply put a square next to the L, and set them both flush against a spare board (standing behind). No measuring needed after the first one!
Throw a few nails in (I used shorter nails for this first step so they didn't poke out the other side)
Repeat for both sides of the slat:
And now you have the foundation for what you need to do 1 million times more. Add a slat, line it up, nail. Add the squares, line 'em up. Nail. I used the 2" brads so they would shoot through multiple layers of wood, adding to the strength.

I turned the slat up on it's side to use my flat surface as a tool to line the bottoms up, and nailed from the side:
Then laid it back down, used another slat behind and my "L", dabble of wood glue, and pop the next square in:
Over and over. Use a spare board to check that everyone is flush on all sides now & then before nailing. It's a slow, yet easy process.

And were done! Check out your beautiful table top:
I stopped at 20 slats total for the tabletop, which came amazingly close to a perfect 30" square. 

Break out the saw again, it's leg time. We'll be adding the legs opposite the direction of the slats on the top.  In other words, on the right side of the square in the photo above. Measure that side on your tabletop, and cut all your leg slats to match that size. Mine was 29.75" wide, yours will likely be slightly different, so just measure.
Our coffee table is a height of 16.5" including the top. Which worked out to be 9 slats for the legs on each side, and 8 spacers on each corner.   
  • Totals: 18 slats, 32 squares as spacers.
For THESE spacers however, I used the 1x4 pieces of wood to make squares. I made them a tiny bit smaller so they wouldn't line up perfectly. I thought it would look neat. That is up to you, make 32 of those puppies.

We are going to build the legs directly onto the table top. Turn your tabletop UPSIDE DOWN. See how my spacers in the tabletop are all showing now? That's because it's the bottom. We will build on that part. And just like you did for the top, start gluing, layering, and nailing:
Nails & Spacers:
When you nail, it helps to rotate the nails position. I got into the habit of nailing 3 nails in a triangle on one layer, then on the next layer another triangle of nails but in the opposite position. Make sense? Be sure to keep checking that everyone is flush as  you build the legs, using a straight spare piece of wood, or a triangle if you have one. 

As I mentioned before, I chose to do my sanding after, and there wasn't much to do. I just took the clean edge off a few areas here and there, to help it look old & used:
You can see there how my spacers are 1/8" smaller, to give some definition to each layer. 

Now I started with a technique I've used many many times to age wood. You need strong coffee or tea, and steel wool soaked in vinegar. If you want the full directions for that, see this post. 

First I loaded up my gravity feed spray gun with the strong coffee/tea, and sprayed every nook on it. This is where I mean it may have been easier to do this before hand.
Once that has dried, you can spray it with the vinegar. (The vinegar has to "cook" with fine steel wool in it for 24 hours before this reaction will work. See this post for details, very easy) 
You can already see it turning grey.
Now every wood is different, and sometimes the tea & vinegar job is enough to satisfy.  This particular wood didn't age as dark as I had hoped, so I took some water based stain I had on had to it. This is Minwax's "Coffee" stain. Note, I used waterbased because I was scared oil based in my gun would ruin it, and that thing wasn't cheap. 
I sprayed the entire thing, soaked it!
Then after 20 minutes or so, came back and rubbed in some of the puddles. Like I said, no perfection here, we're going for a reclaimed look.
After a day in the sun, I loaded up the gun one last time - this time with the Minwax Polycrylic Clear coat, and gave it a matte seal. Before we take a look at the finished product, here's a reminder of our inspiration:
And now, the staged photos:

Where is this in our house you ask? Here's what it looked like before we set up the stage:
And that's what it looks like again. I'm sitting in front of Marilyn, right now.
I love it! In the last picture you can see next to the plant there, that the fabric curtain is just hanging in a walkway.. pretty clever right? I thought so. Added bonus is that this little set is very very similar to what we're aiming for in our own living room - so it was like a little test run!

What do you think, going to tackle the table? It's a lot easier than it looks, once you get into a rhythm it's just a matter of repetition. Put on some good music, you can do this in about a weekend.  As you know I totally didn't win the contest, but I was extremely honored and flattered to get to participate at all!

Thanks for all your love & encouragement everyone, if you make a slat table, show me! Either email it to me or post it on my facebook page.

Have fun!


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Duluth Kick in the Pants Contest and Giveaway

Hey everyone! So to say I've been slacking on the home projects lately is a total understatement.... I've been so swamped with different jobs (like this huge string art piece, I'm still sore!) that the house's to-do list is totally gathering dust.  But, as luck and perfect timing would have it, I got an e-mail letting me know that Duluth Trading Company was now giving me a "kick in the pants", with a little cash & a sweet new pair of pants to, literally, get my butt in gear. This is just the type of motivation I needed!  And guess what? You can get in on this too.. the folks at Duluth are hosting a giveaway and YOU can win $200 bucks in Duluth gear (which is all crazy comfortable work gear) PLUS $200 to spend on whatever project you need help getting done. How awesome is this?!? Ok, before I ramble about the project I'm going to work on, here are some links so you can get yourself in that contest stat: Duluth Kick In The Pants Contest. Pretty sweet deal, do it five minutes ago.

OK - so here's my issue, our back patio, is up to this day (1.5 years after moving in mind you) completely ignored. I think I used a blower on it once or twice. But there's no excuse, this area gets great afternoon sun, and is perfect for entertaining. So last weekend Ralph & I decided the project should totally be outdoor-esque, because California is becoming gorgeous outside again, & I think we want a bar. I mean, I know we want a bar.  Not a bar to serve drinks so to speak (yet, totally have plans for that down the line) but a nice balcony bar where you can sit, drink a beer, and look out into the trees. Daze out for a bit. Check this spot out, it's PERFECT:
Mmhmm.. can't you just see it, sitting there, facing out into trees... I can see it. I totally see it.
So this deck is weird. Once upon a homeowner, there was an old fashioned Jacuzzi under there. Someone was done with it, and instead of removing it, built a deck over it. I can't blame them, because that totally sounds like something I would do, haha. Anyway, we have a weird little roundy deck now. I tried to put a table on there, but I was so scared that someone would scoot a chair leg off the edge and break their brains open, so no-go on the table.  Suddenly it dawned on me, it's up high, it has a decent view (of trees...) and has some sun. A balcony bar! Here's what I mean by "view":
If you ignore the power lines (nothin' I can do there) it's pretty sweet to look out on this mini-valley and listen to the creek (Love creek!) and the millions of birds. Again, perfect beer zone. I have a one track mind apparently. 

Looking down to the left from the proposed bar, is our walkway, plants, and garden hose that I so lazily left out. What a jerk. You can see we're on quite the little incline! I've really come to love it, I feel like we are in a tree house. The banister in the lower left of this photo is where I'd love love love a bar.

Now of-course I have some inspiration photos, here's what I'm aiming at, which all have been pulled via Pinterest:
True, I don't have some fantastic city skyline, but the redwoods will have to do. Ha!  Though this is most accurate to what I mean. A long bar, facing outwards, for some good times. This next one is nice, particularly enjoying the ledge here so my booze don't go flying off into the street.  Alcohol abuse. (get it!?!). Minus the planters. they are cool but I like a lot of clean counter space:
This next one is lovely because those are the EXACT stools I have that I will be repurpose-ing (whip out the paint gun).  A little less bear though.. I'd love THAT view however, gimme gimme:
One last one, not sure if stone will work on our deck, but built in BBQ for the win! I couldn't resist sharing this puppy:
And there you are. See what I'm getting at? Bar. Stools. Beers. Facing the redwoods. That my friends will be the perfect start to what is now the brick patio makeover. It needs major attention. Last year we spent a lot of time on the Front Deck, but it's time to spread the love a bit, what do you think of this bar idea?

Anyway, Happy GIVEAWAY! Right? This is a great one and entering is easy. Hook up with Duluth via their facebook page, send a pic & a project idea and you're in the running. FIVE winners will be chosen on April 23. Oh wait, there's more (of course!) another FIVE winners will be chosen on May 1st!  Give it a shot, then you & I can both be getting our project on. What would you work on if you won? That's ten chances..

Oh - and so far, the pants have been really comfortable. I haven't started do any extreme hardwork in them yet, look for that review later. For now though, they fit like a dream and have pockets galore... just what I need!

Ok, go enter, & let me know what you'll be working on if when you win!


Pssst.. just to keep the air clear, I was compensated to promote this giveaway & post, but rest assured, all opinions are mine & are honest. I won't post anything I didn't actually like or use. Just keeping it real, friends!   

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