Google+ Nine Red: December 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Notes to Self

A few years ago I started a tradition I'd been meaning to start for ever.. but somehow kept forgetting. I always thought it would be neat to write a letter to my future self, from my current self, which would then become my past self.  I probably seem crazy, but I think finding notes, letters & mementos from moments past is really fun (Remember the messages in a bottle?) and New Year's is the perfect chance to write a new letter, and read last years letter.  I think this would be really fun tradition for families, & the kids can get in on it too. It can be your lil' New Years Eve tradition.
Photo Source
Now, sadly (or not so sad?), I can type WAY faster than I can write, so I'm opting out of the handwritten note to myself, & moving to the e-mail. Sign of the times, right?  Plus - with a nifty little gmail add-on called Boomerang, you can write an e-mail & schedule it to send to yourself a year later.

So what do you write to yourself? Oh you know.. like you're writing an old friend.  Fill yourself in on what's new, what's goin' on... what are your goals & plans for next year, little reminders to yourself like  "Jeez, are you EVER going to visit Japan?" .  Grab a cup of coffee and ramble on, and a year from now, you'll be really, really entertained.  Plus, you can get pretty personal since it's from you to you, ya know?

Seriously I do this type of stuff all the time.  I opened up the Christmas decorations this year, and there was a note in there saying "Hey Jesse... so last year you forgot to stock up on white Christmas lights that you can use on the patio in Summer, and I'll bet you $20 you're going to forget this year too. Prove me wrong!"... haha... nerd alert!

So, while it might seem weird at first, I think it's really cool to see how far you've come from last year - in your own words, from yourself.   Happy New Year everyone, I'm very excited & optimistic about 2014!


P.S. totally NOT sponsored by Boomerang in-case you were wondering. I just really use the heck out of that thing.
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Monday, December 23, 2013

Mele Kalikimaka

The holidays get pretty busy, so not too many projects around these parts.  I've been bouncing around from string orders, to gift shopping, to prepping (& cleaning up!) parties... this has been one packed month. So with about 24 hours to spare, here's my virtual Christmas Card, my Happy Holidays to you - and while I'm not actually in Hawaii... it was for some reason the first thing on my mind today.  Which made for an appropriate Christmas collage:
Ah... wouldn't that be nice?  Merry Christmas Everyone! Enjoy your time with family & friends, and think about all the great memories you've made this year. Cheers!


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY Winter Evergreen String Art Pattern

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays! Winter is about 3 days away, I think - and my favorite part about the first day of winter, is that it's also the winter solstice - meaning it's the shortest day of the year. Meaning, each day afterward gets slightly longer! Nothing against winter, I do love the different seasons... but I really love longer days, you can get so much done.  I've been swamped with Christmas String orders (thanks everyone! So exciting), but I had a goal to get a wintertime pattern in the shop.  Take a look at my Winter Evergreen:
I love how it came out! I hand drew it, then scanned it into the computer & edited it to get it ready for the pattern life. Then I printed it out, and tested it, to make sure there were no mistakes.  I think it's pretty cute! You can buy the pattern from my etsy shop, and it's actually a set of two.  One is the pattern you see here, and the other is just the silhouette. I think they'd look great together to create a sort of grove. 

If you're worried about whether you can do it or not, let me just say  you can totally do it.  The patterns come with a detailed instruction sheet, full of tips & tricks.  There are two main ways to start. To make your pattern re-usable; you can lay your pattern out, mark your nail holes with a thumb-tack, then remove the pattern & add your nails to the marks.
Some people prefer to lay the pattern out, use the thumbtack on the dots (makes a sort of pilot hole), and nail right through the pattern.  Since I give you the pdf's you can easily print this puppy over & over! The only drawback with method two, is you DO have to tear the paper remnants off after.
It's actually a pretty good size tree:

There's still plenty of time & warm nights by the fire to get this pattern up in your home! Hop over to my  etsy shop to snag this pattern, plus browse all my other patterns that are available. Like Otis the Owl!

Yep - it's an instant download, so once payment is complete Etsy gives you the files.  No waiting for me to get back to you!  And as always, if you have ANY questions, always feel free to email me:

I also have it for sale as an actual tablet, if you're not in the DIY mood... don't fret. And on that note, I have a long line of orders waiting to be completed, but I HAD to take a breather to share this pattern, before winter completely passed me by!

Happy Holidays everyone!  Thanks for reading, I love hearing from you all & seeing what you're up to.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Quick Sink Cabinet Makeover

In an effort to keep the downstairs bathroom makeover relatively simple, there will be no replacing of sinks & sink cabinets.  No plumbing work. Not even a new faucet.  Those things, would move us out of the realm of "quick" bathroom makeover, and throw us right into a redo. The sink was fine, the faucet good enough.. We're already clocking in at about a month since we had Thanksgiving to focus on, but who's really counting?  So today, I'll share the very quick sink cabinet makeover.
So here she is before:
Nothing special. I'm happy it's functional, clean, and has a little bit of character.. So while we had the paints out for the walls I figured, why not give it a little love too? My first thought was painting & aging it. And that was that. Like I said, not wasting any time here.

First I painted it the same light gray as the wall on the right. 15 minutes.
Now I know what you're thinking, it's too matchy matchy - fear not! I had a plan all along. I whipped out some of my Minwax Oil based stain, in Ebony... (note, this is NOT polyshades... that crap dries too fast & gets splotchy!)
This one can has lasted me FOREVER! (Now that I said that out loud, I'll totally run out).

For the treatment, I dipped a piece of T-shirt into the stain, and just started smearing it all around. Really getting into the grooves, too...
After a minute or two, gently wipe the stain off with the rest of the clean T-shirt. Remember to not get crazy with the wiping, you want to leave some stain.
Stand back & see how you feel. I wanted more, so I just went crazy with it and did 3 rounds of this treatment. Then, I was happy.
Thar we go.  The grooves are highlighted by the stain, the cabinet has a little bit more interest, and now that white bowl really pops!
The handles were bugging me so I spray painted them yellow.  Then, immediately after I did that, I realized I still didn't like them - and attacked them with leftover sand paper.  That ever happen to you? Idea goes south.. they aren't too bad:
Cute little tie in to the yellows we were hoping for in this room! I'll keep my eye out for some good cabinet hardware, but these will hold me over for a bit.  Standing back:
Ignore that horrible reflection! We got our mirror finally & installed it. Problem solved! I can't wait to show you. Doesn't the sink stand look a little better than before? Someday a new one all together would be lovely, but realistically, this is a spare bathroom.  I gets used maybe 15% of the time. Right now I'm focusing on the finish line, and the floor is up next.....

Got any indoor winter projects you're focusing on? I saw the crew over at Sawdust & Embryos are doing some demo in one of their bathrooms... looks great!  Someday I'll have the confidence (and knowledge!) to do that. Ralph and I have our eyes on a few walls that need to come DOWN in this place!

Stay warm!

Leftover things to do in the bathroom:

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

DIY Copper Towel Rack

Good day! Well we are back to working on the downstairs bathroom again, and things are moving along smoothly.  It’s kind of an awkward space, but we’re trying to give it a lot more personality.  Our goal was to lean towards grays, whites, metals (mainly copper) & wood.  So when it came to dreaming up a towel rack, copper pipe was an almost instant idea:
Isn’t it great? Now, granted, this isn’t the cheapest towel rack out there, but weighing in at roughly $25, it’s not TOO bad either to achieve the look we wanted.  We wanted a long rack, as long as the window, made out of copper pipes.  Seems simple.

Want to make one?  It’s extremely easy.  You've probably already figured out how to make it, but since I hit a few bumps along the way, let me save you the trouble of hitting those bumps yourself.  Let the tutorial begin.
Here’s our before situation:

I’m loving our grays… and that shiny-ness won’t be there as soon as we get rid of that horrible horrible shop light fixture. Horrible.  But let’s pay attention to the window! So when you walk in the bathroom, that tiny window is jammed into the corner. No room to put anything under it without getting in the way of the sink, a towel rack is it’s only hope. We thought making it as wide as the window would  make in not only extremely useful, but interesting.

First thing you wanna do, is go shopping. Copper, is not cheap. But, it’s SO pretty, and my hopes are that eventually after many showers, the copper will turn it’s beautiful green. I have no clue whether it will or not, and I don’t feel like researching it. It’ll just be a nice surprise if it does.

After spending a half an hour brainstorming with a Home Depot associate, this is what we came up with. 90% will be made of copper, but we’re gonna have to spray paint those flanges to match. No biggie.
Acquire these things:
  • 2 Half Inch Floor Flanges – these will connect to our adapters.  Roughly $6 each.
  • 2 Half Inch copper male adapters.  About $1.50 each.
  • 2 Half Inch elbow pieces, copper of course: $.74 each…
  • Copper Pipe, 1/2” x 5’.  This was surprisingly only $7.67
  • Pipe Cutter if you have it, I didn’t, and this one was only $11.
  • E-6000 glue, I already had, and it’s because I don’t want to solder. I’m lazy.
  • 8 screws. Mine were gold colored. Lucky!
  • Copper Spray Paint!
Lil close up there incase you want to see the info on the pipe.
First up, you want to measure how wide your rack will be.  Cutting the pipe is very easy, so it may be best to measure larger so you can trim down to fit. I wasn’t actually too picky about the width, I just didn’t want it wider than the window. I knew I could center it if it was shorter. Anyway, measure your area, and don’t forget that the elbows will add about 3/4” to each side. While you’re in measuring mode, figure out the distance you want it to stick out from the wall, as we’ll be cutting little pipes for this area. I chose 2 inches.
I lined up with the old towel rack to double check. Keep in mind your flange size.  This is really a “try it on” situation, and adjust accordingly.

Measure & make your marks on the copper pipe, and let’s get to cutting. It’s so easy. I promise.
Good work. Now using your pipe cutter: It should have pretty simple directions, but just in-case, you loosen the blade so you can get your pipe in there, then tighten the blade onto it.  Now twist it around, stopping now & then to tighten the blade into the groove you’re creating.  Eventually, it’ll just pop off:
Easy, right? So be sure you’re cutting 3 things. The main width, and 2 equal length pipes for the depth.
Moving on, just try it all on – dress rehearsal.

Everything seem good? If not, make your adjustments.  If it sticks out too far, just trim a little more off the smaller pipes. Mine seems pretty good, so now it was time to paint. Take these flanges outside after a good cleaning:
Since the only thing I needed to paint was flanges, I took this opportunity to explore who else wanted to become copper. And the switch plate & outlets were begging for it.
Hooray, we have copper! Try on the male adapters to see if they need any lubrication.  Sometimes the threads can get a little sticky.  I wiped a lil WD-40 in there to help.  Next, just assemble.
Lovely! Everything fits and looks good. I’m working on the floor in my kitchen, because it was cold out and there was sun when I started. Here’s where you can learn from my mistake, when I first put these together, it seemed like it was going to hold itself together.  As I mounted, it started sliding out, and that’s where the E-6000 comes in. A little dab of that stuff (which glues anything and everything to anything and everything else) on the insides of the pipe connections will keep this puppy sturdy.  I did it once it was already on my wall, I bet it’s easier to do it first. But I’m impatient.
Mounting was simple, 4 standard drywall screws:
Optional: If you  have found that your drywall regularly has things like this pulling out, hold the towel rack up where you want it, mark your holes, & properly install anchors.  If anchors are new to you, it’s pretty simple. Drill small holes to snugly tap the anchors into, hold your towel rack up, and send your screws into the installed anchors. Superman strength.  Consult your hardware professional for more.

Done! A simple, weekend afternoon project.  Great results, not a horrible price tag, and it’s definitely something you don’t see in every home.  What did you think, something you can handle? Of course it is, and hey – no soldering! If you know how to solder & have all the equipment, I bet it would really add to the industrial feel of the rack.  I was out of flux and in for the day, so E-6000 to the rescue.  That stuff is great.

Have a fantastic weekend folks! I meant to post this yesterday, but the internet in our area has decided to leave us this morning… I always feel so disconnected when that happens. Haha… get it…cause... I am...

Leftover things to do in the bathroom:


This post is brought to you in collaboration with Foster Heating
Project tutorial, ideas & opinions are 100% my own.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Even More String Art

Hello & I hope you all had a wonderfully long & relaxing Thanksgiving weekend! Ours was fun, I made the stuffing muffins recipe I talked about last week, and whoah - they aren't as easy as they look! My first batch completely fell apart, but my second batch came out perfect.  When Rachel Ray says "Moist, but not wet" in her stuffins recipe, she means wet enough for the bread to stick together. I was just too cautious! Oops... Still, whether muffin shape or not, they were delicious.  Can't go wrong with soggy bread that's been re-baked. As weird as that sounds...

Hard to go back to work today, am I right? Please, allow me to distract you with some bits of string art eye candy. I mean, why not?  I've been super busy with orders lately, and a large portion of my orders have been custom requests for new designs, so I thought I'd take a minute to share. Collaborating one on one with people to achieve exactly what they have in mind is one of my favorite parts of this gig.  First up, I'm mega impressed with the size of this one! This is a company logo, and our main issue was how we would ship something so big:
They originally wanted it one solid piece, but shipping a piece of wood that is 3 feet tall by 6 feet wide proved to be extremely expensive!  The workaround was to do 4 separate panels that would make shipping much, much smaller. Where there's a will there's a way, right?

Up Next, a 3 piece peacock measuring in at 30" wide by 30" tall once it's hung up.  Again, going with separate panels to make this ship-able! 
Forgive my photos, I wanted to snap a few shots in the light I had so I could get this piece to it's new home ASAP. I love it though!

And then there's been a lot of new color combos to enjoy, people are really into this Market font - which is my favorite. Glad we agree!  If your looking for any of these combos, details are in the shop links under the photos.
Shop Link
Shop Link
Shop Link
Shop Link
A bright and colorful take on the Showcard Font:
Showcard Link

And a few Old English Monograms! I love the black and white with the copper here. Which, you may have noticed from our downstairs bathroom redo that I'm mega into that color scheme lately... heh
Shop Monograms
Old English Monograms
Here's the first time I've gotten to use this multi-colored string, I really like this stuff.... but it's so hard to find! 
Multicolored Sea Snail
And last but not least, a new color combo for our old deer friend, who I jokingly call Debby in our  home.  I know, he has antlers, making Debby a boy... but long story short - Debby the destroyer is a deer that visits our house daily and eats all the plants I buy. It's a sick relationship we have.  Anyway....
When I have a free minute I may make us one of these, yellow is a big theme in our downstairs bathroom & I need some new art in there.

Well hopefully I've distracted you from work today, being the first day back.. hope you're off soon! And if you have today off... you. are. so. lucky....!


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