Seeing Spots

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The weather has been fantastic this summer and we’ve been really enjoying our outdoor space around here including our giant deck. Considering our yard is mostly a dramatic slope, our deck space is our primary entertainment and chill out space so it gets plenty of use. Every year I make a new rug for our deck (for more ideas you can read about our previous striped rug and honeycomb rugs). The deck needs some work (more on that soon) but the rug helps jazz it up, divide up some of the space and of course, cover up some of the yucky red stain.

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Above is the depressing “before image”… while repairing, scrubbing and re-staining are on our list of things to do, a rug was priority because we were having a surprise party in a few days. I approached this rug just like the rugs I’ve made in the past. I bought a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store. They come in a variety of sizes so there are endless possibilities! I chose a 9’x6′ drop cloth for my space and spent a whopping $13. Most of them come with the edges folded over and roughly hemmed which makes it feel a little more finished. If you wanted a square shape or custom size this would be easy to cut and fold/iron or sew a hem around the edge. After removing the canvas from the package, I roughly ironed out all of the fold marks and wrinkles so I would have a flat work space. I laid it out in my super fancy studio space: the dining room table.

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Ironing took about a half hour and I spent that time brainstorming design ideas for the rug. The striped rug was easy because it was just tape and a quick paint job. Last year’s honeycomb rug was more labor intensice with the template tracing and more precise painting. I wanted this rug to be somewhere in between: a graphic print look with less elbow grease. I ended up with the idea to “stamp” circles on it. I was actually inspired by the pillow I had made using the mason jar lid to create a ring pattern print.

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Using the left over paint from the last front door project was a convenient way to save money. The color matched and I was pretty sure that outdoor paint would last for the year. In my previous rug projects I had used acrylic and fabric paints and had sometimes even watered them down for a washed look. All lasted for the year… and that is all we expect since these rugs are basically disposable to us. I poured paint onto a shallow plastic tray and found a plastic popcorn bucket in the desired circle size. I also made sure to have some cardboard to “blot” the bucket on after dipping.

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Using the bucket as my stamp, I dipped, blotted and stamped away. I began away from the edge so that my pattern wasn’t depending on the edge of the canvas. I knew it wasn’t perfectly square and I liked the idea of the pattern sort of running of the rug with partial circles. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

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I often could get 2 or 3 stamps from the bucket before having to dip it again. I thought it created a nice look and had a little bit of an ombre feel. I stamped the circles in a staggered fashion, some very close to each other and others touching. I wasn’t precise or measured. They were’t perfect and some parts of the circles were heavier with paint or more faint. A brush was handy nearby if paint was so thick to dry in a decent time. Also, thick paint was more likely to crack or flake after being out in the elements.

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You can see above the “run off the page” look I was going for. I did phases of stamping in sections as large as my table allowed. I’d stamp out a bunch, let it dry for about 20 minutes, go change laundry or something and come back to do the next section. Although it wasn’t totally dry, I was able to drape sections over the chairs as I went so that semi-wet paint and fabric weren’t piling up on the floor.

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I posted this teaser photo on instagram. Some of you were close with the guesses: drapes, pillows and such. Nobody guessed rug!

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Here is the finished product! I like the color with the chairs! The deck needs more work, but it feels a little nicer just because of the rug.

 

PS- Our party was nice but it rained and we couldn’t hang out on the deck after all. Of course.

Hex of a Good Time

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Obviously it has been busy around here. I try to post weekly at the minimum but summer is proving to be a busy beast. I have done quite a few projects, its just that getting to post them is harder than expected. Any who… this might be my first outdoor project since the teal front door reveal. We’ve been hard at work giving our house a little curb appeal (on our little budget). We’ve learned that sometimes a little elbow grease can go further than a few bucks. This project is a great example.

It all started with my love of this rug.

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The catch? It is $345. I also love this one. Too bad it was on sale for $749. No thanks. One day when my children outgrown spilling things and we graduate from plastic patio furniture then perhaps I will spend a car payment (or two!) on an outdoor rug. But for now DIY is way more realistic for the budget. I did a similar project last year for a whopping $10. After the weather, birds and sun did it in, my lovely hubby secretly tossed it in the trash. And then I nearly cried. This year we begin again.

I bought a large 6’x9′ canvas drop cloth at Home Depot for $8. They come in a variety of dimensions and most are under $10! I chose the size because I knew we had the 6 chairs to put around it and the arrangement worked nicely last year. Then I doodled a few geometric patterns on cardboard until I found one I liked (and even labeled it so). I chose this hexagon shape for other reasons too. I figured filling straight lines with paint mind be easier especially because it had to be done repeatedly. I also really enjoyed the honeycomb design it makes once its repeated. After making the design template shapes, I added little tabs on each side so it would be easy to line up with fellow hexagons as it was traced. Then I cut that bad boy out and got to work.

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I had leftover fabric paint from other projects so that determined the colors which happen to match the chairs well. Only happy accidents around here, people! Molly traced and I painted. We laid the canvas on a tarp as we worked on each section so that we didn’t have paint bleeding through on the deck (Which will be refinished soon. I hope.). And we got some sun. Two birds with one stone!

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Here is a look at how it came together as we went. And then something hilarious happened: we ran out of paint. Oh yes, that was soooo funny. So guess what? We went ombre. I had pink and purple of the same paint. So now we went from blue to purple to magenta. Another happy accident. I actually love the way it looks.

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So here is a look at the finished project. a sweet honeycomb rug for $8. And it goes nicely with the blue chairs. Those windows back there are old flea market finds. I’d love to hang them on the fence one day but I just can’t commit. Just the other day I was day dreaming about one being in place of artwork over our headboard in the master bedroom. Now if I can just make that nasty nineties red stain disappear.

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I spend at least one night a week out here. Sometimes we enjoy a drink or dessert after O goes to sleep or we get out her baby pool and let her splash around while hubby grills. Next: fire pit, flowers and a party. You’re all invited!