Friday, June 21, 2013

two state string art

Hello! If you're following along on instagram or Facebook, then you've seen the new product I just finished! 


I've named it Two State One Heart String Art on Etsy. This one shows the heart over Houston, TX and Birmingham, AL. 

I loved how it looked with just the nails..

Then I strung her up and liked her even more!

It's 18" x 18" and is selling for $180. Why so much more than the normal string art, you ask? This board is bigger than my usual boards (which are 12" square or 11x14") therefore the states are bigger/take a lot more time/use more materials.

I could do a 12"x12" one for $120! 

Here's a scale shot with my wide ass, Fred Flintstone feet (my mom says my wide and flat feet look like i've been driving a car around with them like Fred. I think it's bc I didn't wear shoes around when I was little). 

And a pup pup shot! 

What I didn't show you the other day was that I personalized this piece. 

The wife in this family is from Houston, TX and they all now live in Birmingham. 

I can personalize yours (or any other piece in the shop) for just a few dollars more! 

If you're interested in this piece, I just listed it on Etsy. CLICK HERE to go to the listing! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

weekends around these parts

Dddyyooouuuuuu wanna know what fun I've been up to on these past few weekends?!

If you start any sentence with "dddyoouuuuu" (all drawn out) to my pups, they turn their heads from side to side. Very amusing to this pup-mama. 

The weekend before the big patio reno, I went to Magic City Brewfest! It's a beer festival in bham, and I've been for 4 years in a row, so of course I couldn't miss this year. But I almost did.. I thought you could buy tickets at the event, but then a couple hours before it started, I noticed the website said they weren't selling them at the door. So I checked Ticketmaster, and they had already turned off buying ability because it was so close to showtime.. I went anyways to test my luck, and thank goodness they were selling them outside the gate! How rude of you to lie, brewfest website!! 

I've blogged about the years past, but in case you're new..

They give you these glasses to fill up as you go around to the different booths. There are over 200 different craft breweries there from around the country. If you happen to drop your glass, the ENTIRE festival full of people will yell: AAAAAAAHHHHHOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH! It's hilarious. 

Did you notice I'm starting to grow my nails out?!? This is quite the task after biting them for 20+ years..

I ran into some Auburn friends, Tori and Mitch! I think Tori's glowing horns came from the Straight to Ale tent (a brewery from Huntsville). 


You may have noticed I haven't cut my hair yet.. I'll be danged that every weekend that comes around, a different event comes up that I want long hair for.

I went with one of my besties, Jensen. She pointed out that since it was May 31st, we could technically still celebrate Rachelpalooza. I like where you're heads at, Megs. 

Brewfest always happens at Sloss Furnaces here in Birmingham. It's an old factory that's been turned into a place for festivals, concerts, etc. 

This was as it was ending, but you can see how the booths are lined up with the brewery name on top. In the midst of brewfest, there would've been tons of people lined up here. 

On that Saturday night, I went to Ragan and Kyle's house for a going away party for Virginia and Matt! I've talked about Dothan dinners before, but in case you need a refresher, the nine of us below all graduated high school together (10 years ago, eee!) and now we all live in Birmingham! That is huge considering we only graduated with 48! This wasn't a Dothan dinner, but luckily we were all able to make it to the party to send Virginia off! 

Yep, that birdhouse makes me look like I'm wearing a dunce cap/small wizard's hat. 

Caroline, Brittany, Me, Abby, Ragan
Virginia, Jenny, Megan, and Katie

All the girls brought their fancy cameras, EXCEPT ME, knowing I was going to want to post pics!! What a bad blogger! I grabbed this one below from Caroline, who had posted it to her own blog in a timely manner (aka a better blogger than myself!). 

I just love my little Dothan-Bham fam. Do you see Drew in the top right in the pic below? He also graduated with us and is recently engaged to Brittany! Jenny is the cute prego lady in the front, and just had her baby a few days ago. I can't wait to meet him this week! Virginia (the party-lady of honor) is moving to North Carolina for her med school residency with her fiancĂ©, Matt. So many exciting things going on between us!! I mean, I just built a patio for goodness sake!

After the party marinated down, mostly Dothan people were left. And we had, what else, a dance party! I had so. much. fun! PS, if you haven't checked out the new Daft Punk album, DO IT! We started out with old school rap, but then once Daft Punk was on, everyone was out of their seats. Ragan told me later that the cops showed up! HAHA! 

Gah, I need another Dothan party, STAT! 

Not a weekend event, but.. I had to meet a customer at the Summit to deliver a piece of art, and I conveniently met her in front of Private Gallery. Coincidence? I bought this super cute Alabama necklace there. I love how small it is, and that the charm is attached, as opposed to something that moves on the chain. 

After that weekend of awesomeness was the patio building experience. I forgot to post these nuggets of goodness from Saturday night.. Murray and I drinking some cheap champagne, bc we both love it and deserved a treat after 37 hours of manual labor. 


My family has a mass text going on with all of us (me, mom, dad, and Binky). I sent out a text with this pic below, and said "look what I did this weekend!". After no one commented for several hours, I texted: IS NO ONE GOING TO COMMENT ON THE PATIO I LAID WITH MY OWN LITTLE PAWS?!?! 

Dad replied: I thought you swept it. 


I worked my buns off all week long in preparation for the Auburn Summer Nights Art Walk! 

It was very luxurious in comparison with other art shows in that AuburnArt set up the tents and tables AND there was always someone to ring up the customers and package the art. All I had to do was show up! Well, I just dropped off my art at lunchtime before the show, but that was the extent of my labor in preparation for the event. They had these lovely tablecloths and stands for the boards!

It was me and Tabitha, another winner from the contest back from last fall under the tent.

She hand-makes these awesome tiger & Toomer's Corner mugs and bowls. 

How awesome! Or should I say AUsome.. hardy har har. 

The AuburnArt crew! They're the best! 

While Tabitha made her mugs, I demonstrated stringing this big ol' Toomer's Tree string art! I had several people stop and watch while I worked my magic. haha

Yes, that's Murray photobombing in the back. 

Continuing to creepily pose, without sausage arms this time.. haha

There were tons of people that came by! The most asked question was "how long does this take you?!". In case you'd like the answer: for the big trees, about an hour to nail, and three hours to string and the small ones take about 30 minutes to nail and an hour to string (not including sawing, staining, and painting Tradition on the front).

The one in the front was the finished one, and the one towards the back was the one I worked on throughout the show. 

Binky, Murray, Texas, and Tucker came down for the show and did the pie walk in hopes of winning some dessert.

and Texas won! hahaha I just happened to be set up in front of the pie walk, so I got them in action. (sorry for the blur!)

Picture down College Street. For these downtown events, they close off the streets, AND you're allowed to walk around with open containers! My kinda event, amiright?! 

Everything went great, and we all went out for a bit afterwards. Poor little Murray had to work all weekend, so I brought him a treat on Saturday. Sort of.. 

It melted. 

I almost wrecked trying to drive it to his house to prevent the dripping. Down my arm. Onto my leg. Into my purse. Onto my steering wheel. Into the controls on the door and on the side of the seat.. Note to self: don't order a cone when it take more than 5 minutes to deliver on a day hotter than the sun.. which has me worried since it's only mid-June. Let's say 2 minutes if it's July/August. 

Yes, you only see one little drip here, but I assure you on the other side of my hand was the Niagara Falls of ice cream. 50 cent cone from Burger King, you were NOT worth it! 

So as you probably know, Sunday was Father's Day! Murray and I went to the lake to celebrate with dear ol' dad. I told him he didn't have to cook, but secretly hoped he would. Lucky for me, he made some delicious burgers! 

You may have seen this similar pic on instagram (follow me at ilikewhatimherring). After seeing a BAJILLION pics on fb and IG of everyone's dads on father's day, I made dad pose for this obligatory pic.

He had brought the ol' 32 coupe up to the lake. 

I decided to get some shots of the car with dad in the background. When he saw this one below, he said: I was gonna say this shirt makes me look fat, but I ain't wearin' a shirt! I need to reduce! 


Another car shot. 

Once dad got his burger all fixed up, he wanted me to get a picture with him and his masterpiece! haha

When I asked dad what he wanted for father's day, he said "nothin"... but I knew this really meant ICE CREAM! I picked up some once we got to the lake (after the big melting incident the day before I didn't want to chance a 30 minute drive). We each had a big bowl. Murray headed back to AU since he had work the next day, and I hung out a bit longer. Not 30 minutes later, dad had busted out the entire ice cream container and ate the WHOLE THING! 

When I asked if he wanted to save it for later in the week, he said: well I still have 3 hours of father's day left, so I can have all I want! 

a few minutes later: can you run up the store to get more?! hahah

Ooooh dad! He won't keep sweets in the house because he will eat every last bite if there is any in there. When we head up there with some, he takes full advantage. 

I ended up spending the night (the joys of being your own boss!) and we went on a little boat ride Monday morning before I headed back to Birmingham! 

What a good few weekends! I have several more fun ones coming up this summer, and I can't wait to share them! EEE! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


or also known as

"The Time I Made Murray Attempt a Huge DIY Project and We Almost Stabbed Each Other With Shovels"

So you may remember me talking about redoing my side porch area over A YEAR AGO! Here are some before pics of way back when:

Looking from the stoop onto the "landing"

From the corner 

You may recall there were bricks under the layer of stupid river rocks. 

And random square pavers hidden under there as well. 

The side porch is TINY. How am I expected to grill, have a place to put my drink, and tell stories whilst waving my arms around with a spatula in this small space? 

The whole incident with the pavers I initially bought thing happened, and time passed.. grass grew. 

In a haste one night last summer, I cut off the railing to the porch to open it up. I also bought the awesome green patio furniture, but where to put it? It sat on the river rock for a bit, but I shoved it onto the porch while I cleared out for the new pavers I purchased.. last August. 

And this is where they sat. For months and months. 

I did remove the bricks at that time all by myself. It was pretty miserable. I also don't have a wheelbarrow, so I carried a few by hand and stacked them up in the backyard. I also scooped up river rock, scoop by scoop with my shovel, and walked it into the backyard.

The dirt and rock came up over the landing you see above (with the row of red brick). I needed it to be a couple inches lower so the pavers would be level with that. 

Enter Murray! He told me he would come up one weekend and help me get my yard in order. I think he was picturing us trimming some hedges and pulling weeds out of the flower beds.. Oh no, no. When someone offers manual labor, I know exactly what outdoor project I'd like to conquer. I asked if he would help lay the pavers. SURE! he said. How enthusiastic in the beginning.. 

Before we start, this isn't going to be a tutorial. You should know by now that I like to cut corners. I most certainly did that here, and I don't want to advise anyone to do this the rachel-way since this isn't like a piece of furniture you could repaint if you messed it up. 


I forgot to take a before picture. Wah wahhh. Just scroll three pictures up and that's pretty much what it looked like when we started. Grass and stupid river rock. I had a shovel and rake and Murray's sister let us borrow some tools to double our dirt-moving ability (thanks, Lauren!).  We started as soon as Murray got in town on Friday, ya know because there were a couple of hours of sunlight left. 

We got to work scraping the dirt from the fence gate towards the back yard. Words like "impossible" and "forever" were thrown around (not by this optimist though :D). Sweat was pouring and dirt was a' flyin, along with some commentary from Negative Nancy (mur mur). After a couple hours, we admitted defeat for the day. Sweet little Murray apologized for being ornery, and we decided we were just hungry and tired. 

Sweaty, red-faced me. EEK!

Here's what it looked like as soon as we walked out Saturday. It doesn't look like much, but we moved so much dirt and grass and roots!

It looked promising as we started! We even pinky-promised there would be no bitching.. yeah right. 

So. We didn't check to see if it was level. We just eyeballed it (not recommended). It didn't turn out bad for this job, I just don't want to tell you this is the way to go. Instead of waiting until the entire area was level (to us), we decided I would start laying pavers while Murray continued to level out the ground. I started next to the step and went to the right towards the fence before coming down with them. 

I literally would sit a paver down, see if it was level with the stoop/landing, shake it back and forth to see if it moved, and would lay the next if it passed all those requirements. If it moved, I would put some dirt under it. The river rock actually helped stabilize the pavers. I also had some leveling sand to help. You can see I went with a herringbone pattern! EEE!

While I did this, Murray cleaned out the area on the side of the porch. There was stuff grown up about a foot. EEK! A gardener, I am not. 

This is about where we got on Saturday, below (of course this was taken on Sunday), and GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?! 

I ran out of effing pavers. Between Murray getting heated over the stupid river rock and me getting pissed about the lack of pavers, we pretty much worked in silence (so much for the pinky-promise). We worked until we finished laying all the ones we had, then we went to the store to buy more.

Surprise, surprise, they didn't carry them anymore at Southeastern Salvage. Onto Home Depot! And guess what? They didn't have them either! I was considering framing out the whole thing with 16"x16" square pavers.. that would've been a pain. Before doing that, I checked Lowe's. Miracle of miracles they had them!!! We drove there and loaded up the car with 50 more pavers. If I remember correctly, I bought 150 the first time. 

After all the houlabaloo, we treated ourselves to Mexican food and a pitcher of beer before finishing up on Sunday.

And do you know what we did Sunday morning? Pinky-promised to no bitching on the final day. Hardy-har-har. 

 You can see with the herringbone pattern, there are spots that need squares. Since Lowe's nor HD had 8" square pavers, I needed to cut these in half. To the cut pavers, you have to have a special saw blade. A diamond blade. Guess who didn't have one to fit my saw? Lowe's. So we made a trip to HD before we got to work on Sunday. They didn't have the exact size I needed for my saw (drats). It takes a 5.5" blade and they had 7" and 10" and then a smaller 4.5". I have a 10" miter saw, but that blade was $50! I decided to try the smaller one, which was about $9. It worked! 

It was SUPER messy, and a bit of a pain because I had to make a cut, then flip over the paver and make another cut to split it. 

But that was ok! It looked fantastic as the holes were filled in (that's what she said). 

For some reason, Mur dog was already peeved about something, and we hadn't eaten lunch so I was hungry-rachel ornery. The pink-promise lasted all of 3 minutes on Sunday.

I did slap on a smile for a cheesy sawing picture!

Well wouldn't you know, it rained on us THREE TIMES on Sunday. The first couple of times were sprinkles, so it wasn't a huge deal, although it did warrant Swearing Herring to make an appearance. We finished laying the pavers, and they just barely made it to the edge of the porch. We filled in some of the bigger cracks with the dirt and river rock before covering it with paver filler (I forgot what it was called, but it was little chipped up grayish sand and small rocks). It looked fantastic with the color of the pavers.

We had about 2 rows left at the back when it started monsooning on us. I tried to push as much filler in as possible before having to go inside. I'm sure all the experts would be telling me it was a bad idea to continue in the rain, but oh well! 

It looked terrible at first because all the rocks and sand washed over all the pavers, but I went out there after the rain stopped and hosed it off. EEE! Here's a picture at dusk haha. 

I felt like a kid on Christmas on Monday morning, and I giddily went out there to get some shots in the sunlight!

EEEE! Yes, the fence gate is still broken from when I took it apart, hence the sheet of wood.. oops. 

The pavers I had were stacked up for months in the yard, unlike the new ones from Lowe's. You can see the color difference with the ones on the bottom left of the picture below, and also the square ones cut along the fence. Meehhh. 

But I love it! 

The rain carried the filler rocks to the corner. I need to get out there and pour more on top since some spots were skimped during the monsoon.

Next up is cleaning and styling the porch! 

Don't you know I went out there in the afternoon for different lighting! haha! 

And look! Since the sun dried out the pavers, the discoloration was less noticeable! WOO! I also moved the loveseat out there haha. I need to grab a couple more pavers since there was a little space left. I originally wanted to wrap the pavers around the side of the porch about 2-3 extra feet, and I may end up doing that later on in the summer. 

So this is the thorn in my side: There was a random concrete drain here, but there is no spout pouring water into it, nor is there water dripping from the roof into this spot. It was also poured around the post to the porch, so it wasn't going anywhere. Rather than getting a jackhammer, I decided I would put a lovely planter on top of it. 

Do you remember the mood board I made a while ago? 

I can't wait to get started on projects! 

Let's recap, shall we?



We love it, ma!! 


Sorry for the lack of progress pics. I didn't want to handle the camera with muddy gloves, nor did I want to stop the progress we were making.