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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Deconstructed Bottle Chandelier

Here's an "up-cycle" Miss Ginger recently created from "deconstructed" S. Pellegrino bottles.  It's a new technique she is perfecting, so expect to see more like it coming up! Click here to see her post on "deconstructing" bottles.

This "chandelier" is made from bottle segments, an old lamp shade, and some Christmas lights.  Since she had no pattern or directions, it's taken a few days as she has worked through the kinks, but here's the general idea.

The base is the wire frame of the lampshade, with the fabric removed.  Because she needed one more strut in the center of the frame, she lashed a couple of brass rings from the craft store onto the frame with paddle wire.  The frame hang upside-down, to the largest ring is at the top.

A paint can lid serves as the hub for the chains that  hang the chandelier.  This chain from Lowe's was easy to bend with pliers, so links can be removed and added without bolt cutters.

After hanging the frame at a comfortable height for working, she added the glass tiles, linking them to the frame with 1" binder rings from the office supply store.

Each tile overlaps the previous, and each binder ring goes through 2 tiles. Starting on the lowest, smallest rings, Miss Ginger worked her way around each row until the entire frame was covered.  

 With the tiles in place, she went back and strung the lights inside, running the wires through the binder rings.  Next time, she will put the lights on first, and do a better job of concealing the wires and keeping the bulbs in a consistent orientation.  

Now it adds a cozy little glow to Nog's little outdoor room!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Deconstructing" Bottles

Miss Ginger finds the most clever "up-cycles" to be ones where the original material is hard to identify.  She loves when people say to her "what in the world did you use to make that?!"  Often, materials can be totally deconstructed, and used to create something entirely different.  Case in point:  glass bottles.

The potential for bottle parts goes beyond cutting the top off to make a "glass".  If you take that glass and cut the bottom off, you now have a glass "tube".  Cut the tube in sections, and you have "rings".  The possibilities are endless!

All of that cutting is impossible to do with the ineffective "acetone and string" method, and really tedious with a G2 cutter. This job calls for power tools!  

You could rent a big tile saw at the local tool rental, but honestly, this great little saw from Lowe's will cut glass like butter, and only takes up about a square foot of storage space.  Plus, it's only $89 bucks.... I'm not sure you could rent one for less!

Disclaimer: this product is not designed to cut glass.  Miss Ginger Grant, her affiliates, friends, fans, and acquaintances make no claims for the worthiness of this product for the task at hand. Proceed at your own risk!

That said, Miss Ginger has cut many, many bottles with hers, and has cut herself never.  The blade is rough, not sharp, and it has no teeth, so even if you were to accidentally brush against it, you'd get an abrasion, not a cut.  Still, one should wear gloves, and definitely protective eyewear, when working with any power tool.  And earplugs. It's a tad noisy.

Also, you will definitely want to work outdoors, and cover nearby surfaces with plastic sheeting.  The saw uses water to keep the blade and bottle cool, and it slings quite a bit of water mixed with super-fine glass dust that will leave a white film anywhere it dries. 

Using the tile saw, Miss Ginger was able to rip a huge pile of S. Pellegrino bottles into these components:

The top of the bottle creates a little funnel.  She has several ideas for how to use those. The middle row, the 3 "tiles", are what she will use first, to create an outdoor chandelier for an upcoming post.  She also saved the round bottoms, and is tossing around several ideas for those, as well.

Keep watching, dear GingerSnaps, for the Deconstructed Bottle Chandelier!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wine Bottle Bookshelf

Miss Ginger needed a bookshelf for the craft room, and, having blown her budget on gadgety whoo-ha's for the Sewing Center, needed to come up with something on the cheap.  But of course, it mustn't look "cheap".  Plastic, laminate, and such would just not do! Not wanting to spend money on lumber or time on painting it, Miss Ginger remembered seeing some intriguing posts on Pinterest about making bookshelves from wine bottles, a resource that is certainly plentiful around Chez Ginger! Always a big fan of green-thinking and reusing resources, Miss Ginger found these  posts failed on 2 primary criteria for up-cycling. First, the recycled material was obvious... it was clearly a wine bottle. In this case, Miss Ginger was willing to give a pass, since she thinks that the various shades of green glass in wine bottles are pretty, and many of the labels are works of art in themselves.  (She developed this appreciation for wine label art about the same time she discovered how effective modern-day wine label adhesives are at preventing said art from being removed!)  Her second concern were that the designs of the bookshelves were not well-conceived.  One had staggered the bottles to make the linking mechanism work.... ugly. Another used visible hardware to sort of strap the whole thing together... again, ugly.  Still a third doubled up the center shelves, presumably to make the structure stronger? And uglier, not to mention wasting an entire board!

So, she set to work to figure out the perfect up-cycled bottle bookshelf.  Here's how she pulled it together.

She chose paint-grade finger-jointed pine for the shelves, since it is the cheapest "solid wood" product at the lumber yard.  MDF and particle board won't work for shelves, since there is no structural strength. Finger-jointed pine is actually small scraps of pine by-product from the manufacture of other lumber products, so, in a way, it is up-cycled lumber... and it looks kind of "wine-cellarish!"   She cut her shelves to the same width, added a platform edge to bottom shelf for rigidity, and drilled a quarter inch hole in each corner of every shelf.

Next, on the underside of each shelf, she used a 1 1/8" bit to drill a 1/4 inch deep hole with the same center, to provide a recess to lock the levels together.

Each "layer" will consist of 1 board, with 4 bottles attached, so after choosing 4 bottles of the same height for each layer, she drilled a small hole in the bottom using a Dremel tool with a 1/4" glass drilling bit.  With the holes drilled, she needed to get a 3" carriage bolt through the hole from the inside, so she used sticky wax (from a Babybel Gouda she had in the fridge) on a skewer to carry the nut through the neck of the bottle.

Once the bolt was in place, she could hold it with one hand, and twist the skewer with the other to separate the two, leaving the bolt in position and the skewer ready for it's next target!

With the bolt in position she needed to hold it still while turning on a nut from the bottom (stop giggling!) so she used the little screwdriver from her Mother's first sewing machine taped onto a length of dowel. (She knew she had kept that little orange screwdriver all these years for a reason!)

This little jury rig worked perfectly to hold the bolt while the nut was added from below.

Here's the first "layer", with all four bottle bolted firmly into place.  The next layer was created the same way, with the larger holes on the bottom of each shelf fitting nicely over the tops of the bottles below it.

Miss Ginger bolted and stacked each layer the same way, until she reached the height she wanted, which was about 70"! Believe it or not, at this point the unit was really solid, and by sliding the bottom platform away from the wall, she was able to work on the back of the bookshelf.  To give it a more "bookshelfy" look vs. a stack of boards and bottles, she used a length of one-sided corrugated kraft to create a "back" by stapling it to each shelf from behind. Then, for rigidity, she took a length of pine 1x3 and nailed it behind the kraft. You can't see it, but it's behind the kraft on each side, at the very edge, between the paper and the wall.

Here it is, partially styled for this photo.  Trust, honey, this bookshelf is strong enough to hold 100's of books, a collection of CD's, or cases and cases of delicious rosy reds or delightful chardonnays!

Admittedly, I wouldn't put it in the living room or formal dining area, but for a craft room or rec room, it's kind of darling, and certainly affordable!!  

Stay tuned for another affordable work surface that also provides hidden storage!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Craft Room... Part II !!

It's been a while since Miss Ginger has had a craft post on the blog, but it's not because she has been lazy!  On the contrary, she has been slaving away night and day, through 2 weeks of vacation, to get the Craft Room finished and ready for daily use!  You've already seen Phase One,  and since she hasn't had to while away hours this year creating Mardi Gras finery, she's taken advantage of this gorgeous Texas winter to finish Phase II of the Craft Room!  It's lovely being in the workshop this time of year, so she started back in November and has been at it every chance she's had since then!  

She started by laying out the rough pieces in the garage to get the general shape of the project built out....
Once she had the general size and scale laid out, she consulted with Chief Draftskitten Shelby to ensure the plans were accurate, detailed, and on budget.  Miss Shelby is a stickler for coming in on budget!

There were measurements to measure, fittings to fit, and orders to be ordered, and there has been months of chaos and excitement around Chez Ginger as the pieces were assembled!

Now that the paint has dried, Miss Ginger couldn't be happier with the results, and she is thrilled to show you Part II of her magical craft space!  

You may think it's a desk, but you'd only be half right.  By day, 'tis but a trusty desk, with plenty of room for paperwork, a laptop, and a purring kitten curled up on a pillow.  But, by night, this clever desk transforms into an all-inclusive sewing center, with a hydraulic lift for the sewing machine, as well as a pull-out ironing board and a sliding platform for the serger!  Shelby and Ginger designed it, and Boy G and Nog built it, and the whole family could not be happier! 

Miss Ginger plans to spend this weekend canvassing the house for all for all of the crafts supplies and tools that are tucked in every nook and cranny, so they can all be relocated into their new home in the all inclusive craft room!  There's a few more bits and pieces that Miss G pull together for you in the next few posts, but meanwhile, drop her a comment and let her know what crafts you'd like to see on these pages! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golden? Globes....

Miss Ginger is way, way, WAAAY too busy to spend time watching award shows, especially made-up ones like the Golden Globes!  I mean, really, the Hollywood Foreign Press?  Whatsamata, fellas, couldn't get invited to the Academy Awards, so you invented your own?!  Not wanting to disappoint her adoring GingerSnaps, Miss G did send a few of her "people" to cover the awards and bring back some photos for her review. 

Before we get into those, though, let's look at this cheesy publicity shot of a bunch of people (the foreign press, I guess?) rolling out the red carpet.  The Britney Spears wannabe on the left is... get this.... "Miss Golden Globes!" Wha- wha- WHAT?!  Is this an awards show or a beauty pageant?!  Wait, there is no pageant... we just give the award to some celebrity's daughter who would never see the red carpet any other way!  And look how the inferior dye in that cheap red carpet came off on the soles of her shoes.  Shameful!  

So let's get through this stack of photos.  It's gonna be a bumpy night!

First: Zooey Deschanel.  You know how Miss Ginger usually feels about red on the red carpet, but she thinks Zooey kind of pulled it off. Miss G never heard her new show... she's seen it a million times on DirecTV by United Airlines, but, being too cheap to swipe her card for a 45 minute flight, Miss G sees it with no sound. She's pretty sure she's not missing much. We do, however, love her name.  Her first name has way more letters than it needs, but her surname "Deschanel"... it's like, not only is she OVER Chanel.... she's DE- Chanel!  "Screw Coco and her groundbreaking style: I'm gonna be me!"    So, Zoe:  5 lipsticks.

Lucy Liu. Miss Ginger is going to be provocative on this one... she liked it!  I know- we heard all the "Grammaw's couch" comments and such, but Lucy kinda rocked it! (And thank Goddess Zsa-Zsa did not have a couch covered in that fabric!!) The colors were pretty on Lucy.  The shape is to die for, and the braid-in-place-of-jewelry was even sort of cute.  Granted, had Miss G been the couturier, she would have placed the patterns a bit more consistently, but gurl, that wastes YARDS of fabric, and CA II and III are a long time away now! A washed-up star's gotta economize, ya know?!

Nichole Richey. Gawd, Miss Ginger despises her!  A never-has-been celebrity child of a washed-up 70's pop singer.  Now she's trying to be a fashion designer. And she sucks at it.  But, Miss Ginger must admit, this dress flatters her!  It's nice not to have to look at her boney arms, or be threatened by her sharp-as-needles collarbones jutting out at you like a jouster's staff! Nichole gets a win. And Miss Ginger eats crow.

Speaking of jutting collarbones.....

Anne, Anne, Anne...  we love you, you rocked Les Miz, and we know you had to cut your hair for the part... but is that any reason to just give up?  I mean, c'mon... WHITE?! With your pasty skin?  Straight, strapless, AKA "boob tube?!"  Girl:  you ain't got no boobs!  That dress, on your body, looks like a brand new, fresh-out-of-the-package ironing board cover just waiting for it's first scorching!  Could you have AT LEAST put on a necklace and some chandelier ears, or did you piss off Harry Winston by playing a whore? Thank goddess you have that killer smile, 'cause the rest is just SAD! (PS: have a sandwich... the movie's in the can now!)

And then there's this.  Miss Ginger LOVES Kelly Osborne's spunky, "my-dad-was-fringe-but-I'm-gonna-be-cool" attitude, and she salutes Kelly's remarkable weight loss, so honey: give it a rest!  High school girls in Galena Park, Texas, dye their hair with Kool-Aid because it's all they can afford, and all their Momma's will let them do! You are rich, and your Momma will let you do ANYTHING... so get thee to a quality salon and fix that shit!  Where is Tabatha Coffey when I need her?!

Halle, honey: what is with you and the awful, pale colored prints.  You are blackish... you need some color to keep from looking muddy.  And let's talk about that pose... haven't you SEEN what the internets did to Angelina Grodie when she struck that same little ditty last year?!  By the way... as we said before... you are blackish.  That means you must, you must, eliminate the crust!  Exfoliate that knee and those ankles until they approach bloody, and then slather them with cream!  Especially if you are gonna stick your leg out like a hooker on the red carpet!

Alyssa Milano. School bus yellow.  Really?  Miss Ginger is not even sure where to start, but let's begin with the foundation... or lack thereof.  The girls are about 3 inches below center, making it look like you are trying to smuggle in a french baguette! (Although, a snack is not a bad idea... those acceptance speeches do get a little long!) And a belt?  A belt. Really?! On a gown with a train.  A cheap satin gown, but, a gown, nonetheless.  But here's the clincher:  WRINKLES?!  Not wrink-le.... wrink-leS! LOTS of them!  If (and only if) you INSIST on wearing a cheap satin, school bus yellow gown on the red carpet, your sole purpose in life becomes to keep it from wrinkling!!  And we're not talking about a little "bruising" of the fabric on the seat... we are talking wadded-in-a-bag, didn't-bother-to-iron, slept-in-it-the-night-before WRINKLES! Sit on one cheek! Have a staff of homos at the ready with a Jiffy Steamer.  Stand up all night!! Wrinkles are NOT acceptable- EVER!  And that's why, my dear Alyssa, you are Miss Ginger's Golden Globes Loser of the Year!!

Before we close, let's talk about one more hopeless case....

Jody. Dear Jody.  Dear sweet lesbian Jody... we love you so!  Why do insist on squashing our love for you with that snotty, I'd-rather-be-licking-p%^$$y smirk that purses your lips and makes your mouth wrinkle?  You have a nice smile... we've seen it in the movies.  And if it's not nice enough to make you happy, Doctor Randy Mitchmore can make you one that you'll love showing off on the red carpet.  (I know it's been a while since you worked, but he can even work out a payment plan!)  You also need a drag queen to open up your beady little eyes so they don't look so much like seething slits.....  But other than that... we REALLY love you! 

So , dear GingerSnaps, who were your favorites?  And your least favorites?  But most importantly:  WHY?!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How's Your's So Far?

Miss Ginger's New Year has started off "swimmingly", as they say... not because she has started a new exercise regimen, mind you... she just started it off swimming in cocktails, but is ready to dry up a bit.

It's started with this rather innocent looking bloody mary at the United Club Lounge  at Houston's Intercontinental Airport.  I can't speak for any of the legacy United "Red Carpet" lounges (that name conjures images of smokey air and raspy saloon chanteuses), but if you ever have the opportunity to visit the former "President's Club" at Newark or IAH, I can guarantee you the best dang bloody mary you've ever tasted... and it's FREE!  Hard to believe I only had one... but it's true!

Miss Ginger met up with Brother J at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas midday, and it was nirvana: no cab line!! We hopped into one of Las Vegas' many smelly and run down, but cheap, taxicabs, and headed to our destination for the weekend:  Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino

If you are familiar with Las Vegas, Rio is the big purple and red monstrosity across the freeway from the strip.  Miss Ginger doesn't use the word monstrosity lamely: the place is HUGE!  And, it's purple and red. You decide.

So, here's the 411 on Rio:

+ It's off the strip, so you get good deals, and you don't have to deal with "strip rats".
+For those who "must" cruise the strip, there are free shuttles back and forth every 15 minutes. (It really is just across the freeway, but it's a LONG walk!)
+ The rooms are HUGE!
+ They take pets. (Shelby insisted that Miss Ginger include that tidbit. No, she did not get to go.)
+ The casino is top notch, with great slots, plenty of table games, and everything else you'd expect from a top Vegas property.
+ The restaurant selection is great, with both a regular buffet and a seafood buffet, plus a wine cellar, a sports bar, and 2 Starbucks! VooDoo Steak has a great view, a great menu, and great service, without being pretentious... tops in Miss G's book!
+ The beverage service on the casino floor is A-MAZE-ING!  In most casinos, a cocktail waitress is almost impossible to find, unless you are in the high roller area- heaven help you if you're playing penny slots!  And if you do find one, she's usually a bitter old hag with too much hairspray, and lipstick on her teeth. But at Rio, they have "beveratainers"... beverage servers who are also entertainers. There are TONS of them; during slow times, they operate as you would expect, but when it gets busy, they pull out this iPad system that gets you a drink in 2-3 minutes, tops.  There's no waiting with a dry glass, either... there are so many of them that you turn a couple away before you are ready for another!
+ Oh... "beveratainment".  So, throughout the day,  you will hear this little "cha cha cha- RIO!" interlude, and when you look up, your cocktail waiter or waitress has pulled out a little set of hidden stairs, climbed up on the slot machines, and is belting out a song or busting a move to beat the band! They sing live, and the dancers are cute, and they perform like 2 and half minutes, tops. Then they push the stairs back in, pick up their tray, and continue about their business!  They have an equal number of boys and girls (you know Miss G loves equality!) and they are all amazingly talented!
+ The "Show in the Sky". Like nothing else!  Rio was built in the 80's during the "can't top this" casino days. Their schtick was a Carnival Parade in the sky, and although most of the casino floor has been extensively updated, they have worked around the hanging trolleys to maintain the parade.  Thursday through Sunday, from 6pm - 11pm every hour on the hour, singers and dancers come out and do a short little floor show, then disappear momentarily as a big section of a wall moves away.  Out come fully lit Carnival floats, hanging from the ceiling on an amazing trolley system that carries the dancers all around the casino floor, slinging beads, dancing, and flirting with the screaming crowd below!  It's a Vegas "must-see".

- It's not on the strip... if that's important to you.
- The rooms are huge, but a bit dated.  They are clean, and comfortable, with all the amenities... but, it's not NOBU, or Wynn, or even Planet Hollywood.  
- Their big show is "Penn and Teller". But, they also have "The Chippendales". And a shuttle to the strip.

Saturday, Miss Ginger and Brother J spent the day gambling, drinking, and catching up a bit, before heading up to VooDoo Steak for huge hunks of beef and a bottle of wine.  After that, there was more drinking....   a hamburger...  black jack.... black girls in the elevator... ... ... whatever else happened in Vegas stays in Vegas... mostly because Miss G can't remember!!!

She was feeling a bit puny the next morning, but rallied midday, and by New Year's Eve was all set for the "VIP Dinner" to which high-rolling Brother J had been invited.  Beautiful food, obnoxious table mates, and a spectacular view of the fireworks over the strip made for an incredible New Years Eve!

Now Miss G has several more days off before her return to work, so she can get rested, relaxed, and prepared for the coming year!

How did YOU ring the New Year, dear 'Snaps? And how is it treating you so far?


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