Eat, Pray, Love

Sam makes my boards look cool

The Home Depot is quickly becoming my new Target. You know, you go in for one thing you need and end up spending $100 on things you “think” you need but definitely don’t.

I walk around, choosing my victim in an orange apron. It has to be someone with patience and willingness to spend a bit of time with me. I go for one of the younger guys. He looks friendly. I tell him what I want, one thing at a time. First, a good piece of wood. We find it together. He looks ready to walk away when I warn him, this is just the beginning.

The young man helps me with everything I need. He even tells me how many coats of poly-gloss I should use, how much time to let it dry in between coats, and how to sand it. Put everything on my Home Depot credit card (let’s just keep piling on the debt), and drive back to Topanga.

Now I have three pieces of good, sturdy wood. I want to get it right, so I take my time. No need to rush. One board at a time. First I sand the wood. Then I wipe all the residue sand off of it. Lay it down on the tarp, and stain it. No spray this time. At the young man’s advice, I use an old white T-shirt, dip it into the Cabernet stain (I like my paint colors like I like my wine), and spread it evenly over the board.

I follow that with three stains of a poly-gloss finish.  This takes about three days. Once I’m finished, the board is smooth and shiny and a pretty color. I do the other two boards, one in a brown oak color, and the other in a sharp black.

Three boards. Ready to go. I’m more hesitant to begin drilling holes, since I’ve spent more money and taken much more care in making these nice. I want these to be my first boards to sell.

I have my first boards, I have the rope light, I have the drill, and I have the zip-ties.

But instead of going at it, like I kind of want to do, I start you-tubing how-to rope light videos. Did you know that there’s a lot that actually goes into this whole rope light sign-making thing? Probably why there aren’t really any out there!

This excites me. I keep wondering, how are these not already being made? How has no one thought of this yet?

Here’s the short answer. Someone has thought of this. Many people have. And I’m sure there are even some made. The difference between them and me? I’m going for it. I’m committed to it and I’m doing it. Elizabeth Gilbert mentions something about this in her book, Big Magic. She talks about how people see their ideas “stolen” all the time. A product, a movie, whatever it is. But it’s not stolen. There’s a big difference between having an idea and actually putting in the time and effort and work to bring that idea to life. So stop blaming people for stealing your idea and do something about it!

So anyway, there’s more research to be done. I watch some tutorials and realize a couple things. One, I bought two different types of rope light without even realizing it – LED (light emitting diode) and incandescent. The general consensus is that LED is more expensive but also more energy efficient. I’ve always been more partial to the old-time, warm glow of the incandescents, but I’m more and more realizing that the benefits of LEDs outweigh the look of the incandescents. I read a great Christmas article that gives an in-depth look at both types of light:

The second thing I realized, was that I need a lot of accessories to really make these signs happen! There’s no way I can start making them until I purchase everything I need. Patience is key.

…but c’mon, I can’t wait!!

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