Monday, November 29, 2010

me likey dat & get crafty: my outdoor lighted doxie

Hey folks, it's me, Baxter, your roving rover reporter reporting to you today in the almost dark from here in my front yard. As you all might be aware, I've been keeping an eye out for Santa cuz I was hoping he would bring my present early this year and for that to happen I figure I need all the help I can get. Which is why I'm really excited about the lighted Christmas Doxie my mom wired up for me. Nothin says Santa stop here like slightly bigger than life sized lighted version of me pointing at my front door, right? I really like his festive green wreath that he's wearing around his neck. Something tells me I would look really good wearing that, too. But mom says electricity and boys like me don't mix very well.

Well speaking of Santa, duk duk told me I should really write him a letter so he really knows what I want, so I am going to turn over my report now to mom. This is Baxter your roving rover reporter saying hi mom!

Hee hee, um, thanks Baxter. First off, super thanks to Joey & Maggie for sharing the original lighted doxie back in July. And for posting the budget version that came as a zero instruction, light it yourself frame only. That's what I bought, keeping my fingers crossed that it would all work out. Which it pretty much did, so I thought I'd share some lessons learned and tips for anyone tempted to do the same (like me, who hopes to do one every year til all our boys past and present can light the holiday night.)

First, the wally world shopping list.
1) 18ft rope light in clear
2) the smallest zip ties they carry - four inch I think? one pack, but consider two because they're pretty cheap, under a buck each. I bought 1 pack and had only like 5 left - not much room for mess up or detail zip tie work

If doing the neck wreath
3) 100 mini light string in green for the wreath (I'm wondering if 50 lights would have been fine, but wally world didn't have this size)
4) One or two packs of replacement mini bulbs in red
5) A multi plug stake timer, cuz mini light string will not plug into the rope light

If doing the bowtie
3) Colored duct tape

How to & hints:
1) Decide which way the doxie will face to establish the front. This is the side that rope light will be attached to. Personally I like to work with the strings lit, so if you're like me, just plan on working near an outlet or extension cord.

2) Starting with the receptacle end of the rope light (the end that isn't the one you plug into an outlet), start at the outermost foot under the tail and work the underbelly first, zip tying as you go to affix the rope to the frame and making sure to be generous with the zip ties when turning corners or making tight turns. Snip exposed zip tails after tightening.

3) For this first doxie, I avoided lighting certain parts- like the hamhock leg line that splits the two hind legs for feasibility reasons and the odd secondary straight line at the chest for artistic reasons . I also avoided doing the bowtie because I didn't think I had the electrical means to splice in a different color rope light. But I have an after thought on this, so more on that in step 7.

4) Continue working your way around the doxie, thinking of it in terms of making a continuous line drawing - loop de loop the nose and eye and ear and have faith that the zip ties are long enough to do the job because they are. In the doubled parts, you might just need an extra hand to keep it all together/do the pulling, or really strong teeth. (I never said anything about looking dignified while making this, did I?). The finish line is obviously the same as the starting line, so you'll know when you're done.

5) Wind the green light string loosely around the neck over and over and over til you've used it all up, being mindful to end with the plug in back. Loose (but not too loose) helps minimize the number of wraps and also gives the wreath a fuller look. Too loose and it'll look, amorphous. Too taut and it could look like spikes - which might not be a bad thing if that's the look you want - oooh, can you imagine that in the bigger lightbulb? Yeah that would be totally cool. Whoops I digress.

6) Swap out a few of the green bulbs with red ones and voila! Done!

7)There will be a surplus of rope light - maybe three feet or so. I wrapped mine in the duct tape I had on hand which happened to be red, thinking it would obscure the light, but lo and behold, I got red rope light essentially. So here's the eureka and there might actually be enough rope light to do it - try doing the bow tie as you work your way around the doxie, remembering what I said about loop de loops, and wrap it in colored duct tape! Ditto for the eyes if you want colored ones of those as well. Alternatively, you should still be able to get at least a collar line our of the surplus length, just be sure you're able to zip tie a straight line as needed for it.

So that's it! I'm really excited about the duct tape idea. One of these years Baxter's lighted doppleganger just might be wearing his very own lighted orange dapper doxie dud! :) Happy Monday!!

ps - think i'm gonna do a little red tape at the nose, for a little baxter the red nosed doxie action. and cover that red taped slack so it's not so, uh, well, cecelia mentions it in her comments! :)


Hannalei said...

This needs a major "Me Likey Dat" button. I'm talking a huge one. Hubby just saw that and said.. hmm that would be easy to make. I am thinking after the Holidays when things go on clearance I'm picking up a few things of rope lights. Might need to make a little herd for the roof tops. Hehe :)

Cecelia said...

Too cute! And Baxter looks very proud of his new friend. Um, just a may want to change the placement of the leftover red lights or else cover them with black tape. They look much like an anatomical part that you may not wish to highlite!

Mary Anne said...

weee!! that will surely help Santa get to your house Baxter!


kalyxcorn said...

hey the black fri deal might still be around - wally rope was maybe $10, and I saw them somewhere for $5 in a flyer!

ha - yeah that is a good point! though the japanese maple that it's under hasn't dropped all its leaves yet. not that this is related but i'm thinkin maybe I should red tape the nose while i'm out there, uh, rearranging the "slack". :)

hee - it's me, baxter and yes I sure hope Santa will get there now!! :) b

Joey and Maggie said...

Wow - that came out so nice! The rope light looks much better than the lights shown on the website. Just awesome!

Alicia said...

Great job, he looks beautiful. Santa will really enjoy this light display!

Sandra said...

I love your holiday doxie! Such a cute and great idea. Much better than all the crazy things people have started putting up around here. Four paws up!

Flash, Alven and Dottie

Ruby and Penny said...

I love this. I need to get 2 ASAP.
Ruby & Penny's mom

Kyley & Ammo the Dachshund said...

I love it! I just might have to talk my husband into rigging this up infront of our house this year! :)

I'm pretty sure all the neighbors already think of us as the crazy dachshund people.

A MilShelb Mom said...

OMD! GREAT idea! Our Mom is putting this at the top of Dad's to do list. He will just love that... not really, but too bad. We must have two, of course.
~Milly and Shelby

Kerri said...

I'm thinking with the right accessories -- a heart, a shamrock, bunny ears -- the average crazy dachshund person could come up with a good reason to leave it up just about year-round!

kalyxcorn said...

whooo, I cannot WAIT to see what everybody comes up with!! please please send pictures or post them to FB? i bet they're all gonna be so coooooool!!! :) b

chloejessica said...

Amazing! Love the holiday doxie!! I know Baxter will get lots of treats from Santa. :)

Elizabeth said...

That is great!