Friday, August 31, 2012

A Tutorial: Hanging a Pendant Shade

A year or so ago I bought this awesome drum shade at an antique shop.  At the time, I thought it would make for a great swap in our breakfast room, for the boring ceiling mounted fixture that was already there.  What I didn't realize at the time is that the metal framing inside the shade isn't standard and made it really tough to figure out how to hang it.  We took down the ceiling mounted fixture, but I just couldn't figure out how to hang the shade.  So the old fixture went back up, and the shade went on top of the dryer in the laundry room.

Fast forward to the present, and I got sick of looking at the awesome shade just sitting on top of the dryer!  I knew I could figure out how to hang the shade if I really thought about it.  So I dug out a round metal plate I'd be saving to use for the project, and I knew I could make it work if I could find a hard-wire light kit where the wires could fit through the hole in the plate.  I lucked up this week at Ikea when I saw this on clearance:

A hard-wire pendant light for $6.  The light was totally sealed so I had no idea if it would work, but the price was great so I decided to go for it.  With some work, we were able to totally take the light apart to remove the pendant and string the wiring through the round plate- success!!  And this is where things got a little sticky.  You see, we did all that on Tuesday, and I was basically DYING to hang that darn thing from the moment I saw the pendant at Ikea.  But the hubs, well, he doesn't share my same enthusiasm for DIY.  Especially when it involves electrical.  I don't want that to scare anyone away though, because it couldn't be easier.  You just have to take precautions.  Or in my husband's case, turn off all power to the house, LOL.  So after a lot of persuasion, and some loud voices, we got started.

Here is what it looked like before:

Then we turned off all the power and removed the fixture.  Just remove the shade, then un-do the wire nuts and separate the white, black and ground wires.  Then, attach the new fixture by twisting together the like colored wires, and securing with a wire nut.  This takes all of a few moments.  Then, secure the ceiling plate to the ceiling.  And here's what it looked like that that point:

Here's a close-up of that round metal plate that made it possible to hang the shade.  Notice how it's slightly larger than the metal framing on the shade?  It worked perfect!

Then it was a matter of pulling up the extra cord until it was the height we wanted.  I didn't do anything exact, just eyeballed it.  And here it is in place:

I am LOVING the look!!  It subtly adds so much to the look of the room.  It's not a big change, but now the room looks more finished.  But, if you know me, you know the room is never finished, lol. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Family Fun

Family fun has edged out house projects the past few evenings, but don't worry, there are lots of good things on the way!!  For now, the hubs is oh-so-happy as tonight officially marked the beginning of college football season.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Little Tweak

Yesterday I showed you the before & afters of the dining room.  But a little detail was bugging me.  These guys:
They were sitting atop the shelf with all the glass pieces:
I purchased them a while back from one of my favorite junk shops, and at the time they were a really dull rust color.  So I decided to brighten them up with some sunny yellow spray paint.  Which was a vast improvement!  But I've realized in living with them for a while now, they just don't jive with the rest of the house.  I looked around, and could only find 2 other bright yellow items in the house: a tray I spray-painted at the same time (lol!) and a cute round vase.

I'm starting to see that working within a somewhat limited color palette really makes our home feel cozy and cohesive, because each room can relate with the next.  Not that each room is the same, but certain colors run through out.  I love dark woods, browns, oranges, and teals.  So, teal it was!!
I applied a few coats of the same teal acrylic paint I used on a couple previous projects.  They looked better, but the paint is a matte finish, so I decided to also give them a few coats of spray gloss.  Perfect!!
I like it so much better, what do you think?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Before & After: Dining Room

Oh goodness, I can't believe I am even showing you that hot mess of a dining room!!  It was a disaster.  After we turned the office into a playroom, all the miscellaneous stuff that we couldn't find a home for landed on the dining room table.  Not to mention the table is also my crafting/project space, and a place where I take a bunch of blog pics!!!  But I kind of like that it looks so terrible, because it makes the after pics look even better!!!

We got to work last week painting the dining room in Daredevil, by Sherwin Williams.  I'm a HUGE fan of orange, it seems to pop up in most of the rooms in our house, and I love the idea of an orange dining room!  We actually painted a dining room in one of our previous homes orange, but I think I got the color much better this time!!  And let me just add a side note, I had narrowed the color down to a couple, and was favoring a darker shade called Cayenne.  My sister suggested I go with the slightly lighter Daredevil.  I am quite sure she will want credit for picking the perfect shade, so there ya go, Cris!!  :)

Without further ado, here is the after:
Another before:
And after:
Before (sorry for the poor light!):
And after:
Those elephant ears are from our garden, love them!!
Feeling like I need to change/edit the top of this little credenza, but for now here it is:
Not sure how long those glass pieces will be able to stay on this shelf with babygirl zipping around the house!  Oh, and I already made a little tweak over here, will be back tomorrow to show you that...

Overall, I am SOOOO pleased with the new color!!  It reads a tiny bit brighter in the photos than in person, but that could just be my monitor.  It's a really spicy & warm tone, and looks super crisp against the mouldings.

So, what do you think?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Update

This weekend was mostly spent at home, minus a couple of quick trips out.  I was feeling a bit under the weather, so there were lots of sneezes and sniffles and crumpled tissues strewn about the house.  I also had to work both days, which is never fun, but oh so necessary to pay the bills!!

But, we've made TONS of progress on painting!!!  The hubs has been a total work horse/rock star this weekend, especially today, and we've got the Dining room done, foyer/hallway done, Family room done, and back hallway done!!!!  It's sooooo exciting!!  In my haste to keep up with the hubs and get everything off the walls, I neglected to take before pics of the back hallway & family room, but I'm pretty sure I can find some older ones just so you can see the difference.  Lots of Before & Afters to share this week!  For now, you can see the evidence of all our hard work in the form of a giant tape ball up above, lol.

We also took a break in between all the painting to print out the invites I designed for babygirl's first birthday party.  I can't believe she'll be 1 in less than a month.  Everyone says it, but the time with your kids really does fly!  Actually, someone told me once, some days may drag, but the years will fly.  So true!  The days, and weeks, when she had colic seemed like years.  And the week she had a high fever was an eternity.  But looking back, I can't believe she'll already be one!  So much to look forward to with her, it just makes my heart burst!!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ugh, I Hate Painting (alone)

Remember how we bought 6 gallons of paint over the weekend?  I thought I'd go ahead and get started on the dining room today!  So I set out to clear a bunch of the little things out, remove wall hangings and move the big stuff to the center of the room.  I had lots of energy.  I was very enthused!  The hubs came home at lunch and helped me move the hutch away from the wall.  I told him I was going to get to work, and give babygirl a paintbrush too (Joking! I was excited!).

Fast forward about 10 minutes into taping off, and I remembered how much I hate painting.  They say painting is 60% prep work (I don't know the actual percent "they" say, but it's a lot), and I am just way too impatient for that.  So I convinced myself I have a very steady hand, and could skip the taping.  I also convinced myself I should give that edger in the closet just one more try.  Why would they keep making those things, I asked myself, if they didn't work.  I was just using it wrong all those (millions of) previous times I'd tried using it.

Yeah, I was telling myself a pack of lies, and I bought them from myself like a big dummy.  Fast forward 10 more minutes, and I had gotten paint all over the trim that I hadn't taped off, I cursed those stupid edgers once & for all, and I wrapped up my supplies and stomped off like a baby.  Plus, I'd heard my actual baby wake up from her nap.

So this was the state of the dining room when the hubs got home from work.  I told him how much I hated painting, and he laughed & laughed.  He asked where my enthusiasm from a few hours ago had gone.  He reminded me that he had NEVER volunteered to paint a room because he, too, hates painting.  He pointed out that if I hated it so much, why was I always wanting to paint.  And then he picked up the roll of tape and started taping off the rest of the room.  God, I love that man!  I followed after him with the paint brush, cutting in around the trim and ceiling, and suddenly painting didn't seem so bad after all.  You don't hate painting, he said, you just hated doing it alone.  Hmmm, he might be on to something.

One coat down, and the room looks amazing.  Can't wait to share the before & afters!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Scarf with a Story

After we painted the powder room downstairs, we moved a painting that used to hang in the foyer/hallway into the powder room.  Since then, there's been a big empty space on the wall.  I've left it alone so it could speak to me, and finally it did!  I remembered a beautiful silk scarf I had inherited from my gran, and I knew this would be the perfect spot for it.  Now let me warn you, the scarf is a bit unusual, but I think that makes it even more endearing.  And it has the best story behind it.  

Here's the scarf:

And now the story...many years ago (I'm thinking early-80's, but I could be wrong) my gran & grandad traveled to France.  While in France, they bought my nanny (great-grandmother) the above scarf.  She was the kind of lady that was impossible to buy for, which I think explains why they picked such an unusual gift!  She apparently loved pheasants, so they brought her back this pheasant scarf- nevermind that it also prominently features two rifles, a target and a myriad of bullet holes!!!  They gave her the scarf, and I bet she said she loved it.  So imagine their surprise when they visited her and saw a woman in her apartment building wearing the exact same scarf!!!  Turns out she DIDN'T like the scarf, and promptly gave it away!!!  My grandad was so upset he demanded she ask for the scarf back, or he would do it himself!  This story cracks me up everytime!!

I'm thinking the foyer/hallway will be an excellent place to display the scarf- what a conversation starter!!  I'd like to try and build a simple frame with moulding & plexiglass.  I haven't quite worked out the details yet, but I don't believe it's a standard size, so I know that building a frame will be the best option since there's no way we can afford a custom piece!!  The colors will work wonderfully downstairs, and should tie in nicely with the new gray walls.  Exciting!!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I Googled the words at the bottom of the scarf "Gibiers et Fusils" and it translates to "Game and Guns".  Conversation starter, I'm telling ya!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

House Tour: The Study/Playroom

Once upon a time, when we first moved in, the hubs and I each had a room to ourselves.  His & hers offices, though no actual office work was done in them!  Mine was downstairs by the front door.  I insisted on this because my "office stuff" was much prettier to look at. :)  He got one of the spare bedrooms upstairs.  His office doubled as an over-flow guest room, but there was still plenty of room for all his computer paraphernalia.  Then, I got pregnant, and baby things started to migrate into my office- strollers & swings & car seats began to crowd all my pretty stuff.  Although it was pulling double-duty as a storage room for baby gear, it was still MY room.  Until somewhere around my 7.5 month of pregnancy when the hubs got a wild idea to re-arrange THREE rooms in our home one evening.  Though I was verbally able to protest, I could physically do nothing, and so I just had to roll with it.  And in one night the spare bed that was in babygirl's nursery moved into the hubs office (now the "hotel guest room" because of the two queen sized beds in there).  The hubs office gear moved into my office, and my daybed moved into babygirl's nursery.  It did make sense, but My Office was now Our Office.  And I'd have to look at all that computer equipment all the time.  Ugh.

After babygirl was born I began working from home so I could stay home with her.  My my office set-up just didn't really function as a good place for me to work and her to play.  So most days I toted my laptop around to wherever she was.  At breakfast & lunch my office was the kitchen table.  During playtime my office was the glider in her nursery.  During naps I took up residence on the coffee table.  And when I needed quiet time once the hubs got home, my office was on our bed.  It worked okay, but as she got older I really needed a place where both of us could settle in for longer stretches.  So we re-vamped Our Office once again.  Out with my desk & the hubs desk.  In with a spare changing table from the family room, all babygirl's toys and a loveseat from the master bedroom.  Add in a small side table scored at Goodwill, and we had a space for me to sit and rest my laptop and a space for babygirl to play til her heart's content.  Now we don't know what to call the room: The Playroom?  The Study?  Here is what it looks like now...

I'd be happier if the giant colorful plastic toys weren't part of the room's decor, but they make babygirl happy, so I can concede.  My bookshelves stayed, though the storage behind the doors is bursting at the seams.  This is on my list of challenges to overcome: better/more storage!  The bookshelves are Billy bookshelves from Ikea.  I covered another diaper box with cute wrapping paper (like I did in the closet of babygirl's nursery) to use as toy storage tucked away under the changing table.  A side note on the changing table, apart from the fact that it was dirt cheap at Ikea, we figure we'll be able to easily re-purpose it once we don't need a changing table anymore.  I can see it as a great little dry bar in our family room.  Or maybe some sort of art station for babygirl.  Seems pretty flexible though!

I'm itching to re-style the bookshelves, but I know it will be a whole afternoon project.  One of these days...

My comfy little space to sit back and observe the chaos!  The loveseat is a Craigslist find from years ago, but it's a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.  I just checked their website, and it doesn't look like they're making it any longer, but I know I've seen similar ones at big box stores.

The other corner of the room.  When I'm working I can pull the side table in front of the loveseat and it makes a perfect workspace.  Not too big, so can't do too much work.  LOL.  Oh, and a funny note about this corner, there are two pictures hanging on the wall over there.  A cross-stitch my grandad had done years ago hangs on the wall next to the window.  And that other picture up higher on the other wall, well that's the hubs ONE AND ONLY design contribution to our home: a framed picture of the Obama family he printed from the web.  No, I'm not kidding.  Ha!!

Another view.  The drapes are actually painter's drop cloths.  I washed them first so they have a great linen look, and then attached drapery clips from Ikea.  Super easy, super cheap, and they look super good!!

Close-up of the changing table, baby gear & toy box.   The art on the wall is also from Ikea years ago.  Gosh, never realized how much stuff we have from Ikea!!

And this, folks, is the scary reality of clearing out Our Office- the dining room is a disaster!!!  The desk chair and tons of office stuff has been "temporarily" housed on the table, going on a month now.  Eeek.  Got to get working on a better storage solution!!!

Hop on Over: Apartment Therapy

I'm so honored to send you over to one of my favorite websites, Apartment Therapy, for a little feature today on babygirl's nursery!!

Her tour can be found in the Family division, or you can just click here.

Definitely bookmark AT, if you don't read it already, it's an awesome site!! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend Update

Whew, we had a busy & crafty weekend!!  My sister & nephew are here for a little visit, so I had a partner-in-crime for some fun crafts and shopping.  We also snuck in a little animal fun!

First up, a secret sneak peek of a craft we worked on 'til our eye-sight was almost gone.  I'm dying to share, but I don't want to ruin the surprise- they are favors for babygirl's first birthday party next month.  Any guesses?

We bought SIX gallons of paint during the 40% off paint sale at Sherwin Williams.  Can't wait to get started, but LOTS of work ahead (love you hubs!!!).

The paint guy even threw in a supplement to my fan-deck with the newer paint colors; I was super-psyched (thanks Brandon!!).

Here's a sample of the dining room color.  That was a quick slap of paint.  It should deepen up nicely with two coats.  (Daredevil SW 6882)

And here's a sample of the family room color.  I am less than thrilled.  Especially with how it looks in this photo.  Way, waaaaaaaaaay cooler than I was expecting.  But I am holding out hope that it will come out nicely in the end.  Cuz I have THREE gallons of it.  Non-returnable.  (Pavestone SW 7642)

Here's a fabric I picked up to make a dress for babygirl's first birthday party.  Think I am going to try and use this "pattern" .  I'll let you know how that goes!

A little meerkat fun at Zoo Atlanta (free admission to Fulton County residents this weekend- so cool!). 

There was such beautiful bamboo all throughout the zoo.  We got so inspired to (finally!) plant some in the natural area of the backyard.  It was exotic & enchanting!

Lazy day hanging out in the bamboo.

And my favorite- the goats in the petting zoo.  Oh yes I did go and pet the goats, and no I didn't bring babygirl with me.  LOL.  I'd love to have goats in the backyard some day!!

So that was our weekend, how was yours?

Friday, August 17, 2012

House Tour: The Powder Room

Okay, admittedly this is not much of a post.  I wanted to post a house tour room by room, but the only room neat enough to do a tour of today was the powder room!  And you already saw half of it the other day!  Sorry. 

Without further ado, our downstairs powder room:

The walls had previously been painted that yellow-ish brown you saw in the hallway on one of the pics, but I wanted to do something dramatic.  I was thinking black, but then saw Sealskin (by Sherwin Williams) and thought it was much more interesting.  Sometimes it looks black, sometimes charcoal, sometimes dark brown- so cool!!!

The art you see used to hang in the hallway right outside the powder room, but once it was painted such a cool color, it demanded a cool piece of art, so art switch-a-roo!!  I can always find something else for the hallway, but I think it's just perfect in there now.

The turquoise mirror is a 100+ year old antique that was given to me by an old friend.  She had painted it gold years ago, so when she gave it to me I didn't feel guilty painting it black.  It stayed that way for many years, but once the walls in here went dark, the black just wasn't enough contrast.  There are a few hints of turquoise in the painting, so I thought that would be a fun direction to go with the mirror- I love it!  And the Wash Your Hands sign, you read about that the other day.

Behind the toilet is still a work in progress.  I hung the two silver shadow boxes, and have (empty) pots in them, to be filled with succulents, some day.  Do you notice a theme with empty pots in our house?  I'm really not the best with plants.  :(  I think a piece of art needs to be back there as well.  Just brainstorming that one.

So for now this room is done, except that art over the toilet.  And the succulents.  And I'd like to get a new hand towel.   And I'd love to replace the pedestal sink with a small cabinet sink.  And while we're at it, might as well change the light fixture...  So yeah, this room is done. For now.