Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dining Dilemma-Chandelier Transformation and DIY Tutorial

Happy Superbowl Sunday to all of you!  Today, I want to share with you one of the most fun, and inexpensive transformations I've done!

 As you can see, this space is super small, and it was my client's only dining space in her home.  She couldn't afford to have electrical wiring installed, but the space needed something more than a tiny wind chime hanging above the table.  My first suggestion was a fixture that didn't need wiring, but could instead, be plugged into the outlet closest to the table.  I was thinking IKEA...My client didn't like the idea of having something in her kitchen that reminded her of her 1960's childhood.  So, onto the next idea.  After scouring the lighting sections of a few local thrift stores, I found this little brassy number. "Hello,Darlin'!  For 8 little smackeroos(yes, $8!), you're coming home with me!"
 I really wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but knew I could make it prettier, and far more functional for the space.

Here's a picture of it, right after I brought it to my client's house.  As you can see, it isn't your standard-size large chandelier.  The smaller ones are more difficult to come by, so I grab them when I see them!

 The first thing I did after I brought it home was to remove the electrical wiring, as well as the hardware that would house the light bulbs. (please forgive my blurry phone pictures)  With a little twisting and turning, bending and wiggling, they broke right off. Be careful to hold onto the tops, as the bottoms can become jagged and sharp.

After removing all of the existing hardware, I knew for certain that the best use of this chandelier would be to transform it into a "candle-ier"(no spell-check for that word!)  I had some small glass votive holders that would sit in each little cup.  But, hmmmm...They needed something to sit ON.  I went digging in my arsenol of supplies, and found some washers that would be perfect!! A little glass/metal glue(I used Loctite), some applied pressure, and a little dry time, and here we were!

 The next thing I did was attach a new chain, since there was no existing one.  I found this one at Lowe's for around $6. I simply held a link with a pair of pliers, and used a screwdriver turned on its side, which I inserted through the held link.  I then turned it slightly, and opened the link just enough to attach it to the chandelier. After attaching it, I simply used the same pliers to gently squeeze that link closed again.

The next step was to prime it.  In lieu of sanding it at all, I simply used a great primer(one I highly recommend, as it hasn't failed me yet!) It doesn't smell, it adheres well, and it dries quickly. Here is a picture below:

I have found that the easiest way to refinish a chandelier, or basically anything that needs to "hang", is to hang it from a tree outside.  This serves many purposes: Fresh air, drying time is shortened, and not as much concern about overspray ruining things that you may not want paint on.(yup, learned this one the hard way)

To prime, I held the can 8-12 inches from the chandelier. It is important to move in quick, light strokes.  Keeping it in one place for too long will cause dripping.  Definitely not the look we're going for here! If by chance this does happen to you, don't throw in the towel. Once it dries, take a fine grit sandpaper(220) or fine steel wool, and GENTLY rub over the spot to smooth it out. Wipe it off with a lint-free rag, and spray it again with primer. Here is a picture of the chandelier after 2 coats of primer, allowing for about 15 minutes of drying time between each coat. *It was also a sunny, warm day, with no humidity.

At this point, you have a blank canvas!  You could use a bright color, or use a spray paint with a metallic finish.  The options are endless! You could attach beads or crystals...Whatever suits you!  In this case, I chose to keep it simple, so that the rest of the room could shine.  I wanted to create ambiance and balance, so I chose a green that would be picked up again(or repeated) in the window treatments, as well as the  existing wallpaper boarder. 

I used two coats, allowing about 20 minutes in between for dry time.  Here she is!

After the final coat, I left it hanging for about 2 hours, just to make sure it was completely dry, since the next step would require some "handling". I definitely didn't want to damage all of my hard work!

With the same glue I used to attach the washers(Loctite Glass Glue), I attached each glass votive to the washer.

After each votive was completely secured, I walked away and just let it air dry and cure for the next 24 hours. Again, it was warm and sunny, with almost no humidity.  When I can, I like to do this. The fumes from the spray paint can be overwhelming if you bring your piece in too soon. I always recommend leaving whatever it is you're working on outside, if at all possible for 24-48 hours. 
The only thing left to do was drop in some tea lights(the ones in the clear plastic cups look best, but use traditional ones in silver metal cups if that's all you've got!)

I honestly couldn't wait to hang this baby up! I am always so amazed at how something so simple can completely change a space!  Here she is in all of her glory! 

 Here's a close up:

So, there you have it!  A shabby, brassy eyesore to a beautiful, elegant piece of eye candy!  It created just enough light to warm up the dining area, and saved my client a ton of money. The entire project cost less than $35!  A win-win outcome in my book!  

Cost breakdown:

Chandelier: $8 Thrift store find
Black chain:  $6 Lowe's
Loctite glue:  $4 Lowe's
Glass votives:  Already owned (about .50 each) X5=$3
Spray paint: $5 Lowe's
Primer: $5 Lowe's
Clear tea lights: I get mine from Amazon $16.99 for 36(about .50 each) X5=$3
Here is a link: Clear tea lights

Grand Total: $34

 I hope this inspires you to find something old, maybe even something in your "trash pile", and breathe new life into it!  I'd love to see what you come up with!

Have a wonderful day, and thank you so much for stopping by!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Story Of A Budget Kitchen Makeover And A Blessing In Disguise

Welcome, friends!  I've definitely got some blogging to catch up with...While I wish I had pictures and details of every project from the past couple of years, it just didn't happen that way.  I do, however, have a fun post today to share with you.  This entire project just blessed my socks off!!

Let's get started!  A couple of years ago, a close friend of mine called me before Christmas and asked if I'd come over and do a big makeover in her dining room.  Her in-laws were coming, and she just didn't have the time or the know-how to pull the room together in time.  She is one of those people that make you question whether or not she really has just 24 hours in any given day, because she wears so many hats, and is ALWAYS on the run! So, the night of her concert, her home was empty, and I showed up with my bags of goodies and power tools and got to work. In less than 3 hours, she had new window hardware, window treatments, wall decor, slipcovered chairs, and a table ready for a beautiful meal to be served on it!  Here is a picture of the tablescape...Her interpretation of it was that it felt and looked like Heaven!
She was so excited about her new room...So she told a few people.  A mutual friend called me up and asked me if I'd be interested in redoing her kitchen pantry for her.  She is a single lady...A teacher...Busy as a bee.  Just a little stumped as to how to make her pantry more functional, more organized, and honestly, she just wanted to "pretty it up".  

*Chandelier DIY Project Coming SOON!!

After taking a tour of my client's home, we talked about her budget.  I am a thrifty shopper, and absolutely LOVE repurposing and upcycling things, so I was more than confident that I could not only redo her pantry for her, but really make her kitchen space prettier and warmer. She really needed a place to come home to at the end of a long day and relax.  A place that Welcomed her home.  A place she felt safe and cozy and purposeful in.

Well, a couple of visits into the job, after emptying her pantry and even removing her door knob from her pantry door, I got some news.  I hadn't been feeling well. At all.  Miserable.  Nauseous.  Weak.  Dizzy. Crampy. Just Ugh. 

Reveal Party at 20 weeks! IT'S A GIRL!!!!!

Turns out, this little miracle had been conceived just before Hurricane Sandy struck.  My husband had a total hip replacement just weeks later(non-related), and I was sicker than I'd ever been in my life. 24 hours a day.  I had never felt more horrid and just incapacitated.  Needless to say, this job got shelved.  I am ashamed to admit it, but I never even made it back over to put the food back in her pantry, or put the old door knob back on.  It was so unlike me to start something and not finish it.  Even more unlike me to not knock it out of the ball park.  I had let someone down.  Made a commitment and not kept it.  For months this just hurt my heart. 

As much as I thought I'd be able to get back to this and finish it up, my body, my baby, and God had other plans for me, as I found myself on strict bed rest.  Even after my daughter was born, I had some complications that prevented me from being overly active.

Now, over a year had passed.  I hadn't been in contact with this woman, but I thought about her every single day. I still had the remainder of her budget in an envelope. She probably thought I'd just kept that part for payment for the services I'd already completed, or even worse...  Little did she know, but every penny was still there.  I began to pray and seek the Lord for wisdom, and for an opportunity to finish this job, if that's where He wanted me.

He whispered to my heart,"Call her.  Apologize. Ask her if you can return and complete it.  Make a sacrifice.  Give your time, your talents, and share that baby girl with someone who needs companionship as much as you do right now." 

So....I called. I got emotional. I teared-up. I said I was sorry for letting her down, and for leaving a job unfinished.  And I asked if she would let me come back and complete what I started.  I promised her that I would do my very best.  She agreed, and we made plans for me to begin just a couple of days later.  The reality began to sink in.  This would mean entire days spent working. Hard. With a baby in tow.  Doing all the work alone.  Even the things that intimidated me, like building.  I knew I would be physically exhausted.  My baby would have to entertain herself in her play yard.  I would walk away not making a dime off this job.

Guess what?  That was okay.  God was showing me that when I sacrifice myself, my time, my gifts...things I can't take back, He would bless that time.  He began to show me that the blessing was in the PROCESS, not the final product.  

My days spent with my friend rekindled our friendship.  She fell in love with my daughter, and my daughter grew to adore her.  We had long talks about our childhoods, our relationships, our dreams.  We laughed. We cried.  We prayed for each other.  We found ourselves in the midst of true friendship.  Sisterhood. I would be on a step ladder painting, hammering, sweating. And she would be giggling just feet away with me, while feeding my daughter little snacks, fetching her sippy cup, or playing with her.

Packing up my daughter and all of my tools had become a daily routine.  The hard physical work left me aching at the end of the day, and just exhausted beyond words, as I wasn't getting any sleep at night due to my daughter having some physical challenges that were keeping her up.

All of these things were okay.  I had found JOY in serving someone else.  JOY in giving things of myself that couldn't be repaid.  JOY in seeing someone else's needs met.  JOY in the sacrifice.

The last day was bittersweet.  School was starting.  My client would be teaching again.  I would be at home with my kids.  There wasn't anything else to be done.  I sent her out for a few hours, so that I could really surprise her. She was a bit confused, since the bulk of the pantry was finished, but I really wanted to WOW her!! I stopped and bought new dishes, flowers, accessories, and packed up a couple of things of hers I'd brought home and made "new"!

Without further ado, Here is her new Pantry and Kitchen! This is proof that a little goes a long way, and that sometimes a room just needs some tweaking to make it look and feel NEW.

 Here it is!

 Notice the little princess in her play yard!!

So, there you have it!  It was so much fun, and such huge impact was made just from making minor adjustments!  It can be so overwhelming when taking on a space, but it definitely doesn't have to be!  In my next couple of posts, I will break down what exactly was done in the room as well as a cost breakdown.  There will also be a DIY tutorial for a fun chandelier!  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, thank you so much for taking time to visit. If you are experiencing any struggles of your own...Some that might seem overwhelming...maybe even crippling...I encourage you to pray about who you can go out and bless.  It doesn't have to be something on a grand scale.  It might be something as simple as letting someone go ahead of  you in the checkout lane, or paying for someone's coffee.  If you allow God to use you, most likely, you are an answer to someone else's prayers.  

Have a beautiful evening!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Welome Back~A Long-Awaited Reveal

Hello, friends!
 Thank you so much for coming back to visit!  Since my last post, there have been so many changes and challenges...Including a baby girl!  Blogging definitely took a back seat to this thing called "life", but I am ecstatic to be back!

Meet my little princess~September 2014
 A couple of months ago, I registered for a wardrobe challenge...Believe me, it was a much-needed and much-overdo intervention.  My days are spent primarily in yoga pants and nursing tanks...Even with a closet full of clothes.  I have just been So. Tired.  Beyond. Tired.  Would it be just as easy to pull on some jeans and a sweater?  Honestly, the answer is yes.  How often was that happening?  Um...Close to never.  I had become that mom...The one that interventions are staged for.  The one who ends up flat on her face in an episode of "What NOT to Wear."  Luckily, I caught myself before I found myself face to face with a television crew and some strange people emptying my closet of my beloved paint-stained comfort clothes.

Honestly, I don't even remember where I saw this challenge originally. I was blog-hopping during the night, and stumbled across a link.  In a moment of sheer exhaustion(and self-analyzing), it was abundantly clear that I needed to downsize and restructure.  For years, I had purchased wardrobe "pieces", without being intentional about what I was bringing home.  A top would grab my attention...A dress was needed for a cocktail party...A pair of pants would be needed for a singing event...I shopped for Occasions, without much thought as to how it would impact my need for simplicity, and ultimately, would hinder my ability to get ready quickly and efficiently.


Little did I know at the time, my participation in this challenge would touch my life in more ways than just downsizing my closet and tweaking my style...In fact, I learned to embrace my unique style, while incorporating things I would have seen as simply "trendy" before.  I  made connections with some beautiful ladies, gleaned some great styling tips, and watched others blossom as they were cheered on!  How many times do we get to witness women supporting women as they better themselves...Find themselves...Express themselves?...Better yet, how often in our lifetimes do we have a chance to personally experience any or all of these things?  In a world that encourages personal growth at the expense of others, let me tell you, this was such a beautiful experience!

One of the participants was insightful and sensitive enough to see that some of the ladies were experiencing difficulty shopping for all of the suggested pieces due to financial strains. She also realized that many of us had items in our closets already that would either benefit someone else, and/or help us in downsizing our closets and creating wardrobes that worked for us.  One smart cookie, this gal!

Through this experience of "shopping each others' closets", I have been able to get rid of pieces that no longer served me.  Clothes that don't flatter me, or can't be mixed with several other pieces, have no place in my closet or in my drawers.  My connections with the new women God has placed in my life have reignited that fire in my heart to create, to love, to serve, and to live with intention. To live each day moving toward my divine destiny.  My life has already become more reflective of who I am in my heart of hearts, and who I am working to become...Who GOD wants to mold me into.

Sometimes the smallest steps of faith lead to the greatest leaps of growth!  I am living proof of this, and I encourage you to do the same!

Happy New Year to all of you!  May you be blessed as You step out in faith and live each day with intention.