Monday, January 30, 2012

Sarah's Chandelier (how to wire a chandelier to plug in)

When my Dad's Mom, my Grammy, passed away several years ago, most of what was left in her apartment was sold. There wasn't a whole lot of great value, but I liked her chandeliers. There were two, one smaller, one a little bigger. I painted the smaller one white and used it in the bedroom of the house I owned with a former boyfriend. That little chandelier, stayed in that house. When former said boyfriend and co-owner of said house turned into very angry person when I wanted to leave, and then even angrier when "negotiating" his purchasing of my portion of the house, said small sweet chandelier got caught up in an apparent custody battle.
I asked him if I could pick it up a few times, but it was clear that he was going to hold that chandelier hostage...I decided to let her go. Seems he felt quite attached to that little fixture. I moved on.
Well, for some reason, I had totally forgotten about the other, larger chandelier...A few weeks ago, as I was truffeling through my father's basement aka my storage area, I came across her... She came to the loft for a visit and I began to ponder her future.
Our loft only has 2 actual spots to wire lighting into the ceiling, one in the kitchen and one in the entrance hall, and I decided to leave the simplistic white ball lights with the foot long stems...I like them, they suit the place. So my first step was deciding that I would like to wire the chandelier to plug in, rather then wire into the ceiling.
I googled like mad and found that the descriptions were a little tedious and complicated.
I went to my local Home Depot with a few photos instead.
this was what I found at the end of the wire (this was where you would wire the chandelier into the ceiling)
 When I opened up the chandelier, it was pretty straightforward...Each of the little lights had both a black and white wire running from it (these wires are attached to the actual candles that hold each light). These wires all met under the ornate bottom cover part of the chandelier, that came off very easily by simply unscrewing the parts beneath it (don't let any of this confuse you, it's super simple and your fixture will likely be a little different anyhow, so don't dwell). All the white wires were assembled with a plastic cap and some electrical tape, all the black wires were assembled with a plastic cap and some electrical tape...c'est tout!
 I checked all the lights to make sure that the wiring was working...I had one broken one, which I was able to replace for $2, the little candles (the electrical bits that your chandelier bulbs screw onto) might look complicated, but again, piece o cake! any lamp, you put the white wire around one screw and the black wire around the other, tighten the screws around the wire ends, and voila, done.
So, it was really the wires just hanging out the top that I needed to concern myself with. How to get this situation to plug in. My Home Depot guy showed me how. I bought a simple wire kit with a switch on it and a plug, the ends were bare, like my wire. All I had to do was attach the ends of my wires to the ends of the plug wires, twist a plastic cap onto them to hold them in place and (Home Depot helper suggested) I wrapped each little plastic capped-wire-couple with some electrical tape. DONE!
I then held my breath and plugged her in (with the single chandelier light I had on hand)
Now came the decisions. Style decisions. The fun part. I spent a few days pondering my possibilities... I could spray the entire thing in a fun modern color (once painted, a chandelier is not easy to unpaint...which is fine, but I was not ready yet), what color candlestick covers, what kind of light bulbs...the thoughts went on and on....Finally, not being able to patiently make any decisions, because the excitement of getting it up and working was more than I could handle (you can tell where my life presently is on the excitement scale), I ran (well, I drove) back to Home Depot (whereupon we had a Zombie boy sighting) and, with Tess chatting my ear off and her burning desire to pull every single plant in the plant section off shelves, I spotted some teeny little pink bulbs. Tess approved...she actually more than approved, she did a happy dance, and song and pulled more stuff off shelves in her state of pink bulb happiness. I grabbed 10 of the them, threw her and the bulbs into the shopping cart and high tailed it back home.
Here's what happened. I did not paint, I have not even decided on candlestick covers, I put the little pink bulbs in, placed a big heavy hook into one of our wooden beams and she is so darn pretty that I might not change another darn thing about her. Tess finds the pinkish red lighting fun and exciting and wants it on as soon as she wakes up in the morning until she goes to sleep at night. I will keep you posted if I decide to continue the chandelier transformation, but for right now, I am simply enjoying her prettiness.
And to the ex boyfriend who might still have the smaller chandelier, painted in the distressed white shabby chic-like style of yore, I truly hope you are enjoying your chandelier, as much as we are enjoying ours.

Now, go forth and make something old new again! Make it yours and most of all, enjoy it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It's super simple, sweet and not too late

Have you ever thought, on February the 14th - UGH, I should have got my $&it together and made something cute for my boyfriend/girlfriend/kids/mom/bestie/crush...etc? You know, nothing super crazy fancy shmancy, but just something heartfelt and simple (I like heartfelt and simple, you?)...Well, this year I did it, and, if you want in on this pretty little idea, I am sharing...
I simply took one of our little Mini Ribbon Boxes (which are coincidentally on sale) and crafted a little love note to fold inside. I leave the rest, (and, the rest is not imperative), but you could add a tiny heart chocolate, a little photo of yourself or yourself with your Valentine, a pretty piece of jewelry, like an engagement ring even... or a folded up gift certificate for a complimentary make-out session (choose this person wisely).
Now listen, you might say
YES! I am ordering the mini ribbon box and I am doing this! and then get to the shipping charges and get angry...don't... Realize that we have no control over shipping charges and only charge you what we pay (sometimes even less), so be a good little shopper and stock up on a few boxes, this way the shipping becomes, well, like nothing. I am so happy that we had this little talk.
Now go, make pretty things and share the love!
xo Nadine

as an added bonus, here is the paper print out that says - I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
This is for letter sized 8.5" x 11" paper. Print page 1 and then flip over your sheet of paper and print page 2 on the back, cut it out, fold it on the lines, and presto, you're in business! (if you have some heavy stock paper or card stock, it looks prettier!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Harry's Birthday

I hadn't caught up with my friend Mandy in forever, I had five minutes yesterday and I called her. She didn't even say "hello" she went right into "oh my god, I was just thinking about you" in her bubbly way... She was also scrambling to get something together for her adorable Harry's 7th birthday party. Since I had an hour to kill, and let's face it, it doesn't take much for me to agree to make stuff, I offered to throw something together for her. She was thrilled, here's what she told me,
- Harry's Winter Classic,  it's a skating party and I was trying to find something cute and vintage - Coincidentally, I had just the thing!...Here's what happened,

Kind of makes me want to be seven again... Happy Birthday Harry!

Monday, January 2, 2012

a little new year Feng Shui-ing

As 2011 was ending, I had this feeling of urgency to really start 2012 with a bang.
I have never really paid much attention to starting new or fresh on January 1st, but somehow, this year felt different, it felt necessary.
I pulled out my old notes from Katie Rogers (my Feng Shui mentor turned friend) and looked at the objectives I had a year ago and her suggestions and recommendations from our long distance consultation.
It was pretty amazing how much of what we had discussed had taken form in my life. From my company shifting and transitioning to designing for other companies to my finances. A year can make a big big difference.
I also realized how I can easily tell myself that I haven't achieved something or haven't done as well as I should have, yet I rarely take the time to look at what I actually do get done. This year, yesterday as a matter of fact, I decided to create a little list for myself of what I have achieved in the past year, and mostly, what I am grateful for. I know, you have probably all been doing this forever, but it's new to me, and it felt really good. If you haven't done it and are late joining the party, as I am, try it, you will be in for a pleasant surprise.
Well, my urgency for starting 2012 just right manifested itself in my living space (yeah, I know, there's a shocker!). I have to say, I love this place so much and have the best time playing in it, it brings me endless hours of joy (now, how to get the landlord to sell it to me!)...Anyhow, I checked my Feng Shui list and immediately saw that I could improve quickly and inexpensively.
I started with a little more charcoal grey paint. I had it leftover from here. So that certainly made the project take shape quickly, but I'm telling you, I love the grey! Having been a "white" wall girl for so long and loving that California white washed fabulous soft, comfortable look, I just never would have imagined how warm and cocooning and wonderfully elegant I find the grey. I started with the last white wall in the loft (remember, there aren't too many walls in here and the 2 largest ones are brick)
here's the before
 and here's the after
 alright, here's the total wall...
this photo sucks and apparently my fabulous design sense
told me that I didn't need to worry about Tess' table and lunch
in the photo...ugh.
 I also started to re-arrange some of my art and my big gold mirror. At one point I thought I should run to IKEA and buy all new frames and really do it, until my better sense (*cough* bank account) kicked in and I said, meh, I can make do...which, I actually think worked out in the end. I moved the big gold mirror to the entrance hall, just to the left of the kitchen ( I was tired of standing on my coffee table to see if my shoes looked good with what I was wearing) and decided to worry about a new mirror later...Since the mirror was there now, I took my fabulous Christian Chaize photographs from 20x200 and put them on the grey wall, with Tess' blackboard (an early bluedogz design piece that I still had kicking around)...To top it off, my amazing Marc Tetro print, which pops even more than it usually does (which is hard to believe) on this wall! 

I also put my little print of the vintage NYC map on the inside kitchen wall, normally, I had my Andy Davis surf print there, but I decided to move it...mixing things up in Feng Shui is key and I felt that things were becoming a little too predictable and stagnant...not good at all. Moving stuff keeps things alive and Chi flowing (just ask Katie!), plus, it gives you the feeling that you have a new house (kind of)...and that's exciting (to me). You like so far?
Then I had to address the living room, where it looked like I had lost a tooth, without the gold mirror.
(or maybe more like a lost my "grill")

from this:
 to this (think lisp)
 to this!
So much better, right?...I remembered that this rounded corner mirror was just collecting dust in my dad's basement, so I grabbed it, and the Paris map above it had been leaning precariously on a wall for months (NOT good Feng Shui at all!) and my Andy Davis surf couple print had spent a day or so, after I had taken it out of the kitchen leaning too...This leaning thing is a slippery slope, just saying, so I figured, get it on the wall and then deal later...I did, and I am loving it. I have a few more pieces that I absolutely love and have a lot of meaning to me that I will be framing soon and that are quite a bit smaller than these, I think I might end up with a pretty cool art wall above the couch. Added bonus? My living room is in my prosperity corner, let's face it, I MUST feel good there if I want to prosper. This whole little revamp is feeling good.
I also folded up the second cow hide rug that was under my dining room table for a change, just because it was feeling tired...I am sure I will put it back at some point, but for now, it feels right without it.
Next up...a chandelier make over...stay tuned!
and hey, move your stuff around if you need a change or a quick re-charge, and if you don't absolutely love it, dump it! Happy New Year everyone!