My husband is amazing.
I know, gag. Get a room, people! But seriously. He is amazing. Not only because he is an extremely good husband but also because he is an incredibly talented DIY-er, designer, all-round handyman… He is very creative and he has the spatial reckoning skills to really do something with his creativity.
I already showed you the wine rack he built me for Christmas, and this was kind of a bonus New Year’s gift that was installed just in time for our New Year’s Day party.
Boom! This amazingly awesome industrial DIY chandelier that he made out of steel pipe and fittings.
Behold the beauty, my friends.
Well, to take a little credit for myself (hehe), we worked on the design of this light fixture together. Chris came up with the long H-shaped concept, which we thought would work well with the length of our dining room table (also a DIY, by the way). I weighed in on the design by making each section a slightly random length to keep it asymmetrical and more modern-looking. But really, Chris was the mastermind here.
Once the design was hammered out, Chris ordered the fixture parts online (from Zorotools.com, but they’re available at Home Depot too if you want to look at them in person) and simply screwed them all together once they arrived. The assembly literally took less than an hour.
Here’s a diagram if you’re interested in re-creating this chandelier:
|A) Nipple,1 1/2 x 2 In
|B) Floor Flange,1-1/2 In
|C) Reducer,1-1/2 x 1/2 In
|D) Tee,1/2 In
|E) Square Head Plug,1/2 In
|F) Nipple,1/2 x 7 In
|G) Nipple,1/2 x 6 In
|H) Nipple,1/2 x 3 In
|I) Nipple,1/2 x 1 1/2 In
|J) Pipe,1/2 x 24 In
Of course, wiring the fixture, the switch, and the fixture box in the ceiling took a little longer. I’m not going to tell you how to do that. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone accidentally shocking or electrocuting themselves. So, hire an electrician, or if you want to DIY you will find tons of tutorials online on how to wire a light fixture.
Chris spray painted the porcelain bulb sockets black before wiring them. We sprayed the whole thing with clear lacquer to protect the exposed steel (after wiping off the protective oil with some mineral spirits). Right now the light sockets are just sitting inside the fittings. We’re not sure how to attach them yet but we’re thinking silicone caulk might do the trick.
UPDATE: An awesome reader who happens to be a house inspector recommended using 2-part epoxy to glue the sockets onto the frame. Here’s what he said:
I would recommend using 2 part epoxy. It actually will set better with heat and bonds almost anything and can handle heat without deterioration.
The cost for the pipe/fittings was about $38. The ceramic light sockets were free, since we re-used ones from an old ceiling fan that came with the house, but there are similar ones available at Home Depot for around $3 each. The lamp wire is sold by the foot at Home Depot at about $0.40 a foot so about $8 total. The spray paint and spray lacquer cost about $6 total. So for about $70 (actually less for us since we already had the sockets) we have a unique chandelier that costs less than half the price of comparable light fixtures.
Note: We used these budget-friendly lightbulbs. They are incandescent but we figured that since we will only be using this chandelier for meals in the dining room, we didn’t need to splurge on dimmable LEDs.
Here’s a wide shot of our dining/living room. There’s the DIY dining room table Chris built (yes, I know many of you having been clamoring for a tutorial on that…it will come…someday). There are the Goodwill chairs we reupholstered and that we are planning to refinish soon. There’s the Craigslist sofa and the L-shaped sofa table we built behind it. Far in the left corner there’s the green dresser I painted.
Oh and not to mention the sliding glass door we installed (yes, cut a hole in the wall and everything). This room is truly a testament to DIY.
Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheBlissfulBee, Remodelaholic, TatertotsandJello and DIYShowoff!
I was looking back through this past year’s posts as I was working on this year in review entry, and I was amazed at how much we’ve accomplished in the past year. Sometimes, with a fixer-upper house, I’ve felt frustrated at what I feel is our lack of progress, but really, we’ve done so much in so little time, especially with me being a full-time mom to a rambunctious toddler and Chris working full-time as well.
I’m so thankful that we have the opportunity to work on this house with our own hands. It is so fun and just so pleasurable for us to create and to beautify, but it’s also important for me to remember that a house is just a house. Of course I would be devastated if it burned down tomorrow and we lost the two years of hard work we put into it, but it is just a house. What matters are the people, the Spirit, the love inside the house.
But this blog is about DIY and home renovation, so without further ado…
Spring started off with quite a few major updates. We finished our renovation of the family room, which included pretty much a total gut job. Removing the old floor, fixing leaks, patching drywall, painting walls, trim and ceiling, tiling the fireplace, and finally moving our furniture back into the room — it was a big job but the final result is so comfortable and cheerful.
Spring is also when we worked on our most popular project on the blog — the DIY L-shaped console table we built for behind the sofa in the living room. We even made plans to help you all build it because we had so many requests for detailed instructions!
Later in the spring, we took a trip to Yosemite with our 1-year old and worked on a few outdoor projects including painting an old metal patio table yellow and sewing outdoor pillows. We refreshed the floor of our guest bathroom by painting the dingy grout lines.
In the summer I posted a tour of baby Brownie’s room and we completed a big project — installing a glass sliding door — over just one weekend.
This summer I also revamped an old dresser by painting it a rich emerald green and adding brass hardware. We refreshed the kitchen nook by painting the old wood trim glossy white, the walls a cheery blue, and making a DIY roman shade. We took a trip to Toronto and I made Baby Brownie a travel felt board to bring along, which was a big hit (both with Baby Brownie and the online community).
Fall was the time of the tables. We designed and finally completed our rustic dining room table (plans are still to come) that Chris built out of doug fir from Home Depot. We refinished and painted the pedestal table in the breakfast nook. And I painted a little bench and turned it into an activity table for Baby Brownie.
Finally, this winter we did one of my favorite updates to the house — painting a navy blue accent wall in the foyer. It is one of the most dramatic focal points in our house and I love coming in the front door and seeing it every day. I also worked on a few Christmas crafts such as the Christmas tree skirt, and Chris made me an awesome wine rack as a gift.
Those were just a few highlights and major projects from 2013. My mind is still boggled by how much we did in just one year. I haven’t even started going into the siding/insulation project that is still ongoing on the exterior of the house. Or all the little un-glamourous things that took so much time (ie. wiring up new light fixtures/switches, installing new doors…). There is still so much to do but it is encouraging to see how far we’ve come.
Thanks for reading, folks. Really appreciate all of you who come here regularly to see what I’m up to. Your support means so much to me. I’m not planning to disappoint you in 2014, so stay tuned for lots of fun DIY projects to come!
UPDATE: Instructions and diagrams for building your own DIY wine rack are here!
We still have family in town so things are still a bit crazy, but I’m taking a few minutes to tell you about the awesome Christmas present my husband made for me. I love getting handmade gifts — the thought and effort behind them make them so meaningful.
I had wanted a way to store wine for a while and I had been trolling Craigslist for wine cabinets, but the problem was, we just didn’t have a good place to put a wine cabinet. Chris solved this problem by building a wine rack and mounting it to the wall. It took him a couple afternoons to build, sand, and finish it, and then he wrapped it and hung it up like this (sorry about the grainy pic):
I got to tear the paper off on Christmas morning and reveal this beauty:
This style of wine rack is called a riddling rack. It’s how wine bottles were stored when making sparkling wine — the wine bottles were turned and the angle increased every day, although nowadays few winemakers do this manually anymore.
Chris made this out of redwood fence pickets that he cut, nailed, and sanded. He finished it off with his own homemade Danish oil mixture (1 part oil-based polyurethane, 1 part boiled linseed oil, and 1 part mineral spirits) which gave it a protective finish but kept the natural look of the wood.
It’s not perfect, and the bottles sometimes hang at slightly different angles because of the different bottle shapes, but it works, and I really like it. It is hung on the wall near the “bar” area (although we only have whiskey right now).
I experimented with moving the “bar” table under the wine but it made the sofa seem lopsided on that wall, so I went with it as is. And we finally hung some art and our wooden masks from around the world in that corner.
Chris has promised that he will walk me through the tutorial on how to make this riddling rack soon…so stay tuned for that!
UPDATE: Instructions are here!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/winter holiday. We didn’t host any big events this year…only Christmas breakfast, so I kept things simple:
Just a red and white runner, some mercury glass votives, and my everyday white plates. It was a beautiful morning and the light coming in through the sliding glass door (that we recently installed) was lovely.
Lots more projects to work on in 2014!
Sharing at Remodelaholic, ThriftyDecorChick and TatertotsandJello!
I was doing some Christmas shopping the other day at the mall and I saw these cute glitter monogram ornaments — I thought they would be an easy thing to recreate at home. Speaking of Christmas shopping, I picked up a BUNCH of super cute Jonathan Adler stuff from JCPenney on clearance at 50-75% off today! I did buy myself a little something but got a few gifts for friends as well. I love that feeling when you get a great deal! Go get yourself something cute from his Happy Chic line at JCP before they’re all sold out!
So this ornament. Super easy to do with just a few materials from the craft store. I bought these wood letters from Michaels at about $1.50 each. I used some Mod Podge, gold paint, and glitter that I already had on hand for a frugal but pretty project. These monogram ornaments would be a sweet host/hostess gift or pre-Christmas present too.
The cast of characters: Martha Stewart’s Specialty Finish in Vintage Gold from Home Depot (or any gold craft paint), Mod Podge, Glitter, a paintbrush (a 1/2″ chip brush works well), wooden letters, sandpaper, and a power drill.
Drill a hole in the corner of the wooden letter using a power drill. Then sand the wood lightly to remove any rough spots.
Paint a coat of gold paint on the wooden letter.
Allow the paint to dry (about 30 minutes). Important: prop the wooden letter up on something so that the paint doesn’t make it stick to the paper. I used some…chocolate that I had lying around.
When it’s dry (about 30 minutes) the paint is shiny and beautiful. But it only gets better.
Paint on a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the whole letter.
Prop it up again on some chocolate 😉 so the Mod Podge doesn’t stick to the paper as it dries. Then sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle, glitter to your heart’s content.
Try to cover the letter evenly. But don’t worry about any white parts that might still show through — the Mod Podge will dry clear, and the gold paint underneath will camouflage any thin areas. Let it dry until the Mod Podge is clear and dry (about an hour).
Tap off any excess glitter (you can pour it back into the bottle of glitter for next time). Thread a ribbon or string through the hole and tie a loop (I find it helps to put a piece of tape on the end of the string before pushing it through the hole to help it go through without fraying). And you’re done!
It’s a super easy project that requires next to no artistic skill! This DIY glitter monogram ornament takes very little hands-on time — you just need a safe place to put it as it dries. Make a few for your family and friends!
Don’t forget to check out my other Christmas crafts!
DIY Christmas Tree Skirt
Festive Holiday Wreath
Peace and Joy Banner
Have an awesome holiday season!
Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle and TheBlissfulBee!
Here’s a quick little craft I worked on today during Baby Brownie’s nap.
It’s just a pretty gift box that you could fill with candy, small toys, crayons, LEGO, artisanal soaps/bath bombs, special ornaments, etc…
I had this old tea canister and was going to throw it away…
But it was so sturdy and such a nice little tin that I wanted to reuse it in some way.
I cut some scrapbooking paper to fit the sides and glued it on with a simple glue stick. I added a few dots of hot glue along the corners just to make sure it was really stuck on there.
Then I used my handy scrapbooking materials to add some decorations. I added some fabric tape, and a chalkboard label that I stuck on some white cardstock and then cut out. Then I stuck the label on using some foam squares to make it more 3-dimensional.
I cut out a piece of glittery green cardstock to fit the lid and glued it on. And I added two little stars I punched out of cardstock with a craft hole puncher.
I wrote my giftee’s name on the label using a chalk pen (she can erase it and reuse the tin for anything, writing the contents on the label), and filled it with chocolate.
That’s a cute little semi-handmade present that would be perfect for a teacher, neighbor, or friend. You could fill it with anything…stickers, candy canes, homemade caramels, even (gasp) tea!