Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring Decor

I pulled out the Spring decorations right after St. Patrick's Day.
I fill my cloches with moss, bird's nest, blue eggs, mini orchids, butterflies, and small green plants to welcome spring. 

Many of my decorations for spring are recycled from my Thanksgiving Tree.

I have white Hyacinth bulbs in mini iron urns. 

I bought 6 of these these mini iron urns at Michael's years ago. 
I painted them white and I use them all the time for different seasons and table scapes.  Here they are at Halloween.

I use my cloches for all different seasons too.

A little green brings the outdoors in.

Here are my Shish Kabob Bunnies leaping over tall grass.
 I got the bunnies last year at Pier One. 

They still have them this year and they are under $3 a piece.

Don't worry Rosie, we won't Shish Kabob you.

Can you tell what's real and what's not? 

Not sure how you feel about silk verses real, I use both and mix them together.

Faux cabbage

I wish I had real chicks. 
I would love to raise some chickens, but our homeowner association wouldn't go for it.

No, I didn't trap a butterfly or raid any bird's nests, both fake.

Another Pier One purchase from last year.
 It was an ugly red, but it was on clearance, so I bought it and painted it white. 

How do you bring the Spring in?

Thanks for checking it out.

Happy Spring!

Monday, March 28, 2011

New Urns

I got a gift card to Pottery Barn for my birthday from my cousin Margaret.  I finally used it.
Thanks Margaret!

I bought two of these iron urns. 
I have a slight urn addiction.  Maybe I should say I am an Urnoholic. 
Or I have Urnitis- Inflammation of the Urn.

They were on sale! 
You know how I love a good deal.

I put an orchid in them and for now they are on my new mantle.

I have never had a mantle before so decorating one is new to me.


To see how I got a mantle click here.
Thanks for checking in!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finished Lanterns

It seems as if I've been obsessed with updating the lighting in my home lately.  I made this metal hanging light recently out of garden baskets I already had.

I finally finished the lantern project.

I was inspired by pictures of something like this. 
The Calisse Pendant from Ballard Designs, $299.

This lantern is from Restoration Hardware, $399. 
Not in my budget especially because I would need two of these.

Here's my thrifty new lantern installed over my kitchen island.

I started with two of these.   I found three brass lanterns at Habitat For Humanity, Restore for $15 a piece. To see other lighting fixtures I've found at Habitat For Humanity click here

I took the lanterns apart and spray painted them flat black. Sorry I didn't take pictures of this part.  Take a before picture of your lantern to refer back to for re-assembly.  Be gentle and work over a towel so if your glass unexpectedly falls out it doesn't break.  Remove the glass and wash it with warm soapy water to get all the old grim off. 

I needed to install an adaptor to hang the lights from the ceiling above my kitchen island.  I purchased two Recessed Light Conversion Kit at Lowe's.  Home Depot doesn't carry these, I checked.  I've used this kit before and it works great.  The kits are $34 a piece, still cheaper than hiring an electrician and a totally doable project for someone that likes DIY. 

This is the front of the box.

Here is the back.  It says it can hold up to a 35 lbs. light fixture.

This is one of the can lights that went bye bye. 
TURN OFF THE CIRCUIT BREAKER before you start any electrical work.
 Perms aren't making a come back anytime soon.

 Remove the light bulb, the white trim, and the black inner trim of the can light.

Here are the contents of the box.  I like to check to make sure everything is included before I start.  Have you ever gotten half way through a project and realized the kit was missing parts?  I have, it's not fun.  I read the instructions first all the way through before I get started too.  I guess I'm a nerd or I'm mentally challenged and need to read everything twice.  I would paint the ceiling medallion included in the kit at this point before you get started if you plan on painting it at all.

After you remove the bulb and trim your can light hole looks like this.

You will need a drill, or a Phillips head and a flat head screw driver.

I also needed this drill because the "self tapping" screws weren't penetrating the metal can light shell.  I had to pre-drill the holes.

Here is the first screw.

Put on one of the brackets, but don't tighten the screw down yet.  You will need to mark where the other two screws will be placed and you need some play to attach the other center piece before you tighten everything down.

Attach the other two brackets to this piece and mark where to drill your pilot holes for the two other screws.  Here it is with the first bracket loosely attached.

Mark in the can light where the other two screws need to be placed.  Disassemble the piece I have in my hand in the picture above and put the other two screws into the can base.  Add the three brackets but don't tighten them down yet.

Screw the light bulb adapter into the existing can light socket.

Add the center piece and once it's attached, tighten the self tapping screws to hold it in place.  I installed mine upside down compared to the instruction's picture.  It just fit better this way in my light.

Next add the large center screw and feed the black and white wire from the adapter through the center of this screw.

Screw on the the circular plate.  See the two screws coming out of this plate?  They didn't come with the kit.  I added these to secure the light fixture to the ceiling.  At this point you will need to determine how low or high you need to adjust this plate.  You want it low enough to allow the screws to come through the light fixture ceiling plate, but high enough to keep the medallion tight to the ceiling. 

At this point it would be great to have another pair of hands to help hold the lantern while your attaching it.  My husband held the lantern for me while I attached the first lantern. 
Here is the painted ceiling medallion that came with the kit.

See the screw on the left in the picture below.  This is the screw that didn't come with the kit facing down out of the circular plate.  You will need this to secure the light to the ceiling.  The one on the left shows the cover to hide the ugly screw.  These little screw knobs (I don't know what they're called) can be purchased in the lighting parts department at Home Depot or Lowe's.

For the second lantern installation my husband was at work.  I perched a stool on top of my ladder with a beach towel on it to get my lantern high enough to attach the wires.  This allowed me to use both hands to attach the wires.  Black wire to black wire, white wire to white, ground wire to ground ( in this case yellow to thin copper wire).   A little precarious, but it worked.  It would have been really bad if the lantern had fallen off it's "beach towel nest."  A helper is much better for this step.   

I didn't paint the medallion of the first lantern till after it was installed.  I didn't like how stark white it was.  I wouldn't recommend spray painting in the house, but I was too lazy to take the whole thing apart to paint it.

I also didn't like the white candle covers so I painted them black.  I put a string through them for easy painting.  Paint one side and then spin them on the string to paint the other side.

I originally had the third lantern installed in the middle outlet, but it looked weird because it was slightly different than the other two lanterns.  The middle ceiling outlet was already there when we purchased the house so I didn't need a converter kit here.  I'll find a place for the extra lantern somewhere.  I didn't like just two lanterns either because they are spaced too far apart.  For now I hung a candelier in the middle and it's been decked out for Spring.

This room has 10' ceilings.  I hung the lanterns 35" from the island below. Not sure what the recommended height is, but this looked right to me?  My husband and I are tall.  This clearance allows us to work at the island and not bump our heads.  It also is visually about the same height as the hanging pots on the pot rack above the adjacent island.  I will need to live with these awhile and decide if they need cord covers on the chain, maybe more burlap?  It seems like a lot of black chain at the moment.  What do you think?

The lanterns are on a dimmer switch.  More light for homework, art, and sewing projects, less for dinner parties and date nights with the husband.

I spent a little over $100 total for the two lights, spray paint, and recessed can converter kits, not including the extra light that I didn't use yet.

I have more light projects to show you, like I said I've got lights on my brain.

Thanks for checking in.

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