How-to: DIY “weathered zinc” pendant lamp

I dusted off my DIY skills and decided to do something about that ho-hum pendant lamp in my kitchen.


It bothered me that the pendant light wasn’t centered over our table, and as long as I was uninstalling it to lengthen the chain I might as well do something fun with the color. I mused over spray-painting it bright yellow, but decided something deeper, more grounding was in order.

If I had all the money in the world and nothing better to do with it than decorate, I would probably get a pendent like one of these kick-ass pendants.










But since I don’t have all the money in the world, and what I do have can’t all go toward decorating, I had to get creative.

I took the inspiration of the weathered zinc look with the gilded inside. Here’s another beauty to look at.


And I decided to make something similar out of the one I already had. Let me walk you through it.

1) Uninstall your light. My kids were around to tell me I should wait until Daddy got home to help, and then I pridefully told them I was the only one in the household with electrical skills. That alone was worth the project.

2) Remove the light bulb and use painter’s tape to tape off the place where the bulb get screwed in and also along the edge where you want to have the colors meet.


3) Sand that baby. I sanded mine for about 30 seconds before I decided it probably wouldn’t make thaaaat much of a difference, and mine turned out just fine.

4) Paint the inside. I started with the gilded inner dome because I figured I would need to handle the outer part a lot more. I used Rustoleum’s Metallic Paint & Primer spray paint in Pure Gold. I chose this one because it’s more of a muted gold, but there are more glitzy metallic gold spray paints out there too if that’s what you like.8d98a333-15cf-4cbd-bf64-83cc46bf47ab_400



5) Paint the outside with chalkboard paint to get that zinc look (and read on for the chalk trick). I used Rustoleum’s Chalk Board Spray Paint. 81UBSA8pQpL._SL1500_



6) Paint the chain, cord, and the top (if there’s a top that you want to look slightly different than the outer dome like in the expensive examples above). I used Rustoleum Metallic Paint & Primer spray paint in Flat Soft Iron for the chain.ffd73373-cf06-4e55-b889-249078979e02_400

7) Wait about 20 minutes and then do a second coat on everything.

8) Reinstall after it dries completely. I waited about 24 hours.

9) Here’s the chalk trick! To get that weathered zinc look, I took a wet paper towel and rubbed white chalk on it, then I rubbed the paper towel around in different sweeping horizontal-ish motions until it had the right look. Go at it a few times. There’s no way to mess this part up because it’s chalkboard paint and you can always clean it off with a wet paper towel and start over. I took a few tries before it was exactly the way I wanted it.

Now wasn’t that easy?! I’m loving my new kick-ass “weathered zinc” pendant lamp!


New art – like meds for the soul

It’s no secret that I suffer from the winter blues, which means that in the Pacific Northwest, from late November through late May, I’m about as worthless as a turtle. Or more like a turtle in the snow. Well, actually like a turtle upside-down in the snow. With a hawk circling overhead.

Pretty grim.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I came across these wall murals from West Elm. The perfect thing to brighten up an otherwise gloomy day.

Each one is 12′ wide by 8′ high. You can put them up on a blank wall and envision you are enjoying a beautiful scene outdoors. At only $399 each, that’s probably less than one month of therapy and meds.

Maybe if I’m enjoying snow from a living room set to the tune of 70 degrees, I could bear it. While I’m at it, I’ll point you in the direction of some of my current favorite sunny West Elm wall art pieces.

Setting myself up for success, one wall at a time.


West Elm’s Snow Drift Wall Mural


West Elm’s Enchanted Forest Wall Mural

Minted for West Elm - Sunset

Minted for West Elm – Sunset

Minted for West Elm - Forest for the Trees

Minted for West Elm – Forest for the Trees

Minted for West Elm - Candy Coated

Minted for West Elm – Candy Coated



Nursery reveal: decorating on a budget

Our little baby finally has a sweet spot to rest her head. We put her in the teeny room adjacent to our bedroom. Here it is before with the previous owner’s poor taste on prominent display. A moment of silence, please.


God-forsaken before: blame it on the previous owners

Here’s what we did. We tore out the carpet and had hardwood floors installed. Then we primed and painted the whole room Benjamin Moore’s Simply White (my go-to white) and Super White on the trim. I used Jonathan Adler wall decals from Target ($28), Jenny Lind White Crib (gift), Land of Nod crib sheets ($29), vintage quilt ($35), and vintage rug ($40). I used a white twin bed skirt I already owned and artfully folded it to fit the crib, and then sewed grograin ribbon ($3 so there’s no guilt to switch out colors) on the edge and used the leftover ribbon to trim the lampshade (already had the lamp). Book basket on the floor was on clearance at Target ($5).

The “mobile” is a repurposed thrift store find ($20), decorated with bird christmas ornaments I already owned. I like how the shape of the “bird cage” echoes the shape of the wall decal lanterns behind it. The Vogue print was a hand-me-down from my mom. Midcentury dresser was a thrift store find ($85). We have owned that rocking chair since our first child, but even that was nabbed at a garage sale six years ago ($27). I used an old t-shirt to recover a pillow we already owned to make a more comfy seat for late night rocking.

It feels so good to be done. Almost like I’m getting my sh*t together.


Much improved after


Thrift store objet-turned-mobile


Thrift store midcentury dresser


Garage sale rocking chair; pillow recovered with an old t-shirt. Vintage Vogue print.

Musical beds

Sounds pretty kinky. But it’s not like that. I hereby humbly confess that an unfortunate combination of my pregnancy and indecision has forced Josh and me to have slept in each of our four bedrooms. I just keep dictating yet another room change, hoping the next spot our bed lands will be its last. The past year has seen countless room configurations. Josh has been ever-so-patient with me.

Unfortunately, I’m not done yet. I want to upgrade from a full-sized mattress to something bigger. But the only room in the house that will fit a bigger bed is what I had previously dubbed the guest room. And since I’m too good to sleep on the air mattress (we tried it and it won’t suffice), I’m shopping for beds (and a mattress), hoping to make a good and somewhat quicker decision than I usually do.

Oh and to make this a little more challenging, I am trying to keep the bed cost under $1,000, and we need to get creative with fitting a mattress upstairs.

I keep warning Josh that we have yet another game of musical beds on the horizon.

He keeps looking at me as if to say, “Again? Just be sure it’s what you want.”

And I shoot a look back that says, “I’m never sure of what I want. Just move the f*cking bed.”

Here are the beds I’m eyeing [today].


West Elm’s Midcentury Bed Set Acorn


Restoration Hardware’s 19th C. Campaign Iron Canopy Bed


World Market Cute as a Button Bed

Editing your home: a hoarder’s revolt

Unknown-1I just watched Hoarders for the first time and I am amazed. Disgusted. Speechless.

I wanted to run to take a shower and clean my home at the same time.

I am responding by editing my possessions, downsizing, clearing out. This is perfectly timed with my 8th month of pregnancy wherein nesting gives me a swift kick to the belly-banded pants.

Perhaps part of my anxiety from watching Hoarders was how I can see myself in that – the frugal response of, “Oh don’t throw that away, I may need that reusable but cracked plastic yogurt container.”


From Hoarders.


From Hoarders. Anxious yet?

Sometimes we hang onto things out of apathy, sometimes we feel guilty throwing things away, sometimes we don’t even realize how ugly something is. Stuff creeps into our homes and the piles grow ever-so-slowly until suddenly things are out-of-control. Readers, we are better than that!

Sister Parish, an icon of American decorators, used to go through a client’s home with a tray and collect all the things that needed to go. It was often the little knickknacks the client didn’t even see that were weighing down her home. William Morris said, “Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Let’s apply this strict judgement to possessions. Here are some tips for simplifying and editing your home:

1) Don’t think of it as losing the possession but rather as passing it along to someone who could use it. And then let Goodwill be in charge of finding that someone.

2) Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Go one room at a time. And carve out enough time to tackle the room so it doesn’t get left halfway done.

3) Try to look at something objectively. Sure, you might have picked that up on your awesome trip to Spain, but if it’s not as beautiful to you anymore, couldn’t you donate it so someone else could appreciate it? And if it makes you feel better, take a photo of the special object to remember it.

4) Ask yourself, “would I buy this today?” If the answer is no then you should pass it along to someone who needs it.

5) Think of your possessions as taking up precious real estate in your home. Is the thing worth the space it is taking up? If not, pass it along.

“A designer knows when he has reached perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antione de Sainte-Exupery

Now I’m off to edit. Let me know how your editing goes.

How I do it in the bedroom


It’s a personal matter, and it can be as loud or as quiet as I like. I’m talking about decorating the bedroom, of course!

Bedrooms are so much fun to decorate because there is no list of rules. You want a comfy bed, and you want it to be a great place to wake up to. All other details are flexible. Like lamps – matching lamps are nice on the nightstands, but not necessary (as long as they are about the same height). And nightstands – sure two is traditional but not necessary (like in our little room where two wouldn’t fit).

I like my bedroom to be calming and a little sunny. Here is ours. Every piece of furniture was obtained second-hand.

The antique spindle bed was a $10 score from a local vintage shop. I had to convince my husband to look past the duct tape holding it together at one corner. Well-worth the effort! The rug on the floor was also vintage.


That cool chair was just $24, and the nightstand was only $30 (I painted it). Even the botanical prints on the wall I bought vintage and then scanned and reprinted in sepia tones.

IMG_5169 IMG_5170

The paint on the walls is Restoration Hardware’s “Sand Dollar” which I took a chance on when our dearly beloved RH location went out of business. Pretty risky of me considering my usual endless debate for each room’s paint color. We paid $18 for the gallon and it has become one of my favorite colors.

Just for a self-esteem boost, I’ll throw in the “before” photo from the previous owner’s staged home. Wow. It took a lot of toil to overcome that.


Lonny Mag: My guilty pleasure


All images copyright Lonny Magazine

Some people run to the liquor cabinet as soon as the kids are in bed to savor a nightcap. Some people run to the freezer for some ice cream. I could do either (or both).

But even more fun for me, my guilty pleasure is Lonny Magazine, an online design magazine published once every month or two, by the editors of the former Domino Magazine. Lonny is full of current, cutting edge, and famous homes, designers, and products, and offers informal, fun, and easy lessons on interior design and application.

For an extreme multi-tasker like me, it has to be pretty damn special for me to read something that I can’t do while working out or folding laundry or watching a movie with my husband. Lonny makes the cut.

Each Lonny release date I patiently wait for peace and quiet and solitude. I don’t even want to talk to my husband during my Lonny time. And God be with him if he tries to look over my shoulder and commentate on the photos/articles as I’m reading. Off with his head! 

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Because who wants to juggle gorgeous photos of gorgeous homes while you’re corralling dirty kids in a dirty home, or trying to defend the beauty of an $8,000 sofa to a very practical husband?

Check out their, once again, gorgeous April 2013 issue. Go Lonny!