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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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_

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

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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.

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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.

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Much improved after

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Thrift store objet-turned-mobile

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Thrift store midcentury dresser

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

Kitchen reveal: f*cking good enough

In my very pregnant state, I have come to peace with what I was able to accomplish with the kitchen. I didn’t repaint over the last color I tried out (too many fumes) and I didn’t switch out the light fixture after all (afraid to start shock therapy too early for the bun in the oven). But I did decorate, and that can be the most fun part of it.

Here’s the first before.

Before

Before

We sold the island and spent quite a few months in serious kitchen soul-searching. I scored this great table revealed here and have had no regrets. The winning table has hosted dinner parties for 8, birthday parties for 10, as well as daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the family. It’s perfect. I bought 2 upholstered benches from World Market to make a cozy corner to sit and eat, enjoy coffee, work, and read at the table while enjoying the park view.

I framed some of my favorite calendar pages from Rifle Paper Co. as inexpensive art in $15 Target frames.

The previous owners had installed an electric range under a very low microwave – only 12 inches from the burners – which means it not only wasn’t up to code but whoever was cooking had to hunch over to fit their arms between the burner and the microwave. Oh, and make sure you’re using a short-handled spoon! Plus only the back burners worked. These factors made cooking a bit of a pain.

So I dragged home a new gas range and hood from the Lowes 4th of July sale, and my husband came to my rescue and installed it. We nixed the microwave (slow-cooking incentive). But after Superhusband installed the range and hood we realized there was a 6-inch gap of unfinished wall where the backsplash didn’t go all the way up to the height of the new hood.

Before: Old stove. When we removed the microwave we saw the backsplash didn't go all the way up so we had to get creative.

Before: Old stove and exposed unfinished wall where backsplash didn’t go all the way up.

I decided to use faux tin ceiling tiles from Home Depot, cutting and assembling to match the gap space, painting them the cabinet color, and installing over that unfinished gap. A $20 solution with infinite emotional payback.

I’m pleased to report that f*cking good enough is pretty damn great.

New stove with faux tin backsplash

New stove with faux tin backsplash

After: Completed eat-in kitchen

After: Completed eat-in kitchen

Inexpensive art: Old calendar pages from Rifle Paper Co.

Inexpensive art: Old calendar pages from Rifle Paper Co.

Sweet little built-in

Sweet little built-in

Vicarious nesting

The other day I loaded up the dishwasher, then walked across the kitchen and told Josh, “It’s ready to go.” His eyes got huge, he stood straight up, and whimpered, “She’s ready to go?”

I laughed, “The dishwasher, not the baby.”

We’re waiting for the baby’s arrival. Which is usually when nesting kicks into high gear – when you want to do something really productive (like produce a human) and you settle for other tasks that would otherwise elevate you to superhero status but in nesting phase only whet the appetite.

As a very pregnant and stubborn woman on bedrest, fighting my desire to complete home improvement projects, and knowing I still have a month to go before the bedrest sentence is lifted, I’m undergoing hard times. I said as much to Josh a couple of days ago.

My Superhusband has already jumped to my rescue. Yesterday he single-handedly moved the boys’ beds downstairs so I can make their old room the nursery. Then he moved my favorite chair into the master bedroom. Today he installed our handrail – which I had taken down a year ago to paint the wall and failed to reinstall. And then he re-caulked the kitchen sink – another project we’ve been meaning to do for a year. And as much as I try to negotiate, he’s not letting me lift a finger.

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My Superhusband says I’m not allowed to show his face. Not sure why. But since he’s doing all the grunt work of nesting for me I’m not going to fight him on this one.

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Note the newly-installed handrail thanks to my nesting husband

I am so thoroughly impressed. It’s almost as good as first-hand nesting. Almost.

Help me pick a new front door paint

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My home in need of fresh door and porch paint

Now that all of the unexpected obstacles standing in the way of a functioning home have been properly addressed, I am gearing up to tackle the aesthetic things I knew I wanted to do “right away.”

The front door and porch are two things on that list. My often supportive husband thinks I’m taking it too far. He says repainting these are not necessary. Which is true. They don’t *need* to be repainted.

And I don’t *need* chocolate and vodka. But chocolate and vodka make life much more bearable. And I feel the same way about creating the perfect front entry. Repainting the door and porch will make our house so much more exciting to come home to.

So like most battles, I won this one, and thus spent a good part of my Memorial Day morning at Home Depot talking shop with the paint pro while my husband read philosophy.

Armed with dangerous chemicals, steel brushes, and sandpaper, I am ready to tackle stripping, sanding, priming, and painting my porch and door. I can’t wait to post the after photos. But before I do, let me draw your attention to my favorite tool to help me select paint colors.

Benjamin Moore has a virtual painter – the Personal Color Viewer – which I turn to when my indecision paralysis kicks in. Since I use BM paints, this is perfect for me to upload my photo of the front of the house and get cracking on color combinations. But if you’re partial to another brand, I think most paint brands have this feature. Or at least they should.

Here are some combinations I am debating. Help me out and post your feedback right here on the blog!

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New paint option 1

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New Paint option 2

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New paint option 3

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New paint option 4

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New paint option 5