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!

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.

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

Hire interior painters? No f*cking way.

Today I’m taking victory in the before & after shots of our side entry and basement hallway.

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When we first saw the house, it looked like Christmas threw up in here. We painted every damn wall in the house. And probably lost a lot of brain cells from inhaling oil primer and paint fumes.

But before we were done, Josh tried to convince me to hire out the painting of the side entry and basement hallway.

Over my dead body! I shrieked. I wasn’t about to sink into deeper depression because I stooped to the level of *hiring* interior painters. Electricians, sure. Plumbers, absolutely. But painters? No f*cking way.

When I went to tackle the side entry, I was so insane from living in the combination of green and brown walls, red painted accents, blue carpet, tan tile, and peach ceiling (all in this hallway!) that all I could think about was white and grey.

I painted the floors. Then we painted walls Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, and then I painted the coat hook trim Benjamin Moore’s Yellow Rain Coat. So simple. So much better.

Basement hallway after

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How I do it in the bedroom

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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.

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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.

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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.

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