Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Electrical Work for Dummies and an Extremely Time-Consuming DIY

We've been busy little bees in our townhouse. Most of our projects are boring things that don't make for good pictures (like Zach and his dad pulling a HUGE clump of lint out of our dryer vent, letting our dryer finally work; we could have burned the house down), but some projects have turned out bea-UT-iful! This post has a lighting theme: a dining room fixture we wired ourselves and a floor lamp that I re-did.

No. 1: Awesome Dining Room Light
If you saw my initial post about the house I showed the ugly brass fixture in the dining room. Here's another look.
That's the realtor's photo. Mmm, so lovely, especially in conjunction with the birdhouse border.

So, that dude came down, and I bought this pretty from Pier 1.

This was our housewarming gift from my parents!

I've been drooling over her ever since I started working there and finally got to take her home. Zach (who is very handy but not well-versed in the ways of electrical wiring) safely took down the old fixture (with the dining room electric shut off, people - safety first). Then, I opened the box of my pretty new lamp, and... it was a plug-in. It was a stupid plug-it-into-a-wall, hang-it-in-a-corner, and turn-it-on-with-a-clicker-on-the-cord lamp!
I was SO mad, I cried. And then we fought cause Zach tried to convince me that we could RUN THE CORD ALONG THE CEILING AND DOWN THE WALL. really? People who own their own houses do not run cords along walls. They don't bend down to find the clicker to turn on the light in the dining room. I was a brat, I know.
So, the lamp sat in the corner for a week or two. I refused to return it cause I knew I'd never find a light fixture with that much impact for the price I got. This was right when Zach started third shift (Oh yeah, Zach got a sweet promotion, but it meant moving to third shift. Bummer), and he didn't have time to figure it out. So I started researching online. There were three wires sticking out of the ceiling, but lamp cord is only two wires fused together. Was it okay to not ground it? Did you need special cord, or was the existing lamp cord okay to use? Was there an order for attaching the wires?

I found out all of that! I was so proud of myself. Oh, and don't go looking on DIYnetwork or HGTV websites. Useless. I guess for legal reasons they can't actually tell you how to cut apart wires and install them into the ceiling. It was some electrician's blog that finally gave me the answers.
Sooooo, long story short, I directed and Zach installed. And with our powers combined we have a sweet new hanging lamp!

There's our cozy little dining room. Still using a borrowed table/chair set. We'll get our own someday.

The old ugly brass chandelier is still around I'm thinking of spraying the whole thing someday. Much like these beauties:
No. 2: Hemp-wrapped lamp

This other project was my buddy for many lonely nights while Zach was at work. I'd put on the TV and wrap jute, or hemp, whatever it was. We'll call it really expensive string. I started with one of those uber-lame silver floor lamps that everyone had in college. I love the upward light that it gives, but hate the look of it. So, inspired by a blog I saw once (sorry! can't find it now), I set to work wrapping the entire thing in hemp string. 

Chip clip helped when my hands were tired.

I started with a glue gun, but it was way too globby.

Then I switched to good old Aleene's Tacky Glue.

It's really easy to squeeze out, you just have to let it dry for a bit (30 seconds or so) before you stick the string to it. This was the hemp I used:

It was $12.95 a roll, but I only needed one. It would take about an hour to wrap two inches.

So this was a looooong project. The bottom was the hardest part. I knew once I started I'd have to finish the whole base at once since I couldn't use the chip clip anymore.

I finished it off and used blue painters' tape to hold it down. It was the end of a tightly wound roll, so it kept popping up. And voila! We have some nice up-lighting in our dead corner, and it's a lamp base I don't mind looking at.

We're slowly getting to our house projects. Zach has about 3 waking hours at home every day (only one of which he's alert enough for power tools), so it's been slow going. Stay tuned for our downstairs bathroom re-do!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

sometimes it pays to live in an un-cool town

We spent last weekend with my sis and her husby in Chicago. It was glorious. We had awesome food, I wore all kinds of funky outfits, and we got to feel like we lived in the "big city" for a little while. I'm a total city girl, and would be very happy to set up shop in Chicago or Philadelphia or New York or any city where you can walk from one Starbucks to the next. But today I learned something valuable about living way out in the middle of nowhere special.

You may have heard of the Missoni riots at Targets across the country this week; if not, maybe you've at least seen the fun James-Bondy commercial on TV.

After months of rumors and press releases Target presented a line of clothing and fashion home goods in their stores this Tuesday designed by Missoni. Now, this is a big deal - bigger than Vera Wang for Kohls, bigger than Ralph Lauren for Macys. Missoni is a very old Italian family brand. Very high-end, very luxe. ($1490 dress sold at Bergdorf's.) The fact that they would stoop to design "cheap" clothes for the common woman would not have been expected. They're famous for their sweaters and knitwear, always in crazy patterns, usually stripes or zig-zags.

Now, I had planned on camping outside of our NEW Target here in little Hanover, PA, but, alas, I had to work on Tuesday. I didn't sweat it, though, cause I figured no one around here knew Missoni from McQueen and I'd get to Target sometime during the week. I heard later about the near-riots in New York with everything selling out in an hour and Target's website crashing from the high traffic.

So, all of this loooong back story to say... take that you city-slickers! I waltzed right into Target this morning and got me some Missoni shoes!
First of all, the box is sweet. The cute box swung the decision from a shirt to the shoes. 

Cute suede pumps with the Missoni chevron. (Sorry for the blur, you try pointing your camera down at your feet - in heels - without swaying.)

Love the silhouette. The heels have a faint faux bois look to them (that's "fake wood").

There was a t-shirt and a button-up that I was considering, both black and white zig-zag. I decided to go for the shoes, though. I couldn't justify $29.99 for the t-shirt, even though it felt sooooo silky, and the button-up really wasn't the right size, plus, it was polyester. I guess that's how they make it affordable for us in the masses. These shoes will last me quite a while cause I don't wear heals every day, and they're not too trendy. Plus the box was so darn cute! The sides are all zig-zaggy. I was very tempted by the rain boots.
But really, when am I gonna wear rain boots? I also bought a cup!

It's hard to tell, but it's mostly purple. It was the last one, so I didn't feel bad taking just one and messing up someone's set. It drives me crazy when people do that at Pier 1. That last person who wants a set is screwed. All of the melamine dishes were totes adorb, but I was able to enjoy them then walk away. ; )

So, that's my story of how I found something nice about living in a small, boring, uncultured town. Nobody knows how cool the stuff in their stores is, and I get it all to myself. I was able to waltz in two days later and still find shoes in my size (There were actually three pairs in my size. I got to pick the best ones!) If I wanted to, I could buy up the rest and make some dough on Ebay. But I won't. Let's let some other fashion-starved girl in little ole' Hanover, PA find some delight in this piece of fashion history.

Monday, June 20, 2011

fancy a tour?

We did it! We signed, and signed, and signed some more, and they tell us we own a house now! Papers were being faxed from the stupid selling bank up to the minute, but they got it all in, and we were able to settle on time; praise the Lord! After that, we dashed over to our new home for a nutritious quick dinner, then I had to run off to work that evening, haha. Longest night at the store EVER! Now that I can fill, organize, and decorate a house of my own, I just can't wait.

So, at long last, here is a tour of the Hallead Home.

Here I am in front of our townhouse!

Here's what you see when you walk through the front door. (And yes, I get to come home to this studly gentleman every day.)

To your right is a coat closet and a half-bath.

This is the lovely half-bath. The wall paper will come down shortly. (You kind of get dizzy while you're sitting in there.)

To your left is the mudroom that leads into our garage. (So nice to have a mudroom. We are shoe-taker-offer people.)

Then a little further to the right is the stairwell and the laundry room. (No more creepy basements for laundry!)

And the left opens up to the living room.

Moving along, you've got your dining room... (There's slider to the back patio, those awful blinds are coming down immediately.)

... and the kitchen! Yay!

Alright, moving upstairs. First, on the landing, there is a "lovely" wood inlay.

I mean, I wouldn't choose it, but I'm not gonna rip it out. There might be a nice little rug going over that baby.

Here's the landing from over the top of the stairs. Two bedrooms to the right, a shared bathroom in the center, the master suite to the left. I don't know if you can tell, but there's a big space in the landing area (if you follow the line of the wood you can tell). That'll be a nice family computer or toy storage area.

Bedroom #1 (future future baby room)

Bedroom #2 (guest room)

Guest/"kid's" bathroom

Into the master bedroom. Closet on right, bathroom on left.

Isn't she a beauty? I've never had a walk-in closet.

The lovely lavender bathroom. This will be painted shortly. Oh, and there was a dragonfly border. That's already been peeled off.

And the rest of the room. It's a touch small, but we won't need a lot of dressers cause we have the whole closet. Oh yeah, and a whole house. ; )

Hope you enjoyed that! I'd much rather show people around in person, but for my far-away friends, this will have to do. More updates later on painting and moving!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

tomorrow we sign

We're buying a house tomorrow. Aaaaaaagh! So nervous. If everything goes well, I should I have pictures by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, here's something I picked up for a fun project in the new house.

Curious? I'll have the full story later. Right now I have to get a certified check for A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY for tomorrow. But it'll be worth it. We're very excited.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

nothing to see here

So, since my last post over a month ago virtually NOTHING NEW HAS HAPPENED WITH THE HOUSE. We're still waiting here for things beyond our control to happen. I've been completely fried, and it's affected every part of my life. But, today, I've decided that we will move when it's the right time to move, no sooner. So there's  no use going crazy over it. Thankfully we have wonderful landlords who are very understanding and are fine with us staying as long as we need to. But each day in this apartment draws me closer to the brink of insanity....

So, we're not going to think about that now. We're going to look at pretty old pictures! Here are some more fun finds from my grandma's stash:
These are my great-grandparents on one of their many trips with friends.

 Here they are feeding bears (?!?)

 Here's a classy one of my great-grandfather

This one makes me laugh

Alright, let's change gears. here are some fun pics of Mimi and Pappap. My mom's parents:
That's mom in the picture!

This one's kind of romantic somehow.

And then there's just Mom and her siblings and cousins being silly:

How cute is that?

Monday, April 11, 2011

the frustration of buying a bank-owned house and what i'm doing in the meantime

Aaaagh! I'd love to give an update on our housing process, but there is NOTHING to share. Everyone told us not to hear back from the bank when we made our offer, and they ended up accepting it right away which was great. But now they're dragging their feet on every little thing. We were supposed to get our inspection done in the five days after the offer went through, and it's been over two weeks now because the bank's agent still hasn't turned on the utilities! I'm fairly certain that that's a simple phone call to the electric and water companies. Very frustrating. Also, our contract stated that the seller would provide us with the by-laws to the townhome community within three days of a ratified contract. Still haven't seen them. Our (amazing) realtor has emailed the selling agents every day, and they're still just plodding along. Double frustrating!

So, in the meantime I have been getting well acquainted with the world of decorating blogs. I guess I thought I decorated at the apartment, but now that I'm realizing all of the opportunities and potential in a house that I own, my brain is starting to go crazy. Crazy with joy!

I've been checking Apartment Therapy almost daily. They put up multiple posts a day with fab new furniture, before and after projects, and the best... house tours. Love those. (My favorite part of going to people's houses has always been "the tour" after dinner.) Here are some fun inspiration pics I've collected from AT.

Apartment Therapy
Luurve this settee. I would love to find some funky fabric like this and upholster an old chair.

Apartment Therapy
I love the mix of patterns and the framed scarf on the wall. I could frame a scarf. Also, check out that sweet wallpaper in the back room. (More on my rapidly changing feelings towards wall paper later.)

Apartment Therapy
We love books and would love to do some sort of library wall in our new place. If you look closely through these shelves you can see that they're the cheap kind with the cardboard-ish backing. We already have two of these from Walmart that were $35 each. Nice to know that swanky Apartment Therapy peeps do it too!

Apartment Therapy
Ikat print and a ceramic garden stool? No cake for me, this is my dessert. 

Apartment Therapy
I could seriously drool over this closet. But look! See how those shoes are stored on a bookshelf? Totally doing that in our new closet. Then I get to see all my pretty patent pals all the time.

Can you tell I'm excited to get started in our new place? Ha! Now if only the stupid bank agent would turn on the stupid utilities!!! Grrr.

~ Wearing: Awesome new patterned tunic from Ross (We're getting a Ross in Hanover soon, plus a Target! Woohoo!) I paired it with gray tights and boots for church this morning then with skinnies in the pm. Love tunics. Eating: We made awesome omelets for Sunday brunch today. Listening to: Not listening to anything cause I should really be in bed. 1:30am, yikes!