Once Upon a Midcentury: $7 Ceiling Fan Hack

For my first home DIY blog post, I thought I’d start with something easy and inexpensive that anyone could do.
My house is filled with ceiling fans and odd light fixtures.  They range from meh to gross to mostly broken–like this ceiling fan carcass left on my screened in porch:

The ceiling located in my soon-to-be studio wasn’t too terrible.  The color of the fixture itself was nice, but the blades were horribly dated and the glass portion was a bit uninspired.

I thought that the blades might look kind of steam-punkesque if I sprayed them metallic.  I decided to try spray painting the blades only, and see how a tone on tone would look.  I figured if I didn’t like it I could always opt to spray paint the entire thing.

For the glass portion, I looked online for replacements but then realized I had a bunch of random light fixtures and parts that I could salvage.
My kitchen had this stained glass fixture with a round glass ball that was just way too large for the shade.  (You can see it below in this oh so lovely before pic of my kitchen).

I purchased this Oil Rubbed Bronze Rustoleum Enamel Spray for $6.88 (before tax).  It stated that it was both paint and primer.

The blades got sprayed and I was thrilled with how the color looked against the existing fixture.

I replaced the boring glass shade with the more Midcentury globe and here’s the finished result:

I’ve been practicing my photo editing skills, so I could give you a nifty before and after:

The lesson here is that Rustoleum is basically magic.
I feel like the light fixture looks more high end now and fits in better with my planned décor.  You may not have as many old or broken lights to scrounge for shade replacements, but check out flea markets and garage sales.  You might not want the whole fixture, but it might have the perfect piece you can reuse.

Have you experimented with spray paint in your home décor?
How did it turn out?

Once Upon a Midcentury

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.”

Today, in honor of this gloriously beautiful Friday, I am launching my biggest, best feature ever!  I finally closed on my first home, so I’m kicking off lots of DIY, home renovation, budgeting and organizational posts.  But before I can show you all the awesome changes, I need to fill you in on the house and how it came to be mine.

After years of knowing every time my neighbors use their bathroom, hauling groceries over piles of snow, and breathing in Lincoln Tunnel fumes, I knew I needed to finally escape to somewhere green.  I decided on New Jersey’s Hunterdon County since it was rural and only about an hour to NYC.  I based my searching on homes that were about a 15 minute (or less) to the NYC bus.  I put it an offer on one home, but that ended up falling through.  I kept looking and found another house that seemed good, but I kept debating.  I scheduled another visit to my Wishy Washy House and at the same time, a new house popped up that ticked all the boxes on my Wish List.  It was the right distance to the bus, plenty of privacy and lots of space.  It was an estate sale and had only been on the market a day and was priced incredibly well.

The outside had this amazing Black Forest German Fairy Tale vibe, while the inside was like taking a time machine back to 1976.  There was green shag carpet, blue toilets, a mustard yellow bar, an avocado green fridge, 70s linoleum, but there was so much possibility.  Tons of space to indulge all my interests and hobbies, two fireplaces, a screened in porch, a deck, a covered patio, a two car garage, a family room with a bar, and THREE goddamn bathrooms.
living-room blue-toilet bar-beforekitchenyellow-vanity
yellow-bar dining-room-upstairs
I put in an offer and so did the only other people who’d seen it before us.  We had to go over asking, but we ended up winning.  This house was part of an estate so I googled the owner.  In what sounds like the beginning of a Lifetime movie, it turns out that the owner died on my birthday the year before.  I decided to take this as an omen that the house was meant to be mine instead of a scary ghost-lures-you-in-to-kill-you situation.

So I have all my paperwork ready, the seller is motivated and I do all my inspections. Things were looking good, and then, of course, stupid crap happens.  Water problems delayed the closing for months.  The poor seller had to dig, like a well to China (or 800 feet, whatever’s closer) and I got stuck paying for extra mortgage rate lock extensions to keep my original mortgage rate. My closing took so long that my real estate lawyer retired.  Seriously.  His partner had to take over for the last month. We finally schedule closing.

I do a final walkthrough and seller has done the most horrendous plumbing work I have ever seen.  I kept having flashbacks to those Holmes on Homes episodes.  It’s a substantial change to the property that we didn’t approve and now it’s looking like we may not close after all.
outdoor-piping ceiling-pipe-from-far-away ceiling-pipe-close
I managed to confirm that though this pipework is hideous, it isn’t against code or dangerous.  I will need to fix it though, so we argue via lawyers and finally they are willing to give me $500 in credit.  It’s not great, but I locked in an excellent mortgage rate which I’m not going to see again anytime soon, so I opt to lose this battle and win the war.  We prepare to close.

The morning of closing, a couple hours before our scheduled meeting, I receive a frantic call from my lawyer.  The bank won’t release the packet to my title company because they say they are missing something from me and don’t tell them what it is, or respond to emails/calls.  I confirmed TWICE with my broker that he had everything.  At that point I was seeing colors and there was a screaming in my ears.  I hunt down my broker, who calls around and it turns out someone at Wells Fargo didn’t send someone else at Wells Fargo an email.  It’s resolved and the title company needs an hour to get from their office to my lawyer.  We reschedule the meeting for later that afternoon.

I arrive and there is another problem.  The seller’s realtor isn’t there.  He was supposed take an escrow check to the seller’s attorney–without that piece we can’t close.  The screaming in my head gets louder.  My awesome realtor, volunteers to take on check duty and we set to work.  My entire team is there and everyone is laughing and saying they didn’t think it would actually happen.  My new lawyer, Bruce, jokes that my old lawyer tricked him into this by saying it would be “easy”.  I tell him that at least he has a really good story and that the worst experiences always make for the best stories.

So I am now the proud owner of a 1976 raised ranch chock full of projects and responsibilities. I’ll be honest, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.  But isn’t that how all great adventures start?  With no real idea of what happens next?
main-bathroom yellow-bath-faucet
basement-from-bar bar-side-view yellow-bar
I am most at home when I’m lost in a song where the notes are so familiar I can find them even if I’m sick, or in that moment where a story comes together and I see behind my eyes instead of in front of them.  I am most myself when I am making things – music, stories, cakes, jewelry—even mistakes.  I am more at home as a verb than a noun.  And so that’s what I want my house to be.  Alive.  A place where things happen—moving and filled with space for me to do all the things that make me feel like myself. Color and light and dreams.
So be ready for everything from re-using old fixtures, to organizing pantries to scoring the best online deals.  I wouldn’t say I have champagne tastes and a beer budget—it’s more like champagne tastes and a Kool-Aid from the Dollar Store budget.  But let’s see what some carefully planned out splurges with a lot of creativity and obsessive stalking can accomplish.  I’ve got eleventybillion pinterest boards with ideas and items I’ve have for each room so if you like home décor (and are maybe a little obsessive) follow me.  I’m going with a Fairy Tale meets Midcentury Modern theme (which strangely, ends up being kind of Bohemian).  I’m pretty interested to see if I can pull it off.

It’s a long road home, but they say there’s no place like it, so fasten your seatbelts.

Spring Fling – Seasonal Picks: LaliBlue Storybook Necklaces

I know I’m probably stating the obvious here, but in case you haven’t realized by now, I’m a bit of a shopping addict. I love finding fun, beautiful new things, but I’m poor with a tiny apartment so I need to limit myself to just a couple purchases per season. I’ve tried to search out really special items for myself, so I thought I’d periodically share some of my coolest finds with you all.

I stumbled upon LaliBlue’s Etsy Shop and fell immediately in love. As a children’s book writer and fairy tale connoisseur, her amazing assortment of handmade diorama necklaces depicting stories like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland spoke to me. These handmade pieces are amazing quality and are tantamount to wearable art. I just had to grab a couple for my jewelry collection.

Since this is an international purchase, I opted to save up a little and buy a couple at once to save on shipping.

It was tough not to just add everything to my cart, but I managed to narrow it down to my favorite three.
I thought I’d have some fun with the photos and pair a few with some books from my Fairy Tale Library.

Soldier CloseSteadfast Tin Soldier
Tin Soldier Necklace

(Retail: $33.55)
Storybook Quote: “All the soldiers looked exactly alike except one. He looked a little different as he had been cast last of all. The tin was short, so he had only one leg. But there he stood, as steady on one leg as any of the other soldiers on their two. But just you see, he’ll be the remarkable one…”
If you haven’t read Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier”, you really must. It’s the story of the one legged toy soldier in love with a paper ballerina. It’s sad, but so moving and one of my all-time favorite stories.

Red Riding CloseLittle Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood Necklace

(Retail: $33.55)
Storybook Quote: “Little Red Riding Hood was my first love. I felt that if I could have married Little Red Riding Hood, I should have known perfect bliss.” – Charles Dickens

Is there anyone out there who hasn’t heard the story of Little Red Riding Hood? I fell in love with the sleeping wolf and the adorable diorama inside. Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Not me, he’s way too cute.

Alice CloseAlice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland Necklace

(Retail: $33.55)
Storybook Quote: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality”
Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite stories and has inspired so much of how I approach storytelling. There is a little kid in all of us that wants to fall down a rabbit hole and find a new, amazing world full of fantastical characters. I love the idea of being able to wear a bit of that magical wanderlust.

These necklaces were so lovely that I couldn’t bear to hide them in my jewelry case, so I keep them in a little bowl on my dresser. They make me smile every time I see them. The cost is so reasonable for the level of craftsmanship. If you love fairy tales, I really recommend grabbing one for yourself. The shop also takes custom orders, so maybe once my own Fairy Tale book is out this Fall, I’ll order one about my own story.

If you have Ebates, remember that Etsy is one of the stores available there.
If you haven’t tried Ebates yet, it’s a great site for online shopping. You sign up for free, search for your favorite stores and use their links to go to the store website. After you purchase you get a percentage back of what you spend in your account. You can opt for them to mail you a check or send it to you through Paypal. If you do sign up, please consider using my affiliate link.
Happy Shopping!

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