Archive for January, 2012
Looks like I’ve once again been wrangled into one of Sherry’s schemes. This time it’s her “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge (apparently the “dude” applies to me also) where she’s trying to actually do something with some of the items that we’ve been
collecting hoarding in our spare room. It’s a use it or lose it challenge if you will (well, more like a use it or donate/craigslist it challenge). This week’s victim: the light fixture that we rescued from a thrift store in Delaware nearly an entire year ago for a mere $19. That guy just sat on the floor of the playroom since then, and it was high time we actually allowed him to do the whole illumination thing again.
He’s made of some sort of resin and basically looks like a big glowing ball of clear spaghetti… but in a cool, kinda ’70s way. Update: we’ve learned form a savvy reader that it’s actually called a spaghetti lamp and it’s made out of spun lucite. Our plans back in Feb 2011 were to ORB the gold finish and hang it in our master bathroom nook. Fast-forward to now and the plan has shifted slightly. Instead, we’ve given him a new home in our closet.
The closet seemed to be the better choice because (1) the bathroom nook is visible from the bedroom and we figured this big round fixture might compete visually with the other big round fixture in the room. And (2) the bare bulb in the closet was Yawn City.
Ahh, much better:
We got on that! Oh happy day! Gotta love using what you have and upgrading a naked old ceiling bulb. We’ll dive into more light-related details in a second, but there were some other closet happenings that went on as well…
When you last saw our closet a few months after we moved in April, it was looking mighty clean and organized.
These days, well, let’s just say it had gotten a bit derailed thanks to a certain chihuahua we all know and love.
It’s actually unfair to place the blame solely on Burger. Sure moving his crate into our closet from the playroom closet meant our laundry basket got displaced from it’s nice little nook. But Clara was actually the main reason for the move. We too often found her playing with Burger’s food, water, and crate – much to Burger’s dismay – so we decided to tuck it away in our room where she doesn’t go that often. For some reason Burger enjoys small spaces, so he feels most comfortable with his crate and even his food/water tucked away in a closet or nook (it’s just dry food, so there’s not any odor and we thankfully don’t have any ants/pests that bother it). So after a year of nook deliberating we declared our closet: The Best Nook For The Job.
To make a long story long, even though this project started because of a light – we couldn’t ignore the other less-than-satisfactory situations going on in here too. And fortunately there was an easy answer. See how much spare room I’ve got on my side of the closet?
Unlike the lady wife, I don’t use my entire shoe rack left here by the previous owners. Yes, I know, I’m such a typical guy – I have one pair of brown shoes and one pair of black shoes and my flip flops and sneakers live in our shoe bins by the door. Meanwhile, on the other side of the closet, Sherry has enough shoes for the both of us. Not that I wear hers. I actually don’t think I could walk in any of them.
So after a bit of couple’s brainstorming (aka: Sherry encouraging me to allow Burger’s crate to pilfer some floor space from my side), I plucked out my shoe rack. And after completing the exhausting task of removing both pairs of shoes from it (sheesh, talk about backbreaking DIY) we got down to business.
Sherry pried it apart and I cut down the two long shelves by about 14 inches and…
…we nailed it back together, thereby creating a John-shoe-collection-sized rack.
And the smaller rack made space for Burger’s crate in the corner. So we’re glad we got on that. Why it took us 13 months of living here, I’m not sure.
But you know what, I really should let Burger give you the tour – since it’s kinda his domain. And yes, this means this post is about to be pretend narrated by a dog.
“Welcome to my bedroom people of the Internet!”
“Here you will find that my crate has been replaced by a clothing receptacle. Apparently my family finds it more important to have their dirty clothes closer to them than their beloved canine.”
“But that’s okay, because now I get more privacy back here in my master suite. Hello? Do you see me here in the back giving you the peeper?”
“Conveniently located next to my sleeping chambers are the dining facilities. Why thank you for asking – yes, I do live the life.”
“Speaking of my delicious cuisine, allow me to indulge myself for a moment.”
“Actually, I’d much prefer my culinary assistant to hand feed me right now. Oh tiny human! Come hither!”
Okay, tour’s over. It’s John again. That Burger’s feisty, isn’t he? Anyways, you can see above what we mean when we say that Clara likes to get into his food (don’t mind the sticker covered monkey/sock/floor). It’s not the worst thing that she likes to feed Burger his food piece by piece… if only she didn’t feel the need to swirl each piece around in his water dish first. She gets her strange-ness from her mother I think.
Anyways, this post was supposed to be about a light, right? Sidetracked much? Back to that…
Installation was pretty easy. We cut the plug/cord off and exposed the wires to make it hardwire-able. Then we picked up a kit at Home Depot that would allow us to attach the chain to a crossbar (though we had to hunt down a canopy at a specialty lighting store that would fit). We left everything gold because we figured since it was in the closet it didn’t have to match the other fixtures in the room, and we kinda dig the retro gold look for the closet. We can always paint it down the line if we get “the bug” but for now we like him just the way he is.
The room isn’t really this dark with the light on, I just turned down the exposure on the camera so you can see the texture of the light a bit better. And these pics don’t even do it justice. It’s super cool looking when it’s on. Sherry actually wants to make a video since she says it’s so much better in “real life” so you have that excitement to potentially look forward to…
One of the coolest parts are the little streaks of light it casts all over the wall and ceiling. Like little party streamers or something. We almost feel like we should have installed some mechanism to make it rotate like a disco ball. Okay, not really. But that could’ve been fun…
It’s kind of a shame that the light spent nearly 12 months in a pile in our playroom. But at least it’s hanging up in all of its glory now! Oh and as for how we figured out the right height for it, I just stood under it as Sherry hung it at different heights and we picked one that gave me a little room – so it hangs around 6’4″ from the floor (our ceilings are 8′ high).
Oh, and if you’re at all curious as to what happened to all of the excess chain that we didn’t use (it had like 8 feet for swagging) – you can see Clara get her Jersey on with it over at Young House Life today. And yes there’s a video. And fist pumping. Predictably, I’m mortified and Sherry’s elated.
So did any of you guys cross something off your “Dude, Get On That Already” list this week? Did you reorganize a closet or otherwise rope your husband into a challenge? How about ghost writing a blog post for a chihuahua? Just me?
You other brothers can’t deny. When a light walks in with an itty bitty waist…
… and a round thing in yo face you get sprung. At least I do. John just gets all blown out and looks angelic.
The purpose of that photo was actually just to show you why we picked the height that we did. The common pendant light recommendation is to hang it 30″ above the top of the counter (from the top of the counter to the base of the pendant), but we went 31″ because my tall hubby didn’t want those round things in his face obstructing the view. It’s so nice to have some proper lighting above the peninsula since that part of the room has been super dark. As we mentioned yesterday, they were $60 each at a local lighting outlet, which made buying two of them cheaper than the actual retail price of one (they’re $129 a pop here).
Of course we still have some holes to spackle (five to be exact), but things are definitely looking up!
As in, I can’t stop staring up at them. And John’s been ogling them too.
The lights, not the holes.
I’ve got holes. In different area codes… area codes. Remember that song anyone? Apparently I’m in a singing mood today. I blame it on the eh-eh-eh-eh-electrical. Blame it on the eh-eh-eh-eh-electrical.
Ok, I’m done now. Promise.
Anyway, this is a shot to show you that we still have a light over the fireplace to switch out. It’s actually perfectly centered on the fireplace as you face it, although the angle of this pic makes it look all sorts of wonky. This is a pendant that broke pretty soon after moving in so we haven’t used it for about half a year. Can’t wait to hang something better suited to the chill-zone by the fireplace. Maybe a big ol’ drum pendant that’s only dropped a few inches from the ceiling so it’s high enough for anyone 6’4″ and under not to bump their heads (that’s the tallest person we know, haha). So yeah, along with spackling holes and getting a pendant for over the sink, this guy’s on the lighting agenda too.
But back to the globes. We actually installed a dimmer switch yesterday, which is awesome because we can blast them all the way up or lower them for we’re-just-eating-spaghetti-but-let’s-fancy-things-up ambiance. We’d love to get LED bulbs for our pendants (they’re compatible with CFLs, halogens, incandescents, and LEDs, which is nice) but since we have a dimmer switch, we have to find special LEDs that work with a dimmer. We’ll keep you posted.
Update: we’re getting lots o’ comments asking if we’ll be ORBing the stools – we’re actually going to wait for the dark cork floors to go in before making any decisions on them either way since that could be a game changer. Oooh cliffhanger…
Here’s how things look in the other direction. See how a big drum shade might be nice for that cozy corner by the fire?
Mmm, let’s get a little closer, shall we?
Update: We gave edison bulbs a try and they were reallllly yellow in our room (maybe with white counters they’re not the best idea since they left ours looking dirty?) – we also gave clear bulbs a try but they cast a bunch of harsh shadows on the ceiling, so we prefer the frosted guys we have here for now – although we’re definitely still looking into dimmable LEDs!
In the words of sandwich-loving Joey Tribbiani: how you doin?
Oh and see that nice big chunk of sunny grellow wall between the fridge and the half wall into the dining room? We want to get a nice big piece of art for that spot. So we’re on the prowl. Will keep ya posted on that too.
When we were reconfiguring the kitchen we talked about putting an upper cabinet there but knew that the peninsula would feel so much more open to those sitting there (especially the person on the end) if they weren’t staring at the side of a cabinet. It’s actually an area where we do a lot of prepping now, so we love that it’s open. It’s hard to explain, but it feels more like a room and less kitchen-y, in a good way. Just sort of casual and airy and not too wood-riddled.
Anyway, next on the ol’ kitchen list is patching those holes (we’ll share all the spackle-tastic details) and hanging (and building in) our craigslist range hood. Then we finally get to add the open shelves that I’ve been over the moon to “meet” since about four months ago when we decided to go for it. We’ve been keeping all of our dishes/plates/cups in a lazy susan cabinet in the corner by the stove, and while it works okay, open shelving will be approximately 957 times more convenient. Yes, I’m a complainer about turning the lazy susan one way to get a dish and having to spin it the other way to get a cup. Plus after we get the shelves made and hung and painted I get to put pretty vases and containers and frames up there along with all of our everyday dishes. Maybe even a ceramic animal or two if I’m feeling crazy. And let’s face it, I’m pretty much always feeling crazy.
Speaking of which, remember my whole self-imposed “Dude, Get On That Already” challenge?
How is it already Wednesday and I have yet to tackle something? Come on $herdog, you said once a week you’d get on that. So GET ON THAT, ALREADY! Hopefully I’ll have a little update for ya tomorrow. Anyone care to join me and share what you’ve done tomorrow morning?
So in summary: work continues and we’re all over the place as usual. Hah. What are you guys up to today?
We’re working on hanging our new pendant lights so we’ll be back to share those pics in the morning. In the meantime, let’s talk about something people ask about all the time: photo storage. Ever since seeing Katie Bower’s family photo book two summers ago, we’ve been drinking the photo book Kool-Aid – starting with our very first Family “Yearbook” that we made last summer (you can read about that here). And now that another year has wrapped up, well, let’s just say this arrived last week:
It’s one big glossy photo book stuffed to the gills with all of our family photos from 2011. Except the perk is that while it has around 600 photos, it’s only about a half-inch thick. Which is awesome for storage purposes (way less cumbersome than thick overstuffed photo albums that only hold 100-200 pics each). We ordered it through MyPublisher and thanks to a promotion they were running for free extra pages, we got to max out their page limit (100) and pay nothing extra. The discount (which has ended since we received our book – but they tend to pop up pretty frequently) actually saved us $79! And we’d easily pay $44.99 to print all those pics (not to mention having to buy a bunch of albums to put them in) so a photo book can actually end up being quite the deal. And no, they didn’t pay/perk us to write this, we just like our photo books. Haha.
We did our last “yearbook” way after the fact (like mid-2011), so it took a bit of backtracking to organize all of the photos. But for 2011 we planned ahead and kept all of our photos in one iPhoto album (which automatically kept them in chronological order for us), which is why it only took a couple of weeks into the new year to actually get this one done. So let’s take a quick look through all one hundred pages… just kidding. We’ll just take a peek at some of the highlights – like our opening page that we edited to include some text to summarize some of the, well, highlights from the past year. We think we’ll love looking back on it (and having a summary of the whole year on one page).
We also tried to group big events, holidays, and milestones – like the several spreads of Clara’s 1st birthday party. Check out how dark our kitchen was in the bottom left corner!
We also used the preset page designs to give some really special photos the layouts they deserved, like the ones Katie B. snapped when we visited the Bowers in June.
And since it’s not hard for these albums to turn into a Clara-fest, we paid special attention to making sure Burger got plenty of love as well. He even scored a few dedicated pages throughout (every album needs a good Burger-montage or three).
We also thought it was fun to put all of the photos we took for our Blogiversary “Day In The Life” post into the yearbook in order. That way in 15 years we can look back and sort of remember what a normal day was like way back when…
We nearly ran out of pages by the time we got to Christmas (darn 100 page limit!) but managed to make room. Heck, we even squeezed in a collage of a bunch of our holiday card outtakes. Yeah, we’re kind of into our kiddos.
So since we’re on a family yearbook high – especially now that our collection is two albums strong! – we’re already excited to make the 2012 version.
But because that’s not possible yet (unless we want it to be 3 pages long) we’re thinking that we may try to organize our old digital photos and make one or two books that’ll hold all of the photos from 2005 (when we met) to 2008 (right before our 2009 album picks up). Maybe we’ll work on those books once a certain manuscript is in the can.
Oh yeah, and here’s our favorite photo bomber again, just trying to get in on the action.
Anyone else making photo books or albums to document the past year? Or any other event or period of time? We’d love to hear other systems people have for organizing and displaying their family photos.