Archive for August, 2012
This is the story of making an old basket into a pendant light using just this $10 thrift store basket that we found along with two other simple supplies. So allow me to further illuminate the basket-light process. Har-har.
The first step was heading over to a local lighting outlet (The Decorating Outlet) to check out any existing pendant lights that they were selling cheaply (that way we could convert one into a pendant for our big basket shade). While we were there we saw this awesomesauce basket pendant that was selling for $322 (originally $460). Wowsers.
Feeling inspired, we poked around for any affordable pendant light that we thought would work with the rest of our kitchen (we wanted a simple clean-lined canopy, an oil-rubbed-bronze finish, and ideally something with a shade since that meant it would come with a piece that would hold that shade up – and therefore could hopefully be converted to hold our basket up instead).
Enter this dude, stage left (he’s the one on the left with the $19 price tag). Sure he’s not much to look at in this pic with that crazy yellow shade, but the simple canopy, oil-rubbed bronze finish, and the fact that it had a screw-on-shade-holder-thingie (that’s a technical term) under the yellow shade = jackpot.
So for $19 we made him ours. Ikea actually sells light kits that we love for $6, but since we wanted something in an oil rubbed bronze finish it would have been an extra $7 for spray paint to make it that color and then we’d need to buy a canopy (which can usually be found for around $6 but sometimes they’re a bit more ornate than we’d like) so the simple all-in-one-ness of the $19 pendant made it the perfect choice. Here are all of our supplies laid out on the table (total spent = $35, including the secondhand basket).
I’m sure you’re wondering what those silver donut-looking things are, so allow me to explain. They’re actually pipe plates from the hardware store for $3 a pop (the things you usually see at the bottom of a pipe to finish things off where it meets the floor, the wall, or the base of your cabinet). The issue was simple. We needed something round and solid to keep our pendant light from slipping through the opening of the basket…
… so we bought them in two sizes since we didn’t know which one would slide through and which one would hold. In other words, we needed something big enough to support the basket and not slip through the opening (the one below was too small, so it did).
We also needed something that was the right size to catch on our light bulb part of the pendant (the one below was too big, so it didn’t hold).
But when we swapped them and tried the bigger one on the basket, it wedged right into the hole at the top of the basket and held tight instead of sliding through like the smaller one had.
And when we tried the smaller one on the end of the pendant, it caught nicely under the piece that used to hold the old glass shade on, so we knew it should hold the basket up.
So because we needed the small one to catch on the pendant and the larger one to catch on the basket, we realized that if we stacked them and then used the plastic ring that came with the light to hold the old shade up (to hold those two pipe plates in place) it would essentially hold the basket up. So I just screwed on that plastic shade-holding ring…
… and said a few silent prayers to the basket light gods. Then it was time to hold it up to see if it worked (while channeling Zoolander apparently). Hootie hoo, we had basket light liftoff!
And for anyone wondering if it’s a total fire hazard, thankfully paper lampshades or lanterns and other woven-ish basket lights are totally safe as long as the bulb doesn’t rub against them and everything has room to vent (so it doesn’t get crazy hot like it would if everything were enclosed or touching). See how the bulb hangs down and away from the shade so there’s no point at which it touches or even comes close enough to get the basket hot? That’s the key.
We love that it looks so clean from the underside (when we were trolling the aisles of the hardware store we were worried we might not find something quite as seamless-looking, so we’re really thankful).
That whole how-we-did-it rundown probably sounded a lot more complicated than it really was, so we made this quick video of the process, which is much much easier to understand (even on mute if you’re at work). It was a super quick process that took less than four minutes once we gathered our supplies.
Then it was just time to wire it up in the place of the flush mount fixture that we grabbed at Ikea a while back (which we think we’ll reuse in the hallway to replace an old boob-ish light that’s hanging there). Voila! Basket light in the hizzouse.
We love how it looks with our oil-rubbed bronze pendants over the peninsula. Glass and woven natural fibers are one of our favorite combinations and the simple oil-rubbed bronze wiring ties them together so they look related without being too matchy-matchy. It’s amazing how much more defined the “fireplace zone” now feels with its own little feature fixture. And thankfully it’s nearly seven feet from the ground, so even our tall family members can pass under it without a problem.
My favorite is getting to enjoy it twice thanks to the reflection of it in the mirror that I snatched from the guest room. It’s also really pretty to see it layered in front of the hallway wall. Here’s a shot from the peninsula. It’s amazing how the new chair, the mirror from the guest room, and the new basket lamp completely upgraded that little corner of the kitchen. So glad we finally started paying attention to that zone (especially since Clara spends a ton of time playing on that rug or reading with us in the chair).
Here’s the view through the opening in the dining room:
And here’s the view from the cooking area of the kitchen. The layered, textured look that the basket light brings is really nice – it even ties into the dark floor and the new mirror so there’s more of a “nautral” vibe going on, which is a nice foil to all the modern touches like the corian counters and the floating shelves.
And of course it’s fun to compare what the room looked like when we bought the house:
As for what our new light looks like when it’s on, with a clear bulb it’s a party. Check out that awesome light streaming out of it. Of course if we went with a frosted eco bulb (like an LED or a CFL) we wouldn’t get those fun lines, but we’ll probably upgrade when we get to the store to check out our options. For now we just popped a clear bulb in there since we had it laying around from the old light in our hall bathroom that we replaced.
So that’s the story of our $35 basket light thanks to a $10 thrift store basket, two $3 hardware store parts, and an oil-rubbed bronze pendant from a local outlet for $19. Might be our favorite light we ever made. Well, I guess it’s tied with our clothespin chandelier and the office pendant. Have you guys been adapting/upgrading any lights lately? Or turning random things like a basket into a pendant? Or laying on the floor with the camera aimed at the ceiling to capture pics from below? Feels weird, right? Clara totally came up to me and laid right down beside me and said “what is we doing mommy?” Adorable.
Update: After hearing from a bunch of commenters that these baskets were actually used to catch fish in Asian and African villages, a reader named Elizabeth actually sent us a photo of them in action from a trip that she took to Northern Guinea where she attended a fishing festival.
How insanely fascinating is that?! Now the hole at the top makes sense. Apparently that’s how they reach in to get the fish once they trap it with the basket in shallow water.
We took a little day trip last weekend to a nearby town called Farmville. It’s about an hour away from Richmond and, as the name suggests, involves driving deep into rural Central Virginia.
The reason for our adventure was actual to do a family bike ride on a new rails-to-trails park that opened up around Farmville called High Bridge Trail State Park.
For those of you who catch our Instagram pics on Facebook or Twitter, you saw a picture of that very (very, very) high bridge already. But coercing Sherry into riding her bike over this steel and wood skyway was my main thrill of the day. And hers was something else entirely.
She was excited about hitting up Green Front Furniture, which we had last visited nearly four years ago. It’s quite legendary around here – warehouse after warehouse of discounted furniture and accessories (over 18 football fields worth, so they say). So although most husbands might shudder at the thought, we actually ended up having a pretty good time. Especially since we stopped to be weirdos. For a specific example, see Sherry posing as a metal statue below:
Of all the options in that lot, these metal giraffes were our favorite. Can’t you picture one of them next to a little wooden playhouse for Clara in our backyard? Maybe someday…
When it comes to the price point of the stuff at Greenfront, a lot of it is what we like to call “out of our reach.” You can usually find awesome things that are up to 50% off and even more than that, but their initial price is often so high to start with that the discounted price is still slightly to wildly out of our budget (ex: $500 chairs, $1200 tables, $3000 sofas). It’s still really fun for inspiration and just to see what patterns, shapes, and designs seem to be gaining momentum.
For example, this couch was $3639 (that was the sale price) but we both thought it was really cool in person. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but it was a thick fabric that wasn’t embossed or anything (in a weird way it was oddly understated for sporting a snakeskin-ish pattern). It might not be something we’d love for ten years (such a specific pattern on such a major piece of furniture might get old), but in the vein of being something that we’d never seen before and having clean lines and plush comfort (we sank in and soaked it up for a hot second before Clara demanded that we keep it moving) we thought it was fun.
Sherry also oohed and ahhed over these mirrors (but just as inspiration since the one on the left was $900 and the one on the right was $460). It’s funny to see them side by side since they actually seem to have a lot in common. Leftie’s our favorite.
This guy was also fun. It kind of reminded us of the ORBed version of the one we have over our bed (except for the small fact that ours was found on clearance at Hobby Lobby).
This leather chair was the stuff of dreams. We both completely agreed that if money were no object that $1491 chair would have come home with us. It’s one of those pieces that would easily be the coolest in the whole room. So we gave him a good long stare and tossed a few “you go, chair” compliments his way.
This chair was also really fun. Everything from the pattern & color of the fabric to the painted edge (it was just black around the sides and left au naturale in the middle) was something we thought someone at home could use as inspiration for a DIYable thrift store find with similar lines.
We also liked this chair, which sported an interesting combination of traditional, unpainted wood + clean and modern fabric. A lot of times we see people painting the wood a bold color (or even white, gray, chocolate, or black) when they reupholster something so classic with a more modern fabric – but this confirmed that leaving the wood alone and adding some crisp and graphic fabric can look great too.
Sherry loved this bench. Too floral for me, but the lines were cool.
This is another example of why we love window shopping, even if we can’t afford anything in the store. This coffee table was really innovative and totally gave us another DIY idea. It’s a little hard to tell, but the inside of the ottoman is wood (with a removable tray) and the outside of it is upholstered in leather. The mix of materials was awesome. And I bet if you had an old coffee table made of wood with a similar rectangular shape (they pop up at thrift stores all the time) you could even make a thick wood frame that could then be upholstered in leather (or something else) and then you could screw it to the top of the table from underneath. You could even find a wood tray to fit into the opening for the full effect (and add nailhead trim if you’re really feeling fancy).
This monkey chandelier was $399.
We had no words. See the guy on the right side laying horizontally? That part attaches to the ceiling, so it’s a monkey hanging from the ceiling holding four other monkeys up by their tails. Completely insane yet kind of amazing. I hope somebody bought it and designed the most awesome/over the top room around it. Although now that I think about it, spray painted white in a kids room might be the coolest thing ever. Don’t tell Sherry, she’ll want to go back for it.
This wasn’t from Greenfront – it was from a nearby shop called The Sleeping Bee – but we thought it was really versatile. We could picture it in a kitchen full of dishes and linens and silverware in cups, or in a garden or sunroom with plants and other outdoor stuff on it.
And now for the discounted section of this window shopping mission. Haha. It wasn’t all 1K furniture, so here are a few less expensive (although still not dirt cheap, but the quality looked awesome) finds…
There were these Anthropologie-ish bone-looking knobs for $1.99.
This cute blue stool was $40.
And this giant mirror was $129 (the picture does it no justice, but it must have been almost three feet tall).
Probably our favorite find of the day was this giant glass lantern (about three feet tall) that was discounted from $99 to $49. Sherry thought one or two of them on a porch or patio with a giant candle in them could be, to use her words: epic. We didn’t buy them though, mostly because we were having fun walking around and didn’t want to drag them with us (and also because Clara was hungry so we had to feed the belly of the
Now for those of you still interested in the more athletic portion of our Farmville visit, let’s revisit the High Bridge Trail for a moment. It’s an old railroad bridge that was built in the 1850s and actually played a part at the end of the Civil War when both armies tried to burn it down to their advantage (the Confederates were only partially successful – but still surrendered just days later at nearby Appomattox Court House). It was quickly repaired and in the early 1900s the stone piers were replaced with steel ones.
It spans the Appomattox River and is nearly a half mile long. Though it’s really the twelve story height that makes your heart race. Especially when we stopped to think about the people who built the dang thing. It really makes me glad our deck is only four feet off the ground…
In spite of our sweaty palms, it was actually a really great ride. We went about 9 miles, since we wouldn’t dare attempt all 31 with a two-year-old strapped to the front of my bike.
Sadly the shot above is the best one Sherry got of the two of us. Her attempts to get a cool perspective by shooting from above resulted in tons of photos that looked like this. Sherry blames her “stupid short legs.”
Luckily someone hiking the trail offered to snap one for us.
Also luckily for us, Clara is a great bike rider. Our iBert seat is a lifesaver because I can interact with her easily the whole time – asking for her “help” holding the handlebars, singing songs and playing “I-spy” along the way. (We don’t work for them, we just like their seat. Haha.)
And in case you’re wondering, most of the trail actually was crushed gravel and virtually flat (Sherry’s favorite part). There are even bathrooms and picnic benches along the way. We’re already mentally planning a trip back in the fall once the autumn colors start to show their stuff and it cools off a bit more. Although this hot August trip was surprisingly comfortable – even if Sherry did wear jeans (typical). We highly recommend it. Especially since it’s also an excuse to browse the eighteen football fields worth of furniture that is Green Front. Anyone else going on shopping or biking adventures? Do you prefer to wear your toddler on the front of your bike? Or ploy them with lolly pops so they’re happy shopping companions?
Psst- We just shared the outtakes from Clara’s monthly pic on Young House Life (my favorite one involves a politician-ish gesture).
**Psst- We know most Fridays we just post once, but every month on sponsor shout out day we double up. So we’ll be back in a few hours with a post that you can actually get a sneak preview of in two of the squares below (along with a hint about Monday’s giveaway).
It’s time for our monthly showing of thanks to our sponsors (the folks who help make the other 30+ posts possible) and since summertime is soon coming to a close, we’re using this month’s roundup to squeeze a few more sunny drops out of the season. As usual, they’re not items we’ve been gifted (here’s our no-swag policy) but we did round up a bunch of special discounts for you guys at the bottom. So feel free to soak them up, along with these items we’re loving:
- This cheery print from Nella Designs, which is almost an ode to the summer months.
- Pattern & Print‘s totally fun shop, where we found these rocking sunglasses cases.
- Scallop. Stencil. Royal Design Studio. Nuff said.
- The Tile Shop‘s installation tools, like my personal favorite – the wet saw!
- Dhurrie rugs (like this Ironwork Trellis) in tons of colors from Shades of Light.
- Keeping the Olympic spirit alive with WallQuotes‘ skyline series in medal colors
- These cool, angular, and on sale lanterns from Z Gallerie. Pretty sweet for 10 bucks.
- These vintage drinking glasses by Ruby Lane (now I’m craving ice cold sweet tea).
- This beauty from Jilly’s Happy Home. Is it a flower? Is it a colander? Yes and yes.
- Thinking outside the carpet square with FLOR‘s DIY faux hide rug set.
- Nice Girl Notes‘ helpful and hilarious tips based on her recent trip to BlogHer ’12.
- Liberty Hardware‘s spiral ground Vortex anchors for tents and other tie-downs.
- Streak-free glass cleaner from Fish Foam (for catching that summer cleaning bug)
- Lots of summer-y greeting cards from Silhouette Blue, like this “you’re so cool” design.
- Smock Paper‘s Save The World cards which benefit eco charities (& get you 25% off)
- These aptly named “Tiny Tag” necklace charms from Heart & Stone Jewelry.
- Joss & Main‘s latest curator collection, featuring this chic outdoor rocking chair for $209.
- This print from 1 Canoe 2. Do I really even need to explain why?
- Madcanvases‘ collages of The Golden State, like San Fran’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
- Checking out all of the easy mirror makeovers on the Mirror Mate website for inspiration.
- Sustainably produced Naked Binder, who’s snapping us out of summer mode.
- Here’s a hint about Monday’s giveaway. Who’s ready for a $1,600 bathroom upgrade?
- This mirror, which you’ll hear more about in this afternoon’s post…
- …along with why it involved going over this scary, 12-story high bridge. Eeps.
And here are the deets on those DISCOUNTS:
- Royal Design Studio: 10% off stencils with code YHL10
- Shades of Light: 10% off using code YHL0811
- WallQuotes.com: 15% off with the code YHL15
- The Tile Shop: 10% off when you use the code YHL10
- Heart & Stone Jewelry: 10% off your with the code YHL10
- Madcanvases:15% off with code YHL15
- One Canoe Two: 10% off with code YHL10
- Silhouette Blue: 15% off with code YHL15
- Nella Designs: 10% off with code YHL10