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Friday, February 22, 2013

6 Wiring my 6-Arm Chandelier

Before I started this chandelier project I did research on the best way to wire it. By research I mean watching YouTube videos. And talking to two helpful worker bees, one at Home Depot and one at Lowe's. So here is my disclaimer. I am not an electrician, electricity scares me. It scares my husband too because any  time we do anything with electricity (hang a light fixture, switch out a light switch, etc.) he makes me turn off the electricity to the whole house. If you have any questions or concerns about how to wire your project, ask a professional, do not ask me. I am not an electrical specialist, I only play one on my blog. :-)

I bought 2 packages of 12-foot lamp cord (with a plug attached), 6 2-inch sockets, steel nipples (no jokes here), and hex nuts. The plug attached lamp cord was the only clear/silver-ish cord I could find and it actually worked well because I used one of the plugs to test the chandelier after it was wired.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

6 Eclectic Blue Chandelier

You know when you get so busy working on a project and you just wanna finish it, and everything else you should be doing takes a back seat? Well this chandelier has been such a project. I think my car has suffered the most. My 4 kids have really taken a toll on it and mom has not been keeping up on it. So much that this morning I found two lost dogs in the street on my way to the Home Depot (of course). But luckily they had an address on their collar so I put them in the back of my Expedition and headed to their home. Their "mommy" opened the door decked to the nines...a beautiful, tall, blonde, very well dressed and put-together woman. When I opened the back of my car to get her "babies" they were enjoying snacks left by my kids. She said (with thinly veiled horror) "I'm sorry, it looks like they're eating your (pause and gasp) french....fries." They were spilled all over the back of the car by one of my kids, who and when I have no clue. My guess is her car doesn't contain any fries. Lucky dogs, a rescue and a snack.

But to the point of my blog, my newest project, which I call my new Eclectic Blue chandelier.....


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

4 Strike Up the Band.....Saw

So it seems like I've been working on a lot of wood projects lately. I mean a lot. First, Chris and I rebuilt an entertainment center that was built-in the family room wall of our 2000. In 2000 all of the TVs were tube TVs. so if we ever wanted to have a flat screen in our room we had to re-do it. This is what it looked like when we bought the house:

So we gutted the thing to reconfigure it for a flat screen TV. While we were pulling it apart we hit a road block. We just couldn't get the huge wood dividers out with the tools we had. We decided we needed a new tool (yippee) to get the job done....a sawzall. (Keep in mind as you view these garage pics that this is a real hardworking garage space. AKA, I've made a big mess in it :-)

Monday, February 11, 2013

5 Blue, Green...and Yellow? (Oh My!)

Anyone who has ever been to any of my houses knows how much I love blue and green. You can see it in (almost) every room of the house in one form or another. I've been thinking about why I am drawn to those colors over and over again.

(Annoyance alert:  skip over this next part if hearing about bloggers' childhoods drives you crazy.)

Friday, February 8, 2013

2 Silhouettes

Photo courtesy of

I saw this photo on of these silhouettes. I loved the bright colors and oversized white frames. I knew with a little effort I could figure out how to make these for my own home.

The first step involves taking a picture of the person or persons you want a silhouette of. You need to have them stand in front of as white and as plain a background you can find to create contrast between the background and subject. The first step is really the hardest because it involves getting your kids to hold perfectly still. The big kids were super put-out to have to stand in front of the white wall and pose for a picture. Good thing pre-teen irritability does not translate into silhouettes, although you can see the thinly veiled disdain in the pictures.


Case was actually happy to get some attention and have his picture taken. He is the only silhouette I have with a smile. 

Addison was a whole different story at three years old. She kept looking at the camera. "No, straight ahead!" I would say. She just didn't get why I wouldn't want to take her face. So I kept getting photos like this one--kind of a 3/4 shot that distorts your face:

And then reluctance, tears, and then finally......submission to the inevitable. Mom was going to get this picture.

I did some research online and found the easiest way to turn these into digital silhouettes was in Photoshop. I have the entry level version, Elements, but it was just fine.

You open the files into Photoshop and use the "Magnetic Lasso Tool". You can see it highlighted on the menu in the left side of the screen. The lasso tool "sticks" to the contrasted image. You can click the mouse key to add dots and the delete key to remove them. Then you simply connect the dots.

When the dots are connected it shows the selected image in a black and white outline bar.

You then open the Hue/Saturation window which is in Enhance/Adjust Color/Adjust Hue/Saturation. You select -100 (all the way to the left) on the third option down, "Lightness" which will make your silhouette black. If you want to simply use a black silhouette, you can copy and paste into any program, or open another Photoshop page and you can print it.

I created a new Photoshop page and copied and pasted the silhouette into it. 

I created an outline of the image by painting (with the paint bucket) the image white and adding a stroke, which you can do by selecting Edit/Stroke/Outline Selection, or under Layer/Layer Style/Style Settings and select Stroke.

I wanted the silhouette the other direction so I flipped it horizontally.

And there you have an outlined silhouette! For my gallery, I wanted them large so I copied the image into Adobe Illustrator (which I am much more efficient at then Photoshop, sorry) and enlarged it, printed it on cardstock in tiles (the image is larger than 8.5 x 11 so it prints on multiple pages), taped them together and cut it out.


Then I traced the cut-out onto oversized sheets of artist paper, and painted them in using these Martha Stewart paints and generic paintbrushes from Joanns:


Don't forget the white paint in case you mess up!  I added their names underneath and then framed them in oversized square frames from Ikea, and they are now hanging on my family room wall. I love them! And they were relatively easy to do. 


You would never know from the silhouettes how put-out and sad (in Addie's case) my kids were to have their picture taken. Though you'll always see Case's smile in his sweet little parted lips. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

4 Crippy Crap

There is bad junk and good junk. In my opinion, bad junk is the stuff you have lying around your house or garage that you don't use and need to get rid of. Good junk is the stuff that other people had lying around their house or garage and got rid of and you happen to stumble upon it. Good junk becomes great when it is sold at what I call a "Crippy Crap" store. People will ask me, "where did you get that..." (and they are thinking, "piece of junk" but they are nice enough to not say it) and I will always answer "oh, at a Crippy Crap store" like they know exactly what I'm talking about.

I've picked up various treasures at a place here in San Antonio called YeYa's. I've picked up a few one-of-a-kind items like this oversized "W" I'm waiting to hang and this former porch support railing, one of a pair I now have on my family room wall:


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

1 I love the delivery man.

I love the delivery man. Woman. Whatever. Just deliver me a present and I love you. So today, I was overly cheery to the man that drove up in this:

And delivered this:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

1 Chandelier in a Basket

I love blue. Light blue, dark blue, blue blue blue. I love turquoise blue. I'm a sucker for blue painted stuff. So, when I went to the Round Top, Texas, market days last fall (can I just say--eeeeeek!) I found this:

OK. Here it goes. I am officially jumping head first into the world of blogging.

This is me, I'm Jen. These are my kids.

My life, like many stay-at-home moms (or blogspeak SAHM?), can be crazy. I have a husband, 4 kids, and we own our own business that I help run. We moved from our home state (Arizona) to a new state (Texas) and bought a house. Not just any house, but a foreclosed upon, relatively cheap and sad house in a great neighborhood. A house that had carpets that were used as litter boxes. For years. A house which hadn't had water turned on the landscaping for over a year. A very sad house indeed.

Sad, but lots of potential. I love renovating houses and have done major renovation projects in (almost) every home I've ever owned. So after winning this house with the highest bid on an ebay-like auction site, enduring three months of trying to close a house with a bank case manager in India (Sayeed something), and having only two weeks of renovating time before we had to move into it, life was chaotic. But the start of a new adventure.

A midst the chaos, I find time to indulge in my favorite activity. House projects. Renovating projects. Decorating projects. This is what I do when I don't have other stuff to do (and even sometimes when I do have other stuff to do that I am actively procrastinating). This is what I lay awake in bed at night thinking about. Projects. This is the outlet that keeps me sane. Which is why I've named my blog Decor Sanity. Because without it, I would definitely lose it. Well, more often anyway. So I hope you enjoy this new little blog project. And by you I mean the very small group of friends and family that I harass into reading this. :-)