Saturday, June 1, 2013

Vintage Glass Shades - Converting Can Lights to Pendants

I found these antique, glass shades at a roadside garage sale last summer - for $1 each!  I snapped them up, thinking I would use them to convert can lights to pendants, in my kitchen.

Having seen this pendant converter in Ballard Designs, which required NO WIRING, I thought "no problem"!

The best laid plans... (although sometimes when these project go awry the most fun comes from getting ingeniously creative!)

The Ballard Designs conversion kit includes shade, etc., and was more than I needed (and expensive!).
Lowes and Home Depot both carry pendant converters (screw into the existing bulb socket, no wiring required). However, they are either for mini pendants (lighting assembly too small for my shades and not enough light) or they come with the complete kit (including shade), making it too costly.

Back to the drawing board (almost a year later) and I am sticking with my vision!  So lucky that my husband is handy and resigned willing to play along .  What we needed:

  • a pendant assembly
    • It needed a bulb socket large enough for the shade opening and be able to hold a full-sized bulb, to give us plenty of light in the kitchen
  • an outlet converter
    • Ultimately, I didn't want to hardwire an assembly, in case I decided to change back to can lights in the future (YES, I have been known to change things up around here...)
  • trim to cover the can opening

Here is what we came up with:

Pendant assembly from IKEA ($5 each)

They did offer a version with white cord/white socket, but were OUT of them. I could work with this, so brought them home and prepped them for white spray paint.

Bulb socket-to-outlet converters (Lowe's $2):

Canopy kit ($5 Lowe's) and Ceiling Medallion ($7 Lowe's) to cover the can light opening.
We only needed the medallions because the canopy kit was smaller in diameter than our can light openings. The canopy kit contains hardware that installs in across the diameter of the can, so you have something to screw into. Unfortunately, the kit was narrower that our can, so my husband had to improvise and install a longer piece across the gap before installing the included hardware.

I was able to find vintage-style bulbs at Lowe's, which ended up being the most costly part of this project - $6-8 EACH, depending on style.

Now, the tricky part...the plug for the pendant assembly wouldn't fit through the hole in the canopy kit, so my hubby snipped the cord, fed it through and wired it back together.  [Note: Having lost a childhood home to fire, I am squeamish when it comes to messing with electrical "stuff". While he's not an electrician, my husband assured me that the reassembly and installation into the enclosed metal can would be safe.]

I am so happy with how they turned out!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Come and Sit Awhile...

The title of this post has double meaning:  bring your coffee, this is a long post AND come sit awhile with me in our new outdoor room/sitting area. 

Our home is a 3-bedroom rambler, which was built in 1968.  We are continually working on some sort of upgrade.  I decided to makeover our covered patio - wanting to turn it into an outdoor room, like those I've seen on Pinterest and various blogs.  

The structure was sound - just needed some paint touch up.  The concrete, however, needed some serious love.  After much research, I decided to stain the concrete, using a combination of Quikrete and Ducan products.  

NOTE:  In an effort to save other DIY'ers from experiencing some of my frustration, I'm including a ton of pictures as the project progressed, LFMM notes (Learn From My Mistakes!) and links to/pictures of products I used. 

I started off with drab, gray concrete - and lots of cracks to give it "character".

Staining Concrete - This entire process took two days

Surface Preparation: 

Clear everything from the patio and pressure wash the surface thoroughly. 
    • LFMM:  We let it dry, which was not necessary, as water is needed in the etching process, so you'll just get it wet again.

Etching:  This step prepares the concrete to accept the stain.

You should follow the instructions on the bottle and WEAR GLOVES AND BOOTS - this stuff is not friendly. Here are my short and sweet directions:
      • Protect areas where the etching product will run off - your plants will not like it
      • Wet the surface with a garden hose (I used the "mist" setting - didn't soak it, you don't want puddles)
      • I transferred the etching product into a plastic watering can, sprinkling it onto the concrete in a circular area about 4'x4'
      • Using a stiff push broom, I scrubbed one direction and then perpendicular to that 
      • The product will foam up a bit - it's supposed to do that
      • Once you've completed the scrubbing process, use a garden hose to rinse off the patio.  You will be able to tell it's completely rinsed when there is no more visible foaming/sudsing.

Applying Stain: 

Tape off and protect anything you don't want etched or stained.  I used regular painters tape and paper.

    • LFMM:  Tape/paper higher than you think - there will be splatter!



I used Quikrete Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain in two colors - Tuscan Sunset and Red Rocks.  The product comes in a tintable base.  You can pick from 29 colors.

    • LFMM: Use the wet-on-wet process! If you do any internet research you will see different methods of applying concrete stain.  Some dampen the surface before applying the wet stain (wet-on-wet) and some apply the wet stain to dry concrete (wet-on-dry).  If you use the wet-on-wet process, you have much more opportunity to move the stain around, if it's not exactly how you want it.  Using the wet-on-dry process, the stain will stay exactly where it's sprayed.  There is no grace in this process.
I applied the stain using a pump/pressure sprayer.  (The same kind you would use to spray weeds, etc.) The Tuscan Sunset was applied first, using the wet-on-wet process.  I dampened the patio, using the mist setting on my garden hose and then sprayed the stain on in a circular motion.  The circular motion keeps you from getting discernible lines in the pattern. 

There were areas where I had to go back and add a little more stain. You can see this in the first picture, above. Some areas, where the concrete was a different texture, the stain ran. See second photo, above, where the stain was heavier after it ran and I back-rolled it. This is okay, as it all evens out as you layer on the stain.

My patio is 12' x 28' and the first gallon of Tuscan Sunset didn't quite cover it. Grrrr!

At this point, I started to panic.  
  • I'm not sure about the color - it's more yellow than I thought (way more yellow than my photos are showing you)
  • I'm not sure about the texture and how it's going on 
  • I don't like this process!
  • This is my least favorite DIY project EVER!

So...I let it dry for a bit and took another look.  Still not happy...but I'm no QUITTER!  I went back to Lowe's to 1) buy a second gallon of Tuscan Sunset and 2) buy a gallon of Red Rocks to add in. Of course, the closest Lowe's only had ONE gallon of the base, so I had to drive another 20 minutes to get two gallons.  UGH!

I poured HALF of the Tuscan Sunset into the sprayer, finished the first coat and sprayed over some of the areas that didn't get the coverage I wanted.

After cleaning out the sprayer, I poured in half of the Red Rocks stain and began adding it to areas of the concrete.  I wasn't going for complete coverage with this color - simply adding a little color and depth.

ACK!  Now it's too red! I decided to let it sit overnight and see how it looked in the morning...

Yep, even after a good night's sleep and sufficient caffeine intake - it's still too red.  Luckily, I had saved 1/2 of the gallon of Tuscan Sunset and was able to go over the entire patio one more time, adding this color back in. This time, I used the roller to back-roll it.  It provided better blending in areas that needed it. 

At this point, the combination of colors and blending layers was starting to grow on me. It's sort of Tuscan Gold meets Terra Cotta. It was still a little bright, but I knew that the next step - adding concrete sealer - would darken it.

Concrete Sealer:

I started out with Quikrete Natural Look Waterproofer, but didn't like the duller finish. (Never fear!  I was able to use the Quikrete product on our other patio, which is aggregate concrete and uncovered.  It worked well for that.)  For the covered patio, I found Ducan Concrete Driveway and Patio Glaze in Clear, High Gloss

Why Ducan?  Because neither my Home Depot or Lowe's had a glossy finish concrete sealer. Hrmph! I found the Ducan product at McLendons. I'm so glad I changed to this! The glaze helped darken/deepen the color of the stain, in addition to providing protection.

The concrete glaze is easy to apply, using a roller.  When rolling it on, it looks sort of white, but clears up as it dries. I applied two coats, per the instructions.

Installing Outdoor Draperies

One of my goals for this project was to see how creative I could be in using alternative products to save money.

For the drapery rods, we used electrical fittings and conduit.

The patio has four openings, so my Handy Hubby cut the conduit and installed it as four rods.

For the draperies, I used 6'x9' drop cloths (yes, painting drop cloths!) from Home Depot. They were $10 apiece.  Since I needed 8 larger-than-normal panels, this was the best deal going.

I searched Home Depot's hardware section to see if I could come up with an alternative for hanging the drapes from the rods, but didn't have any luck.  I did find the least expensive drapery clip rings (I needed 8 sets) at Wal-mart.

The drapes were hung with the 6' side as the width and the 9' side as the length.  I didn't need the entire 9' length, so I simply folded over the 9' side about 24" and clipped them up.  The folded over section looks like a ruffle. 

I found an outdoor rug at Big Lots for $39 (bargain!) and dressed the rest of it from things I already had around the house.

Here is the before:

And here are the afters:

We used wire to hang mason jars from the rafters and strung globe lights to suspend in the jars. Sorry, I didn't get photos of that process...

It's beautiful at night!

While the concrete staining process is not something I will look forward to anytime soon, I am SO happy with how the final project turned out.  Further  confirmation that this was a success: we recently had a BBQ with 25+ guests and people gravitated to this area.  Love it!


linking up to :
Thrifty Decor Chick


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Headboard Shelf

Oh, Pinterest, how you tempt me....

We have never had a headboard in our master bedroom.  I usually have 26" square pillows with coordinating linens as my headboard.  Recently, I changed up our bed linens from green to blue - and wanted to do something different over the bed. 

Enter Pinterest Pins like this one, or this one...
...and then add in a new miter saw for the Handy Hubby...

And here's how it went down...I've added a lot of pictures, so that other DIYers may be able to follow the steps.

We measured the width of the king sized bed and decided we wanted the shelf to be a little longer than that, so we settled on 77".  Her are the pictures of Handy Hubby assembling the shelf:

He used three pieces of 3/4" plywood for the structure...

 ...added trim to the second lower section

...and rounded trim for the outside edges...  It was all glued in place with wood glue and then taped until the glue was dry.

..and finally, nailed into place.

We used wood putty to cover all of the nails/screws and imperfections in the wood.  After it dried, we sanded it smooth.

Handy Hubby built his own corbels, because we couldn't find any we liked at the hardware stores.
See why I call him HANDY!?!

The corbels were screwed into place from the back side.  We decided to add some additional trim to create "frames" on the lower part of the shelf, but I neglected to get pictures of those going on!

And then we went to town with the finishing process.
We applied four light coats of heirloom white spray paint, lightly sanding between each coat.  Why spray paint? This is a color that I really like and I had too many, several some cans on hand.  ;)

Also, Handy Hubby hates to paint and can't stand brush marks.  We even looked at paint sprayers, but he hasn't made a final decision on which model he wants to invest in.


  • light coats of spray paint help avoid streaking
  • plywood soaks up the paint.

Here she is after the painting/sanding process:

A bit of sanding on the edges helped to distress/age the piece and I added some stain I had left over from my kitchen cabinets - applying the stain more heavily to the sanded edges.  The stain works great, because you can brush it on and then wipe off as much, or as little, as you like.  Using a damp rag to wipe off the stain will help you take off even more.

The final step was to protect her with two coats of satin polyurethane.  Here are some closeups of the final look:

This piece is heavy.  Hubby estimates it to be around 30-40 pounds.  Because I was a little nervous about it potentially falling down on our heads, he purchased hanging hardware that was rated for much heavier.  The hardware was screwed into studs for extra measure.

Now the fun part...What to put on it!?

I think I will enlarge/print a family photo, frame it and sit it on the shelf, leaning against the wall.

Accessories and fabrics:

  • Candle holders - Hobby Lobby
  • Burlap - from my stash
  • Candles - Michaels
  • 26" pillow covers - I found the fabric 50% off at JoAnn's and made the slipcovers myself.  I think I have enough left over to make a matching drapery valance.
  • Throw pillow - Hobby Lobby
  • Black Letter "P" - The Farm Chicks Show

I'm really happy with how this piece turned out.  She makes me smile!  What do you think?


Linking back to:
Craft-o-Maniac Monday
Under the Table and Dreaming Sunday Showcase