Dining Room Light Fixture – on the cheap

For months I’ve craved a new dining room light fixture. Being renters, there are many little details we try to ignore (like the ugly ceiling fans in nearly every room), knowing it is not practical or cost-effective for us to change them. However, the dining room was the only room in the house with an overhead light fixture that was not a fan. The fixture wasn’t horrible – just very basic and very… high. My artistic soul cringes at things like bad and ineffective lighting, and although this one worked when you flipped the switch, it provided nothing in the vein of mood lighting. Our dining room could never play host to a relaxing dinner, a romantic spot for dessert, a chill environment for cocktails with friends, or even a cozy spot to sit and jot down a grocery list due to its horribly sad little light, perched all the way up on the ceiling. Installing a dimmer helped somewhat, but did not fix the problem. I’ve dreamed about creating a grand fixture, DIYing something truly impressive. My masterpiece would require books on wiring, saws and wood, paint and all manner of lighting supplies. It would be costly, time-consuming, and possibly life threatening to construct.

On Wednesday, I found a simple white drum shade for $12. My dreams ended, but the reality of a better-lit dining room dawned just over the horizon. Paired with a lantern light kit (originally purchased 5 years or so from Pier 1 for around $5), a simple ceiling medallion (Home Depot for $5) and a hook ($.50), we were in business. Continue reading


There is a shadow of a teenager sheltered inside each of us. Sometimes (or maybe more than just sometimes) we worry about what other people think or if we look cool (enough) or about why someone doesn’t want to be our friend. I’ve grown, I’ve matured, and I’ve cleared the most daunting of these hurdles. I like who I am and allow others not to. I feel secure in my talents and skills and am gaining confidence to pursue my dreams with ever-increasing velocity. But, sometimes I still feel a little weird. I wonder what other people are thinking and predict that their minds are filled with less-than-pleasant thoughts about me. BUT – I do not let this stop me. I am trying to eliminate worry of vague public judgment as an influence on my choices. (note- the thoughtful opinions of trusted friends and family influence me on larger issues — this is about the trifles)

For example: I like to walk. I like to walk outside. I like to walk for exercise, sure, but I also just like to wander. I like to look up at the trees or into backyards. This is relatively uncommon, from what I have been able to observe. Sometimes I go outside for several walks in the course of a single afternoon. Short jaunts, as my schedule necessitates, but sometimes I will walk by the same house on the corner 10 times in the span of a couple hours. I used to worry that the inhabitants would think I was weird or up to no good. Let them think it-if they notice at all. It’s silly little things like this that used to cross my mind. They still cloud my conscious from time to time, but I’m learning to let go. Maybe I *am* weird. Maybe I’m not. Who cares? I like myself and know plenty of people who do, too! I work at a community college and at first this bothered me as I could easily be mistaken for a student. I wanted to find a way to tell people that I was in the middle of my master’s. My ego and snobbishness were allowing my vital energy to be tasked with something so utterly ridiculous! How silly! Why should I care what “they” think? Answer: I shouldn’t! Conclusion: Don’t!

Barfield’s Boutique Online

A friend and recent client of mine, James Barfield, hired me to write a press release about the launch of his new website. He franchised his mother’s apparel business to bring the family biz out of the local scene and spread his love for fashion across the nation. This started out asĀ  a simple job – a favor for a colleague, really, but the more that James talked about his business, the more invested I became. He is passionate about stylish ladies clothing and aspires to create a business that is linked with the community that supports it. Despite his limited budget and the challenges he faces as a new entrepreneur, James’ top priority now that he has officially launched his website is partnering with women’s organizations and finding ways that he can support the causes that are dear to his heart. In this way, he hopes to build a symbiotic network of support. I love to support entrepreneurs like this — people who are pursuing their passions and who “get” the bigger picture – that business is about more than money. I’m excited about helping him reach his goals!

Check out his site here: www.barfields-boutique.com

Download a pdf of the news release: barfieldonlinenewsrelease2 Continue reading

Doggie DayBed

Rory, the Queen of Cute.

We recently completed a huuuge project on our to-do list – the “industrial chic pallet daybed” I’ve mentioned. The daybed lives in the office, where it plays host to occasional visits from me and frequent lounging from Rory. I have since rechristened this piece of furniture the “doggie daybed”. The daybed itself is awesome – Tyler built it, so of course it would be. The base is made from reclaimed shipping pallets and Tyler took this project a step further, using an extra pallet for scrap wood so he could build extra support for the base. This thing is sturdy. We bought a twin mattress (and a waterproof mattress protector-note the drool spot in the photo between Rory’s paws) for the top.

I ordered a daybed cover from West Elm to bring the whole piece together. That sounds like an awesome idea, except that to my chagrin, West Elm skimped on the construction of said cover, using BUTTONS (buttons?!) on the short end to construct an impossible envelope instead of using a zipper on the long end to make for easy mattress insertion. The mattress WILL NOT FIT in their existing pocket. I measured the case and the mattress and the case has plenty of room to accommodate the mattress (we bought the extra-basic thin mattress, not the gigantic pillow-topped ones that are so popular today). After stewing angrily for a few days over this shoddy piece of workmanship, I took matters into my own hands. After 45 minutes with a seam ripper, the cover is successfully on the bed and looks pretty good- from three sides at least ; ). Much better than the wrinkly sheet in the photo, that’s for sure. Of course, the fabric store was out of 100″ zippers so I have basically sandwich bagged the cover around the mattress for the time being, but this is a start. I’ll post soon with final glamour shots and a how-to.

So Much I Want to Do…

This post is to help me clarify my upcoming home improvement/decorating To-Do List.

-Fix blasted West Elm daybed cover (rip out seam, fit to mattress, insert zipper)
-Sew pillows (2 bolsters, 2-3 large loungeish pillows)
-(later) rug
-(later) new office chair
-(later) more attractive lighting

-sort out items that are in bookcase (side table) and store elsewhere, move bookcase to basement
-hang floating shelves for Tyler’s nightstands
-sew bed skirt to match headboard
-sew case for Rory’s dogbed
-make and hang picture frame jewelry storage
-buy boxes for Tyler’s and my odds-and-ends
-buy and implement accessories storage for closet
-order Room and Board slim C-Table (once I sell some more old furniture on Craigslist)

Living Room:
-buy, paint, hang “faux mantel” and hang pictures correspondingly
-organize DVDs – purchase storage boxes?
-redo art on shelves

Dining Room:
-buy, paint, hang mantel/shelf and hang pictures on long wall
-create art for bar cabinet wall (2 pics of Rory and squiggle drawing)
-hang art by door?
-get glass cut for top of bar cabinet
-new light fixture
-storage for Rory’s paw-cleaning supplies by door?

-figure out daybeds?
-new top for bar table
-repaint? bar chairs
-clean up, generally
-awning thingy
-move grill and chiminea
-figure out seating for rest of yard
-hang lights : )

-paint walls
-paint trim
-see where we are after that.

-paint walls
-paint cabinets (oh lord)
-see where we are after that.

Wow… just… wow. Why do I want to do so many things?!