Simple Steps to Hanging a Chandelier

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  1. CUT THE ELECTRICITY TO THE LIGHT FIXTURE AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER.

No, no, that’s not the first step. First glue the broken pieces back on the chandelier, paint the white ceiling medallion and charge the battery-operated drill you bought to supplement the electrical drill that you still can’t find. Wait 24 hours. Then…

  1. CUT THE ELECTRICITY TO THE LIGHT FIXTURE AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER.
  2. Set up the ladder under the light fixture. If you have a very small room like mine, be careful to avoid getting goosed by the door knob.
  3. If you don’t have a helper/spotter, dial “91” and put your phone on the floor. That’s where you’ll end up if there are any ladder mishaps.
  4. Run an extension cord from another room and clip a work light to the ladder.
  5. Remove the old light fixture.
  6. Install the new strap and the threaded post (called a lamp nipple).
  7. Hold the chandelier up at the height you want it and determine the chain length needed.
  8. With 2 pairs of pliers, open the link of chain at the predetermined measurement. This may require you and the spotter  working together with a pair of pliers each.
  9. Hook the open link onto the chandelier.
  10. Try to close  the open link. Go ahead, just try it.
  11. Wrap white electrical tape around the gap in the open link. Don’t even try to open the link on the other end of the chain. Just use a big, fat “S” hook.
  12. Adding quite a lot of length beyond the chain length, cut the electrical wires on the chandelier. Thread them through the chain links.
  13. Add all the crystals to the chandelier by opening up the needle sharp rings they’re strung on, and thread the rings through the itty-bitty holes provided. This will hurt.
  14. Apply glue to the back of the ceiling medallion and place on ceiling, centered on the light fixture box. Realize you forgot to charge the drill. Curse. Have spotter hold medallion up with broom handle.
  15. Attach all the chandelier wires to the  ceiling wires. Realize that the lamp nipple is too short for a medallion and the chandelier.
  16. Take everything down.
  17. Run to hardware store, which is where you learn the term “lamp nipple”. Buy longer nipple. Run home.
  18. Reinstall the lamp nipple and put everything back up.
  19. Find that that the wires you cut so generously long are too short to accommodate the  longer lamp nipple. Curse.
  20. Take the chandelier down. Duck as the medallion falls of its own accord.
  21. Decide to forget the medallion.
  22. Reinstall the original lamp nipple.
  23. Put the chandelier back up.
  24. Attach the wires and screw the cover over the light fixture box.
  25. Unclip the work light and fold up the ladder. Smash your finger in the process (optional). Curse.
  26. Restore electricity at the circuit breaker.
  27. Flip switch to “on”. Chandelier does not light up.
  28. 3 hours have passed. Your spotter must leave.
  29. Get something to eat. Read a book. Take a nap.
  30. Admit your spirit is broken. Be like Scarlet O’Hara, and decide to think about it tomorrow.
Builder fixture.

Builder fixture.

Chandelier

Pretty. Pretty dark.

Disclaimer: I’m not an electrician and I assume no liability if you try electrical work on your own. If you follow these instructions you’ll have, at best, a non-functioning light fixture, and at worst, a nasty fire. Please consult a professional!

Stay tuned…

P.S. I linked this post to Chic on a Shoestring Decorating.

 

 

 

 

Family Dynamics; or Why I Rely on My Sisters

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With all my talk of sisters, have you ever wondered if I have brothers? I do, I have brothers and city sisters and country sisters, but I almost always call on my city sisters when I need help. Here’s a rundown to help you keep things straight.

No.1 Sis is a city sister, that is, she lives here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. She’s 62, divorced, has 3 grown kids and 3 grandkids. She’ll become a great-grandmother in a couple of months. Bwahaha! No.1 great-granny. That cracks me up. She’s probably about the same level of handiness as I am. That means she’s game to try and she’s on the clumsy side. Between the two of us, something will get broken or someone will be hurt.

No.2 Sis is also a city sister and she lives closest to me. She’s 61, married, has 3 grown daughters and 12 grandkids. The oldest grandkid just graduated from college and the youngest just graduated from diapers. No.2 Sis is probably about the same level of handiness as I am, but unlike me, she reads directions and takes common-sense safety precautions. For example, she didn’t let me try to trim the hard poly-something ceiling medallion on my lap. She made me put it on the counter before working on it, no doubt saving me a trip to the ER. Isn’t the femoral artery in the thigh? Anyway, her direction reading and safety mindedness puts her far above me on the Handy Ma’am scale, and I call on her the most.

No.3 is a brother! He’s 60, divorced with 2 grown sons and about to be a grandpa for the first time. He lives here in the Twin Cities and  he’s quite handy. However, between his realtor work, his art play and his intense dating schedule, it’s hard to get his help. Plus I think he hires handymen for his own maintenance and improvement jobs nowadays, so why would he want to do my projects?

No.4 Sis is a country sister. She’s married, has 1 grown daughter and 2 grandkids. She’s a fantastic quilter and held my hand through the making of my 2 quilts. I know No.4 Sis and her husband renovated their 100 year old farmhouse together, so I assume she’s very handy. Either that, or she’s very good at letting her husband know what she wants. But, as I said, she’s a country sister and she lives about 90 miles south of the Twin Cities, so I usually don’t ask her for help with my non-quilt related projects.

No.5 Bro is 56, just 13 months older than me. He’s been married only 18 months, still a newlywed! He doesn’t have kids. He and his lovely wife live in Michigan. He went to college there and decided to stay. No.5’s the only sibling to move out of state. I haven’t assessed his handyman skills, but he’s too far away to help out anyway.

I, Laurel, am No. 6. I’m 55 and I’m single with no kids. I’m a city sister, and glad to be one. How do people live in the country? There’s so much…outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, I love nature…when viewed from the air-conditioned indoors, preferably from my easy chair.

This may be a good opportunity to mention that after 6 kids in 7 years, Mom started to go a little crazy. It may have also been about this time when she started questioning whether or not Catholicism was right for her. Moving on…

No.7 Sis is the other country sister. She’s 52 and has 2 grown kids. She’s the go-to Sis for all garden questions, as she’s a horticulturist and a master gardener. She’s also got great design sense and has a beautiful home. Otherwise, I think her husband takes care of the building of things. And, she’s about 90 miles west of the Twin Cities, so a bit far for hands-on help.

No. 8 Sis is the final city sister. She’s 49, for a couple  more weeks. She’s been engaged for about 13 years with no wedding being planned. She helped “The Mister” raise his 2 kids, who are both in college now. No.8 Sis is the Queen of Everything. She’s great for financial advice, design advice, cooking advice and travel advice. She has power tools to lend,  and she’s a Handy Ma’am of superb skill. And, if she can’t do it herself, she gets absolute perfection from her contractors of choice. I try never to ask her for unskilled labor, as that would be a waste of her many talents.

No. 9 Bro is the youngest at 47. He’s married with 2 little kids. He’s not handy. He’s rented all his life, so he hasn’t had to be. He lives here in the Twin Cities, but even if he was handy, he spends all his time with his young family, as he should. I do love hearing those kids call him “Papa”. It’s so cute!

So, now you understand why you hear so much about my sisters, especially my city sisters, on this blog. I’m close to them, geographically and emotionally, and they’re my support system extraordinaire. Power to the sisterhood!

Stay tuned…

 

124

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My BFF “G” was up visiting this Friday and Saturday. I wasn’t a very good hostess, as I was tired from overtime hours at work, but “G” is very sweet and understanding. We shopped for a bit, and then took naps, and then had pizza. Very low-key. I had 3 boxes from Penney’s that had curtain rods and drapery panels (never used) in them that I was getting rid of. “G” asked if she could have them to donate to a fund-raiser at home, and I said sure. One less trip to Goodwill for me.

“G” stopped to see her Mom on the way home and showed her the draperies, which, it turned out, weren’t draperies after all. They were clothes I must have mail ordered from Penney’s about the same time as the draperies. Never opened the box, which was dated 2008. How embarrassing! I told her they’re too small for me now, donate them or give them to your sister-in-law. She gave them to her sister-in-law. So where are the drapes (also never opened)? That still puts me at 124 bags/ boxes, but where are those damn drapes?

No.2 Sis came over Saturday afternoon to help me work on the house. We were originally going to try to finish the Throne Room, but it was so nice out that we got started on the patio furniture instead. It was quite rusty, so we sanded the chairs and put 2 coats of primer on them. Well, it was lilac spray paint with primer in it. The lilac color was vetoed by all my sisters and girlfriends, so I folded in the face of such strong opposition. I’m using the lilac for the primer, and I got some cobalt blue for the finishing coats.

I thought of the cobalt after No.2 Sis asked me how I wanted the patio to feel. I remember visiting Majorelle Gardens in Marrakesh, Morocco, and I was so blown away by it. It was green and turquoise and cobalt and yellow and SO VIVID! I knew that’s how I wanted my patio to feel as much as possible.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majorelle_gardens

This is how the patio looked before starting the painting. Sad.

Patio, before.

Patio, before.

Here’s a close-up of the furniture. It was red when I bought it 10 years ago. It’s lived outside summer and winter, so I’m kind of surprised it isn’t rusted through. You’ll be so impressed when it’s done.

Patio furniture.

Patio furniture.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Photo/Collage Cards

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Due to an unfortunate misunderstanding (clusterf*ck) with my insurance company, I have been without insulin for a week. High blood sugar turns me into a cotton-headed ninny muggins. Playing cards with my sisters this weekend, my conversation was full of Spoonerisms and outright gibberish. I assured my card partner that we were losing because I was the “leak wink”. Commensurate became commacommacom, and endoscopy was endododo. All this explanation is just to prepare you for these cards I made from my leftover vacation pictures.

 

Photo cards.

Photo cards.

I cut the pictures into strips and glued the strips on a piece of paper. Then I sketched the desired shape (house, feather) on the back and cut it out. Not my best work, but it’s the thought that counts, and the size of the check enclosed.

I’ve been collecting ephemera for collage cards, so I set aside the vacation photos and pulled out a book on the history of farm equipment. Fascinating stuff. I dabbed a little ink on the main page, cut out some butterflies and added some phrases from the book.

Collage cards.

Collage cards.

Those were fun to do. I think next time I’ll use smaller pieces of the book pages, and add some stamps and some color.

Stay tuned…

P.S. My insulin was finally delivered. I can now speak English fairly well and I only need to sleep 8 hours per night, as opposed to 15. Life is good!

P.P.S. I was looking at some of my old bookmarks and found the blog that inspired the Sedona pix cards. I also made Christmas cards using this technique. I made Christmas trees with strips of old tech journal covers. Look here to see this done well 🙂 http://growcreative.blogspot.com/2013/07/junk-mail-art-tutorial.html

121

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If you were to ask people what the strongest force in their life is, I imagine many would say faith or family. The strongest force in my life is inertia. You know, “A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion”.

Except for dragging myself to work,  and one little tiny project, my body pretty much stayed at rest this week. I bought a basket for the Throne Room a couple of weeks ago at Arc thrift shop. I stained it one evening this week, because I wanted it darker. While I got it ready to stain, I found two price stickers on it. One said “$5.99” and one said “.99”. I’m sure I paid $5.99. Oh well, it’s a charity shop, right? That was my little project.

Then, on Friday, we got the word at work that we had to start putting in overtime. Oddly enough, that got my body in motion. Today, Saturday, I worked in the morning. After work, I gassed and washed the car, went to the library and to the bank.

As soon as I got home, I changed into painting clothes and painted the Throne Room and the Queen bath. I also painted the handle of the plunger. The original white paint had nearly worn off, and I figured the green handle would help the plunger be less conspicuous.

As I’ve been waiting for the paint to dry (it will all need a second coat) I did a load of dishes, cleaned out the fridge and started cooking for the week. I like to make a couple batches of something that I can put into single serving containers and eat all week. This week will be cream of chicken soup and chicken enchiladas.

I went through all the mail that’s been stacking up again. I filled a bag of recycling, and a bag of garbage.

I also decided I’m not too crazy about the purse I’ve been carrying this week. I put it and another seldom-used bag in a partially filled donation box, finishing that off.

That puts me at 121 bags!

I don’t have any photos today. I want to show the Throne Room when it’s all done!

Now I’m going to play with my left-over Sedona photos and make them into greeting cards. Time for fun!

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

The Clean House Diet

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I went on my first diet 40 years ago when I was 15. It was the grapefruit diet, and to this day, I can’t taste grapefruit without it turning my stomach. Since then, there’s been Atkins, Pritikin, several rounds with Weight Watcher’s, OA, Weight Loss Clinic, LA Weight Loss, Seattle Sutton’s, and Jenny Craig. They were all successful. I lost hundreds of pounds. And gained it all back. I finally realized that diets don’t work long-term. Long-term change requires a change in life-style, and a constant vigilance to maintain new habits.

And so it is with house cleaning. I always thought that I could do one big purge and things would stay in order. And they do, for a little while. But I fall back into my old ways of shopping too much, and collecting too many pretty things, and never finding a home for them in my house. I procrastinate putting things away after using them. I buy another (insert item here) when I can’t find the one (or two, or three) I already have, because the clutter has grown too deep.

I have gotten rid of 118 boxes, bags and pieces of furniture, and the house is still cluttered and a smidge messy, especially between my BFF “T”s cleaning days. So, as I haul more things off to the Goodwill, I must remind myself not to shop to fill up the newly empty spaces. I need to put the clean laundry away, and straighten out the dresser drawers as I do. I have to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, not just on the counter. I am changing my life-style, not just cleaning my house. That takes a lot of little changes. New habits to be practiced day after day after day. I can do this. I AM doing this.

Just, please, please, keep me away from grapefruits.

Stay tuned…

Throne Room Progress

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I’m sitting here with a sweater draped over my lap, and as I’m typing, Bella is trying to crawl up inside the sleeve of the sweater. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “Cats are queer kind of folks”.

I had Friday off of work, so after getting my hair done (no gray for 6 weeks, yay!) I went over to No.2 Sis’ house to help her sort out pictures. My Dad had left us boxes and boxes of photos, film and slides. My dear, patient niece, Maggie, spent an entire year scanning, sorting and labeling them. She then gave us each a thumb drive containing all the scans. No.2 Sis and I loaded all the boxes of the originals we could fit into Gypsy Blue and deposited them in her living room, where they are awaiting final archiving. This may also take a year, but we got a start on it.

On Saturday, No.2 Sis came over to my house, and we tried to make some progress on the Throne Room. I say tried, because I was having a VBD (very bad day) which is relatively common on a work day, but quite unusual on a weekend. I was in a weepy mood, having read a romance novel with a sad ending. I thought they all had happy endings. Unrealistic, fairy-tale, happy endings. Dr. Ima Shrink doesn’t like me to read romance novels (see unrealistic, fairy-tale, etc, above), so don’t tell her.

I did a further search for the drill, but no luck there. I need a drill to mount the ceiling medallion and the toilet paper holder. All I could do was e-mail No.8 Sis and ask to borrow her drill, but I probably won’t see her until next weekend. I did get the old TP holder off the wall, though, and unpacked the boxes containing the medallion and the chandelier. The chandelier is supposed to be white, but it’s an off-white. That means I have to paint the bright white medallion. There was also a piece of the chandelier that was supposed to be welded on, but was lying in the bottom of the box instead. I’ll try gluing that back on. Minor things, but all adding to the VBD.

And the patio project I wanted to start this month has not been started yet. It’s been raining so much here that I’m thinking of moving to Seattle to get some sun. My patio has a nice green sheen from something growing on it…mold, mildew, moss? I don’t know. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen anything like it.

To sum up the progress report, there has been precious little progress. But I’m still facing forward, and still putting one foot in front of the other. What more can I do? And I’m expecting today, Sunday, to be a VGD (very good day)!

Stay tuned…

 

 

118

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No.2 Sis came over later on Sunday afternoon and oohed and aahed over the Queen closet. Then she helped me go through the disaster that was the Queen bed. I have a hard time cleaning one area without creating a disaster in another area. We packed up 3 bags of linens to donate and 1 bag of garbage. Then we loaded up Gypsy Blue and took everything to Goodwill. We made it just before closing. That puts me at 118 bags, boxes and pieces of furniture. You’d think the house would be empty by now, but not even close.

I kept one white matelasse comforter for the bed and folded the green comforter at the foot of the bed. I think it brightens up the room nicely.

With the purple comforter...

With the purple comforter…

With the white and green comforters...

With the white and green comforters…

I probably shouldn’t admit that I cropped the photo so close because the nightstands are a little….umm….embarrassing right now. It’s a little hard to keep up.

Speaking of keeping up, I found another box of spring/summer clothes under the bed. Just when you think you’re done….Oh well. At least it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

Stay tuned…

P.S. I linked this post to http://chiconashoestringdecorating.blogspot.com/

 

114

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I’m trying to figure out if there’s a reason, besides laziness, that I’m procrastinating the work in the Throne Room, and there is. I’m annoyed, peeved, put out, that things are broken.

I design million dollar, 20,000 pound equipment to run for years and years. There is no note in the operator’s manual saying, “Tighten the hundreds of screws on the equipment on a daily basis, or things will start slipping and sagging”. Nowhere does it recommend, “Jiggle the handle if the equipment fails to cease operation properly”. So why do I have to put up with that on the toilet? Granted, it’s not a million dollar piece of equipment. It’s just a few hundred dollar piece of junk.

Okay, I feel a little better, thanks. Not good enough to work on the Throne Room, but good enough to do the final clothes push. I have my pile of “maybes” to try on, and the rest of the stack of spring clothes. I have the partial bag and partial box to finish off, and then whatever else I can come up with. Remember, it has to make me feel good to great. Groot. My clothes have to make me feel groot.

AFK (away from keyboard).

I’m back for a coffee break. I’ve finished the partial box and partial bag. I’ve started a new donation bag and a garbage bag (for dry cleaner bags and wire hangers – I have to agree with Joan Crawford on the wire hanger issue). I want to clear the top shelf of the closet, too. It’s mostly extra linens. I’ll fit the keepers in the living room blanket chest, donate the non-keepers, and throw away some old pillows. I may keep the closet ones and throw away the flat ones on the bed, but some are definitely headed for the garbage.

AFK

I haven’t totally dealt with the linens yet, but I cleared the shelves and filled 2 more donation bags. That’s 114. My entire wardrobe is in the closet and the dresser. That feels good! I’m sure there will be more clothing to donate, but just usual amount that normal people do, a piece here and there.

Shelves, before and after. The big purple/green quilt is a quilt I made with the help of No.4 Sis and her daughter. I still have to do the hand finishing.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Before

Before

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

After

After

And a view of the whole closet, mid-progress (I can’t find the “before”, but there was junk on the floor piled thigh-high)  and after. Tah dah!!!

Progress!

Progress!

After

After

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

110, Part 2

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Uh oh. I’m scared. There’s been a package delivered to my door every day for the past week. My credit card is starting to melt. I’m back in shopping mode. I love to read those frugal living blogs, but only because they’re so foreign to me, like living in Paris, or underwater, or on Mars.

While it’s true that all of my shopping has been for home projects, except for the pale yellow twin sweater set with the embroidered bumble bees (who could resist that?), I’m still concerned. I have a history of shopping for projects that never seem to come to fruition, which is part of the reason I can barely fit my one car into my two car garage. Poor Gypsy Blue, she’s so crowded out there.

At the very least, I should be limiting my shopping to one project at a time. I got a little bored waiting for the Home Depot packages for the Throne Room project, so I took advantage of Amazon Prime’s (buy here) two day shipping and ordered a bunch of decor stuff for the patio. I STILL haven’t picked up paint for any of the projects, though, and paint’s one of those essential things, whereas crystal chandeliers and throw pillows are not.

I guess the only answer to this is STOP SHOPPING and DO THE PROJECTS! Wait, is that two answers? Okay, I just need to find the drill, and the drill bits, and the toilet seat repair kit, and I will. On Sunday.

Meanwhile, I started a box and a bag of donations, but filled neither, so I’m still at 110.

Stay tuned…

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