DIY Light fixtures!

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Let there be light!

I’ve conquered the light problem in the kitchen… for cheap! Here is a picture of what I was dealing with before:

Kitchen Fan/light before

Kitchen Fan/light before

 

Kitchen Light before

Kitchen Light before

A bit of an improvement… would you agree?

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The finished product.

 

 

 

Here is what I used to make them:

1. Lamp shade from Ikea

2. Light fixture from Ikea

3. Drop cloth, yep for painting

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Supplies Ya’ll

**Disregard the plastic piping, that was a tangent that didn’t make it into the final product.

1. Glue the drop cloth from the inside of the shade
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1. Glue the drop cloth to the shade, from the inside.

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this step.

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3. Trim the excess fabric from the top and the bottom leaving 1/2 inch on the top to tuck & glue on the top and a full inch on the bottom (stay tuned for why…)

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glued in the corner of the rounded edge of the shade, so my glue wouldn’t be as visible when the light was illuminated.

 

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5. Double fold the extra inch you have & hot glue to the shade. Be sure not to use too much glue, this will make it bumpy.

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to the fixture and, viola!

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22Jan / 2013

Apps that make my life so much better

Evernote: Easily number one on my list. I’m a compulsive list maker (see my fridge… the interior of my cupboards, white board… etc.) The problem is, I frequently loose, spill on, don’t have with me… My lists. That is a completely ineffective list. Derp!

Evernote has the ability to stick with you, wherever you may be. The program allows you to access your information

  • On the web (just like signing into your email or facebook)
  • On your Android or iPhone (it is available as an application from the iTunes store or the Android Market place)
  • On your offline computer (this is a ‘desktop application’ which works a lot like microsoft word or notepad… There is an icon that you click and it comes right up… no internet necessary).

These apps are all tied to your notebook (or account) and sync up so you can type a note on the go on your phone, while you’re at work on a public

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For advanced users you can also:

  • Download the Evernote Snipping tool for your browser (what you use to access the internet… Some are using internet explorer, safari, firefox or Chrome)
    • The Snipping tool is very useful for clipping articles, URLs, Pictures, Confirmation numbers from a web page… All you do is click the cute little elephant on the top right of your browser and the picture is saved to your notebook for reference when you need it.
    • Speak your mind! For some, writing lists don’t work as well as just saying what you need to do. There are a couple ways that allow your spoken word to be translated into text.
      • You can call a number and leave a message to be later transcribed into Evernote. Who knew, HOW COOL!
      • Use SIRI to do the work for you… If you open the app on your iPhone and click the little microphone, you can talk and the words will be transcribed.
      • Organize your stuff…

 

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22Jan / 2013

Travel points and tips

 

The first thing I’ll tell you is that reward programs are ALWAYS worth it. If you are flying, make sure to earn points for your purchase by signing up for the airlines reward program. For example, my round trip to Bangalore earned me 16,000 American Airlines points. This is good for one round trip with an adequate  amount of pre-plan.

Another brand that has treated me very well so far is Starwood, responsible for the brands Westin, Four Points, Seridan. If you will be staying for more than 18 days within a 3 month period it is very worth your time to email starwood and join the ‘platinum challenge’. This is the only qualification to become one of the platinum members.

Don’t shy away from opportunities to become one of the elite; this is a true case of the ‘rich getting richer’. As a platinum member you get 500 extra points as a ‘check in bonus’, and you earn double points for each stay. I’ve had a friend that would be in one location for work or vacation and set up multiple hotels so he could maximize on the ‘check in’ bonus. To give you an idea of what these points are good for… I’m staying for 2 nights at the Westin on the strip in Vegas this Feb for 12,000 points. Considering the ways that your points can rack up… This is pretty easy. Get your brand alliance on my traveling friends.

Marriott has a similar ‘straight to platinum’ plan. They however, bump you to platinum immediately, and only remove the status if you do not make the 18 stays in 3 months. The only downfall… you have to call them. J I’m a millium child (whatever you call that), and the thought of using the phone really blows.

Open the credit cards… Typically you will get 30,000ish points whenever you open a major airline credit card. Be aware of the various charges associated with each card though ya’ll. For example my United card holds with it a 95$ a year charge. This is worth it, if you are earning 2 points for every dollar spent on united flights… but definitely NOT worth it if you’re not. This is where you need to decide which cards maximize your benefits most… For newbies, stick to your Amazon card. (See the Free hair stuff… Post).

Points are currency for each brand. If you’ve had a bad experience, make sure to be polite and let them know… You will most likely be rewarded 500 or so. Depending on the brand, the point conversion rate (for redemption), and the incident. Here is a cute picture of Cory & I at the Westin Chicago River North. They sent up a wine and cheese plate for us… Because they didn’t have Cory’s name on the reservation and had to call me, when he arrived and attempted to get a card. I protested that I spent time on hold and told a representative earlier in the day to get this accomplished… Later that night we had an unexpected delivery. J Like I said, the rich always get richer… (Here is the view from our upgraded Starwood Platinum member suite). Haha, sometimes all that stuff just makes me laugh. What a beautiful life, if you play your cards right. Even when you don’t…

In general I’ve learned that there is a difference between being assertive and being pushy. Remember you will never get it if you don’t ask. You won’t always get it if you do, but you’ve significantly increased your probability. Assert on ya’ll.

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22Jan / 2013

Define your style

 

  • Starting with a home that was completely packed with stuff, smokey as the bear and in general needing a lot of love lent ample amount of time to consider the style, as the home evolved. Not everyone has this same ‘luxury’ (if you would even want to call it that…). I’ve been poking around and found this blog post about defining style.
  • The Gist:
    • In order to keep everything in order in your home… and have the style flow throughout it is important to define what it is you’re going for. The blogger suggests that you go through your Pinterest boards and all other inspiration and come up with 3 words to describe the style you’re shooting for.
    • For me, I chose: Cozy, Industrial, Natural
    • The second step is to identify why your inspiration rooms fit into these descriptors. Once you’ve defined these categories for yourself, you will find that it is MUCH easier to consider carpeting, flooring, paint, fabric, curtains… This will also help avoid a mismatch and clash of styles, creating a not even eclectic quirky kinda cute… Just creating a jumbled mess.
    • The third step is to consider what you absolutely don’t want people to say about your home. I wouldn’t want people to say that my house is ‘cute’, ‘cutesy’, ‘girly’… Etc. I’m shooting for my three words: Cozy, industrial, and natural. Along those lines I want my home to be sleek, put together, and classy.
    • By defining the things you DON’T want to see, you can stop yourself from buying things that deviate from your vision. If you’ve already disobeyed the ‘ANTI-SAVE’, and find yourself in the home section of TJ Maxx again… It’s alright, you can use these words as your second line of defense. If you pick up an item and it doesn’t fall in the 3 word categories you defined above (again I’m going for Cozy, Industrial, Natural), think twice… If the item is one of your “Absolutely NOT” category (for me it is “Cute”, “Cutesy”, “Girly”), PUT IT BACK! Just put it down. Walk away, put it down. Don’t fret though, I’m a sucker for ruffles too… Just make sure they are the right kind of ruffles…
    • Some other important things to consider are:
      • Do I have a specific spot for this? (You don’t need to have the exact position laid out, but have a good idea of which room you will be putting this item).
      • Does this item make my life easier? (Life gets better if you continue to improve the process you employ to accomplish your goals. If this item will help you keep your closet more organized, or help you remember where your keys go… and it also fits your home’s style, YOU WILL LOVE IT! Get it!!!)

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22Jan / 2013

Anti-Save

 

  • This is something that seems fairly straight forward, but like many ‘fairly straight forward’ things… it is hard to keep on the front of your mind!
  • We are constantly tricked, psychologically, into thinking we ‘need’ or ‘want’ specific products… This isn’t new news, hello… Everyone loves Mad Men right?
  • How do we address and avoid the brain wash?
  • Stay away from a general waltz of the clearance isles… I know I know, it is SO tempting to buy that little thing that would make life SO MUCH easier… That bright orange tag doesn’t help either. Ever notice that… The ‘sale’ items always have a very catchy tag. This is the point,
    • to get your attention
    • to give a false impression that this is a limited supply
    • to give the impression that the product is discounted
    • In actuality, most products are marked up before being ‘clearenced’ or before being put ‘on sale’. The mind loves that feeling of ‘saving money’.
    • All that being said, think about how much money you would really save, if you didn’t save on those sale items… because you didn’t buy them at all.
    • YOU DON’T SAVE MONEY BUYING SOMETHING ON SALE THAT YOU WOULD NOT TYPICALLY BUY… That is the lucrative deal. That’s how you end up with kicknacks and odds and ends.
    • Live simply and only stop in for what you need. Minimize.

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24Dec / 2012

Xmas prep

Lots to be done! Note the spelling of Christmas and the artsy/cheap (whichever adjective works for me) wrap-job. Used painters paper, washi tape and

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Merry Christmas!

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Christmas 2012

 

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Christmas 2012


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10Dec / 2012

Desk Update & Re-do

I am Jones-in for a place to store my extra fabric and ribbon… DIYer Problems… A day after talking with my crazy wonderful property manager Joe, he presented the deal of a lifetime… At least for Chicagoland. A desk for $25.

 

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Before:

1. Sand & prime (note the creepiness of the apartment basement…)

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The desk & chair before paint & reupholster

2. Paint with love, and ventilation.

On the way to pretty!

On the way to pretty!

3. Reupholster using some spray adhesive, staple gun & hot glue gun for the finishing piping to cover the ‘oops areas’. 🙂

Desk & Bloody Mary after. :)

Desk & Bloody Mary after. 🙂

 

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27Nov / 2012

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27Nov / 2012

Sustainable Slight Changes

I’ve been marinating on this idea for a while now… Why the heck don’t I continually do the things that I want for my life? I can’t be alone in this struggle… Everyone has their New Years resolutions that fail right? Here is what I’m thinking would look really great in some nicely branded wrapping…

Focus on one good habit a month. I’m going THAT simple. This not-so-master-plan has a chance to succeed for a couple reasons…

1. Sustainable change doesn’t happen overnight (the only exception being bleach trays).

2. Behavior is learned. Practice makes perfect.

3. Automatic processes stimulate a different part of the brain than tasks we have to focus on… I’m interested in cron job-in’ out my brain for choices that should be business as usual.

This months Good Habit? Drink tea over coffee. Some TMI- but coffee contains tanic acid (it isn’t as deadly as it sounds… Unless you have the same weak ‘timmer tummy’ I do, in which case that will eff your shit up.) So this is the goal, establish ‘tea over coffee’ as a norm that I follow all year, into next year, and the next.

For some reason I see some really tacky ‘partridge in a pair tree’ song for this. On the first month of good habits I’ve chosen to ____. As the good habits

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24Nov / 2012

I finally did it!

I’m a perfectionist. There is really no getting around it. When I was in grade school I remember staying up countless nights working on that ‘extra mile’ to get whatever it was that I was working on to an acceptable state- so I could put my name on it. First-grade-Rachelle once spent all recess working on coloring the US map, to the exact specs of the map posted on

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the wall. I remember having trouble finding the right shade of pink, for Ohio…

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I do everything the ‘right’ way, but in general if there is a job to do, I’ll allow the scope of the work to exponentially grow as I begin to dig into the details of the task. For example… This blog.

I’ve started multiple blogs… All failing (in my mind…) because I just couldn’t get the ‘coloring’ or the style quite right. I would monkey around with the CSS, change themes, ponder on domain names… I’ve researched other blogs that display similar content to what I’ll be showing… Essentially I’ve done pretty much everything but publish the content I wanted to start the blog for in

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the first place. So, here I land. Although I’m not ‘there’ yet (there being that whimsical, potentially unattainable perceived perfection) with this blog, I’m starting. Cheers!

I do expect the content to evolve over time, but in general, you can count on some DIY, musical suggestions, and summary of my travel- all right here. Hope you enjoy!

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22Oct / 2012

DIY Chalkboard Fridge

 

 

I love this fridge. You will notice the extra long shopping list from BigLots! More importantly, check out that handi-door! This little thing is truly handy, it has shelves for easy and less wasteful access to commonly used items (for us this is a kids water bottle and snacks && a

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beer door).

The only problem I saw with this thing was the yellow… Had to go. After stumbling around Pinterest for a while, and watching too many episodes of that “Charlie” show on the Disney channel I was inspired to paint this thing with chalkboard paint. I’ve never seen anyone paint an appliance

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before… But like everything else here, it can only improve from the current state. I went for it. Here is how it turned out….

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Before

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Putting on all the final touches.

The fridge has held up very well so far, after all the scribles and to-dos. I would certainly recommend this project!

Here is a picture when it is put to use. 🙂

Note the spelling of Christmas. :)

Note the spelling of Christmas. 🙂

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22Jan / 2012

How I get my salon hair products FREE

When it comes to tolietries I’m lucky to have found

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a way to enjoy all my absolute favorite products, for free.

You must be wondering what kind of trickery I’m employing here… No tricks, just smart spending. Here is how I roll:

I’ve had my Amazon Rewards card since… Well… Forever (5 years and counting). So, what does this do with free goodies? This credit card earns points, fast! The points can be considered your free merch. The points are then redeemable at amazon.com. Here are the details for the card:

amazonrewards
  • Get a $30 Amazon.com Gift Card* instantly upon credit card approval
  • Get instant credit after approval1
  • Earn 3 points for every $1 spent on Amazon.com2
  • Earn 2 points for every eligible $1 spent at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores2
  • Earn 1 point for every other $1 spent2
  • Points don’t expire, and there is no limit to the number of points you can earn
  • No annual fee1

If you aren’t aware, you can buy almost ANYTHING on Amazon, so these

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  • All Soft Shampoo & Conditioner ($49.99 + shipping: http://amzn.to/VtGfQ1 … LOVE THIS STUFF!)
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  • Moraccanoil .85oz bottle ($10.95… Yes that comes out to a dollar an ounce. Totally worth it, if you can get it for free)

picnic

 

Other fun stuff:

This method for taking care of my somewhat ‘hoity toity’ toiletries preferences saves me SO much cash. After tallying up the price tag for the most recent replenishment of my supply, I got: $250. That is a hefty price tag for products that eventually rinse down the drain… Using my points methods I can indulge, satisfying my ‘I want to buy something nice’ craving, while also taking out an extra expense.

It might just be me… but it is always so exciting to get that extra special product delivered right to my door step (frequently for cheaper than what I would get it from Macy’s or the saloon)! Also… PJ’s are acceptable. This is just one of the little tricks I use to help manage my budget, cut down on the cash going out, and maximize on the resources available to me. If you are a frequent traveler, please see my Travel Points & Tips post for more ‘points’ tips. 🙂

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