New Ceiling Light: High Enough For Our Tallest Friend

Last week, something really horrible happened. A hit-and-run accident resulted in one of our good friends’ untimely death. Mark Gobble, a Ph.D. student about to complete his dissertation, a newly hired professor at Boston University, an owner of a skateboarding company, a family man, and probably the coolest guy we’ve ever met, died last Sunday. Needless to say, it’s been a tough time.. and even tougher for his wife and two children. You can read more about him in this blog post written by his niece, Brooke.

The world feels different without him, but the world still spins. It still moves around the sun. Janella still wakes up every morning at 6:30 AM with angry demands for milk. And so we must go on.

Mark was really tall – he was around 6’4. Nick’s 5’8 and I’m 5’4 (both rounded up numbers). When Mark came over in October to bring a meal from him and his wife to help feed me and Nick when we just had Janella, we had a conversation about new ceiling lights and how we needed one for our living room, which had a boob light at the time.

We told him that he was our tallest friend in Austin (we have another 6’4 friend who lives in New Mexico.. Hey, Jesse!) and asked him how tall he was… so we could make decisions on ceiling lights and how high they should be in order to accompany him. Since he was taller than everyone else, we could be confident that the ceiling light would also be high enough for every other friend we have.

Well, Mark – we finally installed our new ceiling light in our living room. It looks beautiful… and it’s 6’8 off the ground. Definitely tall enough for you.

Thanks for bringing us to Austin. Thanks for your humor, your intelligence, your grace, your generosity, and for being our friend. We’ll never find a cooler friend than you… or a taller one.

FYI – The photos are NOT styled at all. We’re still missing one side table and we still need to set up our newly sprayed teal lamps with new lampshades. And I didn’t feel like putting away the baby toys. Ignore all of that. Focus on the ceiling light.




To see what our living room really looks like when it’s not cluttered, check out this post.

The ceiling light is HUGE. I mean, H-U-G-E. Gigantic. It’s around 34 inches across. And we love it. It’s perfect. Especially when this was our inspiration photo, from Decor Demon:

I was afraid that it would make our ceiling feel lower, but it doesn’t! I’m really happy with it.

One thing down, only 327,121 more things to do left! PROGRESS.


The Story of the Headless Teal Lamp

Remember my spray paint mania? Well, it’s still going strong.

I ended the last post with this photo as a hint…

lamp in living room

I thought it was really obvious but nobody guessed it correctly!

I’ve had these headless lamps for a long time now…

They are beautiful and a smoky purple color. I bought them for our master bedroom, but the side tables we got later on were too small for these lamps.

So they were just hanging out in our office, doing nothing.

We had nowhere to put them. I thought they would work in our living room, but they added absolutely nothing to the room. The room needed more COLOR other than yellow and the lamps just didn’t do the job.

We looked for a great pair of teal or blue lamps, but couldn’t really find anything we liked or in our price range.

And so… you know what’s coming.

glass vase waiting to be spray painted

Yep, I decided to experiment on one of the lamps and spray painted it the same teal I used on The Thinker!

At first, it felt crazy to be spraying such nice lamps. But they were lamps we had no use for. And they were pretty inexpensive — we got them from Target. Instead of buying another pair, why not just use what we have?

Tape off the top and the cord. Prime it. And then… TEAL SPRAY PAINT TIME.

use blocks to keep lamp from falling over

I carefully covered the lamp with several layers of thin coats. I wanted it to be perfect. Near the end of all that layering, I needed to spray the bottom of it, so I turned it over but it wouldn’t stop rolling over. I was paranoid that I would come back into the garage to find the lamp broken and crying after falling off the box.

I added two little wood scraps on both sides to keep it intact. The lamp didn’t fall off, so I guess it worked!

teal lamp

I can’t believe how grainy this photo is. It can get dark in the living room when all the shades are pulled down and most of the time, they are, because the houses next to us are too close for our liking. We will need to add frost to the windows to give us more privacy, and then I will keep them pulled up much more than I do now.

But anyway. Look at the teal lamp!

teal lamp

Remember, they’re teal, not blue like they seem to be in these photos. Cameras hate teal.

The teal lamp just works beautifully in the living room. It adds COLOR and LIFE – two things our living room needed. Now, with the addition of some colorful pillows and some more color touches here and there, it will all work together.

Okay, let’s talk about the lamp shade. In the photo above, it looks great and white. But in real life, it was kinda loose and flimsy and when the light was turned on, it looked sickly yellow.

The lamp shade is from Target as well and I was so excited to finally have heads for the headless lamps, but I hated them so back to the store they went. And I will never (never say never) buy a lamp from Target again, because it is so hard to find decent compatible lamp shades for them.

Here’s why:

kinds of lamp shade types

graphic from LAMPS USA

Most lamps require a spider/harp fitter shade, but Target lamps use slip UNO fitter shades. Then what happens? You tear your hair out when you can’t find a cute slip UNO fitter lamp shade for your stupid lamp.

I did some research to see if I could convert the slip UNO fitter lamp into a spider/harp fitter lamp. Behold.. this tiny apparatus.

Slip Uno Adapter Harp Converter Lamp Shade Uno Euro Fitter

It’s called a slip uno adapter. The amazon description explains it well:

“Slip Uno adapters are made to fit directly over a plastic lamp socket found on lamps usually purchased at places like IKEA. This adapter will then let a harp attached to it. Then it will allow you to use nearly any replacement shade on that lamp. This is meant to be an alternative to the lampshade which has fitter already attached to it. You can now easily attach a harp to a lamp without one.”

Cool, right? But it costs $10. Yes, $10 for that tiny thing. Plus $4.18 for shipping. Then I will also need to purchase a harp and then… the reason I’m doing all of this work… a lamp shade.


I did some more research and one website (HERE) calls the little circle thing a “saddle” and says it should be 50 cents. What? Really? That sounds slightly better.

I’m going to make some calls to local lamp shops and let you all know how it works out. If you have any tips, bring them my way! Otherwise… give me good vibes.

Closing off this with a cute little Instagrammed photo of the lamp! Yes, we finally got a iPhone and hell didn’t freeze over. As far as I know, at least!

teal lamp

Finding a Home For My Swirly, Colorful Painting

I thought it was time to get started on the art for our living room. I saw this beautiful art installation at an Anthropologie store in Austin (at the Domain) and I wanted to recreate it for our home.

art at anthro

It’s much more majestic in person – it’s huge, spanning the entire wall behind the cash registers, and it’s outlined in gold paint.

But I didn’t want to get started on this without doing a test drive first. What if it didn’t look good in our living room? And what colors would I use?

So, I did a much smaller version of the artwork.

sketch for art

With the help of the photo of the artwork on the laptop, I sketched out this outline. But before I put pencil to paper, I put tape to define the art space and to divide it into three parts to fit into our three large frames in the living room. If you look closely, you’ll see the tape – along the bottom, the top, and between the three sections. You can see the tape better in the next photo.

tape on painted artwork

It was hard trying to choose the colors I wanted to use. I also was somewhat limited by the acrylic colors I had and they didn’t take too well to color mixing, or I don’t know how! I wish I took color theory or something in college. I took a bunch of drawing classes, but no painting ones. Regrets, terrible regrets.

The tape was really helpful when it was time to paint. As you can see above, I painted over the tape and then it was easy to remove the paint from the tape. All I did was to add a bit of water to the tape and then wipe it away with tissue.

no paint on tape anymore

I wasn’t completely happy with the color choices I made, but this is what I ended up with:

completed artwork... hmm

Now it was time for the big test. I brought it to the living room and held it up to see how it would look in the space.

My face looked like this:

Old photo of Janella - from late November, when she was around 6 weeks old. She was so tiny!

It didn’t look right. The art was whimsical and the living room was more simple, modern, and had clean lines. The painting, not so much.

But I did like the painting. So, I thought about where else in the house I could put it in. I held it up at different places and finally arrived at my bedroom.

Here’s what it looks like (sorry for the MESSY bed and the blurry shot, I was holding a squirming Janella in my arms).

painting over bed

I think it works better in there, but the bright colors don’t really go with our chandelier. I downloaded a free trial of Photoshop Elements and played around with the colors.

painting over the bed, after photoshop

I think this could work! I can add outlines of silver paint, like how the original art did with gold paint, and paint the sides in silver as well.

I have a few large pieces of plywood in the garage that I’ll use for this project. Since I’ll be using plywood and not canvas or paper, I think wall paint should work just fine. This gives me much more choices in colors without worrying about color mixing!

Off I go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to pick up a few paint chips and figure out a good color scheme.

I’m not sure whether I will be doing a triptych for this room or do it on one large piece of plywood. Let’s see. What do you think? I also plan to add mirrors behind the lamps on both sides of the bed. Maybe round mirrors to offset all the sharp lines. We’ll see…

It’s great how doing small-scale samples can help us make better decisions for our home. Along with the help of technology, of course!

What will we do with the still-empty frames above our living room sofa?

ribba frames

Do another small-scale painting, of course. I think I will try making some swirly black art, like I talked about 3,221 years ago. I thought I should go with something with a bit more color, but my original plan is probably the best one. Funny how that works out.

Our Presents to Our House

I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas! Wow, Christmas feels like ages ago already.

The following are various items that we got for the house with Christmas gift money or gifts that Nick gave me. He knows I like house stuff. I wonder how he knows…

First up is this really cool green clay pot that we found at Crate and Barrel Outlet.

It was marked down significantly and we had to sign a “as-is” form to make the purchase. It was a little bit weird – it’s not like a TV or anything – but okay. We love how it looks in our yet-to-be-styled Expedit in the game room.

I’ve been looking for a cute pair of salt and pepper shakers and we found this colorful pair at C&B Outlet.

Isn’t that so cheery? And as a bonus, all the colors on these shakers can be found throughout our home!

I grabbed these three golden candle holders just for fun. They were on mega-sale for only $1.95 each.

These cuties could live in any room in our house. I haven’t really found a place for them yet, but they’re happily hanging out in our tv set for now.

I get cold easily, so I love to have blankets around the living room. We grabbed two cute throws at IKEA and I also picked up a new white + gold pillow cover at Pottery Barn Outlet (the one on the right – this pillow is actually from West Elm, which is owned by Pottery Barn).

We also got two new pillow covers (also West Elm at Pottery Barn Outlet) for our game room.

Oh, that owl toy? Janella thought it would add some color.

Nick sweetly gave me a copy of Design*Sponge At Home. I know that everyone has a copy already, but I am so excited to read every single word in this book.

And the cover is SO pretty. My photo-taking skills, on the other hand, isn’t so pretty. Sorry for the blurriness!

Nick also gave me this great poster for the kitchen – I love it!! I first read about it at Door Sixteen and pinned it immediately. You can see the print better if you click over to the online shop.

I can’t wait to hang it up, but unfortunately the mat in the IKEA frame that we got has a too-small opening. I called Hobby Lobby and asked if they could cut it a little bigger for me, but they said no. Boo. Nick says he can cut it in a straight line… hope that works out. If not, new mat. From the scrooges at Hobby Lobby, probably.

We had a such hard time looking for lamps for our bedroom nightstands, because they only have 10 inches of surface space… until we found this cute lamp at IKEA for only 20 bucks. We grabbed two of them.

It’s simple, small, and gives off great light. The shade isn’t that great, but I’m thinking I want to hack it and replace the pleated fabric with a great printed fabric. A project for a rainy day. But the simple shade is growing on us, so we might just leave it as is.

The size works perfectly with our headboard as well. It’s weird how much I love these basic lamps.

We’re slowly collecting art to create a gallery art wall for our game room. Nick loved this print from IKEA and grabbed it.

I like it because it reminds me of the book The Pillars of the Earth. In our first year of dating, Nick and I each got a copy of the book and read it together during Christmas break away from each other. When I read the book, I felt like I was with him, even though he was in Pennsylvania and I in Florida. It was bookwormly romantic. We plan to do that again soon with The Help. But in the same house.

Nick’s 2012 resolution is to read 52 books – around 4 books per month. My resolution is to post on this blog at least three times a week. I’ve already failed this week (someone didn’t have great naps this week), but there’s always next week to make up!

Back to the point. I didn’t get enough sleep this week, my apologizes for all the tangents.

Our bedroom colors are purple and gray and teal, but we have a lot of gray and not much else. I was trying to figure out what we should do for window treatments until I saw this photo at everything LEB:

That was it – simple purple curtains would be perfect. With a stenciled roller shade.

When we were at IKEA, I saw these curtains but in a deep eggplant shade.

I can’t wait to hang them up. In February. We need to keep our focus on the laundry room. One of our January resolutions is to finish the laundry room – at least, to make it functional.

Wow, our purchases are all over the place. That’s the thing with budget decorating – you gotta go with what’s available for the right price, right now. But the journey is a lot of fun. Thanks for joining along the ride.

Aren’t I a bit sappy today? Yes, maybe. But I’m a mom now. Moms are sappy.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel…

The new rug is in!

It all looks great and bright and happy.

Lots of yellow, though. Time to layer in some more colors!

Didn’t Nick do such a great job with the makeover of the coffee table?

But when I look at our living room, I see these weird words and pink circles floating around the room…

Then I have to shake my head and tell myself to shut up…

And just enjoy.

We’re getting there, one step at a time.

Linking up at…

Black swirlies, strokes, dashes, lines, etc.

A while back, I posted about DIY art ideas. I think I’ve finally decided on an art project that I want to do for the space above our sofa.

Something like these:


via my favorite and my best

Elle Decor via i suwannee

Ralph Lauren Home via Colour me Happy

And I love how the art in the below picture is divided into two separate frames:

via Trouvais via From the Right Bank

Here’s my vision. Three frames from Ikea, some black paint, and a steady but dancing hand. Should be easy, right?

Uhh… I might have to do 100 tries and go through 43 buckets of black paint before I get it right.

Nick joined in the fun and made this one:

Sometimes he thinks he’s so clever…

Black & White Rugs

Our beige and ratty and cheap and cat-destroyed carpet does not look good next to to our new roman shades. Since we can’t get wood flooring right this second, I’m on the lookout for a great rug.

I started my search with black and white rugs. Neutral, striking, and (insert adjective here), they would look good with a white coffee table.

First up – the ubiquitous striped rug from IKEA:

Yes, you’ve seen this everywhere in blogland. And for good reason. It’s great-looking and at a great price.

Here’s one, that’s similar to the IKEA rug, but simpler…

…and more expensive. Still, I like it.

A while back, Raina from If the Lampshade Fits blogged about this, as she would say, delicious cowhide rug:

Unfortunately, it’s sold out, but I emailed them a while back asking if they could do it in gray and black and they said they could do it in any color. So, maybe they would be willing to make another one if I email them again?

Another rug with a diamond pattern, from West Elm:

Nice. It’s a casual look, very comfy and cozy.

A bit refined version of the diamond pattern rug can be found at Dash and Albert:

I think I like this version a little better. The white is more white.

Not done with diamonds yet, dear Reader. This one’s from Overstock:

Well, it’s more like a hexagon pattern.

What about this one, also from Overstock?

It looked sooo beautiful in Laura’s shed. I never knew a shed could be beautiful.

This one is sassy. Not sure if it would work in my living room but maybe yours?

And this one, just for fun, because apparently plaids are in.

It could be really cute in the right room. I think?

Should I tone it down on the patterns due to the window shades… and add a touch of yellow to our rug, because we want to bring in more yellow to relate with our dining room accent wall? Something like this:

Maybe I should look into yellow rugs…….. Later.

For now, here’s an animated GIF to visualize all this! My first animated GIF… ever. It seems like you have to click it to see it in action. (Not all of the above rugs are in this GIF)

Looks like a rug with a strong pattern won’t work. This took time to make, but much cheaper than buying the wrong rug! I do like the last rug, though.