A Temporary Fix

You know Target?  You know when you walk in and you just have to walk past the women’s clothing section to see what amazing pieces they have out at the moment because they never fail in that dept?  You know when you really, really want to just spend your life’s savings to buy up the whole section because everything is so dang trendy and the prices are way under J. Crew?  That’s my story line every.single.time I walk in to the bulls’ eye.  So one of those times this summer my eyes spied the cutest pink and orange color block top but I did the usual take-a-deep-breath-and-keep-moving and kept on going.  Well, a month or so ago I was pilfering through the clearance racks (per my usual as well) and spotted it.  The only one left…XXL…$5…all mine.  I’m no stranger to shrinking things with my sewing machine so this shouldn’t surprise anybody.  Here ‘tis fresh off the rack and out of my alterations pile:   afterlight
(The party’s color-blocking’s in the back…you’ll see.)

This alteration is a wee bit different from my others though.  It’s only a temporary one.  Being preggo and all, it obviously makes no sense to take this top in and then not be able to wear it.  My solution?  Sew a straight stitch a couple of inches in at the bottom of each armhole and only a few inches down.  The dotted line below shows where exactly I stitched.  pinkorgtootoo 001
Once on, there was a large flap of fabric under my arm but by just folding it back, you’d be none the wiser.  I almost put a stitch in to hold it there but after wearing it around the house for awhile it stayed put, eliminating the need.

Those few inches of stitching gave me a top that fit up top and accommodated the growing belly.  And I’m a sucker for pleats so the little ones that were created on each side just made the top 10x cuter.
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After baby boy has arrived I can always just rip out the stitches I sewed in and take the shirt in all the way down so it’s a little more fitted, but still flowy.
For now though, I’m relishing it, the bright colors and the room it gives baby to grow.

[I realized yesterday after my umpteenth self-timed photo sesh that I really need to replace the self-timer for the husband, running commentary and all.  :)  It’s nice how you can get a detailed shot of our fence as the camera focuses in on that but blurry ‘after’ shots just aren’t going to cut it anymore…sorry about them.]


I finished this top just in time for Mass yesterday so here’s how I wore it to see the Big Guy, minus the scarf because it was sweltering when I stepped out of the house.  I really, really wanted to pair it with some black boots too but sometimes comfort takes precedence and I really didn’t want to be sliding around with pools of sweat in the bottoms of my cute boots.  :)

Outfit details:
Scarf:  Joyce Leslie (thanks Momma)
Top:  Target (altered)
Blazer:  Target (altered)
Polka Dots:  Target via Dirt Cheap (altered and dotted)
Shoes:  Gabriel Brothers

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In case you’re wondering, the coffee-table-going-ottoman is still in the exact same state as it was last week.  We’ve got foam and a piece of wood for the top on our to-buy list.  With that, does anyone know where we can get some reasonably priced upholstery foam?  I’ve checked JoAnn’s and spending $45 on foam (and that’s with a coupon!) just isn’t what our bank account had in mind…if that’s all we can find however, we’ll save up for it and bite the bullet.  I’ve heard of people using camping mats from Home Depot but ours doesn’t sell them nor are they available online…help! 

Oh and P.S., it’s party time!  I’m linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday!  Fashionable times to be had over there! 

Two Heads & Four Feet

Since we’re (literally) creeping up to Halloween and all, I thought I’d share my favorite outfit for that exact occasion – a two-headed (wo)man. 

I have this incredible blessing in my life who goes by the name of Megan and she lives 10 hours away which makes me very sad.  But it wasn’t always this way.  We were randomly put together in a dorm room one spring semester in college (Franciscan University – woot woot) and from that point were inseparable.  She was the peanut butter to my jelly, the creamer in my coffee, my sista from another mista…you get it, BFFs.  I’m pretty sure some of my creativity comes from this one.  She’s an incredible artist and putting our two brains together was cah-razy.  We divided our dorm room into two parts with hanging curtains one year, built a huge entertainment center out of those metal racks you connect with plastic connecters, and even created our own trundle bed using one day bed, one bed on a rolling frame, and lots of particularly placed cinder blocks – it was awesome.  The year after we graduated, we did it again and came up with thee PERFECT Halloween costume, this:
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The Two-Headed Business (Wo)Man

All we did was head to our favorite discount store, Gabriel Brother’s, where we bought the largest pair of men’s dress pants we could possibly find (I think they were like size 72 or something), an XXXL men’s button down dress shirt, a pair of large suspenders, and an XXL mens’ tee.  We paid under $20 for the whole ensemble.  So that we could walk without falling over, we cut a slit up the back of each pant leg so they essentially became two long pencil skirts that were attached.  We also cut two holes out of a scrap piece of white jersey material where we stuck our heads, creating a sort of undershirt under the dress shirt.  I think we each wore black socks on our feet minus shoes, making two big feet.  Underneath we just sported some shorts and a tank.

We got in character once we arrived at the party we were headed to since driving while attached wasn’t possible…well, maybe possible but maybe not the safest idea… 

We did have some fun beforehand too during the dress rehearsal, trying to maneuver ourselves into normal human positioning…
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[Turns out crossing our giant legs was no easy feat feet…hehe.]

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[pre-game stretches]

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[“If we can just get our legs to swing over here…”]

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[If you block out our heads with your hand, you have to admit, it’s one large (wo)man, no?]

Love and miss you Meggie!!!!!!!!

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What’s your favorite Halloween costume?  I think my runner-up is the crayon outfit my mom slid me in when I was a wee girl…I hated every minute of it because it went from pointed head to feet and sitting was not an option but it was still pretty cool.  Then there’s the candy corn because of the cool white boots, the dozens of princesses I went through over the years, the Cat in the Hat…

Operation Coffee Table to Ottoman

Remember when I popped in 10 short months ago and told you we scored this magnificent coffee table at Goodwill for $12?

The plan is to paint it and lose the glass (currently residing on a Craigslist ad) in favor of a tufted, cushy top where we can rest our footsies after a long day.

Well, along with apparently becoming notorious for revealing a project idea and then procrastinating for months on end, it’s what’s on the agenda for the next coming weeks.  The twins have discovered the fun in climbing and while it’s cute and all, standing on the glass top doesn’t really scream “good parenting” to me.

Last week I unscrewed the bottom shelf and took the whole thing outside where I scrubbed it down fast and furious like.  Then I made a bed of old sheets and my go-to spray painting plywood in the backyard and got busy priming it.

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Primed (Rustoleum from Walmart):coffeeott 003

I was going to go ahead and paint it but then we decided it’d probably be best to buy and cut the wood for the top and then make the holes we’ll need to attach it once it’s all nice and upholstered.  If we make any scratches while doing that, it’ll be a lot easier to just sand and re-prime instead of having to add paint touch-ups too.

So, it’s currently in the catch-all guest bedroom waiting.  Hopefully we’ll have a piece of wood, cut and ready to be cushioned by the end of the week.  I’ll be in touch!

Have a great week!

DIY Light Kit Inspiration & How-To’s

There are lots of ways to update an old ceiling fan, spray paint being one of them.  Go on Pinterest and search “spray-painted ceiling fans” and I’m sure the inspiration will come flooding in.  If you’re not up to painting your fan though, you can always DIY/add to the light kit and make a big change, just like I did last week to the ceiling fan in our master.

Here’s how you could go about doing just that using a drum shade and/or it’s hardware.  First of all, let’s talk the type of light your fan has.  There are some fans that have multiple sources, like this one in our living room:fanideas 011

To add a shade to this kind of fan you’d need to unscrew the finial where you’ll just be left with the lights and a threaded rod. 

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If you simply slip a shade that’s made to fit onto a lamp harp, like the one below, over the rod and screw the finial back on, you’ll have a drummed fan in no time.  Oh, but don’t forget to take off the glass light covers; you won’t need them anymore.  If they’re as ugly as ours, you’ll be glad to see ‘em gone.

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If you’re not a huge fan of how the shade and fan look underneath, you could add a fabric diffuser just like John and Sherry @ Young House Love did here.

You might also have a fan that has just one hanging bulb, like this one in the twin’s room:fanideas 003

To add to this type of fan you’ll need a lamp shade with a larger ring in the center of it’s center bars (I’m totally making all these part names up…), like this one:
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All you have to do is slip your bulb into the ring and screw it into the socket.
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Shades like the one below would also work.  Target and Walmart sell shades with this type of hardware so your color and pattern options without having to reupholster are many.
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As far as customizing your added shade goes, there are endless options.  I soaked in some inspiration from West Elm and Anthropologie to give you ideas.  With these you’ll get a little glimpse of what goes on in this noggin’ of mine.  Look out, flying thoughts!

1)  Anthropologie's Two-Tiered Lamp Ensemble
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This is the shade I was inspired by in making the kit that fits over the fan in our master, except I flipped it upside down.  Read all about how to make yourself one here (but make sure you skip on the vinyl in exchange for stiffer plastic).

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2)  West Elm's Small Round Capiz Pendantphoto 5

Since the shade in our master didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped, thanks to the flimsy vinyl, I’m thinking of trying this next.  To get this look you’ll just need the frames of a few different sizes of shades (3 maybe 4 shades…oh, and did I mention that thrift stores are the PERFECT places to find lamp shades of all sizes?!).  Attach them so that you have a plane of concentric circles to which you’ll tie strings of capiz shells (which you can DIY using wax paper – see Brenna’s tutorial) in varying lengths (longer in the middle, shorter on the outside).  You can attach the rings by gluing skewers across them or anything else you can think of.  You can also skip the concentric circles and get the same effect using just one shade frame by tying several lines of fishing string from the outside ring to the inside ring (the part that fits over the light bulb), and then tying your shells on the string.  AND, you don’t have to use shells, you can use beads, strings of ribbon, and even washers strung together to get a shade that looks like this one:

3)  West Elm's Melissa Joy Manning Chandelier
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Next up, 4)  Anthropologie's Turquoise Rivulets Chandelier
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I love this one and think a dining room complete with a ceiling fan would be the perfect place to try it.  To get this look, you’d need the frames of two lamp shades, a larger one and a smaller one, strings of beads, and some small chain or string to attach the two frames.  To make it, attach the top frame of your larger shade to the bottom frame of your smaller shade with the chain or string…I’d say anywhere from 9 to 12 inches apart.  Then attach your strings of beads (make sure they’re longer than the distance between your two frames…I’d add six or so inches) to the larger frame and then to the smaller frame, getting that pretty curve at the bottom.

5)  Anthropologie's Feathered Chandelier
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Last but definitely not least, you could imitate this look by cutting the above feathered shape out of some cardstock, painting it gold, and gluing it to the top frame of a lamp shade, letting each piece hang.  Think of it like drawing a heart.  You fold your paper in half, draw your heart, and open it.  Except with the above design, you’d fold your cardstock, draw half a feather and maybe make some cut-outs, paint it if you desire, and attach it while it’s still slightly folded to your ring.  You’ll make however many you’d need to go all around your ring.  Or, if you’re really good at paper crafting, you can make the whole design by accordion-folding one piece of cardstock and making some snips.  Make sense?  That one’s a little hard to get from brain to paper…

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One awesome thing about all of these ideas is that you can even create them if you’re renting!  All you have to do is keep the original light cover, slip it back on when you leave, and bang, it’s like you were never there.  Cost-wise, if you scout out thrift stores and get creative with supplies, you can definitely come in under the $20 mark when all is said and done!  :)

I’d love to know if anyone ever tries any of these ideas (snap a still and use hashtag #heybeanlook on Facebook or Instagram) or if you’ve come up with some of your own!  And if I’ve failed to explain a step well enough, shout it out and I’ll try and elaborate!

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back Monday to show you what I’ve been painting!  :)

Fan Fail

(First and foremost, if you’ve been reading my writings for some time now you probably know that I usually post on Saturdays.  I’m switching that pattern up on y’all though and am going to start posting on Mondays with a few posts sprinkled in between due to family scheduling around here.  So, look for me at week’s beginning from now on!)

I tried something that’s been on my to-do list for awhile this week – updating the ceiling fan in our master with some sort of DIY light kit.  Success wasn’t on my side this week though so I’m considering the whole project a semi-fail.  But, I’m going to blab about it anyway just so you know it’s not all sunshine and roses, perfection and bliss over here when it comes to showcasing completed projects.  :)

So, at the beginning of the week, this is what our fan looked like:
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Blah.  Thank the heavens it’s brass and not shiny gold but…blah.

Well, a couple of months ago I found this lamp shade on clearance at a local gem, Old Time Pottery, for $6 and thought it had great bones and once I put my crafty pants on, would look great hanging from any one of the boring ceiling fans in our house.  (I actually hung a shade from the ceiling fan in the girls’ room and love it, so I knew it could work.)
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The fabric however, had to go.  I could’ve just glued my new fabric right over the old but I was planning on using a white fabric that was a tad bit transparent and didn’t want the old fabric’s pattern showing through.  Also, as the old fabric was a darker color, it would’ve let less light through.  I removed it by running a seam ripper along the frame, bottom and top, in between the fabric and plastic lining. 
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After that I was left with this: fan 005

The old fabric was glued to the plastic liner so all I did to remove that was gently pull.
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Unfortunately, the plastic liner wasn’t as durable as I thought and when I first starting ripping at a corner, I tore it…boo.  Thankfully, the next step saved me…
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The last change I made to the original shade was cutting it down a notch.  I simply made a bunch of marks two inches above the bottom (making sure I was cutting off the edge with the tear), drew a line, and cut.fan 009

And this is where things all went slightly downhill.  Before I started the reupholstering process, I wanted to make sure I had cut the shade down enough so I had Anthony hold it up to the fan for me.  It was then that I realized that with the  plastic being an off-white color and not white or clear, it looked a little dingy.  Had I planned on using a dark fabric for reupholstery it wouldn’t have mattered, but I wasn’t.  Dang.  To make a long story short, I searched Lowe’s, Home Depot, the internet, and finally some craft stores with zero luck.  The only stiff white or clear plastic I could find that was at least the 42 inches wide I needed it to be was on ebay for $49.99 a sheet.  Umm, “no thanks” said the chick.  “I’m cheep, cheep, cheep.”  So with the brainstorming help of a Hobby Lobby employee, I finally decided to see how a half yard of thick tablecloth vinyl would work.  Cost me $3.  What was there to lose, right?  Hmmm…

Back to work, I cut myself a piece of vinyl the same size as the original liner.
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And then I cut out my fabric…both layers.
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You see, I never make things easy for myself.  I used some leftover white lining fabric from our dining area valances on top of the clear vinyl but under the sheer portion of a patterned Target shower curtain I found at Dirt Cheap for $2.  I really liked the idea of the pattern on the shower curtain to be subtle, white on white, but ‘in yo face’ when the lights were on…you’ll see.

(Side note:  The next few pictures are bee ay dee.  Sorry.  They were taken after bedtime and under the soft-white (why do they call it soft white?  It’s yellowy/orange/ugly.) lighting of our dining room chandelier.)

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So after cutting both layers of fabric a smidge larger than my vinyl (1/2 inch on all sides), I grabbed some spray adhesive (Loctite from Walmart) and first sprayed the vinyl, attached the lining fabric, then sprayed the sheer fabric, and attached it to the lining.  You have to be really careful when you’re laying the fabric down on your adhesive that 1) it’s straight and 2) there aren’t any air bubbles/folds.  If you’re using a pattern like me, you also have to make sure it’s straight…read, pain in the butt but so worth it.  After my fabric was securely attached to the vinyl, I used hot glue to attach both short ends of fabric before gluing the tops and bottoms to the frame.
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This is where, if you make a shade from scratch for yourself, you’ll need an extra set of hands to hold the frame while you glue.  It’s also where you’d need a whole ‘nother set of hands to take pictures…we didn’t have that luxury so I hope my explanation suffices.

While Anthony held both frames and the fabric-covered vinyl was laid out across our dining room table, I started at one end and glued small sections at a time, top and bottom.  Anthony rolled the frames along as I went.  As for how I situated the fabric and vinyl, the frame was set on the very edge of the vinyl and the fabric was folded right over  it and glued to the vinyl on the inside of the shade.  See?fan 016

[Update:  And then she finds this forgotten iPhone shot which she promptly adds.]

Behold, the finished product:
 fan 018
But wait, I know what you’re thinking.  “It looks all wavy and stuff!"  I know, I almost cried.  So the vinyl wasn’t a great idea.  Because it’s not as stiff as real plastic, it rippled, therefore ruining my idea, therefore ruining my shade.  I tried to make sure it was nice and flat as we glued it to the frame but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be part of a lampshade. 

Here’s a closer look at the mess:
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Howeverrrr, the ripples aren’t noticeable at all when the light is on.
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And see what I was talking about with the subtle pattern?fan 020
It’s hard to capture via camera but it’s looks so cool in person.  :)

At this point I was annoyed/frustrated/felt like I just wasted a ton of precious time.  I didn’t even feel like starting Part II…but just because I had a naptime and a crazy hair the next day, I did, just for kicks.

The large shade was not made to be alone.  No.  It was made for a smaller shade to complete it.  Namely, this one:fan 017
It was a Dirt Cheap find that only cost me a few bucks.

It had a white plastic liner and instead of cutting a new vinyl one (my original intention but seeing how the first turned out…), I just used the same process to attach, remove, and reupholster it as I did the larger shade, minus replacing the liner. 

After that was all done, I grabbed a couple of twisty-ties and attached the middle bars of each shade to each other like so: fan 022

Except when I went to hang the shade I realized the light bulb was too big to fit in between the two crossbars.  Enter the sign for Wits End with this project.  Sheesh…what next?

String?  No.  Fishing line?  We don’t have any………..  Paper clips?  Yes!
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Last, not wanting the view from below to be all wires and stuff, I cut out a piece of cardstock and stuck it to the bottom of the small shades frame with some sticky tack. 
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Once again, I know, it’s much too small and not any easier on the eyes.  I just haven’t gotten the chance to cut a larger circle but I think that should solve that problem.

So, ripples and all, here’s the finished product.
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I’m definitely not in love with it and it definitely looks “homemade”, something I try to stray far from when DIYing home decor but for now, I’m going to live with it until I get another dose of motivation to switch it up or fix the large shade…speaking of, anyone have any recommendations on where to find some plastic lining?

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I’ll be back sometime this week with details on what I’m thinking of whipping up next for this sorry fan and lots of other DIY light kit ideas, including where I got the inspiration for this shade.  Stay tuned!  It’s gonna to be good!

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