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Monday, July 30, 2012

Installing New Lighting~ So Easy A Ten Year Old Can Do It!

Sweet Boy recently learned how to install a wall sconce.

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Let me start off by saying that moving during the summer with a child home 24/7 is no easy task. We’ve found the best way to keep from hearing “I’m bored!” is to involve Sweet Boy in various projects.

I would also like to calm any fears regarding having our son work with electricity. Let me assure you that:

A. The power was turned off during the wiring process. This is the MOST important instruction.

B. He was heavily supervised by BOTH of his parents.

I am blessed that Sweet Boy’s father has a degree in aeronautical engineering. For years he kept America safe by working on multi million dollar military aircraft. So it goes without saying that Mr. Décor knows his way around electrical systems. While Mr. Décor could have installed the new wall sconces on his own in under 5 minutes flat we both though it was more important to take 30 minutes and teach Sweet Boy a valuable skill. He is a cub scout after all. :)

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Changing out a light fixture is relatively simple. You only need a screwdriver and something to stand on that brings you eye level with the work area.

Most light fixtures have a white plastic cap or one to two simple screws that attach it to a metal wall plate. Our old flying saucer wall fixtures were attached by a single white cap and very easy to remove.

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Once the fixture is down you need to remove the plastic wire caps (which are yellow here) and untwist the wall wiring from the fixture wiring. Pay careful attention when separating the wiring not to cross the different colored strands against each other. It is best to do one color at a time. Here we have black, white and green colored tubing (also known as insulation) that covers the wiring. Once the wall wire is separated from the fixture wire replace the plastic cap on each of the single wall wiring strands. You can then remove the old metal wall plate.

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Here’s a close up. You can see the single strands of white, black and (avocado) green colored wires. The yellow caps for each are somewhat hidden.

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The screws may give you a bit of resistance but be determined and show them who’s boss.

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Once the old plate is off install the new metal wall plate. There are standard sizes. If you are working with an antique fixture adjustments may need to be made and this is best left to a professional.

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Sweet Boy had a bit of trouble keeping the plate steady while he screwed it to the wall. A second pair of hands can be helpful.

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He used his mom’s “eyeball” technique to see if the plate was level. You can use an actual level to perform this task.

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You’ll then inspect your new fixture. You may find that the copper wires look a bit “frayed”.

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A few twists are all that is needed to smooth them.

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Ready for install.

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Color coded plastic tubing (also known as insulation) makes it easy to determine which wall wires go with other fixture wires. In most cases it will be white to white and black to black, etc.

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Remove the yellow plastic cap and slide both the white wall wire and the white fixture wire into the cap.

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Secure the wires together with a few clockwise twists.

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Double check that the wires are secure within the cap by tugging gently on the wires against the cap. Then repeat the same steps with the black wires and the single ground (earth) wire which is usually copper or green in color.

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Once all the wiring is complete gently push the wires back into the wall cavity.

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Keep easing the wires in as the light fixture gets ever closer to it’s intended spot.

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At this point you are ready to begin tightening the screws of the light fixture to the wall. Start getting excited that you are almost through!

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Drop a screw in your excitement.

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Like any good HGTV show we have assistants who pounce on dropped screws and make it easy to quickly return to the task.

Please also notice that we padded the flooring of our work area so that in the event any glass elements are dropped no harsh language will ensue. This is a family and pet friendly blog after all.

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Once the screws are tightened, gently add the glass globe and a light bulb. Turn the electrical power back on and hold your breath to see if it works.

Warning: your mom might have tears in her eyes because she is SO proud of you.

Better yet, you’ll be proud of yourself!

(While these aren’t the sconces of my dreams, they are a good/inexpensive temporary solution.)

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Let there be light!


Disclaimer: We here at Décor To Adore are in no way, shape or form professional electricians. If you are installing lighting for the first time it is HIGHLY recommended that you are supervised by an individual who knows exactly what they are doing.


Linking to:

Today’s Creative Blog, SSS, StoneGable, Tip Junkie, Someday Crafts, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Positively Splendid, The 36th Avenue, SNS

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Ah, the first glimpse of the new Décor To Adore manor. I spy a headboard propped up against a chair, a painting peeking out from the wall that needs to be hung, a small mountain of laundry to fold and yes, a green clipboard that holds the never ending “to do” list. It’s hidden underneath an unread paper.

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A few of the DTA readers wanted to know why the new home reveal is taking so long. The world’s loveliest ugliest tablescape provides a few clues. My resident handyman works a 10 hour day before coming home to have dinner with the family and walk the dogs. This leaves about one hour each evening that we can hang a few pictures or curtain rods.

Sure I do plenty during the day without him. The blue swim goggles belonging to a 10 year old boy might clue you in as to what that is.

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It is at times frustrating when several hours are spent cleaning, unpacking and creating a blog worthy room all to turn around and find that the work seems to be for naught.

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Trying to create a lovely home within a new space and keeping up on daily chores is no easy task, particularly if different work methods are used.

Some of us like to keep one centralized and tidy location for all our tools/supplies while others like to spread things out all over the house. The second party will also sometimes insinuate that the first party is taking or even hiding their tools from them when they cannot remember where they put them. :)

The offended party will then once again try to reestablish the one centralized location solution. They even attempt to clear away the top of the washer and multitask by doing a bit of laundry. In the short amount of time it takes the offended party to empty and sort the contents of the hamper and return to the laundry room with arms full of clothes the other party has once again covered the washer. This means she has to drop the clothes and empty it off again. But not before taking a picture to remind them of the humorous chaos in the future. 

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While maintaining a positive attitude isn’t always easy she knows that the tools and dropped swim bags are temporary inconveniences belonging to beautiful blessings.  She chooses to be thankful that there is someone to fill the shoes of the handyman and that a child still roams the rooms.

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Because after all, love is patient.


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12

Comments are turned off in observance of the Sabbath.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Queen Parachutes Into The Opening Ceremonies

Did you watch London’s Opening Ceremonies for the Games of the 30th Olympiad?

Our entire family was mesmerized by the lush countryside filled with maypoles.

We may have grown misty as they honored soldiers past and present.

Were you amazed by the ever rising industrial towers and “forged” Olympic rings?

Showing off dry British humor was Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean!).

Yes, the ceremony had everything from Mary Poppins…

… to parachutes. There’s a new Bond girl. Queen Elizabeth was escorted by 007 himself, Daniel Craig, to a waiting helicopter where the pair leaped into the air above the stadium.

The small film also stared the Queen’s actual corgi’s. They included Monty, 13, who used to belong to the Queen Mother, and Holly age nine. You can watch the mini movie HERE.

She of course even carried her ever present handbag during her descent.

You could tell that she was pretty pleased with her “entrance” and perhaps even wanted to giggle.

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The Queen wore a embellished satin peach cocktail dress with a lace bodice and pleated skirt created by the royal couturier and her personal dresser, Angela Kelly.

Prime Minister David Cameron Queen Elizabeth Princess Anne Opening Ceremony London Olympics 2012

Making a departure from her usual choice of millenary, Her Majesty selected a fascinator, also by Kelly, that featured handmade porcelain flowers.

I believe that the Queen wore Queen Mary’s Diamond Riviere necklace and the King William IV Brooch. Both pieces are quite stunning. I have to wonder though if the Queen’s extensive Diamond Jubilee and Olympic touring schedule has been a bit much for the 86 year old monarch.

The Queen’s granddaughter in law, Catherine, looked resplendent in a ice blue silk coat dress by British designer Christopher Kane. The dress featured a single-breasted design with long-sleeves and a belted waist. She is shown at the afternoon reception with President of Mongolia Elbegdorj Tsakhia (left) and Erdene Elbegdorj.

At the reception Her Majesty also wore light blue silk. Her ensemble was designed by Karl Ludwig Rehse. Mrs. Obama selected a J. Mendel tailored jacket with silver embroidery paired with an ivory chiffon pleated skirt.

Danny Boyle take a bow. Your 'Isles of Wonder' was spectacular!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday’s Favorite Pin

Welcome to the premiere post of Friday’s Favorite Pin. I cannot wait to see your favorite pin!
While I have been out of the blogging loop a bit due to moving and getting settled it is my hope to visit each and every person who joins in on the linky fun.
You can post your favorite pin on ANY day of the week and then link up on Friday’s.
Have some old fashioned fun and visit one or two of your neighbors. You just might make a new friend.
This week my favorite pin is a room by one of my favorite designers, Windsor Smith.
There are many reasons I adore this room. Most of which were not revealed to me until I started really studying the image/space.
1. At first glance I loved the pale walls, full midnight blue silk drapes and the grey velvet double couch.
2. A second look had me adoring the linen slipcovered ottoman to the left.
3. A closer inspection revealed that while this room features a primarily symmetrical arrangement it is achieved by dissimilar pieces that are balanced by visual weight.
4. My overall thought was that this room breaks the rules well. It features uncommonly paired elements such as a Moroccan table and a cozy tufted chair. A vintage metal and glass bar cart is used as a coffee table. Yet it all works together beautifully.  

Can’t wait to see what you pin up girls and guys select.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Summer of Design Secrets~ Paint: Tips, Tricks and What Not To Do

I have spent the past two weeks painting my entire house. Yes, you read that right. Two weeks. I thought it would take about four days. Silly me. I ended up having to paint each room a total of 3 coats. Yikes!

Let’s start out with how you shouldn't paint because it makes me smile.

At first glance Mr. Décor thought our home was move in ready. Silly rabbit. I quickly pointed out to him that the colors were all wrong. We would have to get all new furnishings. He quickly agreed that painting would be cheaper. I also pointed out the painting styles of the previous occupants.

The “Why take down lighting when you can just paint around it” approach.

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Or how about the “No need to take down the blinds, we can paint dark tan and then lighter tan over the original builder beige”. This idea is kind of like a timeline. You can see the progression of paint selections. 

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Here’s a close up. Mind you this was taken after ALL the walls, sills, baseboards and trim had been scrubbed. One word: ewwww! Yes, Mr. Décor EVERY inch of the interior of this house will be painted.

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I have an assistant who is good at rolling. Here he shows off the plethora of Sherwin Williams paint we used.

Design Basics ~ Pro’s: a fantastic price. Cons: There is a reason it is being discontinued. It had a watery consistency and very thin coverage.

HGTV Home ~ Pros: a good price, cleans up really easily. Cons: Also has a rather thin consistency and needed 3 coats to cover a flat finish wall that was a medium shade/color.

Super Paint ~ Pros: A thicker consistency, rolls on well. Cons: Requires a bit more clean up time and costs about $50 a can.

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I believe that taping is important. Using my home as somewhat of a tape testing ground I offer up the following observations.

Frogtape: Pros: works beautifully and peels away easily and cleanly. Cons: About $5 + a roll.

Scotchblue Painters Tape: Pro: works well, priced a bit less than frogtape. Cons: generally peels away easily~a few difficult spots.

Duck Painters Tape:  Ok, I may or may not STILL be a little angry. This tape was a good price but it was HORRIBLE to peel off. In addition, it also peeled away half of my wall/ceiling with it. Grrrrrr! A true case of you get what you pay for I guess.

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TIP: Many people use a credit card to smooth and seal the tape. If you have textured to highly textured walls/ceilings that particular method doesn’t work. Use your finger to work it into all the nooks and crannies.

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Here you can see the heavily textured skip and trowel wall treatment that is on ALL my walls and ceilings. The day glow yellow covered every inch of the laundry room.

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If you plan on painting your ceilings do that first. There is no need to tape.

The brown bathroom was transformed with a Retiring Blue SW 6763 ceiling and an initial coat of primer. The walls were later painted White Flour SW 7102.

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By now this was day five of painting. I was beginning to wonder if:

A. I was a horrible painter.

B. The paint totally sucked. Literally. It was like the walls were sucking it down.

I am blessed with a good friend, Karen, who is an amazing designer with Sherwin Williams. She came over one evening and schooled me. What I learned was:

Textured walls require more paint to cover the walls due to the unevenness.

When you have an existing flat finish (unwashable) on the walls and transform it to satin finish (washable) it will require more paint to cover. A flat finish on walls will literally SUCK in the new paint.

Paint quality does matter~ in terms of coverage you get what you pay for. Mr. Décor and I call our entry and living area “Karen’s room” since she helped us paint it.

I also recommend using a drop cloth. Some people don’t. Trust me, it’s a dangerous gamble. 

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Karen also brought me a roller cover that I just might be in love with. The Purdy Colossus. It costs around $5 for this roller cover. But let me say that it is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. Paint rolls on easily and doesn’t splatter. It cleans up easily. When my friend Tracy arrived I had to go buy a second roll cover because she too quickly became a convert and we were fighting over it. :) Not really, but we both wanted to use it. 

Dear Louise came over on Wednesday. She did all the cut in work in Sweet Boy’s room. Louise is an esthetician at the beautiful Wigwam Red Door Salon and Spa. Go see her for wonderful facials and other services.

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Tracy introduced me to shur line paint edger. This tool is wonderful! So much quicker and easier than a brush and doesn’t leave tell tale brush marks.

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For narrow nooks and crannies I like a short handled paint brush.

Here is the “before” shot of my dark dungeon office.

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Paint really can transform a space. I used Dover White SW 6385. It has nice golden undertones which works well with the caramel flecked carpet.

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A dreary “before” in Sweet Boy’s room.

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Isn’t the “after”  so much happier? He selected the Retiring Blue 6763 himself. It is totally mom approved.

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Lucky for the Fashionista, the new window seat she climbed up on to hang her new blinds featured White Flour SW 7102 in a satin finish which is completely washable. :)

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STILL doing touch ups,


Don’t forget that Friday Décor To Adore is beginning a new linky party. I hope you’ll share your favorite pin!


I have temporarily turned off the comments while I am in the midst of painting. I hope you understand. You can always leave a message on the DTA Facebook page.