Our Bedroom Lighting Makeover + a Giveaway

Brad and I absolutely love our bedroom. In fact, the big space and high ceilings were some of the key selling points when we bought our house. But one of the things that has always bugged us is the lack of overhead lighting. I know, I know – overhead lighting is unflattering, and cold, and not intimate, etc etc etc. But it takes a lot of bright lamps to light up all that space and high ceilings.

So, when the nice folks at GE Lighting asked us if we’d like to try out their new reveal® bulbs, we jumped at the chance.

GE reveal bulbs - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Reveal® bulbs are supposed to filter out dingy yellow tones and make colors pop – a big plus, since the peacock blue of our headboard can look a bit muddy in incandescent light. We tested out the bulbs at night, since that’s when we need the most help with lighting.

Here’s what our room looks like with regular incandescent bulbs.

Bedroom with incandescent lighting - Glitter and Goat Cheese

Blegh.

Bed area light with incandescent bulbs - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

I resisted the urge to Photoshop or color-correct these photos, so you can really see how yellow our old bulbs were. Here’s how it looks with the new reveal® bulbs:

Bedroom with GE Reveal bulbs - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Bed area lit by GE Reveal bulbs - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Big difference! The light is just so much cleaner. Here’s another area of our room, before we changed out the bulbs:

Dresser lit by incandescent bulb - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

And after:

Dresser lit by GE Reveal bulb - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

What’s nice about the reveal® halogen bulbs is that they’re energy-efficient, but they work just like an incandescent – you don’t have to wait for them to warm up. They’re bright as soon as you turn them on.

I’ll admit – I was skeptical about whether these bulbs would be much of an improvement. But I stand corrected! It was pretty cool to see how much they made a difference in some close-up shots.

Before and after lamp with GE Reveal bulb - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Before and after photo with GE-Reveal bulb - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Want to try out your own lighting makeover with reveal® bulbs? I can help! GE and Target are providing a $25 Target Giftcard and a package of GE reveal® light bulbs for me to give away on the blog*. Maybe you can use the gift card toward a fancy new lamp to go with your new bulbs? Perhaps this amazing gold Nate Berkus one? If you do, you should know that I will be crazy-jealous.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter. Leave a comment below with your account info so that I can see your post.
  • In your post and comment, tell me which room you’d like to makeover.
  • In your post, use the hashtags #GEreveal and #Targetgiftcard.

For example, your post might say: “If I win #GEreveal bulbs+ #Targetgiftcard, I’ll makeover my _____! http://bit.ly/1feACQV

You must be a U.S. citizen to enter the giveaway. Keep in mind that I won’t be able to see your post if your account is private!

The giveaway ends next Thursday (Feb. 27) at 6 p.m. The winner will be randomly chosen. While you’re waiting, get inspired with this video featuring four tastemakers talking about the importance of good lighting.

If you just can’t wait to find out if you won, you can also get a 25% discount on reveal® bulbs with Target’s Cartwheel app until Feb. 28. Just search for “GE reveal” in the app.

OK, ready to enter? And … go!

*GE and Target are only providing the product and not running the giveaway.

The Battle Against Rusty Stuff

Oops – it’s been two weeks of radio silence. My bad! Things have been a little nuts over here, between TWO crippling winter storms, an impromptu trip to Connecticut for my grandfather’s funeral, a busted water heater, etc etc etc. I’m getting NOTHING done around here. We had hoped to get a head start on the pergola, but the weather hasn’t exactly been conducive to outdoor projects. I’m just glad I got a few things done before it all started!

We’ll be adding a bunch of new items to our deck for the Patio Style Challenge, but we can’t replace everything, so my first task was to spruce up whatever I could with some spray paint. These were some of my tools:

Tools for updating rusty outdoor items - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

When we first moved in and I spray-painted our outdoor table and chairs, I used a sanding block to remove the chipping paint and then primed it with Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer. This time, though, I decided to upgrade to a wire brush attachment for our drill. It took almost everything – paint, rust, grime – off the items I was painting, so I didn’t need something as heavy-duty as the Rust Reformer. Instead, I used Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Spray Primer, which is a little cheaper and takes minutes to dry instead of 24 hours.

One of the most necessary updates was to the light fixture by our backdoor. It was yuck-tastic.

Rusty outdoor light fixture - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

When we took it off the wall, we found a mud wasp’s nest behind it. There weren’t any live wasps in it, but it was SO. DISGUSTING. I took a picture, but I won’t subject you to it. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

First, we pried out the glass panes with a screwdriver – they were just held in with bendy pieces of metal, like a picture frame – and taped off the light socket and other electrical bits.

Disassembled outdoor light fixture - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Cleaning it up with the wire brush attachment was pretty easy and quick, if not a little bit scary. (That thing spins FAST.)

Outdoor light fixture after using wire brush attachment - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

I didn’t bother trying to get down the bare metal. Our goal was just to get rid of the majority of the rust and create a smooth-ish surface.

After giving it a quick rinse and letting it dry, I hit it with a couple coats of primer.

Outdoor light fixture with Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Spray Primer - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Outdoor light fixture primed with Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Spray Primer - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

I followed the primer with my trusty Rust-Oleum Universal spray paint in oil-rubbed bronze. While I was waiting for that to dry, I tackled the glass panes. I couldn’t spray paint them, so I went over the metal parts with a black Sharpie. It’s not ideal, but I think it worked OK! You can see the pane in its original state on the left and the Sharpie-d one on the right, here:

Outdoor light fixture glass panes - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

It looks a little weird up-close, but who gets close to outdoor light fixtures, right? Here’s the finished product:

Spray-painted outdoor light fixture - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Much better, right?

This crusty old lantern was on our deck when we bought the house.

Rusty outdoor lantern via Glitter and Goat Cheese

It wasn’t in great shape, but I could tell it was good quality, so I decided to try and salvage it. The beveled glass planes alone were worth rescuing!

Beveled glass panes from outdoor lantern - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

To clean up the lantern, we used the same process as we did with the light fixture: wire brush and sanding, rusty metal primer, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.

Outdoor lantern after spray paint - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

For the panes, I decided to try something a little different. Instead of tracing the metal parts with a Sharpie, I used a Krylon gold leaf pen.

Updating lantern glass panes with gold leaf pen - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

I LOVE how it turned out!

Updated outdoor lantern - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Updated outdoor lantern close-up - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Last and probably least: the grills on our outdoor speakers. Not a very exciting makeover.

Rusty outdoor speaker grills - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Same process as the others, but with black spray paint. Wooo!

Spray-painted outdoor speaker - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

They came out a little blotchy and the speakers themselves still don’t look great, but meh. S’okay.

So, here are all the before-and-afters.

Before and after - spray-painted outdoor light fixture - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Before and after - spray-painted outdoor lantern - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Before and after - spray-painted outdoor speaker - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Not bad for a few hours and a few cans of spray paint, right?

Hope you’re all surviving this winter weather nonsense! Have a great weekend, and happy Valentine’s Day!

Planning for a Pergola

As I was gathering inspiration and ideas for the Home Depot Patio Style Challenge, I came to one realization pretty quickly: All the outdoor spaces I really loved had some kind of overhead covering. It made the decks and porches feel more like rooms, and therefore more like an extension of the house. Plus, an overhead covering allows you to hang things like lighting, plants, curtains … I needed to have one.

We have a covered front porch, but we honestly never use it. We much prefer spending time on our deck, where we can watch our dog race around our fenced yard and have easy access to snacks the kitchen. So, I started thinking about attached pergolas.

Roof deck pergola via Flickr

Via Flickr

At first, this kind of construction project seemed a little nuts – kind of like building a king-sized bed – but the more research we did, the more doable it seemed.

We gathered advice from all the construction-savvy relatives in our families, read countless tutorials, dug through the city ordinances, and priced out the project. Ultimately, we decided we should at least give it a shot.

Because my husband is amazing, he taught himself how to use Google SketchUp in a matter of days and created a to-scale construction plan. It has the hardware, dimensions, angled cuts and notches, and pretty much every detail you can think of. It’s kind of amazing.

Pergola plans by Brad

It won’t actually be two-toned – the different shades of wood are just meant to differentiate the new construction from the existing deck. To give you an idea of how it’ll look in real life, here’s a “before” shot of the back of the house.

Before photo of our deck

We sent the plans to our HOA first, and they approved it quickly. Woohoo! The building permit application was a little more complicated, but we got a cryptic email today that I think implies that it was approved. We’ll find out for sure when Snowpocalypse is over and the city offices open back up. Whenever that is.

So, I think this thing is happening! Get excited!

Have you ever taken on a major construction project? Any advice?

My Inspiration: Colorful, Laid-Back Patio Style

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a few mysterious images.

Patio Style Challenge Sneak Peeks - January

You may also be wondering why I’m working on deck decor in January. I swear, I’m not crazy. Well, not totally crazy, anyway.

You see, as it turns out, I’m going to participate in the 2014 Home Depot Patio Style Challenge. I KNOW, RIGHT?! I can’t really believe it either. But I’m SO excited.

The majority of the heavy lifting (literally) for this challenge will take place in late February and March. Y’all know I can’t wait that long, though. Come on. We’ll save a lot of the big projects for then, but I’m already planning out color schemes, furniture layouts, and many, many DIY projects. And I may or may not be getting started on a few of them.

When it all comes together, I want our deck to reflect the style of our home. Those of you who have been reading a long time know that I proclaimed our style to be “modern rustic glam” back in 2011, and that still holds true! There will be clean lines; bold colors and graphic prints; natural/rustic elements like wood (obviously), warm bronze and lots of plants; and of course, some gold. I’m getting pumped up looking at photos like these:

Colorful patio designed by Nancy Pearson via Traditional Home
This deck, designed by Nancy Pearson for Traditional Home, is one of my favorite outdoor spaces of all time. It has everything – color, a live edge table, classic lighting, greenery, texture … It’s just amazing. Here’s another photo of it, up close:
Colorful patio design by Nancy Pearson via Traditional Home

Another favorite is by Kristin Jackson of The Hunted Interior, and it’s actually from last year’s Patio Style Challenge.
Patio design by The Hunted Interior via The Home Depot Apron Blog
Kristin has a great eye for mixing patterns, and doesn’t this whole space just look so welcoming? I absolutely love her DIY live edge table. In fact, I love this deck design so much that I keep catching myself subconsciously copying it, and that is not OK. Must work on that! It’s just sitting in the back of my brain all the time.

Because it’s me, there will be definitely be black, white and turquoise, like these patios (both via Ciao! Newport Beach):
Black turquoise and white patio via Ciao Newport Beach

Black white and turquoise patio via Ciao Newport Beach

And some fuchsia, like this:
Fuchsia orange and purple outdoor space via Kate Spade Tumblr

Kidding. Not quite that much fuchsia.

I’m just so excited to get started! I get more excited every time I look at the posts from last year’s Patio Style Challenge. The bloggers came up with such creative designs – I hope I can swim in that kind of talented pool!

What are your favorite outdoor spaces? Let’s see ‘em!

Throw Pillow Surgery

When I was in high school, I was really into this Live Journal community called “T-Shirt Surgery.” It still exists – see? Basically, t-shirt surgery involves taking a big old t-shirt and turning it into something cute, like a sassy halter top or a studded vest or something. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and desperately wanted to be a part of such a hip movement, so I begged my mom to buy me a sewing machine. After a lot of obnoxious pleading, she obliged, and I was soon stitching pink satin ribbon ruching into the sides of every heinous Goodwill shirt I could get my little high school hands on. It was just adorable.

Like many of my adolescent hobbies, my t-shirt surgery phase was not terribly long-lived. But! I still have my sewing machine, and I still use it. Except now, I cut up throw pillows instead of neon XXL shirts that say “Dad’s It and That’s That.”

This pillow is from West Elm. I bought it because I liked the pattern and it was on clearance, but it was larger than all my other throw pillows, and it was stiff and uncomfortable.

Blue throw pillow before surgery - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

This one is from One Kings Lane. I love the watercolor look and the colors. But again, it was stuffed with poly fill, which I’m just not into.

Throw pillow surgery - the before - by Glitter and Goat Cheese

I felt brave a couple weeks ago, so I decided it was time to put my surgeon’s mask back on. The first step to dismantling a fabric item is to rip the seams open with – you guessed it – a seam ripper.

How to rip open a pillow seam - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

It was unbelievable how much poly fill was stuffed into these pillows. I pulled it out and saved it for a rainy day. It’s currently taking up a lot of space in two garbage bags in my office closet.

I wanted to make two pillow covers from each existing pillow, so I bought some basic Kona cotton in solid contrasting colors from Joann. The colors were good, but the fabric was a bit thin, so I lined it with white muslin.

It’s generally a good idea to make your pillow covers a little smaller than the inserts so that they’re not loose and saggy. I made mine 19″x19″. For this size, you need a 20″x20″ square for the front, and two 13″x20″ pieces from the back. That gives you an extra 3″ on each back piece for the overlap. My Kona cotton and muslin were 44″ wide, so I only needed half a yard of each per pillow.

Cutting overlapping back pieces for envelope throw pillow - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

As long as you’re making a cover that’s the same size or smaller than your original pillow, you should have plenty of pretty fabric to cut your front square. Just be careful with that seam ripper!

After I cut my fabric, I pressed, pinned and sewed a half-inch hem on one long side of each 13″x20″ piece. You want the fabric to look nice where it’s going to overlap. A seam gauge is your best buddy for the pressing and pinning part.

Ironing a throw pillow seam allowance - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Sewing an envelope throw pillow seam - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Then, I laid my pretty 20″x20″ piece of fabric face-up, and laid the two hemmed 13″x20″ face-down on top of it.

Making an envelope pillow cover - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Next, I sewed all the way around the square, leaving a half-inch seam allowance on each side. (That’s how you get the finished product to 19″x19″.) This part is easy, so don’t be a dummy/sloppy sewer like me and let this happen.

Twisted envelope pillow cover - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

You’ll also notice that I don’t have a full half-inch on every side, because I didn’t cut a perfect square. Did I mention I’m not great at this?

Let’s just switch colors and look at one of the pillows I didn’t screw up, OK? (For the record, even if you do make this mistake, you won’t be able to tell once the pillow cover is turned inside-out. So don’t worry ’bout it.)

So anyway, the back should look like this.

Envelope cushion cover - by Glitter and Goat Cheese

And the front will look like this.

Envelope pillow cover - by Glitter and Goat Cheese

Don’t forget to sew back and forth a few times at each corner to make sure they’re super-strong.

I like to cut the excess fabric off with pinking shears to avoid fraying.

Sewn envelope pillow cover - via Glitter and Goat Cheese

Then, you just turn the whole thing inside-out, using a chopstick to poke out the corners if necessary, and shove your pillow insert into it. (I always buy the Ikea Fjadrar down inserts for $6.99. And I don’t want to know how they get those feathers, so please don’t tell me.) Easy!

Completed blue watercolor envelope throw pillow by Glitter and Goat Cheese

Updated blue graphic throw pillow by Glitter and Goat Cheese

I actually think I like them better with the contrasting solid on the back, instead of the pattern on both sides.

Completed envelope throw pillow cover by Glitter and Goat Cheese

So now, because they have down inserts, they’re super soft and comfy, and I can finally karate chop them. I like doing that. Don’t judge me.

Completed colorful envelope throw pillows by Glitter and Goat Cheese

Plus, I have a matching pair of each, which really calms my inner crazy person.

Updated throw pillows by Glitter and Goat Cheese

Ahhh, symmetry.

Speaking of my inner crazy person, please don’t look at my icky sofas or my carpet. I’m super self-conscious about how gross they are. Just humor me and DON’T LOOK.

Would you ever cut up a throw pillow just to sew it back together again? Or am I a total whack job?