...because home doesn't happen overnight.

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Recently, I’ve had several readers contact me about the globe lights that are suspended above the kitchen island. I thought it would be helpful to address the questions in a post since others might have similar queries. The lights are the 11″ clear globe pendants from West Elm. I love how they punctuate the island. Since purchasing them 3 years ago, they’re now available in a larger size (14″) and a different finish (milk finish with antique brass base).

One of the most popular questions I receive regarding the lights are “How do you clean them?” A few times a year, I give them a deep cleaning. Here’s what I do…

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1 – I carefully remove the glass globes and clean them one at a time. The globe separates from the base with the twist of two screws. A screwdriver isn’t necessary.

2 – I place the globe in a plastic laundry basket in the kitchen sink to keep it from rolling into the sink or countertop and shattering. (You could do the same thing in a tub if your sink isn’t large enough.) *BONUS* – It cleans your laundry basket at the same time! #twobirdsonestone

3 – Using a microfiber cloth, I wash the globe, inside and out, with warm water and dish soap to remove grease and dust.

4 – I rinse the globe, inside and out, with warm water. I dry the globe with a streak-free, lint-free cloth.

FYI – My grandma, who is the queen of clean, gifted me the microfiber and streak-free cloths several years ago. THEY ARE THE BOMB. Especially the white ones. I use them to clean windows (house & car), mirrors, the TV screen, the computer screen, etc. I don’t use any cleaner – just water! And they’re reusable which makes them eco-friendly and cost-effective. I’ve had mine for 5+ years. They are machine washable – just be sure to avoid fabric softener!

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To clean the bases, I use just a tad of Bar Keepers Friend (less than $2) with water on one of the green microfiber cloths. I’m careful not to scrub so hard that I leave scratches. Rinse well. It works like a charm. I use it to clean the canopies (seen on the ceiling in the reflection), too. I have to stand on a counter stool on the island in order to reach them but, hey, whatever works. Sorry, no circus act photos ;)

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I slip the globe back on the base, tighten the screws and, voilà, a crystal clear light! Here you can see the difference between a dirty (on the left) and clean (on the right) globe. World. Of. Difference.

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I should probably do it more often but I average ~4 of these deep cleanings per year. On a more regular basis, I wipe the globes down with vinegar + water on one of the green microfiber cloths then follow up with a little water on a streak-free cloth.

I’m always afraid I’m going to break one of the lights when I’m removing / cleaning them. Every time I clean them I think, “I should order a replacement…just in case…while they’re still available.” But I never do.

Everett came home from school after I cleaned the lights this week and said, “Hey! You got new shiny lights!” That same night Steve was all “Whoa. These lights are extra bright.” Yep, they were that dirty.

Any deep cleaning going on at your house this month?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

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That image is one I shared when I painted the dining room / mudroom for the THIRD time. I’ve made some progress since then {a new table, a new rug, a DIY succulent centerpiecea cozy window nook, etc.} but have always envisioned discreet yellow artwork occupying the wall space between the wardrobe and french doors.

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And there she blows. She’s yellow and dainty and perfect. Exactly what I had in mind.

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It’s Swirl by the ever popular and insanely talented Clare Elsaesser. I popped the giclee print into one of my favorite walnut frames. I love how the natural wood tones of the frame and the bright yellow of the print look against the dark wall.

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The piece has a lonely and mysterious vibe so I thought it fitting to hang it by itself on a sliver of wall in a room with two other gallery displays. I find myself staring at this new stranger wistfully throughout the day.

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Also, I brought my outdoor planter inside to save it from the frost. Technically, HH brought it inside but whatever. I don’t know what I’m more proud of: remembering to bring it in or the fact that I transplanted these babies and kept them alive all summer? I wasn’t sure where to put it but I quite like the planter here. It receives good light and is mostly out of the way. If these plants live to see spring, I’ll consider it a miracle.

Me + living green stuff usually = dead brown stuff.

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Hanging new art motivated me to finally fill up a few empty / temporarily filled frames in the gallery wall. {The jade plant was an outdoor plant that I recently brought inside as well. Finding spots for all of these LIVING outdoor plants is a problem I’ve never encountered before!} I marked them with starbursts above.

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What’s better than one really great Clare Elsaesser print? Two really great Clare Elsaesser prints, of course. I was so happy with the first piece that I ordered a second one, Watching Trees. The mini green leaves are from Amelia Kay and the abstract looking piece under them is just a page I tore out of Martha Stewart Living. I think it’s actually a photograph of different salts but I was drawn to the colors and textures so up on the wall it went.

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No more empty frames on the gallery wall! But that’s not to say I won’t switch things up whenever I feel the itch which happens often and causes HH to imagine cuckoos circling my head.

Oh! And the lightbulb in the dining pendant…I’ve received so many questions about it! We found it here and it’s the largest lightbulb we have ever owned. HH and I are all for saving the world with CFL’s but neither of us can stand the harsh blue light that some of them cast. We have CFL’s in other fixtures but we wanted this room to have a nice warm white light to eat by and the bulb needed to be shapely since it’s visible through the wrought iron pendant. This oversized globe bulb was the best we could find. Any suggestions for CFL’s that give off a warm white glow and are pretty to look at?

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That’s the latest and greatest on the dining area. I’m anxiously awaiting the tulip chair seat cushions to return from the upholsterer. If they turn out anything like the image I have in my head, they are going to be awesome. Can’t wait to share!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

11.28.12 / Well Hung

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. It was also my birthday. It was also the day HH hung a bunch of stuff in our house. He knows me all too well. I’ll take home decor projects over traditional birthday gifts anytime.

We finally added curtains to the picture window in the family room. It’s an improvement. What hasn’t improved is my ability to shoot directly into a window.

The curtain panels are from West Elm and you can find them here. I bought them over a year ago when they were on sale with free shipping and I had a stash of gift cards. The rod that West Elm suggests using with the panels doesn’t come long enough to work with our large window. Ideally, I was wanting a plain matte black curtain rod with enough thickness to it to hold its own above the big window. I finally found this less expensive simple rod that fits our window but the diameter doesn’t allow for the curtain rings to slide over.

I resorted to buying two $7 packs of metal shower curtains rings from Meijer to hang the curtains. I actually don’t mind the ring on ring action. It feels casual and undone. If I ever tire of the look, there’s enough length to the panels for me to remove the tabs & rings and sew a rod pocket into the top. By then, maybe our kid/guest bathroom will be complete and I can use the shower curtain rings in there??

One day we’ll add some textured woven blinds to fill the gap between the top of the window and the curtain rod. I’m thinking I’ll probably have to buy two or three narrower blinds to extend the full width of the window as a single blind that size would be crazy expensive and might sag. I’m also going to woo HH into building a window seat bench with open cubbies in it for toy and book storage. Or I might go all Ana White and bust it out myself. I keep asking HH to show me where all his tools are and how to use them but he keeps doing everything for me. I think he’s afraid I’ll mess it up. Which is highly possible. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world, would it? I should totally start wielding some power tools.

The curtain panel on the right is doing one of my favorite curtain tricks: hiding the big a$$ subwoofer on the floor. My feelings towards this piece of home entertainment equipment are similar to my feelings towards the surround sound speakers in/on the wall. As long as HH keeps hanging stuff for me, I’ll keep covering up his ugly speakers. Hehe.

Love the narrow ivory frame around the panels. You could DIY something like this with inexpensive gray curtains from IKEA by hot gluing narrow ribbon along the edges or even painting the narrow frame around the panels. In fact, you should do this. Don’t be lazy like me.

HH assembled and installed this shoe cabinet next to the front door months ago. I don’t speak of it because we don’t use it yet. Our original front door is, well, original and still out of order. Once we start accessing the house through the front door, this slim cabinet is going to be all the rage. Last week, I was feeling brave and ventured up into the attic to rescue the capiz mirror. It’s from a Ballard Designs outlet near Cincy and it used to live in the master bedroom of our previous house. It’s found a new home in our new old home. I love seeing the reflection of the kitchen in it.

Eventually, we’ll hang something on the other side of the window to balance out the mirror on the left. Not necessarily a round mirror though. That would be too matchy.

HH also hung a light over the dining table. Surprise! It’s the Hoyne pendant and it’s pretty much the most amazing light ever. We had purchased a really inexpensive FOTO pendant from IKEA and spray painted it matte black. HH had been trying to install it for months with no success due to a missing bracket part that IKEA was refusing to send us and HH was fuming over the idea of having to go buy one. After the snafu, I realized the solid pendant probably wasn’t a great choice for the room. The dining table needs direct light and the FOTO would have provided that but the rest of the room also needs lit. The ceiling light is the main artificial light source in the mudroom. There is a small can light in the laundry nook but it doesn’t provide enough lighting for the rest of the room.

This pricier pendant is the result of a new collaboration in the works {I can’t divulge all the details yet!} and it was my inspiration light. It’s the light I was dreaming would live in our dining room/mudroom and if I’d have had $350 burning a hole in my pocket I would have snatched it up before now. With the open weave of the Hoyne, the rest of the room recevies light – not just the dining table. The shadows that the light casts onto the ceiling at night are beautiful! And I like how the pendant lets natural light from the window and the french doors pass through.

Did you notice a change in the location of the dining table? When we moved, we thought we’d like to have the table over by the sofa for a casual place to eat. But after living with our mudroom/dining room for a while now, we’ve found that placing the table in the center of the room works better. We toss mail on it when we come in. I fold laundry on it sometimes. It’s multipurpose. Of course, we still need chairs around the table but having the table in the middle of the room makes the room flow so much better and keeps all the big furniture from tilting the visual weight of the room to one side. It reminds me of those fancy entries you see in magazines where there’s a big pedestal table gracing the middle of the foyer.

The sofa is staying put but I’m going to make a slipcover for it. And add pillows. Ahhhhh. Pillows.

So stuff is happening here. Slowly but surely. It’s starting to look and feel more like home with each tweak.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking