Giveaway!! Recycled Sail Bag from Beehive Design @ Etsy

The giveaway has ended. Thanks so much for entering!

As a thank you to all our readers who nominated us for an Apartment Therapy Homie award and as a welcome to our new readers we're giving away a bag made from recycled sails from our etsy shop for the very first time ($125 value). Here she is:
To enter leave a comment here telling us which of the gazillion nominated blogs is your new favorite (the entire list is on the A.T. site, but unfortunately they're not all linked, so you'll have to consult our friend Google to find all the nominated blogs.)

Plus, get up to four extra entries for each of the following:
1. Cast a vote for the Homies Home Design award at Apartment Therapy (there are some great nominees and you don't have to vote for us, but of course we'd love it if you do!)
2. Re-post the giveaway on your blog
3. Become a follower or subscribe to ourlittlebeehive.com in using the "subscribe" or "follow" links
4. Post a link to this giveaway on your Facebook page or tweet a link from your Twitter account

Just come back and leave a separate comment for each entry. If you blog about the giveaway, please put the link to your blog post in your comment so we can stop by and say hi.

Contest ends Sunday, February 6 at 6pm EST. Winner will be announced on Monday, February 7. One sail bag with a green star will be sent via USPS to the winner selected by random.org. Please make sure to leave your email address in the comment field or check back on Monday to see if you've won!

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Revealing our Winter Bedroom

Please take a moment to vote for Our Little Beehive for an Apartment Therapy 2011 Homies Award.

Since we moved into our little beehive a year ago, our bedroom has been a work in progress, and it's certainly been anything but master. It's funny how often I hear of people updating guest rooms and barely-used reading rooms before finally moving on to the room where they spend a third of their days, albeit with their eyes closed. And of course we fell into the same trap with our "master" bedroom. We can hardly call it a master since we only have one bathroom in our entire house and the closet barely fits half of S's clothes, but we've finally made a few updates to make it a bit more presentable.

I like to change rooms for the seasons; moving furniture, swapping carpets, and of course changing the few trinkets and tchotchka sparingly arranged throughout our hive, so this is our version of the winter bedroom.

Before S and I were married, or even knew each other, he purchased several carpets from a dealer in Bahrain with whom his dad had become friendly with over the years (and by friendly, I mean there's a photo of S's dad holding his Amex on the shop's wall). I'm not a fan of the busy patterns of most oriental rugs, I like simple, clean lines. But I compromised and agreed when we merged our stuff that when we turned our clocks back in the fall, I'd also consider introducing a carpet to our bedroom. I don't think I've admitted this to S, but I do love the way this particular carpet warms our bedroom in winter. I guess I just let the cat out of the bag.
And since I love a little something unique, I threw a couple of sheep down on either side of the bed. 
I've wanted a sheepskin rug since I was 14 and we spent two weeks in New Zealand where sheepskin rugs were sold in all the tourist trap stores. My parents brought home a four-sheep rug that I've coveted ever since, even though I'm one of those people who can barely eat meat without crying. I had high hopes of stealing their sheep when I discovered it stashed under their bed a few years ago. But they've since brought it to their mountain cabin, where it fits perfectly with the papery white bark accents of the "birch" room and its hand-turned bed made entirely of bark-still-on tree trunks and branches. So with all chances of stealing a rug aside, I snatched a pair of our own sheep at Ikea this fall. Which the Feens promptly claimed as his own.

I suppose this is yet another reason to be grateful that we have a dog who doesn't shed. Or chew. I adore the sheep; they're so nice to me when I get up in the middle of the night in our 56 degree house.

In the summer we have teal drum lampshades on our bedside lamps, which I love for the summer, but don't go well with S's carpet or the creamy sheep at all. So I pulled out these cream colored silk shades that I bought on clearance from Pottery Barn several years ago and were sitting, neglected on a shelf in the basement.
We moved the CB2 Eden pendant, which I had hardwired in the little room back when it was an office, into our room where a god-awful ceiling fan that I cannot believe was ever in style, once dominated the ceiling. At first I wanted a chandelier with modern, shimmery glass beads hanging all around, but S and I couldn't agree on a fixture or price.We were standing in the upstairs hallway a few weeks ago when S suggested that we just move the fixture from the little room into our bedroom. Brilliant. Plus, it made room for the funky pendant that we recently hung in the little room.
Our headboard is the foot board of a sleigh bed that has been thoroughly abused during countless moves in its lifetime. I want the Cynthia storage bed from Pottery Barn,which costs just about as much as the materials for our addition of a bathroom in the basement will run, and will definitely not be making its way into our house unless we win the lottery or we stop buying groceries and eating all together. So I covered our footboard-headboard with a super quick and easy fix that I'll post about this week, and stuck a few inexpensive, plastic storage drawers from the Container Store under the bed. Not the same as the Cynthia, but functional for now and the savings means we can continue to post Saturday Supper recipes instead of blogging about the latest flavor of Ramen noodles.

Above the bed and the dresser, we hung a few prints of black & white photos I took in the orchid room at the National Botanical Gardens in the same large frames from Ikea that we used for our wedding photos. The frames are kind of a pain to get perfectly even because their hanging wires are at different heights, but this tutorial shows how we got these two perfectly even with each other.

And finally, I sewed valances for the two windows from white matelasse fabric I bought online. We had originally hung long white curtains high above the windows only to discover that I risked ripping the curtains and their rod from the wall each time I passed them on my way to my side of the bed. Plus, the window by S's closet is flush with the wall so the curtain on that side of the window couldn't open all the way and blocked quite a bit of light. I liked the look of the long, floor-length curtains, but our room was just too small to support them. I love these little valances in comparison to the just-the-wood-blinds look we've been sporting for a while, they look kind of like bonnets for the windows. And they really could not have been easier to sew or hang: just a couple of straight seams and a cheap valance bracket from the Depot.

We're still on the hunt for a winter duvet since our old gray flannel one seems too dark and dreary in the small space; definitely not the feeling one wants to conjure when the beautiful afternoon light lasts for about twenty minutes before disappearing before four.

I have a few bedding options bookmarked right now. First, we need this pillow from Pottery Barn, which does not work with the teal dots of our summer duvet, but could work well with the winter rug making it our winter accent. I plan to buy the bee version in dark blue as soon as possible, before the snow outside starts to melt and I start contemplating rolling the winter rug back up for storage.
 (image from Pottery Barn)

West Elm is having a sale on duvets right now and I'm considering these three: the pintuck, square tuck, and matelasse, all in white. I like to switch duvets twice a year, it keeps things from getting boring and in the long run I think it saves money to have a rotating fresh look every six months. At least that's what I tell myself.
I can't decide which one we should buy for this room and I may have to buy the bee pillow and all three duvets to try out before deciding. The detail of the matelasse could work with the matelasse valances, but it's a totally different stitch pattern so my heart's not set on it. Which is your favorite duvet? Or do you have a favorite white duvet from somewhere else? I'd love to hear your opinion before I hit "buy" or trek over to the mall.

And just as a point of reference, this is how our bedroom looked when we bought the house (with the previous owner's furniture since we don't seem to have any photos of this room from during the first few weeks after we moved in.) It had darkish green walls and ancient roller shades with fabric trim that was ripping off and which would just kind of disintegrate when you touched their edges.
And here's a shot a month after we moved in, after we painted the room gray, chopped off the frou-frou bottoms of the roller shades and when I started to remove the ceiling fan, thinking  for a hot second that I could cover up the fixture with a cheap shade and make it look slightly better. Uh, nope, just as bad in a whole different way.
Much better now, no?

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Saturday Supper: Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

Please take a moment to vote for Our Little Beehive for an Apartment Therapy 2011 Homies Award.

I can't believe it's Saturday already. This week flew by, which is fine by me since I live for the weekends when we can tackle the big projects. I have such a backlog of stuff to tell you about (not the least of which is a little winter update to our bedroom that I'm dying to share) that I could probably take an entire weekend to just blog. But those brown basement steps are calling my name and I just happen to have a can of floor paint sitting right here on my desk that I must put to good use. Enough of the project talk already, let's get on to the good Saturday stuff....

Have you seen the new (new-to-us at least) College Inn culinary broths? I spotted the Thai Coconut Curry flavor in the international foods aisle at our supermarket a few weeks ago and have made soup at least four times with it since. I'm addicted to this stuff and the best part is, it's a super simple one-pot meal that's ready in 20 minutes. I suppose it's not exactly making soup from scratch, but it's close enough and really, who cares when it tastes this good?

Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
serves at least 3
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c. carrots, shaved with a vegetable peeler (preferred), or chopped in thin rounds
2 t. fresh ginger root, grated
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 - 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. canola oil
1 package baked chuka soba noodles, we use these
1 carton College Inn Thai Coconut Curry culinary broth
2 T. lime juice
1 - 14 oz. can light coconut milk
Add a pound of peeled, uncooked, large shrimp to the first step for a heartier soup. Move on to step 2 when the shrimp have just started to turn pink and are still mostly uncooked or you'll risk overcooking them in the broth.

1. In a large sauce pan cook onion, ginger, curry powder and red pepper flakes in the canola oil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. If you're using chopped rounds of carrots add them during this step.

2. Add shaved carrots (see note above about chopped carrot rounds), broth, noodles and lime juice, bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat, and simmer until noodles are tender, about 7 minutes.
4. Stir in coconut milk and heat through

Serve with lime wedges, a spoon and a fork.

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Updated Tour of Our Little Beehive

We just posted a much-needed update to our Hive tour. Stop by and check out the newest photos!
p.s. please take a moment to vote for Our Little Beehive for an Apartment Therapy 2011 Homies Award.

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Friday Feature: Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

Each Friday we feature a favorite artist, blogger or project. Please contact us if you know an artist or blogger doing something super creative who you think should be featured here.

Hi there from up here on cloud 9. We're just so honored to be up for a Homie award at Apartment Therapy among so many lovely blogs. And the new blogs I've found to read!? Oh the to-do list is in serious danger of being neglected! Welcome to our new readers, we're so happy to have you.

Now that it's finally Friday again, it's time to introduce you to someone other that us. This week we're really excited to share a piece of art by Buzzy Trusiani, a very cool Californian surfer/lawyer, former sculpture artist for Warner Bros. and Disney Galleries who owns a juice bar in Portland, Maine. I know, pretty cool resume, no? And juice during the Maine winters? This guy is feeding a juice revolution and while the girls juice up a storm behind the counter, Buzzy is in front with the customers, paint brush in hand. Totally different paintbrush than ours.

Recently Buzzy gave us this painting as a wedding gift:

Fenway park in Boston, home of the Red Sox. The painting comes complete with the Citgo and John Hancock signs, but instead of the Volvo and Sports Authority advertisements from the park, Buzzy personalized the billboards with "Feeney" and "Lexi" (my dogs' names).

In the bottom corner, he added two black dogs in the stands wearing red and blue collars:
I love that this painting looks into the park from the perspective of the ledge where I sat during the countless games S and I attended while I was in law school and he lived in Florida. I studied for bar exams on that ledge, which I suppose means I didn't really watch the games so intently nor study so diligently, but do love a game at Fenway. S would fly a small plane to Boston for the weekend and we'd go to as many games as possible, buying last minute standing-room only tickets. This painting brings back great memories for us.

Buzzy's juice bar, the Maine Squeeze, serves as a gallery with his work on constant rotation. If you're ever in the area, you must stop by at 5 1/2 Moulton Street to say hello. Have a smoothie and tell him F&S from Our Little Beehive sent you. And in the meantime stop by and check out Buzzy's new etsy shop.

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Oh My Goodness - Please Vote for Us

I'm in shock. Absolute shock. We made it to the voting round for Apartment Therapy's 2011 Homies Award.

Please take a moment to vote for Our Little Beehive.
Super easy instructions this time:
Click the link above, scroll past the nominees' logos and click on the button to vote for Our Little Beehive, hit submit. 
If you don't have an Apartment Therapy account then follow these directions:
1. Scroll to the voting section, just past the nominees' logos
2. Click "sign in" if you have an A.T. account or click "register" if you don't
3. Register your email address and remember your password
4. Go to your email account and click on the "verify email address" link
5. Click back on the Apartment Therapy Homie nominations link
6. Scroll to the voting section, just past the nominees' logos
7. Sign in with your new account - your email address and that password you're remembering
8.  Vote for Our Little Beehive

We'll be running a sail bag giveaway in the coming days to show our thanks for your nominations.

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Repairing a Big 'Ole Hole in the Wall

Months ago with the help of my dad we properly grounded an outlet in the kitchen that had failed our initial home inspection. It took us months to get to the project because the junction box leading to the outlet was hidden behind drywall. I'm pretty sure that violates code everywhere, and even if it doesn't it's a huge PIA when someone down the line tries to make a change or in this case, fix what wasn't done properly in the first place. It literally took days of searching, moving the stove, drilling test holes just large enough to stick a tiny mirror in, etc. until we finally bit the bullet and cut a hole in wall of the hallway behind the kitchen wall where the outlet was located. Thankfully we found the hidden junction box, but unfortunately we were left with a big hole to repair.
We did our best to smooth out the edges of the hole and then carefully measured the width and height of the hole, noting the size of the space taken by the new outlet serving as our junction box. Then we cut a piece of drywall (available at the Depot in a 2'x2' patch-friendly size) to fit the hole.
Using drywall screws, screw the big patch into place, making sure that you've noted where the studs are are staying VERY clear of any wires. You'll see in the first photo that we put a metal plate in front of where a previous electrician ran a few wires through a stud to protect them from anyone drilling around here in the future.
Get your supplies together; you'll need drywall joint tape, premixed joint compound and a 2-3" spackling knife.
Apply drywall tape along the seam between the wall and the patch to give your joint compound something to adhere to. We used this, from the Depot:
Using a 2 - 3" spackling knife glop on some joint compound, smoothing from the seam to the wall and from the seam onto the patch. You'll want to cover the weave of the joint tape, but not have huge globs of joint compound on the wall. Keep in mind you'll need to sand the whole area down and sanding makes a mess, so less is more. Huge globs:
Huge globs smoothed out to minimize the sanding later:
When the joint compound is fully dry, lightly sand the entire area all the way out onto the walls and into the patch. Sanding is incredibly messy. I usually use the back side of a damp, well squeezed-out scrubbing sponge (ya know, the kind from the kitchen sink that has a sponge on one side and a scrubby side on the other), which does a great job at keeping down the dust. If you're not afraid of a ton of dust that permeates everything, then go ahead and use a sanding block.
If the wall-to-patch seam isn't as smooth as you would like it to be after sanding, go ahead and repeat the previous steps to get a nice smooth and seamless patch before pulling out the touch-up paint.
Paint the whole area, making sure to go much further beyond the patch to help integrate the new paint with the older paint. If it's been a while since you first painted the area the color may not match anymore and you may have to paint the entire wall. Bummer. It's been less than a year since we painted this wall so we were able to get away with just painting the lower portion and kind of whiskering the paint along the far edges of the painted area.
I took this photo when the paint was still wet, so you can still see the patched area. Our plaster walls are a tad thicker than the drywall available at the depot so we had to build out the area a touch to make the patch work. In a newer home, the stock sized patches would fit the thickness of the wall right off the shelf. Like I've said over and over, nothing fits our 1941 house (nothing including my clothes in the closets)!

While I had the joint compound out, I also patched up a few holes in our bedroom walls.
They were leftover from when we hung long white curtains only to realize that the room is too small for long flowy curtains and I risked ripping them from the wall every time I squeezed past them on my way to my side of the bed. See, I told you it's hard to find stuff to fit our 1941 house!

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Turquoise Wins Inside the Closet & Built-Ins

We left off the little room updating project with the new, funky pendant installed and a bunch of paint swatches still sitting, uneaten on the chair while I waited for the elephant fabric to arrive.
It tuns out that the elephant fabric is more blue like the fleece blanket draped over the chair, it almost matches exactly. I held everything to the swatches on the chair and narrowed my choices down to "true turquoise" and "periwinkle," which are the center swatch and the one just to its right, here:
I love periwinkle. Love it. But my love is a little too evident in this room since the blanket and the blue elephant fabric are both periwinkle and I wanted a little something to match the polka dot fabric, which still has no set purpose in the room, yet. So I went with my initial vision for the room and dove into turquoise. I was tempted to take it two shades lighter, but decided that since I was painting the inside of a closet and the back of a bookshelf I could afford to go bold.

So I took a trip over to the Depot after work on Friday and picked up a quart of Behr premium paint color matched to Glidden's True Turquoise. While I was waiting for my paint I spotted a paint sprayer on clearance for $49. I snatched that up too with the hope that it will make the whole sealing the fence project a little more manageable this spring since I conveniently put it off until the temps dipped below 50 degrees last fall. Oops. Anyway, as soon as I got home I put my painting T-shirt over my fleece jacket (we keep the house cold), queued up an audio book on my iPhone, grabbed my trusty little cutting-in brush, and got to work.
This really is a great brush for cutting-in without tape, which is the only way we cut-in around here. Somehow the short little handle means less cramped hands and more precise lines.

It was a little shocking to see the first bit of paint go up on the wall. Remember, this is the house where the palest grays and seafoam greens don every wall. Where ceilings have an every so slight tint of blueish gray and I call them painted "with color." This, was a shock:
But when I stepped back into the room and peered into the little closet I was totally hooked. So I continued on cutting in all around the edges of the closet, along the ceiling, the door, the moldings. And then I moved on to the bookshelf, removing one loose shelf (they're nailed in place) and carefully cutting in behind all the others as best I could. I painted the wall behind the floor-to-ceiling shelves entirely by hand with the 2" brush. It reminded me of when I painted the office ceiling with a 2" brush, twice. And then since my hand was getting tired of painting with a brush, and  even though I didn't feel like dirtying another brush that I'd have to clean, I pulled out a roller to finish the closet walls. It only took one coat to cover the walls well. It's my second time using the Behr premium paint that is a paint and primer in one and I'm happy with it. Benjamin Moore's Aura wins my heart over every day of the week, but Behr is a good, less expensive alternative.

It took me longer to rinse and wash the roller brush than it did for me to roll the paint on in the closet. Does anyone else wash their rollers? I get so many uses out of the Aura rollers that I just can't justify not cleaning them. Side note, if you do decide to start cleaning your rollers, after you think it's fully clean do a final rinse with vinegar; it gets the last of the paint out. Do the same with your brushes for that matter and then give them all a little rise with water to finish off.

In the morning when the paint was dry I put our baskets and books back on the shelves, packed away the wedding books that I haven't looked at since our wedding, and pulled out just a couple elephants from my collection. I really do like the way it came out, it's very fun.
This side of the room isn't visible from the hallway so I find myself popping into the little room just to take a peek at the turquoise walls. Next I'll be contemplating the elephant fabric and how I'd like to use it. I could cover the Ikea Poang chair with elephants, make curtains, etc. I'm having the curtain debate with myself in this room similar to our master: if I make floor length curtains then the small room suddenly becomes a lot smaller, or I could make short, crisp valances to top off the windows, which would take up far less valuable floor space and wouldn't be elephant overkill (if I used the elephant fabric). Decisions, decisions. What would you do?

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Tuesday Treats: Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Otherwise known as a little piece of heaven for those of us who looooove the combo made famous by Reese's. I have had requests to make this cupcake/frosting combo no less than three times in the past six months, which just happens to be the exact amount of time that S's younger brother, also a pilot, has been overseas on a deployment. Several not-so-subtle hints were dropped that a batch of these tasty treats would make his day if they happened to appear during his visit home this past weekend. These cupcakes happen to have the most delicious bowl-licking batter so I was more than happy to oblige.
This chocolate cupcake recipe also happens to be the recipe we used when my mom and I baked all the cupcakes to serve at our wedding. S and I tested a dozen chocolate recipes before settling on this one; it's simply the best chocolate cake ever and a wonder I fit into my wedding dress.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting
3 dozen cupcakes or two 10-inch round layers

3 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 c. hot strongly brewed coffee
3 c. sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
3/4 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. buttermilk, shaken
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch processed
2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (for 10 inch layers, preheat to 300 degrees), line 36 cupcake tins with paper liners
1. Combine hot coffee and semi-sweet chocolate, stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth
2. With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
3. Add vanilla and coffee/chocolate mixture
4. With mixer on low, slowly stream in oil
5. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, using a whisk to remove any lumps
6. Add dry ingredients to the sugar/chocolate mixture, alternating with buttermilk, ending with an addition of buttermilk. Mix until smooth. If necessary use the whisk attachment to smooth out any lumps. Batter will be very thin
7. Pour batter into prepared cupcake tins no more than 2/3 full (or divide equally among two 10inch round pans). I find that decanting batter into a glass pyrex measuring cup with a spout works very well and is less messy than trying to pour from the bowl.
8. Bake cupcakes for 18 - 20 minutes (or cake rounds for 60-70 minutes), until centers spring back when touched or a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs.

Cool in pans for a few minutes then remove and cool completely on racks before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Recipe should be doubled to frost all 3 dozen cupcakes, we usually mix a few different frosting flavors for each batch of cupcakes, which is why you can see vanilla frosting on a few of the cupcakes in the photos.

3/4 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 T. vanilla
3 c. confectioners' sugar
3 T. milk

1. With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, beat butter and peanut butter until smooth
2. Add confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and alternating with vanilla and milk. You might not have to use all 3T of milk if the frosting reaches a smooth spreading consistency without it
3. Scrape down sides and beat until smooth and fluffy, adding more milk if needed. Don't over-mix the frosting, just enough to get a fluffy consistency
4. Divide equally among the cupcakes and spread with a small spatula.

Cupcake recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and peanut butter frosting from How to Eat a Cupcake.

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More Info on the Homies Nominations

Apparently nominating a blog for a Homie award at Apartment Therapy is a little more involved than I thought. They're trying to make sure each nomination is legit so you have to log-in before placing a nomination in the comments section. NOMINATIONS MUST BE IN BY TUESDAY!
Head on over to Apartment Therapy and nominate Our Little Beehive.

Click on the Apartment Therapy link
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page
Click "sign in" if you have an A.T. account or click "register" if you don't
Register your email address and remember your password
Go to your email account and click on the "verify email address" link
Click back on the Apartment Therapy Homie nominations link
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page again
Sign in with your new account - your email address and that password you're remembering
Type in the following in the comment box:
Name: Our Little Beehive
URL: http://www.ourlittlebeehive.com

Sit back and enjoy the good karma for doing a favor today.

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Tutorial: Hardwiring a Plug-in Light (for the {Neurotic Dog's} Little Room)

I left my paint chips lined up on the chair in the little room while I waited for the elephant fabric to arrive. Leaving pieces of paper out in Feeney's room is like playing with fire since the whole reason he has his own room is because he goes nuts whenever we leave him alone and will eat whatever paper he can find. And paper towels? Forget it. He doesn't have to be nutty to eat paper towels; leave a paper towel on the coffee table and you had better not blink.
(fabric swatches from fabric.com)
Much to my surprise the one time I left Feeney alone in his room for an hour this week he didn't eat the paint samples. Of course he probably didn't see them since he spent most of that time annihilating three large padded shipping envelopes that someone took out of the closet when she was clearing out all the office supplies and happened to leave them on top of the dresser. Two of the envelopes were gone, expected to make a re-appearance in a few days and the third was in tiny little confetti pieces all over the floor. So yeah, the dog needs his own room and for heaven's sake can I not forget to paper-loving-dog-proof the room even in the middle of a project!?

This post wasn't supposed to be about our TOTALLY NEUROTIC dog (who, in reality, is a giant pony-sized love bug 99% of the time), we actually have a very cool project to share while I wait for the elephant fabric to arrive.

You may recall that when this room was my office for a hot second I removed a ceiling fan and installed CB2's Eden pendant. A few weeks ago, just after a trip to Ikea we took down that pendant and moved it to the master bedroom, which is a whole other post to share someday soon. The purpose of that Ikea trip was to find a funky new pendant for the little room. Ya know, for the dog to enjoy. (I'm joking, but seriously who am I to call the dog neurotic?) I bought two, which of course meant I had to go back to Ikea to return the reject, which is never a bad thing. The winner was the Knappa pendant, which looks kind of like a funky flower thing.
Unfortunately the pendant had a few things not working in its favor: 1. it's a plug-in light and we wanted to hard-wire it to a wall switch and; 2. S thought it was a little frou-frou. Problem two was solved when I pulled out option two:

And S darn near had a heart attack. Option one is a whole lot less frou-frou next to that ball of frou, no? Problem one was fixed with a cheap-o ceiling cap and some wire cutters. It's an even less expensive (downright cheap) way to hardwire a plug-in light than we used when we hardwired the CB2 Eden pendent. Lucky for you, S agreed to let me photograph every single little step so you can do the same. And by "agreed to let me" I really mean that he agreed to repeat every single step for me to photograph so I could provide a quick tutorial since the first time around he closed the door to the room and surprised me with a fully installed light fifteen minutes later.

Let me start by saying we don't have grounding wires everywhere in our house, so we usually ground to the metal junction box or a grounding screw, it varies by fixture. Similarly this particular pendant does not have a ground line since the fat side of the plug is the grounding side. We're not going to simultaneously stand in a puddle of water while propped on a stool and touch the light fixture. We suggest you don't either. We also have a properly wired wall switch, which means that in the "off" position there is no power reaching the fixture, so as long as we change the bulbs with the switch "off" we should be ok. For all legal purposes this is an educational tutorial and we won't take any responsibility if you hack up a light and make a mistake along the way. We're comfortable with electricity and have our work double-checked, if you are not comfortable please proceed at your own risk, follow the original plan we had when we originally hard-wired the CB2 Eden pendant, or hire an electrician. If you want to use a grounded fixture, we suggest this inexpensive one from Westinghouse.

So here we go, this is our version of how to hard wire a plug-in light. First up, shut off the breaker to the circuit you're working on. Please don't skip this 'cause you think you can manage not to touch a live wire. If you're so good that you can manage not to shock yourself while working with live wire I can guarantee you're not reading this post. Or you at least stopped reading after I stopped waxing poetic about our dog.

Second, get all your supplies ready. Here we have the cheap-o ceiling fixture cap that we bought in a clearance bin at Ikea (no name, sorry!) but I'm sure you can find them at Home Depot or Lowe's. In addition to the wire cutters here, we also used our wire stripper, a box cutter/utility knife and a couple of wire nuts. We did not use the metal plate at the bottom right. So really, this photo is kind of useless. Sorry.
1. Cut the plug off your cord and slip on the cheap-o ceiling cap and nut making sure that the cut wires are facing the "up" side of the cap. If you can't find a cap with a screw like this you could just use a $1.97 round cover plate with a hole drilled in the center. It was our plan before I found this cap for $2.99 and totally splurged on two.
2. Have helper hold the light to the ceiling and mark the length on the cord where it meets the cap, all while helper says, "please don't put a picture of my face on the blog."
3. Cut off all but about a foot of cord past your mark (unless you think you might want the pendant longer some day and think you have room to coil extra cord in your ceiling box).

4. Using your utility knife carefully cut down the center of the cord for about two inches, trying to just barely cut the outer coating of the cord.
5. Pull back the cut to reveal the inside wires and insulation.
6. These next few steps are important. Hold the wires in one hand and the cut portion of covering and insulation in the other.
7. Pull to essentially rip down more of the covering until you're past the point where you first inserted the utility knife.
8. This is to make sure that you didn't nick what might later become a live wire with your box cutter. Look, we did here even though S was extremely careful when he made the first cut with the box cutter.
9. Snip off the outer covering and insulation and then cut the inner wires just below where you nicked the line (if you nicked the line).
10. Strip about an inch off the end of the wires.
11. Move the cheap-o ceiling cover down towards the pendant and out of the way.
12. Slide on the ceiling bracket that your old fixture was hanging from. (If you didn't have an old fixture go and buy one of these brackets to fit the box in your ceiling. They're kind of universal. I say "kind of" because we've found that nothing ever fits a 1941 house perfectly.) Tie a knot just above the bracket so that when you snug the cheap-o ceiling cap up to the whole assembly to test things out, the point that you marked lines up with the bottom of the cap hanging into the room. (If you're using a cover plate then have your mark  line up with the hole you drilled.)
13. Take your pliers and pull the knot super tight. DO NOT use sharp pliers or anything else that could cut the cord here.
14. Repeat to make a tight, thick double knot. Make more knots if you have to, you just don't want the wire to be able to slip through the metal bracket.
15. Move the cheap-o cap down the line to get it out of your way, hop up on your step stool and wire the hot and neutral wires to your ceiling fixture (white to neutral, black to live), twist and secure with wire nuts.
16. Gently coil any excess wire into the ceiling box and then take that bracket that you tied the knot near and screw it into the ceiling box.

17. Snug your cheap-o cap up to the ceiling and secure its nut, or if you're using a ceiling cap with a hole in the center then screw that in place.

18. Pop in a CFL light bulb and run down to the basement to flip the breaker back on. Run back upstairs, flip on the switch and admire your handy work.
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19. Touch up the paint on the ceiling next time you have your paintbrush out.

So there you go, funky but not too frou-frou. That's how we hardwire Ikea lights or hard wire CB2 pendants (which we may be doing again soon, stay tuned), or hardwire any other plug in hanging ceiling light. Let us know in the comments section if you have a good source for a cheap-o ceiling cap and we'll update this tutorial.

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