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Dawn’s Oops Project

There are so many Oops Projects in my portfolio, it was hard to pick just one to tell you about! However, I wasn’t in the habit of taking photos of the things I worked on until Simply Tangerine was born, and the one I have the most photos of, and therefore the easiest to tell you about, is my chandelier adventure.

Our house was built in the early 80’s and almost everything in it is original.  While most things are in great condition, not everything is my personal taste.  One of the first things I attempted to “update” was the dining room chandelier, which was almost 30 years old.  There was nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t care for it aesthetically speaking.  The wood and brass combo and the heaviness reminded me of the dining room scene in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.  It was too big and bulky and not the right scale for our dining room table.  I had read numerous blog posts about how to inexpensively and easily transform a chandelier with some spray paint.  I thought: Perfect!  The chandelier has good bones, a nice shape, and works great.  I’ll paint it, add some inexpensive chandelier shades, and I’ll transform the chandelier into something that looks like I purchased it out of the Pottery Barn catalog for very little effort or money.

Chandelier Before

Chandelier Before

Prematurely proud, I waddled my pregnant self off to Home Depot to buy some Rustoleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint to cover the highly varnished wood and aged brass combo.  Next, I scoured all of the typical stores for inexpensive chandelier shades and browsed online.   However, I was unable to find something that I liked or was in my price range.  So, I found a store that only sold shades – lots and lots and lots of shades.  It was a 45 minute drive away, but I was on a mission and determined to update the chandelier.  I loaded my two year old in the car and off we went.  Here’s where my dream of transforming the chandelier started to unravel.

My extremely active son, who was very grumpy from sitting in his car seat for too long, and I walked into a store that had more lamp shades than I had ever seen in my life.  There were mounds of shades in every fabric, shape, and size EVERYWHERE and it was as quiet as a library.  It became clear, very early, that my son thought these mountains of fabric were things for him to play with, climb, and wipe his cracker crusted fingers on.  Attempts to keep him quiet and still only resulted in a screaming tantrum.  (An added bonus was that I had forgotten the stroller so I couldn’t even try to contain him in that.)  The shop owners did not find my son’s enthusiasm for their shades charming or cute and I certainly couldn’t blame them.  Shortly after entering the store, Mommy anxiety began pulsing through my veins – you know that feeling you get when your child is not behaving properly in public; your blood is boiling, everyone is staring at you, and you can feel judgment piercing you like dull needles.  Imagine that feeling and then picture a tense pregnant woman, holding a kicking and screaming toddler in an otherwise silent, peaceful, and non-child friendly store while attempting to shop for lamp shades – it was not pretty, but in hindsight a pretty comical scene.  My brain switched from “shopping” mode to “ I’ve got to get the heck out of here as quickly as possible” mode!  Too stubborn to abort my mission, I blindly pointed to a stack of chandelier shades, said I’ll take six of those, paid and left.  At this point I didn’t even really know what I had purchased or for how much – I was too focused on getting out of the store.  Once home, and after my blood pressure returned to normal, I started to examine my purchase.  Immediately after I unwrapped the first shade I knew I was in trouble.  The shades were nice enough, but definitely not what I had in mind.  Then I looked at the receipt – OH MY!!!  Did I buy chandelier shades or nuggets of gold?!?!?!  Of course, the best was yet to come; the receipt was stamped: ALL SALES ARE FINAL.  GGGGRRREEEEAAATTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was at a cross roads – was I going to abort my mission or was I going to press on?  Well, I am a very persistent stubborn person when I have my mind set on something, so I pressed on.  I persuaded my dad to take down the chandelier and hang it from our deck outside so I could spray paint it from all angles.  Another hilarious picture in hindsight – a pregnant lady, wearing a paint respiratory, in the dirt, spray painting a chandelier hung from a deck, hell-bent on completing a DIY project.  What the heck was I thinking?!?!  Would it shock you if I told you I ran out of spray paint mid-project and had to go to two different stores to find another can of paint?   (And if you aren’t laughing at least a little bit by now, well then I’m a little worried about your sense of humor.)

Once the paint was dry, my dad re-hung the chandelier.  But, now it wouldn’t turn on.  You have got to be kidding me I thought!  Thankfully, he was able to fix it.  However, as I stepped back to look at my work, I immediately saw what I had known from the beginning, but was too stubborn and delusional to admit: my project was a flop.  The scale of the chandelier was still wrong (you can’t change that), the shades were not what I wanted, and it had cost me WAY more than I ever thought it would in money and time.  So, I did what any sensible person would do: I whipped out my credit card and ordered the chandelier that I really wanted from Pottery Barn.  Although this DIY project did not pay off monetarily, it certainly paid dividends in self laughter!!!!

Here lays my old chandelier, in a dark dusty project graveyard in my garage, may she rest in peace.

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