Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Room of Her Own: Painting

How embarrassing, only one blog post for the entire year so far.  It's true, there hasn't been much in the way of projects this year, aside from one big one (born in October):

Between hyperemesis gravidarum and a couple other pregnancy ailments, growing her pretty much took up all my time and energy this past year, leaving little space for creativity.  Now that she's out, we have some catching up to do!  But first, a few old projects that I never got around to posting.

First, Tess' room.

Why is it that some major life decisions can come so easily while seemingly minor decisions can be agonizing?  For both of the houses we purchased, we literally walked in, looked around, and put an offer within 24 hours of laying eyes on them.  Sometimes you just know.  I also choose my medical school in the span of the five minutes it took to drive through the beautiful forest surrounding campus.  So why oh why did it take three months to settle on the right paint color for Tess' room?  (Not to mention the four years it took for us to select couches for the family room, but that's another story.)

Some of the deliberating stemmed from the fact that my beloved second-born would finally have a room of her own.  She might have her older sister's hand-me-down crib and hand-me-down clothes, but the room decor would be 100% chosen for her.  It was my tangible way of saying to her, "You are important!  You are loved!  We made this room just for you!"

Anyway, after dozens of paint swatches and several trips to various hardware stores, we took the plunge on a light but warm shade of gray.

My super-talented graphic designer and artist sister assisted in painting a flowering branch design using painters' tape to make the freeform branches and a stencil for the flowers.

I added a few splashes of pink and some finishing touches.

And the nursery is complete.  Alas, just in time for her to turn two and a half, graduate to a big-girl bed, and be displaced by her baby sister.

Monday, September 9, 2013

49-cent Dimmer Fix

The dimmer switch controlling our family room lighting started making sizzling noises when you flipped the switch, and finally died. This type of dimmer has an on/off switch and a brightness slider. I took apart the switch and found the little rocker switch inside failed a simple resistance test with a multimeter.

The Lutron S-10P dimmer switch is $76 at Lowes, $65 at Home Depot, $50 online, as it does handle 1000W loads (that's the largest size offered by Lutron.) The simple rocker switch shown above is $0.49 at Jameco ( part number 1945284) and is rated 10A @ 125VAC. The switch is black instead of white, but we think the install shown below doesn't look too shabby.

Not much to tell about replacing the rocker switch. Using a soldering iron, you remove the defunct switch and solder on the new one. The trick is finding a replacement having the correct dimensions. This one isn't a perfect match, is a little bit recessed and doesn't have quite the curved switch as the original.