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Nothing says love like a DIY project

I put together all 4 million pieces of this chandelier. Every. Piece.

When my daughter Bodacious turned 6, she told me that instead of a party or gifts, she wanted to redecorate her room. And I didn’t blame her. When we moved into this house, we didn’t change anything. Her room was a cool blue-gray color, but it didn’t suit her personality much.

So for her “big girl” room, she wanted new paint, lights, bedding and a rug. Cha-ching! The Hubs and I discussed a budget for the project and set a $500 limit. Well, as any of you know who have redecorated a room, $500 does not go very far when paint and Pottery Barn Kids are involved. I started looking for ways to pinch pennies. I found an online coupon for her duvet, lucked into a good paint sale, gave her the new rug I had gotten for my own room and purchased a black crystal chandelier online from Joss & Main that was available for the low, low price of $68.

Now, I had never purchased a light fixture from Joss and Main before, and was completely surprised when I opened the box. It was in pieces. Like, hundreds of pieces. I had no idea that I would have to put the blasted thing together myself! No wonder it was so cheap.

I can do lots of things, but putting small crystals on smaller wire loops to hook onto other microscopic wire hooks is not one of them. Because of my MS, my hands don’t always work that well, a basic braid is sometimes hard for me. Plus I’m blind as a bat. So the umpteen hours it took me to put that chandelier together were extremely challenging. So challenging in fact that I looked online at Lowe’s and Home Depot for a similar, pre-assembled fixture. I found one, too, for $140.  And I really considered it. But $70 is a lot of money, especially when you are trying really hard to stay on a budget and still have to pay the painter. And your decorator friend says you need a curtain panel.

So I persevered. I opened all the blinds in the house so I could see better and spread out over the dining room table and worked at it for two days. The Hubs was impressed with my fortitude and my unwillingness to spend another $70. But he is used to my crazy project ideas.

Four years ago, I found an awesome Pinterest idea for displaying children’s art work. The project involved the Ikea stainless steel wire curtain rod system, DIGNITET. On the surface, like all Ikea products, it looked straightforward, with minimal work involved. Six circular bases, six prongs that insert into the bases, three pieces of wire. You install a base and prong, then move a few feet down, and install its mate, then run the wire between them. Once all the pieces are installed, you have three tiers of wire you can attach art work to by securing said masterpieces with little metal clothespins. It literally looks like you stacked metal clotheslines onto your wall for your very own gallery display! Genius!

What Pinterest did not tell me was that each round base is actually a bracket that screws onto the wall with three of the smallest screws you have ever seen. Then the circular base and prong slide onto the bracket. If you drop one of the screws, you are, well, screwed because there are no extras included. So your family will spend 15 minutes on hands and knees looking for the dropped hardware. There is also lots and lots of measuring, checking, rechecking and leveling involved. The pair of prongs have to be installed at exactly equal heights or the wire gets lopsided and the art work slides about. Each tier also needs to have an equal amount of space between the next for perfect balance and symmetry. What looked like a 30 minute, $30 Pinterest project probably took The Hubs most of an afternoon. And he is handy, y’all! But the results were worth his effort. Seeing all the kid’s projects hanging proudly in their own little gallery made me giddy. We have been married almost 20 years now, and I have asked him to do some crazy stuff during our time together. But in my opinion, nothing says love quite like a spouse willing to put together anything from Ikea!

The Ikea ‘Deathstar’ light closes and opens on a network of brackets and a pull chord.

This summer, Little Son will turn 10. He has requested a new room for his birthday as well. Apparently, he has outgrown his Lego Batman room. I know, I know. It kills me, too. Now, he wants to do Star Wars. I was really excited about that, I love all things sci-fi! I told him to pick out paint and new comforters for his bunk beds. He wants black walls and the dark gray and red The Force Awakens bedding from Pottery Barn Teen. Teen. How could my firstborn-love-of-my-life-bay-boy want a teen-aged room? And of course, he is going to need a cool new light fixture. I found the perfect one, too. It looks like the Deathstar, and it’s only $50! When I showed it to my decorator friend for approval, she just laughed and laughed.

“It’s from Ikea, Melanie. You know you have to put all those pieces together, right? It comes flat.”

No, no I did not know that. So I reviewed the 10 pages of instructions online. It has 40 little pieces that fit together like a big round jigsaw puzzle onto 10, hinged brackets. The light then can expand and contract on the brackets using a pull chord. It is, essentially, the Ikea version of Empire Strikes Back at Buyers.

Forty pieces? Hinged brackets? I loathe puzzles! But I bet you can guess who is great at puzzles. That’s right – my precious spouse and father of children whom he loves more than life. When that Ikea box arrives next week, I will tell him that this is my most desperate hour.

“Help me Hubs-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope!” #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

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