Rethink: Clothespins

Perhaps it is the loads of loads of laundry that I have been doing lately…I tell ya, three boys, make that four (the mister included) and there is never a time where the laundry baskets are bare.

Growing up on the farm we used to hang the clothes outside and you can’t beat the sun-kissed smell.  Dryer sheets don’t even come close to the natural aroma.  Maybe one day if we decide to move out the ‘burbs’ I can have my own clothes line and clothespins will be essential.

But for now, I think I will grab some clothespins for some great DIY projects.

Sidenote: who knew that clothespins are made in practically every color and size these days?!  Trust me, google it – you will be amazed!  SO, let the crafting commence!

Two of my favorite DIY projects featuring clothespins:

On Young House Love they used clothespins to create this fabulous light fixture in their laundry room.

How incredibly fitting is a clothespin light fixture in the laundry room??

Next up, on Little Green Notebook, once again in a laundry room, clothespins are used to create a funky mirror.

Check back next week as I share our laundry room…the laundry room and I have become quite close the past couple weeks and I have a feeling that won’t change for the next 18 years or so.  Talk to you all next week!

Liam’s Lair

Once our son Liam turned two years old, we quickly transitioned him into his new “big boy room”.  I was pregnant with our second and I wanted to get him situated before his brother arrived.

Luckily for me at the ripe age of two Liam was not yet too opinionated about the decor in his room so I got to design his room from scratch.  (oh how that has changed now!)

Liam's room before

Here is Liam’s room AFTER -

Liam's Room -

Liam’s Room –

My inspiration for this room started when I spotted this rug on West Elm.

[caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Inspiration for the room - colorful statement rug Inspiration for the room – colorful statement rug

I waited patiently until they had a 20% off all rug sale and then had to wait even longer because it was back ordered but it was well worth the wait.   I am obsessed with the fact that it is 8″ square in size.  (I officially have a thing for items perfectly square in dimension).

My next favorite thing in his room was the DIY light fixture we made.

DIY Light Fixture

DIY Light Fixture

This could be the easiest- major impact-DIY lighting project EVER.

No joke – here are the instructions…

Branch Light Fixture

I first spotted this DIY on Little Green Notebook and immediately printed them off and handed them over to the mister to execute.  I love the outcome.

Another very simple DIY I made for his room was his “L” crayon artwork.  I first spotted this project on Pinterest.  It was super easy and really fun to do.  Buy a box of crayons – cut them – glue them in preferred letter shape- frame – done.

DIY Art - "L" made out of crayons

DIY Art – “L” made out of crayons

I already shared the DIY ‘letter of love’ which are nestled on the main wall among other great art and prints that I collected on Etsy.  You can find the LA Blueprint map here, Kansas chevron print here and the large US map here.  The tractor art I grabbed at HomeGoods.

Upholstered Trundle Bed - Collage of artwork above

Upholstered Trundle Bed – Collage of artwork above

As for the bed / bedding – we found the upholstered trundle bed at Nebraska Furniture Mart.  The other bedding is vintage (I actually used the double sided denim comforter in college along with the Tommy Hilfiger euro cases).  The green euros and throw pillows are Ralph Lauren from HomeGoods.  (Again, we have a store approximately 2 miles from our house – DANGEROUS).

The sheet set I grabbed at HomeGoods and bought two sets (critical for a toddler going through potty training time).  I also wanted a custom look on his window in the room so I decided to take an extra pillow case I had from the extra sheet set and appliqued his monogram on a roman shade.  For less than $20 on a very inexpensive simple roman shade I LOVE the impact it makes.

Monogram Roman Shade - applique done with extra pillow case

Monogram Roman Shade – applique done with extra pillow case

Liam's Room - Dresser / Art

Some more fun art grouped above his vintage dresser.  I giggle every time I read the “my bike is my Benz” piece of art – mostly because it was a simple bike and I added the saying to the print.  (yes, I am laughing at myself).

This dresser is from my late grandmother and it reminds me of her which I love.  It even smells like her and her house in a way.  I was planning on doing a massive DIY map modge podge project over the wood but I actually love the vintage distressed look and plan on leaving it.

Side Table - Stores books / Vintage airplane

I used the other side table that matches the one in our guest room on the side of his bed which stores books.  The vintage airplane is from Pier 1.

And what would a room be without some sort of additional storage?

Soft Storage - Captures extra pillows - stuffed animals

Soft Storage – Captures extra pillows – stuffed animals

I grabbed two of these soft storage buckets at HomeGoods.  The “love you to the moon and back” pillow was a gift from my mom to Liam.  The saying is used in his nursery rhyme which my mom customizes.  More on her skills as a nursery rhyme developer here.

And our little Dax man is super stoked because he thinks he gets to share big “brobers” room when the newest arrival is here soon.  We will see…not sure the two of them in the same room together would ever fall asleep!

My little helper Dax - his "big cheesy smile"

My little helper Dax – his “big cheesy smile”

Rug – West Elm
Light Fixture – DIY Instructions
LA Blueprint Map – Etsy
Chevron Kansas Print – Etsy
Large US Map Print – Etsy
Bedding – Vintage
Upholstered Trundle Bed – Nebraska Furniture Mart
Dresser – Vintage
Vintage Airplane Accessory – Pier 1



Turning a Lampshade Into a Drum Shade

So, it’s Monday. And I usually start the week off with a recipe. However, today I’m going to jump right into where I left off Friday – turning an oversized lampshade into a hanging drum shade. As I mentioned in my last post, I love, love, love the huge linen drum shades from South of Market. So I decided to figure out how to make my own. My solution was to use a large lamp shade, and I found the perfect one at Good Juju for $12! Isn’t she glorious?

Vintage Lampshade

Vintage Lampshade

When I got it home, I had to fixure out what kind of fabric to cover it with. I wanted the look of linen or burlap, but not something too thick that it wouldn’t let light through. Another blogger I check out from time to time, Our Vintage Home Love, creates tons of DIY projects and often uses canvas painters drop cloth as her fabric. You read that right, painters drop cloth! It was exactly the right shade (no pun intended) and thickness I was looking for, so I decided to try it.

Covering the Lampshade

Covering the Lampshade

First, I laid it out and cut the height that I needed. Then, I used fabric glue to start attaching the bottom. What I realized when I moved to the top was that the top was slightly smaller in diameter than the bottom. That meant everything was not going to lay perfectly flat. Not to worry, no reason we can just make it have a French provincial-feel and gather the top, right? So that’s what I did, and I ended up loving the look! As I attached the bottom, I would just make my way to the top and gather up a bit of the fabric – and then glue the extra to the other side to hold it in place.

Completed Lampshade

Completed Lampshade

When I got to the seam, I simply cut a straight line and glued it right up the side. The next part wasn’t quite as easy. I had a hard time finding hanging light kits that were all in one package last Summer when I was doing this project. However, now they are all over the place, like this one. So I bought all the parts I needed – wiring, chain, and light bulb holder (that’s the official term), and Jill’s fabulous husband came over to help us install it. I really wish I had a picture of him and my husband up on our kitchen table installing it, but I unfortunately didn’t get one. For a payment of a home cooked meal and some wine, he was kind enough to help us out.

Less is More - Middle Redefined

Less is More – Middle Redefined

It turned out exactly like I wanted. It feels just the right amount of laid back simplicity. Hope it inspires you to make your own drum shade too!


Less is More

This past year, my husband and I visited Charleston, SC. When we were walking through the fantastic downtown area, we stumbled upon a home decor boutiqe that had some of the most unique items I had ever seen. That store is called South of Market, and it was started by designer Kay Douglass.

South of Market

South of Market

Lo and behold, that very next month, I was reading my House Beautiful and saw an interior design that I absolutely loved and reminded me of that shop. When reading the article, I found that the designer was Kay Douglass. What I loved about her design was that the rooms felt so comfortable and uncluttered. She had statement pieces in every room that you could focus on because of the simplicity of the room design.

In the article, Kay said that she has to show her clients through her designs that less is more. That living with less “stuff” and less “decoration” actually makes the room feel better overall. I don’t think that this style is for everyone, but it definitely speaks to me.


Kay Douglass Designs

Kay Douglass Designs


Kay Douglass Designs - Oversized Light Fixture

Kay Douglass Designs – Oversized Light Fixture


Kay Douglass Designs - Simplicity

Kay Douglass Designs – Simplicity

Kay Douglass Designs - Kitchen

Kay Douglass Designs – Kitchen

One of the items that Kay sells at her shop are oversized light fixtures, which I absolutely adore. She loves turning unexpected things into pieces of art or functional items. For instance, she transforms oversized baskets into hanging lights, outside cement planters into side tables, and farm equipment into wall art.

What I don’t love about her stuff is that is way, way, way out of my price range. Not sure who can afford a $1,500 pendant light, but it is definitely, most certainly not me. However, this shop and Kay’s designs inspired me to DIY my own oversized light fixture. Because when you can’t afford it, just make your own, right?

Next week I’ll show you how I turned an ordinary lamp shade into this pendant light for my kitchen, inspired by South of Market designs.

Lampshade Turned to Hanging Light - Middle Redefined

Lampshade Turned to Hanging Light – Middle Redefined

From Traditional to Glam

Recently, my friend Mia wanted to update her kitchen light. She didn’t just want to replace it, she wanted to create a statement piece. Her dining room had just gone through a remodel, so she had this traditional-looking chandelier laying around waiting for a new home. Many suburban homes built in the past 10-15 years have these exact chandeliers hanging in them – must have been an awesome deal for builders.

Traditional Chandelier

Traditional Chandelier

So Mia asked for my help in reinventing the sad chandelier with no home. Mia’s kitchen has a lot of earth tones along with deep reds. And with all the beautiful curves on the fixture, I suggested we paint it a sexy red and remove the bulb covers to give it new life. Removing bulb covers is one of the easiest ways to give a fresh new look to an old fixture.

And here’s the final product.

Glammed Out Chandelier - Middle Redefined

Glammed Out Chandelier – Middle Redefined


Isn’t it stunning? Mia absolutely adores her new glammed-out fixture, and she definitely got the statement piece she wanted. One thing that proved a bit more difficult were the light bulbs. We wanted decorative bulbs, – the ones that look like flames – but we wanted them to have a more vintage glow. Not so easy to find that kind of bulb in a vintage style. However, Mia ended up finding exactly what she wanted at Watts Up in Merriam, KS. They’re the perfect touch. I love the finished product!

What do you think?

New Life for Pendant Lights

When we moved into our current house, unlike most traditional newer suburban homes, we inherited really modern light fixtures on our main floor. Nothing wrong with these modern blue pendant fixtures if it fits within your style aesthetic. However, they just really didn’t work for us.

Blue Modern Pendants

Blue Modern Pendants


I researched and researched to find affordable pendant light fixtures and just didn’t happen upon anything in the price I wanted to pay. So, I turned to Craigslist and happened upon these little gems. I could see the hidden beauty right away – can’t you?

Craigslist Pendant Lights

Craigslist Pendant Lights


With a little high gloss black paint and vintage bulbs, such as these, the refreshed pendants turned out to be the perfect addition to our kitchen. I paid $25 for the pair, $5 for the paint, and $9 for each bulb at Lowe’s. I’m obsessed with vintage light bulbs right now, so you’ll hear me talk about them more in future posts.


New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs - Middle Redefined

New Pendants with Vintage Light Bulbs – Middle Redefined


All-in all, I spent $48 on my new pendants. And the best part is, I sold the modern blue ones right back on Craigslist for $40!

Check back next week for more on giving new life to light fixtures. Have a wonderful Friday!


DIY Goodness: Make Your Own Roman Shades

I can honestly say I’m never really “done” decorating any of the rooms in my house. Every once in a while, I won’t even notice that I’m lost in thought staring at a room, or a wall, or a shelf, and my husband will say, “What are you thinking about changing now?”

And obviously since we live on a budget, we DIY projects where we can. Not only is it easier on our bank account, it’s so satisfying to say, “I made them,” when a friend compliments my new roman shades (don’t forget there’s a comment box at the end of this post).

Speaking of roman shades, I MADE these! Well, my mom did all of the sewing, but I supervised it all. To figure out how to create the shades, I turned to Jenny Komenda’s blog, Little Green Notebook. She is a genius DIY-er, so we followed her step-by-step tutorial to get these babies put together. We had a few tweaks to make the project work for us, so I’ll share our adjustments and my learnings along the way.

Step 1: Buy inexpensive vinyl blinds or use ones you already have. In my case, I already had blinds up, so I just used that existing hardware. I even kept them hanging throughout the process. My first task was to cut all the slats out. However, make sure you DO NOT cut the cords that pull the blinds up and down. Just cut the ones that move them back and forth.

Making Roman Shades - Step 1

Making Roman Shades – Step 1

Step 2: Cut the front and back fabric - measure the size of your window plus the size of the hem. We wanted a 2 inch hem on either side, so we added an extra four inches to the width and the length. I chose a gray chevron fabric for the front and a creamy fabric for the back. After using a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for both, I ended up paying about $5.99 per yard for each! I’ve been so impressed with Hobby Lobby’s fabric choices lately, and the coupons just make everything such a deal.

Fabric for Roman Shade Project

Fabric for Roman Shade Project


Here’s Kingston trying to help grandma cut the fabric.

Measuring Fabric for Roman Shade Project

Measuring Fabric for Roman Shade Project


Step 3: Pin the edges and sew them (yes, these are my fingers…my mother didn’t do everything). To attach the cords to the back of the fabric, we sewed plastic rings about 10 inches apart all the way down to match up with the three cords – this was because I thought I’d want the folds about 10 inches apart. That didn’t end up being what I wanted, but I’ll explain that later. We then used the old blind slats to help us figure out exactly how far apart the rings should be sewn.



Step 4: Attach a small piece of wood (about an inch wide) to the back of the shades 8-10 inches from the bottom. I got mine from Michaels for $2 a piece. This photo is from Jenny’s blog showing what it looks like. You can attach the wood with fabric glue. Then screw tiny eyelet screws into the wood to which you can tie the cords.

Jenny Komenda Making Roman Shades

Jenny Komenda Making Roman Shades


Step 5: Jenny recommends to attach the final product to the top of the hardware with fabric glue, but I was afraid it wouldn’t end up holding because the whole thing felt kind of heavy, so I used industrial velcro. So far it has worked really well. Then run your cords through the plastic rings and tie the bottoms to the eyelet screws. The nerve-wracking part is when you raise it and see if it all actually worked!!!

Here’s my final product!

DIY Roman Shades - Middle Redefined

DIY Roman Shades – Middle Redefined


I love, love, love the way they help tie my room together. So thankful to my mom for taking so much time to help me out with this.

When planning out the design of this room, I chose to go the Roman shade route instead of curtains because I really didn’t want to screw hardware into my woodwork for curtains. Also, I have limited space on either side of my massive windows for artwork, so I decided I wanted something a bit more tailored and contained within the window frames. The old plain white blinds behind our cream couch (I shared the before photo here) just didn’t do anything for me, so we needed the change.

This entire project cost me $125. When I priced out custom Roman shades for the size of my three windows, they were going to be at least $250 a piece just for one because of their odd size. I was just not willing to splurge when I had a perfectly-good DIY solution.

A couple final notes: 1) While we did sew the plastic rings 10 inches apart, in the end, I needed a bit more space between my folds, so I ran my cords through every other one – that ended up being about 20 inches apart; and 2) When you raise them, don’t just expect them to fold perfectly. You have to work with them a bit to make sure the flaps are folding under nicely. Otherwise, it tends to bunch on the sides.

What do you think?