charming summer diy: hanging jar chandeliers

My mission this summer has been to transform my tiny breadth of a patio into a backyard retreat by any means possible. The most successful element that I’ve added to my urban terrace has been these hanging jar chandeliers. It was an easy project that only took a little bit of time and less than $30.

I collected a handful of jars (some purchased for a dollar or two at thrift stores and some from chips-and-salsa marathons) and wrapped 20 gauge wires snugly around the lip of each jar with needle nose pliers. Then I attached a U-shaped hanging wire around the top of the jar. I straightened out a few paper clips to use to hang the jars. I bought a length of chain from a hardware store and attached it between two posts to hang the jars from. Drop a votive candle inside each jar and, as the sun sets in your backyard, enjoy the romantic glow. –Katie D.

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update: fab results from a color-helper winner

Remember the Color-Helper contest? We just heard back from one of our winners. You may recall that Carrie J. submitted her jumble of bad bathroom and guest room wallpaper, saying, “We need to repaint, lest our friends quit visiting us.” Well, Carrie put the Color-Helper to work, and her results are great! Thanks for sharing your photos with us, Carrie.

Bathroom, before:

Bathroom, after:

Guest room, before:

Guest room, after:

Carrie writes:

Both rooms still have a little room for improvement — we need to hang a shelf above the toilet in the bathroom, and we need some artwork and a bookcase and a chair in the guest room — but they are leaps and bounds better than they used to be! You can see we also had a new vanity made for the bathroom (had to have it made because it is a much narrower space than pre-made cabinetry accommodates) — that alone was a huge improvement.

I used the Color-Helper to help me select a shade of white that matched the existing white trim we had in most of our upstairs (except for the bathroom). Not only did we use it to touch up trim in the guest room, we also used that color to paint out the wooden trim in the bathroom. The Color-Helper made it much, much easier to choose one of the thousands of shades of white!

I also used the Color-Helper to help me analyze all the shades of gray I considered. I used the feature where you can compare two shades, and the Color-Helper tells you that the second one is more yellow (or blue or red or purple or whatever) than the first. I wanted a very clean, true gray without beige or purple or yellow undertones, and the Color-Helper really helped me narrow my choices down.

Feeling inspired? Learn more about the Color-Helper here.

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kinda genius: “do not lose me” key hook

I’m of the opinion that all dwellings should have a landing strip — that counter/table/shelf/nook where you throw your keys and the mail when you walk in the door. If I remember to take my keys out of the door (This isn’t always the case!) then I always know where to find them. I love Hector Serrano’s take on the landing strip. His “do not lose me” key hook design is based on the classic “do not disturb” signs from hotels across the globe. With the addition of just a couple of hooks, this design becomes a genius key caddy. This was definitely a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. –Erica P.

From our partners

tidy up your doodles with graphkin napkins

I have scribbled more notes, reminders, doodles, and digits on paper napkins then you can possibly imagine. That’s why I fell hard for these Graphkin Napkins as seen at Happy Mundane. I don’t have much of a need for them (I rarely use paper napkins) but I might pick up a packet just because. The set of 12 is designed by Colin O’Dowd and made from recycled paper. Pick them up over at the UK-based Design Museum Shop — and let me know if you find a US source! –Erica P.

From our partners

help! how should i care for this plant?

I rescued this plant from the test kitchen where I’ve been working; we walked in one morning to find it on the counter. It was falling over in a pot that was clearly much too small for its 16-inch height — it needed a bigger pot stat and a stake to hold up the stalk. I offered to take it home and give it some TLC, but now I’m not sure what to do. So far I’ve re-potted it in a larger planter and tied the stalk to a piece of a vintage yardstick to keep it upright. Does anyone know what type of light this plant needs, or how much water it likes? Should I attempt to put it outside on the fire escape, or will it do better indoors? Help! –Erica P.

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