Month: February 2014

DIY Chandelier Update {From Italy to France on a Budget}

We have a large chandelier in our dining room that I love, but decided that it wasn’t exactly my style.  Since I still like the chandelier and it works just fine, I didn’t want the expense of buying and installing something new, especially when a small DIY project was all that was needed!



We purchased the Rodeo Collection Round Twelve Light Chandelier from Lamps Plus almost 10 years ago.  I have always loved the size and the details of this light fixture, particularly the faux drip candles.  When I bought this, I was in my Italian phase and it went perfectly with my large trestle table and hand-carved Mexican leather chairs.  But in recent years, I’ve started adding more delicate touches to my home and suddenly, this fixture seemed a bit out-of-place in my dining room.

Rodeo Chandelier
{Rodeo Collection Round Twelve Light Chandelier via Lamps Plus}



Quite some time ago I was browsing the Ballard Designs catalog and noticed these magnetic crystal chains that could be used to embellish an existing light fixture.  I loved the idea, but not the price!  {Sorry, Ballard Designs, I love your store but $45 for 3 ft. of chain was out of my budget!} 

Ballard Magnetic Chain
{Set of 3 Magnetic Chains via Ballard Designs}


I have also seen boxes of loose crystals from old chandeliers at the antique fair and have thought about how I might be able to use those, but I’ve never found enough matching crystals and never any that could be used for the base chains. Then while browsing Michaels, I figured out a way to move my chandelier from Italy to France on a budget!

Basic Supplies

  • 6 ft. acrylic crystal garland $12.99  {Similar chains can be purchased on Amazon and Save-on-Crafts, so check around for the best price in your area. The total length you’ll need will depend on the size of your chandelier and the amount of drape you create.}
  • Wire {16- or 18-gauge in a color that matches your existing fixture}
  • Wire cutters
  • Mandrel {I used a thick ballpoint pen as a mandrel, but you could also use a wooden spoon or anything round}



Step 1: Make Jump Rings

Note: Since my chandelier has open, curved ends, I was able to make jump rings and just slide them onto the chandelier.  If your chandelier doesn’t have an area where you can slide them on, you will have to make the jump rings directly onto your chandelier.

  • Find an item to use as a mandrel that has a diameter large enough to slide over your chandelier.  The ends of my chandelier are large and flat, so my jump rings are extra large so that they could fit over the end of the chandelier.
  • Use tape to mark a spot around which you will bend the wire.  This will help ensure that all of your jump rings are a consistent size.
  • Hold the wire with your thumb and wrap tightly around the mandrel, overlapping slightly.
  • Cut the excess making sure that you use the flat side of the wire cutters, not the pointed, so that you don’t end up with a pointed end that could scratch your chandelier.
  • If you use pliers that have ridges on them, be sure to wrap them in tape so that they don’t scratch the coating off of your wire.



Step 2: Determine Length of Crystal Chain

Decide how much drape you want each of the strands to have and count the number of crystals so that you can ensure each strand has the same number.  Be sure to leave the original silver jump rings attached to each end of your strand, as these are what you’ll use to attach to the jump rings you made.

TIDBITS & TWINE Chandelier Makeover


Step 3: Attach

Slide the crystal chain’s jump ring onto the one you made and attach your jump ring to the chandelier along each arm.



Step 4: Additional Crystals

Once I was finished, I decided to add two additional types of crystals for a little extra bling!  Around the circumference, I added these prism pendants purchased from Amazon for $14.00.

TIDBITS & TWINE Chandelier Makeover Jump Ring



I also stopped by my local antique store and found a large crystal that I could hand from the bottom of my chandelier.



And that’s how I managed to move my chandelier from Italy to France on a budget!


I like that it now fits better with my other decor, but should I ever decide to change my style, I can just remove the crystals.  It also solves another issue that I’ve had with my chandelier in that the crystals sit lower and thus make the chandelier feel closer to the table.  The chandelier was not installed at the right height and was just a bit too high off the table, which made it feel disconnected.  With the crystals attached, the bottom of the chandelier is now 34″ off the table and feels much better.  {As a side note, a good height distance for a chandelier is 30″-36″ above the table surface.  I wish I had known that 10 years ago!}

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 3


I have a few extra crystals left over, one of which I’ve already turned into a bookmark.

TIDBITS & TWINE Master Bedroom 9 2014


And now I have my eye on a candelabra and I’m trying to figure out how I could add a few crystals to it, too!!


Enjoy the weekend!


Tidbits&Twine - Signature




P.S. A big thank you to my neighbor, an amazing jewelry designer, who re-wire wrapped the individual vintage crystals for me and also taught me the word mandrel.  :)




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5 Decorating Rules to Ditch

I was recently sitting in my dining room when I started looking at all of the different furniture styles and finishes that I had mixed together.  I love the “collected” look but there was a time when it was considered luxurious to have everything in matching sets and one would never consider a mix-and-match style.  That got me to thinking…what other rules do I break?

When my husband moved into our first apartment, I tried to follow the conventional wisdom I had heard over time: small rooms need small-scale furnishings, never use a dark color in a small space, always use matching furniture sets, never paint antique furniture, etc.  What I ended up with was a room that didn’t quite feel like “me.”  Over time, I’ve definitely become more comfortable making my own rules and following my instincts to create a space that reflects my style.  As such, there are a few traditional decorating rules that I almost always ditch!



Old Rule: Always use matching furniture pieces.

Long gone are the days of matching furniture sets and along with them, the days of using one wood tone in a space.  Nowadays, it’s okay to mix and match furniture styles and colors to create a visually interesting space.  For a more bold look, contrast light- and dark-colored wood.  More subtle decorating schemes can include variations of a single color.  Either way, ensure the mix of wood tones is used throughout the space to give the room a balanced look and feel.

Mixed Wood Living Room
{via Wendi Young Design}


Old Rule: Never paint wooden furniture.

There are some beautifully made, solid wood pieces of furniture that aren’t getting the love or appreciation they deserve because in their current state, they don’t fit with contemporary decorating trends.  And while it might have been taboo at one time to paint over a beautiful piece of wood furniture, it’s quite popular today.  I feel you should love the items in your home and often times, with antique furniture that has been handed down, we love the sentimental value but not the decorative look.  In this case, why not paint it if painting it will make you love and use the piece?

Painted Antique Furniture
{via Miss Mustard Seed}


Old Rule: Use only one metal finish in a room.

I suppose this is similar to the days when your belt and shoes had to match, but just as that fashion rule went out of style, so has the rule about using only one metal finish in a space.  Mixed metals add interest and character to a space.  Similar to using varying wood finishes, make sure you balance out your use of metal finishes so that the look is intentional, not accidental.  Also, pay attention to the sheen of the various metal finishes, as metals with similar sheens will mix the easiest.  Personally, my favorite mixed metal combinations are a mix of warm and cool tones, like weathered gold and tarnished silver.

Mixed Metals
{via Toronto Interior Design Group}


Old Rule: Small spaces require small furnishings.

While small spaces can be a bit tricky and many furniture pieces can look too large if you don’t keep proportion in mind, I don’t agree that small-scale furniture is the answer.  A small room filled with small furniture can actually make a room seem smaller than it is.  Like you’re the incredible shrinking woman!  {Is anyone old enough to get that movie reference?!}  Instead, look for one or two large pieces to anchor the space and then use other, space-saving furniture in the remainder of the room.  For example, in a small dining room, use a large dining table but maybe opt for bench seating on one side.  Skip a buffet or china cabinet and consider using a wall-mounted console or open display shelving.  A grand piece of furniture can help make even a small space feel grand, too!

Small Bedroom
{via Pabla en casa}


Old Rule: Use a room as it was intended.

Just because an architect and a builder got together and gave a name to the space in your home, doesn’t mean you have to use it that way!  Many homes have formal dining rooms that often go unused except for a couple of times a year.  Instead, consider converting the dining room to a home office!  Or maybe a wet bar could be converted to a computer station for the family.  My family uses our master bedroom like a family room, so when we remodeled, we took into account that we’d all be piling in for our family movie/dinner nights and planned accordingly!

Above all, a home should be comfortable, so get the most out of every square inch of your home by making it work the way your family lives.

Dining Room Office
{via Emily A. Clark}



These are the five traditional rules I most often break, but in reality, I don’t think there are any “rules” when it comes to decorating…they are more like guidelines or suggestions.  Creativity has no boundaries and your home is a creative reflection of you and your family, so give yourself the freedom to create a home that is uniquely you.


Do you break the rules, too?

Tidbits&Twine - Signature





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Give Your Dining Chairs a Custom Look {for under $1}

I have been wanting to embellish the backs of my dining chairs for a while, but couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted to do…until now!  And you won’t believe how easy or inexpensive this update is!

I embellished all of the chairs in under 10 minutes for under $6 for all six chairs!


As you might have seen, I recently posted some updated pictures of my dining room.

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 4 REV 2


I’ve posted photos of this room before, but I recently made four changes to this room that to me, have given it quite a different look!

  1. I replaced the old area rug with this new one from Target.  Not only are the colors a better fit with my decor, but since it was inexpensive, I won’t cringe as much when I see our cat clawing it!
  2. I created a display with my serving platters in the corner.  Details about the plate wall can be found {here}.
  3. I turned my Italian-style chandelier into a more French looking one with the addition of some crystal bling!  {I’ll post more about this later in the week.}
  4. I embellished the backs of my dining chairs with numbers to give them a more customized look.




I  have the Vintage French Round chairs from Restoration Hardware in my dining room, similar to the one shown below but in a different finish.

Restoration Hardware Vintage French Round Side Chair


When you first walk into my home, my dining room is visible, and so the backs of the chairs are always on display.  I’ve posted before about ideas for embellishing chairs for everyday use (post here) and from the photos, knew that I wanted to add numbers to the backs.  I first considered vinyl numbers but then decided that even if I could get them to stick to the linen, I wouldn’t love the vinyl texture in my dining room.



Luckily, while browsing Michael’s not so long ago, I came across these small, wooden numbers and letters.  That’s when inspiration struck!  Here’s what I did:



  • Wooden N’s and O’s and numbers 1-6 {$0.29 each)
  • Permanent Marker
  • Glue Dots



Step 1:

Color the letters and numbers with permanent marker.  I used black for my dining room, but keep in mind that the wood absorbs the color a bit so a black marker doesn’t necessarily translate to a rich black color on the wood.  Paint would work as well, but I wanted something quick and easy that didn’t require any drying time.



Step 2:

Affix glue dots to the back.



Step 3:

Stick on the backs of the chairs and enjoy!  It’s that simple!



You could of course use something more permanent to affix them to the chairs, but I tend to change my mind a lot and so want the option to remove them without damaging the fabric.  Although my hubby thinks it’s a little odd that our chairs are numbered, I’m happy with the way they turned out and feel like my chairs now have a more custom look that is definitely more “me.”

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 3


Have you embellished or customized your chairs?  I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and would love to hear what you’ve done!

Tidbits&Twine - Signature




P.S. – Additional photos of my dining room can be found {here}.


Sharing At:  The ScoopMy Uncommon Slice of SuburbiaSavvy Southern StyleA Stroll Thru Life



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