Holiday Switch

December 10, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY, Holiday-Related Projects, Supporting Sponsors   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment

Legrand challenged me to join its “DIY Holiday Switch” program to demonstrate how easy it is to switch out the wall plates of our light switches, and create custom designs to suit our own holiday style. It’s no secret that I really like the adorne by Legrand products that I’ve installed throughout my house, and I accepted their offer so you could further see how customizable these pieces can be. Legrand provided me three wall plates to fit my existing system, but the execution is my own.

For a chance at f-r-e-e money: Legrand is running a holiday Pinterest contest, where users who create a holiday design Pinterest board could win up to $500 towards adorne products. Participate if you’re interested – get instructions and submit your boards right here by this Friday to be entered!

Custom wall plates for the holidays thanks to Legrand's Adorne line.

Tree, check. Lights hung outside, yes. Last Christmas, I had just barely unpacked when I had a baby, so this year is the first in this house that I’ve felt motivated to devote energy into our holiday decorations. It’s very merry with our $35 tree from The Home Depot, our mantle and shelves are decorated with handmade projects and seasonally appropriate kid art, and it smells really great thanks to some light bulb oil infusers that I was gifted a few years ago. Would it be wrong for my house to smell like pine year-round? Can’t make up my mind.

If you’ve followed me through previous holiday seasons, you’ll remember that I’ve never been one to adopt a theme for our tree or our home – it’s always a hodge-podge of colors and memorable ornaments, and this still feels right for us – but we’ve been evolving and naturally gravitating towards a more mid-century and Scandinavian-spirited style, so adding bits and pieces of that aesthetic as it works is where our mind is at right now. I’m no designer, and I’m sure I’ll have this down pat in another 10 years or so, but what I do for now is devour learnings from people who do it really well… like pinning everything Christmas from The House that Lars Built while I eat anise cookies by my unlit-but-birch-wood-accessorized fireplace. Scandinavian hipster, question mark?

I wouldn’t have thought myself to swap out my wall plates as part of a seasonal transition, but I do like how something typically overlooked can easily be modified to tie into a holiday or event. I also really like how easy it is to change the look of a room by upgrading switches and the color of a wall plate… the adorne line makes both totally easy, and I like their products a lot because it’s a very modern look within reach for your average consumer and home enthusiast. There is no denying that the push buttons and toggles are more fun to look at than ordinary switches, and the wall plates just the same. That’s why I continue to collaborate with them – you would like them.

We have three groups of switches in our main living/dining area, so they sent me three new wall plates to play with.

Customize your Legrand Adorne wall plates for the holiday season. Easy DIY!

The plates come with a plastic sheet–glossy white on one side, matte ivory on the other–which theoretically you could decorate yourself and then stick into place on the wall plate. The alternative to that is to use the sheet as a stiff template for cutting other materials for a custom wall plate like I did here and here.

This time I chose to use a sheet of paper that emanated some holiday cheer. The paper itself from a black and white coloring book I bought at Anthropologie years ago (throwback to 2011: you might remember seeing it when I made this paper lampshade). I used the templates to trim the paper to size using an X-Acto knife for precision, and then peeled back the yellow strips to reveal an adhesive area.

You might be wondering how easy it is to peel up your design once it’s attached? It’s possible. I messed up alignment with each of the three products this time, oof. Fortunately, even with a little residue from the paper left behind, it was still plenty sticky. Worse comes to worse, you could probably use adhesive spray on the back of your custom template, and then attach it to the wall plate directly for a clean transfer.

Customize your Legrand Adorne wall plates for the holiday season. Easy DIY!

I briefly considered using a vintage holiday card trimmed to size during all of this, which is why one is shown in the photo below. Still a good idea depending on the size of your wall plates (my cards are big enough for the 1- and 2-gang wall plates, but not wide enough for the 4-gang set of switches that we have, so I threw out that idea pretty quickly.

Red trees and a vaguely Scandinavian Legrand Adorne wall plate.

I also considered overlaying little red pine details to the black and white graphic, which I still believe would have looked pretty nice.

Red trees and a vaguely Scandinavian Legrand Adorne wall plate.

When it comes time to swap on the new cover for your wall plate, you’ll have to pop off the existing cover. An ordinary flat head screwdriver is perfect for this – just wedge it in between a metal tab and the cover (an obvious area on the product, no you won’t damage your drywall) – and pop it loose.

How to replace a Legrand Adorne wallplate easily.

The new wall plate snaps right onto the existing system, no issues.

How to install a wall plate from the custom Legrand Adorne collection.

I’ve voiced concerns about the paper surface getting dirty more quickly if it were being touched a lot, but based on how the cover in the nursery still looks over a year later, I wouldn’t say it’s much of an issue at all. Apparently, I don’t touch the wall plate, I only poke at the switch.

The design isn’t literally something scandinavian, but it’s eclectic and enjoyable throughout our home at this time of year (and because it’s not screaming Christmas, we could probably get away with leaving them installed into the spring)!

Custom wall plates for the holidays thanks to Legrand's Adorne line.

Don’t forget – for a chance at f-r-e-e money, enter Legrand’s holiday Pinterest contest where users who create a holiday design Pinterest board could win up to $500 towards adorne products. Participate if you’re interested – get instructions and submit your boards right here by this Friday to be entered!

My Range Of Impulsivity

December 09, 2014   //  Posted in: Kitchen   //  By: Emily   //  3 responses

I saw a statistic before the Thanksgiving holiday about the percentage of Black Friday shoppers who bought on impulse. I didn’t write it down or anything, it wasn’t that important at the time, but it was logical enough – end caps filled with soft blankets and sparkly pillows, deep boxes of mittens and slippers by the registers yields immediate gift solutions for those hard to buy for family members. It’s strategies like that that make me have pretty strong opinions about retail shopping in general between the months of October-December, but there we were, at the mall at lunchtime on Black Friday because we were bored, cutting through Sears for a chance to people watch and listen to holiday music between baby naps – I stress, not to buy shit – but damn it, wouldn’t you know that all of the appliances are seriously discounted until 1pm? And it’s 12:55? And within 4 minutes, you both picked your brand new range of choice, and have your transaction processed by the helpful salesman with his handy iPad register just so that you can save that $450 or almost half the price on something that you weren’t expecting to buy today? Oh, the ironies.

There was a lot of mumbling under my breath about being a predictable statistic and how amazing it’s going to be to cook on gas again.

It was at some point when I was painting the kitchen cabinets that we pulled the electric range out from the wall for the first time (vomit! I won’t go there.) and realized that the previous owners had either once had a gas range or had the genius foresight to run a gas line in place through the floor to accommodate future wishes to have a gas range. And that, friends, was a happy day. It pushed “NEW STOVE” right to the top of my wish list, even higher than the “NEW FRIDGE” to replace the one that has been ailing for a 17 months, and I’m still side-eyeing.

Kenmore Gas Range.

Of course, if I’m being candid, I don’t really advise spending hundreds of dollars at speed of light or Black Friday impulse buying regardless of how good the price tag is, unless you’ve done your homework before you head out and price compare and blah blah. This was a stupid purchase – also, stupidly awesome, because last night I made couscous and it wasn’t a pain in my ass because I had all of the power over the heat source.

It wasn’t until it was installed by the plumber yesterday morning (to make sure that line was all in-check, we don’t mess around with natural gas) that we realized the knobs were in the perfect location to be twisted by curious tiny baby fingers, the same fingers that pull every cabinet knob and poke every belly button. For now, that blue painters tape is enough to deter and prevent turning until I have time to pick out what’s going to undoubtedly be a super-terrible-looking contraption for child-safety… it is my punishment for being impulsive. People, just remember to get knobs on the top next to the clock and spare yourself a head-slap. I’ll just go ahead and say it, I was so distracted by the cool marketing language for each burner that I totally didn’t think twice about their location, I fell for it…. TURBO! (It was very turbo.)

Kenmore Gas Range, baby proofing.

The product itself is a Kenmore 5.0 cu. ft. Freestanding Gas Range w/Variable Self-Clean, regularly priced at $999.99 (but face it, you never have to pay full-price on Kenmore). It’s currently listed at closer to $750 which is still not a bad price but we picked it up for even $200 less and with free shipping and with like, $75 in free Shop Your Way rewards credited to our account, and now you understand why I was able to make a decision on a new range in only minutes time. This is the first time I actually looked up the product on the website and I’m quite relieved to see that it has 4.5 stars. Probably more people impressed with the quality of their couscous vs. using an Electric range.

Without sounding totally annoying, did anyone else scoop up any great Black Friday deals this year, or was it all bathrobes and useless electronics?


December 03, 2014   //  Posted in: Home Safety, Supporting Sponsors   //  By: Emily   //  one response

Hey guys – Thursday 12/4 at 7pm SentrySafe has invited me and a group of other bloggers to participate in a holiday Twitter party. Follow the hashtag #safefortheholidays to participate and have a chance to win lots of prizes. SentrySafe is known to always give away lots of its products (and raw cash on occasion), so it’s a pretty exciting event to hang out in. As part of my collaboration with them during this event and a Live Burn event they had invited me to earlier this fall, they offered me a product, and I chose the one shown in this post.

Sentry Safe Guardian Storage Box in my home.

I get oddly sentimental when I talk about SentrySafe – and completely enthuzed. It’s rare to buy a product that you never hope to use, but owning a safe offers peace of mind that you can’t put a price tag on. Plus, cool company in Rochester, national reach via all of the big name stores, people I like making a product I am happy to endorse. I bought my own small SentrySafe when I went to college; used it for the security of checks and my passport and other important documents more so than to level fears about fire protection. Got a bigger one when I had a house; insurance docs, banking info, deeds, everything that would be a pain to replace, totally for fire protection.

There are lots of other things that I know I’d want protected in the case of a fire or flood, which is why the Guardian Storage Box was my most recent product of choice: I liken it to a big plastic storage container that’s a fire-and-flood-safe catch-all for memories. The kind of thing you can snap shut (no key or combo) and slide away on a shelf in the basement for safe keeping. The kind of thing that could be organized with file folders, but contains important clutter that might not otherwise find a safe storage location.

GB20L Sentry Safe Guardian Storage Box.

My Guardian sits in the basement; because of what I’ve chosen to use it for, it’s not the type of product that I’m going to be needing to access regularly. Pack, stow, and store kind of mentality. Within it I’ve stashed away some irreplaceable yearbooks, old family photos, and some memorabilia that had been previously been packed away in completely torchable cardboard boxes – a few birthday cards with notes from Grandma, an extra copy of our wedding invite, and that little sheet from the hospital with my baby’s footprints.

GB20L Sentry Safe Guardian Storage Box.

If you want to see how the product performs in a fire, check out this video. Live burns and reveals are the best.

Do yourself a favor and get one this holiday season – or gift it. The gift that keeps giving. SentrySafe has lots of ongoing sales for its products, and has free shipping on every order is standard without a special offer code, so pick the perfect model for your needs and rest a bit easier.