a chandelier, watering live evergreens & blue checks

by | Nov 11, 2014 | Decorating, Dining Room, Living Room, My House | 21 comments

The living room is in the front of our house, which faces south.  Most of the day, the room gets beautiful light..streaming through the dining room and front windows in the morning and in long, golden beams through the west-facing windows in the afternoon.  At night, though, this room is dark.  That is because it has no overhead lighting.  The house was built in the 1940’s and having lots of junction boxes and outlets was just not the thing to do.  I’ve wanted to add pot (recessed) lights and junction boxes for light fixtures to the old part of the house for years, but with plasterboard ceilings and no easy access the ceilings, it would be a major, messy project.  I think lighting is so important for a room, but lines have to be drawn somewhere when you’re fixing up a home that you’re not planning to live in for very long.  (In case you missed it, it’s our dream to buy an old farmhouse when the timing is right.)

Since the room doesn’t have any overhead lighting, I added a couple of small plug-in chandeliers over the windows for a few years, but I removed them when I took down the curtains to repaint.  I added a lamp, but the room really needed more light than that, so I tried an antique chandelier I had in the basement, centered in the room…

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I think it’s so pretty.  It adds a bit of sparkle and interest that carries the eye up.

I bought this chandelier originally for the guest room, but the new bed frame and mattress were much higher than the old one and the chandelier was so close to it, it was comical.  This room has a higher ceiling, so it works better.

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This is my favorite style of chandelier, as you may have noticed.  I have three of them in my house (and two in the studio) I can’t wait to deck them out with greenery for the holidays.

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Of course, I will be making a cover for the cord…either out of linen or a blue checked fabric.

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I was looking around on the internet for information on caring for the live evergreens I picked up at Wegman’s over the weekend and I found an awesome tip.  One article suggested using ice cubes to water them!  How brilliant, right?  I always seem to water or underwater, but this allows them to be watered very gently, so the water can soak into the soil.

use ice cubes to water live evergreens | miss mustard seed

I just nestle it into the dirt and leave it alone.

use ice cubes to water live evergreens | miss mustard seed

I used three cubes for the potted blue spruce.

use ice cubes to water live evergreens | miss mustard seed

I don’t have a green thumb at all, so this may be the blind leading the blind, but I really try and I’m hoping this tip will prove to be a good one!


One last thing…  today a couple of nice ladies dropped by the studio with some blue & white checked fabric for me to purchase.  They showed me some pictures and I let them know I was interested, so they delivered it!  I ended up buying all of the three fabrics they brought and I’m looking forward to using them.  I took one of them home with me and cut a piece long enough for my dining table…

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It’s a pretty woven fabric and definitely my favorite of the three.

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When used as a tablecloth, it adds a fun, casual “picnic” vibe to the dining room and a pop of color and pattern.  Since a tablecloth doesn’t require any kind of commitment, it’ll be fun to use when I feel like it and take it away when I don’t.

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By the way, I scored an amazing, antique breakdown French wardrobe from Craig’s List today.  My dad drove quite a ways to get it for me, nice guy that he is.  I can’t wait to show it to you in a few days and, since I’m bringing a new piece of furniture into my house, another one will be up for sale soon…


  1. breida@breidawithab.com

    Speaking of a house that you won’t be staying in for very long – I had a dream last night that I was helping you move….

  2. Teresa

    I have 2 of the same kind of chandeliers that you have. I think mine need to be re-wired to be safe. I was wondering if you or a family member undertook this task on your’s? How daunting of a task it is or if I need to have a professional do it? Also, my orchid gets 1 ice cube a week! Seems to thrive on that! Love your style and blog! Thank you for all the work you put into it and for sharing it with all of us!

    • Paula

      I have a very similar chandy that had original wiring, which I too felt uneasy about. Being the DIY’er that I am, I looked at Home Depot for new wire (thinking that I’d tediously push/thread it through the “necks” of the “arms”) and discovered that the wire used in this type of lighting fixture is a smaller gauge than typical lamp cord. Next stop – a home lighting store. They had the right size wire and even installed it while I waited for just $7.00! Good luck with yours.

  3. Angela

    Marian, the third last picture in this post is just beautiful and has just solidified my painting colour choice for my dining room. I face south but am surrounded by forest and therefore don’t really get a lot of light in my dining room. Anyway right now it is a dark shade of a grey/green and i was thinking of painting it revere pewter but looking at that picture….it must be done a shade of white. I have never liked white but following your blog has changed my style….a lot. haha Anyway, I have 2 grain sack bags and would love to open them up but am afraid and don’t know how. Any advise.
    Thanks Marian!

  4. Cindy

    It’s amazing. Everything you do just builds on top of everything else in the most perfect way. The table cloth is charming, you know i love gingham. … and the chandelier is so sweet and perfect for the family room. I love the way it looks the with brown architectural piece behind the horse. Perfect placement… Cool trick about the ice cubes watering technique too…


  5. Becky

    Marian, the chandelier is go pretty. Can you buy them to plug in? Can an antique chandelier be reworked as a plug in? I have one that I love that was my grandfathers but it sits in a box because I have no place to hard wire it in my home.

  6. Rick S

    love the idea of a real tree in the house.

    The ice cube watering method works well for my orchids to. the big ones get two on Wednesday and one more on Sunday, the small ones only get one on wednesday. It is the only way I can remember the water them. The water slowly trickles down instead of running right through.

    As for the candelier rewire if you know what you are doing the place the arms come together usually has a plate and knob that can be removed. The wire that comes in from the top can be replaced with a longer one with or without plug. Lighting shops may be able to do this for you too. When i doubt be safe.


  7. Ellie LaJuett

    Great tips, love the room.

  8. Jelena

    The chandelier is so pretty, Marian! And, it looks really well in that space. The tablecloth is fun, and I think it adds quite a bit of color to the dining room.

    By the way, I didn’t know one would water live evergreens the same way potted orchids are watered. Live and learn!

  9. ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

    Hi Sweetie,
    Love those chandys too. I have one just like it only it’s a double tier. Looking for it’s mate and hope to find one soon. Your new blue checks are so pretty.

  10. Jill

    Marian, love the chandelier! I have your books and know how you disguised the chords on your old ones, but how do you plan to deal with this one in the center of the ceiling/room? I want to move my daughters to the center of her room, but am unsure how to hide the unsightly chord.

  11. MaryLisa Noyes

    I like the chandelier and having it be a plug in allows the option of taking it with you when you move. I like cord covers that dress up the chandelier and hide the chain and wires. I can’t wait to see the new purchase. I love the new use for ice cubes especially when I am traveling…..

  12. Kelly T

    I LOVE the checked fabric! Have always been a fan of the checks, especially the buffalo and I think it looks wonderful on your table!
    The ice cube trick on plants is a good one. With the holidays coming up that is actually the best way to water your poinsettias because they like to be moist but don’t like their feet setting in water.

  13. Karin

    I always water my Christmas tree with ice cubes, no dripping on the presents!

  14. stacey

    Lighting is everything. This comes from an event designer. Even the worst room or flower arrangement will look good when lit. Rooms need light from above as well as below and indirect. This fills dead space with warmth and gives added dimension to the room. Your charming chandelier is adorable and oh so you.
    I am also a big fan of checks, large and small. They are so warm and inviting. This blue check table cloth is great. Lucky you to find this fabric.

  15. Kristi

    Marion, I looove that chandelier! Where did you find it??! I’ve looked on Craigslist and a little bit on Esty but found nothing like it. By the way, congrats on the TV interview in NYC. That’s soawesome!

  16. Carmen

    So could you do a post with similar plug in chandeliers? How to disguise cords, especially for larger rooms? And sources! (For stores too, in addition to eBay). That would be awesome! The room looks great! I just moved into a different house and my “dining room” currently has no light. Something like this may just solve the problem, without hiring an electrician. 🙂 I was leaning that way the past few days, and reading this post today confirmed I’m not crazy for considering a plug in!

  17. Marian@CMShawStudios

    Marian, thanks so much for letting us come on such a busy day. It was such fun to see your studio. And the fabric looks right at home at your place. So glad you’re happy with it.
    The Other Marian

  18. Clairie

    The chandelier is not my favourite part of this post: I love the tones of the fabric and the simplicity of the whole space even more! I am currently moving to a new flat and since we have like one million useless (in my opinion, unfortunately not in my husband’s) things, I am wondering how to use the space effectively and create something so clear. As I am checking various blogs, now I see how it all works together: your interior reminds me of the minimalist Scandinavian designs in combination with natural elements I saw here, was this style your inspiration as well? 🙂

  19. Janit

    Pssst! Those evergreens are not indoor evergreens and won’t like to be misted. In fact, they’ll be happier outside for the most part – bring them inside when you need a little decoration but gradually to avoid extreme differences in temperatures that will stress them out. (Like a living Christmas tree.)

    The pots should have a drainage hole so the roots don’t sit in water. I’m pretty sure they are Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce – not a blue spruce per se. Let me know if you have any questions, Miss Mustard Seed, I have two green thumbs and I’m glad to help. ;o)


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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