The coolest museum ever

Last week, I mentioned a couple changes in the kitchen that I was going to talk about, but something I’m way more excited about came up. We spent part of last week in Lyon, France. The whole trip was awesome, but the one thing I couldn’t wait to share with you was a particular museum that the Hubs found in the “old city.”

I didn’t get a good picture of it, but the outside was lovely. But what was inside made me just giddy. It was a miniatures museum.

Old white cottage kitchen in miniature

Miniature paris apartment in disrepair

Dollhouse studio apartment

For those who aren’t too familiar with miniatures, the size can be hard to picture. If these rooms were life-sized, most of them would have 9 to 10 foot ceilings, 1/12 scale means that 1 inch is equal to 1 life-sized foot, which makes these rooms about 9 to 10 inches tall–or about the height of a butter knife.

(FYI: I walked all around my house this morning with a ruler trying to find a relatable item that was 9 to 10 inches tall–it was surprisingly difficult, hence the butter knife comparison.)

Or maybe more relatable is that a gallon jug would be about the size of your thumbnail.

Miniature shop

Museum of Miniatures, Lyon France

I really loved this little studio.  The details were amazing:


(Photographing miniatures behind glass is hard.)



The variety of scenes they had was great.  Here is a concert stage:

Miniature concert stage

And, they saved the best for last, but unfortunately for you, I took so many pictures on the first three floors, that the battery in my camera died. The creator, Dan Ohlmann, has done many 1/12 models of actual places in France, including restaurants, theaters, and one of my favorites: a natural history museum. I was hoping to grab some from their website to share, but really, their own photos are terrible. For some reason, they (very badly) photoshopped the artist inside many of the 1/12 scale buildings, making the buildings look HUGE. If you’d like to see more photos, you can find tons through Bing.


Re-painting the kitchen cabinets

The base cabinets in our kitchen looked horrible.  It wasn’t the cabinets themselves, it was the finish.  As with much of the house, their paint job was pretty terrible.  It was streaky and bumpy, which made lots of grooves for oils and dirt to collect, and they were badly stained all around the handles.  Which meant it always looked dirty, no matter how much I scrubbed.

Kitchen after

I wanted something darker anyway.  The color they were painted was very similar to the wall color and it made the room look pretty flat and dull.  So I painted them Martha Stewart’s Zinc (which you can’t get color cards for anymore :( ).


Once again, I texted Dad, and asked the best way to paint over a badly painted cabinets in a semi-gloss finish.  I was quite surprised when he said to wet sand them.  But the results were amazing.  It smoothed all the bumps right out and left a nice, flat finish.

Of course, I removed all the hardware and took all the doors and drawers outside.  To sand, I took a sanding sponge, dunked it in water, squeezed out the excess, and lightly sanded everything.  The sanding block had to be rinsed out several times during the process.  (Very important note if you are going to try this: make sure that you put a drop cloth down, because the wet sanding re-activates the paint, and it will drip.)


There was a film left on the doors after sanding, but since mine were completely sealed with at least 4 coats of paint, I just rinsed them off with the hose and dried them with old towels.  The cabinets themselves took a little more work since I couldn’t just hose them down.  I didn’t get the sanding block quite as wet and then once they were sanded, I wiped them down twice with damp cloths.


To repaint, I brushed in all of the corners and then rolled on the rest with a 4-inch foam paint roller (similar to this).  Love the easy changes that make such a big difference!  There were a couple more changes I made, but forgot to photograph them.  I’ll tell you about then next week!


Turning Moroccan lanterns into hanging bedside lamps

Sometime around 2 years ago, I picked up two pretty little Moroccan lanterns for $15 each from Home Goods.  I had visions of them being real, hanging lights instead of just candle holders.

I’m not entirely sure, but I think I originally wanted them to be in the bathroom over the sinks.  (Since we’ll be moving, I’m glad we didn’t end up hardwiring them in there.)  I started waffling around a year ago and wanted them in the bedroom instead.  Regardless, that’s where they are now!


You might remember my post about how to turn a plug-in light into a hardwired one.  We used the $5 IKEA Hemma cord set as usual to turn these candle lanterns into actual pendants.  It was as simple as drilling a hole in the top of the lantern for the cord to fit through, and then snipping the plug end off so the cord can be threaded through the hole.


To hardwire the light, that’s all you’ll need to do, you have yourself a pretty Moroccan pendant for $20.  If we weren’t moving, I would have hardwired these lights into the bedroom ceiling, but because I want to take them with me (and I don’t know if they’ll be the next owner’s taste), we turned them back into plug-in lights by just putting the plugs back on.  We also added switches to the cords so we could turn them off without unplugging them.

I also picked up the chain at the home improvement store.  The shape of this chain was perfect, but it was BRIGHT brass-colored, so I did a couple very light coats of dark brown spray paint.  I didn’t want to cover the color, I just wanted to add spots of the brown to make it look old like the lanterns.  It worked pretty well!  The chain was under $1 a foot.

The shadows they cast on the walls and ceiling are really pretty.


I went to look for a similar lantern to link to, but there were SO MANY lanterns that would make gorgeous hanging lights that I put together several that would work well.  They are all under $20.  Now I want more of them.


PS: You may have noticed by the Instagram feed over there –> that we’re off at some beautiful place.  We are (or will be soon, as I’m writing this before we leave) on an amazing trip.  Ireland, Switzerland, and France more specifically.  (And please don’t worry about any lack of character on our part–this trip was saved for, planned and paid for in-full before the Hubs lost his job.)

One thing I (mostly) finished before we left was a simple change in the kitchen that made a huge difference.  Come back next Monday to check it out!