Posts Tagged With: Mason Jars

The Completed DIY Network Project and Last Visit with The BarnWood Builders

So today I think I am a little sad, the project is complete and the Barnwood Builders on the DIY Network have driven off to another barn or cabin. The Barnwood Builders shared something with me and my family that I can not easily explain, it is a gift, of course, a new family room, but it is something more also. It is when kindred spirits come together things get magical and create something better than if we were doing things alone. My family room would not have been half as beautiful without the lumber that we received from that old barn. Their show needed a willing and able family to take truckloads of old lumber and make it into something. My blog would have never gotten the recognition it has without them finding me in cyberspace. I would have never learned so much about the way TV production works and is filmed. Mark would have never put a shoe on a horse if it was not for people who deep down love West Virginia and the beautiful life this state has given us.

Barn in the Valley at Kenchelo road, Jane Lew< West Virginia

“MY” Barn in the Valley at Kenchelo road, Jane Lew,West Virginia

I have never in my life worked with a better group of people, the respect that is given to each person on the set from the littlest, ( Christopher) to the Assistants, Caterers, the barn or cabin owners, to Tom, I and the real stars of the show, is higher and deeper I have ever seen. The amount of teamwork these people have to put into creating a one hour show is hard to explain and they do it day in and day out.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

It took almost three days to film the demo of my old barn and Tom’s farrier segment. It took three more days to film my house and cut in clips of landscapes and animals. Then 4 or 5  weeks of planning and travel ( We joined the bandwagon a month before shooting started). Now 6 weeks to edit this one show and do voice-overs and graphics before this show will air. All for a one hour on the DIY network. What an amazing experience, I am still in disbelieve that It all happened … it was a dream, right?

Travis director of photography setting up on last day of filming

Travis director of photography  with his assistant (back to you)setting up on last day of filming

I am a fan of Mark Bowe for his love of this State, its people and its rich history. It is his vision that I share and will continue to pour into my blog. So that maybe one day people outside our hollers will see that we are not trapped in the past or unlucky. That we have made a choice to slow our lives to remember our past and see the beauty that is our countries rich history. Without our past we have no future and it takes time to build a solid foundation to live on. ( Notice: West Virginia was barely impacted with the housing crisis or the recession that followed something to think about as most states finances are in the red while West Virginia is financially stable.)

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

Mark Bowe hanging in the living room after shooting with the Barnwood builders

On the last day of filming our house Sean McCourt (the executive producer), Travis (head photographer) and his assistant arrived about an hour before Mark Bow to set up the lights to make the room bright and homey. Well, nothing ever goes as planned and the lights that Sean rented were really no help for us and Travis worked hard to get as much natural light in the room as possible. I still think you will see in the final cut that the room looks dark …… like well the inside of a barn… kinda hard to get past that.

Christopher look out on the light bounce screen

Christopher looking out on the light bounce screen

Mark was happy to hear all the stories of our home in a way that I have not seen in any other episode. I have no idea what ones will be in the show but I am pretty sure you will see my artwork, the Mason jar Chandelier ( how we made it here), Toms Elk and lots of neat things we took from the barn to decorate with. Travis even took closes ups of my family photos and bearskin rug. It is strange to tell my family stories in front of a camera, the tail of packing out our Elk and getting it mounted by an oral surgeon, not a taxidermist, the print that my brother made from of a lake a block from my mother’s house in Longmont, Co. and the story of Toms grandfathers 28 point buck. Those are the pieces of my family that I just shared with America and the world… A strange feeling really!

The show works unscripted and is very open to the nature of the people and places they are working with. The weather and moods of the cast and”guests” are more real than you can imagine. The producers gave me a general overview of what they wanted us to cover in the show…  new floors, walls, the DIY chandelier, and my artwork. Then turned to Mark and said, “We will shoot this in reverse order and will shoot from this doorway”. That is all the direction we got… seriously I just followed along…. if he asked a question or pointed anything out I just told the story that I have been telling everyone for the last 5 months. Then we moved outside for the “Greeting” portion of the shoot… yea a little strange but this made it easier for the lighting set up and is the only acting my family did… Christopher was a ham and Tom was nervous and I thought it was all funny. We had to film the greeting three times over to get all the information into the shot that Sean needed us to say or to keep hammy Christopher from blowing the high-five that he gives Mark.

Then they filmed Mark giving us our gift and I get to finally see the photo present they made for me. For a photography nut this was the very best gift I could have been given. I know the story behind the photo, the location, and the photographer and am so happy they got some blue sky in the photo. All I remember about that morning was cold and rain… It now looks lovely in my country kitchen and will be a treasured gift for the rest of my life.

Photo of my barn portrait gift from Mark Bowe

Photo of my barn portrait gift from Mark Bowe


Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Barn wood about finished on wall with windows

Just like these treasured photos of the work we did and the time we spent together to make this all happen. It has been worth every moment of rain and mud, every long day of hanging wood boards in a 90-degree family room and hours of time on our knees with tile and grout. I think Tom, Cody and I logged 70 hours on the floor twice that of the walls.

drying slate tiles

drying slate tiles

Cody Power stripping old floor tiles

Cody Powers stripping old floor tiles

Family room from the laundry room door

Before barn wood and tile on the floor

Somehow it all came together and is better than anything I could have imagined. We now have a family room my family is proud of! Thank you to the cast and crew of the Barnwood Builders. I can’t wait to see episode# 5 of the new season that starts Oct 2015. I may just have a Viewing Party with my family and friends in November when my show airs… Who’s up for popcorn?

finished family room from laundry room

 The finished family room from the laundry room with our cat Jinn.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, Buckhannon West Virginia, family memories, Home Decor, home improvement, Mason Jars, slate tile | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Mason Jar Chandelier a DIY project: With Our Barn Wood Update

To add a real personal touch to the family room remodel Tom and I added two Mason Jar chandeliers. We removed an older ceiling fan/light fixture that did not properly light the large room and replaced them with 2 light boxes, with 6 bulbs of soft colored pendant lights. We got the idea from a looking at web pages that had barn wood and county rooms that had used Mason Jars as shades for light fixtures. Tom and I worked out what we wanted and the did some experimenting before settling on two lights instead of just one large one. This is what we ended up making out of the scrap wood left over from the walls. This is just one of the two light boxes we made.

Mason Jar chandalier made from old barn wood

Mason Jar chandelier made from old barn wood

Each box houses three lights (like the one above) and each light has a 40 watt clear appliance bulb inside a pint mason jar. Using the ring and seal as our bracket to support the jar. Each jar is removable can change in color or size, up to a quart jar with many decorative colors… This is my first combination Green, Clear and Blue. At some time in the future I will stain a few clear jars a warm yellow if Ball does not produce them soon!

The room looks like this with both light fixtures, you can see in the photo where the ceiling fan/light used to mount. These lights are about 8 feet apart and mount to ceiling rafters with brackets in our attic. The brackets attached to wooden blocks on the drywall part of the ceiling that slide into the wood boxes and attach with double-sided blots that have wood screws on one side and machine screws on the other, topped with acorn nuts and washers.

two  mason jar light fixtures installed and working ... yea!

two mason jar light fixtures installed and working … yea!


The lights are pretty easy to make and there are a lot of ideas on the internet, some have “how to” videos and others are just photos. So to explain what we did here I have added some photos and descriptions that may help if you to make these  yourself.

First, Tom and I had to decide three things, how much light we wanted, how many fixtures we wanted and finally how big should the shades be. So with a little test light that Tom wired up we started with clear quart jars and the idea of having 8 lights on one fixture using 90 watt clear bulbs. Wow that was just toooo bright.Unless we wanted to buy Edison light bulbs ( they appear sepia in color) at 9 dollars a bulb we had to come up with something less bright.

So we started to scale down what we wanted to make. The one big box idea changed to a two box light set up so that the light would fill the entire room and not blind people watching  the T.V.  Then we needed to rethink the amount of light we needed. I could have used the Edison bulbs at 60 watts they are still a less bright light than clear bulbs but the cost of the bulbs was just silly about ($100.00 ). The bulbs would cost more than the whole fixture.I still wanted clear bulbs so we went smaller and lower wattage. The standard 40 watt clear bulbs cost me 4 dollars for 4 bulbs, so the price was good and we could use a smaller shade and I had many jars to use.I have some clear jars and some colored already. I like the colored ones to use for drinking glasses,vases and candle holders. So I had no money in the colored pint jars and had lids and rings in my collection of canning supplies.

We then decided that 4 lights was really more than we needed wattage wise and the look of three pendants looks better than 4. So the two light boxes with three small jar covers with 40 watt bulbs became the plan. Tom made the boxes out of scrap wood we had left over from the Barnwood Builders remodel and drilled three holes for the light cord wiring. The wire was the most expensive portion of the fixture and we bought a 25 foot roll and had about 4 feet left over. Tom wanted the wire to match the socket and fill it completely so we kind over did what we needed to produce a 40 watt light but it looks great so the extra money was worth it in the long run.

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

light box with three holes the box face is 36 inches with a 1 inch frame on all sides

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring box

Tom wiring in light cords into shallow wiring

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

wiring for Manson Jar chandelier

From here you can see how we could wire up more than one light to a single fixture. We mounted two Grounding Bars ( found in the fuse box section) to the side of a shallow blue wiring box. Each bar has room for several connections we would only use three on each bar. One bar is the ground and one bar is the hot,then the wiring box  mounted to the center of the light box with wood screws. The cords were then cut to length on the other side and a zip ties  applied to the cord so there was a stop on the cord. This prevents the weight of the shade and bulb from pulling on the cord and possibly pulling the cord out of the grounding bar. Then sockets attach to the cords. We used two-part sockets so that we could add the lid to the socket as the bracket to hold on the jar.

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Adding sockets to cords of three Mason Jar light fixture

Chandelier light test

Chandelier light test

After adding the sockets to the cords it was time to make sure the wiring worked and add bulbs to see how bright the lights were. Tom just stripped an old extension cord down and wired it into the power bars on the inside of the box, plugged the other end into the wall outlet to see if what he had made worked properly; this is what I saw. Now we just needed to get the lids cut for the shades and add them to see if they were going to look good.

Cutting the lids was pretty easy if you leave the lids on the jars and tighten up the rings. Otherwise it is almost impossible to hold the lids in place with either your fingers or small clamps. Tom used a 32 mm hole cutter to cut the holes … the cutters hole is just shy of what we needed and the fit was rough from the cutter.

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

Standard 32 mm hole cutter to cut holes in canning jar lids

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

cutting hole in lid of Mason Jar for light fixture

ruff hole cut in canning jar lid

rough hole cut in canning jar lid

To make the edges smooth and increase the size of the hole Tom used a small grinding stone bit in his drill. He ground off the edge until the socket fit into each hole and the edges are not super sharp. Then he fits each socket into the lid and drills ventilation  holes 4 each in the lid.

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

Tom grinding down the lid and enlarging hole for socket

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

drilling 4 vent hole into lid of Mason Jar light shade

When complete the lids and rings were added to the sockets, then we screwed on the jars and tested again.

Mason Jar light shades... blue green and clear ready to add to light fixtuer

Mason Jar light shades… blue, green and clear ready to add to light fixture

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

Testing Mason Jar Lights these are ready to install

The installation was a two person job as the boxes are heavy. The barn wood box with wiring is held in place while the wires connect at the ceiling for a long time. I would suggest using two ladders it makes installation much easier. Be prepared to use a strong set of arms as you push the fixture on to the screws hanging down from the blocks attached to the ceiling. Once in place we were so excited to see that they both worked and the light filled the entire room instead of only in the middle that we just stopped working for a couple of days to enjoy what it looked like.

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers

View from back of room to front with both Mason Jar Chandeliers


We have also added a small sconce light to the back wall over my computer desk so that we can see at the desk without turning on all the lights. Again it needed rewired because I did not want to open up the wall to install it. Tom added a switch cord and we stuffed the cord between the boars on the wall. It works great and in the future I will get a brown cord and tack the cord in place.

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

New light sconce light fixture and some of the base board and ceiling molding

So I am slowly getting the furniture back in place, photos hung and rugs put down. It will be next week before we have every thing back in place and I can take after photos but this gives you an idea of how far we have come. It has been more work then I imagined and took about a month longer then I hoped. But we did this ourselves no contractor was really needed.We did call on lots of friends and family to help out over the last 4 months and it was all worth it in the end. Can’t wait to share the after photos.

Categories: Barnwood, Barnwood Builders, DIY, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, light fixtures, Mason Jars | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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