Author Archive | Hannah Magsamen-Barry

Repurposing the Ordinary Into Something Pretty Awesome!


It all started when I made my first trip to the shops one weekend in search of Christmas gifts for my family and friends, and just couldn’t find anything that really felt special. I remembered a project that my family did together a few years ago where we made candelabras out of piping for a holiday Christmas market. I thought, maybe I could do this myself and give these beautifully, hand-crafted candle stands as my Christmas gifts this year.

Somehow, over the course of a week or so, this idea evolved into a rather large project that left me with candle stands of all sizes, and lamps as well. Learning to wire a lamp safely and effectively I admit did take some time, and I cannot deny that I gave myself an electrical shock – just once and with no permanent damage… I hope, but in all this project resulted in unique gifts that can be used and treasured for years to come.


How to Make a Copper and Brass Candle Stand

The bases of all my candle stands are pieces of wood cut from shipping pallets. After cutting all to the size desired I thoroughly sanded the edges and sides to give it a more smooth and finished look.

Your local hardware store will offer a wide selection of pipe options, and attachment mechanisms. I find it most helpful to draw out the look I want beforehand, so when I get to the store it is just a matter of picking up the right puzzle pieces for the job.

The only real tool necessary in this project is a sturdy wrench to ensure that all pipes are tightly screwed together, as you do not want your candle stand moving when there is a hot flame.

Finally, choose an assortment of long candlesticks from your local craft store. I prefer white or beige candlesticks, however, for a special event a colorful candle looks great too!


How to Make a Copper and Brass Lamp

The basic “shell” if you will of the lamp is the exact same process as the candle stand.

Wiring the electrical feed through the piping and attaching all elements necessary for the bulbs are quite easy and can be done in as short as 10 minutes time once you have gotten the process down. Speak to any professional at your local hardware store to be given a detail description of the process.

When making a lamp created from metal piping, it is important to use an earth wire to avoid any mishaps.


Hannah Magsamen Barry

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A Château State of Mind

The Château de la Bourdaisière

The Château de la Bourdaisière and the land on which it sits has lived many lives, and witnessed important historical events, sheltered some of Frances past Kings and Queens, soldiers, and noblemen. It’s walls have seen and heard the faces and voices of the past that so many historians, politicians, and leaders would eagerly give anything to be privy to, yet these walls will never reveal their secrets.

The original Château de la Bourdaisière dates back to the14th century when it was a fortress belonging to Jean Meingre. In1520 King Francis I arranged for construction of a new castle on the site. Built for his mistress, Marie Gaudin, the wife of Philibert Babou, Superintendent of Finances for France, after her death, the property and the castle remained with the Babou family. Oddly enough, Marie Gaudin’s granddaughter, Gabrielle d’Estrées, who was born in the château, would herself grow up to become mistress to another King of France, King Henry IV.

After seeing a succession of owners up until the turn of the 20th century, the castle was occupied by the Nazi’s during the Second World War, and then finally turned into an old age home just before it was bought by its current owners and turned into a hotel.

Today, the Château is a small paradise, which boasts endless walking trails, a spectacular flower garden, herb garden, dahlia garden with 205 dahlia varieties, and tomato garden where over 650 varieties of tomatoes can be found. The « tomato bar » open seasonally welcomes guests and visitors for tastings.

A Château State of Mind

During the weekend that I spent with my family at the castle, we felt as though we had stepped back in time. Meals were prepared with fresh ingredients from the gardens, the hypnotic twisting flames of a roaring fire replaced the television screen, and we without distraction we were able to actually spend time together – speak to each other, listen without interruption. Instead of retreating to our own virtual worlds that our cellphones so easily allow, we played chess together, went on walks through the forests, and played with chickens, sheep, and pigs at the castle farm.

What I took from this experience is something that I actually don’t need to be in a 14th century castle to achieve, it is the realization that turning off, and disconnecting from our phones, laptops, iPads, and so on is vital in order to reconnect with the people that matter most to you. Sitting with my family and feeling that I was truly being heard and that I could without interruption listen to them knowing that there was no technological device around to distract not only helped us connect, but it honestly made us all feel incredibly less stressed out! I don’t know about you, but when I have my phone near me I feel obligated to check it constantly and for no reason at all. Not having the feeling of “responsibility” to check my messages, emails, and twitter updates is a breath of fresh air that I didn’t even know I needed.

Disconnect and reconnect!

Hannah Magsamen Barry


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Chorizo stuffing recipe

This chorizo stuffing recipe has always been a favorite of mine — try it this year with your family!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hannah Magsamen Barry

Music credit: “If I were a bell” by Oscar Peterson

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How To Make A Candle Stand Centerpiece

We love sharing DIY decor projects!

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we decided to create a candle stand centerpiece.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hannah Magsamen Barry

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The Desk

I spent years using my bed as a makeshift office, spreading my schoolwork, and what eventually because my professional work, in piles covering the blankets. I’d sit surrounded by papers doing my research only to then throw it all on the floor when it was time for bed. Only recently have I discovered the divine […]

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Charlemagne’s Gardens

The Capitulare de villis is a text composed in c. 771-800, which lists a set of rules and regulations that must be followed by royal estates under the reign of Charlemagne. These rules and regulations pertained to things such as land management, animal care, administration, and gardening. The object of this document was to ensure that all […]

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Building your Nest

The concept of a nest, and I mean an actual birds nest, is something that warrants more awe and amazement than it usually gets credit for. If you have ever taken the time to inspect a bird’s nest up close and personal you would notice the painstakingly intricate and precise way that a bird chooses […]

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A Harvest

This past weekend, my family and I headed into the countryside for a much needed escape from the often oppressive beat of the city. Paris has innumerable charms that certainly enchanted and quickly won me over, but even in the best of love affairs we all need a moment away. With my parents visiting in […]

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Inside at Palais de Tokyo

“Inside offers visitors a passage to the interior of the self, for which the exhibition space serves as a metaphor. This immense odyssey, both physical and psychological, invites us to walk through two floors of the Palais de Tokyo that have been transformed by artists in such a way that, from one installation to the next, […]

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