Showing posts with label Our Kitchen. Show all posts

Lamp Shade from Scratch

I’m blogging with a fury today.  When I say that one reason I blog is because it’s therapeutical (word?  not a word?) for me, I mean I blog because it’s therapeutical for me...gathers my marbles, mends my wits, gets out the jitters…  We were involved in a big fender-bender last night, the kids and I.  A man driving a big pick-up truck with a trailer drifted into my lane while I was stopped at a red light, side swiped the entire side of the pick-up behind me, hit the back corner of our van, and majorly hit the car in front of him who hit the car in front of her, who hit the car in front of him.  It was awful and affected me all night last night…and I had the least amount of damage.  So, here I am, frantically pounding away at the keyboard, still thanking God for protecting all involved, and thinking happy thoughts about…

lamp shades.

Let me put aside all the scary thoughts about car accidents in lieu of telling you fine readers how you can make your own.

diy lamp shade
We made our own to adorn the new chandelier in the kitchen (above pic) and the one attached to Sebastian’s ceiling fan.
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Buying these new was way out of our budget; like $100+ out.  Plus, there’s no guarantee a shade made to the specific diameter and height you’re looking for even exists.  So, we do what we do and we make.  And so can you.  (FYI, some of the links to products I purchased/used below are affiliate links which means I’ll make a small commission if you click over and buy.  But don’t worry!  It doesn’t affect your price in the slightest!  Thanks for supporting me!)

Here’s what you’ll need:
Lamp Shade Rings
lamp shade rings
You can hunt down a lamp shade at a thrift store or other discount store just to take it apart for its rings and use those or you can buy bottom and top rings from The Lamp Shop like I did.  For the kitchen light, I needed the biggest they had to fit around the chandelier, 24 inches in diameter.  With shipping, I ended up paying around $20 just for the rings but I couldn’t find any local store that just sold rings like this.  When you go to order/search for rings, keep in mind the shape you’d like your shade to be.  You can have it taper at the top (bottom ring larger than the top) or you can keep the top and bottom the same, like I did.

Polystyrene Plastic Sheeting.  I searched for days for this sheeting.  I was so clueless on how thick it had to be and I wanted something semi-transparent so that it didn’t block too much light.  Finally, I settled on this polystyrene plastic. I thought it would be a little more transparent than it actually is but once I was finished making the shades with it and turned the lights on, it wasn’t bad by any means.  I’m really happy with the quality of it and how easily I could cut through it.

Again, it cost me a little over $20 for this roll but I’ll be able to get about 10+ shades out of it because it’s so large.  As I type I have four other shades in this house whose plastic linings are torn or yellowed so they’ll all be getting new plastic out of this roll.


Fabric.  If you want a shade that doesn’t inhibit light, you’ll want to cover it with a thin fabric.  Quilting fabrics are great for this because they’re thin and you can find solids and lots of patterns.  I went with a plain white broadcloth from JoAnn Fabrics for the kitchen shade.  I like it because it’s really thin and resembles linen.  You can sort of see the texture in the picture below.  The pattern you can see through the broadcloth is my ironing board, so you can see just how thin this fabric is.
(PS, to figure out length of fabric you’ll need for a drum shade where the top and bottom rings are the same size, multiply the diameter of your lamp rings by 3.14.  Make sure to buy a piece of fabric several inches longer and wider than your finished shade will be though.  You’ll cut it to size once it’s attached to your plastic.  A tapered shade is a little more difficult to make from scratch.  The best way to make one of those would be to find an old tapered shade somewhere, carefully remove the plastic, and trace it onto a new piece.  I’ll have a tutorial on reconstructing a tapered shade sometime in the future as some of mine are!)

Spray Glue
Thin Marker or Pencil
Hot Glue Gun and Sticks
An Extra Pair of Hands

Ok.  Once you have everything, you’ll need to cut your plastic to size (figure out the circumference using the above formula and add a half inch for overlap at the ends).  Lay it out in an area large enough that you can lay the entire piece flat.  (I locked myself in our room one day while Anthony was home so I didn’t have to play defense to keep the kids from walking all over it…bedroom workshop.)
Then, draw the shade out.  Assuming that one side of the plastic I purchased was straight, I lined up a quilting square and drew a straight line with a thin permanent marker along that side to the length I needed my shade to be.  I wanted my shade to be nine inches high (up and down) and it needed to be 78 inches long to cover my rings and overlap at the ends. IMG_0760If you don’t have a quilting square, you can cut a piece of paper to your desired height, line it up along the straight edge of your plastic, and mark along the opposite side.  If you’re using an old piece of existing plastic (the one you’re replacing the new plastic with) then obviously you’ll just have to trace.  :)

Next, cut out your shade plastic.
(Side note:  I made a lamp shade to cover our living room fan a couple of months ago and had some difficulty cutting the plastic.  It wasn’t this new plastic sheeting I had but the old shade plastic that I was just shortening.  Every time I cut, the plastic cracked at the tip of the scissors when it was closed completely.  I’m not sure if that plastic was just old and brittle or if it was my scissors or what.  So, this time around I didn’t close my scissors completely while I was cutting just to make sure that didn’t happen again.  Make sense?)
So now that your plastic is set, covering it with fabric is up next.
The first thing you’ll probably want to do is give it a good ironing to make sure that no wrinkles pop up on your finished shade…because good luck ironing them out if that happens.  ;)
After it’s nice and wrinkle-free, lay it out on a flat surface.  I’d recommend covering your flat surface with an old sheet or tablecloth first though just to make sure you don’t get glue everywhere. 
IMG_0855As you can see, my fabric was a tad bit longer than my table so I just made sure to get the majority on.

Next up, attached your fabric to the plastic with some spray glue.  I used Duro All-Purpose spray glue (I think I got this at Walmart awhile back).
IMG_0856This stuff can get everywhere so make sure not to spray it around anything important.  I went outside (at 10 ‘o clock at night) to the middle of the backyard, held up the plastic, and sprayed.)  Make sure you spray the outside of the shade and not the inside.  Let the glue dry for a minute or two for a better stick.
Then, lay your plastic on top of your fabric.  To make sure there aren’t any bubbles, it helps to start on one side and sort of roll the fabric on while running your hand down the plastic…if that makes sense.  IMG_0858
If you’re using a patterned fabric, make sure you lay the plastic on straight.  If you lay it on and it’s not straight though, don’t fret.  Just take it off and lay it on again.  It really helps with this step and the following to have someone helping.
Once you have your plastic positioned where you want it, run your hands along the top of it, pressing so that every inch sticks. 

Now, cut the extra fabric off.  At the ends, you’ll want to leave anywhere from a quarter to a half inch to be folded over onto the plastic.
A good way to figure out how much to leave on the sides is to fold the fabric over the ring while it’s sitting on the very edge of the plastic (see pictures towards the end of the post).  You’ll want to leave enough to completely cover the ring plus a few millimeters.
Make sure to cut a straight line.  It doesn’t matter too much if it’s slightly thicker in some areas.  You just don’t want any jagged edges you can get from cutting short snips.  I was a little too hasty in spots thinking it wouldn’t matter and you can see those spots on the inside of my shade.  Doh!
So, now it’s time to get out that glue gun.  Make sure you grab a bunch of extra sticks too so that you don’t have to halt progress to run for some.
Hot glue is great in that it dries really quick but sometimes that’s the downfall too.  And it’s messy.  If there were such a glue that was thinner, room-temp, and dried quick, I’d be all over it.  But, as far as I know, there isn’t, so hot glue it is.

First, glue both of your ends down.  Just place a very thin line of glue along the very edge of your plastic, fold the fabric over, and press it down.  The thinner your line of glue, the less bulky the ends will be.    IMG_0864
Next, grab both the top and bottom rings and place them directly over the ends and right at the very edge of the plastic.  They shouldn’t be sitting on top of the fabric at all.  Have someone hold them there for you.  (Make sure that if your top ring has a recessed washer ring and bars, that the recess is going into the shade vs. outside or on top of it.  I made that mistake with a recent shade and had to tear it apart and start over.)
It’s really important to take this next part slow.  You’ll need to work in very small sections to ensure that you have no buckling/warping of the plastic on your shade.  Run a line of glue along a couple of inches of one ring and quickly fold your fabric on top of and over the ring.  Hold until it dries (a few seconds).
Don’t glue the plastic (made that mistake too).  It makes for a cleaner finish if you just place glue on the ring because, as you fold the fabric over, you’ll push the glue into the crevice between the ring and plastic so it won’t be very noticeable in the end.

Glue a couple of inches on the top ring and then do the same couple of inches on the bottom ring.  Over and over and over.
Meanwhile, your helper should be rolling the rings along so that whatever part your gluing is closest to the table.  This will help make sure that the plastic is always touching the ring and protecting you from having a less than straight edge once you’re finished.
When you’re a few inches from the end, stop gluing.  Roll your shade up so that the seam is visible.  Run a thin line of glue along the end you started with and press the other end to it.
Last, finish gluing the rest of the shade where you left off in the same way that you glued before, little by little and with the part you’re gluing laying closest to the table.

I’ll go into more detail on the added stripes and how we attached this shade to the chandelier in another post but the washer at the top of this shade ring was a perfect fit over the threaded rod on the top of our chandelier so it just slipped right on.
Until that other post, ciao!  Thanks for letting me unload myself onto you through my fingers and a lengthy tutorial.  Now, if someone will actually make a lamp shade and let me know how it goes, it’ll get me to 100% real quick like.  :)

Hasta later.


Sharp Corners

Yesterday afternoon.  Lazy Sunday.  The kids were asleep and Anthony was outside primping the yard when I walked into our eat-in kitchen and beheld it.  The light.  It was amazing.  Our kitchen/dining area is the brightest room in the house as it is with all the windows it boasts but at that moment the light was brighter than any light I’ve ever seen stream through the windows.  And then I found out why.  We found a big, round pool for the kids at Dirt Cheap last week and set it up Saturday.  Well, Anthony had drained it while he was outside and turned it upside down to dry.  The bottom of the pool is stark white and it was laying right by the kitchen windows, reflecting the bright sunshine into the room.  Now I know why photographers use those light reflector things.  It makes all the difference in the world.

So, I took advantage of the light and got out our camera.  The funny thing is, I had just completed a five-minute project earlier in the day that I had planned to write about today involving the window treatments in there but I didn’t plan on getting whole room shots, until I saw the light.  #literally

[No filter.  No edit.  No nothing.]

(And you can bet that I will be Anthony will be carting that pool around to the outside window of every room I photograph from this day forward.)

But anyway, let’s get to that little project quick.

Three and half years ago we went from this...
kitchen1 (14)

…to this…
…just by adding some diy-ed window valances.
Granted my after is even better because of the incredible lighting but you get the picture, right?  Also, might I mention that the after was taken yesterday (you probably gathered that) and I haven’t changed a single thing at this view besides adding a couple of vases?  I find that a tad comical considering my affinity for decorating interiorly.  ;)  But, adding window treatments makes a huge difference, no?

Well, if you’ve ever made those valances yourself or maybe are planning to one day, this one’s for you.

Back when we made them, Anthony ironed corner creases in them so that they’d have that slight box look.  Well, over time, the creases started to uncrease.  You can see what I’m talking about here:
No more sharp corner.

So, to remedy the situation and get those corners back, I simply stuck a sewing pin through the hem at the bottom corner of each valance that went right through that corner.
I lifted the valance up and stuck the pin in so that the point went towards the end of the valance.  I made sure I stayed within the hem so that, besides the plastic ball top, the needle wasn’t visible outside the valance.  Make sense?

Then I let the valance down, grabbed the ends of the pin from outside of the valance, and bent it at the corner. IMG_9202

So now my pin was bent at a 90 degree angle and holding my corner so that it’ll now stay a corner…forever…or at least until I want to switch fabrics.

It was an easy five-minute project.

And that’s that.

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On another note, I’ve really been itching to replace our dining room table.  We bought it at a thrift store for $100 right before we were married and I love it, but a lighter wood, maybe a round table, and/or something I can paint are in the forecast.  I’m going to put an ad up on a local secondhand sales sight to trade with someone and see how far it gets me.  I’ll keep you updated like I do.  :)

[Click here to see how we reupholstered the dining chairs and here to get the deets on the frame collage.]

I scored those gold hex vases at a yard sale last weekend!  They’re Nate Berkus!  I know what you’re thinking!  Why on earth would anyone yard sale those?!  No clue, my friends.  But, I’m happy they did.

This room has come a long way from it’s sage + brown beginnings.  Ohhh yes it has.  See?
Before (previous owner’s decor):
dining b4


And chances are it’ll probably look a little different the day we decide to sell.

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P.S.  If you wondering how/why our kitchen/dining area look so clean with three toddlers running around, let me just tell you how thankful I am that the camera doesn’t pick up the goldfish crumbs littering the second chair to the right or the top of the high chair.  And speaking of the high chair and booster seat in the background, I almost moved them for these shots but then I thought I’d leave them so you get the full feel of how they’re incorporated into the design of the room.  Kidding.  They totally hamper the design but it’s ok.  That is our life.  *wink 

Last Supper

A long-ish time ago I hung a combo of frames on a big, bare wall in our kitchen and a long-ish time ago I really, really didn’t like how it turned out.

Exhibit A:
Not that bad, I guess, but definitely nothing to write home about, or blog about (even though I did).may262012004_thumb1
I thought it was a great idea to spray paint all the frames silver and haphazardly toss some art in them and call it a collage.

And so for a long-ish time I saw it everyday as I walked back and forth; to and from the kitchen and I didn’t like it each and every time. 

But not anymore!  Nope!  While Anthony was at the March for Life in DC a couple of weeks ago, I took the old down and started anew on a fresh slate.  It’s looking much better these days…
Yes?  You think so?  I hope so!

It all started with this picture of the Last Supper:
It’s an antique that my grandma gave me a couple of years ago.  It used to hang in the farmhouse my grandpa grew up in.  I love it.  :)  And it only took me a long-ish time to finally get it hung here!  The “take & eat” above it hearkens to Matthew 26:26 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

The rest of the collage is a conglomeration of thrifted frames (that were spray painted), DIY art,  these mirrors from Target (I found them for el cheapo at Dirt Cheap because one of the three was missing a piece of mirror), and a couple of little thrifted mirrors.  I’ll be back this week to give you alllll the deets on the DIYed stuff, don’t you worry.

Now, for fun, let’s take a few steps back and to the side and then a little into the past to see how far this little eating spot has come, shall we?

A picture I took on our second visit to see the house before we bought it:Random 480

After we moved in, painted, and hung a real light fixture:
kitchen1 (14)

This morning (Feb 2015):
  IMG_5789[Of course we don’t keep decor on the table…ever.  That was just for the sake of a pretty picture…as was the two high chairs plus the kid seat on the chair.]

I would say we’re done decorating/renovating/tweaking in here but the truth is, we’re not.  We’ve been tossing around the idea of blowing out part of the wall (not visible in the pictures) to the left to open the space up a little more to the living room and I’ve really been wanting to trade in our thrifted dining table and chairs for another (probably thrifted) set.  So, time will tell.

.           .           .

What have you been working on?  Hanging any pictures?  Dabbling in art?  Taxes?…speaking of, I’ve gotta get those done.  I’m always doing them at the last minute.  Well, whatever you’re up to, I hope you’re having a good Monday (or what’s left of it considering it’s probably nearing it’s end for you as it is me). 


In Sight, In Mind

I’m one of those people that NEEDS to have a to-do list to get anything accomplished.  I don’t know if it’s an OCD list tendency or just a love of the satisfaction of “checking” something off, but I work so much better and get so much more done when I have a list to look at.  For this purpose, I grabbed the cutest gold striped calendar notebook on super clearance at Target a couple of months ago but guess what happens?  I write my to-do list out, lay the notebook down somewhere,  forget to check it, little gets done, things get forgotten, “outta sight, outta mind”, yadda yadda yadda…

So I finally got smart and made a dry-erase board to-do list this week. 

Here’s da story:

I grabbed a picture frame (I think it’s “document size”) that I bought from the dollar store several years ago.  It was originally wood but I spray painted it white right after I bought it.  After being moved and stored, it needed a touch-up coat so I quickly gave it a light sanding (fine grit sanding block) and gave it a thin coat of white spray paint I had on hand. todoboard 001

Next, I cut a piece of scrapbook paper I snagged a couple of months ago at Michael’s to fit inside the frame and be a background.todoboard 002

Then, using regular ‘ole super glue, I glued four semi-strong magnets (Lowe’s) to the cardboard backing of the frame. todoboard 003

Like dis:
 todoboard 005
I glued them right to the cardboard knowing if I ever wanted to, I could simply rip them off and reuse them else, albeit probably with a little cardboard residue on the backs but no big deal, right?

The glued dried within minutes so I happily scribbled down my jobs for the day (top) and week (bottom) with a dry-erase marker and pranced over to stick her on the fridge.  A full dose of motivation, coming right up.  Seriously.  It took me from lazy pregnant with a side of sleepy to crazy with a stick of a few magnets and the squeak of a marker…miraculous I tell ya. 

 todoboard 010

It was the perfect addition to our little “organization station” – a calendar (I made it on Microsoft Publisher…such an easy DIY), the to-do list, keys, a magnetic notepad we use for making grocery lists (I loathe grocery shopping btw), and invitations (No, we’re not that popular.  Most of those are old and we just hang on to them for sentimental purposes).  I might have to grab a little vase or something, stick a magnet to it, and stick it to the fridge to hold pens and dry-erase markers.  For now though, they’re tucked away in the drawer below.  As for the magnetic hooks holding everything on,  I got those on clearance at Target awhile ago and they’re awesome.  I know they still sell them.  I’m still dreaming of a way to disguise this black side of the fridge (bead board?) so we’ll see if that ever comes true too!  A piece of bead board and some more magnets shouldn’t be so hard to whip up someday. 

todoboard 011
(Ack!  Sorry for the fuzzy pictures…there is not one but zero DSLR whisperers in this hizouse.)

Anyone else a do-er only with a list telling them what to do?  What about grocery shopping?  Anybody willing to do mine?  I’ll feed you…  Oh but wait, I hate to cook too… 

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Have a great weekend!! 

P.S.  I washed the rug!  The number one asked question that came up after it’s YHL debut was if it was washable.  Yes it is.  Yes I did – yesterday.  Yes, it still looks like it did the day I painted it.  Stay tuned for a whole post on it next week!