Pom Poms + A Lamp Shade

Right before Sebastian was born, Anthony and I took a day-time date out to run some errands while our parents watched the twins.  I’ve mentioned this before and usually it wouldn’t be worth mentioning at all except for the fact that, during that particular date we made a spontaneous stop at our favorite discount store, Dirt Cheap, where we were lucky enough to score two bargain buggies.  You can read more about those here.  Well, in one of those buggies was a stack of something like 22 lampshades, all originally from Target.  They were all bedecked with the same floral pattern but were all brand, spanking new.  I gave away most of them to family but kept three for a rainy day project.  Yesterday was that day (even though it barely rained).

Here are two of the shades:
The third will make for another project another day.

The plan?  To pimp these two out with some pom pom trim and sell them.  I’d keep them but we have no place for them!  Sad, I know!

Here’s how I did it and how you can too.
 pom pom trim   shade

First, the supplies.  You’ll need a scissors, a hot glue gun and sticks, some pom pom trim (I got mine on sale at JoAnn Fabrics), and a lamp shade.  IMG_9345
To figure out how much pom pom trim you’ll need, just slip a measuring tape around the base (or top if you’d prefer to do that!) and write that down.

To start, I took one end of my pom pom trim and glued it right over the vertical seam of the lampshade.  You’ll want to make sure you start/end at this seam so that your ends aren’t noticeable when you’re finished.  They’ll just be hanging out at the back of the lamp shade.

Then, working in small sections, I lined the base of the shade with a strip of hot glue and pressed the trim to the glue.
Working with hot glue is bittersweet because, while it gives instant gratification in that it dries super fast, you also have to be really careful when you’re using it because, if you don’t move fast enough, it could dry before you’re ready.  That’s why working in small sections is key.

Also, I made sure to carefully line up the bottom of the trim with the bottom of the lamp shade.  I wanted everything nice and straight and even.
One reason I saved this simple project for nap time was because I know I’d have had some swerving lines if I’d had distractions courtesy of my toddlers.  ;)  Joking but serious.

Once I reached the shade seam again, where I had started, I cut my trim past the last pom pom that overlapped the start of the trim.  So, cut it past the last pom pom but right before the next pom pom so that you’ll have a pom pom plus a little of the trim at the end.  (Sick of reading “pom pom” yet?)

Like this:
You don’t want to cut your trim so that it just meets the start because then you’ll be able to see the ends that could fray.

Once you’ve cut, add a dab of hot glue on that little bit of trim you have at the end and fold it over like this:
Now your edge will look finished and you can then just glue it right over the rest of the trim.  IMG_9352
There might be a couple of pom poms closer to each other than the rest like on mine, but no one will notice since they’ll be at the back of the shade by the seam.

I went back and forth between gluing the trim onto the outside vs. the inside of the bottom of the shade but in the end I went with the outside because the pom poms didn’t hang off their trim far enough to fully peek out from under the shade.  But, either way would be great if you have the right trim!  I also struggled with what color trim to go with but I won’t go into that because #firstworldproblems

With the leftover six inches of trim, I whipped up a little bracelet for the girls (whipped up meaning I hot glued the two ends together).  They were overjoyed…probably more because their naps were over but hey.
I wish I’d have had enough for two but I guess I’ll use it as a lesson in sharing, which they (don’t) excel at at the moment.  ;)

I’ve got another lampshade project up my sleeve that I’ll be sharing soon but until then, have you ever refashioned a lamp shade before?  Do share!  Thrift stores are usually stocked with them, making them an easy makeover target!


Happy humpday!

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P.S.  This isn’t my first time in the lamp shade arena.  :)  Check out these past lamp shade projects:
recovering a lamp shade with burlap
gussying up the girls’ lamp shade with crayon
adding a lamp shade to our master bedroom fan (a semi-fail)
adorning a shade with diy fabric flowers

A Basket Case

I feel like this might be a little random but it still fits into the diy/home category that I love so I’ll just go with it and hope that maybe it helps somebody out there.  Coco-fiber baskets.  Ever heard of them/seen them?  You might’ve if you’ve been a reader of this blog for awhile.  They’re what we made the chandelier in our entry way out of.

They’re metal baskets made to hold plants and they’re called coco-fiber baskets because they’re lined with this thick, stringy material made out of coconut shells.  Do you care?  Probably not.

Well, here’s the thing.  I bought two for the above chandelier months before we even made the thing, misplaced them, thought I probably returned them, and then found them stashed away months after the chandi was made.  I still ended up returning one but the other I hung on our porch. 

IMG_5845 (1)

They look so much better than those hunter green or black plastic numbers that hanging plants come in these days and they’re a pretty cheap upgrade.  This one in particular only cost about $6. 

So, like I said, I hung it.  But before I did, I had to do a little research because I had no clue how to plant something in these.  Did I need to do something special because of the coco liner?  Could I use regular ‘ole dirt?  Will any plant work?

Turns out, they’re really no different than those regular plastic hanging baskets other than the liner, which keeps everything in place and in the basket.  Except, I read that plants planted in them need to be watered more often because the coco liner is not very good at holding water.  Since remembering to water plants is not my finest attribute, that doesn’t bode well for anything I bury in that basket.

Am I boring you yet?  Good.

As I usually do when faced with a conundrum of any sort, I put on my thinking beret and came up with this.  And it worked because my plant thrived all summer last year.  Here it is.

A plastic bag strategically placed to hinder water loss and harbor water retention…aka stop water from leaking out right after it was poured in.

Here’s my basket, all ready to find it’s plant mate:

After cutting off the handles of a plastic grocery store bag and cutting a few small slits in the bottom of it for drainage, I laid it in my basket like so:
Once I had it in the basket, I pulled the sides of the bag over the basket.  But since the edge of my basket was wider than my bag, I cut a couple of slits down opposite sides of the bag to make it fit.

Then I put a little bit of dirt in the bottom of my basket; just enough to set the roots of the plant atop it so the top soil of the plant would be slightly lower than the outer rim of my basket.

Then I set my plant in…
[I have no clue what the name of this plant is, do you?  All I know is that I bought it on clearance at Lowe’s for $3.]

…and filled the rest of my basket with dirt, making sure it was nice and packed around my plant.IMG_4955

Last, I went in and trimmed the excess plastic sticking up and over my basket edge so that it wouldn’t be noticeable while the basket was hanging.  A good watering and that basket/plant pair was set.

All of the above pictures were taken last year when I first tried the plastic bag trick, if you will, and that plant lived until freezing temperatures hit the South last December and I watered that thing maybe twice a week (even though it was probably closer to once a week).  This year I planted a fern in the basket and it’s doing just peachy (see the very first pic above).  I planted it about a month ago when it was just a wee thing and, well, it’s still just a wee thing but I have high hopes that it will grow and that maybe I’ll be able to keep it alive for a couple of years.  Time will tell.

So, all this is to say that if you’ve also been let down by the lack of aesthetics of the generic plastic hanging basket, set your bar basket higher because coco baskets are where it’s at…coco baskets plus a plastic bag.

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I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Anthony has his first whole day off in something like three weeks tomorrow so we are going to town on the to-do list – powerwashing, hanging new blinds, and working on these.  What’s in your weekend plan? 

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all you babies mamas out there!

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 


Once upon a very long time ago, my sister and I were inspired by some strappy sandals we saw somewhere; who knows where anymore.  I’m talking like ten years ago.  But, we were inspired and we had to have some, but for some reason we wanted to make our own (probably because the real deals were out of our college student budgets).  So we set out for the perfect shoe to refashion.  I remember it took us awhile.  We both always had our eyes peeled and then one day, while we were strolling the aisles of our local Old Navy, we found the perfect sandals to use and they were on clearance (for $8, if I remember correctly).  We snatched them up and got to work…but what I really mean is we snatched them up and Farrah got to work.  Anyway, enough with the vague talk. 

These were the sandals we bought, only this is after we started our project.

Before we started, they looked similar to these Old Navy sandals (currently on sale for $13!)…
…but had some sort of embellishment on the top that we removed.

So I’ve had these unfinished sandals tucked away for all these years and last week I finally pulled them back out to finish what we started.  And now I am scratching my head in wonder that we didn’t finish long ago because they’re amazing done!


Here’s how I made them and how you can too!
diy lace n tie sandals

As you can see in the picture of the sandals Farrah and I found above, we clipped the straps so that they were about two inches long.

And then Farrah started sewing the unattached end to the attached end by folding it over and making a few stitches at the base of the strap, making sure to stitch through both ends. 
[Allow me to show you by continuing where we left off.]
She got half of my straps done (and probably none of her own because she’s selfless like that) so I finished stitching the other three down this week.  I’m not sure why we decided to fold down the strap so that the end was visible from the outside of the shoe but we probably should’ve folded them in so that they were less noticeable.  Excitement took our brain apparently.  Or maybe we just didn’t want that part rubbing against our feet.  Either way, in the name of consistency, I sewed the rest of them the same way.  Also, I should mention that when we cut the straps, we cut them at a diagonal so that when they were folded over, the end would run along the bottom of the shoe (look two photos up for a visual).  Make sense?  I hope so…

And that was that.  The shoes were ready for the fabric ribbon I made.

I had thee worst time choosing fabric for this project.  Too many options, too little time, and too many little hands grabbing whatever they could while I was looking.  I walked into JoAnn Fabrics that day hoping to find one fabric but walked out with two.  But that’s the great thing about these sandals – the options are endless! 

Here are the two I grabbed:
strapped (1)
[left & right]
I only bought six inches of each fabric and only ended up paying $3.50 total (I don’t think either were on sale and I didn’t have a coupon).  First things first, I needed to straighten out the fabric.  The lady that cut the fabric for me was awesome.  She made sure to cut straight across the design.  Whoever had previously cut the fabric didn’t do that so I had one wonky side and one straight side.  So, I just trimmed off the jagged side; getting it nice and straight.
strapped (2)

Then I cut each piece in half – two shoes; two ribbons.  I didn’t measure because I’m lazy pretty good at eyeballing.
 strapped (3)

Now it gets a little picture-happy.  I went full on with the details on how to make fabric ribbons, so if you’re not interested or you’d rather go the easy (smart?) route and use pre-made ribbon, you might want to scroll right on past.

I made two different types of ribbons, a pair with pointed ends and a pair with squared ends.  We’ll get the point-ended ones out of the way first because they’re a tad more difficult (but not hard!…you could totally do this!).

First, I grabbed a couple of large safety pins and pinned them to the middle of each end, just past the selvage.strapped (4)

Then I folded the entire length of my fabric in half; right sides together.
 strapped (5)

Next I sewed together my unfinished edges, making a curve at the start of my sewing.  This gave me my pointed ends.  The picture below illustrates what I mean when I say I made a curve.
strapped (5)sewn
The red represents my sewing.  Starting at the folded edge of the fabric and right under the selvage, I sewed a straight stitch that curved to the opposite side and down.  I made sure to backstitch at the start too to make sure my stitches stayed put.

So then I sewed about a foot down my ribbon, stopped, and backstitched.  Then I did the same curved stitch to the other end of the ribbon but this time sewed until I was about three inches from my previous stitch.  Then I stopped and backstitched.  Now I had a long tube of fabric with a hole in it that was about three inches wide.
   strapped (6)
This hole is critical in getting the fabric right-side out.

Before I went right-side out though, I trimmed the excess fabric off my curved ends with a pinking shears.  A regular scissors would work too; pinking shears just give a cut that will supposedly help prevent fraying.  strapped (8)

Next, I went to one end, found my safety pin, and started feeding it back through the fabric tube I had just sewn.  It’ll bring the end of the ribbon along with it.  This is is how I got my fabric right-side out. strapped (9)
strapped (10)

I fed it through and pulled it out the small hole I left in the hem.
 strapped (11)

I did the same to the other end; fed the safety pin through until my fabric was right-side out. strapped (13)

Then I removed my pins and wiggled the pointed ends outward to get them as pointed as I could get them.strapped (12) 

The last thing I needed to do was sew the hole shut.  To do this I fold the unfinished hems of the hole in like this: strapped (14)

And then I went over those folds/the hole with a quick straight stitch.
 strapped (15)

Here it is closed:
 strapped (16)

I purposely made sure the hole was about a foot in from one end so that it would end up being wound up in the knot of the ribbon once it was on the shoe and on my foot.  In other words, not noticeable at all.

Now onto the square-ended ribbons.

First, I cut off the selvage on the ends.  I needed to turn my ends in and hem them later and I didn’t want the selvage showing.
strapped (17)

Then I placed a safety pin in the middle of just one end.
strapped (18)

Next I folded the entire piece of fabric in half length-wise and sewed straight stitch down the unfinished edge; no curve this time.  After I did that, I was left with one long tube of fabric, inside-out and open on both ends.

To get my fabric right-side out, I guided the safety pin through the fabric tube just like I did with the navy and white ribbons except that this time, it came out the end.  It has to come out the opposite end it’s pinned in so you have to push it all the way through the entire length of the tube.  Once it’s out, pulling the fabric right-side out is easy peasy.
 strapped (19)

So then I had two unfinished, square ends.
 strapped (20) 

To finish them, I folded the end of the fabric inside of the tube just a little; enough to get a stitch across the end to hold everything in place.
 strapped (22)
[And also my kids woke up from their naps…all three of them.]strapped (23)
[Don’t mind the nail polish…or what’s left of it.]

Last, I sewed a straight stitch across the opening, making sure to backstitch at each end.
 strapped (24)

Here’s a picture of the first end I sewed shut.
strapped (25)It didn’t look the greatest because I should’ve started sewing on the end without the stitching over to the end with the stitching.  Because I didn’t, my fabric got stuck in my machine and made a little thread mess.  But, you get the picture of what I mean when I say I sewed the ends shut, right?
So, there you have it!  Do-it-yourself fabric ribbons, sashes, whatever you want to call them!

Of course you can always just grab some pre-made ribbon at your local fabric store and that would work just great too!  Or, you can cut up an old tee or something made of a no-fray jersey and get ribbons that way!  However you get them, I think you’ll agree that the options really are endless!  There is a way to pair these with most of your closet just by changing out the ribbon!  I actually stole some ribbon from another pair of shoes in my closet and tried those too!  They were a little shorter than my fabric ribbons so I tried tying a different way – through the front loop, back to the side loops, up over the top of my foot where they criss-crossed, and back around to tie behind my ankle.IMG_59942

With the shoes themselves at $8 and the ribbons coming in at $3.50, my total investment so far on these kicks is $11.50.  Uh-mazing.  :)

Here are a few ways I’ll wear them:IMG_5975

Oh!  I forgot to mention how COMFORTABLE they are!  I love going barefoot but since that’s not the most socially acceptable option these days, just having a soft strap of cloth holding my sole on is the next best thing.  My feet are loving it!

So anyway, as you might imagine, I have plans to make the girls some because how cute would they look on little feet? 

Too cute!

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Apparently Old Navy makes great shoes and great shoes with lots of potential because I recently refashioned a couple of pairs for the girls too!  See them here.

Check ya lata!