Friday, March 30, 2012


 Black and White Color Scheme
I've had a black and white color scheme for a while.  Of course no room is ever really complete so I've got a million ideas in the works - like a adding a pelmet to cover up the sagging metal curtain rod, recovering the faded pillows, and finding something (that is attractive) to go on the coffee table.

More of my black and white color scheme. 

But what I've most wanted to complete my living room is a new rug.  

Okay, actually what I've really, really, really, really, REALLY WANTED to complete my living room is a new sofa, like the Celine Sofa from Haverty's , but that just isn't in my budget at the moment. 

I've been dreaming about a new rug forever.  The one I have is a cheap black and white scroll pattern and I'm just tired of it.

Better shot of the offending rug (and the offending couch and loveseat)  

I've considered getting the Olin Rug from Crate and Barrel

Crate & Barrel's Olin Rug

And I've thought of getting a black and white zig-zag rug - a knock off of the Madeline Weinrib Version

I also considered the West Elm version of the Zig Zag

West Elm Zig Zag Rug

Then I considered getting the Ikea Rand Rug.

I'm not sure if this is the Ikea version or the pricer rug that inspired the Ikea rug. 

Then yesterday I was in Ballard's Backroom and found the most perfect rug. 

It was made of hand tufted wool,  unlike my current polypropolene black and white monstrosity. 

Even better, it was on sale!

They were practically giving it away. 

I just had to have it. 

So I bought it!

Looks great, right? 

Just what you would have picked for the space, right? 

And totally matches everything I already own.  Well, except for the drapes, the lampshades the pillows and the accessories... 

If you need me I'll be making drapes and recovering pillows and lampshades for the forseeable future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Before and After: Slipcovered Dumpster Chair

A few weeks ago I told you about how I found this chair in the dumpster. 

I was just amazed that someone would throw away a perfectly good chair.

So I rescused it from the dumpster and its just been in my hall clashing with my black and white color scheme for months.  Don't you think if you were rescued from the streets and taken in to a nice warm home, you would be grateful and try a little harder to fit in?   Not so with my dumpster chair.

So I finally gave up on the idea that the chair would fix itself and decided to make a slipcover for it. 

I just didn't want to deal with sanding and painting it.

It was a pain to make.

The End. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: DIY Metal Side Table

My DIY Side Table made from a sheet of aluminum.
I recently ran across the Pinterest Challenge at YoungHouseLove.  The idea is that you actually attempt to make something that you've pinned on PinterestThe Pinterest Challenge is actually hosted by YoungouseLove along with three other blogs:  BowerPower, Ana-White and House of Earnest
I joined Pinterest a few weeks ago but I haven't pinned too much.  I've been too busy making frames and lamps and wracking my brain for other ideas to entertain you on this blog.  But the Pinterest Challenge inspired me. 

Here are my inspirational pins or more accurately my aspirational pictures:

So I went to Lowes and got a sheet of aluminum, and some wood veneer. 

 Cloverleaf Aluminum Sheet by M-D Building Products

 Red Oak Wood Veneer from Home Depot

I used that along with a board that was leftover from a previous project to make this side table. 

DIY Metal Side Table - Version 1

It was a pretty simple process. I used my jigsaw to cut two circles from my wood board. I spray-painted the boards with silver spray paint then stapled the metal panel to the wood boards.  I also painted the wood veneer then glued it over the staples to form a nice edge. 

Table Making Supplies - wood circle (I've already painted silver at this point), stapler, wood glue, wood veneer, spray paint and wood screws.

I used a jigsaw to cut out two circles from this board to create the table top and bottom.

Stapling the aluminum sheet to the wood circle.  I stapled the aluminum sheet all
the way around the wood circle.  Then I used a wood screw to further secure the
ends of the aluminum sheet.  You could probably get by without the screws. 

Applying the painted wood veneer

Then, after all that, I decided that I didn't really love my new side table. 

Then I remembered this tray table that I had

A few hours and one can of red spray paint later and I had a red side table. 
New side table - for some reason this pattern does not photograph very well.

Table is the perfect height to drop things on as you walk in the door. 

Now after all that, I'm not sure about the red.  I like it but I don't love it.

I think the only solution is to go buy this
MD Products Union Jack Aluminum Sheet
and try again. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

DIY: How to Make A Lamp

Overview - I used a ceramic vase to make a lamp with a simple lamp kit.  You can use most any glass or ceramic vase or container or even a wine bottle!  Making a lamp is a pretty simple process.  I think most any amateur can easily handle the wiring portion.  The most difficult part of the entire process was drilling a hole into the ceramic. 

I made this lamp and it has not caused an electrical fire! Yet.

You can use most any vase or container to make a lamp.  I used two vases that I found at a garden supply store. 

This vase from Red Clay Home on Etsy would make a fablous lamp! 
 I really like the idea of getting the lamp body from Etsy so that your
lamp really is a one-of-a-kind hand made item. 

  • Lamp Body - Most any vase or container can be used
  • Lamp Kit - Includes socket, cord, nipple and bolts.  Available on-line or at any hardware store. 
  • Harp - May be included in the lamp kit, it holds the shade
  • Lamp Top - Something to close off the base.  You can buy one that is premade or make one out of wood or cork.  Will need a hole for the nipple and wiring.
  • Lamp Base - OPTIONAL - I used a lamp base that I found on-line.  If you use a lamp base, the lamp cord will run out of the side of the base rather than out of the body of the lamp. 
  • Long Nipple - OPTIONAL - If you're using a separate lamp base, your lamp will be more stable if you use a niple that is secured to the base and runs through the lamp body and lamp top
  • Lamp Shade - I hope this one is self explanatory
  •  Drill and Drill Bits made specifically for ceramic - OPTIONAL - if your vase or lamp body already has a hole in the bottom or side that will accomodate the cord then you don't need a drill!
  • Wrench - used to tighten bolts on nipple
  • Screwdriver - used to tighten screws on lamp socket
  • Glue - used to attach base (if any) and top

Lamp Top. 

Lamp base.  This is the bottom view.

Drill Bits for Glass or Ceramic

1.   Determine where the cord hole should be placed on the lamp body and mark with tape.  If you’re using a premade base, the hole will go in the bottom of the lamp body and should line up with the hole in the lamp base. If you’re not using a lamp base then the hole will go on the side towards the very bottom edge of the lamp body.

2.   Drill the hole  for the cord with drill bits made specifically for glass or ceramic.  I bought a set of ceramic drill bits and used the smallest bit first and worked my way up to the largest bit rather than just starting out with the largest bit.  I’ve read that doing this will help prevent cracking.  I also placed a piece of tape on top of where I was drilling since I read that this would prevent the drill bit from sliding around on the slick surface.  Be careful, the drill bits will get very HOT!

Hole after I used the smallest drill bit. 

3.   Insert the long nipple through the lamp base and secure.  Skip this step if you are not using a base.  The nipple should run from the bottom of the base.  Use two bolts to secure the nipple from the underside of the lamp base. 

Bottom view of the base and nipple. 
 4.  Insert the lamp cord through the lamp body or nipple. If you are using a lamp base, first insert the cord through the hole that is located on the outside of the base.  Then run the cord through the hole in the bottom of the base, through the nipple and out of the top of the nipple.  You should have about two inches of cord protruding from the top of the nipple.  If you are not using a lamp base, insert the cord through the side of the lamp body and out of the top opening of the lamp body.

Inserting the cord through the side of the base.

Inserting the cord through the bottom of base and through nipple. 

5.   Attach the lamp base to the body.  Skip this step if you are not using a base.  First, make sure the hole in the lamp lines up with the hole in the base then attach the base.  I used glue to attach the ceramic lamp body to the base.

Lamp body has been glue to base. 
You can see the nipple and lamp cord protruding from the top. 
6.   Attach the nipple to the top and secure.  Skip this step if you are using a base.  Slide the nipple through the hole in the top.  The nipple should protrude at least a quarter of an inch from the bottom and about a half inch from the top.  It doesn’t matter if the nipple protrudes more on the bottom side since this will be hidden in the base.   Secure the nipple in place in the lamp top with two bolts on both the top and bottom sides. 

7.   Attach the top.   If you are using a long nipple, apply glue to the top of the lamp body and slide the lamp top over the nipple so that the top rests on the lamp body.  If you are using a short nipple, run the cord through the nipple so that about two inches of cord protrudes from the top of the nipple, then apply glue to the lamp top and place it on top of the lamp body.  Clamp firmly in place until it dry. Use a bolt to further secure the top. 

8.   Attach the harp base.  The hole in the harp base should slide over the nipple.  Use a bolt to secure it.
Lamp with harp base attached. 
9.   Attach the socket base.  The socket base should screw on to the top of the nipple. 
Lamp with socket base attached. 
10. Wire the socket and attach to the socket base.  Follow the directions in your lamp kit.  I’m not an electrician, so I  won’t try to explain it other than to say it’s pretty simple and basically involves wrapping wires around two screws.  The socket then just slides into the base. 
11.  Attach the harp and bulb.  The sides of the harp are somewhat flexible.  Press the sides of the harp together.  Line up the sides of the harp with the slots in the base and release so that the sides slide into the slots on either side of the harp base. 

Lamp with harp and finial attached. 
12.   Attach the shade and finial and your lamp is complete!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


A few months ago I bought two ceramic vases because I thought they would make good lamps. 
Now I had no idea how to actually turn said vases into lamps.  I wasn’t sure how I would cut a hole in the bottom for the wiring.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to make a base and I wasn't really sure how to wire it. 
Luckily I don’t let things like my complete ignorance about how to do something stop me from attempting to do said thing.

I laugh in the face of DIY failure! 
I can do that though, DIY failure and I are old friends. 
My other problem is that I live in a small condo and don’t really have space for two more lamps, or two vases for that matter.  Luckily, my friend Alison has a larger house and was kind enough to humor my lamp proposal with great enthusiasm and agreed to take the lamps off my hands, even if it is just to put them in the basement.*
* Alison, if your agreement was only the beer talking, I understand.  Don’t worry.  I have also pitched this idea to Kristen. She was agreeable, but less enthusiastic.  Probably because she doesn’t have a basement. 

So I finally made these vases into lamps.  Here are my instructions if you want to make your own.  (I don't blame you for not clicking, I wouldn't trust my instructions either)

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. 

Even better, making these two lamps only cost me about $70 total.  That's $35 a lamp.  If you’ve been shopping for ceramic lamps recently, you know that's a pretty good deal. 

If you haven’t been shopping for ceramic lamps,  they now cost ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Yes, I realize that all my pop culture references are about ten to fifteen years old.
Now don't you feel really cool in comparison? 
Seriously though, they’re pretty pricey, or pricey by government attorney standards.  Here are a few examples from around the internet.  

$169 from Ballards
$230 from Lamps Plus
$205 from Napa Home and Garden
Here are a few I found in a local lamp shop.
Yes, that's $595

Only $295. 

Anyway, Alison, I hope you like them.  If not, I'm sure Jesse will appreciate the additional light in the basement!