Wednesday, July 23, 2008

end tables: done!

Before: The end tables were fine, but not quite my style.

Okay, okay, I know it has been a really long time since you all voted on the end table paint color/pull combo. Sorry! Each table soaked in two coats of primer, three coats of paint, and required some crafty carpentry skills to install the new pulls. Hopefully you think the wait was worth it!

In case you don't remember, the winning combination was the rich brownish black Nori from Martha Stewart's paint collection paired with the bone pull by Anthropologie.

Being the budget decorator that I am, I made my own version of the color by mixing left over chocolate brown paint and jet black paint that I had used for other projects in the house.

Initially, I spray painted the old brass pulls white, which freshened them up quite a bit. However, a little decorating angel named Candace surprised me with the Anthropologie pulls for my birthday! Wasn't that so sweet? They make all the difference. Thanks Candace!

Now the tables look just as I envisioned them: classy but earthy.

Tell me what you think! And thanks for voting!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

lovely lampshades

Lamp before the seemingly simple and innocent shade makeover.

Lamp after the frustrating and not-so-easy shade makeover.

How could such a seemingly simple decorating project cause so much frustration? This is what I asked myself for the second time since starting the lampshade makeover. As I sat there yesterday, finally gluing the fabric to the shade, I quickly realized that this could end up looking like something from my 8th grade home economics class if I wasn't careful.

And yet, Cottage Living made it sound so simple; only four steps to a gorgeous custom looking lampshade. The perfect way to use leftover fabric and add whimsy to any room. The ribbon bordering each end of the shade would hide rough edges and give the lamp a finished feel. Well, this was all much, much easier said than done. In fact, I would not recommend covering your lampshades in this manner unless you are an extremely patient and laid back person (I thought I was).

Isn't it lovely?

I'll lay down the basic steps for you, and give you pointers along the way.


A paper lampshade
1-2 yards of fabric depending on the size of your paper shade
Approx. 2 yards of 3/4" wide grosgrain ribbon in a coordinating (but dark) color
Aleene's No Sew Fabric Glue (at JoAnn's Fabrics and Crafts, but not online)
Dritz's Sewing and Craft Tape (found at JoAnn's stores also)
4 Large pieces of newsprint drawing paper, taped together
Fabric scissors
Craft scissors

1. With your large piece of newsprint drawing paper on the floor, trace with a pencil while rolling the lampshade across it: Start with the seam of the shade facing up, and trace along the bottom edge of the shade until the seam appears again. Reposition the shade at the starting point and repeat that step for the top edge of the shade.

2. Cut out your pattern and tape it around the shade. Trim off any excess paper around top and bottom edges. In fact, trim paper so that 1/4" of shade appears along top and bottom edge. This is so when you glue your fabric on, no raw edges will be showing. (Plus, the ribbon will hide them.)

3. Use your paper pattern to cut out the fabric. Be sure to allow extra fabric on the end to create a neat, folded seam at the back of the lampshade. Iron the fabric so it is nice and flat to work with.

4. Using Aleene's No Sew Fabric Glue, run a bead along the shade, about 1/2" from the top and bottom edges, as well as a line along the seam at the back.

5. Centering the fabric on the shade while it is sitting on a work surface, affix the fabric to the glue, smoothing as you go. This glue dries quickly, so work as fast as you can.

6. Fold about a 1/2" of fabric under at the back seam, and glue.

7. Affix the Dritz Sewing and Craft Tape to the top edge of the lamp. Unwind grosgrain ribbon directly from the spool. Start at the back seam, and stretch ribbon inch by inch along the top edge, keeping it taught as you go. This will help prevent wrinkles and bubbles. At the back of the shade, cut the ribbon so that you will have a 1/2" to fold under and use a small piece of the tape to secure it.

8. Repeat step seven for the bottom of shade as well.

9. Put shade on lamp!
I have to admit, it turned out pretty good, but still!

One thing that caused a problem for me, was the color of ribbon I initially chose. I picked an ivory ribbon that was the same color as the background in the fabric. Bad idea. I could see right through the ribbon to my jagged little fabric edges. (I did not allow the 1/4" on the bottom and top edges, and therefore had to trim the fabric while it was pinned on the lamp.) I had to go back to the store, and picked a chocolate brown ribbon instead, which probably ended up for the best.

If you decide to try this at home, I would recommend doing it with a friend. For detail oriented projects like this one, two crafty heads are always better than one. Because I already had the fabric and the shades, this project cost me only $11 for the ribbon, glue and tape.

I am ultimately happy with the results, but I can't say that I would ever attempt this again! If any of you have an easier technique for covering lamp shades, let me know!

Monday, July 21, 2008

kim's decorating chronicles: ch. 1

Last weekend, my friend Kim and I performed some simple, but high impact decorating stunts in three rooms of her home. I will present them each to you in separate "chapters", so as not to inundate you with too much design drama. We had a great time, and got a lot accomplished.

As an introduction, let me just tell you that Kim had a GREAT foundation to start with. Two years ago, she and her husband purchased fantastic, high quality furniture with classic and simple lines. The wall color was the perfect shade of warm and sandy pale gold. Other accents of deep red, dusty blue and spring green were present, but needed to be enriched and enhanced. Kim also felt that her family, dining, and living rooms lacked character. She used the phrase "like a page from a catalog" to describe their look and feel. The spaces failed to portray the cozy welcome she so desired her home to exhibit. In addition, some rooms were not functioning like she wanted them to. With under $600, we were able to transform all of the spaces to suit her needs and reflect her personality in some incredible, yet really easy ways.

Chapter 1: One Family Room's Triumphant Coming of Age
Let's start with Kim's family room. This is where she and her husband usually spend their evenings. Although the sofa is comfy, it didn't necessarily look inviting. The pillows were the only source for color in the room, but they lacked a cohesive look.

We changed that vibe by purchasing four new pillows all with some great texture,color, and pattern. We limited the pallet to red, black, white and blue to bring the sofa into its own.

On the shelf above the sofa, we simplified things by introducing some decorative items that repeated the color scheme, but still incorporated some of Kim's personality.

On the coffee table, we edited the accessories to lend a less cluttered feel.

These changes were very basic, but made a big difference. Now when you enter the room, the red elements delight the eye, providing focal points around the space. The sofa now feels really welcoming and beckons you to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine.

Stay tuned for Chapter Two in Kim's decorating chronicles: A Simply Devine Dining Room.