Amazing Chair Upholstery

Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Crafts, Family | 3 comments

My sister in law sent me photos of this old chair that she painted and reupholstered and the results are fantastic and I just had to share.  This project seems so complicated that I’m not sure I would have even attempted it, and I still don’t quite understand how she did it.  Check it out!

Before: wood trim and weathered fabric.


After: black trim and cute paisley fabric.

Great job Brittnei!

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Hallway Makeover and Twine Pendant Light

Posted by on Apr 30, 2011 in Crafts, House Stuff, How-To | 4 comments

Hallway Makeover and Twine Pendant Light

We’ve neglected most of our home projects recently, but the chandelier I made for the bedroom had me energized to get moving again.  The hallway seemed like a manageable space to tackle, so I started with a few paint swatches.

This is Marlboro Blue, Buxton Blue and Hemlock, from Benjamin Moore.  At this point I realized that the initial green wasn’t so bad for such a small space, but there was no turning back now!

The paint sample sizes only come in the classic Benjamin Moore formula, so they always look shiny and weird and make it hard to evaluate if you really like a color.  We finally decided on Hemlock and I had it mixed in the flat version of Benjamin Moore’s Natura formula – i.e., the best, most expensive paint ever.  But seriously, you could probably paint it on with a mop and it would still look amazing – no shine, rich color, total coverage.  That sounded like an ad for makeup. Most importantly, it has little to no VOCs – you can hardly smell the paint even if you stick your face in can.  Not that I ever tried that or anything.

I painted the inside of the shelves, too.

Next, I found these awesome switch plates with snap-on faces that hide the screws.  If you’re like me you never noticed that switch plates even had screws.  But once I knew that I could get this slick non-screw version I got way too excited about it.

At this point the only thing left to tackle was the sad, bare lightbulb on the ceiling.  I had removed the ugly cover when I painted the ceiling so all that remained was a brown base.  Enter the DIY twine pendant.

Still flying high from my wax paper chandelier experience, I decided to finally make this round twine pendant that I have had on my craft list for no less than 2 years.  It was super easy.

Step 1: I found a kids’ play ball that was the perfect size.

Step 2: I made a mixture of 4 ounces of white glue, half a cup of corn starch, and half a cup warm water.  I set up shop in the bathtub and perched the ball on a small colander.  I just unraveled a good amount of twine into the gluey bowl, then started wrapping the twine around the ball, squeezing out the excess glue as I went.  Then I cut the twine and tucked the end piece in.

Step 3: After the twine was dry and hard, I popped the ball with a needle and then had to cut the rubber out in pieces.  I used a chop stick to gently separate the ball from the twine.

Step 4: I purchased a clamp light sort of like this one without a shade and removed the clamp.

I also purchased a phallic, CFL light bulb.

And a ceiling cap, meant for closing off unused light fixture outlets.

Step 5: This is where I got really lucky.  I didn’t have a plan for how I was going to attach everything together.  I wanted to collect all of the supplies first and then just see what happened.  Amazingly, there was a small gap in the twine that allowed the light bulb to slip through and the front part of the light fixture to squeeze through.  The pendant is so light that it can hang by this snug fit, no hardware required!

Step 6: The last step was to cut off the end of the light cord, drill a hole in the ceiling cap, use a zip tie to catch the cord behind the ceiling cap, and attach it into the ceiling wires.  Ray helped again.

I like the shadows that it casts on the hallways walls.

That linocut print above is from The Big Harumph on Etsy – it’s a Mark Twain quote.  I knew I had to have it the first time I saw it because of the way it made me feel – simultaneously inspired and terrified and in awe of everything that is possible in the world.  To be honest I’ve stopped noticing it after a few days of hanging in the hall, but I hope I manage to inspire and terrify future guests with it.

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DIY Chandelier

Posted by on Apr 30, 2011 in Crafts | 6 comments

DIY Chandelier

Until just recently the ceiling light in our bedroom looked like this:

Nothing better than falling asleep and waking up to a big bronze and frosted glass boob, right?  You see these all the time in new construction and flipped houses.

Still, I wasn’t planning on doing anything about it until I ran across a few blog posts that inspired me to create this:

100% improvement, right? Before I get into how I made it, let’s do a little cost comparison.

You can get this capiz shell chandelier from West Elm for $150 bucks.  It’s 8″ in diameter.

My chandelier is almost twice as wide, but it’s made out of wax paper so it hardly cost anything!

Lamp shade from Goodwill: $4
Three rolls of wax paper: $10
Metal wire: $3
White lamp base: $5
Cup hooks: $.75
Total: $22.75

Add back in the value of bragging rights for having made it, and it was essentially free.

Here’s how I made it:

I found this trumpet-shaped lamp shade at Goodwill.  I probably spent too much time searching for the perfect shape, but I wanted to achieve that classic, drapey, chandelier look.

I tore off all the fabric before bringing it inside for fear of bed bugs.  I eventually added two more rings of wire around the middle of the frame.

The wax paper discs were made by ironing three sheets of wax paper in between two sheets of parchment paper, then cutting out 2″ circles with a circle cutter.  I don’t have any photos of this process, but it took a couple weeks during my spare time.

I decided on the length of each row and then got started sewing the rings together on my machine.

I hung the chandelier temporarily from a light in my living room while I sewed and tied for about a week:

At this point I started getting super excited:

Once the chandelier was ready, it was time to switch out the boob light.  I bought a $5 white base at Lowes and Ray installed it for me.  Not only could I not reach the ceiling while standing on the bed, but touching the power wires (even though the power was off and we tested it with a multimeter) freaked me out.

Then we simply hung then chandelier with white cup hooks and rejoiced!

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