One Lamp, Two Lamp, Old Lamp, New Lamp!

My final quarantine project was one I’d been meaning to get done since we moved into the house over a year ago. When we moved in together we bought a matching set of IKEA lamps: two table lamps and a larger floor lamp with crumpled paper shades. They were literally the WORST shades as the things that held the shades up so they looked crumpled fell out and were lost so you just had this wrinkly, torn, dusty, discoloured piece of paper sitting here and we really started to hate them. But they were cheap and they worked so we moved them across the country and back.

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BUT NO MORE.

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My plan was to use the wire frame of the shades to create a new surface for a slightly more durable fabric shade. So I carefully measured the dimensions of the existing lamps.

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Then I took enormous pleasure in ripping the paper off.

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I soaked the wires in warm soapy water for a bit to get the excess glue and paper off.

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Then I measured and cut the fabric Cait and I had bought from Joann like forever ago.

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I don’t own any fabric markers so I use washable Crayolas instead. I measured an inch of overlap from the edges to wrap around the frames.

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Then I used pins to fix everything into place.

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One side done.

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Both sides done.

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I left the side seams open for now just because it was easier to manipulate them with it open.

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The best way to get this permanently affixed was to set it up so it hung properly, and the best way to do THAT was to put it back on the lamp.

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Now I pinned the side seams.

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Then I used Mod Podge for fabric and just glued all my flaps closed.

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It didn’t take long. I made sure to take the pins out while the glue was still wet.

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Once it was dry I sprayed the whole thing with Stiffen Stuff, which is sort of a spray starch for making things like bows and ornaments rigid. Another option would have been to wash the fabric with liquid starch and iron them flat before pinning. It might have had a more uniform look to the finished product but it would have been more difficult to manipulate.

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I let the starch dry in the sun.

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The finished product, off.

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And on.

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I did the big one too. I’m quite pleased!

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Yarn Eggs

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These puppies are all over the internet, so I can’t give you any one particular website that gave me the inspiration to try this little Easter craft.  Despite it being warm(ish), we just got another 20cm of snow this week (in one night) and I have had it with winter in the worst way.  So I’m doing Easter things.

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Today we’re making yarn eggs.   What you need for this is a work surface that you can easily clean off (this is a messy project), some brightly coloured yarn, a balloon, and some glue.  In this set of photographs I’m using a 5″ balloon for a medium-sized egg.  You can use a full-sized 10″-12″ balloon but you’ll use more yarn and glue and then you’ll have to find a place for your giant egg.  Water balloons, which are typically around 3″-4″, are probably best for this, though you will have to squish them around to make them a bit more egg-shaped.  I’m also using a papier mâché paste with a flour:water ratio of 2:3 as my glue.

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Start by inflating your balloon.  Tie it off and then loosely wrap it in the yarn of your choice, just to get an idea of how much you are going to need.

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When you have it wrapped to your satisfaction, you can cut the yarn.  I ended up with between 6 and 7 metres of yarn for a 5″ balloon (before you object too loudly, remember that I’m Canadian and we jump back and forth between metric and Imperial measurements with impunity — it’s a cultural thing).

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Loosely wind up your yarn so it won’t get too tangled as you pull on it and dunk it gently into your glue mixture.

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Keep hold of the end so you can find it again.

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Run the gluey yarn through your fingers to squeeze off the excess and start wrapping it snugly around your balloon.  Some people have sprayed the balloon with cooking spray to prevent sticking, but I didn’t find that this was a problem for me. Make sure to leave the tied off neck of the balloon hanging out so you have something to hold on to.

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When you are at the end of your yarn, tuck the edge in so it won’t unravel as it dries.

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It’s best to hang up the balloon overnight so it will be able to dry completely on all sides.

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While I was making breakfast the next day, the balloon decided to contract and it took me a good five minutes to figure out that the crackling sound in my kitchen was the balloon separating from the pasty yarn.

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Then you simply pinch the balloon near the neck and cut a snip in it to deflate the balloon quickly without popping it.

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Pull the deflated balloon out through the hole where the neck was.

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There you have it.   I’m not entirely happy with the way that the papier mâché paste has discoloured the yarn, but this method would probably work best on pale yellow yarn or off-white, to disguise the discolouration.

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For the next one (this was a test run after all), I decided to use Mod Podge “Stiffy” Fabric stiffener, mixed with a wee bit of Mod Podge Fabric Glue.

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This was a lot more slippery to work with, for some reason.  The papier mâché seemed to adhere better to the balloon when wet (though it might have also had something to do with me using a metallic balloon first, and then a regular opaque one next — I find that the metallic ones have a different feel to them).  The fabric stiffener slid all over the place, so I had to hold it with my fingers.  So glue was everywhere.

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The final three eggs I used straight Stiffy, no glue.  You can see that there’s a difference between the paste one, which is more rigid but has bits of goo all over it, and the Stiffy ones, which are slightly more flexible but also less gross looking.

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The finished eggs can be strung up as a garland, or displayed in a bowl, or used as place markers at the dinner table (if you made wee ones with water balloons).  You can also use rounder balloons to make actual spheres for non-Easter related decorating.  I’ve also seen them stuffed with LEDs as indoor/outdoor luminaries (though if you’re going to put them outdoors I would spray them with a waterproofing sealant first). I’ve even seen people use giant weather balloons to make huge pendant lampshades. It’s a very versatile and easy technique.

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Quick Mouse Pad Re-Fit

Mousepad Refit 1

I’ve had this mousepad since I got my first MacBook about eight years ago.  With an optical mouse, of course, I don’t actually NEED a mouse pad, but I don’t like rolling my hand over the relatively rough surface of my desk.  It makes me feel icky.  This mousepad, of course, has seen better days, and the cloth on top of the foam is peeling off.

Well, I have fabric, and I have fabric glue.  How hard can a re-fit be?

So first I peeled off the old fabric, which was some form of stretchy something.

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I gave the neoprene base a bit of a rinse and scrub to get rid of the now powderized ancient adhesive and let it dry.  Then I set out my equipment: paint brush, fabric glue, scissors, and a piece of fabric.  Go with a fabric that feels okay against your wrist, because you will constantly be rubbing your wrist against it. This was a scrap leftover from a previous experiment making bow ties, and it was just the right width.

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I used my paintbrush to slather fabric paint across the entire surface of the mousepad. Make sure to get it right to the edges, and don’t spread it on too thick. I may have gotten mine a little thick in some places and it showed through the fabric later. Not a huge deal, but if you’re a perfectionist, use caution.

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Then I simply flipped it over and trimmed around the edges with scissors. Easy peasy.

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All trimmed up and sitting to dry.

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And that’s it. A new look in five minutes or less.

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