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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Mr. Sandman

I promised myself I wasn’t going to blog again until 2012. I need to get the site in order before I start adding even more of my nonsense to it. But here I am, 9 days later, bursting at the seams to talk about my latest tool…my Sander! I can’t express in words the excitement I feel when I think of all the doors that are now open to me because of this little monster.

I’ve recently started dabbling in furniture refurbishing (by “dabbling” I  mean every room in my house is littered with half-sanded desks and ornate dressers from various decades) and this sander is the key that will finally get the ball rolling.

It came with 2.5 extensions so I am able to sand multiple surfaces at different angles. The only problem with my particular model is the position of the power switch. You see, when I go to change the attachments my palm is so close to tapping the power button as my fingers are in the line of fire. The easiest solution to this is (of course) to unplug the sander while changing the extensions– but it will be very hard for me to put safety ahead of time management.

Aside from the possibility of wearing my fingers down to nubs with a simple slip of the palm, this is an amazing piece of machinery, and an absolute necessity if you’re going to delve into any refurbishing project.


Lighten Up

I seem to be on some sort of a shade/lighting kick. Yesterday I was all about covering a lamp shade (see here) and today I’m updating my entry way lighting. I know everyone loves Dynasty with all the big shoulder pads and golden baubles, but I feel like 70% of my pendants (which of course, all coordinate) would fit right in with the bright lipstick and sequins. I’m a little on the hippie side (there, I said it) so I like a good brushed nickel and organic fabric. Once again though, I work with what I’m given so the whole fixture isn’t going to change, just the ugliest parts of it.

How would you feel if this was the first thing you saw when you walked in?

I removed the glass that was hanging from it, so it was a little on the naked side. Honestly though, it looked better already.

Then I took a hacksaw to a regular lamp shade. I made gashes in the metal spokes and then beat it with a hammer. I know that sounds a little “mob boss” of me, but that’s what you get when you double cross me…wait, what were we talking about again? Oh, the lamp shade.

Once all of the metal in the middle was busted out of place, I took a needle and threaded it with a five-inch piece of fishing line. I didn’t knot the end so I would be able to pull the needle off easily. I then pushed the needle through the very top rim of fabric, then removed the needle, leaving the line in the fabric.

I threaded a total of six pieces of line through the shade. I pretty much just eyeballed the distance of the spokes on my fixture and tried to match it up to where I sewed the line on the shade– I totally wouldn’t recommend doing this. It worked out for me, but it very well could have been a nightmare, so I suggest doing a little measuring when placing the line.

After all of the lines were in the fabric, I tied the line to create little loops that were approximately equal sizes to hang on my spokes. (It’s super hard to get fishing line loops to show in a photo. They’re like floss ghosts.)

I said a quick prayer (because if you recall, I did 100% less measuring than I should have), stepped up on a chair and hung the bad boy. I’m usually pretty good at this stuff, so you’d think I’d stopped being amazed when things work out, but it is like opening a birthday present every single time.











The only thing that put a damper on my jovial victory was Kyle’s compliment to me on my shade choice because it coordinated so well with the outdated, floral, farmhouse wallpaper that still sits mockingly on my entry way walls. One project always seems to lead to another, doesn’t it?

A Simple Cover-Up

This is the first time I have ever recovered a lamp shade. I’m sorry that I didn’t take more pictures, but I honestly thought it would look terrible and I didn’t want much evidence of my failure. Wouldn’t you know it, it actually worked out for me. But I had a few things in my favor…

1. I had a nearly perfect, cylindrical shade to wrap fabric around, which saved me a lot of bumps and folds.

After I cut out a (too large) rectangle of fabric, I put glue on the circumference of the top and bottom edges, as well as four vertical lines down the sides.

2. I used very forgiving fabric, so if there were wrinkles, they were very well camouflaged.

After I ironed the material, I laid it out and rolled the shade over the fabric tightly like an unappetizing taco. Then I glued down the last edge of the cloth to ensure I wouldn't be left with a weird flap.

3. I used sharp shears which enabled super accurate snips.

I cut down the excess fabric to an inch of material at the top and bottom. Then I glued around and under the rims and folded the fabric over.

4. Again I used forgiving fabric, so I didn’t need to cover the seam on the side. If it was necessary I could have cut out a half inch strip of fabric, folded and glued it in half, and then glued it (with it’s seam down) on the edges or along the seam. But again, it wasn’t necessary (this time).

Then I stood back, amazed at the (near) effortlessness of the transformation.

Here's my shade in it's natural habitat. I have new plans for this lamp's previous shade, and this shade's new look made it a perfect replacement.

Rockin’ Stockin’s

As I previously mentioned, my boss nominated me to make holiday stockings for our section of 13. I drafted another co-worker to bang out these hastily-made, ill-planned, yet surprisingly well-executed burdens. I can’t say that all of them are worthy of public viewing. In all reality, some of them aren’t even fit for private viewing, but once it was 11:30 p.m. and I had glitter covering 400 square feet of my house, I was to the point of just scribbling names in black Sharpie on the front of them and calling it a day.

But some are decent enough for this “semi-public” viewing.

Michigan State vs. U of M stocking.

Alice in Wonderland stocking.
















U of M stocking detail.








Philadelphia Eagles stocking detail.





World of Warcraft stocking.




Springtime stocking. (I don't do winter.)





















Hanging around the staircase like the Brady Bunch.


We tried to incorporate people’s personality (hopefully that’s obvious) into these stockings. Honestly, they were thrown together in a total of about 5 hours, so they are a bit scattered. But if you only have a family of 4 or 5, these are an easy weekend project that can really knock your stockings off!


Friday, the most lip curling prestigious honor was bestowed upon me by my boss. I was assigned to decorate stockings for our department unit of 13. As you may have already concluded, I don’t just “decorate.” I embellish, garnish, adorn, jazz up, festoon and beautify; obviously he had no idea what he was asking of me because this won’t just be glitter and felt. I then, in turn,  drafted another unsuspecting willing coworker to help.

I don’t know if I am confident enough in our abilities to actually post “before and afters” of our stockings. I mean, we’re dressing-up 13 stockings in 4 hours; I guarantee they all won’t be worthy of a Smithsonian exhibit. But I may as well be thoughtful enough to post some of the *inspiration* for my designs. (You know, just in case your boss decides to give you the same assignment…)

Slow Romance Drill

Believe it or not, it took me a few months (and even more expletives) to finally fall in love with my drill. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe.

I use to dread using my drill because, well quite frankly, I sucked and didn’t know what I was doing. I would just choose random bits without matching them with the screws and I would choose the screws without considering the surface I intended to drill through.

Until one day the chuck wouldn’t release the bit (which I had haphazardly selected) and I had nowhere to turn, except the owner’s manual. Once I started reading the detail that the authors pumped into the the 4 page (English AND Spanish) brochure, I started to realize that if this crummy owner’s manual is telling me SO MUCH, then maybe there really is SO MUCH MORE to learn.

I’m by no means a professional, but at this point I have learned enough to stop working against myself. If I can’t have pounds of forearm muscle or an endless supply of bits and screws at my disposal for experimenting, I can at least research how to match up bits, screws and material to give myself the best shot at making my house look like more than a hole in the wall…(::Eye roll:: I apologize for my puns. They have minds of their own.)

The Midas Touch

It all started with an empty picture frame. Behold—->

I had a conversation with my garage, and he (yes, my garage is male) said he was going to pop a spring at just the right moment and sever my head with his door if I didn’t remove the gold picture frame that had been stationed inside of him for the past two months. Now he is a pretty big talker (and a little bit of a drinker, between you and me) so I didn’t know if I should believe him or not. Regardless, I decided to play it safe, remove the picture frame, buy my garage a 30 pack of Bud Ice and keep my head intact.

I have seen decorators in the past staple chicken wire to the back of frames to clip up pictures and notes. And when I say “decorators,” I obviously don’t mean one, or a few for that matter. I have seen dozens of examples of the same thing by SEVERAL decorators. So I decided to switch it up a bit because even though it may be a little tired, that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s still a good idea. But instead of chicken wire, I created my own pattern.

First I spread out a blanket on the floor. I like to do all of my projects that deal with sharp tacks or staples on a bright blanket, which makes the little, shiny pieces easy to spot, so I don’t “spot” it with my foot in five days.

Next I pulled out all of the old staples (which were jagged and crooked) with pliers, then I placed dots equal distance apart on the frame.

This may seem counterproductive, but I then put staples back in the frame, making sure to line up the center of the staple with the dots.

The thing that I feel makes my DIY projects work so well (or so terribly) is that I am not a details fanatic. If a measurement is a bit off (and it doesn’t affect the outcome) or a nail is a little crooked, I am most likely not going to fix it. Reason being; I do not want to torture myself with the insignificant technicalities. I would never finish a project because I’d be so frustrated with my minor errs, so I just close my eyes and continue (figuratively speaking… and sometimes literally.)

Once all of my staples were in I started to weave thick wire (usually used for beaded jewelry) in and out of the staples.

I experimented with a few patterns and finally decided to quarter the frame with one empty section at the top, two sections with just diagonal wires on each side and one section of diamonds at the bottom. And this is what happened…..

The setting in which this piece resides is, well, less than formal. I didn’t feel the need to straighten out wires or ensure that I went over then under instead of under then over on my wire weaving. If I were making this for a friend, it would be a flawless masterpiece (I’m sort of serious) but it’s just my house and I know what level of shoddiness I can accept before it’s too much to bear. My point is that if you pay close attention to detail, this could look amazing, but again I’m sure yours won’t be accented by a Step 2 Play Kitchen.

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