Well, hello there. How’re things? Is that a new dress?

Man, it’s been a while. I couldn’t remember the address for the admin function of my own website. Once I remembered that, I couldn’t remember my log in. Once I remembered that, I couldn’t remember my password.

All signs that it has been too long since I’ve written a post, correct?

I checked my site stats a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, after not paying any attention to them for months and months. They had skyrocketed! I was so confused, since no new posts had gone up in so long. I finally tracked it back to Pinterest — people had been pinning my idea of making ornament swags. What a thrill that was! I’m such an admirer of Pinterest — to be pinned is quite an honor for me. So if you found this website via Pinterest, welcome, thank you, and my deepest apologies for not having any new content lately. Twins, toddlers, dirty diapers, learning to walk, eating solids, blah blah blah and yada yada yada. You know the routine. Things have been busy, yo. But I’m feeling the need to be creative again, so I’m hoping I can keep this up and running for a while longer. I’ve got two projects in the works this week, one of which I’ll show you today.

The husband and I have worked out a little routine: I get Saturdays to do what I want, he gets Sundays. This works pretty well, and I’ve been able to get to some yard, estate, and rummage sales this summer. My focus these days is mostly on baby stuff: so amazing. A year ago, I would speed by a yard sale that looked to be primarily kid stuff. Now I’ll hit the curb in a hail of screeching tires if I see an exersaucer in the yard. (My goal: to buy no new clothes as long as possible — everything must be second hand. So far, so good!) But I do still manage to find items in the style of Pretty.Quirky…the problem is, I don’t have room for anything anymore after adding two new human beings to my many collections. HOWEVER, I have opened up an Etsy shop! That’s right, just call me a lemming, I’m giving it a try. I’ll write more about that in the next post.

Yesterday, I didn’t have a lot of luck: there were two rummage sales, and they were very, very small sales. I did find this adorable zebra at a thrift store:

Buying it violates my new rule, which is: do not buy unless it can be used or sold immediately. I have no place to put it and I don’t want to sell it, but I couldn’t resist, because I love how it’s made to look like a child’s toy instead of a more realistic zebra, if that makes any sense. So very cute.

The only other thing of note that I got yesterday was a pair of these lamps, for $10:

Loved the bases, hated the shade. So I dug out some fabric remnants and re-covered them. I had a floral barkcloth in my hand, but I ALWAYS use barkcloth for projects like this, so I reconsidered and went with this:

Only, once I got them all finished, I realized that the bases had a slight green tinge to them. Justin says it’s because they’re sitting on the green dresser, but I don’t know. They look green to me and I”m not sure I like the match. But what a pain, to start all over again. I’m going to have to think about this.

I just realized I never copied instructions on how to re-cover lampshades to this site. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m not an expert, and if you look at the inside of one of my shades it’s instantly clear that I have much to learn, but it’s fairly easy, transforms a lamp, and allows me to use so many of the cool vintage fabrics I collect. Here are some shades I’ve covered in the past:

Here’s step-by-step instructions on how I do it.

BTW: Some of the fabric I’ve used on the lampshades are from the Textile Discount Outlet. (Have we talked about the Textile Discount Outlet? It’s at 2121 W. 21st Street in Chicago, and it is fabulous. Three stories of the biggest selection of fabric and trim that you have ever seen in your life. I have rarely noticed any fabric priced over $14.95/yard; the majority of it is under $10 a yard.) You can also use any other fabric you like – curtains, sheets, anything that has a print and catches your eye. I even have a skirt with a wild graphic print that I plan to use for a shade. I used a suede, a chintz, and a cotton print for the three shades pictured above, and I didn’t notice that one worked better then another.

1.  The first step is to create a pattern with your lampshade. You do this by spreading out a huge piece of paper, laying the lampshade on its side – seam down – and rolling the shade across the paper. (Kraft paper works well, and you can buy a huge roll of it for $9.95 at Home Depot. I use it for many different things around the house, so it’s really nice to have a roll on hand.) Trace the top edge of the shade until the seam is in the same position as when you started (i.e. a full revolution). This next part is vital: don’t lift the shade up when you get back around to the seam. Instead, without moving the shade, move your pencil to its bottom edge. Then roll the shade backwards along the same path, and trace the bottom edge until the shade is back to its starting position. If you move or lift the shade, you’ll mess up the pattern, so be very careful.

2. Cut the pattern out, allowing an inch or two extra on the sides. This is important, because you’ll need that extra fabric to fold over the top and bottom edges of the shade in order to leave a clean edge.

3. Pin the paper pattern to the fabric. Do not be lazy and try to cut the fabric around the pattern without pinning. This will not work. I cannot tell you how I know this, but trust me. Also, if you are using a fabric with a print, make sure you are cutting the fabric so that the print is right-side up. Nothing is worse than cutting out your most beloved piece of fabric (the piece that you’ve saved for years for just that special project), turning it over, and realizing that the flowers are all upside down. NOT THAT THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO ME.

Do not use your favorite piece of fabric for your first lampshade, for you will make mistakes and ruin your favorite piece of fabric. Let us pause for a brief moment while I weep.

Again, make sure there is at least an inch or two extra on all sides of the pattern.

4.  Once you get the fabric cut, you are going to take it outside, OUTSIDE, I tell you, and coat the back of it with a spray adhesive.  I used 3M  multipurpose adhesive . It got over everything. I had it in my hair. I had it in my eyelashes. I’m still peeling it off of my fingertips. You do not want to spray this in your house. Also, beware of sudden changes in wind direction. The good news is that IT WORKS. So well that your fabric will stick to itself. I would recommend getting an extra pair of hands your first time through on this, because it’s not easy to make the fabric do what you want it to do once you’ve sprayed the adhesive. I found that the easiest thing to do was to lay the fabric (print down, glue up) on a clean surface while you move on to the next step.

5. Putting the fabric on the shade after applying the spray adhesive is the trickiest part. After some trial and error, I started only spraying a section of the fabric at a time, getting that on the shade, then going on to spray the next section. You just have to be careful to get the fabric on evenly or you will end up with not enough fabric on the top and too much at the bottom, or vice versa. The good news is that the spray adhesive is very forgiving; you can peel it off and re-position as needed.

6. Now smooth the fabric over the shade, because there will be air bubbles. Then smooth the fabric some more. And when you’re through smoothing the fabric, smooth it a little bit more. Let me just say that my first shade attempt was unusable because I left air bubbles in it. Smooth, people, until your fingertips are bleeding from your efforts.

7.  If you went a little crazy and have three or four inches hanging over the edges of the shade, trim those to no more than two inches. You want the inside of the shade to be neat, as it will be visible from certain angles. The light shining through your shade will also illuminate any messy work.

8. I used Aleene’s Fabric Fusion to fold the edges over and glue them to the inside of the shade. Once again, my handy-dandy binder clips  held the fabric in place while the glue dried. (I’m recommending a new marketing campaign for the binder clip folks – “Binder Clips: A Crafter’s Right Hand.”) Drying  is a lengthy process; I would clip the fabric for at least an hour to make sure it bonds.

And there you have it. I could have used trim on the shades – again, Textile Discount Outlet has bazillions of trim options – but  I decided to go simple with them the patterns were pretty busy. Also, fringe and ball trim tend to gather dust, and I haven’t quite figured out how to combat that.

After doing quite a few of these, I’ve come to realize that heavier fabrics work better than light fabrics; the microsuede I got from Textile Discount Outlet is great, as is Barkcloth.

I’ve missed you guys. Hope to be back soon with pics from the other project I’m doing right now.

November 18, 2011 - 4:42 pm

Marsha OMG…I must be psychic! I hadn’t checked Pretty. Quirky. in months and just today was scrolling through my bookmarks at work and all the way at the bottom saw yours and decided to click on it. And only 5 days after you posted!

So great to hear from you. I love your comments and hearing about what you’re up to. I’ll have to ask Debra show me the toddlers on her Facebook account…I haven’t seen them since they were babies!! The zebra IS adorable!!