pretty posies

Today I have a small-scale before-and-after for you, and then—you’ll never guess!—an after-after.  Scratching your head?  You’ll see.  It started with my frustration over the lampshade in the living room.  The lamp (secondhand) came with a shade that clearly wasn’t meant for it.  The fabric exterior, a crinkled white something-or-other, was okay, but the thin plastic interior had some spiderweb cracks going on.  I tried to keep that side turned to the wall, but there was another issue.  The lamp was missing its harp, the metal thing that braces the shade.  So the shade would dip and turn and wobble all over the place.

Then in the bedroom, I was having a different lamp problem.  The stick lamp in the corner looked anemic next to the larger things I had put near it.  Its narrow drum shade whispered, “Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.”  I think you can see where this is going.

living room lamp pre-swap, with crinkled bell shade


bedroom lamp pre-swap, with narrow drum shade

I swapped the two shades, and gave the bedroom lamp’s harp to the living room lamp.  Who cares if the bedroom lamp is crooked?  I actually haven’t encountered that issue since the swap because the bedroom lamp gets a fraction of the use the living room lamp gets.

post-swap: living room lamp with narrow drum shade post-swap: bedroom lamp with crinkled bell shade

The only new issue to emerge was color deficiency.  You know me….  I bore the whiteness of the original living room lampshade because it at least had texture.  The new one, on the other hand, was far too sleek.  I mean, boring.  Thank goodness I had some leftovers I didn’t want to eat.  What?  Confused again?  Hang tight.

First I removed the shade and marked lines with painter’s tape every four inches.  (The circumference of the shade, which I forget now, was divisible by four.)  I placed one tape line arbitrarily and then placed the next line parallel to it, repeating until I had lines evenly spaced around the whole shade.  At first I measured from the right side of Tape Piece 1 to the left side of Tape Piece 2, and when I went to place my final piece I realized I had messed up my math.  So I took off all the tape and went back around measuring from the left side of Piece 1 to the left side of Piece 2.  I hope this picture explains what I’m saying.

measuring space between tape pieces

I’m not nearly nimble enough to hold a measuring tape and attach painter’s tape at the same time, so to mark where the next tape piece should go, I stuck straight pins in the lampshade’s binding.  One marked the top edge and one marked the bottom edge.  If I stretched the tape so it touched both straight pins, I was guaranteed a line parallel to the one before it.

painter's tape in parallel lines on narrow drum shade

First the prep work, then the fun!  Remember I mentioned leftovers?  I had this baby bok choy I bought for about $1.50 at the Asian market.  It was novel; it was tasty; after eating it for two weeks Lovey and I were no longer enchanted.  Seriously, would we ever be able to eat it all?!  Throwing away food makes me feel very guilty, so I decided I would use the remaining vegetables…just not the way nature intended.

gathered craft supplies: taped shade, paint, rag, "palette," bok choy

I had noticed once while preparing baby bok choy for a meal that the bases look like adorable flowers.  I knew someday I would revisit this observation.

bok choy flowerettes

A little blue dip and a firm press to the shade, and I had something new–the after-after I mentioned at the beginning.

bok choy dunked in blue paint

Here’s how it looks finished.  I like the “freehand” look, and the fact that it’s one more blue element in my redefined living room color palette.

finished shade with blue flower pattern

I have one more exciting flower project to show you, and this one isn’t painted!  (If only.)  Last weekend I turned heaps of beheaded roses like this…

heap of bedheaded lavender roses and petals

…into a rose petal carpet where one lucky bride and groom said their vows.  The terrace you can see through the window in the photo below is where the ceremony took place.  The silhouette in the foreground is the co-worker without whom I would have never completed this task.  We glued petals to fabric from 8:30 am to 2:00 pm, with a couple fume-free breathing breaks factored in.

H gluing white and lavender rose petals to template

At first it seemed like we might never reach the end of our massive undertaking–am I allowed to say “undertaking” about a wedding project?–but when we started to apply the purple petals the design finally emerged.  It’s hard to tell here, but the tiny “overlap” spaces are lavender, from the pile of petals in the first picture, while the larger squarish portions are a darker shade.

interlocking circle pattern emerging in purple, lavender, and white

Here’s how it looked more-or-less complete.  When we laid the carpet on the terrace we realized there was no way it would stay in place, so we had to secure the edges with duct tape.  Then we spent a little extra time carefully placing petals on areas that didn’t look as filled in as we wanted them to.  Did I mention it was 42 degrees with a north wind?  And that we were on the upper level of a tall building?  Yeah; we could barely feel our ears, let alone our fingers.

H filling bare spots on the rose petal carpet on a windy 40-degree afternoon

Whining aside, this was one of the most impressive projects I’ve ever been part of.  If you want to see more from this wedding, which I think I can safely say was The event of the season, click here to see the post on our shop blog!