Monday, April 30, 2012


As much as I hate to face it, my birthday is upon me yet again. This Friday will mark my 32nd year. Grooooan. But, rather than wallow in the oldness, I am determined to celebrate newness in the form of learning... In particular, learning how to sew! You may remember me mentioning in the past that this will be the year that I conquer (or at least venture into, timidly) the world of sewing. Especially since I scored all those fantastic sewing notions at an estate sale. My wonderful mother generously gifted me with this brand new, really stinkin' cute sewing machine last month as an early birthday gift (it was on sale for $99 at Joann's).  I just love that bright green 'S'. Score!


It is the Singer Tradition - the basic, no nonsense machine for beginners like me. We finally sat down last week for my first sewing lesson. Talk about epic mother-daughter-ness! It was great! We started by watching the DVD that came with the machine which was super helpful. It featured step-by-step video directions showing how to thread and load the bobbin, thread the machine, and change the pressure foot. Good stuff! And not nearly as rocket scientist-ish as you might think. Singer also has great links and pictures on their website in case you need extra help. After our DVD tutorial, we sat down to put what we (I) learned into practice.

So, here is where I apologize for not taking pictures to document our lesson. I am sorry. I was way to focused on the task at hand to stop every 30 seconds to snap a photo. I can, however, provide a recap:

• I successfully threaded the bobbin after one setback wherein I forgot to wrap the thread securely enough around the tension thingy.

• I successfully threaded the needle by hand after repeatedly trying to use the "Automatic Needle Threader". The Auto thing is more hassle than help. Oh, well.

• I successfully sewed a really cute, fabulous orange throw pillow COVER, complete with fancy silver tassels!!!!

Ta-da! I was so proud of myself! And still am! Don't mind the wrinkles... I was too impatient to iron this baby before putting it on display. Even the hubs was excited at my victory... probably because he thinks this means I won't be bringing home any more homeless pillows... little does he know how much pretty fabric costs...  ;)

This pillow success took place last Wednesday, and I hadn't sat down at my machine again until last night - when I was struck by the insatiable need to sew something. I dug around in my lowly fabric collection and found 2 remnants left over from covering my old dining room chairs. I was a little nervous that I might flub something without the direction of my mom, but alas, another pillow was produced! This one I had to hand finish since I didn't have enough fabric to do it the slipcover way. But I think it came out just fine...

So there you have it. I can officially sew... a pillow, at least. Happy Birthday to me! Oh, and in case you're thinking of diving into the world of sewing, here a couple of fun blogs I came across to help light your fire:

See Kate Sew
Sweet Verbena

You can also check out my Learning to Sew pinboard to see what's inspiring me. If you really need inspiration just take a trip to the fabric store and admire all the gorgeous fabric! If I can do this, so can you. I'd love to hear your sewing stories/mishaps! Any advice or ideas? I'll take 'em! And I promise to share mine as I delve into this rewarding new hobby.


Friday, April 27, 2012

a painted lamp

I love lamps. Lamps and throw pillows. They are the bread and butter of decorating accessories! The icing on the cake of a well planned room! Lamps are the crowning glory of a perfect end table or nightstand! I am always in search of my next pair of lamps. And you just never know where you might find them. On a recent outing to my beloved Goodwill store, I spied this lovely yellow ginger jar lamp sitting amongst a group of cast offs...

It was love at first sight! Just the thing to brighten our master bedroom (the shade was added after the fact - borrowed from a set of black lamps I bought at Target a couple of years ago). Alas, there was only one. Sigh. At $6.99, it was coming home with me regardless. But if only I could find a match! The super fabulous symmetry would make me sooo happy! And then, I saw another lamp out of the corner of my eye.

(My apologies for the blurry pic on this one! I took it really fast and didn't realize until after the fact. Ugh.) This retro robin's egg blue lamp was priced the same, had a similar shape albeit chubbier, and featured this sweet crackled finish and brass base (sarcasm):

I had read a DIY tutorial about painting lamps on Isabella & Max Rooms, and I immediately thought, "I can do that!" So, home the lamps came. I started by taping off the socket and the cord with painter's tape and a plastic bag.

Then I took her out to the garage and gave it her 2 coats of spray primer.

Next, I gave her 3 coats of the closest yellow I could find to the other lamp. I finished it with 2 coats of clear gloss to make her shine!

I was super excited with the change already! It totally transformed the crackly blue-ness into banana fabulous-ness! And then, the shade....

This picture makes it look a bit brighter than it actually is, but you get the idea! Fun, right? And bright and spring-y! I spent about $20 total for the lamps and the spray paint. And I'm actually kinda digging the slight difference in shapes between the two lamps. Now I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for DIY lamp-painting candidates. It's such a simple way to update a room! I'd love to hear what you think, or if anyone else has given this a try!