Thursday, January 6, 2011

CJT: Fighting the Lighting

Oy, oy, oy. The lighting situation in Evelyn and Grace's bedroom has been...rough. I think we've finally reached a good solution, but it definitely took a couple of tries to get there!


First of all, lighting is a huge deal to me. I'm all about creating a cozy space, and I'm not a fan of using big, overhead lighting. Give me task lights and lamps to illuminate dark corners. We don't EVER turn on our main kitchen light, which is huge and florescent...and there isn't a darn thing I can do about it since we rent.

And I hate, hate, hate LED lights. Hate them. Blech. I know that there are people who swear by these things, and if you're one of them I promise I won't hold it against you. But the bright blue glow of an LED gives me the heebie jeebies. They are anything BUT cozy. And I cannot stand LED Christmas lights. Ask Eric. I really hope that pretty twinkling Christmas lights aren't replaced by these harsh uglies for good someday. (Really, don't take this personally if you love them, haha.) I once heard that iridescent lighting was going to be permanently replaced with LED lighting, and I swear if that's true I'm going to be clearing out entire store shelves to stock up on my pretty soft lights. (And I'm sure that they make softer glowing LEDs, but you just need to let me stew in my hatred, okay?) :)

The lamp way back by the window is the one I'm talking about!

So when it came to doing this makeover, I knew that some new lighting was in order to make the bedroom a warm, cozy space. I had big plans to revamp that lamp in the picture above, because it has a story. This floor lamp has been with me since I was like 13 years old. It has followed me to college, it came with us to our first place after Eric and I were married, and has traveled along with us ever since. I really, really wanted to convert it from a torch light lamp with the light pointing up, to a softer, shaded lamp. So I bought a new shade and the parts to make the conversion, brought it home, took apart the floor lamp, and realized there was no way to convert it over. I tried and tried to figure out a way it could be done. I looked up tutorials online. But, sigh, it just wasn't meant to be.

The shade and harp went back to the store and were replaced by these:


Cheap lamps that I wouldn't be afraid of girlifying a bit. I purchased some pink polka-dot ribbon to dress up the shades, and my plan was to paint the bases the same pink color as the mirror which will hang in the room. Only, after painting that mirror, I realized that I didn't want to totally risk the chance of ruining the lamps, haha. So the bases would stay the same.

But, oh holy goodness, who would have thought putting some darn ribbon on a lamp shade would be so difficult? I had a inkling that the grosgrain ribbon I bought was not going to wrap nicely around the hexagonal bottom of the shade without a little manipulation. I had no idea I would putting on ribbon and completely taking it off again half a dozen times before calling it quits!


It didn't take me long to realize that I was going to have to do some pleating in order to get the ribbon to lay flat. I really tried to cheat and just adhere the ribbon down the way it was, but it was a no go. I had to whip out the big guns and actually iron the ribbon down. And then I got out my trusty fabric glue.


I spent forever gluing down those darn pleats. I covered the ribbon with heavy books to get them to stick just right. And I waited two hours for the glue to dry. This project was already taking much longer than I wanted it to. When it FINALLY came time to reattach the ribbon the shade I realized that at least one of the lamps had the pleats spaced out waaay wrong. For real? I was so not waiting another two hours for more ribbon to dry. So I pressed on and nipped and tucked and did the best I could to make the lamps look right. (They didn't look right.) I thought I would spruce them up a bit by adding some sparkly flower embellishments across the top. 



They just peel and stick, see? I'm not so sure that those look right, either. Haha. Can you say disaster

So let me try to set the scene for you. I have two lamps sitting in the kitchen that I know are subpar and that I'm totally not excited about. It's about 11pm and I'm fighting my toddler to sleep so that I can go in and take pictures for this blog. By the time I'm moseying into the kitchen, it's midnight. I think that there's nothing I can do about my darn lamps, so I go ahead and do a little photo shoot.

(Let me insert here that when I first plugged in the lamps one of them didn't work. Are you kidding me? I fiddled with the cord, switched it to a different outlet...nothing. I was about to throw in the towel when I thought of one more thing. Turns out it was a dud bulb! Brand new, out of the box, and the thing didn't work. That has never happened to me before! I'm just glad it wasn't my lamp after all!)


Let me be honest. I tried to stage these pictures to make the lamps look better than they actually did so that all of you reading this would think they turned out okay after all. But in my mind I knew that I didn't want these things as they were in my daughters' room. And there was no way I was going to lie and say, "Hey guys, aren't these the cutest lamps you've ever seen? They were so easy to make!" Blah. Really, trust me, even those pictures are beginning to fool me. But they looked like crap up close, plain and simple.

So even though it was late and I thought I would regret this decision, I stripped my lamps again. I admitted defeat and realized that there was just no way I was going to get this ribbon to lie flat. So what did I do?


I chopped my pink polka-dotted grosgrain into a bazillion peices and I glued them on one by one. That's what. And while you can definitely see the seam lines across the bottom of the lamps, it looks waaay better than bubbling, rippling ribbon in real life. 

This is how the lamps look NOW:


I see that I need to do a little adjusting here and there, but I'm satisfied for the time being. (Doesn't it kind of look like I took that picture in the daytime? Nope! It was 1am. I'm loving this new flash we have for our camera!)

So I took the out-of-the-box lamps from this to this.


It certainly would've been a more dramatic change if I would have painted the bases, but I'm actually really glad I didn't now. Since I adhered everything to the lampshades with strong but removable adhesive, I'll be able to change out these lamps and use them elsewhere in the future. I may get some thinner pink ribbon to tie a bow around the bases. We'll see. But regardless of what the shades look like, these lamps will do their job of cozying up this new space. And I know just where these soft glowing lamps will sit in Ev and Grace's room. :) I'm getting more excited as the days go on!

And the project I've been looking forward to most is yet to come this weekend...yippee! 

3 comments:

Alanna said...

Cute! I like the flowers on the ribbon! :)

By the way, I love the way your flash looks in that picture! What flash did you get?

Christine Pettijohn said...

I love those lamps. They are so cute!

Adrien said...

Hey Alanna, our flash is for the Canon Speedlite 430EX II. :)

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