Maybe Matilda: August 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spotlight on The Bungalow Boutique

I have a little gift for you today--would you like to shake the box and guess what it is? No, it's not socks . . . or a sweater . . . or a puppy . . . it's your new favorite shop! I want to share with you two of my favorite little stores, The Bungalow Boutique in Heber, Utah:
The Bungalow Boutique is a pair of adorable little shops specializing in handmade crafts, home decor, specialty kitchen products, and trendy arts. And the owner happens to be my own mama, an amazing interior designer who opened the boutique to share her love of trendy decor and products to beautify your life.
Here's what I think makes the Bungalow Boutique such a unique and fun place to visit--it's not just a bunch of pretty items my mom picked out of a catalogue. It's filled with a huge variety of products from contemporary furniture and home decor to local food products to designer clothing to handmade crafts made by local Utah artists (including yours truly!)--I seriously can't imagine anyone leaving without finding something to love at the Bungalow.
I love the entire roomful of gorgeous, feminine clothing you'll find at the Bungalow. And around holidays, there's always plenty of adorable seasonal decor and gifts:
I love the kids' items--how fun would these drawer pulls be in a little one's bedroom?
But my very favorite things at the Bungalow are the handmade products--like these super cute headbands:
Seriously adorable photo frames:
Refinished furniture and home decor (I really want this desk):
And there's so much more--handmade accessories for kids and adults, jewelry, purses, paintings and photography by local artists, knitting and crochet, paper products, and even some craft supplies so you can be inspired and get busy yourself.

You can visit the Bungalow Boutique at 312 and 340 South Main Street in Heber City, Utah (check out a map right here)--and this weekend is the perfect time to go, since you can check out neighboring Midway's Swiss Days while you're there, to check out the parade, vendor booths, and delicious food!

Are you a Utah crafter looking for the perfect venue to showcase your work? 
Here's the scoop: you can rent a booth at the Bungalow Boutique starting at $50/month . . . and, unlike most craft boutiques, you keep every penny you make from the products you sell--no commission! Just pay your $50 booth rental and work one day per month in the stores, and you're all set to start making money off of the crafts that, really, you'd be making anyway. Contact Char at 801-550-1167 to get started!
Visit the Bungalow Boutique's website here, and become a facebook fan right here
*PS, I'm not getting paid or anything for writing this spotlight post . . . I just really love the Bungalow and think you'll love it, too! Go check it out and tell me how much fun you have there!*

Monday, August 29, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs Birthday Cake

I promised a post about the cake I made for my little boy's first birthday last week, and here it is! Let me start out by saying that I stink at the whole cutesy dessert thing. I really, really, really do. I've made so many atrocious-looking flops that I've served, red-faced, to guests who very kindly pretended the slop I handed to them didn't look like poo on a plate. And you see all these cutesy little cupcakes and cookies online and think, surely I can do that? Well, my desserts (usually) taste good, they're just hideously unattractive. I could show you pictures to prove it, but really, that would just be cruel.

So I knew that for my baby's first birthday, I had to go with something simple and fun that would be kind of hard to mess up--for me, that meant purposely sloppy-looking (ie, definitely nothing with fondant or even pretty frosting) and more funny than pretty (at least that way, if it was embarrassing, I could pretend I did it that way on purpose). Since Forrest's all-time favorite movie is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (he seriously watched it for 20 hours straight when we drove from Iowa to Utah), I decided to make a spaghetti and meatballs cake, inspired by this cake and a few other similar ones I saw online.

This is my version:
Yessssssssssssssss! Honest to goodness, this might be the first cute dessert I have ever made in my entire life. This was a big moment for me, people! And when I say big moment, I mean I might have taken more pictures of this cake than of Forrest on his birthday!

This one is Forrest's mini-cake (made in a tiny little 4 or 5" cake pan)--a teensy little version of the real deal, just for his munching pleasure.

I used a chocolate cake mix (gasp! the horror! I figured it was going to take more than one attempt to get the cake to look right, so I didn't want to have to make multiple batches of homemade cake that would surely go to waste), and frosted them lightly with vanilla buttercream frosting. I tinted the extra frosting yellow and squeezed it all over the top of the cakes in a loopy pattern. Some of the versions of this cake I found said to make your own cake balls for the meatballs . . . but dude, why would I do that when I can buy a package of Ferrero Rocher's that already look like meatballs without even trying?
 (I told you I was ridiculously proud of it . . . I have a picture of myself holding every successful dessert I've ever made. This one brings the total up to two pictures.)

I spooned some strawberry ice cream topping on to look like spaghetti sauce, and grated a little white chocolate to look like parmesan cheese and, tada! Spaghetti and meatballs cake! Very appropriate for a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs party theme. (By the way, if you've never read the book, you can get it from Walmart for only $4! I bought a few copies for party favors.)

(See the poor frosting job at the bottom of the mini-cake? I'm not joking about stinking at this cute dessert business.)
And now that you've seen it looking all adorable, you of course want to see it being destroyed, right? I'm happy to oblige.

I think Forrest was a little perplexed by his cake--he just poked at it for a few minutes without daring to taste it (which was rather offensive, since the child regularly eats grass clippings and dirt but couldn't bring himself to taste my cake).

But once I cut it in half, he seemed to realize what he was missing out on, and chowed down:

Just making a wild guess here, but I think he likes cake.

But after eating almost an entire mini-cake (minus what he smeared on his chest and hair), I think he started getting a little sugared out:

My cake looked almost as delicious smeared on his cute chubby little face as it did on the plate. Jeff's sister offered him a dollar to lick frosting off of Forrest after he finished his cake, and I couldn't believe he didn't take her up on it . . . I would have done it for free! Look how tasty that boy looks!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Birthday Boy Photo

My baby turned one this week! (Does that mean I have to stop calling him my baby?) I'm going to skip the part where I go on and on about how I can't believe a year has gone by, I can't imagine my life without him, etc. (although I'm sorely tempted) and hop right ahead to the part you might actually care about--one of his birthday gifts . . . sort of. Okay, fine, it was mostly a gift for me, but hopefully he'll appreciate it someday. And if not, at least it'll be put to good use when I gaze at it and cry remembering his sweet mushy baby years when he's a big sullen teenager who hates his mother.

I saw this picture a while back on Pinterest and really loved the idea--a yearly photo of the birthday kiddo with a description of their personality that year. Wouldn't this make a cool album someday? All of his birthday photos together as a little tribute to his childhood and growing years?

So I decided to stretch my limited photo-editing skills to their limit and try to start a tradition of birthday photos for my little one. Unfortunately, in all the hustle and bustle of our wild partying, I didn't end up with any photos of the little guy with his cake that really seemed just right! In every picture I snapped, something was happening--he was caught mid-chew (not his most flattering look), or gazing blankly off into the distance, and the ones where he was smiling sure weren't perfect either. So it turns out, the photo editing that was going to be a stretch to start with turned into a reeeeeeally biiiiiig stretch!

I decided that this picture was my favorite--this is how it looked straight out of the camera:
What a cutie! I'm going to make a separate post later about his cake--it seriously needs its own moment, because it just might be the only attractive-looking thing I've ever baked. Truly. I'm a disastrous baker.

Anyway, that photo obviously needs some help. He's precious, no doubt, but it's awfully dark, plus there's a balloon string coming straight out of his head, purse handles in the corner, and a kitchen chair taking up a whole side of the shot. I figured I could crop out the purse and chair, but I didn't really want to--I wanted to keep as much space as possible for the words I wanted to add.

I started with editing the color in Lightroom. (So many of you suggested it in this post when I asked for your editing tips that I downloaded the 30-day free trial, and once again you have proved yourselves fabulous. I love it! Just have to collect my pennies so I can buy a copy to keep.) I wanted it to have a faded, washed out look, and ended up here:

I have to admit that as a total novice at photo editing, I was tickled pink with the coloring I ended up with on this. Nobody better make fun of anything, now . . . don't burst my birthday balloon, thinking I did a good job.

I still had to get rid of those pesky background objects (balloon string, purse, chair, chair's shadow). After spending a ridiculous amount of time on gimp trying to figure out how to make that happen, success! It's not perfect, so don't look too closely, but I finally got them to disappear! Add in a little text, and here's what I've got:

Yay! Now all the focus is on my cute little goober enjoying his birthday cake--no distracting objects in the background--along with some things I hope I never forget about the way he is right now. It isn't perfect, but it's just what I wanted--a sweet tribute to my little guy on his first birthday. (Oh, and in case the text doesn't make sense, his all-time favorite movie is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs . . . that was his party theme. I'm pretty sure if he had to choose between that movie and me . . . well, never mind. I'd rather keep deluding myself.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've been interested lately in using more natural, homemade cleaning products in my house--I wish I could say that this was for environmental, earth-happy reasons, but my main motivation was the other type of green . . . saving big bucks, baby! I do worry a bit about breathing in those awful smelling fumes, coating all the surfaces in my house with who-knows-what chemicals, and rinsing it all down the drain, so I loved the thought of actually knowing what's in the products I use to clean my house, as well as saving some money by using simple, cheap ingredients to make my own cleaning supplies.

I decided to start by making my own laundry detergent, and researched recipes online. Most of the recipes I found are quite similar--you can find a list of 10 detergent recipes here, and a rather in-depth post with a recipe, cost breakdown, and Q&A here . . . according to that last link, using homemade laundry detergent costs about a penny per load, a huge savings from the cost of using store bought detergent (roughly $0.50 per load). I was skeptical about how well homemade detergent would work, but I've found it to be just as effective as any store bought detergent I've ever used, and leaves our clothes just as clean and fresh-smelling as before. And the cost is just unbeatable--the supplies to make dozens of gallons of my own laundry soap cost about the same as one container of store bought detergent. Can't beat that!

What You'll Need:

1 bar of soap (many recipes call for Fels Naptha soap, which I read was rather harsh, so I used a bar of Ivory soap, but you can use whatever bar soap you have on hand)
1 cup Borax -- I found it at Smith's . . . there was none at KMart (the employee I asked made me repeat it 3 times before finally giving up and sending me away), and none at a store called, ironically, Cleaning Suppliers, where the employee finally called someone (who? no idea) to ask what Borax was
1 cup washing soda (not baking soda! There's a difference!)

Note before you get started: Unless you have a really, really big pot and bowl (more like a huge bucket) to mix this in, I'd recommend halving the recipe--I had to try and divide it into portions as I was adding ingredients because I couldn't fit it all into my biggest pot or bowl, and lost a few cups of detergent along the way.

Pour one gallon of water into a large pot, and grate your bar of soap into it; heat until the soap dissolves. Add the borax and washing soda and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add a gallon of cool water, and stir it all up. Pour it into whatever container you plan to use (I used a milk jug and an empty container of store bought laundry detergent), and there you have it--two gallons of homemade laundry detergent! Add 1/2 cup of your detergent to each load of laundry. 

I find that my detergent's consistency changes over time--the day I made it, it was very thick, like jello (I had to scoop it out of the container to use). A few days later, it was kind of soupy with big gel-like chunks. Over time, it settled into a thick liquid, like regular store bought soap. I just make sure that, no matter the consistency, I give it a good shake before pouring it out to use, and it never seems to affect the laundry's cleanliness at all.

When my store bought versions run out, I'd also like to try homemade dish detergent, fabric whitener, shower spray, and all-purpose cleaners. What do you think of homemade cleaning supplies? Love 'em? Don't trust 'em? Willing to give 'em a shot?

EDITED 10/8/11
A few commenters (Mountainrose, Coffee Queen, and Bellamere Cottage) mentioned using this same recipe minus the water to make a powdered detergent. That sounded WAY better to me, since the most difficult part of the process was finding a pot big enough to hold all the wet ingredients, trying to mix it all evenly, transfer without spilling, etc. So when my wet batch ran out, I tried their idea--following the exact same recipe, minus the water, I ended up with a powdered detergent that I like SO much better than the liquid! Just add 1 tablespoon per load (I have a front loader and measure it out into the little detergent drawer at the top, then send a little water down after it to make sure it finds its way into the machine), and it works just as well as the liquid detergent. Smells fresh and clean, takes up so much less space in your cupboard, and is so much easier and quicker to whip up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A few recent crochet projects

Lest you think all I've been doing with my time lately is reupholstering (although, weeks after finishing those dang chairs, it still feels that way), here is a smattering of recent crochet projects that probably don't each need their own blog post. Hopefully they don't feel slighted by having to share the spotlight, however dim.

Project 1: My little sister Bekah turned 20 a few weeks ago (happy birthday, Beeks!), and although I've never seen her carry a purse, I crocheted this for her:

Obviously, I'm all about useful gifts. I used this pattern for the bag and was pretty pleased with it--it worked up quickly and easily--although I kind of botched the lining. It will function just fine, and even has a cute little pocket (I tried to take a page from my friend Amanda's book by adding fun interior details):

But I'm afraid I didn't do a very good job attaching the zipper, and had to warn Bekah to be very careful when unzipping it--I'm not sure where I went wrong, but I think I didn't sew the end of the zipper into the lining quite well enough, because it's one good tug away from being torn out completely. To make up for the crappy lining job, I tried to satisfy her Harry Potter nerdiness with this adorable necklace from Bit of Sugar, a super cute etsy shop that is not compensating me in any way for giving them a glowing review:

Do you HP nerds get it? It's even cuter in person than it looked in the pictures online, and was shipped so quickly. Unfortunately, it does not appear to be filled with authentic liquid luck, since Bekah lost her phone the next day and this necklace proved ineffective in  helping her find it. But I suppose they'd be charging a lot more if it were actual felix felicis, wouldn't they?

Project 2: I realized a while ago that the hot pads in my kitchen were, in a word, horrifying. I think there were little pieces of everything I've ever cooked burned into them, and although they've been washed a thousand times, I don't think they'll ever be the same. So I decided to crochet some cuter ones, thinking that surely my functional items could be adorable, too:

And while the functional + adorable theory is a good one, I am still using my disgusting old hot pads because I haven't wanted to mess these ones up. But at least they look cute in my kitchen! (Made using this pattern.)

Project 3: Forrest's first birthday is swiftly approaching (how? how?!), and I thought it would be nice to crochet something for him. I'm sure this admission will win me top spots on plenty of Mother of the Year lists, but I've never crocheted anything for my own child. There are a few hundred children in the world sporting something I've crocheted for them, but the fruit of my womb is not one of them. (Okay, not exactly true. I did make him a winter hat last year, but honestly, it wasn't all that cute, and I only let him keep it because I didn't think I'd be able to sell it.) (But I'm not that awful . . . I did make him a baby quilt!) So his first birthday seemed like an appropriate time to finally crochet something for him.

I hooked up this little sweater vest, using a pattern from Crochet Today magazine (minus the clown car . . . ). I'll admit, it doesn't look that cute in the picture I took, but it's actually really precious in real life. One problem: it. is. gigantic! I tried it on him (I know, I spoiled the birthday surprise!) and it kind of looked like a huge breastplate. I doubt it'll fit him until he's 2 or 3, so I guess I'm starting from square one for a birthday gift for him. Oh well, at least he'll look real sweet in a year or two, wearing his sweater vest!

I'd like to crochet a blanket for him, but I know it would come in second place for him--the lovable-cuddly-comfort-blanket spot has already been taken in his life:

He absolutely loves this super-soft blanket that my former boss crocheted for him while I was pregnant--he cuddles with it whenever he sleeps. So I suppose I should get used to the feeling of coming in second place for his affection, since I know nothing I make will be able to take the place of his blankie . . . although I love that he adores this gift from a friend I admire and love so much. I seriously can't believe this little goober is turning one!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Family Favorite Recipe:: Italian Sausage Soup

I always love hearing other families' favorite recipes--not just the ones that they made once or twice and really enjoyed, but the favorites that are all crinkled and splattered in their cookbooks, that get requested over and over again, and that everybody just loves. Those are the ones I'm the most interested in adding to my collection, because you know they must be well-loved for a reason! So I thought I'd share one of my family's favorite recipes--a chunky and delicious Italian Sausage Soup.

I've had this recipe for a few years and was ready to say that I don't know where it came from, until I googled it and, what do you know, there it is with over 1000 reviews on allrecipes . . . so I'm guessing that's where I got it from (can 1118 people really be wrong?) (well, yes, but not about this soup). We love it--it's a little spicy, a little sweet, really flavorful, and full of healthy veggies. It's probably more of a fall recipe, but I wouldn't turn down a bowl anytime (you can take that as an invite to pop by my place anytime and whip up a pot of this for me).

This picture certainly doesn't do this soup justice, but it's all I've got:

Even my husband, who insists that soup is not a meal, loves and requests this dish. And Forrest?

Forrest devoured it. I think he ended up eating more of it than Jeff and I combined. So I'm going to go ahead and give it a gold star for being kid-friendly. Toss in some garlicky breadsticks as a side dish, and this boy was in heaven.

Italian Sausage Soup
(original recipe here)

1 pound mild Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
3 beef bouillon cubes, dissolved in 3 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 (14.5 ounce) can Great Northern beans
2 small zucchini, cubed (I like to use one zucchini and one yellow squash)
2 cups spinach, torn
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Brown sausage with garlic in a large pot. Add broth, stewed tomatoes, and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in beans (with liquid from can) and zucchini. Cover, simmer another 15 minutes.

Add spinach, remove from heat, and cover for 5 minutes . . . serve!

We had it for dinner last night and again for lunch today--what probably should have been 3 or 4 days worth of leftovers is long gone by now. Who would have expected the breadsticks to last longer than the healthy soup? Not I. 

What are some of your family's favorite recipes?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DIY Reupholstered Living Room Chairs (aka The Worst Project Ever)

Have you noticed a theme with DIY blog posts? How they often start with something like, "This project was so quick and easy! It only took me 30 minutes! Simplest thing I've ever made!"

Here's the intro for my project: this was the most obnoxious DIY project I have ever undertaken. I hated almost every second of it, it took nearly 2 full days to complete (and I really do mean full, as in, I did nothing else for 2 days straight), and although I like the outcome, I don't think this is a project I will tackle ever again. 

In general, I make things myself for two reasons: 1) I love the process . . . just plain creating something is fun for me, and 2) I can't afford to not make it myself . . . if I don't make it on my own, I can't have it, period. This project falls solely into category number 2. If I ever get tired of the look of these chairs (please sweet heavens no), I will hopefully have enough money to pay a professional to do it for me. 

All right. So now that you are fully informed on just how much I despised working on this, and won't be fooled into thinking this is a simple, easy, 30-minute DIY project, here are the chairs that nearly killed me:

I reupholstered the crap out of those suckers. Look at them, sitting there so smugly, mocking me and my poorly-informed ideas about how easy they ought to have been to re-cover. I can hardly decide if I love them for what they are now, or hate them for how they crushed my innocent DIY spirit.

Why were they so horrible to reupholster, you ask? We'll start at the beginning. 

When I purchased these chairs a few years ago, I loved their modern shape and thought their argyle-patterned fabric was pretty fun:

But after 4 years in a room that was various shades of brown from top to bottom, I was dying for some color, and these chairs were (conveniently) looking very worn out. 

I knew I wanted a bright red fabric for my chairs; at first I had my eye on this Amy Butler fabric, which I estimated I would need about 7 or 8 yards of, bringing the cost of this project to about $63. I know that's not a huge price tag for "new" chairs, but I really can't overemphasize how cheap I am, so I dragged my feet for weeks, unwilling to shell out $60+ for a project that, to be honest, I wasn't 100% confident I could accomplish.

Then we stopped at Home Fabrics on a whim, and holy moly, it is the best store of all time. We got the cream rug that's now in our living room (pictured above) for about $30, an adorable red houndstooth home decor fabric for my chairs for $3 per yard, and a few yards of quilting cotton for $2 a yard (project unknown). I have never seen prices like that before . . . unbelievable. So the cost for reupholstering these chairs rang up to a whopping $18, and I have at least 1 or 2 yards of chair fabric left over (I'm picturing matching family outfits for a matchy-matchy family picture on our new chairs . . . that would make the best Christmas card ever).

(See how we're smiling? We don't know what we're in for yet)

My mom is an angel, and offered to help (or did I drag her unwillingly along, kicking and screaming? Can't remember now, I've repressed the upholstering memories). We started tearing those chairs apart, foolishly excited over their soon-to-be new look. It didn't take long for us to realize that whoever made our chairs must have had a friend in the staple business . . . I don't know how many staples exist in the world, but I think about 90% of them were used on my two chairs. And we didn't know there was such a thing as an upholstery staple remover, but I'm going to wager a guess that it would have been $14 well-spent. We used screwdrivers and pliers to pry thousands of staples loose to remove the fabric (which is, shockingly, even less fun than it sounds). This was the part that made this project so awful--the de-assembly took forever. Putting it back together honestly wasn't too bad, but by that point I was so frustrated by how long it had taken to remove the old fabric that I hardly cared how it looked anymore . . . I just wanted it to be done (it's about to get a little grody in here, but it really reminded me of giving birth . . . at some point, I really stopped caring about how it happened, the little birth plan they had me write while I was pregnant was tossed out the window, and I just wanted it to end. I even used one of the completed chair backs as a focal point to keep going through the horrible labor of the rest of the chairs . . . and that's where the metaphor stops.)

I cut the fabric apart along the seams and used them as pattern pieces (make sure you add in a seam allowance), and sewed new seats for the chairs:

Add in some piping (my first time sewing piping! It was the only easy part of the project), and we were ready to reassemble the chairs:
A million staples later, they were completed, and although I don't think I'll ever want to reupholster anything ever again, I have to admit that I really like how they came out:

No one will ever mistake them for professionally upholstered pieces . . . they have plenty of little mistakes that I was too tired to fix, or just didn't know how to do. Although I'm tempted to only show you the pictures that make them look perfect, they certainly have their flaws . . . for example, I didn't even attempt any sort of print-matching at the seams, and you can see that my sewing was a bit sloppy:

And there are some funky areas where the fabric was pulled too tightly (notice the houndstooth dipping in the middle of the seat here), as well as the wacky chair bottoms:
I'm not sure if this is standard, but there is a panel of black fabric that velcroes along the bottom of the chairs to hide their ugly innards, and I obviously didn't reconstruct it correctly, since it's gapping all over the place. And not pictured are the impressive puckers at the back of the seats (can you spot them in the last photo, down at the bottom of the post?) or my staple-removing-induced arthritis. But you know, the little imperfections really don't bother me much . . . I'd rather have it done than perfect

For comparison purposes, here is a living room semi-before picture (but picture the trunk still being brown, and the lamp not being there at all):

Even Forrest hates it. So . . . brown. 

And an almost-done picture . . . minus all the boring brown pillows, minus the worn-out argyle print chairs, plus some fun sort-of-new chairs, an area rug, and some color via a solitary pillow, lamp, and trunk:

Still on the to-do list for this room:
- curtains (I'm at a loss for curtains . . . do I go with something colorful or neutral? What color? Patterned or plain? Long drapes or a simple shade? Any thoughts?)
- pillows for the couch (I'm struggling to find a BIG, bold red print to use for the pillows, although I'm thinking of maybe getting just a yard or two of that Amy Butler fabric I considered for the chairs)
- wall art . . . we've lived here almost 2 months now and there's still nothing on the walls

What do you think? Were my chairs worth all that work? Have you ever tried your hand at reupholstery? If so, and if you did a great job and love it, I'm just going to hire you when Forrest inevitably spills grape juice on my new chairs. There are some things Scotch-guard just can't foresee.

(I'll be milking this horrible, horrible project for all it's worth at these link-ups)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lined Paper Tee at Ucreate!

Please join me in momentarily geeking out that I'm sharing a project today at Ucreate! Eeeee!

You ought to jump over there if you want to find out how to make this cute top: 

My sister and I just made another of these yesterday (she saw me wearing mine so we did the only logical thing: made an emergency craft store run for supplies so she could have one, too. We matched as kids all the time . . . is it still cute when we're both 20+?), and I can't get over how adorable and easy this top is. Definitely my new favorite! 

And you can make one for the squirt, too:
The English major in me is simply delighted at having him look like such a sweet little dork.

So if you're visiting from Ucreate, hi! I'm glad you're here! And if you're not, hop on over there to see how you can make a lined paper tee for yourself.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Happy Lamp Makeover

I normally don't really get into home decor projects too much--I love seeing what other people make, but I just haven't ventured there myself, up until this recent move when I decided I was tired of living in a place that didn't look at all like me. So hopefully you don't mind the little break from my normal sewing and crochet projects while I decorate my place. And if you do mind . . . well, sorry. I don't really know what to tell you.

The two posts I've made so far about my home decor endeavors were about my door decor and my trunk makeover . . . so if you put those two together you get the colors I wanted to use in my main room: red and yellow! Which are a huge, much-needed change from the rainbow of beige tones I used to live in.

My mom (a super cool interior designer and owner of Amenities and Bungalow Boutique, two fun design and handmade craft shops in Heber, UT) gave me this lamp, which she had sort-of-accidentally ordered for her store but really didn't like:

Hmmm. I can definitely understand why she didn't think it worthy of a spot in her stores! I don't know if this photo accurately captures its ugly duckling-ness, but it was a very awkward-looking gray matte color with a clunky lampshade (the same one pictured in the after pictures below). It was just really boring and kind of weird-looking. It was such a sad lamp. If it were a person, it would be grumpy all the time. And gangly and lurpy, with a gigantic head.

She gave it to me (she's so generous, giving me her ugly accidental purchases) with the comment that she thought it could look nice if it got painted.

And yellow was a huge improvement! I just covered the base with newspaper to protect it, and covered up that grouchy gray color with a few coats of a bright sunny yellow spray paint. (and, in case you were wondering, yes, that is the only pillow I have for my couch right now, which is why it keeps working its way into every living room picture that I take. And you know it's time to get moving on sewing pillows for your couch when even your husband says, "Are we really only going to have one pillow on the sofa? Can you please make some more?")

But I wanted the living room to be yellow and red, and so far the only red was on the front door (which doesn't contribute much to an indoor color scheme), as well as some red on the opposite side of the room from what you can see here (it just so happens to be the red project that I mentioned almost killing me last week . . . I'll show you real soon! I conquered it! Take that, you horrible project!), so I thought this half of the room needed a little red, too. Not to mention that the lamp still looked a little bland to me. It was getting less grumpy, but it still seemed slightly depressed.

So I made some felt flowers, modeled after these ones from I Am Momma, Hear Me Roar, and hot glued a little cluster of them onto the shade.

Much better! I think those flowers give the lamp just what it needs to stand out, not to mention pulling in a little of the red from the other side of the room. And doesn't it just look happy now? It makes me smile whenever I see it (and considering the size of our apartment [not very big], I see it an awful lot). A nice happy lamp makeover!

I'll be posting this lamp makeover at some of these link-ups . . . and I'm excited to show you my red project. You know how people always start a project post with, "This was so fast! So easy! Anyone can do it! It'll take you 20 minutes!" I'm not going to lie to you, folks . . . I hated this project. It was not fast. Nor was it easy. It took closer to 20 hours than 20 minutes, and when I say there were blood, sweat, and tears involved, I really do mean all three in a very literal way. But hopefully you'll pat my head and tell me I did a good job anyway so I can start leaning more towards the love end of the love/hate relationship I'm having with this project. Stay tuned.
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