Posts Tagged 'recycled'

You…light up my life….

I’ve really started to love lamps in the past few years. They can add such personality to a room, and a whole lot of “homey-ness.”  That’s why I was so excited to see lots of lamp and light fixture projects in Mark Montano’s Big-Ass Book of Crafts. It was a major selling point for me in fact.

I made this lamp, with a few alterations, from Mark Montano’s clothespin lamp project in the above book. Pretty much all you need is a simple printout of an image that you like (goooo internet!), a couple of dollar store frames, a night light, and an extension cord (if it’s not a battery-operated night light). I also used some recycled posterboard (to make the sides of the lamp), white acrylic paint, and glue (Weldbond brand is awesome). Mr. Montano used clothespins to make the sides of his box lamp, which gives a kitschy pretty look, but I didn’t have any around, and I do love to use what I’ve already got around the house. If you want to see this project in in its original incarnation, please go find the book in your local craft store (or it’s less than $14 on Amazon right now!), or see Mark Montano’s blog post about the project here.

The hardest part about this project is getting the 2 wooden frames (the front and the back of the lamp), to stay the proper distance away from each other while you are gluing on the sides of the lamp. In my case, I was trying to glue thin recycled posterboard to the sides of the wooden frames, and it was tough going a few times. My best advice if you don’t have a 2nd pair of hands to help you, is to use books or stable heavy objects to prop the frames against while you glue. You can also use random found objects to place between the two frames to keep them from leaning in on each other too much. Heavy objects can also be stacked on top of the frames once the adhesive is in place to help keep the glued pieces from moving while they are drying. That way there should be less warping/migration as the glue cures.

The other difficult part of this project is cutting out a shape in the back of your frame to stick the night light into. Mark solved this problem on his blog by using some recycled cardboard to make the back of the frame. Even corrugated cardboard is easier to cut with a craft knife than the dense chipboard backing that comes with many frames. I did a pretty decent hack-job on the back of my frame trying to get the light in there at first. But, please remember, this is an extremely economical project, and, if the back of the frame isn’t so perfect, who cares? You’re doing this for the fun of it right?

Anyway, final tip: to get kind of a whitewashed “beachy” look on this lamp, I used a slightly dried-out thick white acrylic paint to coat the wooden frames and cardboard sides of the lamp. I brushed through it a few times with a rough bristly brush before it could fully dry to a smooth finish. The end :-)

Please let me know if you have any questions about this project, and go check out Mark Montano’s Big-Ass book! Trust me, your $14 would be extremely well-spent!

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The Shirt off My Back

I kind of love fleur-de-lis.

I think I can trace it back to reading The Once and Future King back in grade school. I just remember reading about Guinevere, pining away for Sir Lancelot and embroidering fleur-de-lis in the lining of the helmet he left behind… <sigh> I loved that story. Still do.

But anyway, my lingering love for this motif led me to want to make the above t-shirt. I used just a few simple tools, not a fancy screen-printing kit or special materials, to make it.

If you’d like to find out  how to make a shirt like this (and/or see the back), please continue reading. Hope you’re all having a nice summer!

Continue reading ‘The Shirt off My Back’

In my world, protests are pink and furry.

A few short weeks ago, I learned the dreadful news that one of my favorite shows of all time, Ugly Betty, was not going to be renewed for another season. Now, for YEARS, I have declared my undying love and admiration for this show. Week after week, I would laud the writing and acting abilities of those employed with the show, and remark as to how great it was for young women to have such a fantastic role model on television.

Many people might criticize the show for its crazy telenovela-esque plot turns and outrageous fashion don’ts, but I think the show is wonderful. The plot twists keep you glued to the television week after week, and almost every episode feels like a season finale. But at its core, the show really has heart. Betty is a young woman trying to make a life for herself, in and out of the business world, without compromising her principles, and without losing sight of her long term goals of changing the world. Betty’s family is a loving and supportive unit, composed of Betty’s widowed father Ignacio, Betty’s sister Hilda, who lives at home, and Hilda’s son Justin, who was born when Hilda was still in high school. Underneath all of the hilarity and the drama that occurs in Betty’s life and in the lives of her family members, there is a real undercurrent of unconditional love amongst these characters. They accept each other, flaws and weakness and all, no matter what. And at the end of every episode, you have the sense that you’ve learned something about humanity, without feeling like you’ve just sat through an after school special.

So in protest of the cancellation of this wonderful masterwork, I have re-created this bunny, which Betty-philes may remember from a season 1 episode of Ugly Betty called “The Box and the Bunny.” To find out more, and to learn how you can make your own bunny, please continue reading “behind the scenes”: Continue reading ‘In my world, protests are pink and furry.’


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