December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Can this lamp shade be saved?

Bonjour, darlings!

I should be busy reframing my little birdy prints into my beautiful $5 matted wood frames from Walgreens, in preparation for hanging them - somewhere - in my newly gussied-up bedroom, but since I'm still suffering from a major brain blockage when it comes to just, exactly, WHAT to hang and just, exactly, WHERE to hang it, I'm distracting myself instead.  Medicine 101.  When you cannot cure the patient, distract the patient with shiny objects...

And so, VOILA!


This is one of my woe-begone lamps banished inside a large black plastic trash bag, stashed underneath a junky old melamine kitchen table in the basement.  As you can see, a not very attractive basement, complete with spiders, EEK!

At some point during its existence, the neatly pleated light beige cloth, suitably trimmed out around the top and the bottom of the shade, got so old that it started delaminating away from its base.  There were bubbles, in other words.  Eventually it got to the point where it looked awful - like giant chicken pox all over the shade.  One day, in a fit of madness, I ripped off all of the glued-on material and was left with a sticky, icky, plastic (I think), under-shade, with some glue residue on it, to give it a sort of "texture."  In short - this (photo) -- before I got "artistic" and decided to try and revive it with some paint.  Hmmm, where did that dent come from???  I don't remember a dent in this shade.  Maybe a mouse tried to eat it one day...

This lamp is very old as things at Maison Newton go.  I inherited it from my sister, Debs, back in the 1980's, when she got married and totally redid new digs with her hubby, and this lamp no longer fit in.  It has a beautiful teal blue base (yeah, I know, teal is really BIG right now), and a shiny chrome bottom that is still in excellent shape, despite years of abuse.  It's not really a classic ginger-jar shape, it's just sort of funky with this roundish body.  "Mod" maybe?

Now what on earth ever possessed me to sponge paint this shade in gold and bronze, when the base is chrome -- only Hera knows. That was done - oh, 2004 maybe?  For awhile, the lamp resided on the dresser in the guest room, in all its blazing mis-matched glory!  Then, about 2007 or 2008, I got a pair of matching little lamps for the guest room dresser and the teal lamp was banished to the dungeon basement, kicking and screaming all the way, let me tell you...

Now yes, I know, I could just go to Target and get a new shade.  I even looked online at some.  But it seems all the shades I like, well, let's just say it would be cheaper to buy an entirely new lamp.  And no no no, mon amis, that just won't do!  Mind you, I've no idea where I would put a totally revived teal blue lamp in my home of mostly neutrals, with some shades of red and green thrown in.  But I'm now obsessed, obsessed, I tell you, with reviving this shade, if it can be saved at all.  Perhaps it has seen it's final days???  Should I, at last, send it to its final resting place in the county dump?

The thought makes me shudder!

So, I went on a hunt for possible ways to resurrect this lamp shade (although it isn't, quite, dead yet).

My oh my, what an overload of information is available on the internet today, to be sure, darlings!  I first tried "painting a lamp shade" or something like that.  A kajillion sites, all about women (are there no men doing this kind of thing???) painting millions and millions of lampshades in millions of clever ways to revive them.  Let me tell you, if all of that creative female energy could just be directed toward solving our country's economic problems, we would never experience a recession or depression again.  Ever.  Ever!

Narrowing down the selections (ahem), I found this blog entry extremely interesting, about how to use lace to create a beautiful pattern on a tired old lampshade (like mine):


I love the look of this lamp shade, it's just drop dead gorgeous.  The lamp base - meh.  Paint it yellow or blue, or even better, put on some lace appliques and ...  OHMYGODDESS, it's that damn decoratitis causing a brain fever again, oh no...  Back, back (Jan now desperately fighting off decoratitis...)

Then I found this lampshade fished out of a pond after a long, hard winter.  No kidding!  Since this is the sort of thing that can happen around Maison Newton despite not having a pond, it had me inappropriately screaming with laughter at the office while I was supposed to be working:


After being fished out of pond, but before the remake...  Gee, I think my seriously ill lampshade might be saved after all after looking at this baby!  But you know, I do wonder what this shade would have looked like had the mildew and algae been allowed to grow/petrify in the normal course of events.  Never-before seen on the internet shades of earth tones and greens, complete with a unique texture...  A perfect lampshade for the Creature From the Black Lagoon?  Bringing new meaning to the buzz-word these days "GREEN!

Well, I'm all for easy and as little work as possible.  Frankly, I don't have time to be scootching around doing all this decorating revamp stuff (it's the disease, the disease, I tell you!) and while I love the lace overlay look, and the LET ME AT IT AND NO PRISONERS TAKEN approach of just globbing on tons of paint (after bleaching -- she never mentioned bleaching...) the pond scum lampshade and it's ultimately unique opaque look, both approaches seem to have taken quite a bit of time.  Time, precious time.

So, then I had a brain flash - SLIP COVERS!

Seriously, darlings, who the heck makes slip covers for lamp shades?  I did a google search and lo and behold!  Could not believe my eyes.  Surefit makes slip covers for lamp shades, for one!  I fell in love with this look, and thought it would be perfect, and I'd even pay over $30 for it, too!


Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, at present Surefit only offers this Shabby Chic (har!) lamp shade slip cover in large and small drum shapes instead of the shape in the photo, above, which would be a perfect fit for my poor lampshade!  SIGH. 

Isn't that always the way it goes?  You find what you think is the perfect relatively pain-free solution (yes, it costs $$ but it uses practically none of your precious time at all) but nooooooooo, the damn thing isn't in stock anymore, or was never actually made to begin with because, after all, other than me, who the hell has those quasi-"coolie" shaped lamp shades these days, anyway?  So politically incorrect, you know....  ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

So, I don't know what the hell I'm going to do with this lamp shade.  I thought about making my own slip cover and I may yet try that.  I did find some online general guidelines about how to proceed.  And, being a college graduate with a higher degree under my belt to boot, I should be able to figure it out, doncha think?   ...

An honorable mention to the venerable and venerated Martha Stewart.  She has instructions online for how to make a pleated paper slip cover for a lampshade:


OHMYGODDESS!  While I took a short break and was digging around in one of the upstairs closets for potential art work to hang in my bedroom, I came across ---- TWO MORE LAMP SHADES wrapped up in black trash bags!  I thought those suckers (the trash bags) were supposed to decompose after a certain number of years in an anaerobic atmosphere...

They are not in as sad a shape as the bronze and gold sponge-painted number (see photo at top of blog, ugh).  Oh no!  Now I've got three possible resurrection projects.

Anyway...... what I thought I could possibly do to revive the lampshade - the one in the photo at the top of this post painted bronze and gold, that would be sort of putzy but not really hard or complicated work, is this:  print out a mess of Paris related pics from the internet in black and white, see if I can find toile patterns online and do likewise (like from places that sell wallpaper?), cut out a mess of images and modge-podge the mess onto the lamp shade.

It will be opaque, but I'm not looking for a reading lamp, I'm looking for mood and attitude.  Do you think I need to paint over the gold and bronze first, with white?  I've got lots of white primer in the basement.  Well, some of it is 21 years old, but when I shake the cans I still hear stuff sloshing around inside, so it should be good to use if I maybe add some water and stir and shake the hell out of it -- good exercise!

Oh oh.  That means I've been subconsciously thinking about using this lamp shade in my bedroom, to tie into the Paris-themed bathroom just down the hall (it serves all three upstairs bedrooms and is, therefore, fairly gender-neutral).  Black and white toile, Paris, le Tour Eiffel, all that jazz...

And that means I would need to repaint the other lamp I used to have in my formerly really girly pink bedroom (because I cannot bear the thought of painting over that beautiful teal lamp with the pristine chrome base).  That other lamp is, at present, pink sponged over white.  It is the lamp that has the cheap (really really cheap) PLASTIC ribbon lamp shade.  The base, however, is a classic ginger-jar shape.  It shares a place in the dungeon basement, wrapped up in a large black plastic trash bag, with the teal lamp. 

Oh oh.  It just occurred to me.  I have absolutely no place in my bedroom as currently configured to stash such a revamped lamp, should I ever get around to actually doing this project.  It wouldn't really fit on the night stand, I'd have to pull the night stand too far away from the wall in order for the lamp to fit properly on its surface, with the wide shade; otherwise, it would be smushed up against the wall.

Oh my oh my oh my.  What to do, what to do.  Maybe I need another room. 

Oh oh.  it just occurred to me.  I have another room.  The middle - junk - room.  It used to be a "den" of sorts and even served as a guest-room for a short time, and still houses 3 really junky bookcases, a 2-drawer file cabinet and a computer hutch that houses an old desk top computer that, try as I might to hook up to the wireless network in the house, refuses to update itself into the 21st century by continuously bouncing itself off the network.  Rebellious wench!

Oh Goddess.  I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about all of these possibilities.  I think I need a big glass of wine and a good rest up in my recliner.  And then a big, juicy fat steak.  With a mountain of mashed potatoes, smothered in sauteed mushrooms...

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