Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DIY Wednesday - For the Love of Pinterest

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Okay, I must confess, this DIY is a bit on the lame side. I had something decorative, innovative, and pretty original planned out... but it just wasn't a good week. {All the supplies are bought and ready, though, so here's hoping I can get to it next week.}

So, today's DIY is pretty simple and not super creative. However, I really do love it! I had been working really hard all last week to organize and freshen up the studio. We just put a second desk in the studio, and it need something inspiring above it. I had purchased a few art pieces but none of them worked quite right. I was in a pinch and tired of shopping... and I had a big piece of foam board that was just the size I was looking for to put over the desk. {Do you know the foam board I am talking about? Kids use them for their school diagrams; they are usually about 2 foot by 3 foot and are just a couple dollars at the grocery or office supply store.} Anyway, I had one of those. I also have yards and yards of burlap in the studio. I love the natural, textural element to burlap. So, I simply cut a piece of burlap large enough to cover the board and wrap 2 inches around the edges. Then I got out the glue gun {yes, I love me some glue gun these days} and glued the burlap nice and tight around the foam board, folding the corners like a present on the back side.

Next, I printed out some of my favorite images from my pinterest account. I just adore Pinterest, it is a perfect and highly efficient tool for people in creative fields. I am a prolific pinner, and any time I have a spare 5 minutes, I do one run of pinning--good fun! Back to the DIY, I printed out some of my favorite images and cut a little white border on each photo and tacked them into place.
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I added one of our trial flower shoe clips, some favorite saying and--voilĂ , an inspiring, pretty, and large piece of wall decor. This would be equally great in a kitchen for photos, the children's drawings, and inspirational quotes! So, I know it's not the most brilliant idea, but it's easy, cheap, and colorful. Have a happy Wednesday!
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Labor Day Sale!

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First of all, I wanted to say that I have missed you all! With each day that goes by without facebooking and blogging, I miss the exchange more and more... the opportunity to say hello and read your comments about what's happening in your lives and your similar journey of parenting. My absence has been due to so many exciting things; I wish I could delve into all of them, but I hope to share a heart-to-heart soon on the some business updates and where Joyfolie is going.

In the mean time, we have a great Labor Day Sale! 40% off shoes now through September 7. I encourage you to take advantage because this will be the only promotional opportunity on the shoes for some time.

After lots of talks among our staff and consistent feedback on customers frustration with our lack of styles, we decided that we would not release new items seasonally {fall collection, spring collection, etc.} Instead, we hope to offer new styles as they come available. This will make it easier for us to bring in new shoes and boots much more regularly. Yay!! We also have such varied global interest in our products {which we are excited about} that we plan to always offer peep toes, boots, ballet flats, etc. regardless of the season. Essentially, we hope to build a strong collection of varied designs that represent the uniqueness that makes Joyfolie. We will not be clearancing out designs with every season, which is what makes 40% off on our peep toes a great--and temporary--opportunity!

So, a big thank you to everyone who is encouraging Joyfolie as we grow! I hope to be able to talk in specifics about some of our exciting developments soon.

In the mean time, if you would like to shop our shoes for 40% off, you can do so here with the code SAVEBIG at checkout.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

DIY Wednesday - Gallery Photos for under $40

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I am so excited about this DIY and wish I was better at decor photography, so you could get a better/more accurate feel of the project. However, I have lots to keep up with these days {don't we all} so these photos will have to do.

This DIY will show you how to take a photo and turn it into artwork for your home {mine was 16" x 24"} with a small amount of elbow grease and for around $40. I keep a file of images I label decor photos {mostly nature-y pictures like the baby fern and the little flower cup used in my examples.} You could similar photos of your own or you could do this with family photos or even scanned artwork that either you or your child made. All of these are fun options. I think I want to do this project again with some over-sized black and white photos of the kids when they were little. What's great about this project is you get big impact for low dollars. Also, before I get into the detail, you can totally omit adding the frame if you wish. This is what we did in Mia's room in the photo below. The foam mount makes them sturdy enough to rest on a shelf without any frame at all. You could also punch holes and hang them with ribbon.
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Step one: select your photo(s). If you want to use one of my photos, I downloaded four {rain drop, shoes, fern, and flower cup} into my flickr account which you are welcome to print if you wish. You can find them here. Or, choose your own images. If you use your own, make sure you check the resolution is high enough that your photos won't look grainy when blown up.

Step two: Have FedEx print them. You can save time and download them online then pick them up, or drop off the images on a flash drive. Ask FedEx Office to "print and mount" them. They will recommend you laminate them, but I think this gives the photos a cheap/plastic look. Just note that these photos shouldn't get wet or be in a place where they would get covered with little finger prints. FedEx Office charges $7.50 per square foot to print and $5 per square foot to mount. So, a 12" x 12" would be $12.50. My example is a 16" x 24" and was $35. You can do any custom measurement, which is fun! Make sure you size the file by inches to the size you want or Fed Ex will charge you $5 to do it for you. *Also, you can't order your mounted prints online, so you have to download the images then call your local FedEx and tell them what you want.

Step three: Cut and paint your frame. This is the elbow grease part--but not too much :) Here is what you need:

1 foam mounted artwork
4 pieces of 2" wide balsam wood {$1.25 ea from Hobby Lobby}
black spray paint
glue gun

See below....
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Balsam wood is very thin flimsy wood. So, handle it with care. However, the great thing about balsam is that it is very, very light {which makes your artwork a breeze to hang} and it can be cut with scissors. We could trim out the photo with thicker wood, but that would require a chop saw and I'm not sure everyone is up to that speed :)

So, make sure all 4 pieces of balsam are as long or longer than your longest side {in my case 24"}. Cut your wood into 2 lengths and 2 widths, plus double the thickness of the wood. So, for my projects, that was 24" + 8mm and 16" + 8mm. Next, spray paint the wood black. Make sure you get even the thin sides of balsam because that will show. A few tips for this part: go slow! Test your pieces to make sure they wrap perfectly around the frame. If you cut 1/4" too short, it will show! Also, when you paint, I would recommend you cover every little bit of wood with black {all sides.} I missed a few spots the first time around and it was nerve-racking doing touch up because I was afraid I might get black on the photo. The second time I made more careful/precise cuts and painted thoroughly and had really professional results.

Step four: Glue on the frame. Using a glue gun, glue the frame to the white foam sides of the print. Go slow and use the glue sparingly--you don't want it to seep onto your photo. Start at the top, then do the sides, and do the bottom last.
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After you have glued all sides, reinforce the frame by gluing the back of the seams. I added two corner pieces and a horizontal piece across the back for further reinforcement.
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And you're done! This artwork is so super light that you don't need any drywall anchors or to drill holes--just a skinny little nail or even adhesive mounting squares will do!
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What I love most is the scale and impact you can make on a very modest budget. {We're all about saving you $ on decor so you can splurge on Joyfolie boots--*wink*} Gallery wrapped canvases, which have a similar look, would run around $150 plus shipping for the same size. For $40, you get the same look at less than a quarter of the cost! I hope you have fun and give this project a try! Just remember, go slow and make careful cuts--and you'll be so pleased with the results!

corner detail
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Mia's New Room

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We finally gave little Mia's room an overhaul. She was still sleeping in a toddler bed and was ready for something bigger. It's quite hard to devote long-stretches of time on a house project while operating a business. This weekend, though, we finally got to it, and I am so glad we did! It went much faster than I figured, largely in part to deciding not to change the paint color, and instead do heavy touching up. {Wow, it's amazing how every piece of trim and inch of wall space gets dirty with little children!} Now, the old color looks really fresh. We spent very little money on the project: a $20 comforter was a great find, a soft canopy, inexpensive pink sheets {Mia's choice}, and some pretty peach flowers on clearance at Target for $1 each. We already had the other items already in the room or somewhere else in the house. Really, it's amazing how just redistributing old pieces can make a room feel fresh and new.
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I apologize for the quality of the photos. I don't have the right camera equipment for wide angle shots, so this was taken with my phone. {tsk!} But, at least you get the idea. The long dresser was a thrifting find I picked up for $30. It used to be dark *bad* laminate wood, and I put textured wallpaper inside the drawer panels and finished it with glass buttons. I hung the little fabric chandelier in the past DIY, and I will have a tutorial on the artwork later today.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mod Shoe Clips

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For awhile now, we have been playing around with adding shoe clips for women. We have all different designs in the works, and these are the most modern and colorful. These were more about adding a fun and funky pop of color than dressing up a plain pair of shoes. {Though we love that idea for shoe clips, too!}

I have been so surprised at how much Mia adores these! I had to lock them up in a hat box, so she would stop clipping them everywhere. She loves them as bow ties, though, and clips them off-center on her little white lace-y tank top. That girl! For 3, she does have some style!Photobucket

Anyway, these funky little shoe clips are available only in a few per colorway. Clip them to your shoes or your daughter's shoes--or your little girl's lapel--wherever you enjoy an extra bit of mod print and color. They come two to a set, are approx. 3" long, and come packaged in a fabric bag. Please note the mustard pint color may have trace amount of umber or blue on the print. Handmade in the USA!
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SOLD OUT

A Few Soft Soled Shoes

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I have had a handful of soft-soled shoes in inventory for quite some time, and thought I would offer them this morning. These are very rare and handmade by me in our studio.


Update:
**SOLD OUT -- ALL DESIGNS ARE SOLD OUT**

White, Misha shoes... from the Design a Day Series. Please see the original post here. Only three of these ever made! Size 8 - two pairs.
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Piper in Sea Glass, size 6-8. See original post with picture here.
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Pauke - another Design a Day pair of shoes. These are one of a kinds! Size 6. Please note that the soft-soles shoes are offered very rarely. They can be returned for a credit if they do not fit, but we will not be able to exchange them for another size. Please note that Paypal only allows us one type of shipping, so international orders are subject to an additional $3 surcharge.
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**SOLD OUT -- ALL DESIGNS ARE SOLD OUT**
Monday, August 22, 2011

First Grade & the Brink of Panic

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Today was Aidan's first day of first grade. Last year in kindergarten, Aidan went nearly a full day {until 2 pm}, so this year was not as big a transition as the year prior. When we discussed starting school, Aidan seemed none to keen to the notion. However, the day started out with a measure of familiarity. Mia and I walked Aidan to school.... and watched in amazement at the school traffic:
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In this picture, I think Aidan is speculating that he'd rather be home under a blanket, watching morning cartoons and eating pancakes.

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Mia and I dropped Aidan off, said a prayer for his day, and gave him quick kisses good bye. After, Mia and I enjoyed the change of pace of just the two of us. We had bagels at Panera and talked about her cozy and safe new room. {I will post photos, see this post for context.}

There were a few business up's and down's, but it was a pretty good first day. Aidan rides the bus home. We live a half mile from the school, but because Aidan has special services, they bus him to our front door. {Yes, it's quite nice to avoid the car pool lane!} So, Mia and I sat on the front porch and waited for Aidan. It wasn't long before Aidan's bus was late... ten minutes late turned to twenty, twenty to thirty {I started pacing} and thirty to forty minutes late.

I have to say, in a crisis, I am generally a pretty even-keel parent. My mother was a nurse, so she taught me to stay calm at the sight of blood {I was have three younger brothers, so you can imagine... this also came in handy when Aidan broke his nose last year.} So, you would think, I was calm. But, creative mind that I am, ridiculous situations started to creep into my head: Aidan took the wrong bus home, random car accident, freak terrorist scheme... I knew all those were far unlikely to the reality that Aidan was crying at the school office, wondering if his mom forgot him. So, at 40 minutes late, I drove to the school, risking I might miss the bus, only to discover Aidan wasn't there. I was told said they "thought they saw him get on the bus," and I raced back home to wait further. At that point {the bus was now 50 minutes late} I called Robert and was a blubbering mess on the phone. Robert talked some calm into me, Mia was wide-eyed in the background, and we all agreed Aidan was on his way and would be home soon.

Finally, an hour later for a half mile drive, Aidan got off the bus. To my surprise, Aidan wasn't upset at all, but was all smiles, telling me about his first day, and how he rode the bus over the white bridge and back. The driver explained to me that his route included several other stops on the other side of town before bringing Aidan home. {This was unlike last year, when Aidan was home just 3 minutes after dismissal.} I held it together enough for the bus driver to leave and Aidan to make it in the house, vividly telling me about his day while he grabbed a snack. Once he was settled, I went into our bathroom and sobbed into a towel {so not to scare the kids} and let the adrenaline wear off. Even though I knew that the delay was probably just first day adjustments, it made me realize how much I love Aidan and how worried I was to have him unaccounted for, even if it was for only an hour. I don't know if you have ever had a scare like that with one of your children, but it's not easy to recover from.

So, to all of you with little kiddos back to school, I hope your week is back into the swing of a welcome routine--and certainly less eventful than mine!
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fall Preview

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Coming in September.... just a few short weeks away

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Getting Some Shut Eye

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kitty eye mask by Naomi Lingerie

A while ago I wrote a post about my Mia and the Phantom Kitty. You can read the whole post here, but the gist is that my three year old daughter refuses to sleep in her bed any more because she is afraid of a white cat. {Verdict is still out whether said cat does or does not exist.} Occasionally, people would post question on our facebook page about how this is going. Well, my daughter's fears at bedtime have gone on for months now. {Months--I tell you--months!}

Last week, Robert and I were at a book store with the kids and saw an adorable plush kitty. Mia thought it was soft and sweet--and, yes, it was white like her phantom kitty which she is so afraid of. {Except "phantom kitty" has red eyes.} Anyway, we tucked her in her bed that night with the plush cat beside her and told her, "See, kitties are soft and sweet, not scary." She squeezed her stuffed animal tight and slept like a baby. Robert and I were giving each other high fives and pats on the back for our brilliant parenting and thought--case closed, problem solved. Well, as it turns out... not so much.

Every day this week, Mia is back to her same fears again. We were firm about her sleeping in her own bed, so she falls asleep there--only to wake up crying in the middle of the night. Every night this week, I have been up between 3 and 4 a.m. with Mia. She crawls into bed with us, and seems to be the only one who gets a good night sleep after that. Being a mother and owning a business takes a certain blend of efficiency and lack of sleep to begin with... factor in the sleep schedule of newborn, and I am one tired girl. {Yes, that's my excuse for not getting DIY Wednesday up.}

Robert and I have not redone Mia's room like we planned, so maybe that will work... or at least help. We talk to her every night about staying in her own bed, but to no avail. I remember when Robert and I went through an open house, we saw a master bedroom with a toddler mattress on the floor--which I thought was odd. Now, here I am, ready to do the same... Okay, not really, but we are getting close to that point of desperation. Once school starts, maybe my girl will be too tired for her late night fear fests. In the interim, to those of you with scared-y cats at home {pun intended} I feel your pain!
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another Sneak Peek

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Here is another peek at our first Joyfolie shoes for women. I will have a proper post with more details soon!

photography by Meg Borders
Wednesday, August 10, 2011

DIY Wednesday - Crystal Necklace

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Today is the second DIY Wednesday. You can view last weeks by clicking here. Sorry today's post was so late. I finished the photos this afternoon, but blogger's server was down. Anyway, this is a pretty easy and inexpensive tutorial. I'll show you how to make the crystal necklace above, using an old, repurposed bracelet. In truth, the one I used was new, but I liked the colors and the price was right {$3.} Actually, you could probably look at the photo and figure out how to do it, but I will walk you through it step by step anyway and give you some info on materials.

Here is what you need and note the links below for assistance :)
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Supplies:
beaded bracelet
soft cotton twill tape or grosgrain ribbon
toggle clasp
ribbon
fishing line or stretch magic cord

Tools:
scissors
needle
pinking sheers
fabric glue or glue gun

To start, cut beads off the bracelet. Tie one of the toggle clasps to a piece of fishing line or stretch cord and restring the appropriate amount of beads to make a necklace. Tie off the other end with the other toggle clasp. I had 4 extra beads; I suppose I could make earrings, but we already discussed that subject ;)
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Cut two pieces of 14" twill tape and tie to each toggle clasp. Dot the knot with a bit of fabric glue before you tie it to keep it secure. Trim to desired length.
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Next, cut 6" of ribbon. Tie in a knot {again, with a dot of glue to keep it secure} and trim the ribbon with pinking sheers.

All done! Wasn't that easy? This cost me $3 for the bracelet, $.75 for the toggle clasps, and I already had the other items. So, you could probably make this for under $5. Isn't it cute! Can be worn by either mother or daughter.
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Here is Mia in her new necklace. If you make one, post the picture to our facebook page. Happy Wednesday!
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Joyfolie heels... coming soon!

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Emerald City shoes and harvest brooch... available this fall.

photography by Meg Borders

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On Kids and Cooking

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Doesn't this cake look amazing! And it's super simple and a no-bake to boot. It's from Cafe Chocolada and you can read the entire recipe here. I think this cake would be especially good made with a little espresso powder, but then again, what isn't better with coffee?! {in my opinion} I would probably bastardize the recipe even further and make it with cool whip because that's how we roll here. Sad! Where have all my gourmet days gone?!

I know I have mentioned this before, but I worked for a brief time as a personal chef. I started making desserts and a whole lot of tirimisu for an Italian restaurant, and before I knew it I was teaching cooking classes, catering, and working as a personal chef. It was my way of carving out an income I loved in a failing Michigan economy right after 9/11. Now that we have two kiddos and a business, I just don't cook like I used to. For a long time I thought it was because the business was keeping me too busy. However, a week or so ago I made shrimp risotto and I realized it wasn't that at all. My kids are picky eaters--especially Aidan. I was preparing the shrimp and the kids were crying {Aidan literally had tears in his eyes} about not wanting to eat "those pink things." It steals all the fun away... Why make, say, shrimp risotto with spring peas and fresh herbs, when the smell will be tainted with ode of hot dog wafting from the microwave because the kids hate fish? I wish I could tell you I was really good about forcing our kids to try new foods, but I'm just not. By dinner time, Robert and I are both tired and wanting to connect with each other, so we just give in so we can enjoy our own meal and a little conversation. Oh, and we eat out--a lot.

So, I am curious, how is it at your house? Do you love to cook/bake and has that changed at all now that you have children? Any advice for those of us with picky eaters?

I have to add, my kids do love anything from the chocolate food group, and this cake would be a big winner at our house.
Friday, August 5, 2011

Pinot's Palette

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Last night my brother, SIL, Robert and I went to Pinot's Palette. It's a fun concept: they provide paint, canvas, and instructions to create your own acrylic painting step by step. The name is Pinot's because you can bring your own wine {they supply the glasses} and snacks. With the music playing and wine flowing, as you can imagine, we all felt we were true artists by the end of the night *wink.* Afterward, we went to a cafe and sat outside in the balmy Houston night and had a very late al fresco dinner. It was really fun, great company, and a nice reminder to try new things.

What about you? Did you do any interesting or fun activities this summer? Sometimes it's hard to find a night out that isn't dinner at a familiar restaurant followed by a movie. Maybe we can provide each other with some creative date nights... Today is Friday, after all! :)
Thursday, August 4, 2011

Back To School Photo Contest

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As I have grown Joyfolie, I have similarly developed a love for photography. It's a beautiful way to capture life. The only problem is that not only am I less and less available to indulge in photography as a hobby, my Mia was become quite the unwilling model. I had her decked out in a pair of Charlotte shoes with some cute tights I made and a plaid dress with a corduroy jacket. Not only is it quite hot for this ensemble {we are in Houston}, my girl just flat our refuses to comply for photos. She will flop around like a fish or stick her tongue out or ask to get her ears pierced {again.} So, I thought I would open up the opportunity to everyone with a Back to School Photo Contest!

Here are the rules:
Take a photo of your daughter {or some other willing little model} in any of our three in-stock shoes in a "back to school" look. As soon as you take the photo, post it to the Joyfolie Facebook Page. The contest ends August 19, two weeks from now. Our staff will select their favorite, and the winner will get a free pair of our new fall boots in the size of their choice! Good luck!

Please note that in order to win the contest, the photo must be of either the Charlotte in Tweed, Sabre, or Charlotte in Cream shoes. Also, we are looking for a specific "back to school" that shows our shoes transitioning into fall {think paired with tights, corduroy, etc.} so keep that in mind! Contest submissions will send August 19 at 11:59 pm.

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Additionally, I had a few requests about what the inside of the DIY chandelier/pendant looked like. So here are additional photos. Hope it helps!
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pierced Ears

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Heart Earrings by The Angry Weather

I was a little surprised that Mia has started to ask me about getting her ears pierced. I am especially surprised because, while my ears are pierced, I do not wear earrings much because they irritate my ears. Last week, Mia found some earrings that were hanging on my idea board in the studio and started asking... and asking and asking. She is three. So I am curious, do any of you have little girls with pierced ears? At what age would you let your daughter start to wear earrings?

DIY Wednesday - Torn Fabric Chandelier

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Today is the first of a new DIY series. I really love blogging and being creative, so I'm excited to start DIY Wednesday... even if it will make subsequent weeks a bit busier.

Today's DIY is a torn fabric chandelier. This piece looks really cool in person, and I wish I was better at wide angle/lifestyle photography, so you could get a better feel for it. This is a very simple project and doesn't require any special skills nor equipment. Mia even helped for most of it, as you will see in the photos.

So, here is what you need:
-old lamp shade {I bought mine at Goodwill for $1.99}
-1-1.5 yards muslin or fabric of choice
-twine, floral wire or fishing line
-light kit {optional}

tools:
glue gun
scissors

So, here is what I started with. I used muslin because I had a bolt in the studio. However, a stone dupioni silk would be gorgeous or even a pattern would be fun.
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First step, tear all the material off of the lap shade, like this:
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Next, tear your fabric into 1" strips. Make sure the length is enough to tie to the top of the shade with about 6 inches over hang. Then, start tying away. Also, if you prefer a modern, cleaner look to a shabby chic one, you could cut rather than tear the strips and glue rather than tie them to the top.
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Here we are with all the strips tied around the shade:
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Mia was my helper through this whole project.
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Next you want to fire up that glue gun. Flip the shade so it's upside down and start gluing the strips flat against the shade. When you are all completed it will look like this:
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Sorry, I didn't take a photo of this final step, but what you want to do is trim the overhang of fabric strips right to the edge of the shade, so it's nice and even. Also trim any loose threads because they could pose as a fire hazard if you use a light kit. Finally, take your left over strips {which should be about 3-5 inches in length} and glue them to the inside of the shade {the same part where the knots are. Trim the strips to staggered lengths. Hang the shade with either twine or fishing line, and {if desired} finish with a light kit. It would look cute with or without a light and would be charming in pink in a little girls room, maybe with a few little felt flowers attached to it.

And, here you are. Fun and very inexpensive chandelier, which can be made in about an hour!
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