Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homemade Gifts

I had a difficult time coming up with gift ideas this year. A lot of relatives got gift certificates. But for some, I decided to go the homemade route, and I ended up having a lot of fun making these gifts. I wish I'd been inspired earlier so I could make more gifts like this for more of you. But since I didn't, if you like something you see, let me know and I'll make you something for your birthday.

For Kent's brother's family, I decided to dress up a plain glass vase. I like the shape of the vase, which is tall enough to hold some long-stemmed poppies or even branches. I wanted to add color that would make it interesting on its own and add some green to the foliage. I think the bottom half of flower arrangements are too often too boring. The decorations are vinyl that I cut on my Cricut and then reshaped a little by hand with scissors. I suppose this vase could work as an interesting fish bowl, too. Here are the before and afters.

My masterpiece was a tall table lamp I refurbished for my sister. I got the idea from a friend who covered her lamp shade in a cute fabric. I was very excited for you to see the "before" pictures because I found this lamp at DI. But some dead batteries in my camera zapped the files before I could upload them, and they are gone. You'll have to imagine the lamp stand in an outdated shiny bronze with a plain, beige shade. The greatest part was the dusty old Saltine cracker that had fallen into the "cage" part of the stand!

First, I dismantled the stand and spray painted all the pieces gray followed by a spray-on matte finish. I was surprised how easily the paint scratched, so the protective finish was a must. (Tip: the finish is much cheaper in a paint department than in a craft store.)

For the shade, I found some fabulous black fabric at Hobby Lobby, for which I used a coupon and got a great price! I bought 1 1/2 yards, which was way too much. Half a yard would have sufficed because the fabric is stretchy. With woven fabric, you would probably need a yard. I decided to only use ten inches of the black fabric so I would have enough left over to make an evening gown. (I'll post that creation when it comes to life.) To cover the rest of the shade, I selected a gray fabric that matched the stand. (42 cents at Wal-Mart for a ten-inch-wide strip. Woo hoo!)

I tried making a pattern on butcher paper to cut the long curved piece of gray fabric, but the pattern didn't fit. So instead, I drew a pencil line all the way around the lamp shade, five inches from the top rim. Then I ran a bead of hot glue (four-inch lengths at a time), glued down the middle edge of fabric and worked my way around. That method worked quite well, and all I had to do was trim the excess fabric below the glue line and one inch above the rim.

Then I ran glue inside the top rim and tacked down the top of the fabric.

At the seam, I folded the fabric over and held it down with double sided tape. (I didn't want a lumpy line of glue under the seam.)

As you can see, the seam didn't stretch quite right, but I was able to mostly hide that later.

Next I took my ten-inch wide strip of black stretchy fabric and tacked it with hot glue under the gray fabric and to the bottom edge of the shade. The stretch allowed me some wiggle room for imperfections. And the ruffles on the fabric camouflaged where I trimmed it, so I didn't need a neatly folded seam.

Lastly, I wrapped the shade with a silver embellishment that I found with the spools of ribbon at Hobby Lobby. It was dumb luck that I didn't pick something sheer, which would have looked really messy with hot glue. The silver ribbon's texture hid the glue lines and cut edges of fabric, and it was wide enough to cover the imperfect seam in the gray fabric.

I was so pleased with the finished product, and happily surprised at the shimmery effect of the light through the black fabric. My sister loved it! And I loved making it.


Alfie said...

That lamp really turned out awesome

Lindsey said...

Wow! That really turned out darling! I love the two different fabrics, and that ribbon is perfect! I saw that black fabric at the store and kept looking at it because I thought it was so cute but couldn't think what to do with it! Isn't it interesting what some paint can do to a scary lamp- that base is so great painted! Super cute, and it looks so professional!

mindy said...

well done! Both projects are great, but I am particularly impressed with your lamp. So creative!

Min said...

Well, gee, I'd be happy for you to make something awesome for me for my birthday. (clearing throat) I liked the vase. (clearing throat).

Great homemade gifts. What a crafter!

cynthia said...

all too cute! love that vase with the vinyl. i have a stupid cricut and would love to learn how to do that. i am not crafty (sewing isn't crafty) so i'd need your help.

Mary said...

Min--Consider your order placed. I hope it won't be a belated birthday gift this year!

Cynthia--I hated the Cricut the first three times I tried to use it. Once I figured out how to manipulate the settings, I've had fun using it for paper, vinyl, and etching projects. I'd be happy to help you get past the "stupid cricut" phase any time!