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Category: For the Home

Upcycling – Turn any Object into a Lamp with a Simple Lamp Kit

Are you having a hard time finding a lamp that matches your decor? Got an odd piece that you love, but aren’t sure what to do with it and don’t want to get rid of it? How about making it into a lamp? You don’t have to be an electrician or even be handy to build a unique lamp. You can make a lamp out of pretty much anything you would like and they make great conversation pieces!

Things you need:
Lamp Kit
Any object you want to make into a lamp
Lamp Shade
Safety Goggles (optional)

Things to do:
1. First, when you are choosing an object to become your lamp, try to look for an object that already has an opening at the bottom for the wires. If you already have an object in mind and it doesn’t have an open bottom, no worries, you can just drill a small hole using a drill and appropriate drill bit (big enough to create a hole for your wires). If you do not want to drill a hole for the wire or cannot drill it, you can still make the lamp and have the wire run on the outside of it from the socket to the plug. You will also need to choose a matching base (if it doesn’t already have one) so that your object can sit flat with the cord coming out of the bottom. If you are drilling your own hole into the object you can simply just drill a hole on the “backside” of your object instead of the bottom so that you don’t have to worry about finding a base. Be sure when choosing your object that it is strong enough to hold a lampshade and can hold the lamp rod straight. It would also help if you chose your lamp object so that it will fit your lamp rod. No fear again, if you cant find the exact sized object as your lamp rod, you will just have to saw it down to size before you are able to use it.

2. Push your lamp rod into your lamp object and through the bottom of the base so that the rod sticks out a bit. Slide on a washer and screw on a nut so that your rod is held into place. Next, thread your cord through the bottom of the lamp base and up through the top of the lamp. To make threading the cord a bit easier, tape the two wire ends together with a small piece of tape so that the cord will slide easier through the rod. Make sure the end of the plug is coming out of the bottom and that it is not rubbing against the lamp rods sharp edge. Screw on your locknut on top of the lamp rod and make sure the cord is sticking out at least 3″ from the top.

3. You may also need a base for the top of your object depending on if the harp bottom doesn’t fit on the top. If you need need a top base, attach this now and slide the harp bottom onto the lamp rod with the open end facing up. Do the same thing for the socket cap. Make sure that both the harp bottom and socket cap are securely tightened.

4. Pull the two ends of the cord about 2″ apart from each other. Tie the two ends of the cord in a underwriters knot*, this will prevent the wire from slipping back through the lamp rod. Next, you will want to determine which wire is the hot wire and which is the neutral wire. The neutral wire is generally ribbed on the insulation. Securely wrap the neutral wire around the silver screw on the bulb socket and the hot wire around the gold screw. Tighten the screws and make sure that the wires are tightly attached underneath them.

5. Place the socket shell over the bulb socket and tuck the cords inside so that they wont be visible. Squeeze the ends of the harp and slide them into the slots of the harp bottom. Once the harp is on you can screw in a light bulb and add your lampshade. Voila! You now have a one of a kind lamp!

Project Notes:
*An underwriters knot is pretty simple. Just make a “y” shape, then curl the wires down and back towards each other. Then the pull the ends through the created loops.
Keep in mind that wiring electrical circuits carries some risk. If the wiring is not correct, you can be shocked, electrocuted or the device can cause a fire. If you are not too sure what you’re doing or are a bit apprehensive about doing this project then just simply get the object prepared all the way up to the wiring part and have someone else that is more skilled in electrical wiring actually wire up the lamp.

Before you do ANY wiring make sure that you the lamp is unplugged and that you have checked your wiring a couple of times.

It is also important to ensure light bulb is not too close to any surface including any wiring and decorative aspects of the lamp. Always leave spacing from the light bulb and other materials which can cause burning and damaging.

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Fun with Mod Podge: Pretty Decorated Clothespins for all Occassions!

Seriously who needs decorative clothespins right?! Well… you don’t reeaalllyy need them but you may just start going crazy for clothespins after this DIY! These decorative clothespins are super quick, easy to make and you can customize them any way you like. You can use these decorative clothespins for just about anything! You can use the clothespins to hang Christmas cards along your mantle during the holiday season, or hang your favorite photos along a twine roping. These lovely little clothespins can even be used at baby showers, bridal showers, and weddings! Photo credits (pic above): Paper Butterflies

Things you need:
Scrapbook Paper (This could be scraps of paper – just be sure that it is large enough for two sides of a clothespin)
Mod Podge
Small Sponge Brush
Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
Ribbon (Optional – color and style of your choice of course) or Twine
Magnet Sheet (Optional)
Sandpaper (Optional)
Ink Pad (Optional)
ButtonsRusty Tin CutoutsFlower HeadsFoam CutoutsRhinestones for fun embellishments


Photo credits: Blue Cricket Design

Things to do:
1. This is the best part… choose your paper! This project is all about personal style and preference. You can customize your clothespins any way you wish by simply picking out different patterns of paper. Scrapbooking paper works very well for this clothespin project, especially for those sheets you have been holding back on using because you haven’t found that perfect project yet. You can even use those leftover scraps of paper that you have been saving because you hate to see all that beautiful paper go to waste. Of course this depends on the size of your scraps and the size of your clothespins. You just need enough to cover both sides of your clothespins.
2. Next, lay your choice of paper down on a flat surface and place the clothespins on it. Carefully trace your clothespins with a pencil and do this several times. You will need two strips of paper per clothespin. So trace away! Once you have enough strips traced, cut them out. Do this carefully so all the sides are nice and even and that you don’t have jagged edges.
3. Pour a little of your mod podge onto a paper plate or something like that for easy dipping access. While holding your clothespin by the metal spring, paint on a light coat of your mod podge on each side of the clothespin. Place your strips on paper on each side of the clothespin carefully. Set aside and let dry. Repeat this process until you have covered all the clothespins you wish for your project.
4. If there are edges of the paper that seem to hang off the clothespins, no worries! Once your clothespins have completely dried, lightly sand the edges of your clothespins to sand away that unwanted paper. Sand the edges more to round the corners to add more of a distressed look to your clothespins. You could also apply a small amount of ink around the sanded edges for more of a vintage worn look. Allow to dry.
5. Once your clothespins have been sanded, add another light layers of mod podge over the paper. Set the clothespins on their sides and let dry. Repeat this process until all clothespins have been covered with a second coat of mod podge.
6. Now its time to get wild! You can leave the clothespins as they are with just the decorated paper. You could add a small ribbon to match the paper for a little extra umpf in your clothespins. You could also try mixing and matching buttons of any size or shape. Then gluing them to your clothespins for some fun flare. You could also use rhinestones, small flowers, foam cutouts or even rusty tin cutouts!


Photo credits: Your Home Based Mom

Project Tips:
You should be careful on the pattern you choose for your clothespins. Remember a large pattern may not look as good if you are using it on a small surface like your clothespins.

These lovely little clothespins would make a perfect gift for that person in your life with tons of photos laying around. You can display your photos onto a “clothesline” using a piece of ribbon and clipping the photos onto the line with your clothespins!

You could also add a small magnet strip onto the back of your clothespins and use them for displaying precious art work, shopping list, grade cards, and photos onto the fridge. Simply add the small magnet strip to the back using a dab of hot glue. Be sure that you get those nasty little hot glue tails for a more professional and nicer look.

You can use the same clothesline concept for displaying cards along your mantle during those holiday seasons. Using different themed paper, you could create a clothesline for just about anything. You could choose a color theme for a baby shower and hang baby related items such as little onesies with your clothespins. Once again, change the paper to create a completely different clothesline for Thanksgiving, creating a “Thankful Line”. You could hang pictures, words, or items that you are thankful. This would be a wonderful family project!

Decorative clothespins can be used for weddings as well. As with the baby shower, you can use the same idea for a bridal shower, hanging bridal shower items such as recipes with the clothespins. Decorative clothespins can also be used for a unique placecard holder, adding a special handmade touch. The clothespin placecard holders can be set among the table settings or they can hang from a line. You could also try a new spin on the guestbook idea by creating a wishing line! Set a stack of decorative paper or cards on a table. Have your guest write a special message and sign their name. They can then hang their wish on the line using the clothespins! This would also be a perfect idea for baby and bridal showers.

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DIY Printed Slipcovers

If you have kids in your house, or pets, or heck, husbands, you know how hard it can be to keep the furniture clean, especially light colored furniture. Slipcovers can make life easier in this regard but at the same time you are often confined to what is available, and unless you are willing to pay for something custom, what is available is often very plain. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Turning simple, inexpensive and plain slipcovers into something unique and outstanding is really just a freezer paper stencil away. For my slipcover I was inspired by a print from my favorite purse, but you can do anything that strikes your fancy. You could even create different prints for different seasons!

Things you need:
Slipcover in a natural fiber fabric (here I used a plain white twill cover)
Fabric paint
Foam paintbrushes
Freezer paper
Sewing pins

Things to do:
1. Decide where on the slipcover you want your pattern and how big the pattern should be. Mark this out with pins while the cover in on the piece of furniture.
2. Trace or draw your images onto freezer paper and very carefully cut the image out. Anything that is cut out will show up on the fabric so be careful!
3. Remove the slipcover from the chair and spread over your ironing board. (Don’t fold or layer your fabric here, make sure only the layer you are printing in on the surface of the board)
4. Using the pins as a guideline up the freezer paper templates onto the fabric and press carefully with a dry, well heated iron. Get the edges as smooth as possible so that paint doesn’t seep under the edges. * If you are doing a large area you’ll need to work in sections, ironing on, painting, allowing to dry with each section before moving to the nest. Also, if the fabric is thin, slip scrap paper under each of the template areas before you paint.
5. Working from the edges in, apply paint to the open areas of the template. Give the paint a moment to soak in and check to see if a second coat is needed.
6. Peel the template off and discard. Allow the paint to dry and heat set according to the directions on the label.

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Delicate Baskets Made from Lace Doilies

These little baskets are easy to make with lace doilies and can be used year-round. You can use these delicate lace doily baskets to hold pretty little soaps, decorative rocks, or even use them to hold flower petals. You can use these for the Easter holiday season to hold decorated eggs and small goodies for the little ones. These baskets would also make great little favors for an added shabby chic or vintage feel. They would also make great gifts for that special someone.
Things you need:
Lace Doily (of your choice; cotton doily not paper)
Stiffy Fabric Stiffener
Dish (of your choice to shape your basket)

Things to do:
1. Find a dish that you would like use to form the shape of your basket. Flip the dish upside and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Pour a small amount of the Stiffy Fabric Stiffener into another bowl and soak your lace doily until it is completely saturated. Be sure that it is completely saturated and wring out any excess stiffener.
3. Place your saturated lace doily over the plastic wrapped bowl (you can also place the doily along the inside of the bowl if you so desire). Smooth the doily across the bottom of the bowl and along its sides. You may need to shape the sides of the lace doily to be sure that it form curves. Try overlapping the excess doily over itself if your doily does not form perfectly around the dish.
4. Let the lace dry completely, then slowly peel the plastic wrap and doily from the dish. Then you can finally the plastic wrap away from the doily basket.

Project Ideas:
You can try interlacing different types of ribbons through the spaces of lace to add some color and uniqueness to your lace baskets. Use different colors and material of ribbon to dress up your baskets for different events.

These delicate baskets would make great gifts for Mothers day with a few little soaps or candles, teas and other special little treats.

You can also use this as an one of a kind flower girl basket – fresh and stylish for any wedding! Just simply add ribbon from the colors of the wedding and create a handle. To add to the classic vintage feel of the basket, just simply add a string of pearls for the handle.
Project Tips:
These basket are very delicate and should only be made to hold very few items or very light weight items, especially if they are being carried around. Heavy things may be ok if the basket are used to sit around.

Photo Credits:
Top Images: Amy Perl
Final Images: Country Living (Left) and Brass Paper Clip (right)

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Handmade Soap – Fish in a Bag Soap

fish_a_bag_soapMaking handmade soap is a hobby for many people and is often argued to be healthier than industrial soaps. Making your own handmade soaps can leave your skin soft and healthier since the glycerin is kept in its natural form. Handmade soaps can be fun to make and the final product can also be fun for all ages. Remember the old games at the carnivals and county fairs where you could win a pet fish in a bag?! Well we are here to create those memories for you to make and share with your loved ones. These handmade soap fish in a bag make a perfect stocking stuffer, favor, or just to make for fun. This handmade soap will be sure to make bath time fun for the little ones… the more you shower and bathe the closer you get to your pet fish!

Things you need:
1lb Clear Glycerin Soap (this will make about 2 bags)
Plastic Fish
Poly Bag
Soap Expressions Fragrance Oil (optional- this may actually discolor your soap)
Spray Bottle of Rubbing Alcohol
Microwaveable Safe Container ( A measuring cup would be best because it has a pour spout and this will come in handy later)
Ribbon or Twist Ties

Things to do:
1. To begin making your handmade soap, cut your glycerin soap in half. Take one half of the soap and cut it into small chunks then place in your microwaveable container.
2. Microwave the clear soap in increments of 30 seconds until the soap is completely melted. Be sure to check for any remaining chunks of soap, if there are any stir and place in the microwave for another few seconds. If you wish to scent your soap, do so after the soap is all melted. Remember, we do not recommend this, as it may discolor your soap. But feel free to play around and experiment.
3. Here comes the tricky part… you should start pouring your liquid soap mixture into your poly bag, but be sure to not let the soap run down the sides of the poly bag. If the soap gets on the sides of the poly bag it will dry and harden that way, making it look less realistic. This is where a funnel can come in handy! Just simply place the funnel over the poly bag and carry pour your soap mixture into the bag. Try to fill your bag 1/4 of the way full with the soap mixture.
4. Take your spray bottle of rubbing alcohol and spray lightly into your poly bag of soap. This will remove any air bubbles in the soap. You can also skip this step if you prefer bubbles for your fishy in a bag. Place your bag between two objects so that your bag will stay upright while it cools down. To quicken the cooling process, you could try dipping your poly bag into a bowl full of ice water.
5. Once your soap has cooled down and has become more of a solid form. Gently place and position your plastic fish into the bag.
6. By this time the rest of your soap mixture in your microwaveable container has probably cooled and become a solid. So you will have to reheat in the microwave until it is a liquid again. Then pour the soap mixture into the poly bag another 1/4 of the way, making sure you cover your little fishy all the way. Be sure whatever you are using to hold the bag upright and steady is not pressing dents into your bag as it cools. Let the soap cool and become a solid.
7. Your soap is now ready to be closed up with a ribbon or twist tie of your choice. You could also think about making your own personalized tags to write a special message for your fish winner!

Project Notes:
The little ones are now ready to play with their fish in a bag. How do you use the soap? Just simply cut a small slit and tear the poly bag off of the soap. Now the little hands will be eager to play with the soap – asking to take a bath until they have reached their beloved pet fish!

This project does contain small a small toy and is a potential choking hazard. It is recommended that children under the age of 4 years old or any child that tends to put objects in their mouth should not use the soap.

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Handmade Soap – Rose Petal Soaps

These lovely handmade soaps are fast and easy to create, and make a beautiful addition to your vanity. Each handmade soap is designed to be single use, so they are perfect for the guest bath. Handmade soaps are the perfect “thank you” for that special person. You can also gather about 20 handmade soap petals and package them in an organza bag for a lovely small gift or wedding favor. These handmade soaps would also be perfect for a small Valentine’s Day gift!

Things you need: (Makes approx. 50 handmade soap petals)
1 bag – Faux Rose Petals
4 ounces – Soap Expressions Clear Glycerin Soap Base
Soap Expressions Scent (of your choice)
Microwave Safe Bowl
Rack for Drying

Things to do:
1. Cut the soap into 1″ chunks, and place in a microwave safe bowl
2. Microwave soap for 30 seconds, and stir. Continue heating until the soap is entirely liquid.
3. Stir in fragrance (about 1 tsp, adjust to your preferred scent level).
4. Dip the rose petals into the soap one at a time to coat.
5. Place on the rack to dry.
6. Once dry, you can put the petals in a decorative bowl, or package them in cello or organza bags to give as gifts or favors.
7. To use, wash your hands with a petal. Discard after using.

Project Notes:
You can vary the scent and color of your finished handmade soap petals by using different base petals and scents. just be sure any product you use is skin safe.

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Unique Discoveries and Tips at Scott’s Antique Market with Eddie Ross

atlanta_expo_eddie_ross4Two of our buyers, Shari and Paul, were in Atlanta, Georgia looking for new products for our customers. While they were in Atlanta they were lucky enough to have some time to stop by Scott’s Antique Market, where they were able to spend time, learning shopping tips from Eddie Ross! You may remember Eddie from the HGTV blog post where he showed us how to make ornaments using old shirts. atlanta_expo_eddie_rossRoss, led the group on an amazing tour, through the antique market, looking at previously selected booths. The first stop was furniture, both upholstered and wood could be seen. During this time Ross showed how one could take a piece, restore it and paint it, and by doing so create a unique accent that no one else will have.
As they progressed from booth to booth, many items were passed, each with their own unique suggestions by Ross. For example, why not take old vintage linens, napkins…etc and mix them with new items. Doing this you can create a unique look by accenting the old with the new. Even better, what if you have a vintage rug that has seen better days? It was suggested one could use the undamaged parts to make pillows or even frame it for a unique piece of art.
Another favorite booth was Haute, who specializes in trim and fabric. These too can be turned into pillows or used for covering small objects. atlanta_expo_eddie_ross2However, by far the most fascinating booth was the “silver booth”, which included Tiffany Flatware and other vintage items. One piece in particular was astounding, a Tiffany Dessert Set, placed within the 1800’s, was priced at $49,000! And another was priced at $100,000! The booth could only be described by one word, decadent!
After the day was winded down, and after listening to many of Ross’s information tips, it is safe to say we are addicted to both Eddie Ross and Scott’s Antique Market. We can’t wait to do it all again, and hope you enjoy mixing and matching the old with the new to create a style you can call your own!atlanta_expo_eddie_ross3

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DIY Cat Toys Using Basic Craft Supplies

Cats love to play with little toys that shake, rattle, or smell great. Creating toys that mimic the shape of movement of a cat’s favorite prey is a great way to engage their interest, and help them get some exercise as well. You can make a sweet treat for your favorite feline using these ideas.

cat_toysGrow Catnip: One of the easiest ways to please your cat is to grow your own catnip! Select a small plastic container to start your seeds, plant, and watch your catnip grow in just a few weeks! Catnip looks just like grass, and like grass, it will continue to grow if you trim it regularly. Once your catnip is established, you can transfer it to another pot, like any of our planters and tubs that suit your particular decor. Your cat will adore the scent of fresh catnip, and you can trim and dry the blades to use in your own handmade cat toys. Drying increases the potency. so your cat will be sure to love her new toys if they are stuffed with freshly dried catnip!

cat_toys3Fabric Mice: Use scrap fabric to quickly whip up a batch of mice for your favorite feline. Cut two teardrop shaped pieces for each mouse, and sew together, leaving an area for turning. Stuff with catnip and a jingle bell if desired. You can use white fabric or felt for the ears, and even add a cute yarn tail (you can also try adding a jingle bell at the end of the tail if you wanted instead of stuffing it on the inside) as pictured. These mice are small enough for kitty to carry around. so don’t be surprised if you find them all over the house!

cat_toys5Knitted and Felted Mice: Don’t want to sew? Make your own knitted mice from wool yarn, and then toss them into the washer to felt. With a small amount of scrap yarn and catnip you can create your feline friend a catnip mouse. Stuff them with catnip when dry, and present to your cat. These are fast and easy to make (search for free patterns online such as Mollie’s Blog of Stuff), and very durable! Photo copyright Mollie’s Blog of Stuff. 2008

cat_toys6Dangly Toys: Cat adore little items like feathers, pom-poms and bells, but these items can pose a hazard to your pet if they are too small. Instead of simply handing a few feathers over to your cat, assemble your own dangler toy with a few simple craft supplies. Paint a 3/16″ x 12″ long unfinished wood dowel, and use flexible wire (remember the higher the gauge the thinner and more flexible the wire will be) or ribbon to attach pom poms, feathers, and other items such as jingle bells. Another idea for the “string” part of the dangler would be to use a small section of a marabou feather boa of your choice. Consider using yarn pom poms to add heft, and a few long marabou feathers to attract your cat’s interest.

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DIY Bath Bombs Using Acrylic Fillable Ornaments

Why pay up to $5.00 each for bath bombs when you can make your own? Bath bombs are fast and easy to make and you can customize the ingredients and scent to get a perfect bath every time!
Things you need: ( Makes approx. 4 round or 6 heart shaped bombs)

Dry Ingredients:
4 cups baking soda
2 cups citric acid *
2 cups Epsom salt

Wet ingredients:
2 tbsp olive or other oil
Witch Hazel
Soap Expressions fragrance oil of your choice
Food coloring (optional)

70mm Clear Plastic Acrylic Fillable Ball Ornament** or 80mm Clear Plastic Acrylic Fillable Heart Ornament**
Large mixing bowl
Empty spray bottle

Things to do:
1. Pour the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly.
2. Add fragrance oil, a few drops at a time, until you are happy with the amount of scent. For a batch this size, a teaspoon or so of skin safe fragrance oil like Soap Expressions is a good choice. You can also use essential oils, as long as they are skin safe.
3. If you are using food coloring, add a few drops to the mixture and blend it in with the spoon. You can use your hands if you prefer.
4. Pour the witch hazel into the spray bottle, and spray it onto the bath bomb mixture. Spray a very small amount at a time. if the mixture starts foaming, you are using too much. Use the spoon or your hands to blend in the with hazel, a few spritzes at a time.
5. Pick up a handful of the mixture and squeeze it in your hands. It is ready to mold when it holds together like a clump of damp sand or snow.
6. Quickly pack some of the mixture into both halves of an acrylic fillable ball ornament or acrylic fillable . Press it in firmly, and squeeze the halves together with firm pressure.
7. Carefully remove the piece from the mold, and place it on a wire rack to dry.
8. Your bath bombs should harden up and dry in about a day or so, depending on how much witch hazel you used, and how humid your home is.
9. To use, simply drop one finished bomb in a tub of water. Relax and enjoy!

bath_bombs2Project Notes:
Bath bombs make a great gift. you can wrap a single large bomb in colorful tissue, or place a few in an organza gift bag for a thoughtful, handmade present. You can vary the scent and color of your finished bath bombs by using different fragrance oils and colors. just be sure any product you use is skin safe.

*Citric acid can be found in the canning section of some grocery stores, in health food stores, or online. If you can’t find citric acid, you can replace it with a mixture of half cornstarch and half baking soda. your bombs will still work, they just won’t fizz when you drop them in the tub!

**Acrylic fillable ornaments do not usually create perfect balls. Acrylic fillable ornaments usually leave the imprint of the seams once the bomb is finished. If you are striving for the perfect and flawless bath bomb then maybe using candy molds.


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