Thursday, May 1, 2014

Light up your life outdoors

I have dreams of a future foray to a café in Paris. Until then perhaps a bistro table on the patio decorated with white lights will have to do.

Be it a string of clear bulbs or an elaborate Chinese lantern outdoors, lights are a great way to add a splash of whimsy and romance to any area.  Plus, outdoor lights are available in a variety of gardening, nautical and bistro themes. Paper lanterns are also nice for special areas (near an outlet). You might also look for battery-operated lanterns. For those looking for something a little more permanent and unique, here are the do-it-yourself instructions for a Parisian-inspired lampshade, courtesy of the design experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.

City of Lights Lampshade
What's nice about this DIY project is that it incorporates strips of fabric tied and knotted around a wire lampshade frame so you can use scraps that you might have around the house.

What you need
Old lampshade (for its frame), fabrics in a variety of colors and textures (approximately 2 or 3 yards), rotary cutter, cutting mat and ruler, scissors, spray paint to match the fabric or accent it, cover for work service and lamp cord set. Look for these at craft stores or decorative shops. Also needed is the hardware for hanging the lamp such as a turn knob socket and loops and dangling gems or beads (optional).

1. Working carefully so as not to bend the wire, remove the fabric or paper covering the lampshade frame so only the wire frame is exposed.
2. Paint the lampshade frame and set it aside to dry.
3. Working on the bias, cut the fabric into long 2-inch strips. Once you're done with all of the strips, stretch them out onto a flat surface and then arrange them in the order you'd like them to appear on the lampshade. You might want to alternate patterns or colors, for example. It's easier to do this now than having to change pieces once you start assembling them.
4. Once you've got some idea of the design you want to create, tie a knot with the end of one fabric strip onto the frame. Then wrap the fabric around the frame, alternating the weave under and over the vertical wires (working in a spiral motion from the top to the bottom of the frame). Add extra knots here and there for interest. At the bottom of the frame tie a knot to finish it off.
5. The entire frame should be covered. If you have areas that are not covered, just cut a strip to fit it.
6. Trim all knot tails to give it a clean look.
7. If you want to add a little pizzazz to the lampshade, attach a few dangling gems to the bottom wire around the frame.
8. Now attach the cord set, knob and hanging loops as instructed.

While this lampshade was created for the outdoors, it should be brought in when the weather is unfavorable.

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