Monday, May 7, 2012

Hanging Lamps

This was a long and sometimes frustrating project. I'm really happy with how they turned out, but I'm mostly just happy that they're finished.

I was determined for my next project NOT to be inspired by Pinterest. Although I am grateful for the ideas I've gotten from Pinteresting people, I wanted to make something where I didn't have so say, "yeah, I got the idea from Pinterest . . . "

This idea has been around FOR-EH-VER. As long as we've had balloons and string and glue, probably. I did get the idea for making them on balls instead of balloons to make them more spherical from Pinterest. But the fabric idea was all me. And I promise I didn't see any of the doily lampshades pinned until after I made my lamps. I'M NOT CREDITING PINTEREST!!! (;

Yes, the bookshelf is a Pinterst idea!

Once again, sorry this isn't a real tutorial. Taking gorgeous pictures of the process is a challenge for another stage in my life.

I'd like to say, I wasn't planning to make them so spherical. I hadn't intended to put fabric all the way down the balls (planed to make them more half-spheres), but I found that gorgeous flower doily thing, and I had to accommodate it on the big lamp.

I used a 24 inch beach ball for the large lamp and a large bouncy ball for the smaller lamp (you know how there are usually two sizes of bouncy ball at the store--the larger one).

I covered them in petroleum jelly so the lamp would eventually separate from the ball. I watered down Elmer's Glue, and layered on my fabric, yarn, and doilies (soaked in glue). After the glue dried, I painted on many layers of matte Mod Podge. So many layers that it started becoming opaque in some places.

Having not seen a tutorial for fabric balloon lamps, I had some issues with the first one. Turns out the thin fabrics do not want to hold a shape, even with a ton of Mod Podge on them, so the larger lamp was up, but collapsing in places. I was so frustrated! Luckily, I had another beach ball the EXACT same size, so I put that inside, filled it really full, then added more yarn and Mod Podge. I think the yarn is thick enough that it absorbs a lot of the glue and remains stiff. That's also why doilies work so well; they're just a bunch of yarn made lacy. So the yarn/string is essential. If you want to make something similar, you can't leave out the yarn. Yarn as much as you can!

That ball tutorial suggests you have a ball pumper deflater thing so you can take the ball out, but unless you're DETERMINED to keep the ball, it's easier to just trash it. The first beach ball I had to cut out. Even with the petroleum jelly, it got stuck in there. I was able to deflate and take out the big bouncy ball, but then it was covered in petroleum jelly, and I wasn't able to clean it off. I tried to wash it wish soap in the bathtub, but that wasn't working, so I threw it outside hoping the elements would clean it. Of course, my toddler tried to play with it. He was soon covered in petroleum jelly and dirt. And the ball ended up in the trash. Fortunately, the second beach ball was used without petroleum jelly and was saved.

For my Doctor Who fans out there, I used some Tardis/Damask fabric! I have another craft coming using it in a more conspicuous way.

I was very lucky that I had access to some old lamps and cords. They were actually from my parents' house, my old room. I cut off the paper of the lamp, so the metal ring is inside my new lamps, no need to attach. It's just resting in there.

Sorry! Best picture I could find of the old lamp.

Crossing my fingers that my lovely lamps don't collapse!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Puppet Party Invitations

It's time for Everett's two year birthday extravaganza!! 

Ok, maybe not. I'm trying to keep it pretty low key, but it should be fun.

I decided on a puppet theme because Elmo is one of Everett's favorite things (after firetrucks, tractors, trains, garbage trucks, and everything else with wheels. But I didn't want to create a theme out of any of those things, and this might be my last year to choose the theme!). I made it a puppet theme and not an Elmo theme or a Sesame Street theme because I want more flexibility (we can make puppets that aren't Muppets for an activity), it's cheaper (I'm not forced to buy EVERYTHING with Elmo's face on it--'cuz I'll get party fever and won't be able to resist!), but I also have an innate dislike of brands and characters on things, so it was the natural choice for me. But we CAN include Muppets (and Sesame Street characters--they're Muppets, right?), because they fall under the umbrella term of puppets.

Here's the finished invitation:

I drew it (in a couple pieces, actually), combined the two pieces, then colored it with colored pencil. It took a few days, working when I could (baby does not let me draw without getting in on it). But it took me waaaaaay less time than last year's. Last year I made his invitation on Photoshop so I could put his adorable face from every month in a balloon. But I don't have a drawing pad or anything, and I'm not super good at Photoshop. Took me way longer than I thought it would. Then I wasn't happy with the prints I ordered. *grumble* *grumble*

Anyway, drawing it was much easier. And I got it printed on shiny card stock, four to a page, at our local print shop Wilkins ACTION Printing.

Last year I was confused by why I couldn't find envelopes to fit a picture. And I knew I'd be frustrated this year trying to find an envelope I liked, so I made them!!

My in-laws looked at me like I was crazy when I said I was going to make the envelopes, but it was much easier than I expected. I took apart a small Paper Source envelope I had left over from our wedding RSVP cards and made a pattern the exact size I wanted, traced it on colored 12x12 card stock, cut, folded, glued, TA DA!! And I got to used a bunch of different colors, which was fun.

I used Pixar stamps (oh how I wish the USPS still had those Muppet stamps!), but Everett's second non automotive love is Toy Story (or as he calls it, Astronaut/Cowboy), so he liked that. And I can't help myself. I have to put stickers on envelopes I send, so I found the closest things to puppet stickers I could: happy faces and animals cut off at the waist (if you don't see their legs, they're puppets, right?).

I'm typing this on April 23rd, and the invites went out today! I'll post this blog after I know everyone's received the envelopes, so everyone can be surprised!!

I'll blog about the party after May 19th. Should be fun!!