Those shady Southerlands.

Talk about an ironic title. These Southerlands I speak of are two of the most generous and loving people I know. Did I mention, patient? Well they have waited over a year for their custom lampshades, and not a peep out them until they arrived. Good people with an enviable collection of beautiful Mid Century items so I must do a good job.



It all started in the summer on our annual Wilmington, NC visit, I got sidetracked by their new lamps they inherited from family and promptly set about re-wiring them,  after that the shades simply would not do, with the light shining through the stains showed up.


I tried to clean them, doing my darndest to keep the shape.


I could not save them.  We put them back on and they waited. The next summer I stole the shades leaving the pretty lamps naked.  I did some research and aimed to acquire yet another skill.  They came for a visit and I ended up wanting to spend time with them instead in my zone. They left shadeless and I had another bump in my education. I could not get the old lamp frame rings back to round no matter what I tried.  I decided to order new ones. They don’t make them the like they used to so I had to factor that in to the new shade and do some very dubious math. Then I decided to change the fabric, and the tape, and finally got down to business.

Materials needed.  (I purchased all of my materials from

-2 lamp wire frames, one with bulb or harp holder, and one without. size depends on your shade. I used 12 inch in diameter. (tip- for your first go at this use two of the same size. It becomes much harder when top is smaller than the bottom)

-stryene shade liner (sold by the yard)

-white paper tape.


-clips (I use clothespins)

-masking tape

-Xacto knife


-small paintbrush

-rag for excess glue.

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– tape the very springy lamp liner to work surface and trace the old lamp shade on it.

-cut using an Xacto knife (material rips easily so scissors can be disastrous)

– Tape fabric face down on clean work surface.

-lint roll to remove inevitable dog hair, so it is not permanently trapped between layers.

-lay shade liner over fabric and trace if you wish so the design or weave is straight, or wing it like me.

-slowly peel back protective layer on the stryene while firmly pressing on the fabric.

-once it is fully stuck, cut remaining fabric leaving 3/4 inch of fabric all the way around.

-pin the shade all the way around folding extra over the ring. do top and bottom.


-fold edges of fabric over and glue the seam, add a little weight on top to make it flat. (you might like me think this is a stupid step, but trust me it is important.)

-sit back and think you are really cool while this dries because it gets a bit messy from here on out.

-when seam is dry stand shade up on one end and get busy gluing, make sure you can complete each end without interruptions #The Associate

-damn lost the image, sorry.

-try to follow me.  apply glue to the paper tape with brush and fold over wire and fabric to connect everything together.  make sure your tape line on the outside of the shade is straight in case you don’t apply trim.  do a couple of inches at a time and wipe up excess quickly. let dry.

– don’t give up!

-once you have done both ends, pat yourself on the back and decide if need to cover up any mistakes with trim 🙂

-wait another month until a gigantic box comes into your life so you can send shades to your longsuffering friends.







baby blue chandelier


So I took a class. Encouraged by my Mom and Husband in the form of a birthday present.  Once upon a time I knew how to weld, but I definitely needed a refresher.  Despite the anxiety of once again entering a school I persevered, poor me I know. If you are new to reading my blog then you need to know I have a lamp obsession. An obsession that depends on using only found and recycled materials, however this is difficult sometimes when there is a specific request for size.  The armature required to build lamps is hard to find in a thrift store. Even though tearing apart ugly lampshades is kind of rewarding, I don’t like to be limited in size.  I bend my rules and learn to bend some metal.



I constructed three squares of metal for a three-tiered square chandelier (I was getting tired of circles)

My chosen material for the shade which has been in the back of my car for at least a month for fear of delving questions; is baby blue venetian blinds.  I have been hunting these down for a while, but I can’t even begin to explain why.


I am not sure if they were ever used, but they were at The Habitat Home Store. If you have ever been to one of these they don’t sell anything unless priced. My beautiful baby blues were not price marked, but apparently marked as “no one will ever want these” and I scooted out the door only having spent 1 buck.  I bring them into the house and leave them on the kitchen table for at least a day. When I sit down with my tin snips and my ruler nobody pays me any attention at all.


me- snip snip snip

The Teenager- Hi Mom.

me- Hello Love.

The Associate- walks by with nary a glance.

we sit down to dinner as I sweep my blinds aside, nothing. We finish dinner and I sweep my blinds back onto the table. nothing.

me-You know what I love?

Family- ??

me- not a single one of you thought it was at all strange that I was cutting up a set of old blinds on our kitchen table. I have finally reached the status of “we know it will be something cool” YES FINALLY.

The Teenager – but mom we don’t need anymore lamps.

me- too bad.

my next step after cutting them is to figure out how to punch holes in the very thin metal. A drill is overkill and hammer and nail is too loud, ah thumb tack!  Unfortunately for The Associate she broke a cardinal rule and left something in my studio (she does all the time) and her new calendar was put to use.


I marked some lines and went to town poking holes.  I then rigged up the smallest square and started winding 18 gauge metal wire around the frame and sort of sewed on the blinds.


After all three layers are done I attached the to smaller squares to the largest with metal clips and more wire, trying to make it all even takes some time, but I think I have it.


It isn’t quite done because I have to find a place to hang it before I wire it, but I think it will be cool. I even have enough metal to spare to make another. Sorry Family. xo



my reel lamp.

While whiling around the dungeon I discovered a half lamp. As my disorders dictate this is a normal occurrence at my house.  The gray skies that drove me down here in the first place had not yet dispersed and the organizing was not going well, so I finished the lamp.  I have nowhere to put it, but it is done.  It all began with a film canister.


1. drill a hole the size of threaded rod in the canister. slowly…… It gets really hot.

2. widen the hole on the film reel with the same drill bit.

3. glue the canister sides back to back. This makes a space on the bottom to add weight and run the cord, and creates a dish for change or jewelry or whatever.



4. add weights, I reused weights (which are basically heavy pieces of metal) from another lamp and secured them with washer and a nut to the threaded rod.

5. This is the trickiest things about making lamps, everything has to come together so when you put on the socket at the top it all fits together tightly.  In order for my second story to stay up I supported it from the top and bottom with aluminum camping pole scraps. I cut them to the appropriate size using a tube cutter. I really need a new blade.


6. now that everything is on the rod, screw on the bottom half of the socket and make sure it is all going to be happy together.

7. run the cord from the bottom up and attach it to the socket.

8. pull the excess cord down and snap the socket all into place with the sleeve.

9. test the connections by plugging the lamp into wall and using a light bulb, of course.

10. put your lamp shade on and Voila` (that is for you Nicky:)

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Now I guess I’ll put it back in the basement.

bad mommy.

In the midst of my new found passion for “blogging” I have been a bit, how do you say, slacking in the mom department. As we traveled through ridiculous rainstorms and I tried to keep my anxiety in check it occurred to me that my associate can’t tie her shoes. Okay its not that bad, but she should not be heading to first grade in this state. Trying to teach a child to tie their shoes each morning while you rush them out the door is no good for anybody.  My husband reminded of the gizmo I made Ruby when she was wee lass (back when I had one child and life was carefree).  So I put it off for another two weeks.  When I asked my associate what she wanted to do today she said  “I wanna learn to tie my shoes (stab heart).”   It may look silly and you may think that she should just learn on a shoe, but trust me it is a lot better than the alternative.  So, I cut some cardboard and laced it up.  She can put it on the table, on her foot, bring it in her bed and basically work on it whenever she wants, and that I believe is the key.

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go VIV!

I have obviously had a lamp issue for some time.

I have three places I spent my youths, yes that is plural. The first one was an idyllic setting in Cleveland Ohio where we played kick the can till dark and walked to school. The second was the first 5 years I lived in New York City. The subsequent 3 years were spent trying to leave, but it is soooo hard to leave NYC. The third is where I ended up after I gave up the struggle, Wilmington NC. Imagine a city whose warmth surrounds you. The people I met here when I was 27 and lost took me for just exactly who I was and stuck around like a nasty rash for the last 10 plus years. I got a lot packed into my four years there until I had to move on.
My brood and I have been visiting wilmington for a week already destroying homes and good habits of the people we love.
Our first stop on our tour was the lovely, inviting home of Wendy and David, avid collectors and all around awesome people. First thing I did was re wire some lamps they inherited. I attempted to clean the lampshades but failed miserably. After prying ourselves from their comfortable cocoon. We mozzied over to The Jackson’s. We have been here for a whole five days now. Children, adults and dogs having a ball before I recognized a lampshade I made 12 years ago and they still love. Maybe lamps are my thing?


Lamp jones.

I have been stockpiling prescription bottles that are a perfect orange.  When we get to know each other better you will figure that orange is my favorite color.  I am not sure what my obsession with lamps is all about but I literally NEED to make them.  Almost every room in my house is outfitted with a custom lamp by moi.  At this point I would like to thank my long suffering family for their patience and ease in the wake of my most recent “hobby” (and they never said a peep about perhaps me burning down the house).  So I say today we make a night light!!!!!!  My youngest has been having bad dreams as of late and I intend to ease her pain.  In trademark Shannon style, I scrounge.

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step 1. start with scraps  and cut to same size. step 2. attach them with some random attachy thing found in basement.


step 3. Because I am using different textures of wood, decopague using YES glue which is the best glue ever.


I really don’t want the bottles to stick so far out so I aim to cut them down. One of my personal favorite tools is known as the pipe cutter.  I realize quickly that it wants to crush my plastic so I find a suitable pipe to put inside the bottle so it can do its job properly.


I quickly trim all of the bottles and move onto design, yes I know, backwards.  I choose something that would make her happy if awakened in the middle of the night by a pesky dream.

After laying it out on the wood I get my handy Makita out and start drilling partial holes with my 1 1/4 paddle bit.  I then use another bit to drill all the way through the wood and apply glue.


The tops to said prescription bottles make great glue holders can’t recycle them might as well use them before they are sent to the landfill.


I forgot to take a picture at the next stage. Sometimes you can’t interrupt genius.  I inserted a cut bottle into each hole and let it dry for a couple hours.  When it was almost dry (impatient) I flipped it over and began inserting Led fairy lights into each hole.  I then put a few eye hooks and some picture wire and hung it up.


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she seems to like it and hopefully it put her beautiful big brain at ease in the middle of the night.

don’t bring this lamp to a gunfight.

I find that many of my creations are inspired things I find annoying. For instance isn’t annoying when you get some plastic silverware for that BBQ and all you have left is plastic knives. You can’t recycle them and nobody ever uses them. So what do I do? I stockpile.


When I felt that I had enough, then forgot about them, then found them yea! I got down to business. But first I would like to take a minute to introduce you to my very best friend that is a tool. We have been through a lot together, actually we have drilled through a lot together.


Together we made holes in every one of those knives. Taking breaks to cool down the bit and fold some laundry. Multitask.  When we were ready I cozied onto my porch.


with some wire cutters, wire and some hoops from former lampshades.


I wove the wire over the hoop through the hole and around the hoop again, I did this over and over again until I had three tiers.  I ditched this other lamp because well I didn’t like it and my husband keep hitting his head.


I removed the offending pieces parts and added my hoops to form a chandelier.


Ta da!!! Much better!




porch done. finally!


The porch is finally finished! torrential rain and leprosy can’t stop me! Ill do a quick before and after run down from earlier posts because I know you are gonna want to go back and see allll the steps.
“sad lamp. now happy”

skeleton  colorlamp

“my children are over lamps”

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“progress” and “dance with me”

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“looking good” and “did I mention I only learn by messing up? and backwards?”

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and done!!!!!!

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come over and have emiglio serve you a drink!