Small Successes and Project Plans

I got the second lamp detached! It was way more simple than I thought it would be. After a little work with a razor blade, I realized that the damn thing wasnt even glued together. I just had to snip apart some of the crappy wiring, unscrew a stubborn nut, and the whole thing just came apart. Check this out, no breakage like the first one.

lamp bottom

Im still not sure I can bring myself to drill into the lamp itself, so I think Im  going to re-purpose part of the original base.

lamp base

Im going to clean it up, paint it and have my father in law drill a hole in the side for a cord (we dont have the right kind of drill bit). Then Ill  just rewire it and screw the whole thing back together. I will post all the dirty details.

Other projects on the to-do list:

I want to turn these into lamps as well. Ill be taking them to my FIL for some help too. I really should have taken pictures of this thing disassembled so that I could better explain the changes I plan to make. There will be a hole drilled in the side of the base for a cord. and a hole drilled through that plate that currently has the candle spike on it. (yes I know that one of those magnifying glasses is missing its screw, but I know its somewhere in this house I just have to find it)

I want to use either an Edison bulb, or one of these Flame Candelabra Bulbs.

edison bulbs

I got these lanterns at Daiso (which also happens to be where I got the background paper) a few years ago, and theyve started to yellow a bit. Thats fine, because I never really like the color in the first place. Luckily the glass pops out really easily, so Im going to spay paint them like I  mentioned in my bathroom plans post.

white lanterns

My Grandmother in law got me this jewelery box 2 Christmases ago, and I have yet to really use it. Im thinking about refinishing or painting it, and doing the inset hearts a different color, removing the flower decal from the front window, and maybe changing out the hardware. I think it would make a nice addition to my night stand, since my nightstand doesnt have any storage/drawers.

jewelery box


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I Love Lamp, Part 1

I dismembered a lamp today, and Ill admit that I had more fun doing it than any adult ought to.

yellow lamps

I bought these lamps awhile ago if two years can be considered awhile. I saw them at St. Vinnies, and I fell in love. That love only deepend when I was informed that it would only cost me $15 for the pair. The bases were ugly and the old yellowed wiring looked easily combustible, but I still needed them in my life. So I bought them, and then they sat in our junk room until we moved. When all of our stuff arrived at our new house, and I opened the box containing these lamps, I found that one had broken off its base. I would usually be pretty miffed by movers breaking my stuff, but I had always wanted to find a way to get the lamp body off of that ugly brass base, so they kind of did me a favor. Now if I could only find a way to break my other lamp in the exact same way .

broken lamp

This is what the broken lamp looked like before I dissected it with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old hacking apart a broken clock radio.

cutting top cord

First I detached the light socket and neck* from the rest of the lamp. There was a brief second where I worried that an unplugged lamp could still electrocute me and then I just got embarrassed for myself. * yes, those are the technical names, and yes, I did have to look them up.

Once the socket was removed it was easy to slip the lamp body off of the base. This is what was revealed.

Speaking of removing the body, the only reason the body became detached from the base was because a few pieces at the very bottom had chipped off (I found them rattling around inside the lamp). Im trying to figure out how to replicate this effect with the second lamp without totally destroying it. Any ideas on how to accomplish that would be greatly appreciated.

I was having a hard time figuring out how to remove the pipe from the base, so I decided to rip the paper off the bottom and see what I could find in there. Once I did that, the rest of the disassembly was easy. I just pulled the wire out of the pipe, and then out of the base itself. The pipe came out of the bottom as well.

all lamp parts

These are all the parts laid out. The wire and old socket will absolutely be trashed. The pipe seems like a necessity, so it stays. I havent decided yet whether or not to keep the neck and base parts. If I do, theyll need a make over, because I dont like the brass.

This last picture is totally unnecessary, I just really like the way that the lamp body looks without all of those extra parts.

I want to pick up some lamp rewiring kits this weekend, but I still have a few things to figure out:

1. How the hell do I remove that second lamp from its base without causing serious damage?

2. Do I paint the lamps or leave them yellow? Im leaning towards the option that requires less effort plus, I kind of like the color.

3. Should I try to work with the old bases, or find new ones? I would love to just go without a base, but I think the cord would keep the lamp from lying flat, and it would end up unstable and/or broken.

4. If I do stick with the old bases, what should I do with them? Obviously clean them and paint them, but do I try to make them look like another metal (silver, or maybe ORB) or do I go with a color?

Seriously, if you have answers to these questions, GIVE THEM TO ME! please and thank you.

And just a reminder: I switched over from to my own hosting, so please remember to subscribe to this blog, as I will be deleting the one in about a week. Also, thanks for caring enough about me and my house and my blog to actually read this stuff. It gives me warm mushy feelings.

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DIY coffee table inspiration

I am determined to DIY rather than buy a coffee table for our living room. I dont really like anything that Im seeing in stores (style or price), and honestly I think it would be much more fun to build my own. We dont have a proper wood shop or anything, but I think weve got enough tools for what I have in mind. These are the current contenders:

wire coffee table

This is by far the easiest option. Id replace the acrylic sheets with a custom cut piece of glass or wood, and maybe make it longer by adding another V shaped base. [instructions]

hairpin coffee table

Next up is a pretty easy option as well. Take a nice piece of wood and slap some hairpin legs on it. So simple and so perfect. [instructions]

herringbone hairpin coffee table

If I wanted to get a bit fancier, I could do a herringbone pattern for the table top. Oh how I love me some herringbone though Im not entirely sure that I have the tools and/or skills to pull it off. [instructions]

cb2 herringbone coffee table

I could also do something like this. Same table top idea, different legs. This one is actually from CB2, but I think I could make it as long as I could get the  herringbone top figured out. Legs like that cant be too hard to come by or make, right?

The next two are IKEA hacks. Ill be close to an IKEA next month, so I could conceivably pick up any needed parts.

lerberg leg coffee table

Easy option this one is just a board mounted on some Lerberg trestles.  [source]

concrete coffee table

Finally, and this one may currently be my favorite, is a concrete topped coffee table. Ive never made a mold for or poured concrete before, but my best friend has, so hopefully she could talk me through it if we decide on this one. The base is an IKEA Klubbo. [instructions]

I probably wont get around to starting on this for at least another month, so I may end up finding even more options by then, but whats your favorite of the ones that Im currently considering?

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Bathroom Monochromatic Mini Mood Board and Plans

I had grand plans of creating an elaborate bathroom mood board, but Im feeling pretty sick this morning, so youre getting this instead.

I already own the shower curtain, but thats just about the only attractive thing in my bathroom at the moment. Im going for a nautical, but not over the top, theme. I think that these Ikat link bath towels would look great hanging next to my shower curtain. The Squid vs. The Whale print is going to end up in my house somewhere, so why not hang it over the toilet, right? I want to add more color to the bathroom too. The shower curtain is actually a little greener than it looks in the picture, so Im on the hunt for the perfect light sea foam green bath mat (which is surprisingly hard to find), and Ive got three cheapo white metal lanterns that Im thinking about spray painting (maybe red or yellow) and hanging in the window.  I also really have my heart set on making a fake porthole and having something peeking into my bathroom through it, though I havent really worked out the logistics of that one yet. That covers about 2/3rds of the bathroom, I have no idea what Im going to do with the rest of it. I could probably start by cleaning and organizing that makes everything look better.

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The Sofa Saga Part 2 (how to replace karlstad legs)

As I mentioned in The Sofa Saga Part 1, I wasnt loving those legs. They looked cheap and IKEA-y.

bulky ikea legs

Altering or replacing karlstad legs for a sleeker, sexier, less IKEA look is by no means an original idea.  It’s been done here, here, here, here, here, and here, and probably by hundreds of other people. There are even companies that make better looking replacements for IKEA legs such as Pretty Pegs, and Uncle Bobs Workshop. The latter makes replacement legs specifically for the Karlstad, and I would have seriously considered them if we didnt need 8. 8 x $9+ = too much for me to spend in addition to already buying the damn couch. Luckily Lowes offers cheaper options. We found these for less than $3 each.

unstained new leg

The other supplies we needed included mounting plates (less than $2.00 each). There was a choice between flat and angled, we choose flat (or as it says straight)

top plate

Stain love me some golden pecan (I think this little jar was about $7, and we barely made a dent in it)

supplies not pictured: a brush made for stain ($5?), clean cloths (free), masking tape (cheap), and a cardboard box (free). Howard Feed-n-Wax is optional, but I already had some lying around, so I figured, why not?

Step 1: Make sure that your replacement legs are roughly the same size as the originals.

side by side legs

Step 2: Tape over the metal part of the leg. I did the blue ones thats why theyre so much prettier.

taped legs

Step 3: Stab the screw end of the leg into a cardboard box so that its standing up straight-ish.

legs stuck in box

Step 4: Apply stain according to manufacturers instructions. I think we may have actually failed at that because Im pretty sure we were supposed to be going with the grain, but it all worked out so who cares?

Step 5: Wait desired amount of time, and then wipe off excess stain. Our container said to wait anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on desired color. We waited 5.

wiping stain

Step 6: Wait again, follow manufacturer instructions. Ours said to wait at least 8 hours for stain to dry.

(Optional) Step 7: Apply wax/polish/some type of sealant. With the Howards, you soak a clean cloth in the wax, wipe it on, wait 20 minutes, and then buffer it off. Easy peasy, and it smells like oranges.

howard feed n wax

Step 8: Remove the cushions and flip your couch over. Make a cushion fort if you feel so inclined. Because our sectional is such a beast, we ended up separating it into its three sections to make it more manageable.pillow fort

Step 9: Remove original legs. Just use the same tool you used to screw them in.

removing old legs

Step 10: Remove plastic mounting plate. We used a flat head screw driver, and it was really easy. In these pictures my husband is working from the bottom, but I found it easier to work from the corner with the hole in it. There are no staples up there, so the screwdriver just slides right in.

removing plastic top plate


Step 11: Attach metal mounting plates with given screws. My husband did all of these, but I believe he tried to line the middle up over the original screw hole.

mounted top plate

Step 12: Screw in much better looking legs

screwed in new leg

Step 13: Flip that thing back over, reassemble if necessary, throw the cushions back on, and admire your new and improved couch.

couch with sexy new legs

before and after leg comparison

Side note: We can keep the dogs off the couch, but we apparently cant keep the dog hair off the couch. Dog hair dominates our lives!

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The Sofa Saga Part 1

We tossed our old couch before we PCSd back in June, because to put it nicely, the thing was a piece of shit. We bought it new for about $300, which probably tells you about how well made it was. We got a good 2 years use out of it, but by the time we said buh-bye it was covered in stains, and one of the springs had popped and would poke you in the butt whenever you sat down.

Once we finally arrived at our new duty station (almost 7 months after we departed our old one), my first house related priority was to find a new couch. I had a price range in mind (originally $700, but I bumped it up to $1000), and a general idea of what I wanted (large sectional, not overstuffed, preferably with a mid century modern vibe, and that would actually fit where we needed it), but I was having a really difficult time finding something that met all of those criteria. Mostly because sectionals are freaking expensive! There was one that I knew I liked, the Karlstad from IKEA, but were about 8 hours from the nearest IKEA, so that didnt seem like a viable option.

karlstad stock image

But then something funny happened, I spent a month using an air mattress as living room furniture, and my search for a suitable sofa continued to disappoint, so I began to reconsider the Karlstad. We could drive to Denver or Dallas, but wed have to factor in not only the cost of the couch, but also the cost of gas for a not very fuel efficient truck, plus a nights stay in a hotel. That or wed have to suck it up and pay $350 for shipping. After a little mathing, we decided that a voyage to the great Swedish super store was going to cost us just as much money, and way more effort than just ordering it online. So we did. We paid $350 for shipping. I have never paid that much for shipping before, and I probably never will again. But to be totally honest, even with shipping costs, this sofa was a great deal. I do have some complaints to make about IKEAs shipping department (but not the delivery guys, they were great), but Ill save that rant for another day.

Our IKEA delivery finally arrived on Feb 26th (after ordering it on the 6th but I said I wasnt going to get into that). It arrived about 10 minutes after my husband left for work. I promised him that I wouldnt try to assemble it without him because 1. Ive had a recent streak of bad luck when it comes to assembling and or not breaking things, and 2. Im tiny and clumsy and would most likely end up in the emergency room. But I only promised that I wouldnt assemble it I didnt say anything about unpacking and roughly arranging it. This is what our place looked like when he got home for lunch that day. (I recovered everything in plastic to keep the dogs away). Once he headed back to work, I took a very long nap, because couch unpacking is apparently quite exhausting.

karlstad not yet put together

When he got home from work that night we assembled the couch. There are no assembly pictures because, well, I was kind of too busy assembling.  I did however get pictures of the finished project the following day.

karlstad constructed

(Yes thats the mindy project on TV.)

anyother view of our new couch

I LOVE this couch. Its the perfect size, and its surprisingly comfortable. The only thing Im not in love with are those cheapo looking IKEA legs, but as of this writing weve already taken care of that. We stole the ideas of many a genius IKEA hacker, and swapped out those blocky legs for something a little more sexy. Details to come in The Sofa Saga Part 2

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