Friday, 21 February 2014

The "halfway there" hallway: Reveal


So, the big home makeover plan that I announced back in January has now started in full...
After successfully turning little miss Moo's bedroom in to a big girls room a few weeks ago, I was itching to get on with the rest of the house...
Its funny how your dreams and ideas can lay dormant for so long, and then when you finally pull your finger out and get started, it can't happen soon enough!!

I was actually meant to do our bedroom first, but another twist of faith would have it that I felt inspired to the hallway next...
Whilst out and about snooping in antique and bric-a-brac shops with a friend a few weeks ago, I came across a beautiful little bargain: a white Le Klint  style lampshade for a fiver - perfect for the hallway!!...However, as I was trying to be careful with my money, I didn't pick it up (doh!!)...Something I regretted as soon as I got home! I went back to the shop the following week...but it was gone! I could've cried!! Then I figured: Why don't I try to DIY something similar??

But then I realised that with my shiny new Origami lampshade, the hallway seemed very scruffy...
Of course I already knew had not been touched since we moved in over 2 years ago...and even then it was not to our taste with its beige walls and pine bannisters on the stairs...even the light fitting was something that we just made do with as the previous owners left it behind! And Little Miss Moo had been adding her artwork on the walls in the form of crayon scribbles and mucky handprints...

As it was already on my list of things to do this year, I thought why not, and jumped to it: I already had a plan: Crisp and white with a birch forest stencil in shimmery silver along the hallway wall....

So I ordered my stencil from cutting edge stencils   and got cracking....
First I Spent a couple of days painting the stair bannisters white:
When painting anything wooden, like furniture, or in this case: the bannisters, the key to success is all in the preparation: Sand, prep and prime!!


Because there was a lot of detail in the wooden banisters (and I am impatient), I skipped the messy and long winded process of sanding, and used some liquid sandpaper instead...I simply painted the solution on and wiped off any excess. I then painted on a coat of wood primer before adding two coats (?)of brilliant white one coat satin wood paint!

I then got to work on the walls and ceiling...painting everything white...
First I did two coats(?) of brilliant white onecoat emulsion (It is never actually enough with just "one coat" is matter what it says on the tin!!??), then I painted a coat of brilliant white soft sheen emulsion over.... to make the light bounce off the wall, and enhance the sense of space...

With everything now looking crisp and white - a definite improvement - the hallway decor now blended seamlessly into the already white painted living room.
 I was now ready for the stencil, that had arrived just in time...

My friend Tamzin kindly came around to help me, as she wants to use the stencil in her home as well, and we are splitting the cost of the stencil (It ended up costing me £80,-, with £20,- postage from the US ...and UK customs charging me another £20,-...grrrr!)
It actually wasn't that difficult to do...and NOT really a two-man job! I took us under 3 hours to do the entire wall...with a few tea-breaks thrown in!!
The stencil was easy to line up, and using a rounded dense foam roller gave a lovely and even finish...the trick is to not overload the roller with paint!!

I knew I wanted a shimmery, barely there look to the stencil, and was hoping to get a pearlescent pale grey paint to do it with...however this proved to be unattainable here in the UK, so I ended up mixing some Crown "sophistication" silver metallic emulsion with some white to get a pale grey shimmery paint effect....

When mixing the paint up, it seemed to loose the silver in the pot, but it actually dried to a beautiful shimmery grey on the wall....these pictures doesn't really do the effect justice!!
Again this helps bounce the light around in the narrow hallway improving the sense of space!


I am so happy with how the stencil turned fact, I spent a few days just staring at it!!
And I love how my old IKEA curtains' pattern works with my birch forest wall...
It all looks so shiny and new, it makes my heart skip a beat!!
And of course, my DIY origami lampshade now looks perfectly at home in my "new" hallway!

My decorating efforts so far has only taken me to the top of the stairs, and I am planning on finishing the rest of the hallway off next week...including creating a January cure style Landing strip.
 We also still need to replace the dirty old carpet on the stairs..... and it really wont be completely finished before we have the new laminate flooring put down...

But for now I am happy that I have actually made a big start on our home improvement plans for 2014...and just coming down the stairs to our crisp and clean hallway in the morning is like fuel to my motivation to get all our decorating updates done this year...

What do you think of my new hallway?
Do you like the stencil?
All white...yay or nay

See the rest of the hallway transformation, including the stairs here

I'd love to hear what you think!
Please leave a comment below!


Monday, 17 February 2014

DIY Origami paper lampshade...

Paper Origami lampshades are very fashionable at the moment, but for what they are, they can cost a bomb!
Today I want to show you how YOU can create your very own paper origami lampshade for next to nothing.

Origami is one of those skills that looks more complicated than it really is....which is basically just folding paper. But you can create some stunning effects...and a paper lampshade looks smart and gives a warm glow...

The second most important thing to consider when making an origami lampshade is the paper you use:
You can use any colour paper that suits you, but it needs to be a certain thickness: Between 160-200gsm is ideal, as it will be thin enough to fold neatly, but thick enough to hold its shape.
I am using A3sheets of premium 180gsm artist paper.

The MOST important thing to consider when you make a lampshade out of paper, is safety!
So before I show you how to fold your very own origami lampshade, I am quickly going to show you a simple way to fire-resist your paper: 

Boil up 4-6 cups of water in an old saucepan, and add 2,5 tablespoons of borax per cup of water.
Stir until the borax has completely dissolved to make a saturated solution.

Place your paper in the sink /a large bowl, poor over the solution, and leave to soak for 5-10 minutes:

Carefully lift the paper (it will be quite fragile when wet) out of the solution and blot off any excess liquid. Hang to dry. If your paper has curled up a bit in this process, simply iron flat.

NOTE: Paper can never be fully fire-proof, but this will make the paper fire-resistant (meaning it won't burn without contact with a flame or ignition source).

 Now for the Paper folding!

You will need:

A3 paper
3 sheets of FIRE RESISTANT A3 paper (160-200gsm) 
A ruler
A clean, flat work surface
A hole puncher
A pencil
Clear tape 

The first thing to do, is to draw out THE GRID to guide us when folding the paper.
You can do this on "normal", non-fire resistant paper. as this will be a guide and practice piece only:

On an A3 piece of paper , use a ruler to draw up 9 vertical lines(red) 4 cm apart.
Then draw up the blue and green diagonal lines as in the picture above.


Step 1: Fold the vertical (red) lines all the same way...
Step 2: Turn the paper over, then fold the (green) diagonal lines...all the same way.
Step 3: Don't turn the paper over, and fold the (blue) diagonal lines.

 Next up you have to manipulate the folds into shape....The paper should naturally want to do this! It is quite hard to explain, but please use the pictures below as a guide:

 It is not difficult to do...You should end up with a folded flat shape like this.

Now that you've made up the grid-guide,and had your practise: unfold this piece of paper and lay it flat over one of your  fire resistant papers...

 ...make some small marks with a pencil where the folds should go.
(As you don't want pencil lines on your paper lampshade)


Repeat the folding process described above, using these marks and the edges of the paper as a guide.
Try to be precise when folding and use your fingers to create sharp creases in the paper.
Repeat on all 3 sheets, then manipulate the folds into the shape.

Next: Use the hole-puncher to make holes in the top and bottom inner fold.(See pictures below).


 Make sure the holes are in the same place and line up so that the lampshade will be beautifully symmetrical.

You are now ready to assemble your Origami lampshade:

 Stick the 3 pieces of folded paper together with some clear tape on the inside,
then re-shape your paper shade:

Thread the string through the holes... 

Pull the string tight and tie off the bottom of your paper shade on the inside.
Then thread the top of your shade...

...and pull it tight over your light fitting and tie it off.
All done!

NOTE! Use a low wattage light bulb to further minimize any risk of fire!

I hope this has inspired you to give origami a really is a beautiful art form!
 What do you think of my origami lampshade?

I will be back with a big reveal post on my hallway makeover at the weekend!
So please pop back then!