Fan Tale

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In the 1980’s when we lived in Ecuador I bought two ceiling fans for a house that we were building at the time. They were considered fashionable in those days and I was happy to have fixtures that were not only stylish but also functional. The temperature often got quite high in the tropical port city of Guayaquil and they provided much needed relief from the stifling heat . Fast forward 28 years. I’m sad to admit that now my little fans are considered tacky, dated and downright ugly. One of them stopped working long ago and only the lights portion was still functioning, but the other fan still works perfectly. That’s pretty amazing after 28 years. I actually like ceiling fans and I was reluctant to throw away the one that still worked. We don’t live in such a hot country anymore but it can sometimes get into the 80 to 85 degree range so I still use the fan quite often.  I have it installed in the kitchen. The only problem is that it just looked outdated and boring.

Here is a before shot

Here is a before shot. The woven center part of the blades was particularly passé

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I decided to at least try and give it a facelift. What I had initially planned on doing was to simply paint the blades a bright color. I unscrewed  the 8 little screws that held them in place and took them down. After cleaning them up (isn’t it amazing how grimy kitchen fixtures can get?)  I remembered the bottle of Mod Podge that was lurking in my crafts box and I figured I could decoupage something on the blades rather than just painting them. I ended up using some left over fabric from the dining room chairs.

After spraying on a primer, I spray painted the edges yellow because they would be visible

After spraying on a primer, I spray painted the edges yellow because I didn’t want to extend the decoupage fabric up over the edges of the blades.

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I cut the pieces of fabric in the shape of the blades, using one of the blade as a template.

I cut the pieces of fabric in the shape of the blades, using one of the blades as a template

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In order to get a smooth finish I turned the blades over and glued the fabric to the  non-wicker side. Now the woven wicker part faces the ceiling and is not visible. I used Mod Podge as glue to decoupage the fabric onto the blades, adding a couple of generous coats of it on top of the fabric too. After the blades were dry, I sprayed on two coats of clear varnish.

The blades ended up looking like they were actually hand painted and they even fooled hubby who complimented me on my artistic skills. If he only knew that I can’t paint anything more advanced than a stick figure, hehe.  After checking out a couple of blogs and a few websites I realized that it was also possible to spray paint the metal face plates on ceiling fans. Alot of people had done it and it looked really cool. I wanted to camouflage the outdated brass tone on the body of the fan and paint was the perfect solution. There were only four screws holding it in place and it was  simple enough to remove them and slide the face plate off. Easy peasy…right? Wrong. I didn’t realize at the time that all those online instructions for removing the face plate were meant for fans without lights. It wasn’t until I excitedly began taking out the screws that I realized that the middle hole of the plate would never slide down past the four tulip lights. I hate it when I do dumb things like that. I ended up having to convince hubby to help me take the whole fan down off the ceiling and temporarily unwiring and separating the center portion in order to get the plate off.  What a hassle. Thankfully he is very handy with these things.

See that center opening? How in the world did I ever think that it was going to slide down past the four tulip lights that jut out to the sides?

See that center opening? How in the world did I ever think that it was going to slide down past the four tulip lights that jut out to the sides?

I had to separate the lights portion from the rest of the fan in orde to get the face plate to come off. That meant separating two of the wires.

I had to separate the lights portion from the rest of the fan in order to get the face plate to come off. That meant separating two of the wires.

Here's the faceplate and the hardware from the blades after their first coat of yellow paint.

Here’s the faceplate and the hardware from the blades after their first coat of yellow paint.

These are the blades drying in the sun after the final coat of glossy spray varnish

These are the blades drying in the sun after the final coat of glossy spray varnish

The glass parts got a much needed scrubbing

The glass parts got a much needed scrubbing

Here it is all finished and hung back in it's place above the kitchen island

Here it is all finished and hung back in it’s place above the kitchen island

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I also harvested some of the parts from the non working fan including the four blades and their hardware which I spray painted pink. I decoupaged these in a different style and I can just change the blades whenever I want a whole different look. It’s just a matter of removing the screws and it doesn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes. Admittedly  pink doesn’t really go with anything in my kitchen but who cares? Who says fans have to match!

Four extra fan blades for a different look

Four extra fan blades for a different look. These got a top coat of clear matte varnish. I didn’t want them as shiny as the other ones.

I couldn't resist sprinkling on a little bit of glitter for some fun sparkle

I couldn’t resist sprinkling on a little bit of glitter for some fun sparkle

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Joining these link parties:

Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage 

Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

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Chandelier in Black and White

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Hello! I haven’t updated this blog in quite a while because we have been going through a major renovation of our city house since December and I’ve barely had time for anything. Talk about stressful!  This place has been a nuthouse for over three months and I actually ended up in the emergency room with a severe case of combined gastritis and colitis caused by the strain of having a houseful of construction workers making as much noise and mess as is humanly possible. The doctor wasn’t really very encouraging and he sagely informed me that my symptoms would dissapear once the remodeling was done. Well, I have to admit that he was actually right. Even though there are a few things that still need to be finished up (I’m still waiting on the new granite counter tops to be delivered) and I am still washing the dishes in the laundry room, most of the remodeling is done, the workers are gone and I’m feeling much better. I had begun to despair that they’d never leave!  Anyone who has ever had any remodeling work done in Costa Rica knows that if they tell you they can do it in a month, you can count on it being at least three months. That’s if you’re lucky.  Now that things have settled down a bit,  I finally had time to finish up a few projects that I had left on stand-by including this black and white chandelier that I’d started to work on last year. I bought it at a garage sale where it sat forlornly in an old cardboard box gathering dust under a table of books. It started life out as an insipid beige and brass thing.

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It was quite ugly but it had good bones. The plastic bobeches were beyond hideous and I had originally planned to replace them with sparkly lead crystal bobeches. Upon removing them however, I discovered that the center hole was unusually tiny and I realized that I would be unable to find crystal bobeches with such a small diameter hole. I had no choice but to recycle them. I stripped the lamp bare, removing the bobeches, the crystals and the bulbs with their sleeves.

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The crystals needed a good scrubbing with soap and water.

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They sparkled like new.

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Then the chandelier got three coats of black spray paint.

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So did the plastic bobeches.

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But even after I spray painted them they were still about as plain and uninteresting as they had been when they were beige. Since I was unable to replace them with lead crystal bobeches, I decided to make them as sparkly as possible so I covered them in aurora borealis swarovsky rhinestone chain.

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Then I hung the large clear crystal prisms back on.

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I also added black octagon crystal chain and large black teardrop crystals. The old rusted nuts and bolts that held the bobeches in place were replaced with shiny new ones.

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Handmade fimo clay roses topped each strand of crystal chain and I also hot glued some roses on to the center part of the lamp.

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I usually don’t decorate in black and white because I prefer brighter colors, but I have to admit that I really like how this chandy turned out. Maybe it’s the sparkle factor that makes me like it so much. I hung it in my bedroom right over my bed so that it’s the first thing I see when I open my eyes in the morning, and the last thing I see when I close them at night.

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Joining Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home

Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Mardi Gras Bead Ceiling Lamp

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Since the day I brought home a brass plated lamp with gray glass inserts about 25 years ago I’ve had to hear hubby’s snarky comments about how ugly it was. I originally bought it for our bedroom and it hung there for a time, but over the years it changed places until it finally ended up in my daughter’s bedroom.  I honestly didn’t think the lamp was all that bad but I decided to give it a make over of some kind because it had begun to look boring and outdated. I had purchased some Mardi Gras beads some time ago to make an outdoor chandelier for the garden but I bought too many of them and I had dozens left over. Since this lamp was in my daughter’s room, it didn’t have to be formal or serious looking.  Whimsical would do just fine and would also fit quite well with her decor. Or lack of it.  Mercifully, she likes just about anything and rarely complains which is why the lamp was in there in the first place.

So here’s what I started out with. The first thing I did was to remove all the gray glass inserts.

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I had about a million Mardi Gras beads. Well okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but there were alot of them.

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I wrapped the arms of the lamp in beads first of all. I used a hot glue gun to glue the strands in place and I just dabbed glue randomly as I wrapped. My burnt fingertips can attest to it.

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The lightbulb sockets were beaded next

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I briefly thought of re-installing the glass inserts but that was the part that hubby disliked most. I think he had an aversion to the mouse gray color which had at one time matched our mouse gray carpet. So I made new inserts out of parchment paper.  I have to admit that they were a real pain in the neck to glue into place because the parchment wouldn’t conform to the curve of the metal frame and it would end up looking warped. I had to re-glue them several times before I got the hang of it. Sort of.

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Pay no attention to that deep fryer lurking in the background. I never eat fried foods. Cross my heart.

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Almost done!

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I hope that with this make-over hubby’s criticism of my taste in lamps right will be nipped in the bud once and for all.

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Joining Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage

Floor Lamp Make-over

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While checking through Craigslist last week I spied an ad for a moving sale. The family was leaving the country and heading back to the U.S. so they were selling all their household items. They had some really beautiful furniture and mirrors, knick-knacks and rugs (I might go back for the rugs hehehe) as well as several lamps, among them two floor lamps that I really liked so I bought them. One of them was a brass Art Deco Egyptian Revival style lamp (more about that in a future post) and the other was a somber looking thin brown lamp with a wooden base and a beige shade. I have to say that out of every color that exists, beige has to be my least favorite. So I’d barely gotten the lamp out of the car and up the stairs when my head was already buzzing with ideas about how I might revamp it and make it more colorful. Continue reading

DIY Magnetic Chandelier Crystals

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A couple of years ago I bought two identical lamps that had been marked down considerably in price.  They were in perfect condition but were actually nothing more than bare lamp  bases that only had a few dusty glass teardrop pendants hanging from them. All the embellishments were missing which was the reason they were on sale. They were marked down to about 15 or 20 dollars each and that was really a bargain. I decided to hang them in my bedroom because it’s a long narrow room with high ceilings and I could fit both of them in there quite nicely.  I wanted to use good quality lead crystal on these two lamps because I was aiming for maximum sparkle, so I used Swarovski 24% lead crystal octagon chain as well as 2 inch Asfour 30% lead crystal teardrops. Continue reading

Crystal Blue Persuasion

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This little blue chandelier started life out as a very tacky wrought iron lamp with an equally tacky green and black verdigris finish that was quite dreadful. It was one of  two identical hanging lamps that I bought at the Chinese store last year. I bought them both only because they were on sale and seemed to be screaming out for a makeover. And everyone knows that you should never separate twins. Neither of the lamps had any crystals on them and they were missing all the lightbulbs as well, but they had potential. And I had a box of  lamp crystals lurking in a drawer.  And have I ever mentioned how obsessed I am with chandeliers? Continue reading

Opulent Candelabra

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I am absolutely in love with those candelabras I’ve seen online, the really romantic looking four and five branched ones that are dripping with crystals and look like the ones that Liberace used to set on his piano.  But I’m not in love with the price. They can run anywhere from $100 dollars to over $300 a piece!  I figured I could probably make my own for a fraction of that cost if I could only find an adequate unadorned candelabra to start with. I wasn’t able to find any here in my area so I checked on Ebay and sure enough there were tons of  brass candelabras starting at about 8 or 9 dollars plus shipping.  I ordered a really pretty one that only set me back about 20 dollars shipping included. Continue reading

Pearl Chandy

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My addiction to chandeliers recently lead me to experiment with decorations other than crystals. I bought two identical hanging lamp fames on sale at a local discount store and I ended up giving each one a completely different look. When I brought these home, the only thing I was sure of was that I’d hang one in each of the two downstairs bedrooms. But the funny shape of the lamps had me stumped for a while and I didn’t quite know what to do with them. I had almost begun to regret the purchase!  But then I rememered that I had tons of pearls in my bead box and I thought they might look interesting hung on one of the lamps. It certainly couldn’t look any worse than when I bought them. I’d seen pictures of pearl chandeliers before and I loved the romantic look they had. Sort of like  a woman wearing dozens of pearl necklaces. Continue reading

Bathroom Chandelier

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Not too long ago I was at the Chinese store just browsing through the aisles and looking at the cool knick knacks, when I spied a little black and gold  ceiling lamp  with a SALE sign on it. It was marked down to 20 dollars and if I paid in cash they told me they’d reduce it even further to 15 dollars.  I handed over the bills and  took it home, silently praying that white spray paint would completely cover and hide the original and unattractive  color of the lamp. I had recently purchased a box of 100 “crystal” teardrops on Ebay as well as 10 yards of crystal octagon chandelier chain so I was set to go and anxious to use them.  To my relief, the off-white spray paint covered the dark colors of the lamp quite effectively and soon I had a creamy white chandelier base ready to have crystals strung on it. Continue reading

Another little lamp re-do

I think I am obsessed with lamps. And with crystals. I can’t seem to be able to look at any lamp anymore without  these wild and uncontrolable thoughts going through my head about how I might dress it up with crystals, or re-do it completely. The other day at the Chinese store  (yes I know I’m obsessed with the Chinese store too) I happened to come across yet another sad looking little lamp hanging unobtrusively in a corner behind some fancy light fixtures. It had no decorations of any kind on it save for five tacky plastic bobeches under each “candle”.  There were no lightbulbs in it either and there was a dusty hand written sign on it that said $10 dollars. Plus 10% discount if you paid in cash. Bargains seem to follow me around wherever I go. Continue reading