Earlier this year I had the joy of marrying the most beautiful man in the world…I know…sickeningly sweet…but it’s true! We spent our honeymoon in Tahiti and I picked up some lovely French Polynesian fabric in the Tahitian market.
I held on to it for a while- not quite sure what I wanted to use it for- and then I had a burst of inspiration- a floor lamp for my reading nook!
I picked up an Ikea Knippe hat and coat stand as the base because I already had a corded light bulb I wanted to use- but if you were starting from scratch you could also pick out a floor lamp base and go from there.
My how-to is below- give it a go! I’ve got a bit of fabric leftover and I’m thinking there might be a cushion how-to coming up soon ;)
I wanted a particular shape for the lampshade- kind of like an upwards facing cone- to project light on to our white roof and refract down. I had an old rice-paper lantern. I tore the paper off and soaked the metal rings in water overnight before scrubbing clean with a metal scourer.
I then ordered the rings in to the shape I was looking for and hung them up from the hooks on the base.
I grabbed some twine and tied three lengths from the top, wrapping around each ring (not tying a knot- so that you can loosen and tighten) and tying at the end- making sure to keep each layer level and well-spaced as I went. Note that I hung the lamp upside-down so that the big end was on the top and that you will need the top and end pieces to loop the cord through at the end for the light.
Once I had a good base I found the best prints on the fabric and arranged the fabric over the base by pinning at intervals around each ring level. Make sure you have left room at the top and the bottom and at either side for a hem before trimming around the bottom.
Before finishing up- remove the shade from it’s hanging spot and hold up the right way around to make sure that the fabric is not pulled or slack in any strange spots and you like the look of it.
(My husband grabbed a sneaky shot of me mid-DIY in my tracksuit- sorry!)
Finally- switch the hem pins so that they are no longer attached to the rings and remove the remaining pins. Slide off the cover and lay flat on the floor to make final trims and neaten up pins to prepare for hemming.
Lay down inside-out so that you can do blind seams (where you pull together either side of the fabric from the inside and machine sew along the length of the fabric). Sew to make one piece but leave top and bottom unhemmed.
Hang rings back up and replace twine with nicer twine- ‘finishing’ as you go with tight knots. Slip cover back on to base and take to sewing machine to sew top and base of fabric over top and base rings.
Slip whole lampshade over your chosen base- pop in your light fitting, as well as the final metal piece that chocks the lampshade open, and…turn on the lights!
Voila! My reading nook- perfected :)
So as you may have read in my earlier blog post, last weekend I went down to Melbourne for a girly weekend away with four of my university girlfriends at the request of the birthday girl.
It was AH-MAZING! There was shopping, eating, comedy shows, music gigs, more shopping, drinking and more than a few lovely Melbourne finds.
You shall be warned that one of said girlfriends introduced me to an iPhone App called istagram. It is not only the funnest way to play with filters on your iPhone pics, it also conveniently re-sizes my pictures to be wordpress ready! I think I will be using this feature a lot more in the future ;)
There was so much activity packed into our weekend, and so many gorgeous and fun photos taken, that I have decided that it will be easier to split up the weekend. So this is #Whimsim: Night and Day 1.
Three of the girls arrived early to make the most of the weekend. My friend and I got the same Tiger Airways flight down Friday night. My work being located so close to the airport, I had time for a quick swim, before catching the train one stop to the airport. Having checked-in online, I sauntered straight to the departure gate where I met up with my friend.
From the airport we managed to navigate ourselves through Tiger Airways ‘Terminal 3′ (aka converted bus terminal :p) to the departure area of the city Sky Bus which took us to Southern Cross Station in Melbourne CBD within 20 minutes. From there we got the free hotel shuttle further into town and closer to
The Nunnery, where we were staying.
The Nunnery is an old convent located at 116 Nicholson Street Fitzroy, just opposite Carlton Gardens, Melbourne Museum and the Exhibition Centre.
Nicholson Street, and the whole Fitzroy area, really appealed to my architectural design sensibilities. There is a wide range of old to modern houses, with every shade of grey in between. Below is Crantown House, a delightfully gothic style house located at number 82.
When my friend and I arrived at the hostel, our three other girlfriends were tucked up in bed! What?! This is meant to be our big weekend away!
We dragged the birthday girl out of bed, had a quick squiz around the hostel, and skuttled down to the closest bar to kick-start the weekend. The other two ‘sickies’ were busy being pikers staying in bed ;)
As you may or may not have noted I have a bit of a fetish for maps. These were some beautiful items framed and mounted on the staircase wall.
After a drink and a bit of a gossip, we tucked ourselves into bed quite early for the anticipated big Saturday.
So here starts the real Day 1. We had a brief sleep-in and tottered off to Campos Coffee at 144 Elgin Street
Carlton. Coooooffffeeee sweet cooooofffffeeee :D
I loved the idea of this plant box in the Campos bathrooms. It was absolutely packed with beautiful glistening greenery and I would love one in the bathroom of my future dream home.
After our coffee break we were ready to hit Brunswick Street for some serious shopping. Luckily it was a gorgeous day in Melbourne and the rainclouds did not so much as rear their ugly heads for the whole day.
In a strange and wonderful 50s and 60s themed store we saw these strange and wonderful fragrances. Gin & Tonic? Dirt? Surprisingly these scents were not only delightful, they were spot-on!
I spied this whimsical light in a high-end fashion store. The sort of store that has such a lack of affordable clothes that you start looking up to avoid spying price-tags at eye-level. Does anyone know who the designer is?
It reminds me of the amazing sky-dive formations I saw when I did the big jump with my boyfriend in Queenstown New Zealand.
This shop was eclectic without being messy. I LOVED their stuf! Unfortunately, after taking this ‘window’ shot and the shot below of my friend, I was asked to ‘Please stop taking photos of the store’. I’m not really sure what this was about, but it’s certainly not a reception I’ve ever seen in Sydney. Perhaps the shop keeper thought I was going to ‘steal’ the stores ideas? Calm down missy. It’s cute, but not really that original.
Shopping on your own is quite a feat, but shopping with four girls? It feels like you’ve done a marathon and it’s not even lunch yet! I had to stop for a quick sugar pick-me-up.
So glad I did too with delicious flavours and a fun artwork (that might look a bit scarily like me?) at Trampoline Gelato 381 Brunswick Street.
Just across the road I stumbled across Fitzroy Nursery. I guess the thing that caught my eye about this place, was that in such an urban, busy area of town, there was still space for a bit of greenery to nudge its way in-between the clothing stores and trendy cafes.
I had an idea a while ago to create a similar space in Sydney. I had just moved into Newtown and was looking for some urban courtyard varieties of plants for my garden and planter boxes. There was nowhere around! So I thought: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a nursery that specialised in simple urban varieties and had a nice place in the shade to sip on a coffee or two?”.
There is now a similar nursery down the south end of King Street, but still no nice place in the shade to rest your weary gardener’s knees.
This little guy reminded me that Easter is just around the corner! This week I will be posting a blog about cute DIY Easter gift ideas, so check back in in a couple of days. I know you will love my idea, it’s so cute!
One of my friends had continued wandering while I was busy eating gelato ;) She found the best second-hand shop we stepped into by far, Sheila Vintage at 382.
I found this amazing pencil skirt for work on the $25 rack! It’s a write-off purchase because I’ll wear it at work…right?
All of my friends from uni are in the media industry. We organised our whole weekend via Twitter, a little over Facebook for those ideas that just cannot be expressed in 140 characters or less. Does it show? :p
I wizzed into T2 to grab some sample tea. My desk at work is covered in T2 varieties to suit my mood; Early Grey to wake me up, English Brekafast (with a dash of milk) for a rainy afternoon, China Jasmine for the mornings or White Rose to make me feel clear-headed.
I love their range of tea accessories almost as much as I love their tea. How decadent to place this tea-light fueled glass teapot on the table at the end of a wonderful dinner party. I’m thinking a Turkish-inspired blend?
We stopped into this gorgeous store Harem at 248 Brunswick Street.
Another reminder of Easter came from these fluffy little guys! Wouldn’t they look just gorgeous out on the grass for an easter-egg hunt?
Trotting along from Harem some of the girls disappeared into a designer outlet store to try on jeans. It wasn’t really doing it for me, so when I spotted super classic furniture and styling store Wilkins and Kent, Brunswick Street lost me to
This was a cute, but slightly over-priced clothing and accessories store Kinki Gerlinki, at 209 Sydney Road Brunswick. I absolutely adored their modern vs Chanel plastic bow elastic belts and thermal carriers.
When my paternal grandmother passed away my father discovered rolls of beautiful old Masonic and Army certificates of recognition belonging to the men of my family.
My father had them in a cardboard slip under his bed in an attempt to protect them, so my sister and I decided to look into more beautiful, and chemically appropriate, archiving options. I tell you, apart from framing each individual one, there were not many options! This is where the amazing Zetta Florence stepped in.
Zetta Florence is a beautiful archival and signature stationery store based in Melbourne, but they post far and wide. I will post photos one day of the gorgeous teal coloured archival box that they put together for us, but there is a photo of a similar one below.
Their flagship store is located at 197 Brunswick Street, and I had to have a quick browse while my friends were grabbing us a table at the Little Creatures Dining Hall, just across the road at 222.
Luckily for me, there was a seat, ordered tapas, a pot (or perhaps a pint…) of Little Creatures Pipsqueak cider and four gorgeous friends waiting for me when I had finished my shopping spree.
Julia bought this gorgeous little bird hairpiece from Harem.
Alongside maps I have a love of all things Alice. I don’t know why, but I love everything to do with Alice in Wonderland. I think I identified with the confused and magical little girl in the book, and loved to dream of crazy, far-away places where unexplainable things are the norm.
At 159 Brunswick Street, Alice & Co. is a store devoted to orginal and near-perfect reproductions of unique Alice in Wonderland prints. When I was living in the UK I bought a gorgeous 1920s print of Alice, the mock turtle and the griffin at Portobello markets, and from the looks of this display window, I knew I wouldn’t be leaving this shop empty-handed.
Finally we made it down to Blackbird market, located in The Worker’s Club on the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude Streets.
I saw these quirky jewelry designs by Grandma’s Florals and decided to get a scrabble ring; ‘A’ after my boyfriend :)
After all that walking, we shuffled into a Mexican-themed furniture and decoration store that was closing down. The birthday girl spied these surprisingly comfortable rubber-tubing chairs. They were just what we needed for a quick break.
When we started to drift-off we decided that a whole day of shopping was enough to warrant a focused bee-line back to the hostel quick nap before dinner. But at over $400 per chair I don’t think any of us could afford to be taking one away with us :/
This is one for my boyfriend. I can see this taking pride of place on the mantelpiece of our future dream home :D
Tune back in: #Whimsim: Night 2 and #Whimsim: Day 2 and Night 3 COMING SOON!
Thanks for reading The Nookbook.
With summer approaching, I’ve been dragging out all my old dresses. Having returned from Europe, most of my clothes are looking a charming shade of grey.
This particular dress used to be an old favourite. Bartered for in Bali, this LWD was a steal at $7. Unfortunately it has lost its ‘sparkle’ so to speak, but I hate to see a good thing go.
SO I decided to give it a makeover! Follow the steps below if you’d like to turn an old favourite into a new star :D
1. Choose a dress with straps that go from front to back like bra straps and a skirt that is long, wide and flowy.
2. Measure the length you would like your skirt to be and add at least 4 cm. There’s nothing worse than a skirt that is so short it rides up!
3. Mark out the whole hem line with pins or sewing pencil if the fabric is dark. Cut off the bottom of the skirt in clean, long lines.
4. Hem the skirt roughly with just one turn and cut the remaining fabric into two even parts.
5. Measure out fabric pieces on straps and cut off extra allowing room to hem the edges. Hem the bottom and edges of the remaining fabric pieces and affix to straps with pins.
6. Sew along straps to create sleeves.
7. Measure out thick elastic to width of your skirt bottom minus about 4 cm. Fold inside hem with just one turn, pin in place and sew carefully to avoid sewing actual elastic in place.
8. Try on the dress and make final adjustments. Now you can leave the dress like this, tulip skirt and flowy sleeves, or you can dye it to make an entirely new dress.
9. Choose fabric dye and pay special attention to method instructions to achieve the desired colour. I chose a powdered fabric dye that allowed me to tie-dye my dress by soaking in a bucket of hot dye overnight.
Tie-dying is a bit of a trial-and-error method, but that’s what makes it fun! I used rubber bands wrapped around the fabric in random sections to create varied patterns.
10. Once my dress had soaked in fabric dye overnight I washed it out thoroughly in cold water and allowed it to drip dry in the sun. I then used fabric paint for flecks of gold colour throughout the pattern.
This turned out as a very different dress than the one that I had! You could stop at any stage throughout the process, depending on how far away from the original dress you want to get and what the dress was originally like.
Thanks for reading The Nookbook