Wednesday, February 29, 2012

d.i.why not? mod bubble pendant light


today's the big day!  so happy to finally reveal  the results of my first diy of 2012.  i like to call it my mod bubble light! took me long enough, right???  i don't want to jinx myself by exclaiming that my run of recent diy disasters have finally come to an end!  this is the 3rd pendant light i have ever created and made (the first was brass and the second wood) and i think it really is true that the 3rd time is the charm!  i love it an i hope you do too!  it seems fitting to start the year (yes, i do realize that it is almost 3 months into the year...) off with a bang with a diy light.  especially since i am in the midst of my lighting design class!

so, a little background on where i got the idea for this light... as you all know i have been an intern for a while now.  one resource THE designer uses for cool vintage lighting, furniture and accessories is this fab website called 1st dibs.   now, it's WAY out of my price range (it is not targeted toward mere mortals like me, especially 40 year old interns!!  it is more for the pop stars and corporate ceo's wallets.) however it provides really great inspiration when shopping for pieces from local markets and thrift stores.  i can spend hours and hours trolling this site and dreaming about possibly finding something just as fabulous at one of my local haunts for a fraction of the 1st dibs price.  the ny times printed a funny article a few months back that focused on 1st dibs envy.   the writer did such a great job describing all of the feelings that i get every time i visit that site! i encourage you to visit 1st dibs and then read this ny times article! i guarantee you will relate as i could! anyhoo.... so, as i was saying... i was trolling the site and i happened on this beauty.
an austrian glass and brass chandelier from the 1960's that could be mine for a mere $1800 (actually cheap by 1st dibs standards).  when i spotted it a few months ago i immediately pinned it to my pinterest lighting board!  and since the store that sells it is located in la i had to see it in person... and i have visited my light more than once and, yes, it is just as amazing as in the photos online which made me even more determined to figure out a way to create a diy light that resembled this! 

i knew i needed to design something that had all of the elements that i love about this.  the structured mod design, the translucent golden look and the clear bubbles!  and i wanted to be sure that a lot of light would shine through those bubbles and reflect off the golden finish!  and i wanted it to look as amazing turned off as it does when lit! oh, and i live in a very old apartment building with crumbling plaster walls that are almost 100 years old so everything i hang from the ceiling needs to be lightweight (which the original glass chandelier is not)!  i think i achieved all of that..

so, here are the tools i used:
  • 5 dozen acrylic bubble ornaments (you can find them online in the off season or at michaels stores at christmas time.  i was lucky enough to find mine at a place in downtown la called the craft depot)
  • 4 sheets of stiff 12" x 18" plastic canvas (the same stuff you use for needlepoint crafts! at michaels they are .49 a sheet!)
  • thin brass wire
  • gold metallic spray paint (i used my trusty rustoleom metallic gold)
  •  60 zip ties (one bag from my local 99 cent only store)
  • 2 - 12" diameter embroidery hoops
  • balsa wood and dowels
  • lighting kit (mine was from ikea)
  • e-6000 transparent glue
and here's how to make it:
  1.  spray paint your plastic canvas on both sides
  2. assemble the acrylic bubble ornaments - they come in halves and i used a tiny bit of e-6000 glue to attach the sides to each other
  3. spray paint the top of the zip ties
  4. use your brass wire to weave the edges of the sheets of plastic canvas to each other so that you have one long flat sheet
  5. thread each bubble ornament onto a zip tie in order to attach to the plastic canvas, tighten, and trim the excess tie off (the great thing about the grid of the plastic is that you can be sure everything is symmetrical and evenly spaced!)
  6. wrap your plastic canvas around the embroidery hoop (i only used the insides) and attach the ends together using brass wire.
  7. wrap the circumference of the top and bottom of the cylinder with brass wire (securing the embroidery hoop inside of the plastic canvas in order to help in maintain its shape)
  8. add a dab of e-6000 glue to attach the globe ornaments to each other in their vertical rows (otherwise they will flop around)
  9. cut the balsa wood and dowels to fit snugly under the top embroidery hoop and make a hole to feed the light fixture through (i followed the same directions as on my wooden pendant but reinforced it with dowels glued to the bottom of the balsa wood)
  10. hang your light and jump for joy at how super fabulous it looks!!

this week i was nominated for a homies award from apartment therapy in both the diy and home design blog categories.  ballots must be cast by this friday! if you like what you see on my blog i would love for you to visit  apartment therapy and vote for me in both (you're allowed!) or whichever category you choose!  i am quite a ways away from the top vote contenders but just getting the votes i have gotten is pretty cool! hard to believe that this time last year i was a newbie blogger!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, February 27, 2012

motel mondays: part 13

happy motel monday! today's motel is the flamingo motel! located in north hollywood california.  i am not afraid to admit that i love nothing more than pink flamingos!  i do have a dream of having a groovy little california bungalow with a pink flamingo lined walkway from my house to a vintage airstream trailer that would function as a studio/ guest room.  i feel like the folks that designed this sign could have added a bit more pink flamingo pop to it! yeah, from some of my past diys (hello hot pink geomtric rug), you probably clued into my love of pink.

a couple of years ago some friends and i traveled to the shady dell airstream trailer park in bisbee arizona and spent a few nights in the vintage airstreams.  and the pink flamingos lining the property really added such a fun punch of color!  and really, what else could go so perfectly with an astroturf lawn????

flamingo art inside one of the trailers!
i am spending the day installing my latest diy project and i will be making the big reveal this week! so excited for you all to see it and i hope you love it as much as i do!  it seems fitting that this project is being revealed this week as i am in the midst of taking a lighting design class and as most of us know, lighting is everything!  so, you may have guessed, it is a light!! and hopefully you will all think it is as groovy as the mod brass pendant light i created and demo'd on the nate berkus show

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, February 20, 2012

motel mondays: part 12

happy motel monday! today's vintage motel sign is the safari inn, located in beautiful burbank california.  i snapped this pic when i ventured into the valley, en route to ikea in search of a few diy supplies, one night last week. i have always loved this sign and think it looks pretty cool lit up.

spring semester at school started last week and i am taking lighting design this term.  i can't wait to learn about lighting but i was not so excited that my class is at night and ends at 9:30.  i was really dreading that fact but thankfully my instructor is super cool and super high energy and stayed that way until the very end of class so i stayed awake. phew! i hope she can keep it up until june!!  oh, and she apparently started her career designing the lighting for depeche mode when they toured the world in the 1980's.  of course, i think i might have been the only person in class alive in the 80s and old enough to have been a fan of the band and very impressed by that.  we have a project due for the next class where we need to pick a song and create a presentation board filled with material samples and colors the evoke the feelings that come from listening to the song and the lyrics.  is it wrong that want to do it a little backwards... i really want to pick a song that represents the materials that i am currently obsessed with and already have posted on the current inspiration board hanging in my office?

this past weekend at one of my favorite local flea markets i happened upon these wonderful vintage post office boxes.  oh to have the room for a gift wrap & craft room like candy spelling!  wouldn't they be perfect for organizing tons of supplies and ribbons in all of these little compartments??  i just love the look of them.  The golden brass color is amazing!

so, right now i have 3 diy projects in the works.  two of them are pretty detailed and time intensive and the 3rd is a newer, easier one.  working on 3 at once was probably not the smartest idea.  i moved on to start one while waiting for paint to dry during the process of the other.  and the third came to me last week when my new cousin-in-law to be reached out for advice on wedding decorations (which i can't wait to help with creating!).  now i have a mess of projects in the works on my dining room table, kitchen counter and my living room floor.  oh well. hopefully i will be able to complete them all pretty soon and then just flood my blog with lots of great after photos!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, February 13, 2012

motel mondays: part 11

so, today's vintage motel is the fab silver saddle motel!  it is not too far from one of my friend darin's and my fave vintage stores.   i totally love the sign.  but what i love even more is the super fabulous horse on the building. 

oh, yeah!  the designers of this little gem were not afraid to fully embrace the theme!

i chose today's motel, the silver saddle, for a few reasons.  as you may have noticed, i have yet to post a diy for 2012.  i've had visions of amazing projects for 2012 because 2011 was so awesome.  i haven't had a lot of time since i returned from nepal to devote to my diys and sadly the few attempts i have made so far have produced disasterous results.  like the bathroom wall painting fiasco thanks to frog tape which produced before and after photos that i didn't bother sharing of white walls that became another shade of white.  yeah, impressive.  well, i am happy to say that i am back in the saddle again! phew!!

last week in metalsmithing class i made this groovy brass cuff bracelet.  first one i've ever made and i have to say i am pretty proud of the results!  and i love how when you heat brass it bring out this rose gold color because of the copper within... it is nowhere near perfect but i'm happy i was able to do it!  even more excited about this week's class

i am putting the finishing touches on what will hopefully be my first successful diy of 2012... unless disaster hits i will be sharing it with you very soon.  here's a tiny hint of what's to come...

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Monday, February 6, 2012

motel mondays: part 10

so, today's motel is the fabulous ritz motel!  located not too far from the great vintage stores my friend darin and i had such success at a few weeks ago.  my favorite thing about the ritz motel is that it has hbo and so very proud of that fact that it is big and bold on the sign... surely that is what makes it worthy of the name the ritz!  i also love the groovy diamond zigzag detail on the building with fab blue tile mosaic inlaid into them...
so, i got sucked in to spending hours on pinterest this weekend.  it really is addictive! anyhow, i did learn something new during that time... someone following one of my boards commented on the photos of the bold black and white street art on some construction barracades on la brea avenue that i posted a few weeks ago.  turns out they were painted by a well know artist named aaron de la cruz and he did it all freehand!!! and you can watch a video of him doing it! so cool! makes me love it even more than i already did! wonder if i can hire him to paint my bathroom for me?

this weekend was fabulous and the weather was amazing, in the mid 70's.  below are a couple of pics i took yesterday from my favorite hike in the pacific palisades.  so stunning and views like this make me so grateful that i live in los angeles!

busy week full of fun design projects (i have two new clients!), interning, diy-ing and marketing consulting.  hoping to share results from at least one project with you by the end of the week...

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern

Friday, February 3, 2012

alligator tales...

this week has been a little disappointing on the diy front for me. i had this big plan of painting amazing bold black and white geometric designs on my boring white bathroom walls... well, on monday while trying to tape out the design i learned that whatever cheap paint my thrifty landlady put on the walls was prohibiting any tape from sticking to them.  so, i rushed to home depot to get frog tape since that supposedly works.  nope, didn't work. the tape stuck in a few parts of the wall and then wouldn't adhere in others. and then when i pulled it down in frustration, it ripped layers of old paint off the parts of the wall that it stuck to. nuts. so, instead of bold black and white graphic prints i repainted the whole room in boring off white to cover the mess left by the frog tape so that i can start over. what a bummer.  i am on to my next diy while waiting for my base coat to cure...
i have a really fun story to share with you involving that bit of alligator skin you see at the top of this post.  if you've been following my blog for a bit you have heard of my love of my metal smithing class at barnsdall art center.  that's where i have had the opportunity to create all sorts of groovy jewelry as well as the fabulous brass pendant light that i demo'd on the nate berkus show with the man himself.  i've also met some of the coolest most creative gals in this class. you may remember angela, mentioned a few weeks back with the peacock blue painted rug diy... my class is such a fun few hours a week that i really look forward to! (picture us like the steel magnolias ladies -with a token fab male instructor- wielding torches and jewelers' saws instead of scissors and rollers while gossiping a bit)...

well, one of these gals continues to amaze me!  her name is juliette (photo above).  she learned how to make jewelry at about the same time as me but her skill level has far surpassed mine.  anyhow, she is always challenging herself and creating amazing pieces with new materials.  like, while walking on the beach with her family last summer she happened upon some pebbles and was immediately inspired to work with them... next thing you know she has created the coolest cocktail ring out of a once boring black pebble.  that sort of amazing stuff.  yep, i am a bit envious... here are a couple of examples of her work so you get the idea...
she was once a botanical artist so is inspired by all things relating to nature
well, last week in class she shows me this alligator skin. during her christmas vacation she went to florida and 'caught' said alligator and took him home with her.  i have pasted the story as she tells it below.  and when you read it be sure to insert a very british accent behind those words, she normally seems so proper and elegant and not like a knife wielding alligator slicing sort of gal...  another reason this story makes me smile.

in the words of my friend juliette - the "gator girl"

The photo above is me with the beast in Florida. It was donated -defleshed (phew!) and frozen by Trapper Jeff of Pesky Critters of Fort Lauderdale, found and removed from someone's backyard...

I defrosted it, cut it up into manageable pieces, covered them in salt , rolled them up and put them in zip lock bags in my luggage, terrified the sniffer dogs would get me at LAX. ( note official tag from tail certifying a legal catch!!) 

Once back home, I thought: what now??!! So  I typed into Google: How to tan an alligator skin! You'd be amazed how many entries there are!!!  It sounded SOooooo complicated, primitive, scary, smelly and dangerous, but I like to rise to a challenge, learn new skills and I know how to follow a recipe.

I tried to buy some chemicals at Rite Aid and CVS , and had to explain each time what they were for. They looked at me as if I was mad or lying.  In the end I ordered the toxic chemicals from various taxidermy sights ( quite yukky having to navigate through lists of supplies including eyeballs!!!).  

The whole process took 4 weeks during which I felt as though I was in 'Breaking Bad' with my rubber gloves, face mask , stirring buckets of acid ( in the back yard right outside my bedroom door) and testing ph levels at regular intervals. It was completely stressful as I never took chemistry at school and I was utterly out of my depth! I had several nightmares that the beast would come alive and come and bite my head off.

This is the tanned skin hanging up to dry in my back yard:

Every day for 2 weeks I had to roll it and stretch it out to stop it going stiff.
But you've seen the evidence, and I think it WORKED!!!!!

i should also mention that juliette's husband was very impressed with her newly found gator hide tanning skills! and she is now in the process of turning the large piece you see hanging on the right into a clutch bag and then smaller pieces into groovy cuff bracelets mixed with metal.  i can't wait to see the finished pieces and share photos of them with you all! and i showed a couple of  the photos of the skin to one of the designers at my internship who was very impressed as well! we both thought it would be amazing for covering a chair...

and fingers crossed i will have my own diy success this weekend and will have something amazing of my own to share soon...

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern