Thursday, January 23, 2014

DIY Drum shade light fixture

Remember when I said we had 3 "boob" lights in view from our front door?  I checked the local Ikea in town to see if they had light fixtures to replace the "boob" light, and there were a few drum lights to choose from, but I just didn't think they were fun enough.  Check them out here and here.  Honestly, I felt like I would be replacing one "boob" light for another.  

Luckily, I came across a tutorial on how to create my own drum shade for the ceiling here.   It includes a video too.  I didn't like how they used poster board to make it, so I used one of the suggestions in the comments section to make my own with quilter's plastic.  The tutorial link above also stresses it should not be used for light fixtures that use incandescent bulbs.

Here she is:

I spy with my little eye, 3 light fixtures in a 25 foot space...

I went with a gray chevron because I heard from a little birdie over at Wool and Flax that gray creates a "homier" and more mature space.  Forget Pinterest, Wool and Flax is where I get all my home decor inspiration.  I'm slowly working a few neutrals into my life, so why not start here.  
Here's a brief tutorial of how I made mine: 

What you will need:
  • 2 14 inch embroidery hoops
  • 1 Quilter's clear plastic sheet for the sides 
  • 2 Quilter's opaque plastic sheets for the diffuser panel 
  • Fabric in the pattern of your choice
  • Thin white fabric
  • Binder clips
  • Hot glue gun
  • Mod Podge 
  • Silver paint
  • Eyelet screws
  • Twine or metal hooks
I owe my Mom a huge THANK YOU for sending me a box full of supplies.  It was like Christmas over here when I opened the box!  The Arts and Crafts Center on post didn't have any 14 inch embroidery hoops in stock, and I didn't feel like searching all over town.  What would the world do without moms?  We had fun FaceTime-ing and shopping together for fabrics.

Okay here we go!

**Step 1**
Cut the clear quilter's plastic in half and use binder clips to attach it to the embroidery hoops.  Then use a hot glue gun to permanently attach it and remove the binder clips as you go.  
**Step 2**
Iron, cut, and hot glue gun the fabric to fit around your plastic drum shade.  Mine was the perfect length, so I didn't have to piece together the fabric around the drum shade.  When gluing the fabric you only need a small amount near the embroidery hoops.  You don't want the glue to show when the light is on.  

**Step 3**
Add your eyelet screws.  You should check your light fixture to see where is the best location to put them in order to hang your drum shade.  No tools necessary, these babies screw right in the hoop. 
**Step 4**
I added a silver paint here to the inner side of the embroidery hoop.  You can also add ribbon or other fabrics too!
**Step 5**
Use your opaque quilter's plastic to make a diffuser panel for the bottom of the drum.  I needed to piece together two for my 14 inch drum shade.  Trace around the outside of the drum shade, so the piece you cut out fits nicely on the inner lip of the embroidery hoop. Cut it out and add a white fabric using Mod Podge.  

**Step 6**
Time for hanging!    This was a bit tedious but it finally made it up there.  Make sure you leave enough space for the air to circulate and heat to dissipate.  Use metal hooks or twine to hang it.  When you finish add the diffuser panel to hide the bulbs, and you're finished!  

Here is what our living room looked like before:
**Emma - "Oh, am I in the picture again?"**

And now:
**sleepy dog**
As you can see I did this project during Christmas time, so please ignore our pitiful Charlie Brown tree. We're waiting for the lights to burn out on this 7 year old, $30 Wal-Mart tree that I bought during my graduate school days.  To add to it's sad state we accidentally stored some of our bulbs back in the states.
Here's what the room looks like without Christmas decor:

I like this drum light because it will be so easy to change the fabric when I get tired of the chevron pattern.  I've also seen people use it to replace hanging light fixtures like here or cover up ceiling fan lights like here, and also cover spider lights like here.  So versatile, right?   What do you think?  Can you use one of these in your home?  Do you think it adds more character to our living room?  I'm having mixed emotions about all of the different patterns in this small space.  Eh, it will do for now.  Don't worry, I have a new craft project on the horizon to potentially replace the wall art.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Belgium friend visit - Bruges and Brussels

Boom!   Two posts in one week.  I must be bored.  No, just trying to blog about our trips before I forget about them all.  After stopping in Köln, we finally made it to Mons, Belgium late Thanksgiving day.  It was great to be re-united with friends from the states.  The guys were in the same OBC class, had the same first duty station, and now are both in Europe.  Our friends are stationed at SHAPE in Belgium.  Only a 4 hour drive away.  We took advantage of this closeness and decided to take a trip out to visit them for Turkey day.  
All Smiles!

They live about 1.5 hours from Bruges, so our first day we ventured out to see this town.  We enjoyed visiting this small town on the water.  It was gorgeous.  Luckily they had been there a few times and knew all of the good places to go.  

They are pros at strolling on cobblestone!

Beautiful canals were everywhere! 

We enjoyed our second Christmas market!

We ate Belgian waffles and drank good Belgian beer.  Yes, waffles taste waaaay better in Belgium.  Maybe because of the Belgian chocolate and whip cream on top?  

We also had a good time showing their daughter the Disney Frozen ice sculpture display.  

Ice slide!!!!

Our final day there we decided to go see some sights in Brussels.  This was only a 45 min drive from their house.  We first saw the Atonium, which was built in for the 1958 World's Fair.  It's a model of an Iron Crystal.  We went all the way to the top and saw a great view of Brussels.
This one's for you, Moira!

Next we ventured to mini-Europe.  It sounds corny, but it was neat to see tiny replicas of places around Europe.  It was also a good way to see and learn about all of the places Europe has to offer.  
View of mini Europe from the top of the Atonium.
We had a great time visiting this family, and are super jealous of their great location that is so close to Bruges and Brussels.  Next time we'll check out the beautiful downtown of Brussels.  Thanks for the awesome time, friends!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Our first Christmas market in Cologne

This post is way over due, as most of my posts are normally.  We visited Cologne, or Köln as it is written in German, on our way to visit friends in Belgium for Thanksgiving (post to come soon, that's right I'm waayyy behind).  We didn't realize how close this little gem of a city is to Wiesbaden.  It's only an hour and a half away!  I see a few more trips in our future when the weather is a bit nicer.

Here's the Dom in all of its glory.  Building started in 1248 but it wasn't finished until 1880.  It's the largest Gothic style church in Northern Europe, and its spires are the second tallest.  You can't even see the top of the spires because it was such a dreary, rainy, typical German day, but it still looks ah-mazing even without them.  

The Christmas market is right next to the Dom.  Christmas markets are the Germans' way of creating a winter time event that involves drinking.  No, not beer but this amazing stuff called Glühwein.  It's a red wine with mulling spices and raisins.  It keeps you warm on the inside while you look at tons of tiny shops selling Christmas nick-nacks.  You can find everything from Christmas ornaments to deer pelts.  We had our fair share of Glühwein and fried snacks during the season and are still working off the LBs.  

Isn't it beautiful?  We sipped Glühwein and admired the neo-gothich architecture.  You can see a glimpse of the spires now.

 We shared our first Christmas market with no one other than, drum roll please.....Emma.  She loved trolling the ground for food, which has forever ruined her 'heeling' when we visit downtown Wiesbaden.

We took turns touring the inside of the Dom, since we had Emma with us, and unfortunately we learned that they close down parts of the Dom during services.  I took my sweet time, and poor Sam was rushed out and missed parts of the Dom.  Maybe he'll learn from my blog for once.

This entryway reminds me of Notre Dame in Paris and the dom in Trier.   

We're so fortunate that our friends Annie and Jeff left us with their Rick Steves' books during our friend trip visit.  We weren't going to buy this guy's books after we saw what he had to say about Wiesbaden.  See for yourself....


Not cool Rick, not cool.  I guess in his opinion the hot water baths of Roman times with healing powers aren't worth seeing.  So, sad.  We love our city, Rick! And Rüdesheim is gorgeous too.  Remember our visit with our new friends?  I'm not even sure if he is thinking logically here, Mainz is where the Gutenberg Press was founded. His books would have never been mass produced without that city.

{On a side note, do you like my nail polish? It's my first time using a matte finish.  So different and fun!}

Unfortunately, we couldn't really write him off because that guy really does know how to put together a walking tour.  Without him I'd just be wandering around saying, "oh, that's pretty and looks really old" for our whole time in Germany.  However, the first letter of his name will forever be replaced with a D instead of an R in our household.   

Moving on, *ick (I don't know why I can't write that name, since it's actually a real name, but it just seams a bit crude to put on the interwebs) says that this crucifix was the first one to show Jesus dead and not in the usual triumphant or suffering way of crucifixes during this time. It was built in the 970s, some 300 years before it's time in a theological sense.  Pretty interesting, huh? 

*ick Steves wins again!  These are the relics of the 3 wise men.  This is the most celebrated work of art in the cathedral.  It holds the remains of the 3 wise men.  These were acquired by Frederick Barbarossa at the conquest of Milan in 1164.   In 1864 the shrine was opened and it contained bones and garments.  How would I have ever guessed that without the walking tour?  I mean it looks really important behind the glass and all shiny, but I would have never known the 3 wise men were right there in front of me!

 This stained glass is the original glass in the Dom. Like many cathedrals, during WWII the glass was taken down and stored under ground to protect it from being damaged during the bombings.  Kölner Dom was hit 14 times by bombs and it did not collapse.

One of the last statues you see in the cathedral is one of St. Christopher carrying baby Jesus. It was cool to look up at him and think of the many travelers and pilgrims who passed by him and hoped he would watch out for them. 

We really enjoyed the Christmas market in Köln, and Emma did too.  She did a pretty good job when she saw "friends" around (friend is our code word to each other when we see another dog).  And she made out like a bandit with the German old ladies.  They loved her "Kleine Ohren" (tiny ears in German), and one woman fed her half of a schnitzel sandwich.

Our first Glühwein mug!  We're working on collecting as many as we can before we leave.  

Family pic.  Big hair and all...  

Lessons learned on the blog today, travel with a jacket with a hood in Germany to prevent wet hair and don't go anywhere without *ick's books. 

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