Monday, October 10, 2011

O.C.D. "october chandelier decorating" pt 2

Thanks for hanging in there with me-
no pun intended!
I'm trying to be clever with my post titles, which I hope will not translate to "annoying".
Last week I posted a picture of my entry way chandelier which I had begun decorating for autumn, 
thus the title "A.B.C." (Autumn Boas and Chandeliers). 
The only problem is that once I had finished, 
I wasn't quite happy, 
which lunked the whole thing into the "work in progress" category. 
I really wondered if I'd finish it up considering 1) I don't care for Halloween much, and 2) it's a bunch of effort for a short run. October is already in full swing.
However, I had ended my post with something along the lines of "I'm creative, I'll think of something for those candle sticks" and that little thought kept nagging me. I didn't realize that I had challenged myself and the 2 % of competitive spirit that I have within me would rise to the occasion and 
would not be satisfied until I addressed 
the situation, 
or I should say "dressed the situation" since it's all about 
dressing up this beautiful chandelier that is the very first thing you see
(if you look up)
when you enter my home.
So, I'm delighted to say,
 I did it!
I used my creative juice
and without spending another penny on this thing,
I did come up with a solution.
I think it's simple, fun, and applicable to any traditional style chandelier, 
so I've attempted to walk you through what I've done,
in the event that you might want to dress up yours some day.
With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas down the street,
the possibilities are present. 
The right side of my brain is already dreaming up what kinds of amber glitz, spraying twigs and burlap bows I can add for Thanksgiving and the left side of my brain is saying, "slow your roll!"
Anyways, speaking of "rolls" I had a few rolls of orange and black tulle ribbon left over from last year and from the shopping spree last week, along with the pipecleaners. Also there was a bit of black tissue paper in the laundry/craft room. 
I have taught art classes, Sunday School, and done countless tissue paper flowers in my life time. We've  used them for Mother's Day Gifts, handed them out at nursing homes, pinned them to sweaters, tied them as gift toppers, made centerpieces out of them, but it had never occured to me to use them on the chandelier-until now!
Then with all the leftover orange tulle I decided to wrap the lampshades. 
Two of the easiest projects on earth!
(Seriously easy. If a project is hard I don't usually do it. I need quick execution and instant gratification. So please trust me that when I say "it's easy", it's EASY!)
So first lets tackle the tissue paper flower.
Here's what I used for each one:

(1) 2 in. square of orange tulle
(2) 2 in. squares of black tulle
(1/2) orange pipe cleaner 
about (8) 1 1/2 square pieces of black tissue paper
(1) 1 in. square orange tulle (optional)
(I am guesstimating on the measurements but the size depends on your preference and design project and the squares do not need to be perfect.) 
You can change the effect of your flower petals by using pinking shears or scissors with creative tips.
I went basic because I had time constraints.
The tulle is for a little floofy bit for the rosette to rest in, sort of a reference to leaves. 
So I started by taking the orange square and folding it in half.

Then in half again.

Again, not perfect.
Each one should be like leaves in that no two are exactly the same.
(or is that snowflakes? or both? yeah, both!)
Then holding it in my fingers like that,
I folded it like a triangle, like this:

Where I am pinching it to hold together, I folded that little tip back up just enough so that I could snip
a hole just wide enough for the pipecleaner to poke through. A very little snip. I held it still so that the layers would not get muddled up while poking with the pipecleaner.

Now, see in the above picture, the tip of the pipecleaner? It's a prickly little devil and will drive you nuts and puncture you if you don't bend it just a hair. You want to poke through the fluffy tip of the pipe cleaner because it will slide right through the netting.

At this point you can trim the netting to look like a leaf, if that pleases you. I like to wait until the whole unit is finished before I make those decisions. So I left mine. 
Next, do the exact same thing with the two black squares, one at a time.

In the picture above you'll see my stack of black petals. I just scooted each one around until the corners alternated to my liking. That floof on top is the optional orange small tulle. I thought it would make a nice stem in the center. It did but I'm calling it optional because it took much more finessing than I'd like to admit and didn't show well on the finished product. I did one without and it was o.k.
I took the whole stack of shifted petals and softly folded in half just to get a snip in the center for the pipe cleaner to go through.
The optional stem, I just wadded up and folded in half, trying very carefully to get a snip in all the layers for the pipe cleaner.

Ok. So all I can tell you at this point is to have fun with it and find out what works for you. For my flowers, I like to start at the top layer foldsmooshpinchandfluff (I made up that word and it's the best word for what you are to do.)
The folding is loose, the pinching is tight and at the middle of the petal. You pinch around the stem. You don't want creases, but the pinching will give a little bit of body to the tissue. The smooshing and fluffing is what you do, just  a little as you go to get the look of a flower. That is the best way I can explain it. It is one of those things that you will see as you go. It's super fun. Don't expect it to be perfect and don't expect each one to be the same. Flowers in nature are each unique and these will be too. Just have fun manipulating the paper and be thrilled as you see a little flower start to bloom in your hand.

This little step is similar to the petals in that it's difficult to explain. I have attempted to explain and show you what I mean. Once all of the petals are floofed, you will need to "tie up" the florette so that it stays put. You need to be the boss of this tissue or it will naturally try to resist you and "stretch back out".
I softly wrapped my hand around the base of the flower-tulle and all- and gently squeezed it in my left hand. That is the above picture.
Carefully with my right hand I firmly grabbed the top of the pipe cleaner and began to "tie it off". With my flower hand turning toward my body and the pipe cleaner hand wrapping away from my body, I just wrapped the pipe cleaner around the base one good, super tight, tiny lap.

The object is to keep the composition held together and the pipe cleaner works geniusly (made it up) well. Don't do more than one lap around or you may not have enough pipe cleaner to attach it around the candle stick.

Now turn it over and see if it needs any more floofing. This one does. Not much though.

Now I'm going to show you how to cover the lamp shades.
I'm laughing because all I need to do is tell you that I took a really long strip of orange tulle ribbon and threaded it through the lamp shade, making sure the loose lends were underneath and "pinching" the ends with a little tiny pipe cleaner.
But if I stopped there then you wouldn't get to see all the pretty pictures. 
So here we go.

Just pretend as you're reading that this is complicated and that I'm speaking in a calm, smooth, yoga teacher style voice. 
Now class, 
streeeeeeeeeetch that tulle O-ver the top of the lamp shade.

 Thaaaaat's it. Yeaaaah. Now feel the tulle slide through your fingers, not tooooo fast, breathe, that's it.

 Now back up around pulling geeeeeeently. GEEEEntly. Breathe. 

Now UUUUUP, OVer. Tuck it in. Tuck it in. Nice job ladies.....
Now exhale.
Now relaaaax.
You've done great work ladies.

Now back to normal voice. Wasn't that fun? I thought it was. I got myself so relaxed I forgot what we were doing here. Then I remembered the yoga class I took when the very cute SaraJessicaParkerLookingInstructer stretched down to put her palms on the floor and farted a very loud squeaker and now I'm not so relaxed. It's o.k. to laugh. She did. She totally laughed out an apology something to the effect of she'd been doing that all day.
Back to pretty things.
Now you have a shade to hang up.
Now I will confess another thing.
I don't THINK this is a fire hazard.
The candle bulbs are very low wattage and if it's starts to smell weird I'll just turn the thing off. I'm pretty sure that lots of lamp shades are fabric and they don't burst into flame.
All I'm sayin' is that,
I'm not sure.
But isn't it pretty?!
Now hang em' up!
I'd show you a picture but remember that I'm afraid of heights so that means that the 3rd step of the ladder brings me great anxiety and I can not possibly stand precariously up there, with expensive camera in hand, hold on for dear life and with the other hand hang the pretty things.
That would take 3 hands, I have two, so... you get the picture.
And this picture.

I'm so happy.
I'm so happy that I'm going to send it over to Skip to my Lou for a little blog party.
To attach the rosette, just hold it in place while wrapping the pipe cleaner stem tightly-tightly around the candle. When you come back around, tuck it behind the flower and bend-twist-fold (pick your word) so that it stays put. I think "twist" is the best word.
Now repeat 7 times, or however many arms you have on your chandelier.

I couldn't decide which pic I liked best so I plugged them both in.
They just look so soft and warm.

It's fun because now the whole entry way is filled with the subtle warm, orange glow.
I'm so much happier with the outcome since I accepted my own challenge to do whatever was lacking to the candles sticks. I didn't realize that the shades would get a little up-do as well. 
Now it's finished!
But then I got a great idea for the table underneath.
I'll save that story for tomorrow.
Please come back.
And give me a comment to let me know you're there.