Blue and White Chinoiserie Lamp DIY

I really think you all might lose your minds over my latest discovery.  Or at least, I did.  But wait, wait, let me backtrack...

As I've mentioned before, I (along with everyone else in the design world, it seems!) am in LOVE with the blue and white thing happening.  I've been slowly collecting vases and plates and platters of all kinds, mostly from antique shops, Goodwill (if I'm lucky), and some online auction sites like Everything But the House.  My hunting has taught me that the name for many of these pieces is Chinoiserie.

It also seems to me that as soon as you attach the word Chinoiserie (pronounced chi-noi-ser-ie) to anything, it automatically quadruples in price!  Which is why my collecting has been very slow and strategic.  I can't be giving my husband ulcers over this stuff.  :)

For awhile now I've been searching for a small Chinoiserie lamp to fit a quirky spot in our house.  Until I find the perfect one, I've been using a rather ugly little lamp that just irritates me every time I look at it.  Does that ever happen to you?  It's the perfect size and scale for the space but the more I stare at it, the uglier it gets! Here it is (sorry so blurry but you get the idea):

Then, suddenly...inspiration!  While I'm waiting for the perfect antique yet inexpensive Chinoiserie blue and white lamp to fall into my lap (that happens, right?), why not use a few old and faithful friends to spruce up my existing lamp?

Mod Podge.

Scrapbook paper.


Are you with me?

So first I needed some scrapbook paper or gift wrap in a classic blue and white pattern.  Easy, right? I trekked all over town and all over the internet.  Nothing.  Seriously, I just needed a few sheets of this stuff and I figured the design trend was so hot right now, it'd be a cinch!  Nope.

Finally, I stumbled upon this adorable Chinoiserie pumpkin done by Susan from Between Naps on the Porch.

She made this cutie herself after seeing something similar in Country Living and wrote a fabulous tutorial here.  And you know where she got her scrapbook paper?  A photocopier.  Seriously!

So here's the part that is just blowing my mind with the possibilities: a good color copier can print any pattern you want (assuming you're not pirating it of course).  Just take yourself to Kinkos or FedEx or wherever, bring an inspiration piece to be copied, like a flat piece of fabric, pages from a book, or (in my case), email them a PDF of a design you like.  Then here's the key: have them make a color photocopy using a digital laser printer (not ink jet, which I think is what most of us have in our basements!).  A laser printer will make sure that the pretty colors on your paper won't run when you start working with the Mod Podge.  Also, I found that a slightly heavier weight paper was more like the weight of scrapbook paper and was great to work with (my FedEx Office guy called it 32 lb. weight).

I was able to find some beautiful digital scrapbook paper from a shop on Etsy (link here if you'd like it for yourself!), and for less than $5 I got an instant download of six .jpg files.  Six gorgeous Chinoiserie prints to choose from!  I converted them to PDFs (although I think it would have been just as easy to print as .jpgs), emailed them to my local shop, hustled myself over to pick them up and within 20 minutes I had these in my hot little hands:

So now back to my lamp.

First I gave it a quick coat of paint so nothing would bleed through.  White paint over the parts to be covered with the paper.  Gold paint for the parts where I was going to put Rub-n-Buff.

Next I applied the Rub-n-Buff (in Grecian Gold) and cut my scrapbook paper to fit.  I glued it on with a few layers of Mod Podge (under the paper and two layers on top).  Then...patience while the whole thing dried.

Hello lovely!

Let me zoom in just a bit.

Even I, the Queen of Mod Podge, am surprised at how well this turned out!  I hoped for something that would just look better than it did before (not hard to do).  But I really think I'd be drawn to this lamp if I saw it in a shop today, not just because I rescued it from ugly!

Even getting up very close, the colors are crisp and clean.  No bleeding at all.  I'm telling you.  Laser printer.  A revelation.

Who am I kidding?  This discovery doesn't mark the end of my Chinoiserie hunt.  The thrill of the chase, right? Ha!  But it's a fun and inexpensive way to copy a look that I know many of us love.

Have a great weekend!


Fall Prettiness

I've been having fun with fall decorations lately and thought I'd invite you in for a tour!  

Please be advised that my house was not clean during this photo shoot.  I just moved the toys out of the way where you can't see them.  :)

Starting with the front porch...

And my fall garland, which I wrote a tutorial about last year.

Come on in!

Our dining room table, filled with pretty (and fake!) fall stuff.

Can someone tell me how to do those fancy chalk letters I'm seeing everywhere?

A little pumpkin towel (which I had to spot-clean before it was ready for it's photo shoot!).

This is just to show you that we finished the backsplash in the kitchen!  (and no more fire hazards)

I love the look of pewter with fall berries.

Can you see my blue plates hanging in the background?  I was scared they'd be too cramped in that space, but so far I love them!

 The mantle, with more blue and white, because I can't bear to put it away, even for just a season!

Fresh flowers and my sweet kids' Halloween books.  Pulling out the seasonal books is their favorite part of decorating the house for holidays!

More pewter.  This one I found at Goodwill!  I think it was so tarnished that no one knew what it was.   I took a chance, and once I shined it up, it looked great!

Three little pumpkins.  I found this charming print at one of my new favorite online art shops, here. (On eBay!)

Another one of my kids' favorites.  Our Halloween advent calendar, which morphed from this one that I made years ago.

And because this is a fall post, I have to share a few adorable photos from our recent small town Homecoming parade.  Nina dancing to the marching band...

...and Henry looking cute after walking in the parade with his flag football team.  (I promise little Vivian was being cute too, just moving too fast I couldn't get a good photo of her quick little two-year-old buns.)

Happy Fall y'all!