The Lampshade Lady Blog

Decorative Hand-Crafted Lampshades

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Please Excuse My Blog, She is Undergoing a Makeover!

                      French Ticking has been popular for the past few years and continues to be popular. I can't go wrong with Blue and White Tickings in my shop. The vintage ticking is getting harder to find in large quantities. 

Fini, short for Finial is snuggling close by after all the snow we had yesterday.

Note to readers. My blog is undergoing some design changes the next few weeks. Please bear with me and sooner or later this will be completed. Oh, the pain of learning new things... but in the end it might, possibly, probably be better. For sure, eventually.
Thanks for the patience. Spread the gospel of groovy lampshades, buy my book and give it a try.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Angela Miller At Northshire Bookstore, April 30th 7 pm

       About 9 years ago Angela Miller came into my lampshade shop in Pawlet Village. She and her husband Russell Glover had just bought a farm in West Pawlet. She told me that she was a literary agent ( I had no clue what a literary agent was.... famous last words) and that she represented many chefs. That was cool as my husband went to The Culinary Institute of America and we were sort of foodies.
         Angela mentioned to me that she thought it would be fun to make cheese since now they had this big farm. I love people that actually DO what they say and somehow I felt that Angela would follow through with her dream. Sure enough, Russell and Angela have made incredible cheeses and resurrected the farm and cheese making operation.

Come hear Angela's story at the Northshire Book Store, Friday April 30th, Friday 7pm, Manchester, Vermont. Quoted from the Northshire's website:
Local Vermont author and cheesemaker Angela Miller will present her new memoir Hay Fever: How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life. Miller’s new book tells the inspiring, informative, and funny story about changing your life when you're already more than halfway through it. After Miller’s marriage became strained, her job too stressful, and the social whirl on Shelter Island unsatisfying, she and her husband decided to buy Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont and become cheesemakers (all while maintaining their New York jobs and lives). But what started as a part time “project” turned into a full-blown obsession and culinary passion that not only changed their lives forever, but also resulted in some of America’s best cheeses, prestigious awards, and media fame. Hay Fever is an inspiring and entertaining memoir that will whet the appetite of food lovers and would-be farmers from coast to coast, and includes recipes from the author and top food personalities like Mark Bittman and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Angela Miller is a prominent literary agent in New York City. Miller and her farm have been written up in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Daily News, Travel and Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, Martha Stewart Living, and many other national publications. Consider Bardwell cheeses are featured on the menus of some of the finest restaurants in the country, including The French Laundry, Per Se, Daniel, and Jean Georges.

Hope you will put this on the calendar. We are all lucky to have this yummy cheese so close to home as well as wonderful, dear friends.  Northshire Bookstore, April 30th, 7 pm.  Maybe she'll bring some cheese!

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Saturday's Lampshade Workshop and Beyond

                 Here's a great group of my students from this past Saturday's workshop. Sorry Donna, you were at the ironing board and missed out in the photo. It was a little tight in my shop with 7, but I think everyone had a fun time.

A highlight for many, was wandering down to Machs, our General Store, for  lunch.  If you don't live in a rural area this general store is quite unusual. The local farmers usually hangout around the coffee pot and lunch bench. One of the store's claim to fame is it's  big hole in the floor that looks down to the river passing swiftly under the building; I gotta admit it is pretty cool, especially when the river is running so fast. It's a classic old general store and probably most of us that live here take it for granted. A little town is so, so lucky to have a meeting place where most of the town's business is taken care of! No joke.
        This was my last workshop in my shop until Oct 1 and 2. A 2 day intensive in peak foliage, Cost $275. We will get a chance to do more complex hard-back shade frames. And have a Vermont Goat Cheese w/ wine for celebrate our first day's hard work. Call or email for more info.
         I will also be on Nantucket Island for a one day workshop with The Nantucket Historical Association's 1800 House Craft Workshops on Tuesday July 20th. Contact them for more info. Take a vacation and learn a new skill. I hope to get a bike ride out to the beach!
         Also coming up Memorial Day weekend is The Vermont Open Studio Tours. This is a self guided craft tour throughout the state. I have done it on and off over the years and decided to get involved again. Our area has organized a local group called Artisans of Southern Vermont to help market our area. We have a very talented group, although I must say Vermont is lucky to have so many incredibly talented artisans. I also just started a twitter page for us, check it out. Our twitter name is, ArtisansOfSoVt  Hope you will follow us and see our virtual tour! And even better, put in on our calendar for a trip to Vermont. My shop is always open but many of these artisans only open their studios once a year.
         Lastly, My friend, Angela Miller of Consider Bardwell Farm has just released a new book called Hay Fever, How Chasing a Dream on a Vermont Farm Changed My Life .You may have seen Angela's farm was featured in the November Martha Stewart Magazine and on Martha Radio last Thursday. She will be at The Northshire Bookstore on April 30th in Manchester, Vermont. I will put more up next post. Gotta get back to work. Good luck Angela and Russell.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Are You Ready to hit the Flea Markets????

                       Flea Market season is just around the corner. I just mailed in the balance for my Brimfield Booth today. Yipee, As it is said, "it's a good thing". I've only sold at Brimfield once and it sure was a fun time. I hear May is even better, great weather and everyone is so happy to be outside and looking for great finds. It takes a fair amount of organization to be ready for any event. (The best thing I brought with me was my electric tea pot, saved the day.)  The first of the year is the hardest, gathering all the STUFF you need. The pile starts to build, inventory starts to grow, booth plans start to come together. I used to be on the the road every weekend..... in my early years of my business. It's much more fun now that I only do it once in a while.
Yes, It's a flea market economy! Don't you think!
It feels like it. Everyone wants a deal and expects one, too. 
Brimfield starts May 11th, put it on your calendar.

Don't forget to check out my interview with Crafternews blog. Lampshades are slowly making a come back. Gosh, there are times I wish I had a bigger niche like quilting or knitting. But other times it's a fun challenge trying to spread the gospel of great lampshades.... We've got a full workshop on Saturday, my shop is pretty tiny and 8 students is a bit tight and sorry to those on the wait list. There's always the Nantucket workshop on July 20th with Nantucket Historical Association's 1800 House Craft Workshops.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

On Pricing our Work or perhaps, did we make a profit?

         Pricing our craft/art work...this is a question I have been asked lately.
        Is lampshade making a profitable business? another question asked.

            These are 2 questions I have been answering lately. My answer is never quite clear and most likely usually sort of vague. There are so many variables to both these questions. I have found pricing to be on of the hardest of all questions in my early years.
            WHEN do we get the confidence to charge the price we should really get for our work??? It took me years to have the courage to really get the $$$ for my lampshades. Really, YEARS... Granted, I live in a rural area, but that said, it is an area with relative wealth in nearby towns. Always a good early years I made many a trek down to the gold coast in Conn.
            Money was loose and the wives we all too happy to spend and spend to deck their homes. I always remember a particular customer at one show; I had to tell her she'd bought enough.... can you imagine... I must have been stupid. But it was the time of great excess and 13 lampshades was enough.... I love my Conn. customers; they were my perfect customer demographics and many had 2nd homes in Vermont. The good part was that they thought my prices were CHEAP... and my Vermont customers thought my prices were expensive. But all in all I thought the prices were fair.
                               HOW DO I PRICE MY WORK????  or yours   ???
           I consider the price of my materials + my time (free, not...anymore) + expenses= lampshade
When I find my choice vintage fabrics I need to consider if I am able to make a profit. I know.... that IS the point, but at times I don't. Once in a blue moon I find a fabric or embroidery that is dynamite and damn expensive, but being the fabric lover I HAVE TO BUY IT.  Sometimes it's more than a blue moon, but what the heck: it was pure joy to work with. Think of it, would you rather work with some cruddy fabric from the chain fabric store down at the mall or a beautiful piece of linen or vintage fabric.
        I'm just thinking of the red, white and blue stars fabric.... gives me goose bumps to think of the terrible quality and needless to say terrible job on my part. I didn't laminate well, looked all too patriotic. Lets see, where am I going here. I guess what I am trying to say is that we all work harder on things we love. In my business I strive to  go BEYOND just good. I usually try for that place just over the top. Why would I make lampshades that you could buy in a lighting store. I can't compete price wise with China or India. SO, do something they DO NOT DO and do it BETTER. Somewhat brilliantly I figured this out very early in my lampshade making. I worked in The Store in Waitsfield, VT. My boss, friend and owner of the shop,Jackie Rose always said if she had unique products that were hard to find and really special, customers would buy them no matter what the cost; if the LOVED them, they HAD to have them. This was pretty valuable advise for a 21 year old, just college graduate that had no idea where the heck she was headed, BUT I heard it and remembered it.
          This brings me back to pricing and GOOD or GREAT DESIGN. Are we designing something super great or just so so. Yes, sometimes I hit so so, but I shoot for GREAT.... and the GREAT work can be priced accordingly. Not sure this was helpful, but I think you get my drift.
          The question of profit. I'm sure my successful businessman dad is squirming in his seat now, but even he knows there are LOST that the word? I think so. I think of a few things in my shop that are over the top awesome and are just about break even on profit. When I find fabrics I need to consider how many shades can be made out of the piece of fabric. Usually vintage fabric is found in odd lots, maybe a small piece 24" x 30", not too big, but maybe I can make 3 small shades out of it. Sometimes I'll find a whole vintage curtain panel, that can be a better deal. My other favorites are a vintage crewel piece, I will have to round up other fabrics to match or also vintage needlepoints. Vintage Needlepoints are relatively expensive to buy... so I need to make a shade that is more expensive, ie a more complex frame that will garner a higher price.My other favorites are vintage French fabrics are usually small, choice cotton treasures.
            Today I was on a designing roll, which is my MOST favorite kind of day. I'd pulled a bunch of fabrics and embroideries off the shelf a few days ago; they were to be my next projects. It is fun to design. I love to design, if everyday could be a designing day, I'd be happy as a clam. My day flew by... FAST, FAST. I was steaming along, making great shades.... a very good day. I probably put 4-5 shades together today and finished a few of them and prepped a few more,  5 pm arrived before I knew it. So basically today was a profitable day or at least if I sell all the great stuff I made today. And I think everything I made today will sell in the next month or 2.
           Both of these 2 issues are ones that  all creative people need to grapple with. With time and practice we find our target audience and what the market will bare. The times we are currently living in make us all try a little harder to please our customers and make the sale.

P.S. May you find that customer that you need to tell her that she has bought enough!!! and I hope I find her again....

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Thanks so much to Potter Craft and Crafter News

A big huge hug of appreciation to Potter Craft and Crafternews

        I was featured in The April issue of Crafternews, the newish blog for Potter Craft and Watson Guptil. Check out their blog for all things fresh and crafty. 
         I'm just back from a week away. All geared up and rested to jump back into  a busy spring. I have loved this early spring here in Vermont. Lettuce, arugula, and cilantro seeds have sprouted. Early lettuce starts survived my trip away and flowers are coming up fast and furious. 
         Isn't the time of year that you just don't know what direction to turn. Okay, I'll rake for a bit, then run around to pull a few weeds, and then start painting the windows, then a little hula hoop, ...... pure joy of spring. I wish it would always be spring. Now it's time to focus back to my business and tidy up the shop and dig in for some fresh new lampshades and filling orders. 
       The April 17 workshop is full up! And reservations are coming in for the 2 day workshop Oct. 1 and 2. 
         The best thing of my first day back is to change my OPEN sign. I have one of the rainbow ones and have never liked it... so I cut off the rainbow part... kept the OPEN part and glued on turquoise pom poms. Yipee, now it's very cool and the ugly rainbow part gone for good. Good design wins the day. 
now its time to get moving and hit the ironing board and start in after a week away and make good stuff.
          Check out the Potter Craft blog and make a nice comment to them
           And the last note, my son Duncan (proud mom) is headed to Sweden today to take part in the JOSS Supersessions in Are, Sweden. I am very proud of Dunc. He was invited to take part in the great event way up there in Northern Sweden. It is a pretty wild event with freeski teams from many countries. They'll be filming their team's skiing for the week and ending up with a 5 minute film. A great opportunity for a talented group of skiers and videographers.
go for it Dunc! 

okay, now it's back to work

Monday, March 29, 2010

How-to Vintage French Fabric Hex Bell

I recently purchased a nice grouping of French Cottons. Here's a nice early polished cotton. Often working with with vintage fabrics I find small pieces of fabric. In this case there was just enough for these 2 shades. It can be like a jigsaw puzzle to fit all styrene pieces onto the remnant of fabric. I tried to squeak one more smaller shade, too.... no luck.

I am ironing the fabric before it is cut out. (this is not an advertisement for Rowenta.... all my Rowenta irons are leaking... but hate to go get a new one.) My friend says her favorite is an old one she found at a tag sale.
Styrene is laminated to the back of the fabric. The paper backing is peeled off of the styrene. As my students know, getting the paper off can be one of the hardest parts! The panels are then cut out.
 Skipping ahead a few steps... here is the pair of shades with the self-trims added to the sides.
Making self-trims. I've used a contrasting floral fabric, definitely newer vintage fabric but best of the stack. I tried lots of different options and this seemed to work the best. It is French too, but probably 1950's. The cloth trim or bias trim backer is set onto the back of fabric and cut out.
Here is a close up of the technique. Quick glue onto one side and folded onto tape. The the other side.
The best part is adding the finishing trim. Run glue onto self-trim a few inches at a time and set onto shade.

NOTE: Shop is closed till April 5th.  Gone Spring Skiing.... but it is pouring rain out today. Good day to catch up on this belated blog post and start my new book by the fire. Crossing fingers sun comes out by Wednesday for some corn snow and sunshine.

Keep an eye out for the April issue of World of Interiors and April's  Crafter News, Random House's
New Craft Blog. I've loved hearing from so many of you from The May issue of Romantic Home. Gosh, It all happens at once but not complaining. Shall we say, on a roll.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

A Big Thanks to Romantic Homes

          Lake's Lampshades and The Lampshade Lady's Guide to Lighting up Your Life featured in Romantic Homes, May 2010 issue.
How exciting to have my shop featured in the May issue of Romantic Homes. It's great timing with spring arriving and we are all thinking about sprucing up our homes or at least I am. I just bought an arm load of paint to spruce up my living room, tulips to bring spring closer and I'm itching to get out and search for vintage fabrics to inspire my lampshade creativity.

The loyal followers of this magazine are already starting to call my shop and email. I love hearing from you and love the exposure it is bringing my new Lampshade Lady book. It's a tricky time for book sellers and all these little boosts are super helpful.

Go buy a May issue of Romantic Homes and get psyched to spruce up for spring!

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pretty Vintage Crewel Cut-Corner Rectangle Bell Lampshade

                            A Vintage Crewel on Homespun Linen
                                          transformed into:
                  Cut-Corner Rectangle Bell Lampshade with new braid

              A tip on making lampshades with vintage embroideries and crewel is to trim up the threads on the back. This particular piece had tons of loose threads and long carries. It's a good job to do when your talking on the phone or chatting with friends. Kind of brainless, although you sure don't want to snip through the piece and YES, I have done that.
                On top of the grosgrain ribbon I added this gold braid. I think it came from Flights of Fancy Boutique.
             This frame was one carried by Fogg Lighting. I hear they are winding down their lampshade supply part of their business. Too bad, they've been around forever. As far as I know, The Lampshop is not carrying this particular frame, maybe they will in the future.  I decided to order a couple dozen of them if anyone is interested in a few. I do not generally ship supplies, but in this case I would be glad to do it if anyone is looking for a fun challenge. I'm home right now, but think it's 9 or 9.5" high and 12 across the bottom. Very handy size for desk lamps; I find it handsome on old alabaster desk lamps.
                                                  Detail of bottom and needlework. It reminds me of crewel work my Grammy Gulian used to do. She did lots and lots of crewel and I remember she liked to do a similar shading to this piece. Isn't the light pretty coming through the flowers?
                                       Finished Shade. Sorry this photo looks dark. My yankee thriftiness limits me to 40 watt light bulbs in the shop.... heck there is a load of lamps in my shop. Maybe I will try to add a better photo tomorrow when I get back to the shop.
                            Today I headed down to the Garden Show in Manchester, Vermont. It was a blast of spring with all the smells of summer. I was looking for a some early lettuce starts to give it a try in my garden with a hoop row cover. My friend Paul had really nice mixed lettuces all started, Yay, so happy. This year spring has come early to Vermont and lettuce is pretty hardy under a cover. (I hope)  I also picked up a delicious purple primrose. As I was leaving the primrose lady, she said, "they spread like crazy", and I said "I can't wait!" Then we treated ourselves to lunch at Depot 62: the restaurant within the furniture store in Manchester Depot. They have a beautiful brick oven. We split a wild mushroom pizza and a glass of Kris Pino Grigio. Great Pizza!  Nice way to enjoy a Sunday.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Finial Friday

Finials = find cool vintage stuff + jb weld + let set overnight
  You've seen me use these vintage curtain pushpins before. They come in a variety of patterns and motifs. These are some of my favorites. The pins have a metal post that makes a nice anchor to be epoxied into the finial bases. I made a dozen finials yesterday right after I got a nice delivery of final bases. It's instant fun and a good excuse to sour your favorite flea or antique center for little bits.

    You may need to make a base to set your finds onto the finial base. The duck finial has a button and a crystal chandelier part as a footing for the cast metal duck. Just give them all a dab or 2 of epoxy. 

I love the texture of this pushpin below. Not sure it this one is rare, but had not seen it before. Isn't the pattern on top contemporary? It feels like it could have been designed in 2010 instead of 1910 or whatever it dates back to. The were originally patented back at the turn of the century.

P.S. Glue guns don't work well with finial making... been there, tried that. One year I made a cool finial with all the odd ball beads I had kicking around. I hot glued them onto a finial I had in my kitchen. One by one they dropped off.... good thing I tested it out before selling them... might have had some unhappy campers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Few Days without my Blog and Website

                                 Today was my first gardening day! It's going to be a while till the beautiful delphiniums are out like this. Snow drops are up and out. Weeded around my daffodils. Isn't the yard such a mess after winter. Today was my day off and had been planning to head to Stratton Mountain for some spring skiing, but woke up feeling crummy... shucks. It was the perfect blue bird spring ski day. As my friends know, I am a wicked fair weather skier. Pulling a few weeds and reading outside in the sunshine are a few of my favorite things.

          This weekend was a big reality check for me. My blog and website had totally disappeared. Gone. But where had they gone.... The host company had closed up shop with little or no notice... crap. I was so pissed. How could they just close the doors. Then I goggled them and they had lots of bad press... The internet spreads good news fast and bad news even faster.
       I don't love my website and my blog needs desperate help, but they are my connection to the world. I really do live in the middle of a few cow fields and a quaint, but sleepy slightly beat-up looking village. I stubbornly continue loving making one of a kind lampshades which is super hard and time consuming to put up online, but generally if customers are interested they email me or give a call. Life without the internet... hard to remember back, already. It is such a huge asset to little guys like me. 
            I've just realized how much blogging has meant getting my message of  Lampshade Design out and into the world. I enjoy sharing my design ideas and inspiring people to follow their path, their passion and start their own business. My blog has been an invaluable resource since my Lampshade Lady Book has come out. And yes, people besides my mother do find even if they don't make comments. I've realized that my demographics are perhaps a little bit older than many of the uber cool design blogs, just as I am too.... 
                     It does feel like the arrival of spring is bringing an excitement in the air. Keep an eye out for the April Issue of The World of Interiors. I haven't seen it yet, but word has it there are a couple of lampshades from The Lampshade Lady Book.  In April I am to be on my publisher's blog, Crafter News, May brings  a great article in Romantic Homes. In July/August I will be sharing a project in Yankee Magazine. Busy, busy girl.
             I am sure you love Home Magazines as much as I do or maybe you don't have the magazine addiction quite like I do. Jeez, I've got piles of them; I can barely go past the supermarket checkout without at least one or even better my local bookstore, The Northshire Bookstore . I can definitely throw out the crummy ones, but think back to some of the old Victoria Magazines, or some of those great covers of Country Living UK, or Country Home. I still have a cover from Houses and Gardens on my bulletin board.      
Happy Spring. My car clock will be correct soon....and the Hollyhocks will be coming up, too.


Monday, March 1, 2010

A Few Shades in My Shop

I battle the questions: do you have a catolog.... and the answer is always, no I do one of a kind work...which is a great thing, but always hard to share for the customer that                              

can't make it up to Vermont. I will try putting up some fresh work on my blog ( a little at a time and a little more often), so stay posted and email if you see something you love. so here goes and bare with me, I am still working through the changes at Blogger.    
  Early Vintage French Fabric Lampshade
cut corner square
top right without light bulb on
left with light

                                                                                                                                                                             Cut Corner Rectangle, Raw Vintage Linen trimmed in cream linen. great designer look.

Square Bell Raw Grain Linen Grain Sack Shade with Blue Navy Stripe  $85.
Vintage Embroidery Hex Bell Dogwood with shirred Jacquard trim on bottom and decorative trim on top. 5" top x 8" bottom x 6" high. Clip Top.  Cost: $75. (light on)
one of a kind...

Light off, Vintage Embroidery Shade Hex Bell

A Vintage treasure found at the flea. Isn't it pretty? I bought it to use for my book projects, but didn't end up using it.
 Rectangle Clip Shade with Early Linen, not embroidered, one of a kind.


A pair of Hex Clip  5"top x 10" across the bottom x 7" high made from a vintage embroidery tablecloth. Trimmed with vintage insert embroidery.

$75 each.

detail of shade

Square Candle Clip Shades 
Vintage Mangle Cloth

2"top x 4" bottom x 4" high

6 shades available    $45 each

Vintage Grandma Moses Winter Scene 

5" top x 10" bottom x 7" high Clip Top

Hard to find Winter scene.Trimmed in vintage red paisley.

 only 2 available     $75 each

If you would like any of these shades, email me with any questions. We'll see how this works... or give me a call at the shop, 802.325.6308

thanks, judy lake


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Making Your Own Awesome Drum Shades is Easy

I'm due for a new drum shade over my desk and today's the day. I've been working on a dull pair of shades and putting off finishing my tax stuff. So what better time to do something fun. 
Here's some very delicious fabric I found at the flea market this fall and it will be perfect for a drum shade. I have included lots of pictures and a few words. If you are visually creative this will be just for you and you will figure it out. Otherwise there are full instructions in my Lampshade Lady's Guide to Lighting up Your Life and also on this blog,,,, somewhere.

#1 make template                                 This shade is 15" top x 15" bottom x 10" high.  A good size for pendants as well as table or floor lamps.

#2 Laminate Styrene to fabric and cut out
Materials needed: glue, clothes pins, top washer and bottom wire. Pretty simple. Run bead of glue around top of shade. Set wire into place with clothes pins.
Turn shade upside down and set bottom wire in, 
securing with clothes pins.  Run bead of glue  against wire on bottom.To glue up the back seam: open the seam open and add a fair amount of glue, smooth out with glue bottle neck. Press together with hands. I like to press on the inside of shade. Check for any oozing glue.Add glue along edge of shade and set grosgrain onto shade.
And add glue to inside of grosgrain and fold over the wire.
Add top self trim by gluing a few inches at a time.
First I added this trim and ripped it off. It seemed too ordinary..... famous last words... right??  so off it came. Too bad the color was perfect.But better without.
This was the winning trim. Love it. It's fresh, fun and not too old lady like.....a tad funky in a country way...??? must be the end of the day.... our snow storm has just started, you can almost see it through my new shop door. A day off tomorrow to play in the snow and finish my taxes....