I received a needlepoint kit from my boyfriend's mother for the holidays. She knows I do needlepoint and thought I would like to take up cross-stitch. It was a super-sweet gift and I was touched and I want to do it, but there's a slight problem: the pattern. Here's the picture that was printed with the kit:
My question: Can this be rescued? Can this be used in a kitschy way, or is it beyond hope?
My ideas so far:
The pattern has an option for doing the text in French. That's a start.
Also, I could make it, take a photo to send to the mother-in-law, then add something to it, like fire, or some other imminent doom for the kitten.
Would it work on a t-shirt?
Did anyone else get gifts that need, um, modification?
(I should say, she it not without taste--I also received a kick-a** hat and mittens that she knitted!)
I love to garden, and in my old neighborhood I participated in a huge communal vegetable garden. Now I've just got a few square feet to work with--and I'm excited to start thinking about it in a new light. Like, how could I use various stuff I collect in the garden? What could be recycled by plopping it among the tomatoes? What's the perfect garden art object that would tick off my landlord just so?
(About nytimes.com: it requires registering to read the articles. The registration is free. Also, after a few weeks, the article won't be free to read anymore. Ick!)
I've found some instructions online for building my own box, but I'd rather recycle something. Antique stores have such boxes, but they're incredibly expensive, and look just fine unupholstered. Any ideas on where to fine a nice used pine box? Do any sorts of stores throw this stuff away? I saw a steamer trunk in the trash today but it was musty and way too big for an ottoman....
This lamp will add a nice institutional feel to any room of your home. Alternately, you can keep it at work like I do. Imagining myself an artist, I expected my coworkers to thrill at its irony, to participate in its anger, and to walk away mournful of the human condition and subconsciously scarred. Instead, most coworkers think it's cute. You decide.
Here's what you'll need:
An old coffee urn.
A light kit, or a fixture, cord, and all the other stuff salvaged from another lamp.
There are only two tricks to making a lamp out of just about anything. First, you have to find a way to mount the light fixture. Here, just drill a hole in the top of the lid. And second, you have to find a discreet (or indiscreet!) place for the cord to exit. I was going to drill another hole at the bottom, in the back, but the spout just seemed better.
Take it apart. Use a screw driver to remove the handle from the lid. Remove everything from the inside of the urn. Mine had a strainer and other stuff in there. (Anyone have any ideas for what to do with it?) Remove the spout at the bottom. This may require a socket wrench.
Clean it. It's easier now than later.
Start at the bottom.
Take apart the spout. Run the cord through and reattach to the urn. I had to use pliers to pull out a rubber stopper so the cord could fit through.
Drill Light fixtures are standardly mounted on something called a threaded nipple. There should be one of these in your light kit, or you can get one at a hardware store. Drill a hole through the lid just wide enough or slightly wider than the threaded nipple. I had the guy at the hardware store do this for me because I couldn't find my 3/8 drill bit. Secure the threaded nipple to the lid with threaded nuts (find them in the same part of the store).
Attach the fixture Attach the harp (the thing that hold the lampshade), then the fixture, drawing the cord through. Wire the socket. You can find helpful instructions at
If that link dies, do a web search for "wire lamp socket," or check the back of the light kit, or study another lamp. Basically, you want to split the end of the cord, strip the wires, wrap them around the screws, and tighten the screws. Use an underwriter's knot to keep the cord from getting pulled out from below. There's a picture at the link above.
Add a compact flourescent bulb and an ulgy blue shade and you're done. If anyone can figure out how to make the spout lever a switch, let me know!