I’m sitting in my “home away from home“ in Germany, peering out the window as light snow covers the ground, the car, and well, everything. We’re expecting to wake up tomorrow to a significant snowfall and temperatures that will continue to drop into next week. This is our first real sign of winter in this part of Europe, and it’s going to stick around for awhile. Brrrr! I’ve finally stashed away all the Christmas decorations, which left our cozy little renovated barn rental somewhat lacking in ambiance, or at least ambient light. So, I decided today to play around with a lamp shade option for the floor lamp in the living room. I’d appreciate any frank feedback on how you think it looks—I’m certainly going to get it when my husband returns from work this evening, and I’m accustomed to his brutal honesty!
This is a fully furnished rental that we occupy while he works here for the next three years. It’s about three hours away from our permanent home, so I’ve been traveling back and forth between the two quite frequently. Since neither the house nor the furniture are ours, I’m significantly limited in what I can do decor-wise, and I’m sure all you like-minded decor fanatics must understand how agonizing that can be! However, Melissa’s latest book has motivated me to add what personal touches I can to make this house feel like our home. I’ve actually been working on this lamp shade since before the holidays, and I originally intended it to be a ceiling pendant lamp. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out in various locations for a couple of reasons—either hanging too low for my tall husband’s clearance height or not covering the bigger hole in the ceiling left by the lights I’ve tried to replace.
Here’s a “before” photo of the lamp that I re-styled. It’s got an antiqued metal base with a scrolled arm. The original shade was a red Moroccan-style cone with a tassel at the bottom. It was really fine as it was, but I have chosen an accessory color palette that doesn’t include red, and the style just doesn’t quite fit in with the rustic farmhouse vibe I want to create. So, I decided to try to adapt my DIY ceiling light as a shade for this lamp.
The new shade required assemblage of several components to make it unique and personal. Since this is actually my third time living in Germany, I decided it’d be cool to create something out of collected souvenirs of places where I’ve either resided or visited. I had some vintage souvenir charms and spoons, so I had to figure out how to hang them on a lamp shade. I found a rusty old wire basket with a hole already designed into the bottom, which meant no drilling or metal cutting would be required. Now, I understand most people wouldn’t even consider bringing something like this inside their home, much less incorporating it into their decor…but I have!
I then got some great inspiration from the internet! I came across something called a magic lantern glass slide. It’s a predecessor to the now obsolete 35mm projector slide. It‘s larger than the 35mm versions, and it’s made of glass. Up to the beginning of the 20th century, transparency images of popular tourist locations were printed on the glass and projected onto a bigger screen by something called a magic lantern. How cool would it be to let light from a lamp shine onto a transparent image like that?! I searched on Ebay for such slides of Germany. There are loads to be found, like the one below of Nürnberg! I selected a few and then set about creating the lamp shade, simply using thin wire to attach everything to the basket.
Here’s the end result. I’m happy with it, though I think it’d look much better as a ceiling lamp. I’ve already got a ceiling picked out in my home in Belgium where I’ll hang it in three years—my basement workroom. Perhaps by then I will have added a few more mementos, and I’ll look back fondly on my times in my “home away from home”.