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Friday, November 27, 2009

Lampshades by Gwen Thomas of Tempe Arizona

I'm not the only one who thinks making lampshades is fun. Look at all these wonderfully artful shades Gwen has done. I found this article in the Arizona Republic... and copied it here too.

Lampshades spawn bright idea for hobby
Geri KoeppelThe Arizona RepublicNov. 30, 2005 12:00 AM
Talk about a bright idea.

Gwen Thomas of Tempe turned a shabby shade into a hip hobby, transforming plain-Jane lampshades into works of art. She displays her wares at Occam's Edge gallery at First Fridays art walks in Phoenix.

It started with an old shade with the outer paper peeling off. Thomas stripped it down to the plastic and tried to paint it, but the paint wouldn't stick.

Recalling a time in Girl Scouts when she applied decoupage to an old wooden bowl, the light bulb went off - so to speak.

"After I layered it and flicked the light on, I was like, 'Whoa, what's going on?' " she said, "and it's made me crazy ever since."

Thomas uses clip art, old photos, vintage magazines and postcards, sequins, lace, beads, feathers and googly eyes to decorate shades and night light covers. Clients can even give her their own art or photos for custom orders, and she proves it by showcasing a shade with an old studio portrait of her own family.

"My niece asked if that was really her mom," Thomas said, laughing. "She asked, 'What was wrong with her hair?' I said, 'It was 1977.' "

Thomas, who also works as a hair stylist at Salon Bossa Nova in Tempe, is a snip off the old block, you might say. The gallery where she exhibits is her dad's barbershop. He's an artist, too, and he won't let just anyone have a show in his space.

"You could see it had a lot of design in it," Ron Thomas said of the lampshades. "The colors worked - warm against cool, light against dark, the shapes."

He said Gwen took art classes in the past and helped him decorate windows for the holidays when she was in high school, but "never found her thing" until the shades.
Nancy Grimm of Tempe is one of Gwen Thomas' hair clients and also bought a lamp from her.
"They're just very whimsical and clever," she said. "She's obviously not copying anyone else's ideas.

"If you've ever been to those craft shows that crop up every year, you can just walk and walk and walk until your feet are ready to fall off and you see the same thing over and over again. I've never seen anything like Gwen's."

If you are in Arizona, check out her shades!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Shopping Open House

I'm sponsoring a Christmas Shopping Open House on December 5th from 10a-3p. If you are in the area, stop by and see me. I've invited 13 other vendors to help make your Christmas shopping enjoyable and unique. From chocolate to juicy box purses, we'll have plenty to feast your eyes on. And while you are shopping, enjoy cookies and punch and conversation with friends.

I'll have new teacup lamps available.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I love teapots and teacups. I especially like to make lamps out of them. They are so pretty and feminine. Look at this website I found with lots of pretty teapots.... So many cute ideas come into my head with these. They'd look so nice with one of my handmade lampshades.

Friday, November 6, 2009

WCA Hospital Craft Show

Here we are at WCA Hospital's Women's Auxiliary Craft Show again this year. We started at 7a.m. this year; thankfully we were able to set up yesterday! I have a few new handmade lamps. As usual, they are all custom-made. Most of the lamps are for accent lighting, although I do have a few for task lighting. They are perfect for night lights or desk lights. Since they are handmade, no two will be exactly the same.
We are hoping for lots of customers today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Erie Guild Craft Show

The Erie Guild Craft Show is coming up quickly. It will be October 3rd and 4th from 10-5 on Saturday and 10-3 on Sunday at Zem Zem. I'll have two tables full of my products this year.


Lamp Parts

I spent some time this summer cleaning up lamp parts I have for sale on my website at It took awhile to get some of them clean as the previous owner didn't store them well. I have a nice assortment for the do-it-yourselfers. I even have some hard-to-find items like 15" harps with fixed wings.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Setting up iPhone so I can blog from it too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Great American Wine Festival, Dunkirk, NY

Well, the first sales event of the year is over. This past weekend was a hot one in Chautauqua County. I wasn't bothered much by the flies at the fairgrounds so I'm thankful for that. The setup was long and so was the take down but not as long as the two days sitting in the heat! Anyway, here's what my booth looked like this year.

I was able to sell my Victorian-era papers here. I had fan greeting cards, note cards, bookmarks, and knob notes (door hanging signs)

The silhouette shade in the background was noticed by some as well as the suncatchers and gylcerin soaps.
A lot of people commented on the hand sewn Victorian shades in the right back corner.
Teapot lamps always bring a smile to faces.
Now, time for vacation!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Great American Wine Festival, Dunkirk, NY

Had our first day of the Wine Festival today. Lots and lots of peoples...unfortunately not lots and lots of sales but tomorrow is another day!
I really like having a 10'x10' space as I can put all my products out and there is still room to walk around.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Great American Wine Festival, Dunkirk, NY

Getting ready to sell at Great American Wine Festival in Dunkirk, NY at the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds. This will be the second year for this festival and we're hoping it will be as well attended as last year. The weather is supposed to be fine this weekend. The festival is open Saturday and Sunday, August 15 and 16 from 10a.m. until 5p.m. each day.

I'll have about 40 custom-made lamps with handmade shades, some handmade treasure boxes, handmade suncatchers with sugar beading, gylcerin soaps, one tassel doll left, and some Victorian era papers such as fan greeting cards, knob notes, bookmarks, and note cards.

Come and see me!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Lamp Parts

I've just added a lot of lamp making parts to my eCrater store. I know there are a lot of people that like to make things themselves so I purchased lamp parts from a store going out of business so that I could offer them on my website. I'm not sure what some of them are actually called! Some of them have been around for a while but they are in good condition.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Grandma's Blue Rose Teapot Lamp

I finally finished a new teacup lamp. The teacup was from my Grandmother. She received fresh flowers in it which were now gone. So now it gets new life as an accent lamp for someone's kitchen. The hardbacked lampshade is handmade with moire fabric and pretty blue gimp trim. I decided to add the gimp trim around the bottom of the saucer also to tie in the shade. The silk flowers seem to spill out of the teacup just like the fresh flowers might have. The electric candle uses a 25 watt candelabra bulb which makes this teacup lamp perfect for a night light in a kitchen or bathroom. It has a six-foot cord with the on/off switch on it for easy access. You can purchase it on my website: on the teapot page or at I love making these little lamps; they always turn out so pretty and give me such a feeling of satisfaction of a job well done. This is definitely one that will be at my first craft show this year....unless you buy it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



Shared via AddThis

I've just found this site. I'm familiar with this lights and know that they really work, especially for needlework. The ladies in the Embroider's Guild here in Western NY recommend them. The lights help you to see the colors as they truly are.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Handmade Hanging Lampshade

This lampshade is for a hanging lamp. It was the first one I had done with this style of ring. Basically, it is made the same as other shades with spiders but it just seemed so unusual to me. it was a fun project. I used a white shantung on styrene to form this custom-made lampshade. It is a short drum shape and wide. It only measures about 8" tall.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Funeral Home Drum Lampshades

They are all done! All eight drum lampshades have been handmade using shantung fabric and trim. These are not lined as they are hardbacked shades. The customer wanted more light in the room than the old shades were providing and these drum lampshades did the trick. I didn't take a close up of the fabric and should have.

The original order was going to be 16 drum lampshades; however, we didn't feel that drums would look good on the lamps below. So instead we ordered lined, shantung lampshades. These were made in the USA.

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's Up?

My blog posts seem to be missing or it's taking a long time for them to come up. I wonder what's up with that? I'm still having trouble with the text in the header too. I wonder if Wordpress is better?

I've been busy remaking lampshades for customers in PA and FL. All three were drum style lampshades. They came to me because they couldn't find replacement shades in the stores. That's my replace lampshades by remaking them using the original frames. Remaking shades gives the lamp a new look and saves the landfills.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finished Shade for Unusual Lamp

This a picture of the old lamp and shade in Florida.This is the shade redone. A perfect example of re-purposing instead of putting something in the landfill.

Repairing Old Lampshades

It's finished. Well actually two of them are done and waiting to be picked up. These were drum shades of a large size. I enjoy being able to recreate shades for old lamps; especially when the customer has been looking for a while with no success. It's a great way to help out the environment by not adding metal to the landfills and help customers find ways to re-purpose old items.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another Handmade Lampshade Order in Process

I started handmade lampshade order today for another lamp that was 40 years old and still had the original shade. I am remaking the shade, which was a drum shade. Here is a little of the process.

First make the pattern on styrene. Then cut out the pattern and fit it to the rings.

After refitting and gluing, the shade is ready for trim. The finial she chose looks like a diamond.
After the trim is selected, it will be ready for the antique lamp looking like a new one.
If you have an old lamp with a shade that is falling apart, don't throw it away. Call me for an estimate. Most shades cost around $75 for drums this size. This is another way to help our environment by repurposing old items that still look great but need some fixing up. AND it is a lot cheaper than replacing the lamp with something similar.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Recovering Old Shades

February 17, 2009
This is the most unusual antique lamp I've seen so far. The shade is a drum with no top wires. It just sits on the green bars below.

This is a before picture of the shades ring. I've just finished cleaning up the rings so they are ready to be painted to prevent rust. This is an after rust removed picture.
February 20, 2009

I have now added the fabric to the rings. Next is the trim.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


From The 365-Day Clean Joke Book, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc.

What happens when a lightbulb dresses up in a suit of armor?

He becomes a knight light.

This is a really fun book with clean jokes that will make you laugh out loud everyday. I thought this one was particularly appropriate since I make lampshades.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rooster Kitchen Lamp Done

Here he is looking so proud with his new shade. It turned out better than I thought. The rooster on the shade matches the wallpaper since I took a picture of it, but it still amazes me when I look at it.