Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Music

I am ashamed to admit it, but I will: I haven't been into music for a long time.

Let me explain.

I grew up with music. I played classical piano for 11 years and percussion for 15. I was always in symphonies, bands and orchestras. I played music almost everyday. And in addition, I was extremely serious about listening to music - finding new bands, new styles, new composers.

And then real life happened.

I got so busy with school and the K-State newspaper that I stopped playing music. Then I got so busy with finding jobs, paying bills and working that I stopped searching for new music. And then I got so sick of the music I already had that I stopped listening to music. Now, I don't mean entirely. I still listened to the radio, went to a show here or there and played some tired tracks on my iTunes. I would try to listen to new albums by new artists or by old favorites, but I really never had the patience to get into anything. I haven't really felt passionate about music in a long time. I chalked it up to not finding anything truly new. If I think about the progression of my musical taste, it boils down to always finding a band, artist or combo that introduced a totally new sound to me. After a while, I felt like I'd heard it all.

Well, I've had enough time to get over that crap logic. It's time to start getting into it again. Plus, I think it also helps that I now have Spotify Premium.

What follows are a few artists that I've really loved lately that I want to share with you. No, they're not totally new sounds to me, but they're good. And that's all that matters anyway, right?

Frank Ocean - Thinking About You (Album: Channel Orange)
--I've been really listening to a lot of Frank Ocean lately. So much so, in fact, that you're going to get another taste of his music later! Pick up this album. I think it takes some getting used to, but after a few listens you won't be able to get some of these songs out of your head. (PS This music video is kinda weird...I suggest listening to the song without watching...)

Lianne La Havas - Is Your Love Big Enough (Album: Is Your Love Big Enough)
--I'm actually not really a big fan of this album. I think most of the songs are too repetitive and they get annoying after a while - how many times do we have to hear the chorus/hook in one song?? But I do love this song...a lot.

Mumford and Sons - I Will Wait (Album: Babel)
--I just cannot get enough of this band's harmonies. That's it. 

Frank Ocean - Super Rich Kids (Album: Channel Orange)
--I love this song because 1) the beats are awesome and 2) the subject matter is one you don't hear about too often, and that makes it interesting for me.

Hope you found at least one new jam for the weekend!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

DIY Tripod Floor Lamp

So, admittedly, I've been lacking on the posts lately. But some really great things have been occupying my time (like jumping head first into the banking world and actually having a life with my other half post Bar exam) so I've got some excuses, okay? Also, I've been working on a few of DIYs that I'm really excited to share with you, but most of them are still mid-project. HOWEVER!! I finally have one completed! So without further adeau, my DIY tripod floor lamp:

Awesome, right? (And that is a sheepskin rug under there, by the way...starting to collect for the room revamp.) Now, first I must tell you that the only overhead lights in our house are in the basement - a floor we never use - and that before moving to Colorado, we sold all of our lamps. Turns out...that was a bad idea. We were in desperate need of a floor lamp (or 3). But have you seen the price of those things?? Unless it's from Wal-Mart or Target (and we already discussed the Ikea issue), be prepared to shell out a hund-o, at the very least! So. I decided to make my own.

My inspiration came from a few places. First, I saw this lamp on Room and Board and instantly fell in love with the design. However, the $400 price tag? Not so much.

Then I saw this lamp from West Elm:

Still simple and beautiful...and $300.

And then I remembered reading about this DIY coat rack and seeing lamp kits at Home Depot while working on this DIY (almost finished - super excited to share!):

And I thought, why pay hundreds of dollars for a tripod lamp when it looks like it would be so easy to make your own? And guess what...IT WAS! My total cost for this project? Thirty-Five Big Ones. That's right. $35. And it was so simple! So simple, in fact, that I think you should make one too.

Here's what you'll need:

3-4 heavy duty tapered wood handles ($5 each at Home Depot)
1 lamp kit ($10 at the HD)
Zip tie
String or twine
Lamp shade
Staple gun

Step 1:
Stand up your handles in the desired formation (I wanted the tripod effect, but you can also use 4 or 5 handles if you want). Measure the distance between the handles to make sure they are equal for a stable base.

Step 2:
Tighten a zip-tie around the bundle so it stands on its own.

Step 3:
Take your wire and wrap it around the handles making sure to weave in and out of each handle. Twist the ends of the wire to secure. It will look pretty ugly, but don't worry, that's why you've got the string.

Step 4:
Assemble your lamp kit. (Note: If you find that the shade sits too high once you are finished, you can always use a shorter harp from an existing lamp, which is what I did, or find one at a thrift store.)

Step 5:
Place your assembled lamp fixture in the opening of your handles. It should fit snugly on its own. Make sure you arrange it so that the knob to turn the lamp on is easily accessible.

Step 6:
Weave your wire around the harp and each handle to secure it. Again, it will not look pretty, but the shade will cover it.

Step 7:
Wrap your string or twine around the bottom wire so it is completely covered.

Step 8:
Add the shade and set up the lamp in your space. Using a staple gun, staple the cord to the back of the post facing your wall. Have someone hold the post steady while you staple so you don't injure yourself or the lamp.

Step 8:
Sit back and enjoy your new creation knowing those less crafty than you have done the same for 10 times the price!

So...what do you think? Will you be adding this baby to your living room any time soon?