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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Intermediate Work - The Bamboo Shades, An Iris Plant

Shibuya Town Feed - inspiration for the bamboo shades.
October 1st - 4th 2012

I had seen on a feed some nice fotos of Shibuya in Japan and in one of these fotos, there were these lovely bamboo shades which were hung on the outside of the terraces in many of the two story houses.  It reminded me of the same shading process here in Italy but here they use fabric curtains that just serve to block out the sun and heat during the day.  Most have these rolling full window shades but if you want to move in and out of a door, you need one of these curtains.  So, I decided my ryokan would have some bamboo shades to keep out the heat and sun.

I did some searching on the internet and came across a tutorial where you can use a bamboo placemat as a bamboo shade.  The bamboo slats are the correct scale so all I needed to do was find some bamboo placemats.  Years ago I found a ton and now all of a sudden I couldn’t find any!  As luck would have it, one day at Ikea, in the discount section (where they dump opened packages or the stuff they use in display) there was a nice bamboo placemat for a Euro 1.50.  Can’t go wrong with that! So I picked it up.
Ikea E 1.50 place mat!! Yoohoo!

Glueing the edges where I plan to cut thru
The first thing to do was to glue the slats where I would be cutting since we didn’t want the threads to unravel.  So, after taking some measurements, I glued the top and bottom and waited overnite to be sure the string was hardened and set.  Then I cut using my exacto-knife.  The bottom of the matt was perfect as a support to hang the shade.  I then measured out some black DMC thread, tied one end, threaded it round the back and up the front again and back thru.  The whole ordeal was because I wanted my shades to actually open and close.  I had to find a way to fix the threads across the top and I did that with some bugle beads.  Threading through those was a pain (I had to glue the tip of the floss to a fine point to thread it thru) but eventually I got both threaded and secured.  I used a small orange bead to weight the end of the pull.
Cutring the matts to size for the shade
Threading the bugle beads...

...and glueing them in place so the string would slide.

Glueing the back support (bottom piece of the placemat)

The next part was a little more difficult.  I had to figure out a way to weather the bamboo shades on one side.  I really didn’t like the new look to them.  I generally do not like the whole ryokan looking brand spanking new so the shades had to look a little sun faded.  I tried using household bleach and a paintbrush but it just isn’t concentrated enough.  Neither was hydrogen peroxide.  Only solution was to put some bleach soaked paper towels on the sun bleached side and let them sit on there for around 5 hours.  That did the trick enough to please me.  I then added a little graphite colored paint (has a bit of a blue hue) to make the shades look weathered. 
Top side now slightly weathered, underneath still fairly clean.
Attaching the shades was great since the bottom piece of the placemat was actually almost the exact same width as the space between the top window sill and the under roof beam.  Just a bit of sanding and those fit in perfectly. 

And the shades do go up and down! Fun!

Funky little flower petals - also a find.

The finished vase.... situ.

I also found some small terracotta vases which were a good size for the house.  I aged one with some brown and green and then stuffed it with some of the pink flowers I had purchased.  I also found a package of blue purple flowers and used the same method as making the geranium petals - squishing them on the mousepad - then glueing them to a green wire support.  I then inserted an iris that I had purchased from DHE UK site.  I think it looks quite nice on the porch! 

Next will tackle the magnetic closure of the first floor porches.

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