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Illuminating ideas

51v7jllScmL._SS500_[1] It has been said that everybody needs a hobby, but how does creating whimsical lampshades sound? Actually, Judy Lake, a.k.a. the Lampshade Lady, makes a business of it as well. She runs Lake's Lampshades in Vermont, and now she has written a how-to book, "The Lampshade Lady's Guide to Lighting Up Your Life: 50 Custom Lampshades and Lamps" (Potter Craft, $27.50).

"To put it mildly, I am passionate about making lampshades -- made out of everything from old-school children's cloth books, vintage fabrics, antique postcards ... you name it. In fact, one time I begged a customer to give me the very paisley-print pants she was wearing," she writes in her intro.

While the shades may inspire you, so will the lamp bases. Among the thrifty finds she uses to create a lamp: wooden baby blocks and a child-size cowboy boot.

Check out her Web site at www.lakeslampshades.com

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