I pinned this little sweet image to one of my pinterest boards a few weeks ago; it’s a light strand inside a jar, which is definitely something I’d seen created before. Each time I’ve seen it, it resonated with me – and seemed very DIYable. (The photo below originates from this flickr photostream, by the way). I like when a simple strand of christmas lights can be put to use during the rest of the year; my mom has a strand stuffed into a glass bird feeder turned tree hanging in her backyard too. And while it’s pretty, it’s functional too, lighting up the brick pathway in the backyard every evening.
It also sort of reminds me of fireflies caught in a jar, hence the headline that drew you in. Seems to me like it would be a nice light to have on the picnic table in the backyard on warm nights. (Fun fact: There is one single outlet in my master bedroom, but 6 accessible outlets in the backyard that I could easily extension cord outdoor decor to.)
I found a great glass container a few weeks ago at a garage sale (for $2). It would have made a pretty vase, if only the mouth was wider; right now it’s only big enough to hold a few long stemmed flowers or branches. So, even though I’ve seen a lot of people making glass jug lamps lately using those $10 lamp kits from Home Depot (which yes, I’ve looked into recently and considered), I decided to make mine into the freestanding firefly decor piece similar to the pinterest/flickr image.
So, I did some research. I knew I had to get that wire into the container somehow, in a way where the two-prong plug could continue on to an outlet. I simply planned on drilling a small hole in the back of the jug, feeding the lights in, and twa-la.
A common google search told me that I should have a diamond- or carbide-tipped drill bit to cut through glass; use of any other type and you risk shattering the glass before the job is done. I also looked up Dremel-specific bits hoping that maybe I’d find that we already have one on hand (Pete has a lot of Dremel accessories) but no avail. The jug itself was cheap, but I figured I’d do it right and not set myself up for failure. I had a Groupon for a local Ace Hardware on hand, so I splurged on baby’s first carbide bit to use with the electric drill. The 1/2″ bit was $13.99 – yowza, I’m pretty sure they’re less expensive elsewhere.
Also, as recommended by other craftsters, I taped the area I was going to be drilling into to help reinforce it (and also give the bit a little somethin’ somethin’ to grab on to as I started to drill). The jug being round, the best and most stable position seemed to be kneeling on the deck with the jar nestled between my knees. Snug.
Just like many of the reviews I read warned, it was going to take several minutes to drill-sand my way through the glass, and it was going to throw up lots of glass dust (so I was prepared with a mask and a strong breeze away from me, sorry neighbors). Lo-and-behold, it worked! After a few minutes, I started to see that I was popping through to the other side; I had been maintaining steady pressure and drilling at a reasonably quick clip (not too slow, not wildly out of control so I could stay in the groove that I was slowly carving for myself).
Now, if I had been making a simple jug lamp, this hole would have been just enough to pull an electrical wire through, but in order to thread in a 20′ strand of christmas lights, I was going to need it a little wider. That’s why I splurged on the larger bit (although I did find two 3/16″ bits at a recent garage sale for $1, just to have on hand for future projects). Anyways, I kept on drilling for about 5 seconds after I snapped that photo only to have this happen:
I don’t know; maybe I was drilling too fast, maybe I was pushing harder than I needed to now that the hole had been drilled and I was just widening it out, but whatever I was doing, it didn’t work out.
Well, it sort of worked out. There’s a huge sharp shard-y hole in the back, and some spider-veiny cracks circling around the front…
… but somehow it remained in tact. And I use “in tact” extremely loosely. It’s fragile, it’s fricken sharp (I did not cut myself though), and it’s not perfect anymore. But now I had a bigger hole that I could shove the christmas lights into really, really easily. Which worked out in my favor, I suppose.
And, well, it worked out in the sense that once the lights went in (and the big hole is facing the wall) you can’t really tell that the jar is damaged at all. Of course it’s not something that I’d want handy girl getting her hands on or carrying around, because it’s bound to collapse into 14,000,000 pieces if knocked the wrong way, but just sitting lit on the shelf at night it looks pretty good.
Sigh. (At least it was only $2.)
The weather’s better and we’re all thinking about breaking out those paint brushes and going to town on the trim, walls, ceilings, etc. Right? One good thing about the spring, after all, is that you can leave the windows wide open to help ventilate the room while the paint dries. Who doesn’t love fresh air and a fresh coat of paint?
I’m happy to share that HomeRight is offering a PaintStick EZ Twist Kit to Merrypad readers (it retails at $59.00, whoop). And this time, there are three ways you can enter. Keep on reading for those details.
What’s so cool about what they’re offering? This is one of those make-your-DIY-life-easier painting tools that draws paint straight from the can into the handle of the extended brush so that there’s a constant flow of paint to the roller or applicator, meaning your paint should apply more evenly than if you were having to return to the paint tray for a roller refill. You don’t even need a paint tray if you use this product. Using the standard roller, HomeRight says you can cover an area 8′ x 8′, which is actually pretty cool, and the smaller applicator is intended to be used for precision painting, like around all of that window and doorway trim in your house.
The claim that they offer (and worked to demonstrate in their videos) is that by using the EZ-twist product, you can paint a room in 1/3 the time as with a normal paint roller. Hmm.
1. Comment on this post… just say anything and consider yourself included.
2. Tweet a message with hashtag #makinghomeright (ex. Win painting supplies from @merrypad! http://bit.ly/HRgiveaway #makinghomeright)
The contest ends Thursday at 10PM, so make sure you enter prior to that time! The winner will be randomly selected using random.org and will be contacted via email/tweet/facebook depending on how the entry was received.
(P.S. I’ll host your giveaway too – email me to discuss!)
(P.P.S. I didn’t receive any cash or product in exchange for hosting this giveaway.)
We’ve lucked into some great estate sales lately. I love this time of year. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we stumbled upon an amazing neighborhood by way of following hand-written garage sale signs, but didn’t really get into the what we found and bought at the house itself. We left after spending $17.10, which is really quite a garage sale splurge for us, but we could have spent 20x that if we had splurged on any of the Danish contemporary chairs, tables, and the green leather 6′ long mid-century bench that would have looked so (so, so, so) good in my house (it was $50, and I’ll forever regret quitting my job and not being able to responsibly splurge on the spot).
The home itself was stunning, with huge glass windows and contemporary design aesthetic, albeit a little outdated. I still woulda moved in and rehabbed it in a heartbeat though; the lot went way back up a fully-wooded hill and the homes were set reasonably far apart from one another. The folks that had sold the property (yielding a need to clear it out estate-sale-style) had lived there since the home was built, meaning that they had the space highly customized and jam packed with goodies which suited their hobbies.
Tsotchkes, blankets and books aside, which I didn’t buy into, they had a huge basement full of tools and raw materials from their jewelry making and metal-smithing workshop. For instance, they had boxes of shells, rocks, and glass, some of which I bought; I don’t even know what I’m going to do with these huge pieces of glass (just some of the pieces we found), but they’ll be wonderful paperweights until I figure out what they’re intended for (any jewelers out there interested?).
Oh yeah, and FYI, the little green one is the size of my fist. The others are considerably larger, kind of the size if I hold my two hands together like they’re clawing at eachother. Have a nice visual of me doing that?
Pete found lots of random things like paint scrapers, J.B. Weld, sanders, nails and bolts and nuts, and lots of little clamps and a framing square, which are always nice to have, especially now that I started my little frame making biz (surprise!).
I also picked up this basket because I liked the shape and it was in good condition. I don’t really need any more baskets but I think with a little sprucing up (ex. removal of that gold stripe) it will look nice next to the fireplace holding driftwood. Just an idea.
I was also won over by this pretty little trivet, which according to an etching in the underside was made in Israel. Loving the ornate detailing. Also, I found myself a little pack of metal pushpins that are just infinitely covetable, and this little container of odd things stored… tiny pine cones, dried branches, and two of the tiniest starfish I’ve ever seen.
I also picked up two more carbide glass drill bits (since they’re $10+ each retail). You’ll understand why I want after you see the post I’m planning for tomorrow.
P.S. A second post will be coming this afternoon because HomeRight offered a giveaway for readers of Merrypad! I’m excited!