Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the finished, hung project

Here it is, hanging.  I got the hook into the ceiling (got SO lucky and found a stud, right off the bat!) and tacked the cords to the wall.  I used clear tape (yep, ghetto, I know) to tape the wires together and you can't see it.  It looks pretty nice.  I used an extension cord with 3 outlets on it so the lights are all plugged together.  Love the way it looks.  The vintage jars cast cool patterns of light on the wall, even better than I hoped.  Especially the one with the grid pattern on it!  I also sprayed the lids with the copper chrome paint today.  You can't really see it when the lights are on, but during the day when they are off it shows better and ties nicely with the rest of the copper in the room. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'M BACK!!!! And it's all about lighting!

OK.  So I needed to do this.  And I needed to do it now.  If I didn't do it now, I'd never do it.  So I did it. The hardest part is blogging.  So that's why you will get this in two installments.  Today is the HOW-TO, and tomorrow will be the TA-DA!

I've been looking at design pages, checking out catalogs and online stores, that kind of stuff.  Mostly looking for a solution for our living room.  It's like a cave.  We live below the street level (weird slope to the property outside out apartment.)  and under several large pine trees.  So the already dark winter seems that much darker with no natural sunlight. Chris and I agonized over lamps for months, finally settling on some coppery lamps with a funky hole in them and a cream linen shade.  I love them.  Chris loves them.  But they do NOT put off enough light to fill this room.  In an apartment, we have few options. We can't wire in a new light, we are limited on what we can permanently change.  So the solution, for us anyway, was a pendant style lamp that we could plug into the wall with only a plant hook in the ceiling (something our management doesn't care about!)

Here's the inspiration for this project...  It's not an original concept, everyone does it.  But I wanted to do it differently.  I wanted to use pieces I chose, not just generic jars.  So I hunted thrift stores and eventually an antique mall in Sellwood (Stars, I love that place.  lots to choose from, mostly reasonably priced)  I found a couple SUPER cheap jars at Goodwill and some much more expensive ones at Stars.  Expensive is relative.  One was $8 and one $12.  We went to the Light Bulb Lady on Mississippi and got all the parts we needed, plus some ideas on how the best way to proceed would be.

This is the disclaimer:  I come from a family of electricians.  Shepherds play with wires.  It's in the genes, man.  I've been zapped a few times, I'm no stranger to it.  BUT- I'm not a trained electrician.  I will not pretend to dispense electrical advice.  This tutorial is a log of how I created my project, you should check with someone and make sure you are doing the right thing.  My biggest concerns for someone replicating are that you use the proper gauge wire for what you are trying to put through it and that you use the proper wattage bulbs.  So my SUGGESTIONS on those two fronts are as follows:  1- I used 16 gauge wire.  The wire I selected is a clear sheathed copper wire.  I did this because I wanted the exposed wire to look intentional and to match the lamps.  It is of proper gauge to handle the size light bulbs I want and then some.  Better to err on the side of caution as opposed to start fires! 2- Smaller bulbs are better.  Seriously.  This is not only to make sure you don't overload your wall outlet or the wire, but so you don't burn out your bulbs!  With them being enclosed completely in a glass jar, you run the risk of heat being an issue and burning out bulbs as well.  So stick to a 15 watt bulb please.

Back to the program.  Here's what you're going to need...

  • Jars.  With lids and rings.  I used different types, one is actually an old mill light fixture.  When you're deciding how many, please be mindful that this sucker's gonna be heavy.  It's jars, after all.  I chose to stick with 3 because I felt confident that I would be able to manage the weight of that many.
  • Wire.  I purchased bulk wire from my lighting store, 12 feet per light.  Measure ahead of time, give yourself a foot or so of play with each light, just in case. For me, it was 16 gauge clear sheathed copper.
  • Plugs.  One per light.  I found idiot proof plugs, simply shove the wire in the hole, clamp down the sides, and push it back in.  Done.
  • Light bulb fixture and bulb that matches (yes, there are different sizes.  Depending on what you want there are a million options.  your best choices are going to be medium base or candelabra. Candelabra is the small base.  Medium is the normal size.  We chose a long skinny medium base.)  .  The ones I got are a 3 piece screw apart setup with screws to put your own wire into.  They sell ones that have the black and white wire already pigtailed on, but I didn't want that wire, I wanted to wire my own.  Up to you.  It's SUPER easy to wire them up.
  • Wire protector.  This is the little black guy that goes into the top of the light fixture.  It keeps the wire from pulling out or rubbing with movement.  Get it.  If nothing else, it made me feel better about the weight of the jar not pulling the wire out.
  • Tools- sharpie, screw, screw driver,needle nosed pliers, hammer, something to pound on (I used an eyelet setting block), wire strippers/cutters (shhh, you don't really need them.  With a steady hand, you can just use a pocket knife to cut the sheathing carefully and strip it off by hand.  Sure is easier with the right tools.)
So here we go...  Jumping right in. Again, disclaimer.  I know there are probably other tutorials on this.  I didn't use one.  I didn't look at one or for one.  I just dove in head first.  Cause that's how I roll.  Don't do ANYTHING until you read ALL the directions.  PLEASE.

First:  Cut your wire to length.  Use the wire cutters, yep...  Now's the time to hope you have wire cutters.  Now where the wire is scored in the middle, cut it up about 1 1/2 inches so you have two little separate wires.  Don't cut them off.  It all needs to stay attached.  Now using the correct gauge hole on your wire cutters, strip the sheathing off the wire on each side, about 1/2 inch up each.  Look at the picture.  The wire will be a bit crazy, like frizzy hair.  Gently twist it so that it stays in a nice little tight roll.  

Second:  Take the twisted piece of wire and wrap it around each screw.  Then screw down the screw tightly, making sure the wire stays under the screw.  With the setup I got, it didn't matter which side was which.  When you purchase your fixture, you should ask, it may.  

Once you have this done, thread the other pieces of the fixture down the wire, including the little black insulator piece. When you have everything down, screw it all together.

Third:  Put the plug on.  This is probably the easiest thing you will do this whole project.  Pull the plug part out of the housing.  Stick the wire through the hole in the top.

Then pull the sides apart and stuff the wire down inside.  It doesn't matter which way for this either with the parts I got.  Crimp the sides back in and you're ready to stuff the prongs back into the housing.

Fourth: Put your bulb in, it's time for a test run.  Plug it in.  If it turns on, you did it right.  If it doesn't, your wires are backward.  If it pops your breaker, I'm sorry!  I had this happen when I wired a light socket backwards once, I don't know that a lamp will do the same.  In theory, it should just not turn on.  But beware the breaker popping thing.  Don't let it scare you, just be aware.  If it happens, flip the breaker back on, unscrew your light fixture assembly, and switch your wires cause you put them on wrong.  Then screw it back together and try again.  Take the bulb out once you know it works.

Fifth:  Get your can lid.  Not the ring, just the lid.  Now, I will say that there are a dozen ways I can think to do this better.  But since I have limited tools at home and didn't want to go buy stuff just to do this, I improvised...  Quite well!  Take the fixture and trace around the bottom to get your hole size.  Use the sharpie.

Using the screw and the hammer and your block, punch a small hole in the lid.  Then screw the screw in to make a larger hole.  Doesn't have to be big. Just big enough to get the pliers in.  Now here's the fun part.  Basically, you're going to open this sucker up like an old school can.  Take ahold of the hole and start tearing.  Using the circle as a guide, just pry it up in a circle.  This was much easier than I anticipated.

Once you are done, slide (or in my case, the hole was TIGHT, so I had to screw it on) the lid on to the fixture and thread the holder ring up to secure it.  Slide the ring on from the plug end, screw your light bulb back on, and screw the whole assembly onto the jar.

That's it.  It's that easy.  I made 3 of these in an hour, start to finish, and I had to figure it out as I went.

Finished product!!!  Tune in tomorrow for the hanging, finished project!  I need to spray paint my lids with a chrome copper paint to match the lamps and wire.  And I need to go get my hook.  I'll work on better pictures too.  I LOVE the bulbs we chose, we got long skinny ones.  I really wanted the Edison style bulbs, the ones with the super cool filaments.  I would caution you on purchasing them for this project.  They get very hot, use a TON of electricity, and are expensive.  $15-$25 each and are NOT well suited to being completely enclosed so you are more likely to burn them out quickly due to overheating.

If you have questions, ask away and I'll do my best.  Facebook will get you a faster answer.  Or if you REALLY know me, you can text/call me.  Otherwise, I'd love to see if you do this!  If you want me to make you some, message me and we'll talk money and time.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I have nothing to say

I sat down to blog and reaized that nothing has happened! Well, that's not quite true. We went for a cookout at Lydgate Park last night with Jackie guys, Tonia guys, and Lindsey and Alisa. It was SO much fun. Got some pictures taken with the girls, had an all kid photo taken on the beach, can't wait to see those.

Trent tried some ahi poke, which he suprisingly liked! I cannot do raw fish. He, evidently likes at least that kind! Ewwww. But good for him. Just makes it that much easier for him. That stuff is at every single cookout ever! I tried Mahi mahi, which I actually liked too! Julia likes fish anyway, so that was a given. But it wasn't bad, even just plain with some soy. I think I would like it much better with some other flavors, like a fruit salsa.

The surf was pretty rough. I have never been to this beach before. But it was nice. The kids got in some big floaty chairs and had a blast! Trent got tossed in the surf a few times, which was funny. he was having such a good time.

Speaking of Trent..... I am realizing HOW much I coddle him. I knew he was a mama's boy. I know I am a bit overbearing. Yeah yeah, spare me. I have 2 kids. I can't have anymore. Kids aren't replaceable and I want to make sure that mine are safe and happy. But in the meantime, I have made Trent a whiney quitter. I am so worried he is going to drown at the beach. Yes, it happens all the time. I know he's never going to learn to swim unless he does it, but I don't want him to get hurt. I"ve really had to take a step back. Sometimes to the point of letting lindsey or alisa watch him and I either bury my head in a book or keep my back to him because I worry so much! Julia is so independent. Even as a baby, she really didn't need me much. She always wanted to dissapear and play on her own in a corner somewhere. at our house in Louisiana, she has a walk-in closet that she turned into a girl cave! Filled it with stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, dolls, and books. If I couldn't find her, she was in there. But Trent, he needs the interaction, the attention, the affection. guess he's more like me and Julia is more like Luke.

At karate, Trent cried and bawled and gave up. Sense was trying to get him to do it right. He wasn't getting it, got indignant, and shut down. He started crying, then bawling. The guy didn't give in to it, which Trent needs. Thank goodness Conrad and Alisa were there to distract me! It was hard listening to him so upset and begging to go home. He needs to learn that if he just follows directions, he will be great. And crying doesn't get you out of doing what you need to do. He wanted to do karate, he's going to do it! Made me feel better that everyone said most all the little kids that do karate there cry at some point!

Pretty much, it comes down to me needing to let go a little. Let him be a boy. Let him grow up. Let him fall a few times. Julia, on the other hand, ROCKED IT! She did so well. She is so mature in some ways. And taking criticism (from someone not related to her ;)) well is something that she is learning. Sense showed her, made her do it again and again, and she did SO well. The adults in the class all commented on how well she was doing and how quickly she was picking it up.

Ok, so much for having nothing to say huh! Maybe someday soon, this blog will get back to being about photography. Maybe that should be on my agenda tomorrow. Grab the camera and go out. It's hard when the sunlight is SO harsh all day. Maybe there will be a few more clouds or maybe I should just shoot some high key stuff... No excuses eh?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So officially

Luke and I are separated. Many of you already know, those who don't know that something has been up. But officially, that's why I am in Kauai. Things have been heading that way for a while now, years I would argue. I really am not sure what is going to happen, I will spare you all the details, cause really they don't matter.

I am seeing a therapist here to try to help me get myself squared away. Over the years, I have become someone I don't like anymore. I have lost my passion and have become a very negative person. And I am done with that! I need to be happy. Not blaming Luke, I am solely responsible for the choices I have made and the path I have taken.

So now that THAT'S done...! I am sitting in Starbucks looking fruitlessly for a job. I have been looking for WEEKS. I am getting very discouraged. Turns out that stay at home moms are not in high demand. And 10 years of verylittle working has done me more harm than I thought. Makes me sad. My kids are better off for it, I know that. Just is hard to swallow. I am smart, I am good at everything I have ever done. EVERYTHING. I have never failed at a job. Just wish I could get someone to believe that and PAY ME!

I really need to get my camera out, I haven't touched it since I've been here. BAD me. BAD BAD ME! Hopefully that will be part of the outcome of therapy. getting some of my creativity back. I miss it. I miss the fire in my gut that makes me stop on the side of the road to shoot something. That makes me RUSH home to grab my camera to capture the light. I need that back in my life. I'm pursuing it.

Also am pursuing a good tan ;) My sister (who is so freaking brown it makes me sick) commented last night on how my tan was coming along. That was nice! It's nice not being pasty. Not that I will ever become a sun worshipper, but it's so good feeling the warmth on my skin as I lay in the sand. And it's nice not sticking out like a tourist fresh off the plane, although I am sure I will for quite some time, if not forever. Haole is as haole does.

Done for now, will try to be better at bloggins, especially since I have so much free time right now ;/ Kids are in a summer program. Lindsey tells me to explore. I just want to explore a paycheck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

So the summer goes

Had a great weekend. Lindsey and Alisa had Friday off for King K. day. Saturday was regatta at Hanalei. You should google it. It's awesome. They have a few there. Lots of people, had a really nice time.

I sat under the tent or layed in the sun on a towel and read a novel, start to finish. Called Good in Bed. Written by the same lady that wrote In Her Shoes. Very good read. About a fat girl that breaks up with her boyfriend, struggles with her weight, ends up pregnant, becomes BFF's with a super famous actress, sells a screen play, falls in love with a doctor who loves her even though she's fat. So this book really spoke to me right now, the whole fat girl thing anyway. Don't plan on getting famous or pregnant ;).

Got a little bit of a sunburn, not too bad considering I didn't wear sunscreen again. I really tried hard to flip every few minutes (when my body started getting hot) and stayed in the shade most of the day. We got there at 9:30 and left at like 6:00! It was a crazy long day. I never ate! I was so into the book. The kids, however, had a blast. Spent most of the day in the water. Trent made a little friend, which was GREAT! But what wasn't great was the sunburn they got on their faces. Trent got a blister on his ear and Julia got blisters on her nose. I feel like SUCH a bad mom. While they got sunscreen reapplied to their bodies, I forgot about their faces. I HATE when they get hurt. I always take it as a failure on my part as a mom, like I am an unfit mom because they got a sunburn. A little unreasonable, I know. But as a mom, (and you reading this are mostly moms) you feel responsible for everything and hate to know your kids are hurting and you could have revented it. So enough about that.....

Julia was over playing in the water alone (since trent was with the boys and Jackie and the girls left early) so she crawled into a beach chair, put a towel over her completely except her face, and fell asleep. For LIKE AN HOUR! I finally woke her up and made her come into the shade and drink some water. She then went back to sleep for another good half hour. Trent, on the other hand, only came back for food or when required. He took his rash guard off, then went back on the boogie board for like 2 hours. That was a bad idea. He came back for more sunscreen and had a HUGE rash all over his bely. Lindsey sprayed him down with sunscreen and he SCREAMED and cried. Poor guy. On one hand, I was like "well, if you had left your rash guard on while you used the boogie board..." but I really felt bad for him cause I know that hurt!

Ok, enough of the play by play! We had a good time. It was a nice break from reality. Cause reality was rough that night, just sayin. Things have to get worse before they get better right? Feeling really really confused after a period of extreme clarity. I felt so sure for a day or two, now I am back to confused. Stupid emotions. Whoever invented them was obviously not a debater. It would be much better if my rational mind was allowed free reign.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Feeling a little out of sorts

You ever have one of those days where it feels like someone put a blindfold on you, spun you around in circles until you puked, then gave you a stick and left? Yeah, I kinda feel like that. I havent had anything that even looks like a lead on a job. I am going to go see a councelor on friday, hopefully that will help. I have not been myself for a long time and hopefully talking to someone will help me get back to happy.

I sat and had a good cry with Lindsey last night, thanks sis. Sometimes you just can't hold it in anymore. Or you don't even realize you are holding it in. You just open your mouth and everything comes out. Things you didn't even know you were feeling. It's kinda scary. Cause once you say it, you're like DAMN. where did that come from?

My best friend in the whole wide world has been noticably absent, he is going through some stuff right now too and is focusing on that. It's hard to feel like you are drifting farther away from the people who matter most to you. I've been really bad lately about just shutting people off. So for those of you I've done that to, I'm sorry. Kinda hard to have friends when you don't really want to talk to anyone cause you don't know what to say.

So I am trying to not be a debbie downer. I am trying to not burden everyone else with my problems. I know, that's what friends are for. But there is only so much negative your friends can handle before they don't want to be around you anymore. So I am trying to reserve my bitching! Right now I am just trying to enjoy time with my sister and my kids. Hopefully the weather will be nicer this weekend. While it's not cold or consistently raining, it is super windy.

I need to get my camera out and start using it. Just really feel incredibly uninspired. Maybe soon. I'll try to be better about posting, although most people visit this blog for scrappy purposes. I didn't bring any scrapbooking stuff with me at all this summer. Yep, DEPRESSING. but I was packing a ton of bags anyway and really didn't feel up to scrapping, so why go through the hassle of bringing stuff with me, just to have it sit and take up space where there really isn't any.

Hasta for now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No Pictures...

Just an update. My friend that usually emails me and says "hey hun, you're slacking off on the blog. You need to post SOMETHING." hasn't emailed me in a while.

The kids and I are in Kauai staying with my sister. Yes, I have been intentionally vague and will remain that way until such a time when I feel like I need to say something. So for now, we are here. We got here last wednesday, coming up on one week. It's been fabulous the whole time. Avoiding major sunburns so far, only tiny ones where sunscreen application has been funky.

Got to go out on Lindsey and Alisa's 2 man OC for the first time. Just went out a little ways in the bay, it was fun. A little scarey. You always feel like you are going to flip over. I have retarded shoulders, so paddling for me can be rough. But I had a good time, sucked a little bit of air.

So just looking for a job. No luck so far. Never have had such a hard time finding gainful employment. Usually, I get the job I want. So this is a bit different for me. In a week, I have had no real prospects. Thought I may have a job at a bakery, but don't think that is going to work out. Guess the people applying for a job just outnumber those of us looking. Maybe I just need to give it more than a week...

Well, I guess that's it for now. Coming up on my Dirty Thirty at the end of the month. Feel a little torn about that. Not going to be with MY friends to celebrate, which sucks. I want to do something FUN. Kick off my thirties with a bang. But I have family, so we'll see what we end up doing.