Thursday, September 13, 2012


The "she" I am referring to in the title of this post is "me." And the title is a lie, because I am not actually crafty at all, at least not in the sense of the word as it is used on design blogs (but not a total lie, because I am definitely crafty in the sense of the word as it is used in the Beastie Boys song ;)

Aaaaanyway, despite my lack of certain types of craftiness, I have managed to complete a project of which I am inordinately proud, and not just because of the finished product.

WARNING: There are two morals to this story, so if that's the kind of thing that bugs you, go read Deadspin or something. Seriously, go read Deadspin anyway, it's awesome.

Here's the thing: once I get into something (or someone), I tend to get really into it (or them). So if I meet someone I want to be friends with, I can border on creepy-stalkerness in my efforts to become best buds. Likewise, if I decide that my closet needs to be cleaned out, I will not eat or sleep until the job is done. I'm not saying it's normal; I'm just setting the scene.

So about a year ago, someone with whom I was trying to be friends came to a party at my house and brought some special, microbrewery beer in these glass jugs that are apparently called "growlers." I kept the jugs because I thought they were kind of cool, but couldn't really figure out what to do with them. They looked like this, but were from different breweries:

Months passed, and my efforts to befriend the beer-bringer crashed and burned. On the bright side, I did figure out a vision for the jugs - turning them into lamps. Now, when you turn a glass bottle into a lamp you have a couple of choices. You can do what is called "French wiring," and just slap a bulb on the top of the bottle and have the wire hanging out all over the place on its way to the outlet. Or you can put some fucking effort into the project and figure out how to get the wire to go through the bottle like on a normal lamp.

If the bottle in question is glass, you need to drill a hole in it. To drill a hole in glass, you need a diamond drill bit and some skill. I have neither. However, my real job is at a place where there are people who know more about drill bits and drilling than you can possibly imagine. So, rather than try to drill the holes on my own and a) kill myself by accident or b) crack the bottles and make them useless as lamps, I turned to an expert. Enter Bill Taylor:

Bill was kind enough to take over and drill the holes right where I wanted them without killing himself or cracking the bottles. Yay! He even provided me with rubber grommets for the holes so that the glass edge wouldn't fray the electrical cord. Bill is basically my hero, and has become my go-to guy for all DIY projects more complicated than hanging curtain rods. Lucky Bill.

Now that the hard part was taken care of, the rest was up to me. I bought the parts I needed to wire two lamps, and got to work. Let me say that there are several people who doubted that this project was ever going to come to fruition, and I don't blame them at all. Even I was a little doubtful of the outcome. It involved wire stripping and lots of attaching of bare wire to screws and things like that. But in the end, I was able to make two perfectly respectable looking lamps out of beer jugs:

It may not look like much, especially without a shade, but I was over the moon. I was so proud of myself. I swear to God, when I plugged those mofos in, and switched them on, and the BULB LIT UP? I was my own biggest fan. The moral of this part of the story is:

The only problem was that I didn't really have any plans for the lamps once they were finished. As much as I loved them, there was no obvious place in my house for a pair of lamps. Then it was pointed out to me (by none other than my dear husband Ted) that it might be a nice idea to give them to the original beer-giver/stalking victim/befriending subject who had coincidentally just moved with his wife into their first house.

I have to admit I resisted the idea at first, because I was still all kinds of sulky that this person didn't want to be friends with me quite as much as I with him. But over a few days it became clear to me that, as much as I hate to admit it when Ted is right, it was not only the right thing to do, it was really the only thing to do.  So I ordered shades, and when they came they didn't fit right, but luckily I have several sets of lamp shades in the attic (What? You don't? That's weird!) and was able to find ones that worked OK.

Giving the lamps as a housewarming gift was a hit (I'm pretty sure. I mean, I really, really hope so.) and besides that, it made me feel good. The moral of this part of the story is:

Or maybe they're just not meant to fit into your life the way you want them to. But either way, what I learned from this particular project is that that's OK. I also learned that it's important to read the instructions before you undertake an electrical project for the first time.

The lamps are now in the spare bedroom of my friend(or former-friend-to-be)'s new home and they look lovely, if I do say so myself:

Although why he couldn't have also turned on the other light, which is in the background, before taking the photo I honestly don't know. So annoying. It would have taken all of, what? Five seconds? (And I wonder why he resisted being besties?) Here's an artsy close-up:

I am still pretty proud of myself. Both for making a lamp and for growing up, just a little. I mean, one step at a time, right? I'm not going to be all normal overnight. Jeez.

Sorry for the sappy post; tune back in tomorrow for more fun and games :)

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September 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM

I love this post and I love YOU. You are one crafty (in every great sense of that word) woman. What an incredibly creatively and thoughtful gift. Well done!

December 12, 2013 at 1:41 PM

love it, now i need to find a freakin' "growler" before xmas

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