Thursday, 12 October 2017

Impatience is a virtue... right?

REALLY quick note: I got some pie baking in this season after all!

Yay for pumpkin pie!
Now, back to the previously scheduled program.


I can't wait to share this with you.

I probably SHOULD wait.

Because now you're going to get a post that won't have a completed, happy ending.

Which I suppose is just like the vast majority of my other posts on this blog... so okay. I'm doing this.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll have seen that the past two evenings I've added another little project to my outrageously long list of projects to do.

Ooo! Ahh!
 These beauties are a pair of antique lights that my best friend's parents gave to Jake and I. Honestly, I couldn't believe our luck! They're absolutely stunning and I had been thinking and searching for MONTHS to find the right kind of light fixture for the front vestibule. It was the one place in the house where I knew without a doubt that an antique fixture would look perfect, but everywhere I saw lights that I loved, they were either too broken, or WAAAY too expensive.

So to get not only one, but TWO gorgeous antique fixtures was a dream come true.

There was just one tiny problem.

When you are up close and personal with these lights, they look completely amazing. But I had a sinking suspicion that if I just hung them up "as-is" they would not get the kind of reaction I wanted. They just look dated, but not quite the right kind of dated.

See how old the light fixture looks? If you were examine the light up close, my guess is that it's stunning.
Of course, it's completely contextual. Take the light from the photo above and put it in a bright, recently designed room, and maybe it will come across as looking awesome.

But then again, maybe not.

The thing is, I don't want people to go through our house and NOT notice the details that we will be spending time and money putting into it. Heck, I don't want to go through our house and not notice these things.

Once these lights are hung, I want to have the exact same reaction I felt when looking at the lights up close and personal.

So... what could I do to ensure that would happen?

For the past month, every time I walked by the lights I would think for a minute of potential solutions. It seemed to me that the biggest problem was that once you were at any kind of distance, all that gorgeous detail work was just a blur of brass.

I recently settled on my idea and decided I wanted to get it done before the electricians came back to finish their work.

Step One: Clean
I removed the top piece of the light. I'm sure there is some technical light term for it, but I don't know what it is... so for my own purposes, let's call it the cap. (It's the piece that hides the electrical box in the ceiling)

Antique light "cap"
As you can see it's pretty filthy. I know the lights were stored for about 20 years, and then for the past month they have just been collecting dust in front of the fireplace in our bedroom (which is currently the location of one of many "house things" piles...)

First, I tried using lemon juice and salt like when I cleaned up the brass quilt rack.

Photographic evidence!
But it wasn't working fast enough for my liking, plus... I was starving and really wanted to make something to eat instead of clean brass...

So I tried this internet-suggested cleaning hack (ugh... I hate that term now... hack... just... so awful): 

Yep! That is a piece of brass absolutely COATED in ketchup. 

The vinegar does something all sciency to the brass to clean it. I have no idea what that is, all I know is that it takes something that looks like this: 

And turns it into something that looks like this: 

Sure it's not an astronomical difference, but it did everything I needed it to do, which was make the raised bits shinier. 

Someone asked me why I didn't just use vinegar then instead of ketchup and my answer there is that you absolutely could! But the beauty of ketchup is that it will coat the brass for the 10 minutes (or longer) that you want, without having to use a crap-load of it. If I used just normal vinegar, I would have had to pour enough into a bowl to cover the whole thing. And that is a lot of wasted vinegar. 

Step Two: Paint
Now, my "I'm-an-amazing-blogger-and-know-how-to-take-pictures-of-every-step" skills came to an end right about here. 

But know this... I took some paint ("Oil Rubbed Bronze" from the Martha Stewart Crafts paint collection. Although the colour comes across as more of a silvery dark blue for some reason... ) and with a really fine paint brush, I painted the entire background. 

I just did this while sitting on the couch watching TV with Jake and it took me probably around 2 hours? Which might seem excessive, but I am so totally thrilled with the results. 

Last night I spent about an hour and a half or so painting this side panel piece: 

Absolutely garbage picture, and the brown lap desk is messing with the colours, but you get the idea. 

Once I finish the whole light, all of that amazing detail work will be showcased even from a distance, which is the main goal here. 

I'm going to try to do a piece a night. I'll let you know how the whole thing looks in the end. 

Oh! And just a note: I'm only doing this to the front entrance light. I'm still completely undecided on what I should do to the second light fixture (which will be going in the guest bedroom). Suggestions?

Again before: 

And after: 

Don't be afraid to leave comments here. I am genuinely interested in what you have to say! (Also, it feels like my blog becomes vindicated when people talk to me about it, which is a GREAT way to sooth my vanity 😁)

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