I don’t have any lamps in my house at all, and I like lamps. Not to be confused with lumps! I do have plenty of those, on the floor boards under the carpet, on my person. And in the front and backyard. Lumps galore!
What I do have is ugly ceiling lights with the globes exposed and electricity bills the size of a small house deposit.
Lamps look fashionable and the low light is soothing and relaxing of a night time. Candle light is nice too, but also very dangerous. Many a house fire happens because of burning candles falling over setting fires to curtains and other inflammables in the house.
Given I’m skint, on a fixed income, a bludger, a leaner, and a tax payer thief! I can’t just pop out and buy a few, so I need Babs to help me rustle up some of that depression - pre-war era, do it yourself gumption - that she seems to have running through her veins... instead of blood.
Sure, I could go to Vinnies and find something, but where’s the fun in that? Besides Babs wouldn’t have any bragging rights now would she?
So what do I have sitting around the house that only need to spend a few quid on?
I have a few empty jars in the kitchen. Could I use those I wonder?
Lo and behold Bunnings (are you listening?... product placement fees please!) brochures are routinely dropped into my letter box and hold a nice austerity lighting option.
I don’t mind the brochure being dropped off because I do like a good gander, and it makes useful newspaper for my fur children’s litter trays. Boy did I spot something that might shine a light on my rustic ramshackle shack, austerity chic chateau de poverty that I live in.... But pay a pretty price for.
Because we all have to live within our means don’t we Mr Hockey! Except he left out the bit where living within your means on Newstart is impossible, because the payment is so mean (it’s to incentivise you into work).
However one doesn't need to be Warren Buffett, to realise it hasn’t kept up with the cost of living. And welfare policy dictates.... that moving to an area with cheaper rent which also has lower employment, means that you will loose your benefit. If you’ve been unemployed for long enough you’ll have no savings, so moving is out of the question anyway. But hey! Mr Hockey and the conservative government use hunger and fear to control both their ignorant voters, and the vulnerable population, while claiming meals and accommodation as expenses to be paid for by the tax payer. Nice!
So what did I spot that was cheap as chips, might fancy up as a lamp, and won’t cost much to run. A $2.00 dollar solar garden light!
I did a bit of research online and soon found a nifty way of turning a glass jar into a lamp using a cheap outside solar light. My use for the light is inside not outside, so I don’t need to buy any silicone glues etc to keep it glued to the top of the jar - or for keeping it water tight.
The solar lights easily come apart. The extended stake just slips off from the top, and your left with the small solar panel, metal casing and plastic lamp that reflects the globe. The instructions tell you to charge your lamps outside for about 36 hours... and then you can push the switch inside the plastic casing which causes the lamp to come on when it gets dark.
The simplest way to shine a light on your austerity living, is to take an empty jar and place the round solar lamp with it’s plastic globe, minus the stake for the garden and place on top of the empty jar. This will work if the glass is small enough. I found that mustard jars have a nice shape, but you can also use tall jam jars if the opening small enough.
If you want to go upmarket a bit and you’ve found a bit of dosh, you can buy a mason jar. I purchased a blue pint size mason jar with a regular lid for $4.00. The mason jars have two parts to their lids. They have a flat piece and the outside ring that screws onto the top of the jar with a hole wide enough that the solar light can fit through. I found though, that the hole was a little too big for my solar lamp so I needed to find something to make the lamp fit snuggly in place into the opening of the jar inside the hole.
I don’t want anything permanent because I wanted to be able to lift the lamp out if I needed to. I had saved some aluminium pods that previously contained tomato paste. The top of the pod had a small rim that was the perfect size to fit underneath the lip of the mason jar screw rim.
I just needed to take the bottom of the pod off to create a hole for the lap to fit through. You can use a Stanley knife to cut a circular hole to do this. The plastic casing on the solar lamp easily screws away from the solar top and battery housing. When you do this you're left with a tiny globe. This creates a beautiful marbling effect through the design on the mason jar because of the design on the glass. You can of course choose to leave the plastic lamp with it’s reflector in place and this will reflect a different light making bright white bars.
If you really want to dazzle your friends, you can buy a clear mason jar and spray it with a coat of glass frosting paint which will set you back about $19.00 dollars from Bunnings or it might be cheaper at another store. This creates more of a warm glow and I plan to do this when I get flush again.
I had fun making these so I suggest you check out different jars and different types of solar lamps. If you can afford one of the more expensive types that have a metal mushroom shaped top you could see if that would work with a pickles type jar. I have a couple of short squat round jars with a beautiful shape and some lovely engravings on them. I’m curious to see if I took the top off one those more expensive solar lamps and I’m really only talking about $12.00 or so, would fit on top of these jars.
The upside of these lamps are that they are cheap and fun to make. You don’t have to turn them off they turn themselves off when it’s light and come on again when it’s dark. They would make neat kids night lamps. If you hate coming home to a dark house like me, they are an inviting light if you get home, when the sun comes down.
The downside is that you have to keep putting them outside to recharge, unless you have a beautiful sunny spot in your house where they get their sunny fill all day.
Austerity living can be fun, but please don’t tell our government otherwise they’ll just accuse me of being on Newstart as a “lifestyle choice”.
...well maybe one day??
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