Today I threw caution to the wind. After seeing a really cool Home Depot video, I decided to assemble my own backyard chandelier because I am a big fan of ambience and lighting fires (controlled, of course).
Three primary challenges faced me…my Kindergarten-age son, the inclusion of glass and freshly applied solar nails. In my favor were my 8-year-old daughter (some days she is more responsible than I am) and the assembly was fool-proof (no power tools, hot glue or counted cross-stitch required).
The project was simple…take a hanging planter, some glass jars, twine, a hook and votive candles…do some fancy-schmancy tying and “voila” … an intimate Parisian café in your backyard.
All starts well. However, the plot thickens when my son is unable to tie a simple knot around the jar using the twine. One would think a Kindergartener would know how to tie simple knots. But this is South Texas. Most kids can’t tie their shoes simply because common footwear is either flip flops, cowboy boots or shoes that fasten with Velcro (my son had each of these on at least once today). Asking a young child to tie his shoes here is like expecting a Hawaiian to know how to shovel snow. It’s just not a skill that is practiced frequently.
So, he quickly loses interest and instead focuses on the “clanking” sound made by banging two jars together. Intervention! I quickly suggest he go look for bugs under the deck. The diversion succeeds and my daughter and I continue the work.
All goes smoothly until I must slide one end of twine under the piece fastened around the jar. My nails have never been pretty but always functional. But this past week, I splurged for some sparkly solar nails. They look great. But they render my hands useless for fine motor activity (including writing this blog…thank God for grammar and spell check).
So when all is said and done, my daughter takes over and finishes hanging the jars. I might as well go dig for bugs with my son…maybe my bling claws would be useful for that!
Ultimately, the chandelier really turns out nice. And the best part…just for posting one of these pictures to the Home Depot Doing Nation page, they gave a $100 donation to Operation Homefront. If you are so inclined and don’t have solar nails to impede your progress, check out the six DIY projects from Home Depot. Your backyard will benefit and so will Operation Homefront!
And, tonight, we practice tying shoes!
FYI: Home Depot suggests a hanging planter in their video but you can get creative with this project. I actually bought one of their plant stands and just hung it upside-down. In addition, they sell beautiful, inexpensive globes you can use for lighting. We just happened to use small jars we had on hand. And you can choose real or battery-powered votives. The project in general will cost about $35 – 50 and takes about 45 minutes to complete. Good luck!
Susan Miller is Operation Homefront’s fantastic Director of Online Communications, a Mom, and now a Doing Nation veteran.