The Solstice, Lighting


Last night — Good Solstice, all! — I set to work installing the ceiling lights in the Sea Rise Pavilion kitchen.


Because I’m such a lighting electrics n00b, I used five 3-volt chip LEDs, set in mini eyelets. They are tragically insufficient to light the kitchen. But hey! I learn by doing. So I went to bed.


This morning, I ordered some larger (3mm) LEDs, then pulled the chip LEDs and eyelets from the ceiling installation. (Those are the holes you see.) Under-shelf lighting seemed like a good use of the sadly pale chips, so I plotted a layout in Illustrator to use as a template, and drilled new holes in the upper shelf. (Um, not an ideal construction protocol, the drilling of already-installed things.) I methodically undid all the twisty magnet wire connections from the ceiling — thankfully I had not set the heat shrinks — and reset the eyelets under the shelf. With my teensiest drill bit I made exit holes for the wires in the back wall, in line with each eyelet.

It is a good setup, but two of the chip LEDs did not fully survive. (Though they do work intermittently, argh, whygodwhy?)


Then I walked out to see this sunset over the ocean. One can aspire.


10 thoughts on “The Solstice, Lighting

  1. Sheila says:

    Ughh! Electricity can be the bane of my existence too! The working now, not working when I seal up the wires makes me crazy.

    It could be the connectors to the LED chips were damaged somehow so they aren’t making contact unless pushed a certain way. I have to redo the fireplace coals light in the Craftsman because one of the switch connector’s came undone.

  2. Sheila says:

    Argh, dealing with a new laptop and it just erased half my comment. I was going to say, if you want more light, you could put in a hanging light just behind your support beam. If you didn’t want to drill any more holes the beam would hide a battery light and even with an angled roof the light will self level.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      That’s a good idea, Sheila! And yay for new laptops!
      I’m trying to figure the best solutions for a suboptimal situation of not planning for lights in the original design and construction. Do I make the electrics look intentionally retrofitted? (Answer: maybe, but what a lotta extra work.) I want to make this well, the best it can be, but I *do not* want this to be my forever building build. Have to remind myself this is meant as a backdrop set for photography…
      I’ll continue to figure it out as I go along :)

  3. elizabeth s says:

    IF someone could come up with a SIMPLE, DURABLE, RELIABLE, INEXPENSIVE and FOOLPROOF way to illuminate a miniature dwelling they would make a million bucks!
    Meanwhile I feel your pain.

    Have a Memorable Merry Christmas Nancy and a Very Prosperous New Year! :)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Elizabeth, yours is the voice of experience and truth (as well as loving kindness) as I begin to understand electrics :)
      I have the great good fortune of being with someone who believes Santa Claus is totally real, and with her sister, who is fascinated with lights. Best wishes to you as well.

  4. Nancy Bristow says:

    I love that you shared this experience with us, Nancy. Maybe I’ll learn some good stuff from your journey because my “electric” skills are woefully minimal and yet, I have an entire box of electrical supplies that I’m going to get to one day. HA. Hey, just because they’re 30 years old doesn’t mean they won’t work.

    It’s going to happen when I pull my partially done kit-bashed Victorian (turned eclectic) doll’s house out of the closet ~ just one of a million “works-in-progress.” Anyway, right now I’m still working on a miniature Christmas tree with lights…I hope to install several sets on it, which will perhaps get done some time this year. *grin*

    The sunset over the ocean is fabulous.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Many thanks, Nancy B. I’m starting with LEDs and batteries — easier to work with as an afterthought retrofit. I, too, have a box of unused 12 volt wiring and fixtures, bought with the prize money the Pavilion won. Silently shaming me :)

  5. Nancy Bristow says:

    LMAO. That is a perfect description, “silently shaming me:).” FYI – I have “wire” AND “copper tape” and manuals even. None of it was cheap and is why I would never let go of any of it. I applaud your bravery with first, the attempt, AND secondly, you even drilled holes and sh*t! BRAVA. I will be inspired by this and eventually make the plunge…even if it’s on a test board! Lighting lends such a wonderful touch to any project. :)))

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