The Lights of My Life

Oil to Electric Converted Lamp

Oil to Electric Converted Lamp

I love decorating with lighting. I think choosing the lighting when we built The Little House was more fun than any other part of the building process.

When we picked the freestanding lamps for The Little House, of course, there was limited space, so we only put one larger freestanding lamp – one with a bear – and a smaller one with bears that I found at a log cabin expo.

Since The Little House was already completely furnished when we moved here full time, I could only choose one more lamp to place in the bedroom and I chose this unique oil-converted-to-electric lamp that belonged to my mom.

The lamp was one of her antique sale finds, the kind that would take my mom and dad and me to small rural towns surrounding the Kansas City area. On Sundays, my parents would get up early and scan the morning paper for sales and auctions and off we would go. More often than not, Mom would come up with some find to bring home and restore.

The lamp that is now in our bedroom, sitting atop her antique dresser, served as her bedroom reading lamp and each time I turn it on, I picture her in one of her nightgowns, propped up in her bed by a few pillows, her reading glasses perched on her nose, a book in one hand and always a cigarette in the other.

The hurricane glass is still permanently stained with the yellowing of nicotine residue.

When that light comes on to help me find something in our bedroom, or to light our way into the room, I feel the warmth of the feelings of home and the security in being surrounded by only the things in my life that I love.

We have another lamp waaay on the other side of the 10 x 10 bedroom (HA!), for practical purposes, a miniature Coleman battery operated camp lantern for the last one making their way to the bed after we turn off the oil-electric lamp. It’s a necessity so we don’t trip or stub a toe on the many obstacles that make up our floor space, but it’s also a cute little rustic addition to our very cabin-feel room.

Solar Lantern

Solar Lantern

We also have these outdoor solar lights. Dale calls the square ones our “landing lights” because in the deep dark night when pulling into the driveway, all we can see are these series of lights on the deck. When picking out those, I also couldn’t resist this solar lantern I found at one of the big box home improvement stores last year. Providing we have sunshine (which we haven’t had in days now), it lights the deck when we don’t want to turn on the floodlights and draw bugs.

There aren’t many opportunities to decorate in a small space, but lighting is always a good way to bring more warmth – and light the way – in any home and I love the lights in my life.

Tell us how you decorate with lighting. Are there any stories behind the lamps in your life?

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14 Responses

  1. Reader says:

    We had a converted oil lamp exactly like that when I was growing up. It somehow disappeared. Thank you so much for the picture, what wonderful memories it brought!

  2. Love your little cozy house! Are you happier there than you were here in KC?


    • Kerri says:

      We love The Little House, Denene. We’ve had some challenges here such as job losses, etc., but yes, we are happy. I do miss Kansas City and what it has to offer, but it makes for a great visit when we’re able to get “home.”

  3. MarthaandMe says:

    I, too, have a converted oil lamp. It was my grandmother’s and she left it to me. I haven’t found a place for it though, so it’s in a box for now. I bought all of the lamps in our house myself. I’m still looking for one – I want one of those lamps that is made up of stacked glass balls, but they have to different colored pastel glass balls. Haven’t found it yet. Will keep looking!

    • Kerri says:

      Don’t you love it when you’re on a quest for an item. I’ve done that twice – once for a vinegar dispenser and we’ve been looking for one of those stools that is also a chair for ages. We never seem to find them in the right color or condition when we do spot one at an antique store.

  4. I’m with you, I love old funky lamps. They’re fun to shop for and easy to use to add a special touch to any room.

  5. We lament the lack of overhead lighting in our house. I actually like overhead better than lamps for many things, but we’ve found some nice wall mounted lamps that tie into the switch in our bedroom, for example, that make for nice in-bed reading light.

    Now that we’re working on some of the upstairs rooms, though, we’ll need to find some new lamps.

    I interviewed a designer once who said that we need something like 50% more light to see well as we age. Oh, joy!

  6. I love your lamps and the different ways you have decorated your little house. Neat!

  7. Kerri says:

    Same weather here, Kathy, and I agree that having little lamps on add a warm homey feel – especially on days like today.
    I actually have another lamp I love of my mother’s. It is a reproduction electric hurricane lamp, but unfortunately, part of it was broken in the move. I’ve tried to find a replacement for it, and although I know it was purchased at J.C. Penney’s in the early 1970s and I have the manufacturer, I cannot find a replacement globe that matches.
    Thanks for stopping by and “visiting!”

  8. Kathy Winn says:

    It’s another cold, rainy day here in K.C., so reading about the way that lighting adds coziness and warmth to your home, was very comforting. I love lamps- especially on a day like today. Having many lamps gives me a way to adjust lighting in a room, according to the light outside or just my mood. On a day like today, I like to turn on small lamps that warm things up with their soft, understated glow. I also love to light candles when it’s cold and rainy. (There is one burning beside my computer right now!)

    I love your mother’s oil lamp pictured in this blog- beautiful! My favorite lamp is a glass shaded Victorian reproduction that sits on a table in our living room. It has three way bulb so light can be adjusted from low and cozy, to bright and cheerful. Today I have it on low and cozy because it’s that kind of a day! Great blog Kerri! Very enlightening (hee, hee!)