...it's not too early for Christmas lights
I have a theory when it comes to purchases: Never buy something you can potentially make on the cheap.
Such was the case when I decided I wanted to add some ambiance to my patio via some kind of light that could hang from under the deck.
I had no idea how I was getting it up there or what I was looking for, but I went on the hunt. After trips to Lowe's and Home Depot, I learned something very important: I cannot afford expensive outdoor lighting.
So, to the Internet I went to research my options when it came to some kind of DIY project.
Enter the "hula hoop chandelier."
It was probably Pinterest where I stumbled upon this beauty. Simple concept: Attach icicle lights around the perimeter of a hula hoop. Hang it somewhere: Viola! Instant outdoor chandelier.
I scored the hula hoop at Walmart for about $3. I picked out a green one for no other reason than because there are a lot of green things outdoors, like grass and trees and plants. So, that made sense to me.
Next, I needed to find some icicle lights.
I could have taken the set down that still hangs on the front porch from last Christmas, but that would require me to stand on the wall around the front porch which has about a six-foot drop to the cement. That scared the beejesus out of me, for all I could think about is what would become of me had I happened to lose my footing or get distracted by a stray cat.
That's why those things stay up all year. Then, around November, I add to my nightly prayers the wish that they will light up one year later negating any need for me to perform any kind of wall-climbing acrobatics.
Luckily, I was able to find a box of icicle lights at a local Dollar General since the manager was nice enough to dig a set out of storage for me to purchase.
The project took all of 10 minutes.
I attached the lights to the hoop using a super high-tech method using a combination of twisty ties leftover from garbage bags I purchased with no drawstring and good old duct tape.
The best advice I ever received when it comes to being handy around the house has always been: If it moves and it shouldn't, duct tape it. If it doesn't move and it should, WD-40 it.
The next obstacle was how to actually hang it.
The underbelly of the deck is a good 10 feet from the ground and if I'm scared of the 6-foot high wall on the front porch, you know there is no way I'm climbing up a ladder with my arms 10-plus feet in the air and nothing to hang on to.
So, I did what I thought was the next logical solution.
From the top of the deck, I fished down a healthy length of four individual pieces of twine weighed by duct tape through the floorboards.
Eyeballing it through the cracks, I thought to myself, "Girl, you are genius. This is going to be so easy."
Ingenuity at its finest.
Turns out, I'm not a good "eye-baller" and after about 47 trips upstairs and downstairs, anchoring the twine by tying it to deck chairs, all I had was a beautiful chandelier forever on a biatny (which is coal region for cockeyed or on an angle).
Thankfully, I have someone handy in my life who isn't afraid to climb tall ladders. He fixed it right up - although, for some reason, there were two ladders involved in the process and, in my fear of anyone plummeting to their death while on a ladder, I held on tight, steadying it with my eyes closed, not realizing I was, in fact, blindly holding a ladder with no one on it.
Nevertheless, I love my outdoor chandelier and I received many compliments on a project which cost me no more than $15, a project that, trust me, you can easily do, too.
(Jenna Wasakoski, a News-Item editor, is a graduate of Von Lee School of Aesthetics and is certified as a professional makeup artist.)