Guest Post: DIY Glowing Globes

By Kate Riley June 22, 2011

I can’t recall how I discovered Karen, but somehow I stumbled upon her last year, stalked her blog for awhile, then reached out and tweeted to her that I thought she was awesome.  That was last year and we’ve been internet friends ever since, or as Karen puts it, “I’m so glad we Intermet.”  

Karen is daring and crafty and funny.  She cooks and builds and decorates, all with finesse and a sense of humor, hence the perfect name for her blog The Art of Doing Stuff.  One time in an email she signed her name “Karen!” and I replied that she should always sign her name like that.  Because she’s not just Karen.  She’s Karen! 

I like to pretend that Karen! and I are twins separated at birth.  She’s just like me except for the fact that she’s tall, thin, blonde, and Canadian.  

Please welcome my Intermet friend Karen!

“Hi everyone. I’m new here.  My name’s Karen.  I do stuff.  A lot of stuff.  I design stuff, repair stuff, cook stuff and even do crafty stuff.  Partly because I’m incredibly curious and partly because I’m cheap. And perhaps a bit of a control freak.  But only perhaps.

Oh, and sometimes I swear. But I won’t in this post because I promised Kate that I wouldn’t. But since she’s taking a brief holiday and probably won’t notice, maybe I will.  Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite cheap outdoor design ideas.

Get ready for it … this one’s a doozy.  Doozie?  Doosey.  It’s a humdinger.  It looks high end with a side of huge impact, and it costs next to nothing.  You’ll be able to do this. In 3 minutes flat.

When I redid my backyard (like an idiot) a few years ago, I found out that outdoor lighting is expensive.  Like, really expensive.  If I’m gonna shell out a whole whack of cash for something in my backyard it’s gonna be on a beef tenderloin for the BBQ.  Or a better BBQ.  Or a talking parrot who refers to me as Princess Leia.  It isn’t gonna be for lighting, if I can help it.

So while perusing my local second hand store I came across some truly unfortunate stains on the carpet AND these ubiquitous opaque glass shades.  You’ve probably thrown a few out in your lifetime.  Stop doing that.  Stop it right now.

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As you can see, all you have to do is put those mini lights you have shoved in your basement into them and you have instant backyard lighting.

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Just stick the glass shades anywhere you want and stuff them full of mini lights.  Attach an extension cord if you need to and hide it under your garden dirt or mulch.  I have my lights on a timer so they come on every night at dusk.  They look beauuuuutiful!

By day …

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… or by night.

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Along with secondhand stores where these shades will cost you between $1to $3, you can also find them in regular old hardware stores, but they’re about $10 to $15.

And if you think the glowing balls look good like this, in the middle of a summer backyard, just look at what you can do with them in the winter.

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Don’t have a backyard?  No problem!

They work just as well inside the house.

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All for the low, low price of almost nothing. If you have $3 and at least one working hand, you can do this.  In fact, if you don’t have a working hand, but have particularly agile feet, you can probably pull it off.   Tomorrow, (on my own site) I’m going to show you yet ANOTHER thing you can do with these $2 shades. The possibilities with these things are endless.  It’s fantastic!  Trust me.  Princess Leia wouldn’t lie to you.”


See folks?  See why I adore this lady?  When you read her blog you’ll realize she has mastered the art of doing stuff.  And that I endorse. 

Another great contribution coming tomorrow from another favorite blogger, so be sure to check back.  Meanwhile, I’m on a mini break with my toes buried in the sand somewhere on the coast of Cali, margarita in hand.  Try not to hate me. 


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  1. I managed to completely forget to do this in my post, so I wanted to publicly, (in the comment section of her blog as opposed to say, The New York Times or CNN) thank Kate for inviting me to do a guest post. Thank you Kate. I mean Kate!

    ~ Karen!

  2. My granny did this when she would decorate for Halloween! I remember these as a kid and used them all throughout my youth. I currently have a cluster on my mantle! :) They give off beautiful light.

  3. Love it! This should be a series entitled: “What to do with all that builder-grade crap from your house.”

  4. That is awesome!!!! What a great idea Karen. Thank you so much for sharing. Kate thanks for having Karen over. Karen, I’m going to go and check out your blog now. Now I can’t wait to go to Good Will and hopefully find some of these. I have to do this in my yard. Love the idea!!!

  5. I saw these on her blog ages ago and thought it was a fantastic idea! I’ve been planning on doing it myself – our opshops (second hand stores) are full of these light covers. Such an amazing idea though!

  6. These are fabulous! I want to start this project tomorrow. Great guest post, Karen. Hope you’re soaking up some sun, eating good food and getting some R & R, Kate. Enjoy!

  7. What a brilliant idea. I have a couple of those lights I am planning to change out soon. Now I will know to save them cause I’m sure going to steal this idea! Thanks!

  8. Karen and Kate,

    I’ve been following {errr…lurking, then following;) } Kate’s blog for a while now and I was so excited when Nate Berkus first gave her a shoutout and then had her on the show!

    I always knew you could do something with those globes and now I know! I thought of putting tealights under them or LED pillars to put on the tables at our wedding, but that thought left as soon as it entered my brain.

    You both are fabulous!


  9. Oh Kate, thank you for introducing us to Karen! I hopped right over to her blog and have been laughing ever since. She is soooo funny. I wish I could have seen her live cam. Hey Karen maybe you (or a friend) could edit it down to make a mini video out it. I want to see your silly chickens!

  10. My mind is blown. I’m in love with that idea, and now I desperately want to run home and make some myself. Ooh…where to put them???!!!

  11. I WANT that little light table with the birch bark legs. This is the best idea ever. Ann

  12. What a great idea. My husband wants to spend tons of $ on outdoor light; I can’t wait to show him this!
    Thanks for introducing us to Karen! =)

  13. I love this idea Karen and my be taking it for my own patio shortly since I would need to pimp myself out to cover the cost of outdoor lighting.

  14. I wandered over to her site and while looking at the pictures from her backyard redo (beautiful!) realized, OMG it’s Karen Bertelsen! She used to make me laugh when she would do little between-show entertainment updates on CFMT. And wow, she is terrific at “doing stuff”!

  15. OMG! Karen! you little mind reader. I was just telling my friend about these, but couldnt find them again on your blog. and now here they are! sigh, I adore you!

  16. Probably a stupid question, but wouldn’t the string lights be a shock hazard if they were touching wet ground? How do you get around that?

  17. Oh! And thanks to everyone for the nice comments and the blog visits. I happen to think Kate and I make a wonderful blog pairing.

    I would also like to say Kate … your commenters/readers are without a doubt some of the nicest I’ve ever come across. Ever. Bar none. That is a testament to both your readers and yourself. ~ Karen!

  18. Karen! you are one funny lady! you’re idea was pretty kickass (sorry kate, hope that’s not too swear-y). I’ll definitely start reading your blog :)

  19. My friend Kathy and I have used old globes for so many things in decor. We also make them to look like stained class, and you are so right, do not throw anything out. Let your imagination run with creativity first. If you can’t do anything with it then file it under G (Garbage)

  20. I love this! I’m going to see if I can get them to work with solar lights so I can have them on my deck, and lit every night!

  21. I have a couple of these that we took down when we replaced light fixtures with something cooler, I’m so going to do this. Maybe even with the solar powered LED lights b/c then I wouldn’t have to think about plugging them in.

  22. I really wanted to try this but I didn’t want a cord running across my yard — I removed the stem off a small solar light and put the cover over it… voila, it worked awesome. The solar light continues to charge well under the dome. My neighbors even commented on it.

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