TURN ON THE LIGHTS ☂

Good Morning Girlfriends . . . the first thing I do at 4 am when I get up is turn on a light and get the tea-water boiling… it’s my favorite time of day, the house is quiet, no cars are on the roads, the world is all my own for a little while. Just the scuff of slippers on the floor. (And perhaps a little MUSICA . . .)

After the water’s on, I go from room to room, from the kitchen to my studio, clicking on lamps as I go . . . and this morning, when I did, I was reminded of how much I love lighting; how cozy it can be.  How it instantly warms everything up and brings a sense of home and safety.  And I thought, what a perfect time of year it is to talk about it.

Because lighting can add to the ambience of your house, and with these shorter, colder, and darker days ahead, making a house warm and bright is part of

I’ve never been one for overhead lighting.  I know it’s modern, and can come in quite handy when you really want to see, but I’m a lamp person from way back! I love the shadows they cast. Not that it’s my way or the highway, not at all, I think if you LOVE something, it becomes imbued with that, and can be wonderful even if it’s overhead lighting; just depends on how you use it.

But here’s my other side of the coin, light like this . . . Plus, btw, I have always thought that dressing rooms in clothing stores do not understand the importance of lighting!  Nothing like trying on a bathing suit, or anything really, under flourescent lighting (tinged pale blue).  Very unkind.

I mentioned this before . . .  in my Girlfriend’s Book . . . but they still don’t listen! 🙂

 But since I’m in charge at this house, I get to have it the way I like . . .  I know you understand that I had to have this lamp for my Peter Rabbit room!

I’ve collected lamps for years, I have no idea where any of them came from; sometimes I find them as is, but most often I find a base, then, a shade, and do a little  mix and match.

Glass shades can sometimes be a little too bright, so I starched and ironed monogrammed (got lucky with the initial!) vintage luncheon napkins and popped them over two matching guest room lamps to diffuse the lamplight on either side of the bed.

There’s a woman on the island named Ayn Chase …. she makes the most beautiful lampshades, this is one of them.  Lowely and I took a lesson from her a few years ago, so I know, these are truly handmade shades.  Sometimes you can find an Ayn Chase shade at Rainy Day, a darling shop here on the island.

Dining room lighting is important while setting the table, but candles take over from there!  Because I’m in love with . . .

Speaking of which, here we are back in blissland at my darling friend Rachel’s house in England.  I’m still in love with this lamp, with the glass balls, and the color of the shade with the wallpaper.

This is the lampshade I made in my class with Ayn.  I only did one, because I have not discovered how to clone myself yet (this took ten hours to do, even with Ayn right there — but it was worth it)!  It used to be really hard to find cute lamps and especially shades.

I’ve found them mostly in flea markets, or at Brimfield, or in antique stores, wherever I come upon one that I like.  It’s been a long time collecting, something that I always have my eyes open for . . . fun to find when I can!

But they are making more interesting new ones all the time, like this one, also from Rachel’s house.  She did the same thing, found the base in one place, and the shade in another.

Lamps in guest bathrooms make a beautiful soft light, and keep the ambience going at a dinner party, instead of your guests going in and flipping on a strong overhead light, they find this.

This is the lamp in our front hall.  Since all we do is welcome guests here, never try to read anything, it’s nice that it’s softly lit.

This one’s in the guest bedroom, welcoming guests with a cozy reading lamp next to a comfy chair.

Another kind of fall and winter lighting that I LOVE on cold rainy days is candlelight.  I have candles all over the house at this time of year.  I light one wherever I am, cooking in the kitchen, or knitting in my chair.  Like little mini fireplaces.

And there’s nothing like a candlelight dinner to make everything prettier and more dreamlike.

This is our morning today . . . outside the front window . . .

Here, the view from the dining room . . . it’s a dark rainy day here, at least so far . . .

But, no worries, turn on the lamps, and the house is cozy again . . . even at my house, where the kitchen is still totally destroyed!

Jack tries to point out to Joe that time is marching on.  Three sides of the room are done, these windows are next, he’s doing them today!  As soon as it’s done I’ll show you!  We can cook in here though, that’s the good news, and it’s coming out beautifully!  I am still happy we are doing it, the part that’s done is so CLEAN and PRETTY!

And I saved the best for last. 

I know now, the only way to end a post that will make everyone happy is with this little person.  Huggy wuggy.  Bo-Bo-Boy.  Bye girls (and boys!), have a wonderful day, thank you for your wonderful comments, I do love us!  

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654 Responses to TURN ON THE LIGHTS ☂

  1. Nancy says:

    The lamp shade you made is beautiful and so is the blue & white dish! Love blue & white…..and love, love little mr. jack! Thanks, Susan…….

  2. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, I started to write this yesterday and all of a sudden my computer stopped and shut down so I had to stop. Must say I love all the lamps and love the glow that comes from them too. Especially love the shade you made in the class. And the piano is so neat and love the pics on it. Sometimes I wish I knew how to play the piano, and I dream of having everyone around the piano on Christmas singing Christmas carols but of course since I can’t play……….that’s that………just a dream! My favorite thing of all is the “Heart of the Home” cookie cutter! So adorable and since I collect cookie cutters and since I make cut-out cookies………….I will be on the hunt for one of those! Hope you have a wonderful wonderful day! Hugs, Gail Buss, Florida P.S. Still in Virginia Beach with son and children!

  3. Jonna Green says:

    Hi Susan,
    Your post came at a perfect time! I am in search of the perfect lamp to add to our family room. Not sure what I want, but will know it when I see it! I love that you get up so early to start your day. It’s funny, before my kiddos, I was never a morning person, now 3 children later, and my very early morning time is a time I absolutely love and treasure. That’s when I get to workout before anyone is even up…it clears my head and gets me ready for the day ahead. I also love it when it’s so dark in the morning and so quiet outside…it’s such a comforting time and I love to think about what I’m going to do for the day. Thank you for your wonderful post! Jonna

  4. Peggy says:

    I made your tomato soup from your book Autumn Also made grilled cheese sandwich It was pouring rain here in Ont Canada What great soup
    Thankyou for the recipe

  5. Jessie's Mom Aka... Lisa says:

    Hi Susan!
    We are still battling the heat in So Cal, but Jess and I managed to parade around a bit yesterday! She rode my horse down our main street in our home town, country fair parade, I walked along side, melting as we went, but extremely PROUD of my cowgirl. Would have LOVED to have a bit of your weather yesterday for sure!!
    As far as mornings…they ROCK!!! I go straight to the coffee pot, grab a cup and take in all the peaceful quiet time I can before my busy day starts. Thanks for writing about such a simple but wonderful thing. There is nothing like seeing the sun come up and the world of critters come alive. Your blog is so dear!! Thank YOU!!! Enjoy that weather and feel free to send us some anytime.
    Until Next Time Happy Trails!!!

  6. Marcia A. Sherman says:

    I light at least one candle almost every morning, even if just for 30 minutes.

    Susan, you have inspired me to put lamps in the dining room. We have an open floor plan, the dining room is not a room with four walls, and the ‘chandelier’ has a dimmer 😉 … but it was still nice at 4:00 this morning to have that intimate lighting as I went thru the house making coffee, feeding cats, etc.
    I have this WONDERFUL black iron pumpkin on a stand which is strung thru with orange fairy lights – a great way to celebrate the season.

    be well –

    Marcia from Sewell

  7. Dee says:

    Ohhh, I agree…soft lamplight and candlelight are the gentlest way to welcome a new day. The lamp by my favorite chair is on a timer, so when I come downstairs in the morning there’s a soft, warm light on. A big antique blue canning jar with an electric candle inside, (a gift from my hero, years ago) sits in the corner of the kitchen counter and makes a wonderful night light. Before a party, I like to unscrew bulbs in the powder room overhead fixture, and leave a small lamp and jar candle burning. Only once did I have a complaint…

    • Dee says:

      p.s. I’ve loved your blog, your fb page, your website, your books, your calendars, your fabric, (my favorite little green “contentment” vase)…and WILLARD! forever, and must apologize for being such a lurker!

  8. Gentility Mary says:

    I am dashing out..read this charming blog entry and some of the comments, which I
    will finish later over a Sunday treat with that treat…In case someone has not commented on it, I do not put my bug lights (the yellow kind) away….use them year
    round in our entry hall and some focal areas on timers. Come dusk they cast a
    soothing, golden glow upon our surroundings. Try it Susan dear. Also we have two
    table lamp tables (brass electrified candlestick with shade attached to a candlestand) Very convenient at side of cozy chair….Two birds with one you know what…….use reading bulbs in those….. Just love your lamps, shades and you, dear heart…….

  9. Pamela Jo says:

    As always, so inspiring to read your blog! My weekend was spent decorating for Fall…inside and out. Love your lighting photos. I set my table for fall with autumn votive globes w/hand painted leaves and a shaded votive holder in the center, surrounded by leaves and acorns. Autumn is simply the best time of year and I have your “Autumn” book out on my table at the moment…I’m always inspired by your books! Leaves are still green here in PA, but the nights are getting cooler, so Fall is in the air. All family health issues are finally settled and everyone is feeling better, so I think I’ll brew a cup of tea, hold my kitty, Molly, and pick up a good book. Have a wonderful evening!

    ~xoxo~
    Pamela Jo

  10. Barbara T, Wolverine Lake MI says:

    A few years ago, when my youngest graduated from High School and I was throwing the grad party I decided I needed a new light fixture over the kitchen table, ran up to the hardware store and grabbed a fixture, had my husband install it, and I’ve NEVER liked it. for years I’ve been dis-liking that light over the table. I have also spent a LOT of time looking for its replacement – and just CAN’T find anything I like. I frequent lighting stores, check online, etc. Problem is that I want something charming, something unique, something that says “me” on it, not too big, not too small. Your blog reminds me of how important lighting is to complete a “look” and a personality. Lately the trend is – exposed light bulbs, no! I want to see the fixture and the shade (and probably since it’s in the kitchen, the shade can’t be fabric, needs to be glass because of minute little oil droplets from cooking). Your lamps are adorable. I’ve been a fan of lamps even back in college, when my dorm room was lit with lamps and not that horrid ceiling monstrosity. 🙂

  11. Bettina (Berlin 42) says:

    …you are getting up at 4.00 h PM! Wow… This is a special time no matter if it is Winter or Summer. I love in the wintertime than I am up and around (weekend f. ex.) and the darkness will leave step by step and I am sitting with my journal and a cup of tea enjoying the new day.

    Your trees lost already quite a bit of leaves (front picture to the road), the scenery was really cozy, could I have a cuppa tea as well?

    Thanks (again) for your nice blog.

    Bettina from Berlin 42

  12. Pam Bengier says:

    Hi,
    Have been thinking about you…thinking that the kitchen painting is done and that you have been busy, busy, busy putting everything back into the kitchen – a
    HUGE job, but when it is done, everything will be so clean and shiny and ready for the holidays.

    • sbranch says:

      I would have been here sooner but we had a camera failure to provide!!! It was awful, but it’s fixed now!

  13. Kathy L (Topaz112) says:

    Hi Susan,
    I have recently discovered your blog and feel like I know you. The photos of your visit to England and reading all about it was enchanting. I myself love all things English and hopefully some day I will go there myself. I also have a black and white cat (Leo) who my husband found abandoned in the front of our house two years ago as a newborn. So when I see and read about your Jack, I laugh because Leo is so much like him! BTW, your kitchen is adorable and sooo homey and inviting! I look forward to more stories and pix!

  14. Lori says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I finished painting our bathroom my favorite color yellow. I went to Sam’s yesterday and found your To My Daughter With Love from my Kitchen cookbook! I am going to give that to my mom today. I already gave her your Mom Tell Me Your Story book and she loves it. Tomorrow will make a year since my mom fell and broke her neck. She has made a miraculous recovery. At Christmas her wish came true and she was able to go home! She is 71 and lives by herself. She is driving and dating again! We are all so thankful! I just got wonderful news from my CAT scan! I will be cancer free for two years at Christmas! We are leaving tomorrow for Maine to see my hubby’s family and leaves! I hope you have fun on your adventure.

  15. Tiah Ann Foster says:

    Dear Susan,

    Please post pictures of Girl Kitty, too. She must feel very lonesome with Jack, as adorable as he is, getting so much. When her eyes are happy again, then I will be happy.

    Love your blog. Thank you so much for doing it. I’m in AZ, so seeing “The Seasons” is a true treat.

    Tiah

  16. Bettie Hammock says:

    When you published your recipes in Country Living I began to save them. I have Twelve of the recipes that I will someday pass on to my daughters. I love them each and every one. Thank you for lovely things.
    Bettie

  17. Janie Phillips says:

    It’s chilly here today. Not enough to turn on the heat, so I turned on all the lamps to warm things up, and that reminded me of this post, which made it even nicer to have my lamps on and warmed my heart as well. xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      Light is a huge help for warmth isn’t it. I forget where you are Janie! Are you in the path of the hurricane?

  18. Janie Phillips says:

    I’m in Oklahoma City so the only hurricane I’ve experienced was in Mississippi this year while I was visiting my daughter. Isaac threatened us for days and then kind of blew himself out, but I have a sense of how it feels to know (for so long!) that one is heading your way. I’m keeping my eye on the news and willing Sandy to turn away from the coast. I know a lot of us will be sending out special prayers to keep you safe. xoxo

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