thrifting victories - chinoiserie lamps
Oh, man. After yesterday's thrifty score and subsequent marathon of cleaning, my little fingers are scoured to the point of uselessness. I have dropped an entire bin of tiles all over the floor (and my foot), knocked multiple loose tiles off the back of the storage shelves to clang loudly into the abyss of the back wall, fumbled every piece of hardware I picked up, and almost dropped a large tupperware of loose screws and hinges - all in twenty minutes! I'm currently sitting safely at my desk, and lifting nothing heavier than a fork for the rest of the day. It's for my own good.
All this, my pretties, is because I picked up these little beauts from a local thrift store that is sadly going out of business. Except not that sad, because when they opened three years ago and I tried to buy these very lamps from them, they refused me. The GALL. They used them in the store, or some other such practical nonsense. But now they are mine (MINE!!!), and the mister thinks I am mildly insane. Quote: "woah. those are... big." I appreciate his attempt at tact, but not his doubting heart. He will see. They will be glorious.
Sooooo the one thing that is maybe a liiiiittle bit sort of not-great about them, is, as you might have noticed, they are an icky shade of what my friend Mark dubbed 'homeless tooth' yellow. Mark is quite the wordsmith. I had assumed that these lamps, stuck high on a shelf in the store and out of my reach until after I had already bought the suckers for $175 for the pair, were made out of yellowed plastic. These guys are over 3 feet tall, so that was a great price no matter what they were made of. And they had that aged-plastic-nightlight-from-1987 sheen to them. No biggie - I planned to paint them a glossy navy, or maybe turquoise. But then we got them up close and I realized they are ENAMEL. Whaaaaaat?? This was promising. One lamp was a bit more yellow than its twin, but I wanted to see what I could achieve with a little water and my friend, the Magic Eraser (the greatest human achievement since agriculture). And the photo above answers: how much could my Erasers do? SO MUCH.
Check that bidniz. I started with the cleaner-looking one, and with a bunch of scrubbing, the yellow came straight off, revealing a lovely bone-white finish that, while I had Magic Erased the original polish down to an indisputable matte, ended up looking nicely authentic as ivory. Score-town.
Theeeen I tried on the tooth-ier looking one, and it is... not so hot. The enamel is chipping in a lot of places, and the stain seems a lot more stubborn. Perhaps the nicotine-cloud that embraced these fellas was a tad thicker on one side of the room? It was closer to the sun? It is, in its lampy little heart, a bitter and more twisted soul? I don't know, but I scrubbed my ass off and it still looks kinda gross.
Additional mystery: the owner of the store, through the medium of the guy behind the register who had to call her to get the price, informed me that 'the bases light up, you know.' I could see that the enamel had a paper-backed silk underlay which was clearly translucent, should a light be behind it. Kitschy or glam? I was excited to find out. But the thing is, when I plugged it in? No inner-lamp to be seen. I am still trying to puzzle out how the sucker comes apart - it has two different points where it looks like it maybe splits, but both seem pretty much cemented in place. I would also very much like to replace the silk, as it is old and faded and significantly grosser now that i've been dripping tooth-yellow water all over it. Also I sort of Magic Erased a few tears into the surface. Whoops! But I can't budge the damn thing apart to see what's inside.
I need the hulk. Does anyone have his number? Dr. Hulk, I need to see if there's a burnt-out bulb inside my lamps, so please leave your imaginary physics lab and come to my house at your earliest convenience and, I don't know, read about that cattle-rancher guy or something to get yourself properly cheesed. And maybe we try to steer away from HULK SMASH and more toward HULK FIND THE HIDDEN WING NUTS AND LOOSEN.
That seems like a good use of his time, no?