January 31, 2018:


Today is the Super Duper Blue Red Full Eclipse Partial Eclipse Moon, depending on where you may be viewing from.

Three years ago this day was my last day of working and I retired after 46 years of full-time work. I've enjoyed every single moment of my retirement since then - three years and hoping for twenty more, we'll see how things go...

February and March can be cruel months in southeastern Wisconsin where I live. January itself was nutso here weather-wise, with two separate thaws. I don't ever remember getting two January thaws before, and many years none happened at all.

Before I know it I'll be headed to Las Vegas to visit my friends and celebrate some sunshine and warm weather, and see a show (I always try to squeeze one in). Meanwhile, I am continuing, slowly, to make this smaller retirement ranch into a home that makes me smile in every room. I still have lots to do, including major painting projects. I keep putting them off. Seems at 66 I'm not so keen on painting as I was at 36. Gee, I wonder why...


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Make a Wine Bottle Light WITHOUT DRILLING!

Happy Holidays to everyone! 

My Christmas break was lovely, and I hope yours was, too.   This year I had 4 days off in a row because we have Christmas Eve off as well as Christmas Day, and this year Christmas Eve was on a Monday!!!!

A few years ago, I received a lovely gift I received from a friend.  I fell in love with it instantly, it wa so unique.  Here are some not very good photos of it, showing the front, and the back:

Yes, a lighted wine bottle!  As you can see, the bottle is "frosted" with a pattern of snow flakes (it is on the outside because when I run my fingers over it, I can feel the texture) and the lovely front "label" is similarly applied (I have no idea how), and above it, a texured "Warm Wishes."

When I plug the bottle in at night, it is very bright! 

As you also can see from the second photo, the lights were funneled through a polished hole that was somehow drilled into the bottle a couple of inches above it's base.  The cord, left free, is able to be plugged into a nearby outlet. 

I was just awe struck by the ingeniuity of using a wine bottle to make such a light, and how it was done.  And the decorations - wow!  All together one of my favorite Christmas things here at Maison Newton. 

I have from time to time wondered how it was made, but I don't have a bent toward craft making.  I figured it was done with tools I don't and never will own and techniques I know nothing about and have have no interest in learning, LOL!  That's what craft fairs are for, buying creations like this from people who are much cleverer and gifted in these ways than I could ever dream. 

There are as many variations of this clever idea as there are creative and inventive people.

Here is a commercial site that sells many different kinds of liquor and wine bottles for $20 each:  Lighted Bottles from M and M Designs.

Light Up Bottles features a clear bottle with hole pre-drilled and a 50-light strand of white lights for $9.99 plus shipping.  There is also a dark green bottle available.  What's cool about this is that you can decorate your bottle the way you want and you don't have to go shopping for the right kind of lights. 

I fell in love with these apple cider bottles used by Design Mom in "Bottles Full of Light" in a 2010 blog post. She learned after the fact of successfully using her technique to drill holes, however, that what she did was potentially very dangerous!  She worked without goggles, mask, and gloves, at what looks like her kitchen or dining room table!  Eek! 

Do-it-yourselfers always find a way to drill a hole in the bottle, some methods better than others. It is a messy and potentially dangerous business.  Not for moi!  I'm just not a goggles, gloves and breathing mask kind of gal.  However, this method (below) seems fairly safe, as the glass you're chipping away at would fall INTO the bottle, not out toward you:

DIY Wine Bottle Christmas Lights from Blog Your Wine, December 10, 2010.  He makes it sound easy :)  I may try it one day when I'm feeling particularly fearless and brave...

I apologize in advance for not being able to come up with a link, but I swear to you yesterday during lunch hour when I was catching up on visting some of my favorite blog parties, I saw a lighted wine bottle where the creator had simply fed the lights into the bottle through the neck opening and left the cord dangling outside the neck of the bottle; it was then hid down the backside of the bottle (I didn't see any ties, so perhaps it was left loose or was glued  to the back of the bottle?  And then she decorated the top of the bottle.  NO DRILLING!  NO CHIPPING A HOLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOTTLE!  The cord plugged in and voila, beautiful Christmas wine bottle light!  I looked and looked for that post at that party today and I cannot find it. I don't remember which party it was at, or what the date was.  Damn my bad memory!  I knew knew knew then I should have saved a link -- but I didn't.  If I do find it again (I will continue to look for it, I'm obsessive that way...) I will be sure to add it in right here.

[ADDED 10:04 P.M.  I found it!  It's from Slowly Faded Treasures, and I did not see it while visiting a link/blog party, I visited her site separately.  So sorry for the senior brain cramp.  Here is the link:  Wine Bottle Nightlights, December 22, 2012]

But that got me thinking last night.  What if....

And so today, I used a few things I had on hand to create my own version of that clever hole-less lighted wine bottle, LOL!

I used:

  • An empty, cleaned wine bottle that I happened to have  (okay, I drank the last few ounces of rich, sweet red wine I usually keep on hand that I use to make a marinade for my once-a-week steak)
  • Battery-operated LED mini light set (15 lights), on sale at Walgreens a few weeks ago 3 for $10.  They come in clear and multi-colored
  • Four decorative Christmas picks temporarily borrowed from my Christmas tree
  • Assorted twist ties (I wasn't sure which ones or how many I might use)

I opted to leave the front and back labels on the wine bottle for this project.  As I wasn't sure I could get the idea to work, my primary goal was to keep the muss, fuss and putzing to a minimum.

It was easy to feed the lights into the bottle through the neck opening.  It wasn't difficult to use one of the LONG green twist ties (about 8" long) to secure the battery pack to the neck on the outside of the bottle, twisted extra tight so it wouldn't wiggle, and I slid it around to be centered over the back label.  The most difficult part was inserting the floral picks around the battery pack to hide it as much as possible.  Their stems are about 6 inches long which wouldn't do to have them dangling down around the bottle, so I bent them upwards to cut their length in half. I didn't want to cut the stems, as the length comes in handy when sticking them into the Christmas tree branches.  But, the doubled stems made it difficult to insert them inside the tight twist tie.  One pick wanted to keep flopping over, arrgggghhh.  I probably should have used five or six floral picks instead of just four.  Someone more talented and imaginative than me would come up with some fantastic ribbon bows and florals to cover the battery pack completely and beautifully!

Not shown in the "what I used" photo above is a long white ribbon that I pulled out of my magic cabinet (it has all sorts of junk in it) that I used at the end to wrap around the bottle neck to hide the twist tie and the double-bent stems of the floral picks and add a touch of frou-frou.  I also plopped a foil-wrapped chocolate "ornament" into the mouth of the bottle as a final touch. Pretty and edible, too!   Probably any smaller size round ornament would work, or even another floral pick, being careful when inserting it into the mouth of the bottle that you don't pierce the cord/wiring.  So, without further ado, here is my "finished' product:

The lights were turned on, but it's a little hard to see in these photos.  The bottom photo shows more of the side of the bottle and you can see the lights a little better.

So, using a battery-operated light set to make a lighted wine bottle works.  My LED light set offers fast blinking, slow blinking, and steady glow options, so I can play around with it.  I just made sure when I twist-tied the battery pack to the bottle's neck that I had the on-off switch at the top, easily reachable without dislodging any of the other decorating elements.

The entire creation disassembled much more quickly than it took me to put it together.  So the lights and the same or a different bottle could be used again with seasonal decorations (spring, summer, autumn, winter) or for other things.  Very thrifty, if I do say so myself :)


  1. What a great idea to use batteries! I have one but the wire comes out of the top to be plugged in, I hate that though. I love the frosted one, that is so very pretty.

    1. Hi Audrey, thanks so much for visiting. I too really like the frosted raised design on the outside of the wine bottle light that was gifted to me a few years ago. I did not look for any, but perhaps there are directions on the internet on how to do it. I did some reading on how one drills holes in bottles with "minimum" danger and one uses a "Dremel" drill bit. I have read they can be bought at Ace Hardware stores for under $20. They are specifically designed to drill through glass and tile. So, if one wanted to do several bottles that run a cord out near the base of the wine bottle, it might be a worthwhile investment. And while I was writing this, it occurred to me for the first time that my battery-operated mini-light set could be run with the battery pack at the base of the bottle, where it could be more easily camoflauged with an arrangement of florals and ornaments and ribbons. The cord would run up the back of the bottle, and might be camoflauged with ribbons or an extragavant display of floral picks stuck into a florist's foam base around the bottom of the bottle -- just thinking out loud here now. Styrofoam would work too. Hmmm.... And actually, I wouldn't need to necessarily use battery-operated lights, because if the length of the cord is sufficient to let it run down the outside of the bottle before the first light on the strand appears on the inside of the bottle, a larger plug-in light strand can be used inside the bottle while the cord is camoflauged running down the back and out through the decorations around the base. Geez, I should have thought of this earlier. Now I'm getting all sorts of ideas for how this might work. I just wish I had the patience and the skills to pull together what I visualize. Thanks again for visiting!

  2. Hello Jan! Thanks for including a link to my post about the wine bottle lights. I do appreciate it:)

    In answer to your question, I used green floral wire to tie the light cord to the neck of the bottle, and then covered that up with the decorations. The cord hung loose from there. Sorry I didn't mention that part! I actually like the cord loose because that way you can put it in front of something on the counter and still have plenty of cord to plug in. Anyway, I like how yours turned out, and congrats on making one!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I'm glad you found my post about your post! I have visited your site many times since discovering you. I enjoy your great ideas and inspirations.

      I will be using the ideas I experimented with in this post when Christmas season comes around again. I do like the idea of using a battery-pack operated string of lights because of the portability and being able to use the wine bottles anywhere. What I need to work on (mightily) is my "artistic" touches of florals, ribbons and what-not to disguise the bulky battery pack tied to bottle neck!

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  4. I used the led lights attached to the "cork". inserted into the bottle. Then glued purple and amber, and green glass half circle onto the bottle in the shape of a bunch of grapes. Attached some artificial grape leaves above the cluster of grapes and attached some tan rafia around the upper neck of the bottle. Turned out pretty nice.