Pro Tip: Keeping Clean and Dry

Professional grade lights tested in water

Professional grade lights tested in water

Whether you are hanging patio lights, decorating for a celebration or thinking about the holidays, here are some tips to help keep your lights shining. We use several techniques to keep our installations neat and to avoid damage and safety issues from moisture getting into the lights and cords. Here are a few "dos" and "don'ts" for you to keep in mind:

Do inspect all light sets for wear and replace any that are damaged. 

Do keep any connections between strings and extension cords off of the ground and away from sitting in water. In the summer you need to avoid the rain but remember how high that snow gets during our CNY winters! 

Don't go crazy with the electrical tape. It may seem like a good idea to wrap all of the connections up tightly but this will actually create a greenhouse effect with moisture building up inside. 

Do use a little bit of tape going from around the back of one plug and then over and around the back of the connecting plug just to keep them tethered together. Don't seal up the seem. Good quality light strings are made to plug in snugly and keep moisture from building up.

Don't wrap too tightly. If you are doing a trunk or branch-wrapping technique that you intend to leave up for more than a few weeks you will need to be sure there is room for the trees to grow. This is a balancing act because you'll want a snug wrap to look great but still need a little wiggle room.

Do consider getting a bunch of those baby-proof outlet covers to use on any exposed female plugs. This helps with dust and dirt too. 

Don't leave cords loosely hanging around where they can be tripped over and accidentally yanked on. Beside the safety aspect, this just looks sloppy and you'll want to see the twinkling lights, not messy wires.  We often cut our own extension cords to just the right length but you should try to purchase cords that come closest to the required size.

Do use zip ties to keep everything tidy.

Dont over-tighten zip ties or you can damage the cords. 

Do understand that all light strings are not equal. The cheaper they are the lower the performance and safety quality. Target or Home Depot lights are riddled with seems where moisture can get in. Our strings are sealed so no seems. We will go into more details about the other differences in another post but like anything else, you get what you pay for.

Would you like more information on our products or a free estimate for a professional installation? Call us at (315) 727-8188 or send an email to info@shinecny.com. 

Flameless Candles

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Who doesn't love candles? I've always had a bit of an addiction to the flickering little fire hazards and have been burning my money on them for years. My consumption has gone down, now with little ones running around, but the need to infuse our space with tranquility is at its peak.

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I've come across many battery-operated "candles" on the shelves of CVS, Target or wherever. At best they are poorly molded plastic made to resemble an unlit candle with a little blipping light hidden deep inside. Useless and ugly. 

I was skeptical when I first heard about these new "realistic" LED flames but with low expectations I gave them a test drive. Then I unexpectedly fell in LOVE!

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They are crafted from real wax and have a translucent flame-shaped tip in the center that is uplit by a warm amber LED. The "flame" flitters around bobbing sideways and also back-and-forth creating the illusion of a shape-shifting flame casting a lifelike glow and shadows with striking similarity to the real thing. Sorcery! 

Actually, the technology was originally developed by Disney Imagineers for The Haunted Mansion and it is impressive. While of course there have been knockoffs, we have found that the others do not have the same silent performance or the right color temperature like these. 

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No flame means they are completely safe anywhere. I took one to the hospital for the birth of our second daughter and it was the most important item in my bag. "No thank you Nurse, I do not need that blazing fluorescent lamp assaulting us as I feed the baby at four in the morning." So, yes, they make a great nightlight too. 

There is also a remote that makes turning them on and off a breeze (and one remote can activate them all,) as well as a timer setting so they will turn off after several hours. The batteries last a really long time with at least 500 hours for some.

Some variations are available for outdoor use and the wind is no match for romancing-up al fresco evenings with these little wonders. They are also great for event venues where open flames are not permitted (and will certainly "wow" your guests.)

They are bit pricier than a typical high-quality candle but don't burn away so they pay for themselves pretty quickly. Here are some examples of different options. Contact us for more information or to find the right style for your space.

 

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Thinking in Green for St. Paddy's Day

In honor of Leprechaun's Day, as our Kindergartener calls it, we are highlighting some of our products in the color of the day. Click through and let us know if you have any questions or need help styling your home or event.


Wedding Lighting Design Ideas

The most exciting part about what we do is the endless inspiration for ways to style our lighting and decor products. Although we would execute many of these concepts differently there are some great ideas for weddings in this compilation. Click through several of our favorites below:

Event Season Ahead!

We're passionate about our work so we are sad to see the Christmas lights coming down but event season is on the horizon!  For outside, lighting trees can have a major impact when done well. Wrapping trunks and branches can be magical. Hanging starburst spheres, lanterns, lighted mason jars and garlands are also some ways to decorate trees for a wedding or celebration. Contact us for more ideas and help with your decorating needs.