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One of the most interesting types of custom lamps we’ve seen at House of Andala are lamps made from spent shell casings from World War I and II.  Each of these beautifully carved casings, a form of trench art, are unique in their representation of a soldier, providing some insight into their feelings and emotions about their experience in the war and their surroundings.

Trench art is any decorative item made by soldiers, prisoners of war or civilians, where the creation is linked to armed conflict or its consequences.  Although much of the trench art found at antique or gun shows and estate sales today is from World War I, the history of trench art goes back to the Napoleonic wars when French prisoners of war in British prisons created elaborate boxes, models and other items from soup bones. During the Civil War soldiers decorated powder horns, canteens and snuff boxes with engravings and made game pieces from spent bullets.

Tis the season for chilly weather, falling leaves, ghosts and goblins. But energy vampires and phantom loads lurk in our homes throughout the year.

Phantom load comes from appliances and other devices that are plugged and drawing energy even when they aren’t in use.  It also comes from products that are on standby to run clocks or timers – think coffee makers, game consoles, TVs and large appliances. On average, phantom load costs consumers about $100 every year.

Many of the lighting fixtures and lamps that we see at House of Andala are made of brass or brass plated. Brass fixtures are durable and make excellent candidates for restoration. Many times just a simple rewire and professional cleaning is all that is needed to restore a brass lamp to new life.

What is brass?
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. The two metals are melted together and when the mixture cools it crystalizes into a solid compound. Brass has been produced for a thousand years and is valued for its beauty, workability and corrosion resistance.

More than any artist of the 20th century, Louis Comfort Tiffany ushered in America’s love affair with stained glass. Considered a leading judge of taste and elegance among the rich and elite of the 1920s and 1930s, his influence spanned not only glassware but interior design. Tiffany is widely considered a leader of the Art Nouveau movement.

But it was the combination of the electric light bulb and Tiffany’s colorful and uniquely-shaped leaded lampshades that made his Tiffany lamps such a huge success then and a hugely valuable collector’s item today.

It’s late August already, but there is still plenty of time left for pleasant evenings on the porch or in the back yard. Until the bugs start buzzing and threaten to ruin your fun and relaxation. Besides smelly citronella candles or sticky bug spray what else can you use to help extend your outdoor pleasure this summer?

One option that is much easier to use (and a lot less smelly) is a bug light. Bug lights are those bright yellow bulbs that claim to keep all kinds of bugs away from your outdoor gathering.