I just have a small shelf - it's an extra shelf that is a part of the set of shelves lining two walls of the "den" area of my house, the eastern and the southern. These shelves were already there when I moved in in fall 1999. We use them for books. The extra shelf is a bit broader then the rest, more "protruding," and we used to use it as a little writing desk. In this year's January, when I was preparing for my Chrismation, I removed everything from this shelf and put on it three icons - of the Savior, of the Theotokos, and of St. George the Dragon Slayer (my patron saint) - all three ordered from "Yevshan," a Ukrainian Internet store operating from Canada. My wife also found two icons of the Most Holy Theotokos that we had at home since time immemorial - one brought from Ukraine (her parents' gift), and one from Seattle (a gift of one elderly lady from the Seattle Ukrainian immigrant community). These two icons had been blessed by priests. They both cannot stand, so I just put them horizontally on the shelf (probably I should get a frame for them).
Other items that I put on this shelf: a prayer book (from Fr. Hieromonk Daniel Zelinsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, with parallel texts in Ukrainian and in English - I always pray in Ukrinian); the Holy Bible in Ukrainian translation by Metropolitan Illarion (a.k.a. Prof. Ivan Ohienko); two small crosses, one wooden, empty cross (a gift from my parish priest) and one metallic Crucifix, very tiny, just about 2 inches long (I don't even know where does it come from, looks like it has always been there with me!); and a piece of embroidered Ukrainian tablecloth, very beautiful, with scarlet red, yellow, green, and black ornament on a snow-white background, Carpathian style (from my wife's parents' home in Western Ukraine).
We do not have a vigil lampada, so I am, too, one of those inquiring minds who would like to know, how necessary is it?
As for the light - I put two candles on the two sides of the shelf, but I, nonestly, almost never lit them, instead just use a standing lamp with two regular electric bulbs.
As for facing East - yes, I read that it should be done, but I am actually facing south or southeast when I am praying... just because such is the arrangment of furniture in our den area...
[edited name=Heorhij date=1186697771][/edited]