New to Arduino - Idea Realization

Hey there, I'm quite new to the the Arduino board / software, so I'm going to try to explain my project and see if anyone has ideas...

Basic Idea:

"Timed Dimmer"

Timed light that fades in peaks and fades out, at a specific time (as programmed by a clock). This idea is to aid with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in a hopefully easy to build package. The light will be powered by a string of bright LEDs, for energy consumption purposes.

The difficulty:

I've seen projects for clocks, and projects with PWM LEDs for the fade in/out effect. The main issue is the conformance with LEDs, since they're difficult to regulate the current through a series of them. I have thought of using Charlieplexing to solve this issue, but I'm not 100% sure you can fade in/out ALL LEDs at once. The other issue is powering this. Preferably I would want to be able to plug it into an outlet for easy of consumer use.

The Design:

The base of the light will hold the board and a small digital (24 hour readout) clock. The lights will be strung together and covered with a fogged glass shell (to ease intensity of the individual LEDs). The unit itself is a stand-tall unit, kind of shaped like air purifiers.

Any help on ideas for programming / creating this project will help a lot of people, and would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and Regards, Neil

PS: Future iterations of this project I would like to use several color spectrums (IE fade in red, then fade in orange, then fade in yellow, then fade in white, all incrementally increasing intensity), but that's for another day.

Update:

Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbpnBlZXWwc

But with one color LED (for now) fading up (for 30 minutes for example) then down (over another 30 minutes).

-Neil

I don't know if this will help, but someone did a similar project

http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Sunrise-Alarm-Clock-with-Customizable-Song-Ala/

As for power, you can probably use a wallwart that puts out 6-9 volts DC.

Good luck!