December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Tree is Done!

It's finished, at last!

Picking up from last night's post, here is what the tree looked like after I put the feather garland on:

I should have bought more!  There are six of them and they had a very distinct character to the tree.  They are long, but flexible.  As you see, they bow out naturally when the ends are tucked into the tree.  I didn't have to use twist ties or clips to anchor the ends -- wonderful!

This year I left off my wine/maroon colored ornaments and only used my clear, white, gold and silver ornaments in addition to the gold French ribbon and the newest addition to my tree decorations, those gorgeous wonderful faux-feathers!

Below are some photos of the finished tree, taken in full daylight before the Packers game came on at noon.  It is beautiful today, feels like it must be close to 60 degrees out there!  Last night there was thunder and lightning but not much rain.  On December 1st!  We will have one more warm day tomorrow, and one of my walking friends and I have a lunch-time excursion already planned, probably it will be the last time we'll be comfortable doing three miles this season.

The magic of a Christmas tree is at its best at night, of course, when all the lights are on and the candles and tea lights are glowing and the lights around the inside of my round top window are aglow.  The room is actually bright enough, probably, to land an airplane by.  But I'm not good at taking night photos.  Perhaps when I retire I will take a course in photography at the local technical college.  I would like to take really beautiful photographs like many I've seen on your blogs. 

I added some snowflake ornaments to the mantle/mantel as a finishing touch.  I am so happy with how it turned out that I'm not changing a thing!  This side of the tree is seen when one is entering through the front door, so I try to make a good impression.

This is the tree viewed from the corner.  Hmmm, a few bare spots.  After I took these photos I added some small floral picks and a few ornaments to fill them in :)

I straightened up the top leader (you can see in the top pictures from yesterday that it was bent) and, stretching on a chair (I don't use my rickety step-ladder for this job) I attached my jerry-rigged star topper, then added some gold-glittered pine cone picks and two gold glittered sticks that remind me of chop sticks.  Last year the pine cones and chop stocks were used as decorations in Dad's plant which normally sits on the right side of the fireplace mantle/mantel.  I also filled in the top of the tree with small floral picks. Overall, much improved over prior year's attempts at a tree topper:

The stars were purchased last year at Walgreens, two for $5, and I've got them tied together with twist ties except at the bottom where I slip the opening over the top tree leader.  The glittered pine cones are sturdy and help anchor it so it doesn't flop over, LOL!

Some close-ups:

The photo below shows the pearl naos (house or shrine for the gods) around Nefertiri and Mr. Don's kilt pin, as well as hearts on either side of it.  Yes, I'm very sentimental!  This vignette is near the love seat where I can see it close by.  Mr. Don passed away unexpectedly on October 12th, so he will be here only in spirit this Christmas and Christmases to come.  His favorite down throw will be on the love seat.

Next weekend I will be helping my sister put up her two trees.  She recently underwent an emergency appendectomy after her appendix burst and she was very ill and put quite a scare into all of us over Thanksgiving.  She is well on the road to recovery now but will be off work for some weeks and is on restricted physical activity, so I imagine she'll be directing me from the sofa and have me running around like a chicken without a head, LOL! 

I will be glad to see 2012 finished, it has been a horrible year for me personally and, indeed, for some of my family and friends too. 

I am already thinking about next year's tree.  Perhaps white ribbon instead of the gold?  More feather garland?  Some clip on birds - in white?  Banishing most of the gold and going with white and clear ornaments, or more silver, instead?  What would the tree look like if it was flocked?  Oy, the mess -- and how would I do that and not cover the lights with spray flock?  Do I really want to buy a flocked tree instead, or one that looks "frosted?"  But this tree is still in excellent shape, how can I justify the expense?  Besides, I don't WANT two trees!!!  Oh, decisions, decisions...

Finally, thanks once again to Laura Orr for her wonderful tree last year being the inspiration for my tree this year!  Mine doesn't look near as pretty as hers but I'm fairly happy with it.

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