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, November 10, 2013

I Want -- A Cardinal Christmas Tree

Hola!

I've been drooling over this Gump's cardinal-decorated artificial tree, used as a table-top centerpiece, for years:


But at $138, I just could not pull the trigger.  She's a beauty, though, and 31" tall in a nice faux-gilded pot, with battery-operated lights!

Last year, I started simmering on the idea of trying to create my own table-top cardinal holiday tree.  I looked around a bit, but - well, last year wasn't a very good year for moi.

But -- after recently looking through yet another Gump's catalog (this one was a holiday collection catalog) that Gump's strategically mails to me to make me wish I was rich and occasionally induces me to part with my hard-earned money, I could not get the cardinal tree out of my head.  I have a thing for cardinals, and I have been entertaining thoughts of doing a little bit of decorating in the back of the house (family room, dinette and kitchen, all open to each other), other simply than hanging ornaments from the light fixture above the dining table and from the pulls on the kitchen cabinet doors.  So, I decided it was time to go for it and make my own cardinal tree!

For more than a week I've been seriously looking around online for an artificial Christmas tree in an urn.  I found many, but none at a price I was willing to pay! Big Lots had a good deal in their flyer last weekend -- two 3-foot artificial pines in antiqued plastic urns for $30.  But Big Lots does not sell online and I have no way of getting to Big Lots since I do not drive.  A 3-foot tall tree was also taller than I wanted to go, as I'm planning on using the cardinal tree on my dining table for a centerpiece.

Soooo, I started looking for a 2 foot tall artificial tree in an urn or a tree and, separately, an urn I could put it in.  I found several cute artificial pine trees at good prices, but was not having much luck finding an urn that I was willing to pay the price for!  I also was keeping in mind whatever it might cost to buy some feathered cardinals to use as decorations, and a set or two of battery-operated lights.  Ach!

I was beginning to despair, but then I checked at Amazon.com to see if they had anything I might be able to use.

The short of the long of it is that I purchased an artificial 2-foot tall fluffy pine tree that has a burlap-wrapped base tied with twine  -- it is not in an urn or pot.  The vendor offered the same tree in a pot that looks a lot like the Gump's tree's pot for $8 more and I decided not to spend the extra money:




 I also purchased a set of 12 cardinal feathered ornaments that look remarkably like the cardinal ornaments that decorate the Gump's cardinal tree and are 5 1/2" in length from head to tail:




The lights on the tree I purchased are not battery-operated, so I'll have to run the cord across the table underneath a runner, add an extension cord clipped underneath the table and plug in to a nearby outlet.  Or I can bite the bullet and spend a little more money to buy a set or two of battery-operated white lights.  The cost thus far, with shipping and sales tax, for the tree and the cardinal ornaments was $60.  Shipping charges on the cardinals was outrageous!  The shipping charges on the Christmas tree were lower than what I paid in shipping for the cardinals.  Ach!  But it saves me time digging around locally for cardinals I may not like nearly as well, or that so resemble the cardinals used on the inspiration tree, so I won't complaint too loudly.

Depending on how the tree looks once decorated, I might also add additional red berry picks and possibly some faux boxwood picks or something similar. 

I love the snow-frosted look on the branches and the rustic look of the burlap-wrapped base!  I will place the tree on something in the center of the table to elevate it a few inches; the Gump's tree is 31" tall; I did want (and got) something shorter than that.  What I bought was not at the bargain-basement price I was hoping for, but I'm quite pleased and I think it's going to look great once I get it all together :)

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