May 20, 2018:

Hola!

Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...

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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