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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Cardinal Christmas Tree!

Hola darlings!

My yard work fantasy for this weekend has been blown to smithereens (literally!) by a strong northwest wind bringing temperatures with wind chills of 10 above zero F to zero!  And tonight, down to 10 below zero, brrrrrrr!

My plans for the weekend being blown away, I decorated my Cardinal Christmas Tree instead. Prior post, with pictures.  Here is the finished tree:




I had intended to keep the tree as it was, with pre-wired white lights that are plugged into an outlet.  So, earlier this week, I decorated the tree with ALL of the cardinals (one dozen).  I loved how it looked!  But that cord.  Oh no no no.  I want to use the tree as a centerpiece on my dinette table.  Short of cutting a hole in my tablecloth and running the cord underneath it (with resulting bulge), and then taping a very long extension cord across, underneath the table, down the center support and across the floor to the nearest outlet - well, just wasn't working for moi. 

I briefly thought about putting the tree on the peninsula that separates my kitchen from dinette (there is a convenient outlet), but that's not what I wanted.

And so, Thursday lunch hour I ran to Walgreens downtown and hunted for battery-operated lights.  I did not want to order them on the internet - too expensive (I had done a lot of checking around).  Last year Walgreens had advertised three sets of 15-LED lights, battery-operated, for $10.  And sure enough, Walgreens had them again this year and I found them!  YAY!  I'm not a fan of the blue-ish/grey-ish light of LEDs, but for the price and convenience of being able to move my Cardinal Christmas Tree wherever I want to, I decided I would use them. For the price, it's worth it. And, if I get ambitious, I will pull out my watercolors and paint the outside of the lights with yellow/brown mixed to create a warmer glow of light.


Tree before being decorated, but with burlap wrap trimmed.
 
The mess I made - I tried to take the lights off the tree, but they were glued/
wired on, so in the end I snipped them off.  I saved the bulbs.  I did not want
the clutter of the existing lights in addition to the two sets I intended to add, not
on such a small tree, that's why I cut the original lights off.  As I worked,
tugging and snipping, one of the berry branches came loose and fell off.
Some of the "snow" also came off along with assorted greens that I wasn't
careful enough to poke out of the way of my scissors.
 
Battery-operated LED lights from Walgreens (I used 2 sets, but they were
3 for $10 so I bought 3) and small ornaments I picked up at the downtown
TJ Maxx on the way back to the office, just the right colors I wanted!

Lots of photos of the finished tree (I may tweak the ornaments a bit, you know how that goes):


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The battery packs for the two light-sets I put on the tree are taped underneath the overlap of the burlap wrap and hidden beneath the French wire ribbon I added.  I think next year, or even this year if I can find it, I will look for a suitably sized container (not an urn, they were too expensive!) in which to set the base and also tuck the battery packs, then I won't have to tape them to the burlap-wrapped base of the tree.

I'm very happy with how it turned out, but it really doesn't look much like my inspiration Cardinal Christmas Tree from Gump's (top image):

 

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