November 12, 2017:

Hola!

It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

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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