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!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Shopping for a Gel Fuel Fireplace

Hola darlings!

I've been hankering for a fireplace ever since I said goodbye to my fireplace in the living room at the former Maison Newton. 

I LOVED it!  And when I started exploring the world of decorating and d-i-y blogs, I realized that people actually decorated the mantels seasonally.  Holy Hathor!  I was hooked.  I especially loved decorating my mantel for Christmas.  And -- lo and behold, another Christmas is less than 7 weekends away!

Fast forward to the latest, downsized version of Maison Newton.  One living room wall is eaten up by the entry door and a ginormous picture window plus two heating/cooling vents; one wall is eaten up by my ginormous (in this room, anyway) Oriental-style china cabinet which I use to showcase my egg collection and hold books in the glass-doored upper hutch and enclosed storage in the "buffet" below; one wall is eaten up by the entrance into the hallway that leads to the kitchen entrance and the entrances to the bathroom and three bedrooms, and contains a large "window" that was cut out to open up the living room space to the dinette (to good effect), along with the restoration of the bookshelf niche that anchors the south end of that wall.  The only "free" wall to hold a fireplace (electric, gel fuel, or direct-vent), is the south wall.  There is space underneath a 33" tall by 6 foot wide Milwaukee "ranch" style window. 

I measured and measured, to make sure whatever I decided to buy would fit and the proportions would work.

Sicilian Harvest Gel Fuel Fireplace.  This photo is from Wildon Home at Wayfair.com.  I've seen the
same fireplace at Lowe's online, and Amazon online.  I believe it's maker is SEI, also known as
Southern Enterprises, Inc.  This is the Espresso finish; about 40" tall, 44" wide, and 14" deep.


Real Flame Ashley Gel Fuel Fireplace in Mahogany finish; about 41" tall, 48" wide, and 13" deep.  Real Flame
is based in Racine, Wisconsin, USA. 

Real Flame Silverton Gel Fuel Fireplace, in Dark Mahogany; 41" tall, 48" wide, 13.5" deep.

Well, I don't know if the proportions will work, but I've been shopping online off and on since before I even moved in, and I've finally narrowed my choices down to the three you see above.

I decided, in the end, to buy a gel fuel fireplace because (1) I did not want the expense of having a gas-fueled fireplace installed and then paying WE Energies their exorbitant fees each month for gas; (2) ditto the latter part about not wanting to pay WE Enegies their exorbitant fees each month for electricity; and (3) the snap, crackle, pop and actual real flames of gel fuel are as close as I can get to a genuine fire without having a wood-burning fireplace installed (prohibitively expensive in my circumstances). 

I also wanted the versatility of either a gel fuel or electric fireplace in order to be able to remove the "logs" and use candles (real or flameless) to add ambiance when I don't need heat. And, last but not least, a genuine full mantel would give me the ambiance of a fireplace -- and the mantel space for television and decoration -- even when not in use!

Which one did I choose????  I'll let you know next post.  Right now I'm going to go watch "Searching for Your Roots" on PBS!

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