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

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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