December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

A New Year and a New Christmas Tree for 2019

Hola everyone and Happy New Year!  May all of us have a wonderful healthy and prosperous New Year.

I swear, this has to be the earliest I have ever had my tree down after Christmas, wowsers!  I started deconstructing it on January 2nd and took off all of the decorations over 2 days, just dawdling along.  Isn't it amazing how quickly you can strip a tree down, when it takes so long to dress it?

Today, after sitting there naked for several days (the white sheers are once again closed so the tree's modesty is preserved), the tree itself came down. 

Classic Fraser Fir from Tree Classics (online vendor).

I have been hemming and hawing this season over whether to buy a new artificial Christmas tree.  After experiencing a couple more rows of lights dying on my 6.5' 10-11 year old pre-lit tree, and then running out to try and find "warm white" lights to thread into an already decorated tree so I wouldn't have huge dark spots at the top, middle and bottom of the tree (yes - it's ridiculous - all of a sudden most of the original lights decided to just go out this year, all at different times!), I decided maybe it's time (1) to get a new tree and (2) downsize to a smaller tree.

The idea of a smaller tree has been kicking around in my head for some time.  After struggling this year to haul the old artificial tree up the basement stairs, smaller and lighter has become very appealing.  My buddy Ann mentioned a few years ago that she downsized to a table top tree.  I'm not as strong as I used to be but I figured a shorter, lighter tree (not pre-lit!) that I can place on a stand about 12" tall and then cover the tree base plus stand would work very well in front of my large picture window, and will be easier to get up and down the basement stairs.

I'd heard of Balsam Hill and looked at their trees online.  Gorgeous - and very very expensive!  Too expensive for my budget even on sale.  But most (maybe all) of their trees are formed using PE (not PVC) in injection molds that result in very soft, flexible and extremely realistic needles, and that appealed to me a lot.  They really are gorgeous trees, full and luxurious looking, but just too expensive for my pocketbook.

So, I've been hunting around online for a "PE artificial Christmas tree," hoping to score a super bargain on sale or clearance.  Several vendors try to pass off their trees as PE, but when you read the specs, they're PVC and not PE!  I found some trees that are blended trees of both PE and PVC needles, but not one that I liked enough to consider buying (they are a lower price point because they are not 100% PE "real feel"[TM]). 

But today I did find one tree at Tree Classics online that I liked.  Its tips are made of PE (injection molded) and other needles are made of PVC to fill out the branches.  It's a blended tree, and so a compromise from the 100% PE trees I can't afford, but I liked the tree style and color and the height is perfect at 4.5'.  It's also a space saver, which I wanted.  On sale at $129.99 (just call it 130 bucks and be done with it, geez) with free FedEx Ground shipping.  It is also not pre-wired, which was important to me.  After having lights burning out in large sections of my old tree last year and this year, I much prefer to put short strings of lights on and off myself so that trying to hunt down bad bulbs and/or fuses is easier in the future.

So I ordered it, and now we'll see.  I know I'll have to open it up and check it when it arrives and now wait until December 2019 - not looking forward to that but it must be done.  Imagine not opening it but letting it sit for 10 months and then opening it, only to find it's defective in some way or even the wrong tree!  EEK!  So I will just have to do what most rational people do and open the box to check to make sure it's the right model and all is in order.  UGH! 

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