Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Day of Trimming the Trees

I may not have all my trees and decorations up but wanted to share the Day of Trimming the Trees at the Senior Center.  It was decided this year to have a  Tree Decorating Contest so yesterday we started early to do our chosen trees. I had been asked to do the one at the main door as you come in. I was excited to be asked to take part in the contest and wanted to do a very special tree. Our logo at the center is done on a white background using teal, lime green, and purple as the colors in the picture and wording. My thought for the tree was use the logo colors. I started shopping in October to find these colors. I had thought I would be doing a 8' green tree using white lights. After dragging my tree up to decorate here at home I held up the ornaments I bought for the center tree and thought no way are these colors going to look good on their green tree even with white lights.

Last year after the Christmas sales started I had found a white tree. It was just 6 1/2 foot tall but I wanted it for my snowman tree. Got it for a whopping $8.00. George had decided to put up the snowman tree in the living room on our 8 foot slim line tree so I had thought well I will just use the white one in my computer room.

The more I thought about the color combination of lime green, purple, and teal the more I thought white tree with white lights. Those would really pop on  my white tree. I talked to them at the center and explained my thoughts and told them what I had planned on doing. They were very understanding , so my white tree is decorated at our Adrian Senior Center. Here is a tour of our day .

I am starting the tree in this picture.I got several of the glass balls on and had a thought. Better get that garland on first. That was a challenge in itself. I had found 28 foot bead garland, small beading to be exact and thought well now you can just braid them or twist them together and then you will have the three colors you need in the garland. It took me longer to do the garland than the rest of the tree . I had to wire it on to make sure it would stay put.

The final tree. The tree skirt was an after thought. I sure was glad I had some teal felt. I cut a square, folded it in half then folded that in half. I then just marked off from opposite corners a circular pattern and cut. Then cut small circular pattern out from the top folded area and cut  from the edge to the center. Then I used white glittered felt and cut out 7 ornament shapes and sprayed with liquid adhesive and glued them down.

For the topper I was not sure what I wanted to do and had bought several different things to work with once I got the tree up and decorated. What I liked the best were a large bow, a spray of line colored glittered leaves and 2 what I call firework sprays. I then had two teal clip on wires with beads I added to the front. 

It was a long day and I was more than ready to come home and put up my feet but just had to go and check out the other trees after having my picture done with the finished tree. 

So on with the trees. 

The first one is the tree done in the library by the ladies that do the book organization and help to keep track of who have borrowed books . When you see the first picture notice the long dangle ornaments and try to figure out what they are before going on with the post. You will be very surprised at what was used. 

I loved how they did the tree. Simple ornaments of various items. It sort of reminds me of the tree my grandmother might have done when I was a child.  Have you figured out what was used for the dangle ornaments yet? 

Now here is a closer look. I am sure if you have children you will be very familiar with the item.; Yes they are "Gummy Worms". 
Never ever in my wildest dreams would have thought of gummy worms on a Christmas tree. I kept looking and looking from a distance trying to figure them out. When I walked closer my mind thought " Those can not be Gummy Worms" I had to really touch one to see if they were real or an ornament. 

The next room I visited was the pool room. And yes mostly men decorated this tree. Our pool players and one member of the advisory board did this one. Karen's father used to come to our center daily to shoot pool with the men. After he passed away almost two years ago Karen redecorated the pool room in memory of her dad. He was also quite a golfer and Karen organizes the golf league at the center and sponsors a large golf tournament in the summer to honor her father. 

I thought they did a beautiful job on this tree. 

The next room  I went to was the cafeteria. The center director and assistant director were working on this tree. It is the largest of the trees. It is twelve foot and takes a lot of ornaments. 

Placing each ornament just right. 

And the final results. I loved how traditional it is. 

Now I checked out the last tree today that was in the contest. It is the most unique of the trees and is located in our computer lab just opened this fall. It is a full sized tree and was decorated by staff members of the County Department on Aging main office. When they found out what tree they were going to do the really swung into action and all pitched in and what a treat it is. 

Full fledged Computerized tree. Every single thing on the tree has to do with or came off a computer . 

All boxes under the tree are computer , i-pod, mouse, software notebook etc . Every single one somehow related to a computer. 

Here are some close ups of the ornaments. A computer disk, CD roms and look at the garland.  Edges from the old fan fold computer paper.  And at the end of that cord is a mouse.

Remember all the free internet for so many hours. Well here is 1099 hours of aol free for 50 days. And peaking from behind that is the mouse. 

What fun was had yesterday in preparing for the Christmas Holiday Season. 

Judging for the trees started today and will continue through Friday at 10. The winner will be announced at  lunch time on Friday. They are all so special and a lot of fun putting them up. I am sure it will be a close race for the first place winner. 

Now to get my last two trees up at home and the village set up. I am hoping to do that tomorrow. I promised myself I would be done by Saturday night. Wish me luck. 

I will be posting my decorations  over the week end. 

We may be snowed in by morning so it will at least keep me home and working on what I need to finish. I need to get done so I can start my Christmas candies and cookies. And today started the handchime group Christmas performances that I direct so the next three weeks will be very busy. I cut back this year as last year from December 1st to December 22 we did 21 performances . And it took a lot out of all the ladies many of whom are in their 80's and 90's. We will be doing just 12 this year. 

Wishing each of you a Merry Christmas Season.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Decorating the House

Wow I just do not know where the year has gone too. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I was still working and trying to prepare for the fall and winter holidays. But it has been over a year since I retired and this is the second Christmas since retiring.

I am in full decorating mode here and trying to get things sorted and up throughout the house. The main tree is up and rotating daily. I had been looking at rotating stands but no way would I spend the money they wanted for them. Cheapest I had found was $49.00 . Just did not need my tree to rotate for that price. Then a week ago I went to the Craft and Estate sale held each fall at the Senior Center. What to my wondering eyes should appear but rotating tree stands for $15.00 .I did a lot of questioning as I was just afraid it would not hold a large 8 foot tree fully decorated. I was told they sure do and you will love it. So I finally went back to the booth and bought one. I am so glad I did. I love the tree and being able to see all ornaments as it rotates merrily in a circle.

The Angel tree is just about finished. I've got a few new touches to add to it. Wanted it to stand out a bit more and think I have figured out just what will make it pop for me. I can hardly wait to see it it works so I can get pictures of my different trees to post.

I still have several trees to drag up the stairs and get decorated so I think you know what I will be doing this week.

I would like to share a few decorating tips I have found and will be incorporating several into my decorating this year.

Make multiple bows from pretty Christmas Ribbon and pin to your curtains or use on your tie backs for your drapes. Suspend pretty ornaments from matching ribbon across the span of your window.

Dress up your houseplants with Christmas Picks or add pretty miniature ornaments to them.

Pile A stack of Christmas Books on the side table or coffee table.

Tie ribbon around slim drinking glasses. Fill with Christmas candies and add to your side table.

Suspend sparkly snowflakes  from your ceiling or windows.

Sew scrapes of Christmas fabric into a patchwork table cloth buy stitching together 4" squares of various fabrics then hemming. Quick and easy and would also make a wonderful Christmas gift.

Purchase a large glass plate at a thrift shop. Paint the underside gold. Add several heights of pillar candles to it. Pretty for either a centerpiece on your table or use on your coffee table.

Glue candy canes with hooks up to terracotta pot. Tie with a red ribbon and add either wrapped candy of a pretty poinsettia to the pot.

Add color to your bathroom using red and green towels.  And to the bedroom by adding Christmas colors for blankets and pillows.

Fill a large vase with ever green branches and suspend ornaments from the branches. A good way to bring the fresh pine smell to your home  if you use an artificial tree.

I hope that some of these I have listed will give you as few new ideas in decorating your home for the Christmas Season.

Love this picture. I like how  vintage looking  it is. 
wouldn't it make a beautiful Christmas Card?

I hope that everyone is having a beautiful start to the Christmas Season.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Luminaries to Light the Way

I believe that one of the most beautiful sights at during the Christmas Season would be a street of lit luminaries to light the way to your home.  One of the streets in my home town did that every year when I was young. Most of the people on that street now have either moved or passed away and that tradition has been forgotten. How sad to see something so beautiful be forgotten.

This tradition dates back to 17th-century Spain, when the towns people would light bonfires along the streets paths, symbolically lighting the way to Bethlehem for Joseph and Mary. The tradition spread to Mexico and later to the American Southwest, where parades of worshipers walked the lit pathways to Christmas Eve worship services. Eventually candles in weighted paper bags took the place of the bonfires. This idea just may have inspired the traditional Chinese lanterns used may times now.

In the colder northern climates candles are many times place in blocks of ice or hallowed out snowbanks, which intensifies the candles glow.

For many centuries after that very first trip to Bethlehem, flickering lights have guided visitors all over the world to welcome them to Holiday Celebrations and worship services.

The making of Ice Luminaries is simple, especially if you live where it is below 32 degrees. If not just use your freezer for making them.

You will need
     plastic bucket such as a 1 gallon ice cream bucket or for large luminaries a 5 gallon pail
    Empty plastic peanut butter of mayonnaise jar
     Votive or pillar candle

To make ice cream bucket center your jar and weight down with a few small stones. Fill bucket with water to the rim of your jar. Place your bucket outdoors if below feezing or in your freezer. Freeze solid. To remove your jar just pour a little warm water into the jar to melt you ice just enough to remove the jar. Wrap your bucket in a hot wet towel to remove your luminary from the ice cream bucket. Add your candle to ice well and there you have a simple luminary.

 You may use food coloring to tint your ice or even add a few decorative stones, flowers whatever you would like to you luminary.

A path of luminaries lighting the way throughout the town. 

You could use them on your steps. or cluster them around your home landscaping. A wonderful way to add interest and beauty to the Christmas Season.