Each Tree Has a Story, Part 9

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 9

I hinted a little about this one in Part 2 of this series. But I don’t know how many of you caught it.

The year before last, our family room tree had so many ornaments on it, I actually had to search and search in order to find a place for them all. Which meant I seriously started thinking about how to solve that problem. 

After a total of 4-5 hours of placing ornaments on it, I knew I had to make a suggestion for the following year. I hinted to my husband about it, but he just looked at me like I had two heads, and said, “Yeah, right! We need to do that like I need another hole in my head.”

Well. He should’ve known by now not to say anything to me like that. I already had it planned. And the hole in his head could be arranged.

So the following year as soon as the artificial trees were out in the stores, I started looking for what I wanted. And since I wasn’t being totally successful, I finally told him about it. And believe it or not, he bought into the idea!

As I mentioned in Part 2, I’ve collected the Hallmark Barbie ornaments since they came out with them in 1993. I think I have almost all of them, but I do check eBay every so often to make sure. And if I happen to find one that’s not already in my collection, somehow it finds its way to our house. Can’t imagine how that happens….

And yes, when Barbie was first introduced, as a toy in 1962, I certainly got one. Then another, and, well, the rest is history.  Thus my Barbie fascination. I even added several collector Barbie dolls that I really liked, which are displayed in my curio cabinet.

I’d envisioned a skinny white tree like we have for the flamingos, but Ben quickly decided if we were going to put it in the master bedroom, and really there was no other place for one, it needed to be a regular full sized tree. 

Who was I to argue?

So we found one, brought it home, and set it up. That year as I started decorating our family room tree, I pulled out all the Barbie ornaments to put on the new tree. I started to count them, but I saved that for another time. (Actually I lost count.)

Over the years I’ve also collected the little shoes from the “Just the Right Shoe” series, and had dozens of them around the house, so I made them into ornaments to add to the new tree, using hot glue and ribbon. Perfect!

The ironic thing about my little shoe collection? I don’t like shoes. I don’t like buying them. I’m not fond of wearing them. Give me boots or sandals (in the summer, of course), and I’m ok. Shoes just aren’t my thing. However, that’s another story.

Even adding all the shoes, the tree wasn’t quite full enough yet, even for its first year, so I decided to add some retro style ornaments, along with glitzy things like champagne bottles, pink poodles, pink cars with Christmas trees on them, and similar goodies, as you can see from the pictures! It turned out great! And if you look carefully, there are even a couple of Ken ornaments.

It’s still a work in progress, but it really looks wonderful. Unfortunately it’s not in a public area of the house. Getting to see it in person is by invitation only.

Until I find a place to put it downstairs.

There are still a few more little tree surprises, though. So be sure to read the final installment of “Each Tree has a Story, Part 10,” to be published on December 23.

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 8

By now you’re thinking we have to be a little bit ( or a lot) crazy to have all these Christmas trees, and they’re only up for about 6 weeks til it’s time to take them down and put them away until the  next year. 

All that work for such a short time. There are so many times I’d say how I wish we could leave them up all year.

Which brings me to the next tree.

Many of you know about our flamingo fascination. Over the years we’ve both collected all kinds of flamingo stuff. Figurines, pillows, outdoor decor, dinnerware, and yes, flamingo ornaments. We had them on our family Christmas tree for years, but the collection grew so quickly we had to move a lot of them to a lighted palm tree in the Florida room, and another one in the family room corner.

But the palm tree in the Florida room finally gave out, and we really didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t find a suitable replacement. The flamingo ornaments HAD to have a home. And not one that only came out for a few weeks each year. How could those gorgeous pink birds possibly survive without being on display year round?

Flamingos as you know are very flamboyant creatures, and they like to be in the spotlight. The center of attention, so to speak.

Finally I decided the only way to do this right, and keep the flamingos happy, was to find the perfect Christmas tree that we could leave up all year long.  But what kind?

The corner of the Florida room isn’t that big, but problem solved when we found a skinny shaped white tree to put there. Pink and white…a perfect combination.

Of course my husband and I disagreed on this. He didn’t want a Christmas tree up all year. Well, this one isn’t really a Christmas tree. It’s a flamingo tree, because most of the ornaments on there aren’t really Christmas themed. And I’d fix it so it didn’t look like a Christmas tree.

So we did it. The flamingos were delighted with their new perch, especially with the little white lights. And it certainly serves as a topic of conversation when we have guests. 

The ornaments that are actually Christmas themed flamingos are still on the family room tree, and they understand that’s because they’re special and need to be given that place of honor. Jealous flamingos are not a good thing.

What else can I say? It’s a flamingo tree. We’re into flamingos. Just wish I could take a better picture!

And flamingos love Christmas, too.

Now we’re not quite done with this. There’s one more tree to talk about. So be sure to read “Each Tree Has a Story, Part 9,” to be published December 22.

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 7

I know you’re thinking when is this going to end…well we’re sort of almost there. I mean, how many Christmas trees can one family possibly have?

But this time it was actually my husband who came up with this idea. I was surprised, but I certainly didn’t argue with him. I was also excited about his idea.

It happened when we were once again walking through the Christmas section of Macy’s, I think the year after I’d done the little pink tree. And we saw a huge display of wine themed ornaments. 

As soon as he saw them, he immediately suggested we do a wine themed tree. Well, why not?! I was always happy to add another tree. But where? 

He already had the perfect place. In the hallway upstairs. Since we have a two level foyer, it would show from the outside and look great with the lights from our decorated ledge he does every year. 

I decided I’d better take him up on the suggestion before he changed his mind. Or recovered his senses, even though to me, it was a perfect idea! Why not? We both like wine, and what’s one more tree in the scheme of things?

So he immediately found a shopping basket and started grabbing one of each of the wine themed ornaments, and sometimes a couple of the same ones because they were decorative wine glasses and (fake of course) tiny wine bottles. Thank goodness it was another 60% off sale!

We went ahead and bought another 5 foot tree, and I used some of my collection of wine corks and bright colored beads to make the garland for it. 

My husband, who can’t stand to put lights on trees, found some hanging grape lights from a local Christmas store that he wanted to use, and he PROMISED me he’d put them on every year for me. How many years do you think that lasted? 

I even pulled out some acrylic grape ornaments that came from my mom that I hadn’t been using and added those to the tree. Plus I made a few dozen wine cork ornaments to add to it. After all, I had the beads and the corks, and at that time I’d been making wine cork crafts for quite a while.

And that first year that tree looked like it had been around for years. 

Of course, like I do for the other trees, I still buy a few more ornaments each year, and it’s amazing what I’ve found at the local wine stores to add to it. So many cute little holiday wine glass ornaments, single wine cork holders, and some really perfect wine related signs! 

Yes, my husband had a great idea for this tree, even if he won’t help put those grape lights on there any more like he promised.

And if we need a few more corks for more garland or ornaments, we’ll just open another wine bottle from our collection.

What theme could there possibly be left to do? Those of you who know us personally won’t be surprised at the next one we did. 

Read “Each Tree Has a Story.  Part 8, to be published on December 20.

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 6

It was the Christmas my husband jokingly said to me, “I think we have a Christmas tree everywhere but the bathroom.”

Yes, he should’ve known better to say something like that.

Because a few days before that statement I’d seen the cutest little 4 foot skinny pink tree. I’m not much for pastel colored trees, but this one really caught my interest, and of course it gave me an idea.

I’d also seen a bunch of beautiful glass ornaments with an underwater theme at Macy’s that were, you guessed it…on sale. 60% off. I had wanted to add those to my collection so badly, and when I saw that little pink tree, I knew exactly what I wanted to do!

We have a large master bath off our bedroom. It’s for me, because as Ben says, the secret to a long marriage is having separate bathrooms, and he’s actually sort of correct. 

And there was plenty of room in there for a little 4 foot tree. The color was perfect as well, since the bathroom is in shades of rose and green.  It was meant to be.

Since the tree was small, I could set it up myself with no problem, which is what I did. One night after he’d already gone to bed and was sound asleep. 

It didn’t take long to set up, and those glass ornaments were just perfect! I couldn’t wait to show it off!

The next morning I turned the lights on the little tree and waited for him to notice it when he walked by on his way to get dressed. 

Do you think he did?

Of course not.  And he walked by there a couple of times that morning.  I had to finally show it to him.

His reaction?  “Well, it really is cute, but no one is going to see it but us.”

Well, I fixed that. And the next year that little tree found a perfect place in the corner of my home office on a little stand, surrounded by a pink tree skirt and pink silk poinsettias. 

It’s been there every year since. I’ve added a few new ornaments to the glass starfish, jellyfish, shells and tropical fish, including some I made myself to resemble ocean bubbles, and of course a glass flamingo, and this is now one of my favorite trees.

And now that I’ve been working remotely for almost two years I get to enjoy it every day.

But wait….we’re not quite finished here. Don’t forget to read the next installment of “Each Tree Has a Story, Part 7” to be published December 17.

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 5

Today’s homes don’t usually have a formal dining room, opting for a big eat-in kitchen or a gathering room, an all-purpose room where family and friends can eat together in a casual setting.

The house I grew up in had a formal dining room, and I had that as well in several of my homes. The house we live in now is no exception, and because we’d added a few feet on to the living room to accommodate my piano, the dining room beside it is a bit oversized as well. But since I have my mom’s large dining set and the bar cabinet my grandfather made, it all fits together perfectly.

Except at Christmas time, when it just seemed a little dark, compared to the living room with its big fancy tree.

And like the area by the fish tank, there’s a corner in the dining room that has a large silk tree in it that could easily be moved for the holidays…

When I told my husband my brilliant idea for yet another tree, he reminded me we hardly ever use the dining room. 

Except at Thanksgiving and Christmas I reminded him, and people could see that tree as well when they walk in the house….it would really look great.

And another 5 foot tree just sort of appeared a few days later, right in that corner. 

I hadn’t really thought about a theme, but since Christmas colors are red and green, I decided to use those colors and just go from there.

Of course I started looking through the ornaments I had on our family room tree, to see what I could move around (and make room for more ornaments on that one, of course). I found a number of red ornaments, and birds, and a few similar creatures, and all of a sudden the ideas started flowing.

It started off fairly simple, but in a few short years, it quickly filled up (imagine that) with a collection of red and white birds, including my grandmother’s little antique glass birds perched carefully on the branches, fancy pine cones, and some adorable little woodland creatures. And since our two Yorkies have a “thing” for squirrels, there are several of those on the tree as well. The dogs aren’t allowed in there unsupervised, of course, or those animals would probably not survive.

The finishing touch was adding a number of our acrylic dated Hallmark ornaments to it, making the tree really sparkle. 

This year I added a couple of strands of garland made with red Buffalo plaid wooden beads, and that really set it off even more.

Lots of our friends have said this is their favorite tree. But I love them all!

And there’s still a few more to come. As you’ll see in “Each Tree Has a Story, Part 6” to be published December 15.

Christmas Cork Crafting

Since I have a large collection of wine corks I decided to do something more with them this year  than the garland and ornaments I’d already made a few years ago.

So I got the brilliant idea to make some of those wine cork Christmas trees I’d seen all over Pinterest. How hard could they be, I asked myself? They really look fairly easy.

Sort of. But what you don’t realize is that wine corks aren’t all the same size. Some are longer than others. Some are thinner. And try as you might, they don’t always fit on that styrofoam cone the way you want them to. It was a bit of a challenge at first.

But I was determined to make it work, and I finally did. They aren’t perfect, but then again, that’s part of the fun of crafting. Each piece I make is unique, my own creation. And I’m probably my own worst critic, not always happy with what I make, even though most people don’t notice the imperfections I see.

It was also a bit of a challenge decorating them, because I wanted to do something different. I’ve had a collection of large metal beads for several years that I’d originally bought for wine cork bottle jewelry, and while those turned out well, they just weren’t that popular. So what to do with the leftover beads has been a challenge. They weren’t quite right for most of my bracelets, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of them.

However they were just right for my wine cork trees. Their slightly curved shape fit perfectly around the corks in strategic places that needed a fill-in or a pop of color. So I ended up designing the trees around the beads.

And no, I’m not going to sell any of them this year. I’d have to charge too much for my time! But they are fun to make, except when I get the hot glue all over my fingers. That hurts!

I’ve also just completed my first wine cork snowman, based on more photos on Pinterest. He was a lot easier than the trees, and I think the plaid Christmas ornament hat (from the dollar store of course) really makes him festive! And even better, my husband painted the corks white for me. And if you try it, be sure to paint it after your snowman is assembled and glued together. Much easier and it saves on paint.

What next? Well I do have some styrofoam cones left, so you never know….

Or I may find another hat and make another snowman. Or I could just make my own hat for him. You can still use snowmen after Christmas!

Have you done any special crafts this season? Or maybe some wine cork trees? Feel free to post pictures in the comments section. We’d sure love to see them!

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 4

Being that someone I’ve already told you about who just has to buy a few (ok, sometimes quite a few) new ornaments every year, eventually that family tree started really, really getting full. Again.

Yes, I’d already added a tree in the living room, but I soon noticed I was going to be “forced” into adding another one if I wanted to keep up with my collecting ornaments every year.

And I couldn’t have that, could I?

Looking around at the ornaments I had on that tree, I realized there were a lot of them in the candy/cookie/gingerbread theme. Maybe there weren’t enough (yet) to fill another big tree, and we didn’t have room for another really big one. But being the resourceful fanatical ornament collector that I’ve become, there was always a way.

So…we have a fish tank in our side foyer off the kitchen, and I noticed there would be a space for another tree if we moved the big silk plant beside the tank. I think I remember asking my husband if we could. Or maybe I just brought another 5 foot tree home and set it up to surprise him. I can’t quite remember.

But the fish needed to have a little Christmas in their space as well, didn’t they? And the smaller trees I can usually set up by myself, just in case I want to surprise someone.

Yes, he thought I was really getting a bit crazy by now (he had no Idea what was coming), but he did agree that the fish probably needed a little Christmas, too, and that’s all I needed!

I collected all the cooking and Christmas treat ornaments I already had, and of course added a few (dozen) more. And once again, very conveniently, the craft stores that year were filled with those clay cookie ornaments that you could even personalize, so I was thrilled to get them (on sale, of course)!

Combining those with all the similar ones I already had, and adding my old candy garland from many years ago, made my Christmas baking tree really easy to put together.

Hallmark had even cooperated with me and came out with a series of cooking appliance ornaments, like mixers and things, and their own line of cupcakes, so what more did I need!?

That tree of course has now expanded by more (ok, quite a few more) ornaments in the same theme, and our grandchildren just love it! They spend probably half an hour looking at it when it first goes up, and it’s so cute when our granddaughter Rachel keeps telling her little sister not to touch it as she points out her favorite ornaments. And of course, she’s touching them as she says that!

Looking at some of my collection of ornaments on here, you can tell this is definitely a tree that children just love!. And since it’s right off the kitchen, where we always bake our Christmas cookies, how more appropriate can it be?

So what do you think of this one? It would probably look better if I knew how to take better Christmas tree pictures, but you get the idea.

seem to be

The fish seem to be happy, too! And they’re even happier now since last year my husband gave them their own set of decorations for their tank! So their home gets decorated when ours does.

And what did I do next? Find out in “Each Tree Has a Story, Part 5” to be published December 13.

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 3

Since I was sure we needed another tree, I had to figure out a reason for doing it that my husband would agree with. While he’s usually pretty good at seeing things my way, well, I wasn’t sure about something like this. I also didn’t know what it would lead to.

When I first mentioned it to him he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. But after a little bit of giving all the good reasons for doing it, like the living room is the first room guests see when they come in, it would look pretty through the windows at night, and I just really thought we NEEDED it, he sort of agreed. 

Then he asked how I’d decorate it. Good question.

But one of my contractors had just given me a Christmas ornament a few days before which was a cat dressed as an angel. Why? Because I’d shared with him earlier that year how we’d almost lost our white Fluffy cat to a bladder blockage, and how we knew he had a guardian angel that saved him, with the help of our excellent vet of course. My contractor told me he saw the ornament and just thought I needed to have it!

So I told my husband it needed to be an angel tree and that kitty angel ornament would always be on there to remind us that miracles still happen. 

How could he refuse that? So a new 7 foot tree appeared in the living room within a few days! Coincidentally that same year, our local craft store had a ton of Christmas picks that were different styles of angels, and they were conveniently on sale. So obviously I bought several dozen of them and made them into ornaments, and they’ve been on that tree ever since.

Of course, over the years new ornaments have appeared, and now although the tree still features the angels and my kitty angel ornament, it also has jeweled butterflies, glass roses (my mom’s favorite flower), and loads of other delicate ornaments in shades of pink and rose. (Remember, you have to get a couple new ornaments every year for each tree. Just to keep it interesting.)

You can see we even have lights with acrylic roses added to them that my mother gave us many years ago.

As you can see from the pictures, it’s a beautiful tree, and everyone loves the story of why we started it.

Obviously though, that wasn’t the end of the trees….

So be sure to read about the next one in “Each Tree Has a Story, Part 4” to be published on December 10.

Each Tree Has a Story, Part 2

Yes, I do love Christmas trees. For me, the Christmas season starts as soon as the first tree is decorated. It just brings such a festive, happy feeling to the house. And yes, I did say the “first” tree. As you’ve probably figured out by now, we do have more than one.

I’ve always had a Christmas tree every year, even after I had places of my own. I started collecting ornaments my last year in college, and actually still have a few from those early years. They were inexpensive ones, of course, but I bought them because I liked them, and even almost fifty years ago, my tree had a theme to it. I liked the strands of plastic popcorn and candy for the garland, as well as the cupcakes and cookie shaped ornaments and a set of pink popcorn shaped ornaments that I still have, although they’re now on another tree. (Some of my ornaments do move around.)  

But I’ve come a long way from that first tree that I created for myself.

When my husband and I were first together, he helped me decorate my tree. We collected new ornaments together, and we still have a very special Hallmark ornament “First Christmas Together”.  It quickly became a tradition every year to collect at least one special ornament that was dated, so we could watch the progression of our life together. Our family Christmas tree was created.

Of course, it wasn’t just one ornament a year…more like four or five. Four or five each time I’d go out Christmas shopping, that is. After all, they were there in the stores, staring at me from those display trees, and well, I just couldn’t resist some of them. They were so cute. And I knew they’d look perfect on our tree.

There’s always room for one more ornament, isn’t there? And we had a big tree…

And there really wasn’t a theme then. Like most of you, I imagine, I just started collecting ornaments I liked, and because a Christmas tree can really be anything you want it to be, that tree became a myriad of colors, shapes, and sizes. Candies, animals, Santa Clauses and snowmen, flamingos, and oh yes, let’s not forget all the Hallmark Barbie ornaments. I don’t think I missed a year of not getting at least one, and now if I find one on eBay I don’t have, well, let’s just say I make sure it joins my collection. But more on that later.

It turned out that we didn’t have a big enough tree after all, because after our daughter was born, we had to have the Hallmark series ornaments for Baby’s First Christmas, and then the rest of them which went through year five. And yes, they’re still on there. Of course we started collecting a lot of ornaments with children’s themes then, many of which I’ve actually given to our daughter now for her tree.

Still, that one tree kept getting fuller and fuller every year, but I still had to have just one or two (or five or six) more ornaments each year. It was tradition. After all, it was our family Christmas tree. And it was filled with a wide array of different ornaments we’d collected over our years together, so many that I was actually running out of branches to put them on.

I soon realized that one 7 1/2 foot tree in the corner of our family room just wasn’t going to be enough any more. And looking around the house, I realized the rooms looked kind of plain compared to the family room, even with all the silk poinsettias and holly and other decorations sitting around.

So what do you do?

That answer should be obvious. I’ll tell you all about that in a few more days. Watch for “Each Tree Has a Story, Part 3” to be published on December 8.