Tuesday, December 18, 2012

R is for Ridiculous

Ridiculous is the only word for my Christmas tree project.  It's seriously something worthy of Pinstrosity. (BTW, if you're a Pinterest fan and haven't checked out pinstrosity.blogspot.com/, you have to go take a look. Hilarious!) 

The Backstory
A few years ago, we had an artifical Christmas tree. It was pre-lit to save a little work when setting it up. And for the first year or two, it worked really well. But then some of the branches started to droop. The gaps grew bigger. The tree was wobbly. And the pre-lit lights started burning out. It was sadly bedraggled. And that was before the cat started climbing it. By the end of its last season, the tree was in bad shape. It just wasn't worth storing and pulling out again the next year. So out to the curb went the tree.

Instead of buying another artificial tree, I decided to go with something a little untraditional. We put up an outdoor tree of lights and used it as our Christmas tree. It was a bit unusual, but I liked it. It was actually quite convenient the way you could stack all the gifts inside the tree as a bit of protection from curious cats and toddlers.

But these trees are not very durable, either. So after a few years, it also found itself on the curb.

The Project
When it came time to put up a Christmas tree this year, we no longer had a tree - artificial, outdoor, or otherwise. I looked for something in my price range, but could not find something that I liked for a price I was willing to pay. And then I had a bright idea! I would create my own tree of lights.

I bought several strings of discount LED Christmas lights online, some green wrapping paper, and a bag of bows usually used to decorate presents. I spent about $15 altogether, which was right in my price range. :)

And then I started building the tree. I carefully cut out a traditional tree shape from the wrapping paper and stuck it to the wall with double-stick mounting tape. It looked good, but plain. So the next step was to add lights. I used the mounting tape to meticulously criss-cross my light strings and it looked pretty good! The kids stuck the bows all over the tree for the final touch. Unfortunately, I was unable to take a picture before the tape started giving way.

It turns out the paint on my walls has some sort of adhesive-repelling properties. (Marker, crayon, and dirt, however, are not the least bit repelled.) The tape would just not stick. So I pulled out the painter's tape and started fortifying the mounting tape with the familiar blue tape. It didn't look quite as pretty any more, but at least it was up. I took time to fix some dinner for the family - during which time the blue tape gave way as well, bringing most of the tree crashing down. Frustrated, I turned to the ultimate tape... traditional silver duct tape. The real stuff, too, not some knock-off brand. It didn't blend. It wasn't discreet in any way. But it was going STICK, darn it! Nothing beats duct tape. I taped that tree and lights with about half a roll of duct tape to be sure it wouldn't move. I watched it suspiciously for a while, but it seemed secure. I went to bed. And by the time we got up, the tree was falling from the wall. The paper was peeling down in strips. The bows were mostly laying on the floor. The lights had become a tangled ball dangling randomly from the front of the "tree."

Just what I had pictured when I had this idea, can you tell?

The Project - Take Two
This pathetic excuse for a tree remained for a couple of weeks until I finally had a chance to build it again. I finally wised up and bought a big box of pushpins. I cut out a new tree and pinned it securly to the wall. Then I wrapped the wires around the end of the pins. Much easier this time to criss-cross my light strings and keep them all up! I pinned the bows as well. So my wall is full of pin-holes, but my tree is up and has stayed that way for almost 2 weeks now! It's a pretty good-looking tree now, I think. Maybe even Pin-worthy instead of a Pinstrosity. :)

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