Sunday, January 17, 2016

Recycling At It's Best!

Who Knew?

This year when I dismantled some Christmas decor at a clients, there was some discussion about the lights not working on the pre-lit garland and how the lights hadn't been working for some time.  What?  Lights not working?  Really?  What were they to do?  Who wants to look at greenery with burnt out lights?  Toss them?  Get new garland?  Well, did they call the right person or what?  It took some convincing but I know I am doing the right thing!

I am now in temporary possession of 12 - 12 ft pre-light garlands of which none of the twelve light up fully.  Two garlands are only half lit and the other 10 don't work at all.  Bummer!

Everyone is in agreement with me that Christmas lights are one of the most frustrating things EVER at Christmas time.  There are other frustrations at Christmas as we know but I won't go into that.  I'd need an hour or 10 and a vat of wine.  Just saying!!

Anyways......back to the lights.

Why don't they work?  Why does only half the string work?  Who has time to check every lightbulb?  How do you check every light bulb?  Can you even do that?  I paid a lot of money for these lights and why the (bleep) don't these (bleeping) things work!  (Bleep)

Well, that's my inner Elf coming out, sorry! 

It's frustrating.  I know.....I hate it when it happens.

So this is what I'm doing.


 Here is the garland with the lights that don't work
I start at one end and here is the zip tie that I will clip off
 I recommend a good pair of wire cutters - a lot of snipping ahead but totally worth it!!!
The zip tie has been clipped off and now the fun begins.  OK, you may not think it's fun but if you turn on some good music, grab a glass of your favourite beverage.....it is fun.  Just keep your fingers clear of the clippers!!
So to begin, after I have snipped off the zip tie I pull the cord of the lights straight up and it leads me to the first clip that holds the lights to he branch.
You can see it here.  It almost looks like a horse shoe.  You can see how it is securing the wire to a branch of the garland.  These are the clips you want to cut off.
 
I snip the the clip
 Here you can see the clip that's been snipped off
 Continue to pull the wire which should come free from the branch until the next clip is found
 Continue to snip off the clips.  I don't worry about the mess that I create and trust me, there is a mess.
Those little clips go flying!  Between the green needles, clips and wires....there is a mess.
 Pulling the wire as I go to find the next green clip.....
 When the wire gets long enough that it begins to get in the way, I cut the wire off and continue
 Just clip the wire at any spot.  I want to make sure I can see where to continue
I grab hold of the wire and pull until it leads me to the next clip
 Continue until all the lights are off

Here is the finished product.  A gorgeous garland.
One down, eleven to go...weeeeeeee!

With just the greenery, I'm now able to add lights and not worry about the look of burnt out strands of lights attached to the garland.   

Although there is some work involved in cutting off lights on pre-lit items such as garlands, wreaths and Christmas trees, you've spent good money on these items.   Why not take that extra bit of time and bring them back to life.  I can't wait to show my client how awesome these are going to look next Holiday Season.  It's much easier to buy new lights and feel good about how nice all the greenery is going to look lit up.  No burnt out bulbs.    Hallelujah!!!


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Saturday, November 21, 2015

It Was Like Christmas Morning!

Here's how it went down.

I put on my "workin" clothes, hauled out the Christmas decorations, turned on the Christmas tunes and got to it.  I have to say .........I thank myself (great habit I learned many years ago) every year for going to the effort, the previous year, to pack everything away carefully.  When I unpack my decorations they always look as good as they did the previous year, nothing is broken and assembly is easy and organized.  That's just me though.  I know there are many of you out there like me.  Wasn't always that way though.....just sayin!!

I love to shop the sales.  I love to get deals and coupons are my friend.  I try and save a few extra bucks each year cause I know that prior to Christmas, when I'm picking up those last minute things there is a good chase a deal can be had.  Sometimes better than after Christmas as those deals ....may be gone.  I'm always looking.  I seem to always get one or two great things and pack em away for next year.

Well, this year was exciting.  I was opening boxes and finding things I had totally forgot I had bought the previous year, on sale of course.  One was a pack of three plug thingy's you pop into an outlet, plug your lights into and voila .....remote on and off switches.  No bending, gently pulling - yanking sometimes (not a good thing) to unplug all those gorgeous decorations you spent hours lighting.  Cool.
The second was a bag full (six to be exact) of 12", sequined deer for my family room tree.  Score!
Third and probably my most favourite of unexpected surprises was a 4' prelit Christmas tree in an urn.  I remember I got it 60% off.  Weeeeeee!!  It probably only had a string of about 100 lights which for this Elf.....um, unacceptable.  Lights make the tree.  Lights make every decoration.  Just sayin!!!

Having purchased several boxes of lights this year, on sale of course (surprise), I threw another 200 hundred lights on.  

Awesome


Rule of thumb is 100 lights per foot.  With my 60% off, 4 ft tree and two extra strings of lights (on sale), I not only have a great deal, I have a stunning tree.  I was so excited, it was like Christmas morning.  

Watch for the sales, plan ahead and you'll save a lot of money. 
The kicker......you'll have amazing, current, wonderful looking decorations year after year.  

The one thing I found and have heard over the years, people felt their decorations were old and they couldn't afford to replace them.  By purchasing items on sale, you can keep your Christmas stash fresh while saving money. 
  

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Squint Now - Thank Me Later


I don't even know where to start with this one.

Don't laugh, OK?  Try it then let me know if it works for you too.

There have been some things, over the years, tricks or whatever you want to call them that I've done to help me....figure things out when decorating.  This one trick is probably the most simple and  unconventional thing ever.  I squint.  Squint?  Yup ....squint.

When adding lights to any of my Christmas decorating and wanting to make sure there are no bare spots, I SQUINT!!  That's right.  Squint.



When you squint all the lights will become blurry and you"ll be able to see if you've got any bare spots.  Crazy I know....but it works!

Once you've decided where the bare spots are, you can adjust your lighting where necessary.

Simple, but it works.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

When Purchasing New Lights For Christmas Decorating - A Tip

It's that time of year again!

"The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year."  

I think so anyways.

Well, I had to purchase some new lights this year as some ....didn't quite make it.  Although I test, fold up, wrap and package all my lights carefully every year, that doesn't mean they make the cut when decorating the following year.

I couldn't miss this opportunity and thought it would be a perfect time to pass along a tip.

If you are planning on purchasing new lights or,  have all ready, here is a great tip I think may be of interest.

Here are my new lights taken out of the box


Save that piece of wire that is wrapped around the lights.


Here you can see I have removed the wire



This wire will become very useful when decorating.  The single most useful purpose for me,
wrapping this wire around garland to secure it to my hand rail as seen below.  The colour of 
the wire matches perfectly with the garland, it won't ruin or mark the wood and no one will see
it.  It's reusable too.  Score!


For any extras, I put them in a named ziplock bag for future use.  I'm a bit of a ziplock bag
junkie.



So, when it's time to take down the decorations, I place the used wires into the named 
handy dandy ziplock bag so I'm ready for next year.  


Happy Decorating!!

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It Was So Cold Yesterday…...

"Everyone together now"

((   How Cold Was It?   ))

It was so cold …...people were trying to see just how quickly things would freeze outside.

Local news station put a wet t-shirt outside and it literally froze in less than five minutes.  Stiff!!  

A man squirts boiling water from a water gun outside and as water is shot out, it freezes instantly. 

Not to be outdone, I had to try my own test of how cold it was outside. 
Something I thought made a little more sense!!


Not chilled

Really chilled




Didn't take long to chill ( I mean CHILL) my wine - minutes.  
And that's a good thing!



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Monday, January 6, 2014

Wacky Weather

First a snow storm.

Then an ice storm.

Have you ever heard of a "frostquake"?

(Known to experts as cryoseisms, frostquakes happen when moisture that has seeped into the ground freezes very quickly. It expands and builds up pressure, causing the frozen soil or rock near the surface to crack, emitting a sound that people have likened to a sonic boom.)

Well, I hadn't.  That was next. 

Which brings us to today.  

Information from Environment Canada and provided by CBC says….

"Temperature could drop to -40 C with windchill by Tuesday morning"

"Tomorrow is set to be the coldest January 7th ever they say. By a long shot." 
"Environment Canada predicts it will be -25 C tomorrow morning. That would smash the current record cold of -20 C, set back in 1968 (Environment Canada has been recording temperatures at our local airport since 1960.)"  "And that -25 C will feel worse due to a frigid wind chill. Environment Canada said it could feel as cold as-40 C in the wind, just three degrees shy of our all-time wind chill record, set on Jan. 19, 1994."
Hopefully the power won't go out again.  That wasn't fun - at all.  
Hello Spring?  Can you hear me?  
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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Until Next Year


I've taken down Christmas 2013!

It's been a busy weekend and very productive. 

It can't be any other way - I'm an Elf!  

Image from GoodHousekeeping - Great Magazine

 If you're reading my blog for the first time, welcome!  If you've been one of my amazing followers and blog friends (love you all..and thank you) you may remember that I worked at a magical store called "The Elves Workshop".  I was one of "The Elves".  I worked there for many years and it truly was an amazing experience.   We sold everything "Christmas" and then some.  Besides all that was Christmas we had items such as mirrors, lamps, table decor and anything else that would help make any house a home.  Hostess gifts were a big seller.  Entertaining items would fly off the shelves.  We were known for our Christmas trees and fabulous decorations.   People would come from miles around to see what the year was showing.  What was new.  What they could purchase to add to their collection of Christmas decor.  Many would ask for "The Elves" to make something special for them.   Whether it was for a gift, mantle, wreath, two foot fully decorated Christmas tree, possibly spruce up an older piece they wanted updating or perhaps a couple new bows for their outdoor house lights.  We were there to create the magic, and we did.  She taught us how.  Myself, I was like a sponge.  I was young and I wanted to learn.   I thought this woman was a genius.  She could create magic in an instant.  I wanted to know everything and how to do everything.  I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to have learned from one of the best.  That's not only my opinion but the opinion of many in the business.  Not only did we learn how to decorate, we learned how to un-decorate.  Hmmmmm?  Is that even a word?  We learned how to put ornaments on a tree and how to take ornaments off a tree.  There is a way you know.  Who would have thunk?  We learned if it came out of a box, it went back in that same box.  She showed us how.  We learned how to put lights on a tree, how to take them off and package them up - neatly.  We were taught that if you take a few extra minutes putting your Christmas decor away it will not only save time when putting it back up the following year, your Christmas decor will LAST!  You've spent good money on your decor so take care of your investment.  Great advice!

It's "The Elves Workshop" way.

My way.

This is what I was taught, how I decorate and un-decorate.

Her name was Lois Stanger and she has been helping to decorate Heaven for a few years now.

Thank you Lois!




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Friday, January 3, 2014

Summing Up Christmas







And to Marianne….
Here is the pinecone you asked for
It graced my mantle





To my dear friend "Pixie"



Thank you!

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