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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Making the Fake Tree Look Real

I'd had real trees for the last ten years but just can't do it anymore. The expense, struggle, mess, daily watering and clean up are beyond me now. So last year I bought a silk needled prelit tree. It's 6 1/2 feet tall, comes in three parts that fit together and stores in a rather small oblong box. Made in China like everything else these days, I bought it at the hardware store around the corner, Brown & Roberts. It was $29.99 USD. The real trees were going for about 7 bucks a foot, so I was happy to save a few dollars and figure this tree, with good care, may last me 20 years. It's well made. But right outta the box, it's plain ugly.

Here's where my physical limitations actually were a plus. Putting the tree together slowly meant getting a better look at how it's made. Little by little I straightened all the main branches out. The straight branches sticking out left gaps all over. So I began bending the branches. Turning the tips up looks more natural so I did that, too. Since I can't do anything for more than 15 minutes I took frequent breaks. I'd sit down and look at it, and plan what needed to go where. Then I bent some of the inner branches up toward the inside. I did it all over the tree, starting at the top, turning the tree, sitting in front of it, working level by level. It took 3 days in short sessions. I sat with only the tree lights on the third night, amazed that something that looked so lousy could look so good with a little time and patience. It was decorated in stages also, with help from friends, and ended up one of my best-looking trees ever.

My aide brought it out and stood it up in the living room yesterday. Today I'm working on it, sitting and staring, getting up and working a few branches. It'll probably take 4 or 5 days this year but I don't mind. The end result will be something to delight my eyes for a month.

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