Ooooh it's that time of year to Deck the Halls and to get the decorations put up in time for the holiday season! I just love decorating the house and so far here is our outside result:
Earlier this year we happened upon a large tote full of new and slightly used LED Christmas lights at a rummage sale. We got the whole tote for only $5.00! They were much better than the regular incandescent twinkle lights that we previously had for exterior home decor. LED lights are so expensive, we really hit the jackpot with 20+ sets and extra bulbs and cords in the tote.
The other week, the grandkids helped me go through the entire bin and we picked out all of the warm white LED strings. Each was bundled securely, and we made sure each string worked before adding it to our own Christmas Decoration Bins.
I don't care for the cool light LED strings that are so much brighter with that whitish-blue color. Those we bundled up and gave to our daughter Heather's family that they can use decorating on their house.
The weather was finally warm enough to start our Decking the Halls on Tuesday. Steve and I started the day out with wrapping all of our original garland with the new LED lights. That was quite a process because we had to stretch them out the entire length of the She Shed room and twist the strands of lights around the length of garland.
And we dragged the newly wrapped garlands upstairs, we had to stage which end first before going out to the front porch. We had to have the plug-in end leading to the one side of the porch where Steve had added a new exterior grounded GFCI outlet this summer. He put it specifically there so we could light up the house in the winter as well.
I leave the red velvet bows attached to the original garland at just the right spots. It makes it easier to put it on the front porch because I know where each one needs to be fastened from year to year.
Now the outside stuff begins. I started draping the garland and getting it spaced out onto the front porch railing while Steve started pulling out the power cords and getting things set up to plug into the timer at the outlet. I am glad we had gotten snow overnight, so it really felt festive! Sometimes we don't get snow this early in the season.
The weather was up to almost 40 degrees, so we could do our work without wearing gloves. One of the first things I hung up were the three big white snowflakes. These are made from Dollar Store plastic clothing hangers! They are wire tied together into this intricate pattern and then little gems and sequins are hot glue gun attached on to the surface. Here is my blog post of when the grandkids help me make them two years ago:
After the snowflakes were up, Steve had all the electrical cords set into place where we could drape the garland and get that plugged in. I wire tied it all to the railings, and Steve stood up and did the high garland across the top of the porch roofline. Then the best part is wrapping the red velvet ribbons around the pillars. They make adorable looking peppermint twisted candy canes.
I have this cute little red glistening tinsel tree that I found at the Habitat for Humanity Restore a couple years ago. It works just perfectly between the windows and adds a little dash of color. Even the lights on this tree glow red. Everything else is white.
This adorable little Rudolph managed to make its way home with me last year. I think somebody made it from some wood workshop plans that are readily available, because I do see other versions of the same hand made reindeer in different sizes from time to time. His nose is a red painted golf ball. How cute is that?
We put the finishing touches
here and there
and managed to get it all decorated in one afternoon.
We also did the pergola walkway between the garage and the She Shed entrance, but I didn't get that in the pic. And last night Steve put one more strand on the tiny pine tree we have up near the end of the driveway. The LED lights should be a bit easier on the electric bill. We have it all set on timers to run from 4:30 till 11 p.m.
Here it is lit up at night! I think it's prettier and more striking Christmas-y festive during the daytime. But the nighttime is pretty too:
The other night, we took care of the littlest granddaughter for a couple hours. She was so excited to see the totes of inside Christmas decor stacked in the livingroom. She helped me put all of the rocking horses and lit garland across the mantel. She had to play with each little rocking horse before we put it up into the perfect spot, naturally.
We also took out what we call the "Family Tree". It's a smaller fiber optic tree we used to keep in the motorhome if we were traveling for Christmas. Each little handmade ornament is a stuffed heart with a name applied to it with the flow paint pen. Every single person of our family is included on an ornament for this tree.
When the fiber-optic motion is started, then the little tendrils and the snowflakes all change colors from time to time as the halogen bulb underneath illuminates the fiber optic lines. It kind of makes a little motor noise that drives me crazy, but it is pretty to watch. I don't think I would like a full size tree that is this noisy?
The stockings were hung "by the chimney by CLAIRE" not CARE, really it was by Claire! After we did this, we curled up together on the couch and read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas'. Now she knows why I was laughing about "the stockings were hung by Claire".
Claire then decided the little firewood bin door needed a wreath, and the little Collie Beanie Baby would enjoy a ride in the sleigh with the teddy bear and books...
We also set out the magnetic Grinch Tree with tiny seed lights on strings, the fillegree paper cutout tree of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and the really cool green geometric tree made by our son-in-law Jesse on his 3D printer.
Our next project was to decide where to put our 9 ft tall artificial tree this year. Our first Christmas in the house we had it next to the doorway between the bedroom and what's now is our office. Now since that doorway has been widened, that space is a little smaller, I don't think it will fit there.
2019 tree placement
Last year we put it closer to the fireplace. That was a good spot too, but it did take up a lot of space in the room when it came time for a gift opening with everybody gathered around. In 2020 we didn't have a family gathering, so it didn't matter.
2020 tree placement
So this year we decided to try something new.
We put the tree in the She Shed!
These are those wide angle setting pics,
so they are a bit distorted.
We're not sure if this is where we are going to actually keep it. So the lights and decorations are not yet on it. We kind of ran out of steam last night....
Since getting our covid booster shot Thursday afternoon, we both have been slightly sore and tired. It only took a minute or two at our local clinic, and we were sooooo glad to get it done. But we did notice by Friday we were kind of sore in the joints and the energy level is depleted. But that's been the only side effects. We will see what today will bring and if we decide to keep the tree set up here and finish our Decking The Halls???
A couple blogs back I mentioned that we were up to a new project. Steve did his normal perusing of the Facebook Marketplace and ran across some building materials that are just perfect for our next project. The price was right and he decided we needed to pick this up. It was TWELVE big rolls of 23 inch wide faced insulation. The seller had overestimated his square footage and had too many. He was selling it for close to half-price and it was with only one package opened and unrolled, but still complete. And one 15" roll thrown in for good measure.
The same day that we planned to go and get this insulation, was also a day that our son-in-law planned to borrow our flat trailer. Steve said no problem, he figured it out and measured and figured that all twelve rolls would fit in the back end of the Saturn.
Because the seller's home was quite a ways away (70 miles) we also incorporated in a trip to our favorite meat market / grocery store down in Sherwood, near Chilton. They were having a good meat sale, and we wanted to stock up. They only butcher local meat from surrounding beef farms and we never had a bad cut or steak or roast from there ever. We took along a cooler to haul the meat home. We also stopped at my two most favorite thrift shops. We picked up a few extra items and groceries at Aldi as well. We had to be careful that we didn't overfill our Saturn too much because we knew our last stop would be to pick up this insulation. Steve was right, it all fit! Much to the amazement of the seller, we were able to get all 12 rolls and the loose stuff jammed into the back end of our Saturn!
These plans are now to insulate the ceiling of our garage. It's a four stall garage so there's a lot of ceiling space square footage to cover. He figures he will probably need an extra 4 to 6 rolls, but we won't pick that up until we get this all mounted into place.
We have a nice gas garage heater that he is going to install once he gets it insulated. It's especially important to get the ceiling insulated because that's where the cold air comes in through the soffit vents. When the wind blows across the field from the north, our garage can get quite cold. By insulating the ceiling, it will cut down those blasts of cold air and snow infiltrating the garage. He will only turn on the heater when he actually wants to work on something out there. But all in all, it will be nicer for the garage to be a little more air tight and snug. How much you want to bet that he will insulate the garage walls sometime soon too? But he said for now the ceiling is all that he wants to do.
As a matter of fact, while I am typing this morning, he is out there starting to install the first piece!!!
Guess our booster shot didn't affect us too much, so if we can do it, you can too.