Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Christmas Tree (including contest)

Really one of the last things I expected to find some two weeks ago was a Christmas tree. I spotted it just around the corner on Sunday afternoon while going on an errand. So on the way back I checked it out, it looked good and complete, so up on my bike it went. Which was a bit of a hassle because it had been raining and the box fell apart, but I managed to get it home.

A while ago I wrote about finding yucky stuff (The Cat Carrier) and how people throw perfectly alright stuff out just because of a bit of dirt. And I don't mean things rotting or bugs, just dirt you can wash off, no matter how disgusting. This turned out to be a case like that. When I started to set up the tree I noticed a big blob (but really big like two inches or so) on one of the branches and some minor dirt on a few more. It looked like mud so I just took that part to the bathroom to wash it off. Then I started smelling what it really was: bird poop. So what had happened? I think the previous owners stored the tree on their balcony and let the city pigeons do their droppings on it! Stupid a. to not cover it, but b. it's only natural! Ok, it doesn't smell nice but I had it sobered up in less than five minutes and I I'm used to the smell of my neighbour's chickens anyway, so I can take that.

A few years ago a friend of mine moved back to the US and left me all her Xmas decorations including a small tree. To make it look like something I had to put all the decorations in, but those were mainly in blue, pink, lilac and purple (including the lights), her favourite colours. I love those colours too (except the blue), but somehow not for a Christmas tree. Last year I didn't even set it up. Now this is just an average tree (same model they have countless ones of in my office building), but it's in great condition and I found it could do with less trimming. So I limited it to the few wite and silver balls and garlands Tracy left me and added some home made stars from foil covered isolation foam I found a while ago. You can see one top left, just a matter of cutting and glueing. The lights do the rest. And that's the only thing I bought since I decided to leave my friend's coloured lights packed up as well and bought a new set of normal ones. My total costs: 2,50 euro's.

Sorry Tracy if you read this, I love you anyway and I'm still grateful for all the stuff you left me. And the little bears are cute!!

Last week we found even some more cool kitschy stuff to put under the tree, so I'm more than complete. Including a triptych nativity scene, some tea light holders (all not pictured) and last not but least this super kitschy 'reindeer' head. It looks like it's been made just as a decoration, but it's not. It took me half of the evening after we found it to figure out what the missing parts were and what it's original function must have been. Can you guess just from the picture?

Now that's my contest to finish this year with and thank all my readers for visiting, and their comments and support. Please send your answers to: before 12/31 24.00 CET. That's not a lot of time left, but I think it should be enough, and honestly I can't wait to decide who are going to get the prizes!

The first prize will be any item of your choice from my Etsy shop up to 7,50 dollars. Take a look and you'll find a lot to choose from. The runner up will get this cute curb found (document) pouch. It's brand new and has two compartments that close with zippers. Don't worry I washed it, even though it looked perfectly clean. Both winners, if they have a (hopefully craft or eco related) blog or website will be featured on my blog of course. I will ship anywhere, so anybody around the world can enter.

If there are too many correct answers I will make a draw, but I might just fall for the coolest, funniest or cleverest motivations. I'm looking forward to your emails!!

Good luck and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Staircase

Just returning from a trash excursion out in the cold and in times when everybody talks about X-mas decorations I'd like to go back to last summer and sunny afternoons in my garden for a moment. If you read the post about my house you'll remember that I have to pass outside on the street to visit my BF upstairs. It's not really a problem, but when we saw a complete staircase in the trash across the street, taken from the renovation site there, we got ideas. But it turned out to be too short to reach the balcony and I didn't want to have it indoors, as that would take up precious space and the whole operation would be too costly and drastic, so it ended up lying in the garden for a couple of weeks.

Then the BF put it up against the shed, right in the middle of my newly created 'lawn' of 3 square meters, claiming he needed it to clean the roof. Yeah, how many times a year does he do that? But I said nothing thinking I'd throw it out as soon as I had enough of it and put some of my found plants on it to give it at least a sort of a function.

But then it was discovered by our two furry fellow residents. Of course they have other ways to reach that shed roof, like a tree or fences or even an iron bar in between our and the neighbour's shed. Did you think cats would prefer these much more fun and adventurous ways? You're totally wrong. These creatures appreciate convenience and above all style. Isn't it much more elegant coming down for your meal after an afternoon in the sun on a broad staircase than climbing down a tree? They seem to accept the fact that I too now can easily reach the roof and take them in if I decide it's time to come home.

But there's more. I soon noticed that the roof became immensely popular. In fact they would have spent all day and night on it if they could. The top steps being slightly higher than the roof also turned out to be a great vantage point. Or just sitting anywhere on it is simply cool. But it's logic. Of course such a fun place has to be guarded and defended at all cost: don't forget we are not alone in the garden. The new neighbour's cats from two houses down got curious seeing those two up there. Even though they had to use the tree or the fence, of course they had to check it out. Yeah, right! Who do they think they are? Newcomers at that! Uh!

So we had some fierce fighting going on up there for a couple of weeks. Of course my cats won. After all they were there first and it's their shed. That's how it's supposed to be. We are the good ones. Even the neighbour's part of the shed belongs to the next door neighbour (who luckily has no cats), not those intruder's owners. They don't have a shed there, it was broken down years ago. Their problem.

So take a look at Oskar and Cézar after the peace had settled in again. Can you see victory on their faces? Although I must admit that Cézar, the fat one below left most of the work to his more courageous brother. This tough one is sitting on my knees right now as I'm writing this. The brother is upstairs with the BF.

Obviously the staircase is a keeper. I wouldn't dare taking it away now. Just too bad for my lawn then.
Anyway the whole idea behind that was to have some grass for the cats. They need it sometimes. It doesn't have to look pretty.