Friday, December 09, 2011

The Tomato Cage Tree

I have lived in an apartment for a very long time. Before apartments, I lived with a guy who was super cheap and considered ALL decor, including and especially Christmas trees, a waste of money. Seriously, this guy stole sugar packets from work and would reuse a teabag three times before tossing it out. That cheap. Before that, I lived with my mom, and we were poor and had no money for such extravagances.

All this to say that I have absolutely NO idea how to decorate outside. Seriously, in theory you just throw up some lights, but WHERE do you plug them in? We don't have an outlet outside! How do you attach things to brick? What if you're scared of heights and refuse to get on a ladder? What about rain? Exposed cords and plugs freak me out! What if I start a fire?

I know, right? Hello OCD!

Many people may wonder why my husband isn't the one worrying about this stuff. I mean, aren't the Clark Griswold's of the world usually men? Well, not my man. Again, he's been living in apartments and fraternity houses for the better part of the past two decades. Before that, he lived with his dad who sure doesn't decorate, so he has no idea how to decorate outside either.

It just never mattered to either of us that we lacked this skill, because you don't decorate outside of an apartment! Last year we moved into the house on December first. Since I had just gotten out of the hospital at the time, and moving is so expensive, there was no way we were even considering trying to buy stuff for outside. It just wasn't in the budget.

This year, we had to replace our tree. All the lights were burned out, and while I know you can go through and test to see which ones are bad to get them to work again. Heck, I could have even just pulled them all off and restrung it with new lights. However, I don't know what artificial trees are made from, but whatever it is, it makes me itch like mad. My arms always itch for about two hours after setting one up, and always have. Also, there's the whole "lazy pregnant chick" thing that's been going on lately. It just wasn't going to happen.

So, since we had to buy a new tree and also bought a new tv stand, it was decided that we would not be decorating outside beyond the wreath on the door. (which, bee tee dubs, is still the fall one, for SHAME) It would just be irresponsible to go buy a bunch of new stuff for outside on top of that.

But then I came across this idea on Pinterest, and I thought to myself, well, I have a bunch of those in the garage! So, I present to you the Tomato Cage Christmas Tree.

It's pretty easy. All you need is a tomato cage, a long garland ($6 at Target) and a strand of lights ($5 at Walmart, and would have been cheaper but I splurged on the LED kind).

Oh, and some of those cheapy wire ornament hooks. Just straighten out a few like so.

Start by turning your cage upside down, so the widest part is on the bottom. Use a few of the wire pieces to secure the legs together teepee style so the cage holds the basic shape of the tree. Wrap the garland around the cage loosely. It took me a few tries to get it to reach over the whole cage to the bottom. I suppose you could use two and wrap it more tightly, but I wasn't about to go out and buy another garland. Use some more of the wires to attach the garland to the metal cage where their paths cross, just to help keep it secure.

Next, wrap your lights around it in the same fashion. I used these oversized bulbs and they had little clips on the end that clipped neatly to my tomato cage. I used a few more ornament hook wires to secure the cords to the cage.

Next I just plopped it on top of a planter out in front of the house and plugged it into an outlet in our garage with an extension cord. Ta da! It's simple, and it was easy to do, and it looks pretty at night.

I will say, however, that after buying this, my first strand of LED lights ever, that I'd be reluctant to do the whole house in them. I know they're the more environmentally responsible choice if you must decorate, but the light is cold and harsh and I really don't care for it. It lacks the warm glow of traditional lights.

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Blogger Becky (My Fabric Obsession) said...

Love it, that's so clever!
I can't answer your exterior illumination question. We have outlets outside. And any brick that we have hooks on have SERIOUS anchors in them. But I would google it. That's how i figured out how to decorate my mantle without putting holes in it (command hooks - duh!).

5:45 PM  
Blogger Muffy said...

This looks SO GOOD! How festive!!!

12:04 PM  

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