Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Christmas tree and the tomato cage

The environmental movement could not have gained momentum at a better time.  It's made scraping the bottom of the peanut butter jar, eking the last bit of shampoo from the bottle, taking home the leftovers from the restaurant meal, and reusing every last scrap of paper in the house for notes and crafts cool and edgy.  

Being environmentally aware makes us thrifty, savvy, and creative about consumption and reuse.  And, frankly, this approach to living is good for everyone.

I was thrilled, then, when I came across a tomato cage fashioned into a Christmas tree on Pinterest last week.  What a fantastic way to repurpose a gardening tool I already had!  I immediately envisioned my two tomato cages covered in lights, flanking the front door of the house.  It was perfect, cheap, and it looked easy to do.

With the picture in mind, I went to the drugstore to purchase white lights, the only thing I needed to transform the outside of my house from ordinary, to bright and festive.

FYI: I am not a particularly creative and artsy person, but I strive to be.  This leads to constant difficulties, because I'm always trying to recreate beautiful cookies, fancy cakes, complex wreaths, and exquisitely wrapped gifts only to be hopelessly disappointed in my finished products.  As a result, I've sworn off Martha Stewart and refuse to try any of her crafts.  

My trees, however, look beautiful, and they were one of the easiest projects I've taken on in recent years.  If you are looking for a simple outdoor lighting project, this may be your answer: no ladders or hanging from the gutters required!

Here are my tips:

  1. String the lights tightly, as there are no "branches" to drape lights on.  If you leave too much space between the strands, the lights will fall down
  2. Purchase a lot of lights.  The more you have, the better your trees will look.  I used 450 lights per tree
  3. If you will put your lights outside, think about how you will secure your trees.  I anchored the cages with some slabs of slate that fell off the roof last winter
  4. Have fun!  This task is so easy, you won't get frustrated.  My kids loved helping me with this project

Now I'm inspired.  What can I repurpose next?

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