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My Genius Sister – Guest Post

Unique LA was AMAZING!!!  And totally overwhelming!  I thought i was prepared but….I was not prepared.  I’ll post about it later with pics and tales.

But in the meantime my genius sister Phebe has stepped in to save me with my first Guest Post!

You may recall my last post about my mom’s ornaments.  Well Phebe has come up with a great way to showcase them on their own.  It’s a perfect solution and would work for anyone who had a special collection they wanted to highlight but wanted something simple and easy to store.

So, without further adiue I give you Phebe!

So, the other night (in the middle…yes, I’m at that waking-up-for-no-reason age) I was pondering my brother’s request to write a piece for his blog.  What could I add?  Then it came to me….I’d share the item he highly praised a few years ago when I sent him some pictures!  So here goes…I didn’t take pictures while I did it (no thoughts of publication then), but one of its best features is the simplicity, breakdown and storage, so you’ll be able to get the idea!

One of my holiday conundrums…how to single out my mom’s ornaments without adding a second tree to our, well, cottage-style home in which two trees, even if one was small, would be tantamount to planting a forest indoors?  Also, how to spice up my dining room without going overboard there?

I came up with this flat tree that would go against our French doors.

After measuring for the height and width of the doors and deciding the best distance between branches for the ornaments in question to hang, we headed for the big box store for supplies.  There we found a “forest” of trim and molding and then finalized the look.  I was pleased to find a piece of trim that already had a leafy vine carved into it!

Then my ever-clever husband found the metal pieces to bend and thus render a tree that could be stored flat and narrow and easily re-assembled each year.

I chose to use a green stain on the branches and trunk and a brown stain for the base, but I think a rich wood stain on all parts would be cool.  I also think you could make one for a smaller window (or a bay) and paint it white.  The tree could be up year round, decorated seasonally (an egg tree, red-white-and blue bunting, spiders and webs) or just left undecorated, if trees are your thing.

Of course, before staining, we sanded it overall, especially the cut edges.  We also marked the centers of each limb on the back for re-assembly…the marks have reduced (but not eliminated) the yearly spousal arguments discussions about the equality of the branches.  I keep pointing out that a modernistic version might be intentionally uneven, (kind of cool against a flat wall!) but he will have none of that.

We put a hook on the top of the tree and a small nail on the top of the door frame to enhance the security of the tree’s vertical position (thanks for the vocabulary, Daddy).  Otherwise, it is not attached to the French doors in any way.

Now, the ornament collection.   All of us have unique collections of our mom’s work (“…you have the best Red Riding Hood Wolf!”….”I never got the whole Wizard of Oz group!”) Seriously, we all love them and are especially proud to show them to our guests each year, thus my special tree.

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

3 responses »

  1. The ‘ever clever’ husband praise is somewhat tarnished by the implication of anal retention about branch symmetry when assembling the tree. Love my cleverness…love my eye for balance!!

  2. It seems that to be a member (through birth or otherwise) of David”s family, you must have an overflowing abundance of the creative gene!!! The “discussions” are all part of the process. So discuss on. It is wonderful that your Father was able to add his personal “touch,” with his wording.

    This collection of handmade ornaments made by your Mother is so beautiful and a priceless part of your family history. Thank you for being generous enough to share with the rest of David’s followers!

    Of course I missed hearing from David, but Phebe, you can join in anytime as far as this fan is concerned. Or anyone else who is connected to David, with his great sense of humor, super projects and easy to follow tutorials.

    Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I think your “tree” might just end up in my home in blue with years of my daughter’s homemade Channukah treasures adorning the branches.

    Looking forward to hearing about Unique LA soon! Great that it was a success!!

  3. Wow, your “tree” is really creative. I love it. And, with either equal size branches or asymetrical branches, it will look great. How about alternating from one year to the next?

    I’m especially glad for the photos as I was visualizing the french doors as being between the dining room and another room of the house, thus impeding movement. The photo showed me they are exterior french doors. The tree enhances the interior and exterior views. Great Christmas decorations and a neat way to display them. Thanks for sharing.


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