Tips on Selecting and Installing Christmas Trees

Selecting a Christmas tree is always a fun and family oriented event.  For several years I’ve decorated homes & tree for the holidays and learned a few tips for selecting a good tree.  There is no such thing as an ugly tree, so If the kids choose a Charlie Brown tree, don’t fret, lights and ornaments will have it looking splendid in no time.  Just follow these simple yet important steps.

The fir family is the way to go, Frasier Fir, Balsam Fir, or Douglas Fir all last a couple of weeks longer than a Sand or Spruce pine trees.  Firs also have strong branches for holding lights and ornaments.  When shopping for a tree, check to see if the needles are resilient pick up the tree a several inches off the ground and drop it base end down.  What you’re looking for is very few needles to fall off the tree.  The fewer needles the fresher the tree.

Fri trees

Frasier Furs, the “Cadillac” of Christmas Trees.

Many better tree vendors  will deliver and install trees which is a great service if you live in the city or own a Mini Cooper.  They will also cut the a couple of inches of the butt end of the tree allowing the tree to drink water.  Drilling a hole in the base of the trunk does NOT improve water uptake.

Cut a few inches off the bottom of the tree.

Cut a few inches off the base of the tree.

Place the tree away from any vent, heat source, or direct sunlight.  Doing so will cause the tree to dry prematurely.   Set a large plastic bag on the floor/carpet or use a plastic tree bag.  this will not only protect your floors from any drips when watering but will make clean ups easy too.  The bag will be hidden by the tree skirt. Remember to position the tree so is best side is visible.

tree bag

Tree bags help protect your floors and make clean up a snap.

I like to display my tree in a large basket.  To achieve this simply set the tree a small bucket with a couple of  bags of gravel.  You (or your installer) will have to remove several of the lower tree limbs.

tree stands

Tree stands can vary as much as your imagination.

A very important step is to secure the tree.  Kitty Poo Poo may be long in the teeth or Fido may the best trained dog on earth, but trees fall!   I have gone to many homes to “fix” a fallen tree, because it was not secured.  To do this simply run a medium gauge wire around the trunk (approximately midway up) of the tree and twist the wire together.  Loop the other end trough an eye hook, anchored into a window frame or crown molding (or any place that will hold a hook) and twist that end together.  This easy step may save you from hours of misery.

And finally: water the tree!  Fresh cut trees can drink almost a gallon of water the first day.  I use hot water (yes hot) to open the tree pores.   I also pour Spirt (about a cup) in the water.  I’ve heard it helps the tree stay fresh.  I don’t know if it works but it’s become a bit of a tradition.  If your tree dries out, remove it from the house!

Benji

Techo Tuesday: Burned by Desire

With winter only a couple of weeks away, I can’t help but  think of pleasure a nice warm  and inviting fireplace brings.

 In my apartment in North Carolina I use to curl up on the rug, with my dog, and sleep in front of the fire.  My new apartment in Georgia has no such luxuries, but never fear, with each design problem is a solution.

 Today well look at eight new breakthroughs in the home design have revolutionized the fireplace; some with little or no installation, or dried wood for that matter.

globe fireplace

Globe fireplace from Vauni

globe fireplace

Globe fireplace from Vauni

Cupola fireplace

Cupola fireplace from Vauni

 Vauni makes it easy to curl up next to the fire with a book or cocktail with these unique and unforgettable fireplaces.  Best of all; they are mobile and require no ventilation, so they can be installed anywhere.  The flame is fueled by bio-ethanol Alcohol.  One can adjust the heating effect and flame size. They are designed from lightweight aluminum and available in two finishes cast iron and polished black granite.

Brasa Fireplace

Hudson fireplace from Brasa Fireplace

mercer_fireplace_seethrough2-755x1024

Mercer fireplace from Brasa

Avanti by Brasa

Avanti fireplace by Brasa

The Hudson, Mercer and Avanti portable fireplaces, all by Brasa are fueled by denatured alcohol fuel (Bio-ethanol Alcohol).  Since there is no wood, they are environmentally friendly and fuelled by renewable green energy. They can be use both indoor and outdoor and no vents or installation are required. The flame is regulated and can be controlled or extinguished at any time.

Sloaris Gas fireplace from Heat & Go

Sloaris Gas fireplace from Heat & Go

Levitating flame Solaris Gas fireplace from Heat & Glo

Solaris gas fireplace

Solaris gas fireplace from Heat & Glo

Inspired by the sunset, Solaris is a contemporary fireplaces from Heat & Glo, What’s so clever about the Solaris is the “levitating infinity flame”. It is a direct vent gas fireplace and does require professional installation.  The fireplace is available in two models. Solaris36-ST, a thin see-through fireplace and Solaris 36-MR, a two-sided fireplace featuring the infinity flame, which provides a 6-foot deep illusion of flame and lighting effects.

Antraz Fireplace

Bubble fireplace from Antraz

Antraz

Bubble fireplace from Antraz

Brilliant product designer Andrea Cosetta has Designed a fireplace that also hangs on the wall for Antrax.  With over 100 colors available there one to suit every decor! The new fireplace is also eco-friendly since it needs no dry wood and match to lit the fire. Instead, it uses  a bioethanol as its fuel.

Areis stainless steel fireplace by Cocoon

Areis stainless steel fireplace from Cocoon Fires

Aeris stainless steel fireplace from Cocoon

Aeris stainless steel fireplace from Cocoon Fires

Aeris from Cocoon

Aeris stainless steel fireplace from Cocoon Fires

 Aeris  is a definite head-turner.  Designer, Federico Otero, for Cocoon Fires,  blended beauty and functionality to create a contemporary fireplaces made of stainless steel.  The Aeris  can be installed in any room of the house and also works with biofuel.   It’s completely smoke free making it clean and environmentally friendly. The product stores up to 1.5 liters of fuel and produces fire for up to six hours. Best of all is that the fireplace can be used all year round, as an ice bucket, to store bottles, glasses and even food!  Now that is clever design.

Let me know what you think.  Would you consider…

Benji