Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you . . . the improvised tree.
So much for my concerns about the tree looking barren, huh? By the time I added all of the not-quite-ornaments to the actual ornaments and worked in the mittens and paper snowflakes and paper chains, we were at capacity fairly quickly. Except that, after the tree was initially pimped, I wasn't terribly pleased with the results of my pimping. And then something happened while I was at work.
Specifically, MAX happened.
Remember how, a few weeks ago, PJ pulled a piece of furniture on top of himself because, back at the house, things are anchored to the walls, but they aren't anchored here? Yeah, same deal with the tree. We started tethering it to a plant hook in the dining room ceiling when Maine Coon #1 was still young and spry and enjoyed some recreational tree-climbing. That served us in good stead when Maine Coon #2 - Max - came along.
Apparently, Max thought that the tree was tethered, because he climbed it like usual - and then, also apparently, he rode the sucker the heck over.
E-mail from the Spouse to my work desktop:
If a tree falls in an apartment because Max takes it for a ride, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
I did not see this e-mail until I was heading home for the evening. Called Spouse from the car and asked him to level with me: just how bad was it? Because I wanted to be prepared.
He assured me that only a few ornaments were knocked off - roughly enough to fill one of his ball caps.
What he failed to tell me was that: (1) the ornaments that were left on the tree had gotten displaced in transit; and (2) when he put the tree back (scooting it further back into a corner), he rotated it a half turn, so the bare spot that I left in back was now on display.
Oh, and the ornaments that had fallen off could fill one of his ball caps - and about ten more just like it.
Initially, I considered taking everything off and starting over. It seemed like an easier proposition in the long run - and, also, I had decided that Spouse (rather annoyingly) rotated the tree to a better side (the thing isn't exactly symmetrical anymore, after years of Maine Coon abuse), so rather than push the bare spot to the back, I really needed to move now-obscured ornaments from one side of the tree to now-on-display space on the other side.
But I started puttering, and things started to take shape again, and - wouldn't you know it? - the tree actually looked BETTER after receiving the Max Treatment. I guess the impact pushed things that were on the ends of the branches back to the interior, but however it happened the darned thing just looked more pulled together after being physically assaulted by a twenty-pound cat.
So there you go.
For your viewing pleasure: a montage of ornaments and sort-of-ornaments from the improvised tree. The soft sculpture ornaments were made by Parnell's grandmother and my mother.
Also for your viewing pleasure: a photo of the dorgi dog, sprawled out next to the tree and getting in my way while I worked. I think he was excited that, for a change, MAX was the one in trouble.
Really, I promise you, he was excited. This is his excited face - when he is laying down.
Spouse was bound and determined to prevent Max from playing Tree Rodeo a second time, so he left the house just as I was putting dinner on the table, mumbling something about "sandbags" and "you can heat up some chili for me when I get back." An hour later, he returned with THIS:
Nope, not a sand bag. This is a Gold's Gym 20-pound adjustable conditioning vest. We had discussed getting one for the Big Kid, for purposes of helping him get into shape for swimming season. And now he owns one - except he cannot use it until after the holidays, because, until the end of December, said weight vest is wrapped around the base of our Christmas tree, camouflaged by a tree skirt.
Spouse is somewhat of a genius, wouldn't you agree? It's a gift AND a holiday disaster prevention item.
I put a few of the family felt ornaments on a tinsel tree that I bought for the dining room table as a total impulse purchase. I have always been enamored of tinsel trees, and every year I am mocked by six or seven of them (full-sized ones), clustered in the front window of a neighbor's house. Now I have my own, scaled-down version, and I [HEART] it. It spoke to me when I saw it at the Montgomery Street Antique Mall, and the ridiculously reasonable price spoke to me even more. I love the way that the light bounces off of it and makes it look like it's illuminated when it isn't. It is totally getting a place of honor in the new kitchen next year.
Here's the tinsel tree in all of its glory:
And here's a close-up of some of the ornaments. I have a thing about crocheted snowflakes, and I supplement my supply of "true" (separately crocheted and starched) snowflakes with doilies that I repurpose as snowflakes. The tiny doily snowflakes on the tinsel tree are actually a crocheted doily runner (also from the antique mall) that I cut into individual rounds:
So now we are enjoying an embarrassment of riches in the tree department. Here's hoping that the novelty has worn off for a certain feline and that Max leaves them alone for the duration of the holidays.