My Etsy Shop

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Little Ol' Hint for the Natural Tree...

As the craft fairs and buying wind down, I've been checking out my blog roll, and everyone seems to leave pictures and recipes of helpful hints, etc. Thought about what used to be my Christmas 'routine' before I moved to this lonely but beautiful place and was alone at this time of year...nope, not lookin' for sympathy..bit of a hermit anyway..but some personal seasonal "traditions" I generally do keep year after year...

Some of course have fallen by the wayside, such as Christmas cards..I used to love to go out and find perfect individual ones for different friends and relatives, and for awhile there was creating my own...but I got tired of no response from most or all of them, so slowly over time my list shrunk down to none...
As I age, I find that people tend to let their friendships wither and lapse, and I can't help but do the same-a relationship is by definiton mutually acted upon. This attitude could help to explain the divorce rate, I suppose, but this year, I've decided that I would treat my blog readers like friends and add to the pile of hints, advice, recipes etc that are currently decorating the wee webspace I call my own..

Here it is..I love a natural tree..every year I have a tree, I struggle to get it into the tree stand, and many times have had a disaster-either one of my cats decided the tree was a giant toy jungle gym and knocked it over, or I didn't put it in the stand correctly and it toppled would think I'd break down and buy a fake tree out of sheer frustration, but no...I love the look and smell and feel of the real deal, and I cannot imagine anything, short of crop failure, dissuading me...

I learned this trick from an employer back in my teens, which was so long ago I'm not sure if we had electricity to pull this off...

I love the look of snow-tipped branches, it adds so much, I think to a tree's appearance, don't you...but hate all the horrid sprays, flocking and tinselly stuff, so this works on so many levels.
Before you put on any lights or decorations, do this. Make sure the tree is dry and firm in its stand. Put down some sort of plastic or cloth drop cloth to catch the drips, if any, around the perimeter of the tree.

Assemble these items:

1 large metal or glass bowl (not plastic)
2-4 cups of Ivory Soap Flakes (if you can find them) or Ivory Snow
1/2-1 cup of hot (tap) water (depending on how large the tree is)
One electric mixer or hand blender

Put the soap (start with 2 cups) in the bowl and add the hot water. If you use an electric mixer, keep it on the lowest speed. If you use a hand blender, put a kitchen towel (cloth) over the top of the bowl to catch spray. Keep adding soap until the mixture is thick enough to literally pick up (the texture of soft clay, say).

Using the fingers of your hand, and holding the bowl in the other hand, start at the top of the tree, dragging your soap-loaded fingers through the ends of the branches. I use all my fingers and literally carress the twigs with the soap so some sticks, but not too clumpy. I do the whole tree (ends only) all the way down..I have tried doing every branch, and it looks great, but really prefer just the ends, because it looks more realistic.
One year, before the soap dried (about 2 hours) I put a small bit of glitter on each branch, which caught the light wonderfully, but since I recycle my tree at the end of December, it meant all that glitter had to be scraped off before the tree was chipped and composted, so you can decide if you want the exta work.

Not only does the tree look marvelous, but the soap is biodegradeable so not an issue for composting, and the best part of all is that the soap on the tree is a natural fire retardant! This was told to me years ago by a fire chief inspecting the decorations at a craft fair, so happy to shapre a decorative and practical thing like this with anyone who reasds this blog-going to go look for the camera now and upload the pics of my tree-back in a minute...


  1. What a great tip! I've never heard of that one before and I'm sorry my lights are already on my tree. Otherwise I might just give this a try! And it's a natural fire retardant - that an extra besides looking pretty! The pig angel tree topper is just too cute!

    I hope you have a lovely Christmas!


  2. Thanks, Manuela, you can always 'keep' it for next time...if you can get hold of Ivory Soap, especially the old 'Flakes', they work best of all, but they quit selling them here years ago, so Ivory Snow is the next best thing. I've tried other types of detergents, but none of them work like this..
    Have a great holiday season!