Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sustainable Holiday Decor.......and More

We are half way through the long holiday weekend, and it was a mix bag of frugal living today.  In terms of meals, not even close.  My husband and I started the morning out with a "date".  Our sitter arrived and we dashed off to La Baguette, a lovely french bakery in Madison.  For under $20 we enjoyed a Croque Monsieur, quiche, two coffees, and a pain au chocolat to go.  I put date in quotes because this was more meeting than date.  We often joke that we run our home like a corporation, and our discussion today focused on exact steps we both need to take as we plan to expand our businesses.  2013 will be an exciting year.  Afterwards we returned home and I tackled putting up our sustainable (as much as possible) outdoor holiday decor. Once complete, we dashed off with the kids to the UW Arboretum.

The wild turkeys may have thought they had survived Thanksgiving, but came face to face with our 4 and 2 year old.  It is a great, free way, to explore the outdoor world in Madison. On our way home we stopped in to the newly renovate Vitense Golf Land.  Nearly deserted, we opted to eat there instead of get take-out (we had a coupon).  One of the easiest meals we've had in a long time, but oh so not frugal.  But that is how it goes, some days are less expensive than others.  Too many in a row make frugal living near impossible.

Here are some images from the day, with details on the holiday decor.  Most were purchased at Johannsen's Greenhouse in Madison (Todd Dr. at the Beltine).  I purchased 50 feet of evergreen rope and two wreaths.  The rope covered the garage, our front door, and then some for a net below the bike riding deer (below the flag, to the left of the garage).  We did not have twine on hand, so I reused the twine that came with rope.  Another purchase avoided, and maximizing my purchases.

I also purchased a holiday flag.  The pole is a wood dowel I bought at the hardware store for $4.99.   If all goes as planned, this will fly above our home for years to come.  And for about $10 I purchased a small flood light that comes on with the LED lights, illuminating the flag at night.

At first, the flag keep sliding down.  For a minute I thought I'd need to make a run to the store to find something to secure it, but then remembered I had a jar (old curry paste jar) in the kitchen with a stash of pins.

 The thumb tacks worked perfectly.

At the front door I created two containers with holiday grennery.  The pots were from the summer, filled with top soil to give them weight.  In went evergreen, red sticks and pine cones.  All but the evergreen will keep and be an option for next winter.  I also bought a festive gold and ruby lawn ornament with hopes that it will add cheer for winters to come.  This turned out to be a far less expensive option than my plan a -- buying to live, potted pines.  Total cost for both finished pots, under $15.

 As for the top soil, it will go directly into the flower beds I am creating from leaves and mulch in the front yard.  My daughter stomped in some today; we had extra.  A 40 pound bag cos $1.99.

And here it is at night.  Not Rockefeller Center, but festive.  Most can be reused, recycled, and uses LED technology.  That is my 2012 take on sustainable holiday outdoor decor.

The holidays are a wonderful time of year.  Celebrating the "return of the light" as the days begin to grow longer after the Winter Solstice.  But sadly they can quickly become a source of waste and expense.  I find using nature, indoors and out, to decorate is far easier on the budget and earth.  And gathering those items can give you great motivation for some nature hikes.

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