Saturday, April 24, 2010

Naked Trees

That's what I have right now.  Three of them actually, lol.  They will not be naked for much longer (I hope!).  I will be attempting to pipe pine needles onto that branches that I have.  Yes, I said pine needles.  And yes, I said pipe them on.  Yes, I am crazy! :D

So, how did I get trees that actually look like bare trees?  Out of a wooden dowel, wires and brown floral tape.  Getting the dowel rods cut to the correct length proved interesting (and frustrating!).

I first went to Home Depot thinking they would be able to cut them for me if I bought them there.  So, off to Home Depot I went.  Once I actually found the wooden dowels (in the moulding section!?!?), I picked out the sizes I wanted and went off in search of the lumber department to get them cut to length.  I found a employee (no easy feat btw!) and asked if he could cut the dowels for me, and was informed that they are not allowed to cut dowels for customers.  I bought them anyway, since I figured at least I had some, even if I still had to figure out how to get them cut (and sharpened.....but getting them cut was the first priority).

So, off to Lowe's I went.  Fortunately they are not too far away from each other.  I went into Lowe's, and immediately asked at the Customer Service desk where to find wooden dowels (Hey, I'm not too proud to ask directions!!).  Off I went, following the helpful ladies directions and actually found the dowels right away (shocking, isn't it??)!  I pulled out the sizes I needed and went in search of an employee.  I actually found one without much trouble and asked about getting them cut.  He actually said yes!

I should probably mention at this point, that I picked out oak dowels instead of poplar.  No idea what my thinking/reasoning really was.  My only thought was oak is stronger than poplar.  Now, it's not like these dowels have to support a ton of weight - they're only holding up one 11" styrofoam cake dummy.

So, the helpful employee walked over to the saw that Lowe's has.  There is a big sign on the saw that says it's broken.  At this point, I think, lovely.....not getting the dowels cut, lol.  He then proceeds to measure the length I wanted on all 5 dowels and pulls out a hand saw.  Now.....even *I* know that cutting an oak dowel with a hand saw is not going to be fun.  He doesn't get too far and goes in search of a jigsaw.  He finds one, comes back with it and cuts the dowel rods.  He hands me all the pieces and I go off to pay for them.

While walking to the register, I look at the dowel rods.  Not one of them is the same length. :|  So much for accuracy.  At that point I somewhat considered buying my own electric saw to cut stuff, but it probably cost too much, lol.  So, I head home with my dowel rods, and trying to figure out how to get them sharpened.  You see, they are supposed to be pushed down through a 4" cake dummy, and also stick up into another one about 1.5".  This won't happen if they are not sharpened first.  These are 1/4" and 1/2" dowels we're talking about.

All this was about a week or so ago (I'm not really sure).  Today, I decide I'm going to sand the dowels to a point.  I have a Dremel tool that I bought years least 10yrs ago.  It's probably been a few years since I have seen it, lol.  I start looking for it, and end up finding it in the way back of my closet, in a box underneath everything else. 

I used the coarse sanding drum to sand the 1/4" dowels to nice pencil-looking points on each end.

Before sharpening them, I realized they are longer than I wanted because I changed how they are going into the cake.  So I took a grinding wheel and proceeded to use it to cut through the dowel rod.  It actually worked on the 1/4" dowels.  Not so much on the 1/2" ones.  I will have to finish those with a hand saw that I have in my camping arsenal.

Finally.........on to the trees!!!!

I took some 24 gauge wire, cut it to various lengths, folded it in half and covered them with brown floral tape.  These were my branches for my trees.  I also covered the dowel rods (the 1/4" ones) first in green floral tape and then in brown floral tape.  Mostly only taping the part that was going to be exposed (9").  I then started at the top and taped the branches on, hopefully in a random pattern.  I did three trees, and they don't all look the same (Yeah!).  These are supposed to be Sitka Spruce trees (the state tree of Alaska).  Which means......they have pine needles and not leaves.  Yeah......pine needles.  That I am nutso enough to try and pipe onto the branches.  But alas, that is for another day. 

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