Pre-Lit Christmas Tree Lights

Darrin bought a Christmas tree at Sears in 2007.  We never celebrated Christmas with a tree before that because it was Chips job was to decorate Trees every year at department stores, so he just didn’t like the thought of having to decorate trees anymore.  He didn’t think I would want to so we just never had a tree.  I was so happy that he bought this one because I just love to decorate it every year.  It was a tradition throughout my childhood to have a tree and I never got that as an adult until the last few years.

Unfortunately, when you buy a pre-lit tree, you have complications with the light sets.  This one light set in the front went out last year and I could never figure out how to fix it.  I tried pulling out the fuses and replacing them but that didn’t work.  I tried pulling out every light from the whole set, but that didn’t work.  I was at my wits end with this tree because it wasn’t just this T shape in the front, most of the lights in the back were out too.

I finally found the problem today.  The tree is still up because I didn’t want to take it down until I found the issue, and I did.  Here is the issue.  The first light in each light set has a white plastic … what are those things called?

The white one is a different shape from the green one, so you can’t just put the green one in it’s place; and the bulbs in the white ones are glued in.  I was afraid if I tried to pull the white one out, the bulb would break and cut my fingers.  I did eventually get it out though and was able to take the bulb from a green one and put it in its place and replace the bulb which lit the whole set back up.

I am down to 4 replacement bulbs and there are still at least 3 sets that are out so I’m going to fix them today.  I tried looking for these bulbs to buy a new replacement pack, but nobody has them.  It’s just my bad luck isn’t it?  I did find that they have them at NewEgg, but they are out of stock.  I clicked the “AUTO-NOTIFY” button and left a note saying “I need these in about 11 months LOL” so when they get them in, hopefully I can buy them for $14.99.  I don’t need the set, just the bulbs.  If I can find the replacement bulbs at the hardware store in a little pack of like 10 or 20 then I’ll buy that.  I don’t care how I get the bulbs, I just want them because they don’t last very long; I have already gone through the entire package of replacement bulbs that came with the tree.

So if anyone else has had the same issue, now you know how to fix it.  It’s the white one…

Polymer Clay

We went to Michael’s today so I could buy some beads with letters on them for making my hemp bracelets for the kiddies for tomorrow. While we were there I wanted to get some polymer clay. I wanted to mix the colors to make them look psychedelic but I mixed them too much so they don’t look very good but when I mixed the yellow/green ones they came out a little better because I didn’t mix them before rolling them. I just put the pieces together and started rolling.

I bought some mini metal cutters for different shape beads but only used the heart  cutter and only made what you see in the picture above. I didn’t want to go crazy and make enough beads for a lifetime. Also they are too thin so I’m not even sure I can use them for beads at all. I may have to find another use for those.

I was told to mix them, let them sit out for 10 minutes then poke large holes with a stick before baking but when 10 minutes was up they were still as soft as they were when I first made them so I’m just letting them sit in the kitchen for a while. I’m going to use toothpicks to poke the holes through them when they are hard. If I poke holes in them now they will lose their shape and I’ll have to start over.

The clay is Smart Craft which I read is a Michael’s specific brand and I wish that I knew more about clay brands before I bought this because I just read a bad review of the clay and now I feel stupid. I hope they come out ok after baking. I don’t have time now to go back to Michael’s and buy the right clay and I didn’t buy the colored beads like I wanted to. I spent way more money than I can afford on all the stuff we did buy so this is it, I’m done for rest of the month (as far as buying craft supplies).

I hope these are cool enough beads for the kids necklaces, if not TOUGH lol. No but seriously if they don’t come out right I’m just not going to bring any of the stuff for making the necklaces at all. I’m just going to make Beth her bracelet (which I made with the letters) and necklace and that’s it.

Wish me luck. Hopefully they will be finished by tomorrow and they will make cool beads.

Update: The Craft Smart (Michael’s brand) is crap. I set the oven to 275°F for 15 minutes (for 1/4″ thickness) and it didn’t even cook the beads. 1/4″ thickness, I don’t even know what that means. Does it mean if I have 1 bead that is 1/4″ thick then it bakes for 15 minutes or 15 minutes for each bead? I guess I need a better translation. At any rate, I put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes and it’s still rubbery. I put it in for another 30 minutes and even though it was hard, it’s still rubbery.

I thought that when you bake this polymer clay it comes out like glass. Shiny and hard. These beads are neither shiny or hard. I let them cool and you can still squeeze them and you can see how rubbery they are.

I suppose rubbery is as good for a necklace. Unfortunately when I put the holes in the beads the clay was still very soft so the pressure from putting the holes in them made them lose their shape so in order for me to keep their shape I had to use a toothpick but that means the holes aren’t big enough.

I can’t win, I will have to get more next month and try again but with a different brand.