The Second Life Contest

A second look at the "raw material." The branches are all off, and now it is a Christmas pole.

A second look at the “raw material.” The branches are all off, and now it is a Christmas pole.

The tree is down! I have never in my life had a Christmas tree stay up and decorated for so long–not when I was a kid, not when I was a bachelor, certainly not since I’ve been married. Christmas, and all its decoration, is OVER either the first weekend after New Year’s, or when it starts to look tawdry and feel crowded. Whichever comes first.

It hasn’t been laziness on our part, or “lack of time.” I am not lazy by a long stretch, and when confronted with time pressure I tend to stay up later and get up earlier than my normal 5 am to midnight ‘day.’ Really, no one wanted the tree down. Despite its rather significant size, it was kind of like having a beloved housepet. It has just been there, and belonged there.

But I promised-ish back when I put it up that I would honor the tree’s long and struggle-y life by making certain that the tree gains what George Nakashima called its ‘Second Life.’ I will make the tree into other, useful, and hopefully beautiful things so that it may live on (although the tree’s existence as Holiday Decor/Housepet was the actual second life, technically speaking). So the tree is de-limbed and is now the biggest thing in my Someday Box, and it awaits the maker’s hand. The contest will be simple: in the comment section below, give me your ideas for what could be made out of the tree. My FAVORITE idea for what could be made out of the tree wins something made out of the tree. Here are the rules:

1) Coasters, napkin rings, and candleholders are “reserved.” I have already thought of them.
2) The winning idea will be my FAVORITE. I am the only judge.
3) The winning idea must be something that COULD be made out of the tree. I am also the judge of “could.”
4) If your idea wins, your idea may not be in fact produced. Actual fabrication will be dictated by what I want to do and what I can do (in terms of both skill and schedule). I may love your idea for turning the tree into 253,417 Abies lasiocarpa toothpicks which can then be made into a 1:25 scale model of the Tour d’Eiffel, but I won’t be making it–and you won’t be getting it in the mail, either. Hence the reserve of coasters, napkin rings, and candleholders.
5) The owner of the winning idea will be notified through this site, and I will send the prize at my expense.
6) The winner will receive the prize when I get done with it. Obviously, I will need to know where to send it.
7) I cannot promise that you will LIKE your prize, only that I will try very hard to make it nice. If you receive coasters, hate them, and decide to burn them for kindling, that’s FOUR lives for the tree. Shel Silverstein couldn’t do any better than that.
8) Toothpick Eiffel Tower is now reserved also.

LIMITATIONS: Other than this has NO CASH VALUE, none that I can think of, though I guess I’ll have to be the judge of that, too. But this is open to everyone, friends, subscribers, first-time visitors, that guy by my bank who sometimes doesn’t wear pants. Facebook it, send it out to your Twitter Peeps. There is no limit to how many ideas you may offer (but if you have like 70 or so, probably best to put them all in as few comments as you can). I’ll leave the comment section open for as long as ideas are coming in regularly or until WordPress tells me to stop, whichever comes first. Ready…GO!

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17 Responses to The Second Life Contest

  1. Large polished disks for unique reclaimed jewelry pieces! 😉 xo

  2. Large cylindrical vases! OK I’d better stop here…lol

  3. Chad B says:

    I have a few ideas: legs for a table, a set of small floating shelves, the top part of a a wine stopper, rustic/decorative bocce balls, a coat rack, or a curtain rod.

  4. rainyleaf says:

    Christmas tree ornaments of course! I was just looking at a beautiful star my dad has from New Zealand, I’ll send a photo, but it could be small trees or Northwest animals! A tree from a tree….

    • calvincaley says:

      Elaine also sent me a photo via email, but I can’t figure out how to “bring it in” to the comments. Rest assured, all, that it is very pretty. Thank you Elaine!

  5. Cousin Kim says:

    There is nothing like the smell of Christmas. I would let it dry out all year and use it for kindling next Christmas. Or perhaps use some of it for family hiking sticks. You can carve initials one them etc… 🙂

  6. Rhona d'Orgee says:

    What about some beautiful hair chop sticks. I used to wear these all the time. Or some wonderful cheese knife handles. When we got married we bought hand made cheese knives carved out of different woods and gave them away as favors. It was inspired by our love of cheese and wine. Most of the friends we still see still have them.

  7. Amy Sparks says:

    Trivets, cheese cutting boards, mirrors, homes for gnomes in the forest, miniature carousel, OR turn it into pulp out of which you make paper on which you write the great American novel (okay, that last one was my husband’s idea).

  8. Deirdre says:

    A wizard’s staff; small end down, big end carved fancifully.

  9. calvincaley says:

    Oh, this is very happymaking! Great ideas, and really so many I haven’t thought of…now I wish the tree was bigger so I could make more prizes. Fortunately, as my daughter says, I have “a lot of sticks,” in the event of a tie. Marvellous! Keep the ideas coming, and be sure to share the contest!

    • Rhona d'Orgee says:

      Or what about a fairy wind chime. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a lot of different carved fairy’s flying around making tinkling sounds against some chimes. The queen fairy on the top. I think your daughter would LOVE that.

  10. Corene says:

    Everyone is so creative! I assume I am NOT eligible for this contest. But I get a desk so winner winner chicken dinner

    • Deirdre says:

      I mentioned a newell post earlier.

    • calvincaley says:

      Apparently much more creative than I. You are not technically ‘eligible,’ but of course your idea(s) are welcome and encouraged. I am thinking that I will be making more than one winning gift from the tree at this point. How can I choose? Fortunately there are a few more trees back there eyeballin’ me, if it comes to that. Any prototype or leftover objets d’tree are obviously yours. This is turning out quite splendidly, and the making of Second Life items will give me a great opportunity to “true up” my tools and dust off my skillz. The desk is a-coming, I PROMISE.

  11. Nicole says:

    Modern Bird House

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