I got mine by connecting two ideas last year.
Nights are dark on Palmetto Avenue. We've got street lights but half the time they're broken. My wife and I remedied this by installing flood lights flipped on by motion detectors. This means when you stepped inside the front gate the yard lit up so you could easily make your way to the front door.
Now, let's go back forty years for the second idea.
In the late 70's the Chinese began sending us strings of tiny lights to illuminate our Christmas trees. Unlike the former fat bulbs, these twinkle lights smiled, reminding us of the stars above.
How wonderful they were. Thirty years ago we began decorating our houses, hedges, and trees with them. Soon, the restaurant districts followed suit. These, small sparkling lights evoked charm until, inevitably, there were too many of them. They're up year-round now, in over-kill mode. These sparks of light have lost their holiday flair.
It's the American way I suppose. We discover something wonderfully new, commercialize and expand it until it's not so special.
But we don't over-do it on Palmetto Avenue. The Christmas lights on our street are up and down in less than a month. The twinkle thing is not overdone.
It got me thinking about the flood lights out front. When they popped on I was uncomfortable. It reminded me of a scene from a prison break-out movie. Here I was pounded by bright lights, caught in the act of coming home.
What if there was a gentler way to momentarily illuminate a yard? That's when I came up with the Sparkle Tree.
I created mine by stringing a small Barbados Cherry tree with 200 mini-lights. I plugged them into a socket that once held a floodlight (which included a motion detector).
Lastly, I incorporated the former floodlight set into a fanciful mask complete with air plants.
Now, when we arrive our sparkle tree lights up to say, "Welcome home!" After we've made it inside, the tree goes dark until the next time needed. And, as an extra bonus, just inside the front door, there's a happy dog waiting to greet us.
And in the Nevada desert,
Sparkle Tree, Burning Man, 2017.