CONSUMERS : 'I-Vee' Keeps Christmas Trees Fresh

Tree I-Vee is a newly developed, intravenous watering system to keep a Christmas tree fresh and moist for up to six weeks, says Harold Odom, its Houston inventor.

The watering process eliminates the need for cumbersome stands; water for the tree is stored in a plastic jug--a gallon milk jug or a two-liter soft drink bottle--and travels through a filter, tube and flow plug into the tree's trunk. The tree can remain secured on a wooden stand.

"The Tree I-Vee feeds water directly into the tree to compensate for lost root function," Odom explains. "As moisture evaporates from the needles, the tree literally sucks replacement water from the jug."

Before marketing his device, Odom tested it on cut trees from a Texas farm and found that they stayed fresh for up to six weeks, he said, adding, "One tree drank 1 1/2 gallons in a day."

Tree I-Vee is installed by drilling a 1/2-inch hole into the trunk; then inserting the flow plug to form an airtight, leak-proof seal.

The system, which includes four replacement filters, costs $11.95, plus $3 for shipping and handling. To order, call Tree I-Vee Inc.'s 24-hour toll-free number (800) 562-3777.

Cushion Protects Car From Dents

Tired of having careless motorists put dents and nicks in your car doors when you park your vehicle in a lot? Consider the Dent Preventer--sturdy foam cushions that strap to your car doors in a minute to provide protection.

The Dent Preventer is two closed-cell, charcoal-colored foam pads, 37 inches wide, 11 inches high and an inch thick. The cushions attach to the doors with self-adjusting bungie cords that clip over the top and bottom of each door.

The Dent Preventer, sold by Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories, costs $49.95 a pair, plus $4 for shipping and handling. To order, write BHMA, 200 S. Robertson Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif. 90211. Outside California, call the firm's toll-free number, (800) 421-0911. If you live in California, Alaska or a outside the United States, call (213) 657-4800.

Padded Packaging Saves Mail Items

In limited parts of the country, 3M is introducing its Self-Inflating Cushion Package, which makes it a snap to protect mailed items.

The package comes in white or blue and in three sizes: 6 by 8 inches, 9 1/2 by 11 1/2 inches, and 11 1/2 by 16 inches. When expanded, they range from 1 1/2 inches to 3 inches thick.

Place an item in the package, remove the liner and close it with the adhesive seal. Then, activate two foam pillows by puncturing the envelope in the two circles indicated. In one minute, the foam inside expands, conforming to irregular shapes and holding the product in place.

In the Los Angeles area, you can buy Self-Inflating Cushion Packages at United Parcel Service for $1.79 for the small size; $2.79 for the medium size; $3.09 for the large size that expands to 1 1/2 inches thick; and $4.09 for the same size packet expanding to 3.

For additional information, call 3M Packaging Systems Division at (800) 722-5463.

These Cuddlebags Are Just Animals

Targeted for children are Cuddlebags, two new sleeping bags in the form of a dinosaur or a panda. They have a pillow built into the top of the bag, which doubles as the animal's head.

The bags are made of a soft plush that can be machine washed and dried. They are 58 inches long by 26 inches wide and have top loops so they can be hung on the wall as a decoration. The bags also fold or roll for easy storage and transport.

The dinosaur is green and yellow with red accents; the black-and-white panda has a red bow tie.

Cuddlebags can be purchased from Orvis, headquartered in Manchester, Vt., through its toll-free number (800) 541-3541 or at Orvis stores in San Francisco, New York City, Minneapolis, Roanoke, Va., Philadelphia and Houston.

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