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  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.
  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.

Ed Reynolds

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About Ed Reynolds

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Profile Information

  • My favorite Christmas story
    don't have one
  • Location
  • Biography
    Volunteer at Church; Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity
  • Interests
    Christmas Displays; Carpentry; home repair
  • Occupation
    visual arts - home inspection
  • About my display
    Indoor this year featured a classic Disney theme
  1. House decorated in the 1950's!!

    A classy display will always employ more creative design elements than just lights whether controlled by technology or not. There will never be a substitute for a Rembrandt or a Mona Lisa.
  2. GEEK MY TREE Updates?

    Well they've done it again! The great team at Geek My Tree has developed a new product called Tree Effects. It's a small tabletop tree light show. Now anyone can have a high tech animated Christmas show right in the comfort of their own home! The tree is about 2 feet tall and has a wireless controller that performs 50 different light show effects. The tree includes about 30 snowflake LED lights that appear in all colors. The tree also has a color changing star topper. What's great is that they are now developing "Pixel Packs" which allow users to change the standard snowflake design to one of many different shapes. As simple as popping a cap. They'll have stars, pumpkins and pet paws to choose from in the initial run. Perhaps more by Fall 2017. The trees are supposed to ship as soon as October 2017. The price is a reasonable $49. A long way from the initial $399 price for the initial "Glowballs" product two years ago. Which, by the way is still a great product although it was replaced by a product called "Glowflakes". I "presume" Glowflakes will continue to be around for this upcoming season...both in silent and musical versions. They have a Kickstarter campaign that ends soon which offers incentives for early orders. https://www.kickstarter.com/…/tree-effects-tabletop-light-s… Get ready to geek the bleep with your holiday decorating this year. Good luck.
  3. Christmas outdoor counter/clock

    Sorry for the late response...Gemmy made (makes?) three versions: The Disney countdown with the mouse ear silhouette in red light (Lowe's exclusive); a standard version in blue light carried by Home Depot; a similar standard version in green light sold by other retailers. Price varied from $50-60. At this point you will likely be ripped off by an e-bay seller. Best to wait until fall when the season rolls around again and pay full price. If you have an issue with it you can easily return it from a retailer.
  4. Sometimes I feel like a Grinch

    (Most) Anybody can put up a string of lights. That said, I agree if that is all they can do (for a wide variety of reasons) this is good too. Even if it's a pair of those 3-in-1 candoliers in the front window or changing the white bulbs in the fixtures next to the garage door to red and green or whatever again it is good. The real test is when someone can be creative and enhance what they already have or add to store bought items like the many crafters out there. That's the real icing on the cake.
  5. Sometimes I feel like a Grinch

    You said it yourself in your facebook page post...."seeing all those smiling faces". That alone should bring you all the cheer you want. Forget about keeping up with the high tech geeks. Competing with them is not the true meaning of the season is it? Try to find a way to make your display different - add some visual elements not contained in the other guy's alleged monument to his own pride. Get out and greet your visitors; many will appreciate that! Not all the elements need to be light-related either! Wars are not won with firepower, they're won with strategy. Be creative.
  6. Stephen's display is nice because it avails itself of many different concepts and elements: some static, others animated. LOR displays "unless" they're programmed by a professional or someone with a lot of experience and "creativity" end up looking like a bunch of lights jumping around. Akin to a backyard mechanic restoring a vehicle for the first time. NOTE: I am not assailing anyone. In fact, I salute the ambition to help light the holiday nights festively. I would encourage people to get out and do it. Just take some creative time and empathy to what would make a holiday display really "sparkle" and it's not the twinkling lights set to music run through an LOR box, etc. Like building a home, it starts with a plan and a blueprint to be successful. Identify in your mind and on paper what you wish to accomplish and go from there. Some of the biggest and brightest stars in holiday decorating (seen on TV) are branching out into concert venue effects. That doesn't mean you need to too at least not in the beginning, however they can be very cool and inspiring. There's you tube videos of a (college music professor?) that illuminated his moderate home and set it to the music of Star Wars among others. He has search-like beams (concert style equipment) on his roof as well as other elements on the ground like a lighted piano keyboard that keys light to the music, This is a classy display and it is not set to 1000s of channels of LOR and millions of lights. (Again, I'm not condemning those who have these mega displays. - Someone has to do them right? LOL). If you have a local Zoo that lights for the holiday season visit them. Or some other professional display that gets it. You can also incorporate inside ideas out and vice versa. Adding painted yard signs and other props - three dimensional - adds yet another element people can appreciate. in the form of Disney, Peanuts, traditional or religious characters can add an very nice touch. Arrangement is also a key to success. A great musical soundtrack creatively mixed and run BOTH in the open air and over the air can be effective - if you have walk up traffic. Just don't blast it. Sub-woofers are good at spreading the coverage over a wide area without blowing people's ears off if adjusted and positioned properly. Creatively interspersing animated lights with static ones can also make a display pop. The lady who posted originally: You can add an extra level of creativity and artistry is you "Paint" your house in colored light. This will add another festive element in good taste if done correctly. If you attend concerts - you can get an idea of what I'm talking about when either the performer(s) or the cyc (white) wall behind them is painted in light. This can be static and animated a little if desired. Creative use of strobe lights can add another dimension. So can these fad-like laser lights that are popping up all over the place this Christmas. Personally, I think they are best used to illuminate objects like trees - especially in the snow rather than the homes that they show which tend to look tacky in real life. Paint with rope lights. RGB strips, flood that are static or change color or static lasers of a single color for illuminating the home instead. Then, of course there is animation whether physical or electronic - computer controlled or not. That, too, can be overblown. If effective - it really enhances the overall presentation. Even blow molds can work well - if grouped together in scenes like Nativities. Don't go overboard in piling them up all together. I could go on forever. Back to one of your original points - electrical power - you state you have a sub-panel in your garage. Do you additional space for extra circuits to be added? What is the overall rating of the panel? 30 amps 60 amps 100 amps? The latter two would easily give you more than enough power if you can add additional circuits (installed by a qualified person such as a licensed electrician). You should also ensure your extension cords are positioned properly meaning use 12s and 14s (gauge) before you use 16 gauge cords all with grounds! The smaller the gauge the more efficiently they carry power over longer distances. Indoor extension cords are 18 gauge and often inferior for outdoor use. Note I said "often" not always.
  7. Anyone know what this is called?

    As you can see on the motor it says 12 VAC. This will require an AC 120v to 12v step down transformer. A 12v DC "wall-wart" won't work. These are not hard to come by in the internet age. [Sometimes train/hobby shops may carry this type of transformer.] If the halogen lamp does not have a protective cover over the bulb itself, try not to touch the lamp inside the shade. Oils from the skin could shorten the life. If accidently touched, use an alcohol swab to clean the bulb.
  8. Anyone know what this is called?

    I was also going to say MR16 as they use these in the fiber optic trees. The important thing is with these color wheels you want a MAXIMUM of a 20 Watt lamp. Smaller MR series lamps may require a reduced wattage of like 10 watts. You don't want to scorch your color wheel. MR 16s like the others have said are generally easy to find at Home Improvement stores. Good luck.
  9. 2017 Suggestions

    Neon Rope Lights will be the rage in 2017! They're just starting to peek out this season. The people who do wire sculptures will surely upgrade some of them to neon. Some of them are also capable of doing effects. You are seeing more and more commercial establishments with neon - this will catch on with decorators and consumers.
  10. GEEK MY TREE Updates?

    It only gets BETTER with Geek My Tree!!! In response perhaps? to a frontal attack on their product by Telebrands' Tree Dazzler - a very cheap and inferior imitation of Geek My Tree's Glowflakes and Glowballs series of light shows for your Christmas tree, GMT has just release a limited run of a new product: "Glowflurries (Glowflurry)". This product is likely in response to the less expensive Tree Dazzler that is all across retailer shelves this holiday season. Glowflurries contains 63 LED lights available in red-blue-green performing 20 visual effects. It is available this Black Friday weekend for $59. They have 750 sets available for sale in this configuration. I would imagine that it embraces the quality standards Brad has put into his other signature products with fewer features to appeal to people with limited budgets. The news literally hit cyberspace today - Black Friday - so not much more is known at this moment. Go to GMT's facebook page to find out how to order this or their other great lightshows. The other sets also appear to have Black Friday specials of some sort too. Geek Your Tree this Christmas!
  11. GEEK MY TREE Updates?

    Geek My Tree was featured on QVC earlier this month. Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary) along with GMT's founder, Brad Boyink were both on the show promoting their latest product, "Animated Glowflakes". QVC is offering them for an introductory price of $99.95 plus $7.50 shipping. They were still listed on the QVC website as available for that price. They will ship November 11, 2016. This new improved basic version is even more simple to set-up and use than its predecessor Animated Glowballs. The basic set has 64 snowflake LED lights and a wireless remote control among other features. MSRP is $129.95. Order today and save $30! Geek Your Tree today!
  12. Cheap Ws2811 Ball Pixels lights

    It is not a sales "ploy". It's meant to clear out old stock in favor of new stock. Animated Glowballs was the first generation product designed and produced by Geek My Tree. Mr. Phipps is an associate of GMT. Their new products are called Animated Glowflakes. They look like large snowflakes. The lighting effects and design is similar to their original "Glowballs". They will have two versions available in time for the holidays: Animated Glowflakes basic package (64 lights) with MSRP of $129.95; a more deluxe version that contains 96 lights and will have more effects and music capabilities comes a bit later with MSRP of $229.95. As of this posting, they may have sold out remaining stock of Animated "Glowballs". Amazon is listing it as currently unavailable. Then again, there might be more sets available as time goes on. Check back. BTW - Animated Glowflakes (basic version) was featured on QVC on October 5th. They may still have this new product for the introductory price of $99.95 (plus $7.50 S&H) They are expected to ship November 11th. These lights are the best thing to appear on the scene since the invention of Christmas lights themselves. The Glowflakes look very cool!
  13. Red and green laser lights

    I'll agree that these Star Shower lasers are better than NOTHING...but not too much better! The trouble is that the really good ones like you see at the amusement parks like Six Flags are professional units with a steep price. You can buy these on line. If someone steals it, then you're out a pretty penny or two. LED Strips are coming down a lot in price...the ones that have a remote and do a limited variety of effects. One could easily place a strip of them on their porch floor or elsewhere and have an inexpensive yet kinda cool light show or at least a wash of color on their home. Be aware that the power supply and controller are NOT waterproof and the strip may or may not be. Look for an IP65 or better (IP67) for strips that handle moisture well. It's not too difficult to work with these strips to give a simple splash of color and effects for the holidays.
  14. Menards christmas items are out

    Was at Menards last evening, they have a lot, but not everything out in the lights sections. Not too impressed thus far. They had Philips strobes last year in three colors. I have not seen them at the store yet. I bought a box of each color. These strobes have actual colored LEDs rather than colored plastic lens covers. They're C7 but I liked them. They have 50 light set of LEDs (C7) that change/alternate between red and green in a variety of ways. We used these on a display we put together for our area Metroparks this past year. I was impressed with them too. I have yet to see any knock'em out of the park lighting for this season. Oh, they also have those stupid Star Showers in both variations for 2016. They're cheap looking and plastic and over priced! Won't save any BIG MONEY on them at Menards. I do like Menards overall. They have a close-out on colored flood type LED lamps in a rainbow of colors. 9 watters.
  15. GEEK MY TREE Updates?

    Hi Greg, No, I am not a colleague of Brad's. Just a very interested individual following his progress since he was on Shark Tank. I think he has an exciting and wonderful product. So much so that the BIG GUYS [Telebrands] have chosen to steal his idea to make some quick bucks on a much lower cost and lower quality product. To some degree, they'll probably succeed. I believe I read somewhere where Brad has a patent pending, so he may be protected with his invention. I'm not a lawyer so I can't say for sure. I suspect he has been quite busy if you've read all the posts in this thread. Would be nice if he popped over here or the magazine sometime soon. His Animated Glowflakes will be sold in two versions - see Amazon and others - "Musical Glowflakes" is the grandaddy for 2016. Lists on Amazon for $229.99. Will have 12 strings of 8 glowflakes for a total of 96; a "wireless" remote control; also music on this version that will play on an included speaker or the user can supply their own (I think it is plug-in not bluetooth.) Has 8 musical programs included. [This version lists a 1-2 month shipping schedule so it probably has not been officially released - who knows? It may be tied up on one of the bankrupt Container Cargo ships floating in the Pacific - just speculation] Basic Glowflakes will be available October 15, 2016. Lists on Amazon for $129.99. 8 strings for a total of 64 lighted snowflakes. Wireless remote; NO music. They've been hard at work. Saw some video interviews of them at the Hardware Show in May. His employee Matt Phipps is a very creative young man full of innovative ideas. He's the one who took 1st place last December in the ABC "Great Christmas Light Fight". With the help of Shark Tank's Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary and his team), they've put together a great set of lights this season. Don't confuse them with the inferior and misleading Tree Dazzler lights which claim to have been on the "Tank". [Boyink says that's untrue.] Telebrands is like a Goliath in the industry with a powerful marketing and distribution arm and a very convincing TV infomercial. No doubt, they'll score many sales as they've been around for more than 30 years. Still, that doesn't make them the best. I am just trying to act as a cheerleader for the great folks who've put there hearts into Christmas here, trying to make it clear that if they wish to have a great product, for their Christmas Tree to choose GEEK MY TREE's Animated Glow Flakes. www.geekmytree.com shows a video comparison of their product compared to Telebrands' Tree Dazzler.