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  • Christmas 2017 countdown has begun. Most people reveal their displays the day after Thanksgiving. 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.

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About my display

Found 10 results

  1. Securing 10' 3" PVC Poles

    My driveway arch is made from 3" sch 40 PVC. Since it is a driveway arch I can not have a true 3 point anchor with guide wires. I need a way to keep the poles up straight and sturdy. I thought about putting sleeves in the ground or using something similar. Ideas? I have a pic of it, it stands upright for a month or 2, but it's very unstable and swings around easily.
  2. Lights on roof

    Well, now that Christmas-palooza 2016 is packed away, it's time to start building the 2017 edition---oh yea! This year I resolve to run C9s vertically across my two-story house,as well as across the roof. So, I turn to the mob for build ideas. How do you anchor lights to the roof ridge line and bottom edge; and how do you hang the lights across the vertical face of a two-story,vinyl sided(with trim wrap)? Thanx friends!
  3. For those out there struggling to figure out where to start on building a Christmas village, I wanted to share some things I've picked up along the way. Keep in mind these are just my opinions from my experience and taste so I'm sorry if this doesn't jive with your taste. I started out like everyone else with that very first village building. For me, it was my son's first Christmas. I had always had at minimum a train around the tree as a kid. Villages came and went, small and modest but somewhere along the line I was bitten by that Christmas magic as a kid, so I bought my first piece 9 years ago. I wanted to give him that gift as well... as time went on, the village grew piece by piece, a few houses a year and trying different ways to display them. I added a train the second year, and over the years tried several different types and sets. Some displays were winners and some were simply valiant efforts that while they worked, never really did it for me. I spent Christmas after Christmas spinning my wheels trying to create that nostalgia I was looking for. Nostalgia here is the key word. I wanted something that floored me when I looked at it and brought out that inner child. It was more than a handful of buildings and a train (however, in my book it's not Christmas without a train and I don't know why. It doesn't even have to move it just has to be there.) It hit me one year. I needed the appropriate props to bring it to life. Not only that, I needed the appropriate materials to create endless shapes. I experimented with wooden platforms (hard sturdy surface required for metal trains) but they were just flat and hard to see the buildings that weren't in the front. Stacking boxes didn't work because straight lines and corners just don't do it for me. All of the materials I used for snow cover failed because props don't like to stay standing on fluffy surfaces and paint (specifically latex paint) draws moisture from the air and will stick to your village pieces and if two painted pieces touch, they stick together, possibly permanently. A couple years ago I experimented with foam board. Specifically expanded polystyrene. It had all the characteristics I needed in a material. It was rigid, meaning it could handle several hundred pounds of trains and porcelain/ceramic buildings and trains. In fact, distributing the weight on the legs of a tree stand like with a piece of hard board or thick cardboard, I even stand the Christmas trees on top of the foam. It was already snow white and textured. It was easy to work with even for someone with little or no tools (I actually built one with nothing but a razor knife). And lastly, I could create any shape I could dream up. Next, I needed props. The 1950's are a time that brings me that 1950's small town America nostalgic feel, so did steam engine trains (and only steam engine trains). I bought up steam engine trains and diecast 1950's trucks, whatever I could find. Horse drawn sleighs and carriages were a must. Bridges brought a huge nostalgic feel having stood atop many "for architecture only bridges" I was familiar with that feeling. This was something that could be placed anywhere and not need water. Trees, as many as I could fit and people. What I found was that as long as thesss things were there, it didn't really matter that they didn't come from the same time periods etc. I could mash them all together and it is still pleasing to the eye. I stopped building roads and slopes to go from level to level because there was no need to go into that much detail in order to create the effect. This is in no way to mean that those people who do this are wasting their time but for me it isn't necessary. For those who would rather just watch a video slide show of the different stages of my builds, here are some links to this years builds. Here is a video of me and my 2 year old playing trains. My process is basically is to lay out your pieces. If you are using trains, start by laying out the trains first. Everything has to be built around the trains. Identify how much floor space you have available and start with a piece of foam board large enough to cover that area. I use 2" expanded polystyrene. It's more rigid and I don't have to cut more layers to achieve height. Next, start laying out buildings where you want them. Apply layers of foam board to lift buildings as high as necessary to ensure a good view of the next row of buildings. Everything doesn't need to be the same height in a row. In fact it looks better when they aren't the same height. Draw your cut lines around the buildings where you want to split the height. Here is a good example of what I mean by splitting up heights. Back to a larger scale, here is what I mean by applying layers to raise the rows of buildings into view. This is also a good way to create the train tunnels. At this point these layers should be rough cut pieces. I use a jig saw with a long blade it I'm able to work outside or a long blade utility knife if working inside. I like the look of stacked rock personally. Not to insult anyone who spends countless hours carving realistic mountains, I again don't need that layer of detail to create the effect so I simply take the rough cut pieces smooth the edges with a belt sander (if outside) or a utility knife working inside, then I simply cut random facets in the edges like facets of a diamond. In order to give the illusion of snow cover, I take a 4" foam roller and paint the front and bottom facing facets with gray paint like shown below. Keep in mind this was a village that fit on top of a file cabinet so it's packed tight. Add as many people and props as you can. This is the one area where I've never felt I had too much. The more people and props, the more that's going on in there. When you place your trees, try not to block too much of your buildings and props. Notice the bridges, they give off a great look and feel and they don't actually have any function but aesthetics, just architecture for the sake of architecture. Now for lights, I used to go through the mess of building wood platforms, drilling holes etc. if your village is in the middle of the floor then you may have to but in my experience working with this material, I just run the cords between the layers and out the back. The weight of the buildings will flatten out the layers. That tree in the middle is rather heavy prelit that is standing on top of several layers of foam. I just put a piece of cardboard under the feet so they didn't puncture the foam. I hope this simplifies things for anyone who is struggling to create a great scene. Honestly it's simply a matter of the right materials, plenty of people and find the props like the trains, the trucks, the horse drawn carriages, bridges or whatever else creates that nostalgic feel for you and just mash them altogether. I've seen huge expensive villages ruined by too much detail and life like features that take away from the beauty of the village pieces themselves or just creating too much space between buildings and props. A small flat village can be brought to life with a single sheet of $15 foam board if your willing to take the time to cut it up and give structure to the land.
  4. Hi all, Based on the all my scratch-built project threads during this year, my first outdoor display has finally been completed - very happy with the outcome, even though there were a few minor niggles! One of the white LED strips on a North Pole just died - after much dismantling it turned out to be the main connector to the strip, must have bumped it when setting up...all working again now. The "snow" on my sign did not hold up to the first rain showers, kinda melted off! Re-did this this morning with an acrylic based contour paste, so should be fine now - see the thread for updated pictures. The solar panel placements had to be re-thought, as the sun's path is still changing, causing shade in some of the locations - I'll move these as the sun path changes over the next few weeks. I added the following to finish it all off: Some white batting for the snow path leading up to the front door, shaped it accordingly and used white sprayed nails to hold it down using the paving joint spaces. Some solar fairy lights were added underneath the batting and set to flash mode, so it looks like the "snow" is shimmering at night. Some solar icicle LED lights were added to the security bars. I had a couple of wire-frame reindeer that I converted to LED. Made up a quick PVC arch for the gate entrance using flexible conduit, green LED 5m strip, some 4mm wire for the curve and some PVC holders. All-in-all it looks like I had pictured it in my mind when I started all these projects - I'm happy! BTW, the solar tree strings and other solar LEDs run throughout the night, from 7pm to about 5am, and still have more than enough power left - I'm really happy with this as I was a bit hesitant using solar at first - luckily we have beautiful full sun all day, almost every day this time of year!
  5. The new tool in the set for 2016 is SharpIn. For LOR visualizer you can zoom in to get a closer look and move those tiny dots around. There are tools to align your props with perfectly spaced and straight lines and curved lines. No more jaggies. Down load here along with SpEx for Audio and Marquee for moving text. This is the first video in the set.
  6. Why not decorate the car and truck this year? The kids and grand kids will love doing something different, helping layout the design of the car decorations. CarClingz are unique, durable, and reusable year after year. Check them out! carclingz.com
  7. Deer on roof

    I got my deer done. I bought the metal frame deer on Craig's list from the neighbor of the guy who actually hand made and welded them. The old incandescent lights didn't work so I striped them off and relit them with led. 95 percent of my display is LED. Got them all on the roof and wondered what you guys thought. Be honest if I should rearrange, space out, or do anything that would make it look better please let me know. There is a gap where I had to doctor one up before I put him back up there. He is like the other that is standing with his head up. Also there are c9 red bulbs as reins on both sides of the deer. I tried using the first bulb of the c9 for Rudolph's nose but it didn't turn out very well. Any ideas for Rudolph's nose?
  8. Beautiful sled who made it?

    I wasent sure where to post this but I thought I would try here. I bought this sled plus six five foot wire frame deer from a guy on Craig's list. They are all homemade so someone spent a lot of time on this project. The seller said it was his neighbor who was really big into Christmas but had to move and could not bring them with him so he left them behind with the seller. I just wanted to see if said person was on the forum because I wanted to say thanks for the good handywork. The sled is made out of wicker and quite frankly I don't know how he did it or how he got it so sturdy. I would guess these are at least 5 years old and the sled is still extremely sturdy. Anyways just wanted to give a shout out to anonymous builder of these.
  9. DIY RGB FLood Lights

    I am totally new to the animated Christmas phenomenon so pardon if this is a stupid question. What hardware would it take to do the project in this video with smart pixel RGB LEDs vs Dumb RGB LEDs? I would like to make 8 floods with 2 LED modules in each. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2iuts6_rgb-led-lighting-how-to-make-cheap-floodlights_tech I already have two LOR controllers that I plan to run plain old dumb LED strings lights off of. I am using Vixen 3 for the sequencer.
  10. Here's something I found in a Popular Science magazine from the early 70's. The parts are still available today and I made one a couple of years ago for the star on a mega tree. It gave the star a flicker effect instead of flashing on and off. It works very nicely and is easy to build. shimmer box.pdf shimmer box schematic.pdf
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