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Did you know?
  • The original Rudolph did not have a red nose. In that day and age, red noses were seen as an indicator of chronic alcoholism and Montgomery Ward didn’t want him to look like a drunkard. To complete the original picture, he was almost named Reginald or Rollo.
  • The Christmas wreath was originally hung as a symbol of Jesus. The holly represents his crown of thorns and the red berries the blood he shed.
  • The three traditional colors of most Christmas decorations are red, green and gold. Red symbolizes the blood of Christ, green symbolized life and rebirth, and gold represents light, royalty and wealth.
  • Tinsel was invented in 1610 in Germany and was once made of real silver.
  • The oldest artificial Christmas trees date back to the late 1800s and were made of green raffia (think grass hula skirts) or dyed goose feathers. Next the Addis Brush Company used their machinery that wove toilet brushes to create pine-like branches for artificial Christmas trees that were less flammable and could hold heavier decorations.
  • ‘Jingle Bells’ – the popular Christmas song was composed by James Pierpont in Massachusetts, America. It was, however, written for thanksgiving and not Christmas.
  • Coca-Cola was the first company that used Santa Claus during the winter season for promotion.
  • Hallmark introduced their first Christmas cards in 1915.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Gary Sutherland

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  1. Here's a commercial tool: http://stakepuller.com/ Looks simple enought that you could just make one if you're handy with metal.
  2. Scott, I haven't been here for awhile, but I remember you working on your ice skating rink. Couldn't find any recent posts, so thought I'd ask..... Did you find a satisfactory solution to the animation problem; moving the skaters in different, overlapping paths? Or did you settle on a simpler movement? If so, how is construction going, and do you have any pics of what you're doing? About what scale are you building? I still like the idea for the future. Thanks, Gary
  3. Oh, I forgot to ask.... What do you use for the socks? If you make them, what fabric do you use? Thanks... Gary
  4. Mike... I've thought about trying to build a fairly large snow machine. So far, it's just wishfull thinking! I've been looking at this: http://www.harborfreight.com/1-hp-mini-dust-collector-94029.html Lot's of CFM, but does it have enough pressure? Your project sounds like a lot of fun to build. How's it coming along? Gary
  5. Years ago I made up some multicircuit strings, and I used Jones connectors. They're simple and available in various pin counts. They are rated for 250 volts and I think usually around 10 amps per circuit. They won't be quite as cheap as equivalent vampire plugs, but they're pretty inexpensive. As I recall, I bought them from Mouser. Gary
  6. I remember at least a couple of people here discussing their plans to build an animated skating pond. Has anyone succesfully completed one? What method of moving the skaters did you end up using? Thought this might be fun to build, and I can think of a few ways to animate it, but I can also imagine a lot of possible difficulties with those methods. Any advice would be appreciated and might prevent my 'little skaters' from flying off into the night sky. Gary
  7. If your anchor points are permanent for future years, sounds like concrete is a good way to go. If you want something quick, you might try some Duckbill anchors. I've used these on quite a few projects (not on a mega tree yet). They're available in different sizes and amazingly strong and easy to install. Here's a description: http://www.earthanchor.com/duckprod.html
  8. Anyone know or have a good guess as to how the trees in this video are made? I guess they're not really 'mega trees'; don't know what to call them, but I've seen this video a few times and really like them. Gary
  9. I haven't seen your winch, but the clamps have threaded studs. Put two of them on the back of a square plate and mount the winch on the plate. Or if your winch will allow it, put the two clamps directly on the winch bracket. Once this is assembled, mounting or remvoving it from the pole would take just seconds. Welding would definately be cheaper, but the clamps would allow you to easily remove the winch when storing the pole. Here's a picture of one with a wing nut on the stud:
  10. Welding studs, U-bolts or a plate to the pole would certainly do it. Has anyone here ever drilled through the pipe and had it fail later do to being weakened? If you do want to go with a clamp system, a pair of scaffold clamps would hold more weight than you would ever want to put on the pole with no risk of slipping. http://www.thescaffoldwarehouse.com/3-Stud-Clamp-PSV-773T.htm?categoryId=-1 gary
  11. How about Mrs Claus in an apron or a nice elf lady baking in an old time oven. The oven door could open to show a giant cookie, smiling gingerbread man or something, baking in a warm glow and then close again (motor fun!). Some 'porchlights' that look like big candies and light up might be fun. A candy chimney on the roof over the stove with an amber light in it and a little smoke coming out. Two little elf children standing in snow outside the doorway peeking in? I'm sure you'll have many ideas for this. Displays that have the 'warm fuzzies' are always fun to do, I think. Be sure to post pics of whatever you come up with! Merry Christmas... Gary
  12. A guy I used to know made some automatic X-faders like that by adding a simple control circuit to a couple of cheap household lamp dimmers. Unfortunately, my electronics ability is pretty much limited to soldering, but maybe someone here will know how to do it. As a slightly more expensive alternative here are two. The first is available at http://www.digitalsl.com/products/lighting/selc/lc/lightingcontrolers.html It's $30, and 300 watts per channel, so I don't know if that's enough for what you're planning. The second is available at http://www.christmasdonebright.com/s.nl/it.A/id.73/.f It's $100, and is 720 watts total. I saw a post somewhere else that said Menards has the 300 watt ones for quite a bit less. No Menards around here but if you're close to one might give em a try. Gary
  13. This $5.99 aviation cable cutter from Harbor Freight will cut 1/8" like butter. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/94400-94499/94449.gif Like everyone says, tape the cable first. Gary
  14. I buy 1 1/2" black pipe at one of the local steel yards. $1.80 - $2.00 per foot, depending on quantity. They can cut it, but this yard can't thread it. Fortunately, I have access to a pipe threader. Remember that the black pipe is more prone to rust than galvanized, but that hasn't been a problem. Gary
  15. Kmwiegand: Here: http://www.christmaslightsetc.com/p/9-ft-Christmas-Garland-Lights-300-Amber-Lamps-Black-Wire--17907.htm These are listed as 'amber', but look orange. In the past, any amber lights I've ordered, as opposed to 'gold', or 'yellow', have been very orange. In this case, I'm not using these for Halloween, but for an event at a school who's colors are orange and black. Gary
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