Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Village 2010 is complete!

The Gator Clan's annual Christmas Village was completed right on schedule.  As you know, we begin assembling our collection of Department 56 village pieces on Veteran's Day with the goal of completing the display during the Thanksgiving Weekend each year.  Our collection includes structures and accessories from the Victorian Village Series and the Dickens Village Series.  It was officially "Lit" for the season on Saturday, Nov. 27th.

Here are some representative pictures of the final display (click the picture for a larger view, then use the back arrow to return here or you'll leave the site):
This is the first sight one sees upon entering our living room.  The display begins behind the couch on the right, continues onto the window platform and then on to a village table on the left.  There also is a Christmas Tree display, also Department 56, on our entertainment center just off to the right.
A closer look at a couch section demonstrates some of the detail.  As you can see, there's also a skirt around the under structure to conceal some of the construction.
The section in front of the window is devoted to Charles Dickens' immortal story of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol.
The main village also includes the accessories that give some depth to the finished product.

It includes a skating pond in the middle of a woodsy section.

I'll change some of these pictures from time to time in the coming weeks so you can see more of the old Gator in Maine Village 2010.  The village will be dismantled for another year in January.

We do not include all our pieces each year so that we can vary the village from time to time.  All the pieces in our collection including the villages' names, except the skating pond, bonfire, cemetary and base materials, are registered trademarks or copyrighted by Department 56, a division on Enesco, LLC.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Village 2010 progress #5

Edited to add Thanksgiving night:   The Village is just about complete and right on schedule.  All that is left is to add the skirt to cover the underpinnings and the "Fresh Fallen Snow."  These two tasks, which should take about an hour,  will be accomplished, also as scheduled, Saturday and the Village 2010 will be officially lit.  I'll publish my final progress report sometime Sunday.

The construction of the Gator Clan's annual Christmas Village continues right on schedule and we are very pleased.  Each year we construct a Department 56®  Lighted collectible village as our celebration of the Christmas Season.  We begin construction on Veteran's Day with the Official Lighting sometime between Thanksgiving and that weekend.

You can see previous progress reports by selecting one of the "Village" posts under November in the blog archive to the right.

Perhaps you remember the beginning of our mountain of a few days ago.
We've added some trees and other accessories, all Department 56® creations, and this is how the mountain looks today:

We've also added accessories, including trees, to the section between a wall and behind our living room sofa:

One area, our Village Square which depicts the story of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the story of Ebenezar Scrooge and Tiny Tim Cratchet, is about 90% completed with only some trees to be added this week.

And finally, the buildings, a river, a wooded section, and a skating pond have all been placed in the largest section of our village.  We'll be adding the accessories, people and trees, during the week and on
Thanksgiving Day.  This is exactly where we thought we'd be at this time.

We'll spend some time Thanksgiving carefully looking over the finished village.  We'll fill in any empty or bare spots we find with additional people, other accessories including trees, to complete the village.  Saturday, Gator Daughter and Gator Wife will put a skirt around the whole project to hide the under structure, including the wiring, and then the final step in the project, spreading Department 56 Fresh Fallen Snow®, throughout the entire Village 2010.

When darkness arrives, we'll officially light the village and our Christmas Season Celebration will be underway.

After the lighting, I'll take a final series of pictures to show you our completed Village.  That'll probably be Sunday.


Note:  Department 56, Department 56 Fresh Fallen Snow, and all villages mentioned in this series including the Victorian Village Series and the Dickens Village Series, are registered trademarks of Enesco, LLC.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Village 2010 progress #4

I had planned to wait until more of the Village we are assembling as our Christmas decoration was ready, but I've gotten a little excited about a brand new section.  We, Gator Wife and I, expanded our window section a little and began looking for a way to connect it with another section.

Wednesday, the idea jumped at us.  We'll put a river from one section to the other.  It along with a pedestrian bridge will connect the two sections.

Here's a first look:
This is very rough.  The contours haven't been made and the river sections (All Department 56, incidentally) have not yet been connected.  If all goes as planned, the river will flow from a waterfall in the back near the window down several layers and to a pond, which is part of Gator Daughter's forest section.  That'll be next to the river in the upper left.  The remainder of the section will be more village and we're thinking about including a waterfront scene.  Again, this is very far from finished as we're just formulating the plans.  But we're looking at it as a possibly exciting addition.
Meanwhile, work is continuing on the sections with buildings already added.  Accessories such as people and other items are being added.  We're still a long way from the trees, snow, and skirt that covers the under part of the display being added.  But it's taking shape.

And now, just for Mrs. Fearless Friend (FF's wife), here's a peek at another member of the clan.  Remember Gator Golden?
She turned seven years old last month.

If you missed them, you can see the first three progress reports by clicking a selection under "Blog Archive" in the right column.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Village 2010 progress #3

Right on schedule!  We have erected two village sections along our living room wall behind a couch and in our front window.

We begin our annual Christmas Village display on Nov. 11th, coincidentally our wedding anniversay, and officially light the completed project during Thanksgiving weekend.  This year we began a weekend early because of some enhancement to the base structures.

Our goal for the Nov. 13-14 weekend was to complete the bases, put up the Styrofoam® snow base on the couch and window sections, and position the houses and shoppes along with their lights. Our Village is a combination of the Department 56® and its Victorian and Dickens Village Series.

Although only the structures themselves are now in place, below is a mountain section; many more items, including Department 56 Village accessories, trees, people, and snow will be added.
The structures for the section behind our living room couch (below) have also been placed.  Like the mountain above, this section will also have accessories, trees and snow added.

I should note that the pictures in this post appear to be a little washed out.  That's simply because I was trying to be "cute" with my camera and show the buildings with lights on.  Just like in previous years, I'm still on the beginning end of the picture learning curve. 
The slightly expanded window section (above) is also about ready.  Those of you who have followed our Village in previous years, mostly on my web page, will see that this section, our popular display of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, doesn't change much.  The front left corner remains stark and square because it will be connected to the main section. 

The main section will be completed next weekend.  We'll begin adding the accessories during this week and next.  Then trees and snow will be added Thanksgiving Day.  Our goal is to officially light the completed Village during the Thanksgiving Weekend.  There's a small chance it will take place Thanksgiving Night, however.


Notes:  Department 56 and its Village Series mentioned here are registered trademarks of Enesco, LLC.  The various structures and accessories are also copyrighted by Enesco.  Styrofoam is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Village 2010 progress #2

Nov. 11th has come and gone and the Gator Clan's annual Christmas Village is well underway right on schedule.  Actually, it's a little bit ahead of schedule because we had made some village table changes last weekend.

Our village is a display of lighted structures and supporting accessories from Department 56® Heritage Village Collection.  Specifically, we combine the Dickens' Village Series and the Victorian Village Series.

We begin each year's creation on November 11th, Veterans' Day. Actually, the holiday has nothing to do with our village; that date also is our wedding anniversary. We complete the village and "officially" light it on Thanksgiving Weekend, giving us a little more than two weeks to complete the project.
If you should enter our living room right now, you'd be greeted what best can be described as a mess.  We have table parts, table top base material, and even some structures all around the room.  But, as you can see here, one section is already taking shape.

On the right is a little closer view of the uncompleted wall section, but it is well on it's way.  What you see here will probably undergo several changes over the weekend as we add contours for layering, giving some consistency to the placement of structures, and even put the lights in place.
Back on the left, our redesigned window section is also taking place.  That section will be connected to the third portion of the design as we attempt to create a fllow.  It'll probably be a "light" flow this season as we figure out exactly what it'll be in future showings.
Construction will continue through this weekend.  Our plan is to complete the wall/couch section (see top picture) this weekend and make some good progress on the window section.  That third section will wait until next weekend.

Meanwhile, Gator Daughter, who is a major help in our village construction, took more than three hours off Thursday so she could do her old Dad a super favor:  GD vacuumed up two weeks worth of leaves in our yard.  Unfortunately, not all have dropped yet and the lawn is already beginning it's new collection.

I'll have a weekend update on the progress of the the village construction Monday.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Village 2010 is underway!

I've stopped my ranting and raving and personal adventure tales.  Instead, now that the holiday season is upon us, anyone interested in following the construction of the Gator Clan's annual Christmas Village periodically can find progress pictures here.

Normally, our construction season runs from Veteran's Day into the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year we've decided to make some changes.  Actually, the major change was necessitated by the installation of a new bay window during the summer and by the installation of new carpeting last spring.

Some table legs on all our displays needed to be lengthened to make the tables stand relatively even.  We had cut some of the original legs about an inch shorter to accommodate a height variance between legs on the old carpet and wood floors near the walls. 

We began that project during October's last weekend.  The table in a space between the couch and wall was corrected.  This table actually extends much further into the front corner of the room.  A section there was also evened off. 

The original window table has also been corrected, but in this situation, all the supporting legs were lengthened to make the table top at the height of the couch.  Previously it sat on the window sill.  This change will allow a better viewing of our popular recreation of the Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

You may notice a gap between the window section and the main table section.  Since the two sections are now close to being the same height, we're going to connect them.  First, and it's the project for the Nov. 6th weekend, we have to change some of the main table legs, which are not secure here, and add the middle support legs.  Then the construction of the joining will begin. 

Thursday, Nov. 11th, we will add the table tops and begin the process of putting our collection into place.  I'll have some progress pictures here next weekend and you'll see the Gator Clan's Christmas Village 2010 taking shape.