Summer project --Christmas Village make over

marge727April 14, 2008

Lots of us seem to have Christmas villages that we don't know what to do with. Altho I live in soCal where it doesn't snow, I grew up in Chicago where it does snow sometimes. I got the idea of taking my old snow village and making it look like Chicago when I grew up. I could put up signs on the buildings with the names of the schools I went to, and the police building I have could really say CPD. I could have a Lincoln Park Zoo with the little animals. I might be able to cut up old photos of my family standing around. I know I could get a model of a car my family had.

My family would think that was interesting. That way I would feel fine about giving away some of the buildings that don't fit in. Unless I could use them to do the town my husband grew up in.

The reason I am starting now is that we are going to Chicago briefly in June and I might be able to get models of Chicago buses or some little signs I could use or even ideas.

Maybe the reason we aren't that enthralled with the snow villages is that they really don't have a meaning for us.

I did see some Village 56 White Sox buildings but I was a Cub fan so I think I can do better by myself.

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Great idea. Making it so personal would surely make it more interesting. Think about the lighthouse collectibles....we always look to see if they have the ones WE saw first. Same with the 'Cat's Meow" collectibles sold as souvenirs.

And yur idea of using old pictures of family, just think how creative you can be with that!

I give you a 10 on this idea.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 10:14AM
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Great idea, especially the part about incorporating family photos.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 10:39AM
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Nice idea to personalize them. I'm a little (well, a lot) removed from the Dept. 56 offerings. I have a dear friend back East who was huge into Dickens and the North Pole series - purchasing one if not two of every piece available. I accompanied her on her buying junkets every now and again and though thinking them charming, never really got bitten by the bug. I do have a church and six shops and houses, plus a few people and accessories from the Dickens series which I like very much- just enough to put up a holiday vignette without dealing with hundreds of boxes.

I haven't kept up with all the different village eras available now, but I always thought a permanent display with a hobby model railroad might be an interesting project for someone.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 1:29PM
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I think you have a great idea to make it more meaningful for you.

My 8 yo got interested in the moving trains at the various train shows when he was a toddler. Then he saw some of the train diaramas incorporating local scenery. He has been hooked since. We pick up the $.50 buildings at thrift stores. Every year, he puts together his little set with various toys and buildings. He makes his own roads and special effects with crayons and cardboard. I bet he'd love to add some photos too.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 1:33PM
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Last year I started to use little rice lights to make kind of a park scene and realized I don't need all the commercially made buildings to create a cute winter scene. Their figurines are the wrong scale for the buildings anyway. I don't understand why, they are a big enough company to have noticed the problem. We are going to take photos when we are back in Chicago and we can use some ideas, but I would like to do the period when I was a little girl. Actually I will be going to DeKalb Illinois for a college reunion, and flying in to Chgo.
/Adella --your son sounds really creative. I saw a boys room once with a shelf about 1 foot from the ceiling and the train could run around the room, above the doorways.
We have the big train set made in Germany which is nice for the grandchildren to play with as its tough to wreck.
I will take photos of the display. I don't have that many houses, but enough to have gotten bored with putting them up the same way each year.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 3:21PM
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My dad is a model railroader, and I love the idea of trying to create a set moment in time. His railroad is set in something like 1958, so of course OLDER stuff (buildings, cars, people) is perfectly acceptable, bcs in 1958, you could still find buildings built in 1897, and trucks made in 1947 and trains made in 1941.

So keep that in mind--in an accurate rendition, you'll have several eras represented (just nothing NEWER).

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 5:26PM
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Thats a good point Talley, there would be a range of eras going back from the time I pick. In Chicago our house was old when we moved in and had an attic full of old trunks, and a new house or a new car was not the norm. My kids on the other hand see new houses and new cars all the time. Thats California for you.
Where does your Dad set up his trains?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 12:13AM
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He used to have them set up in our un-insulated attic.

They moved to Clive (a Des Moines suburb) awhile ago, and he has a special room in the basement.

I love model railroad setups--more the town models than the trains, but the trains too.

We went once (w/ Dad & Mom) to this place in NJ called"Northlandz," w/ these spectacular layouts & bridges, but it annoyed the heck out of me--there's be a house perched on the side of the hill, and a driveway, but then about 8 inches down the driveway, it would cease to exist, and there would be nowhere (literally, no level land) for a car to drive on.

I like the "context"--even if the road drive off the edge of the layout (sort of, "out of the frame," or "offstage"), that's OK. But who would live in a house you can't drive to?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 3:34PM
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thanks for the idea of the trains Talley, the houses that I don't want anymore because they don't fit in with the theme can go to grandson who has a model train set up.
This weekend in an elegant part of Los Angeles, according to the LA times they are having a home tour and some body has a garden with a model train set up going through it.
We just put out some solar lights that are blown glass globes and they seem to work.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 11:31PM
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the houses that I don't want anymore because they don't fit in with the theme can go to grandson who has a model train set up

Before you send them to him, you should check to be sure that the SCALE is the same. Trains come in some pretty basic scales, and if he's any sort of hobbyist, he won't want things that aren't in the right scale.

HO gauge/scale: 1:87
OO gauge/scale: 1:76.2
O gauge/scale (Lionel): 1:48
N scale (very tiny): 1:160

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 2:18PM
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