Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I do when I'm not biking, part 2

I generally do not like a lot of clutter in my house, but I make an exception this time of year. It is known around here (with dread) as THE VILLAGE. The madness starts around Thanksgiving, sometimes even before T-day. This year it was right after.

Bill and I brought down many shelves and boxes from the attic--it took 2 hours of constant effort from both of us to get it all down. Then we carried the shelves down another flight of stairs to the living room, where we had already moved the furniture and lamps.

My friend Lisa still comes every year to help me set it up. This is especially important since my children have long since refused to get involved with it... She came on December 1 this year, and we had the added benefit of my daughter-in-law Vicki who also came to help. (She is relatively new to the family and has not yet developed an aversion to this operation).

We spent all day setting it up, finishing in time for dinner.

But wait, not good enough.... the street lights were all crooked, as usual. So Bill and I put our heads together, and after a couple of trips to the hardware and lumber store, we came up with the idea of tacking them on to white lattice boards, then screwing the boards to the shelves. And it worked! Thanks to Bill, we now have 80 street lights standing up ever so nice and tall, first time ever! And I've had these lights for at least 15 years! So one string at a time we redid the lights, which required moving everything, peeling back the white felt, and replacing it all, one shelf at a time. Then it took me another day to straighten out all the cords and people. So what started with a small display on the mantle in 1989 has grown into what you see below.... and look at how straight all the street lights are! Bill has been a really good sport about building shelves as the collection grew. I stopped buying them about 5 years ago, and all in the family breathed a sigh of relief!
Above: some of the original pieces still end up on the mantle. The third one from the left was made by daughter Erika when she was in college.
Above: my friend Christy bought the planetarium that holds a place of honor in the fireplace. The moon, which lights up, was a gift from my friend Heather, and Lisa (who helps set up) presented me with the train station (front and center) two years ago.

The water scene (to the right of the fireplace) started when my sister Rana bought me the boat. Grandson Toby and I made the lake out of plaster of paris a couple of years ago, and suddenly a whole marine village sprung up! (Thanks Lisa) There are restaurants and boat houses, a light house, a canoe livery, bait shop, boat repair shop..... I think we need a bigger lake!

The display to the left of the fireplace includes the only animated feature, the musical skating pond. This has been part of the village for about 15 years. The kids all love this one!

There is a barn and farmhouse, complete with small pond and farm animals.

Next to that are the mansions on the hill. Last year Lisa and I made the mountains behind the hill. Like everything else in the VILLAGE it has grown... now there are moose, snowboarders and skiiers, trees (thanks Erika) and of course the Santa and his sleigh that Toby placed strategically on the roof. There is a Santa in every section of the display.

The shelves in front of the picture window were made in stages as the village grew. On them are the municipal buildings (Fire Station, Police Station, Library, etc.) and an old time village that includes a Miller, Pottery Shop, Blacksmith, and all the characters that would work in those places, including woodcarvers and a blacksmith making shoes for a reluctant donkey. There is a bike shop (OK I admit it, I bought that one last year) and churches, hotels and houses.As you can see it takes over the living room. It was not possible to get it all into one photo! Now that I have recovered from this endeavor, it may be time to put up a Christmas tree! HO HO HO.


Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,..,.

I'm Lisa.... and what Lin doesn;t tell ya....
is each year I truly try to change some things...... hahahahahah

This year the Train station has tracks and has been moved to the front of the fireplace.,..... still waiting for her husband, bill,.. to get ther real trains out hhahahhaah he has quite a collection!!

Putting it together w? linda is a riot,..... you only see the finished version......

anyone will to help next...... Linda pays well...... she cooks lunch aand dinner for all the helpers. Lin is a GREAT COOK!!

We will have to see when take down day is hmmmmmmmm steaks sound good for dinner hahahahahahahahahahah

Merry Christmas to ALL!!

historicstitcher said...

Erika here -

come on...we haven't refused to get involved with it, we just have jobs now and CAN'T spend 20 hours building the thing and setting it up like we did when we were in college.

And I always donate at least one kid to the cause.

And I wash houses. And repair people who break (speaking of which, the pink lady is done, but you're missing a green arm from the fishing boy. I can't repair him properly without it!)

And I tempt you with things like swing sets and "accessories" to round out the community.

I just don't donate a day or two to its construction anymore.

Anonymous said...

If Linda cooks lunch and dinner for her helpers, then, yes, the pay is darn good! I've experienced a lot of her meals and she's welcome to come cook in my kitchen anytime!! Has anyone tried her sweet potato fries? Oh my gosh, what I wouldn't do for a bowl of them right now! The village is darlin'!

Ginny said...

Hi Linda, Its Teri's sister Virginia, I got home the other day and looked up your blog. Very interesting.
Your husband must love you a lot to put up all those village sets. Very nice. lots of work.
I especially liked the new kitchen. We need to do that and this gives me an insentive.
Was great to visit with the young girls. and i would love the recipe for the sweet potatoes. yummy