Monday, November 30, 2009

Light Are Officially Working!

Well, lastnight's lighting was a bit touchy...tonight will be running smoothly! Here's a quick screen shot of one of the utilities that runs our display. We have our computer hooked up to electrical control boxes...the control boxes get hooked up to the lights and transmit the musical sequences from the computer to the lights...pretty cool.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tonight is the Night!

I think we're lighting up tonight! John's on the way home to get the last 4 palms done. I'm headed out to get the Christmas tree and some last minute supplies. Had someone email me this morning to say they drove by but nothing was lit up. I wonder how many people will be by tonight if we get everything lit up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Copeland Christmas Garage is nearly Done

I put some of the finishing touches on the garage tonight. I still need to install some spot lights so that the village scenes and large Clauses aren't too dark. The fence still needs to be done and we need to clean up the mess in the side yard...but I think we're getting there!!!

Here's a quick video of the garage...

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Got Some Lights up this Morning


I made some big gold bows to cover the hardware on the Copeland Christmas garage door sign. Then, I wrapped the door with purple lights and the windows with gold lights. The two front palms were wrapped with blue lights.


Now I’m trying to figure out how to make a picket fence along the garage.


I got these garden fence rails at Lowes for $20…good price, but now what do I do with them? A neighbor said I could drill holes into the driveway…I don’t think so. I could use the cinder blocks, but they are just so bulky and unfinished looking. Below is a photo from the 2008 garage display…they look great from a distance.


I will keep thinking.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Got about a Week Left to Decorate

I think we'll be ready to go the Sunday of Thanksgiving week. Yesterday, I finished the right side of the garage, got a curio cainet done, put out a cute new LED train...

I nearly finished the Snowman table. I just need to fix the white snow blankets under the table. Today I'm on the roof and up the 4 big palm trees with John.
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Newest Santa

We brought him home from ICE in Orlando. He is holding a naughty list in one hand and a wine glass in the other. How cute!
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Santas Workshop iis Done

I worked today getting the workshop done.

I still need to do a sign that says "Santa's Workshop", I need to somehow convey the fact that we collect for toys for tots, and I need to get some more Annalees into the scene.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Christmas Lights Lemonade

We went to a recognized establishment for a few drinks...I found the Christmas one. It wasn't the best cocktail in the world, but it didn't disappoint.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making Stuff at Copeland Christmas

First, I'd like to thank gayle again for bringing me this cute Annalee lady that is making up a tree.

Next, I found a great How To on bow making using a magazine page. I was thinking you could make a bow out of, map, newspaper...this will be pretty cool this season.

Here's the link to How to Make A Bow
and here's a couple photos...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fixing Broken Links on

Been fixing broken links on the website recently. Here's one of the's from 2008.

Copeland Christmas from danielle copeland on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finished the indoor village scenes

All we need to do is put down some cornstarch to make it look like it's newly snowed. The village looks pretty good. I used all houses that surround a town train. All the commerce pieces will go in the garage.

Here's a shot of the water village scene that I'm not crazy about. I might put foil or blue saran wrap into this scene. Maybe a mirror.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

How to Make A Christmas Village

Today I put together the Christmas village under the TV. IMG_8532

I used sheets of styrofoam as risers and bases. The cords are all connected to a remote control and I think I only used 3 power strips this year. The village scene is much smaller than previous years, but that’s because I am putting a big scene in the garage this year.


Below are a few photos of previous village displays I did in the living room.


2007 Village Display

From Copeland Christmas Blog
2007 Village Display
From Copeland Christmas Blog


2008 Village Display


Christmas Delivery!

A neighbor let us borrow his trailer yesterday so we could haul over storage stuff. Why didn't we use a trailer last year?!'s so much easier!

We decided to bring all the village pieces, three trains, the mountain stuff, and more lights.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Jim and Cathy Copeland’s Display

John’s brother Jim has been doing this Christmas thing for decades also. Here’s one of his displays from the early 2000s. I took the photo with the flash on, so I really lost the glow that his display had. His home is in North Palm.

Light Count - Nov 6 2009

4,300 lights so far between the porch forest of Themed Trees, the kitchen scenes, the living room scenes and the Antarctica scene.

My amp meter has become my best friend.

Here's my PSA---don't overload your outlets. A standard household outlet can handle 15 amps...but you shouldn't use all 15 should only use 80% of those 15 amps. And, don't plug more than 3 light sets into each other unless they are commercial grade. If you do, you might be OK........BUT YOU MIGHT NOT!
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Yesterday I Did the Pantry Scenes

The big challenges yesterday were to wade through the storage units for the exact stuff I needed, load it into the truck, get home, unload it, then bring it all inside and figure out where to put it. I started the day out knowing that I wanted to do a ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas scene above the kitchen pantry, then a gingerbread and candy land scene above the snowmen scene. If it wasn’t for my Mom helping at storage and then in the kitchen, I would have gotten nothing done. First thing we did was put a spot light with a 15 watt bulb under the living room Tinsel tree. It helps liven it up a bit.

Next, we tackled the Twas the Night Scene. We began by propping Grandma up high and getting her book positioned right. Then, we put all the other characters around her with their little poem bubbles. I am pretty happy with how it’s turning out. Still more to go though. Here’s a blurb and photo about 2008 ‘Twas the Night scene.

Lastly, I started the Gingerbread candy land scene above the pantry which is the back of the Twas the Night Scene. The most time consuming part of this whole undertaking is getting the foundation and support ready for the pieces. For example, there is a perfect tunnel of extension cords, power strips, white lights, and empty boxes that run under each display. The white lights illuminate the snow. This is the part that takes a while to do…10 ft in the air on the ladder.

I’ve never spoken about my ladder before…I do have a top of the line blue Werner laddder that has made all of this possible.

John took off work today to go on the boat, but since there are 7 ft seas in the gulfstream, we nixed that idea. Instead, we are off to storage again…this time with a friend’s tow trailer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How To Make A Mega Tree

Here’s a very brief discussion on how we did the mega tree. I get asked about it a lot, so I wanted to tell how “we do it”. Keep in mind that there are probably easier or different ways to get the same effect.


Materials: Sunsetter flagpole, wood dowel, door hooks, 20 strobe lights, strand of C7 lights (minus the C7 bulbs), zip ties, 20 ft conduit, 12 2ft pieces rebar, 36 strands mini lights (we used walmart 100 ct mini lights-green), misc hardware for the guy wires that keep the flagpole from falling over, steel cable (again for the guy wires), Light-O-Rama controller and software, 2 12-gauge extension cords, 12 dollar store extension cords, star tree topper


We use strobe lights screwed into old C7 light strands. These can be bought on the internet. I bought mine here.


We made the topper from a Lowes dowel and door hooks.

IMG_0953 The guy wires are the tricky part. We have 6 (3 from the top and 3 from the middle). They hook onto rebar that was pounded into the ground.

IMG_0961 Here’s the conduit that forms the inner and outer rings. It’s held into the ground with rebar and duct tape (oh my).


Here’s the guy wires on the rebar.

IMG_0971  IMG_2103

Here’s the controller that makes the tree blink to the music. It was between $100-200…I can’t remember if I got it on sale or not. Each of the two main power cords gets plugged into a separate GFI outlet with a 10-12 gauge extension cord. Then, there are 16 cords which come out of the box…they look like tentacles. Our tree does not use all 16 tentacles. Here’s how we have it set up:

  • 12 of the tentacles have lights plugged into them. We have 12 main slices and each slice has 3 strands of 100 ct. minis.
  • 1 of the tentacles is dedicated to the strobe lights
  • 1 of the tentacles is dedicated to the star

That’s right…2 of our 16 channels (tentacles) are unused! What a waste.

Hope this helps…in the next few years, the over-the-counter products are going to get much better and this type of mega tree will likely become obsolete. Until then, if you want to build your own version of this, drop me a line, visit, or invent something new. Good luck!!!

Took Night Photos of the Kitchen Display

Here are a few night shots of the Kitchen reindeer display. This view is from the kitchen facing the dining room.

Here's a shot of the dark living room. I put a spot light under this I just need to get a bulb for it because it's a pretty dark room.

Here's another shot of the gold angel scene in the kitchen. I nearly finished it yesterday. I like how bright it looks at night.
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