Sunday, December 30, 2007

How a Billionaire Does an Animated Light Show

Wow...I'm still trying to figure out some of his techniques. If there are any billionaires in South Florida, hire me! I would looooove to do a display like this.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A New Nutracker for Copeland Christmas!

We were lucky enough to get this santa nutcracker at JC Penney yesterday for more than 75% off. He was originally $399.00; we got him for $75!

I received a call from Mom at 9am. Ann, a co-worker alerted her that the nutcracker was on the clearance aisle the previous night. Needless to say, I raced up to the mall and waited inside with all the old mall walkers and towel sale junkies for a half hour until the doors opened. I grabbed the tags off him and three similar 6 ft snowmen, raced up to the register, and announced I'd like all four. I also grabbed one those 5 ft. ferris wheels for $100 (originally $330). I'm going to see if a neighbor wants it though.

So, we shoved the nutcracker in my car and two snowmen in John's Armada. I had to go back later to get the final snowman because he wouldn't fit in John's truck. Thanks Mom and Ann!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Handmade Pot Holder

Matthew made me a pot holder for Christmas. He's 4.
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Day After Christmas Sales

So, John was at Lowes today at 5am to begin our now traditional Dec 26th Scramble.

The only problem is that Lowes didn't open at 5am this year (they did last year). They opened at 6am; but Dunkin' Donuts was open.

By the time I woke up, John had already been to the Jensen Beach:
- Lowes
- Home Depot
- Walmart
- Sears
- Dillards
- JC Penney in Jensen Beach.

After I woke up and got out the door, I was in charge hitting the Stuart:
- Walmart
- Sears
- Homegoods
- TJ Maxx

and in Jensen Beach, I went to:
- Dillards
- Target

Together, we went to the Stuart:
- Home Depot
- Stuart Lowes
- Jensen Beach JC Penney (again for John)

Wow! What a morning. I'll take inventory of everything we got and how much we spent. I remember the bill at the Stuart Lowes was $130, but the "you saved today" at the bottom of the receipt was over $600!
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Monday, December 24, 2007

A Fireplace DVD for Christmas

We just got back from the grocery store and found this DVD on the front porch. Thank you Sandra!

Sandra came by the other night to see the display and mentioned it would be neat to have a fireplace DVD on the TV in front of the living room village. I agreed and we talked about it for a few minutes. What a nice surpirse to come home today and realize sandra remembered, then actually took the time to go get it! We appreciate it.

Here's the tv and the living room village.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

We're in two newspapers!

Yesterday, a Mother came by with her kids and asked,

"is the Christmas house from the paper?"

We pulled the paper from the recycle bin and sure enough, we had a small photo and a caption in the Stuart News.

Here's the Palm Beach Post listing too.

We were thrilled because this meant that we'd have a lot of happy visitors to meet tonight. We had a great night and met people from all over the country. I bet, there were 200 cars with 2-5 people per car.

We had some folks from Hyde Park, NY which is near my birth city of Rhinebeck. Everyone seems to have a story about why they came. Some people come on dates, most come with kids, some picked this as a meeting place to swap kids. Some people can't speak English, some were from overseas. Some kids were frightened, but others tried to climb right into the garage display.

One girl saw a couple display mice that she recognized from her childhood. She said they always freaked her out a bit, but she had never told anyone. She laughed about it. One person said this is better than Rockefeller Plaza and another said it is better than Disney. While I disagree, I was thrilled to accept the compliment.

How to Photograph Christmas Lights

I've been obsessed with learning how to take GOOD photographs of Christmas lights. I've learned a tripod and a disabled flash are the two most important steps to get great shots of lights. However, what about ISO, exposure, aperture...etc?

Here are 6 links that will mark the beginning of your crisp and vivid Christmas light photos.

By the way, I loooooove photojojo. It is one of two RSS feeds I religiously read. Lifehacker is the other. This is NOT a paid post (I don't do that).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lionel Train Under Christmas Tree

Here's today's shot of our indoor live Christmas tree. It has a circus train, hence the farm animals. I love this new camera! I took this shot by plugging the camera into the laptop and using the Canon Utility to take the photos....this led to less camera shake because my finger wasn't pressing the shutter button.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Cathedral in Milan during Christmas

natale a milano
Originally uploaded by grana [2007]
John and I visited this Cathedral in Milan, Italy a few months ago.

Did you know the rest of the world calls doesn't call it Italy?...or Milan? They are called Italia and Milano.

This one cathedral took 500 years to build and has been nearly destroyed dozens of times. Infact, there's a very catchy cliche phrase in Europe..."it's like building a cathedral." This is where the phrase comes from.

It's one of the largest cathedrals in the world and is considered the epitomy of the gothic style of architecture.

Napoleon was coronated here. There is supposedly a nail from Jesus' cross in the tip top of the dome inside. They take it down a few days each year and we missed it by 5 days.

It's one of the top 5 most memorable places I've been in my 28 years.

P. S. I found this on in the 2007 Christmas Group.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Neighbor's Nativity Scene

I went walking around the neighborhood last night to take some photos of other houses. Here's one cute manger scene. I love how they put down hay and even used a shepherd's hook for the star.
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Sunday, December 9, 2007

100,000 website hits!

Atcually we're at 111,000 since June when the stats were activated. I'm pretty impressed and will use the next few paragraphs to brag a bit.

I did all the tedious SEO stuff that webmasters do to ensure to get a good page rank in search engines like google. I am proud to say that we are number one on google....the famous band Copeland is even behind us. Most any keyword that you would think of to find!

SO, to celebrate our 100,000th hit, I decided to revamp the website. I've added videos, photos, a new banner, and a new back end to the blog. Hope you all like it.

I'd really appreciate to know if you experience any problems and what browser you use. Feel free to leave a comment to let me know.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Garage Gingerbread Photo

Another Gingerbread scene from the garage
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Garage Display (Gingerbread)

Today's shot. I'm still learning this new camera.
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My Brother Matthew

This santa sways from left to right. So does Matthew.
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Nov 30th Lighting Ceremony Photos

Matthew and I had a great time. I think we were trying to make funny faces for the camera in this shot. I love my new camera.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Finally finished the garage display

So, I finished the garage display last night at 11pm right when Joey and John finished their sequencing. I'll take more detailed photos tonight and post them. I really like the gingerbread display and the USA tree this year. We've planned a lighting ceremony for this Friday at 6:30, so I need to figure out how to schedule the show in the Show Editor. Neighbors have remained positive about the display. Hopefully it will continue. The strobes aren't as blinding to drivers as I thought they would be...good news. And the north poles can be turned down to 50% intensity, so they are not too bright. They have 40 watt bulbs because 40 watters are 75% cheaper than 25 or 15 w bulbs. Every little bit adds up.
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95,000 hits on CopelandChristmas!

Holy cow! Since June 14th when I set up my web stats account, we've had 95,000 hits. We had 7,200 within the last 7 days alone. Wow! We should celebrate when we hit 100,000.

Radio Station Signs

I just picked up the signs from the store. They are 18 x 24 and are mounted on coro. They are also laminated so they will last several years and won't scratch if bumped. They turned out great. We'll put spot lights on these. If you want to do a sign like this yourself, see my How To page for downloads and a quick tutorial.
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Testing the Lights

Lastnight, Joey & John spent hours sequencing one of the songs. It's a great U2 Christmas song called Baby Please Come Home. You can see their command station in front of the mega tree. It's a table, chair, and a very long USB cord. We're all getting excited.

Tonight, i nee dto figure out how to schedule the show to come on at 6:30 automatically, then loop until 9 or 10pm each night. I have the software, I just need to figure out how to use it.
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Got a good manger shot tonight

Joey and John were sequencing for about 4 hours tonight fron the street near the manger. I love the new camera.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Santa's Marching Band (Mr. Christmas)

It's raining outside, but it will only last a few minutes (Florida rain). Here is another shot from today.

I was sitting in the garage under the workbench I painted white a few months ago. I've hung Santa's Marching Band with staples and attached it to a remote control. Then, I hot glued decorative trim (something I found at home depot) to the under side of the work bench. It really looks good and it'll be great to have on a remote control. Everyone I talk to agrees these soldier are cool, but not for more than 5 minutes.
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Very Busy---Quick update

I've been so busy the past week. It was my b-day on Wednesday and I got a new Canon Rebel XTI!!! Here's what I captured with it this morning. Doh! Both the garage door and the ladder still work. I did have to use a hammer to whack the ladder free. Just another one of those things that suck up 15 minutes HERE...and 15 minutes THERE...and that's why the display isn't done yet :)

...but I have an awesome camera!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

USA Christmas tree

Here's a shot of the village scene under the USA tree in the garage display. You can see the top of Tigger's head at the bottom of the photo. The tree is one of my faavorite parts of the garage display so far.
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Mega Tree

Here's the shot of the mega tree at the end of tonight. it's not hooked up to LOR yet, and the 12 slices are still bunched together. But it works!!!
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Raising the Mega Tree

Here's Joey raising the mega tree for the first time.
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Copeland Christmas Display Set Up

Generally speaking, John is in charge of the outside and I am in charge of the inside. John is making great progress with Joey's help. Today, they set up Santa's Runway, the north poles (not up yet in this photo), the manger scene, part of the mega tree, and red lights in the bushes.
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The Engineer and His Mega Tree

This is my brother Joey and the first trial of the mega tree topper. It's a wooden bunn with coat hooks. The flagpole is 20 ft, but we'll only raise it to 15 ft. It is just simply too big at 20 ft.

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