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Christmas 1998

The display was the same as the 1996 display, but minus the mice. They needed to be retired before they faded too much. And I am just getting to old to put that much work into creating new handpainted figures.

Christmas 1997

It was just too much in 1997 to decorate. For the first time in 4 years, I just didn't have it in me. It came too fast, was just too cold, I was just too tired, and too busy with paying work, too much work involved to put it up and in too much pain from an ankle injury to attempt it. It was just a year of being too too. So, in light of that, here are the pictures from last year. I suspect 1998 will bring a renewed excitement to get it done. I just need to start in October next year! Besides, now that my little maple tree is finally growing, I have something new to cover in lights!

Pictures from Christmas 1996

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

If you know Kass, you have heard about them--the big light display she puts up each holiday season. It is called "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" and is represented by a sleeping mouse and several "non-sleeping" mice in a playful celebration of the holidays! Anyone can have a prefab display--this one is all one-of-a-kind, made by Kass. The 1996 display took almost two weeks (full-time) to erect. Hours of this Colorado Springs display: 4:30pm to 11pm MST, Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. The 1996 display was over 4,500 bulbs.

[1996 span of front yard light display]

Here (above) is the Christmas display from 1996.

A 1996 finalist in the city-wide contest!

The 1995 display (below) was also a finalist in the city-wide lighting contest.

[1995 span of front yard light display]

The house is a red brick "L" shaped duplex. It has white faux shutters on either side of the windows facing the street. The display is coordinated in red and white to match the house. Gold is used as an accent color. Red and white candy canes are used as accents along the sidewalks between lights and as edging.

The "shutters" are covered as "Christmas packages"--made from cardboard wrapped in gold mylar wrap and giant red plastic bows and ribbon. These are stapled to the shutters. (Fastest Staple Gun in the West!) The red "virtual" tree in the center of the yard is an 8-foot length of re-bar stabbed into the ground with guide wires staked in a circle around the base. Red lights encircle this to form a "virtual tree." A star of white lights sits atop the tree. More "packages" in gold, red and white are beneath this tree.

The following (thumbnail) photos are daylight close-ups of the four plywood decorations made by Kass. Select the images to see a larger close-up. They are designs by renowned wildlife illustrator, Linda K Powell. Kass projected them onto 4 by 8-foot sheets of plywood, cut them out with a jigsaw (somehow managing to keep all of her fingers intact!) and hand-painted them to match the original prints.

[thumbnail-sleeping mouse on roof] This guy is sound asleep on the roof at the back of the display. Tucked into his walnut shell, kitty slippers at his feet, dreaming of Christmas morning.

Meanwhile, in the foreground, mice cavort with merriment! So who's sleeping--not even these guys!

[thumbnail-2 mice stolen w/candy cane] Aha! so much for keeping track of the candy canes! Yum!

[thumbnail-juggling mouse] Look who's juggling jingle bells in the bushes near the driveway!

(The braces disappear against the night sky after dark.)

[thumbnail-singing on the roof] And just how many eggnogs did these two have? Better not fall off that roof!

You might note that each critter has red & white on or about them in some fashion. This ties nicely to the lights. The sidewalk is lined with large red bulbs. The roof is lined with miniature white ones. And, the lilac bush next to the house also has white lights.

Close-up details in the exhibit:

[thumbnail-window detail 1] Window and patio for Kass' half of the duplex. Lighting of the red-stained park benches new for 1996.

[thumbnail-window detail 2] Window and patio of other half of this duplex.

[thumbnail-barrel detail] Single barrel detail. Fake poinsettias (it is Colorado, after all--too cold for the real thing outside!) and greenery fill the twin flower barrels nicely. And, of course, white lights with more candy canes.

[thumbnail-north pole and candy canes] New for 1996, The North Pole! Also, candy canes now line the sidewalk, between the large red bulbs.

(Sorry about the quality of the photo--I am NOT a photographer!)

[thumbnail-candy cane closeup] New in 1995 were the 10-foot high "living candy canes" on each side of the end of the house. These are 12 inches in diameter and have red and white "chasing" lights strung so that the stripes appear to move. These have proven to be a real traffic stopper!

[thumbnail-tree on end of house] Seen here from 1995, the red tree on the end of the house between the candy canes was the first part of this puzzle. Made with three pieces of edging (in a triangular shape) stained to match the bricks, it is mounted permanently to the house, with cup hooks placed up both sides to string the lights on in forming the tree shape.

[thumbnail-tree on end of house 1996] The original "triangle" tree was removed for 1996 and replaced with this nice "vertical" wall tree. Strands are staked to the ground then wrapped around cup hooks on the trim under the eaves. Also, the brick edging (at the base of the tree) of the new landscaping provided another item to line with (red) lights!

Holiday Conversion

But wait! With the end of Christmas, comes Valentine's Day! And by taking down all the Christmas-specific images and replacing them with hearts, we have converted into a first class Valentine's Day display!

[valentine] A simple wire frame with taped on lights makes a nifty heart decoration! This is simply hung on the triangular tree/cuphook frame on the end of the house.

The wreaths and stockings come off the red foil-papered front doors to be replaced with white paper "lace" hearts! What a slick conversion!

Oh, but you didn't think it would stop there, did you? The red bulbs are replaced with green bulbs and the wire frame valentine is replaced with a shamrock. The red foil comes off the doors to be replaced with green foil and we are ready for St Patty's Day! (Sorry, we forgot to take a picture of that one!)

By then, the grass is beginning to green up and so the yard stakes must come up. Easter is represented by a simple non-lit display. Bunny in the bushes, eggs hanging from the tree.

For Summer 1997, Kass intends to make a wire frame (red, white & blue lights) flag to attach to the end of the house... Then we can cover Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Labor Day! This would take us right back to Halloween and we have come full circle!

If we can ever find the time and hardware to create a QuickTime movie of the display or even a "Christmas Cam" we might have more interactivity on this page. Of course, that would take even LONGER to draw to your screen...


(Many broken fingernails, scraped knees and frozen body parts were sacrificed to give you this display!)

Kass' hot tips for elaborate display wannabe's:

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© Copyright 1996-1998 v.12.22.97 Kass Johns
Writer & Consultant to the Computer Publishing Industry
Colorado Springs, Colorado :: http://www.kassj.com
719-635-1306 (vc)
Email: kass at kassj dot com
Please forward your comments or questions to KASS

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