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  • The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on that day.
  • Santa Claus's sleigh is led by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (variously spelled Donder and Donner), and Blixem (variously spelled Blixen and Blitzen), with Rudolph being a 20th-century inclusion.
  • Outdoor Christmas lights on homes evolved from decorating the traditional Christmas tree and house with candles during the Christmas season. Lighting the tree with small candles dates back to the 17th century and originated in Germany before spreading to Eastern Europe.
  • That big, jolly man in the red suit with a white beard didn’t always look that way. Prior to 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a tall gaunt man to a spooky-looking elf. He has donned a bishop's robe and a Norse huntsman's animal skin. When Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper's Weekly in 1862, Santa was a small elflike figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years, changing the color of his coat from tan to the red he’s known for today.
  • Christmas 2018 countdown has already begun. Will you be ready???
  • Why do we love Christmas? It's all about the traditions. In this chaotic world we can miss the "good old days." Christmas reminds us of that time.

Rich in Las Vegas

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Rich in Las Vegas last won the day on July 9

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About Rich in Las Vegas

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    Senior Member

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  • My favorite Christmas story
    Our local HOA has an annual Christmas light contest and my neighbor wins it every year. I can't compete with the extent of his display but use some of the more unusual lights like IC controlled strips and waterfall lights. It gets a little more elaborate each year but I doubt I can keep up with his array of the more conventional prodicts.
  • Location
    Nevada
  • Biography
    Retired chemist who likes to dabble in LED conversions for home and auto. I didn't put up elaborate displays in the past but have begun to add to a simple set of Christmas lights recently after Goodwill opened an outlet store nearby and the selection for cheap displays got much better.
  • Interests
    Active in Scouting and cycling
  • Occupation
    retired
  • About my display
    Really just getting started but use LED lights almost exclusively. I convert old incandescent displays to12V LED before using them. This was mostly small stuff (candy canes) until this year. My favorite strip light is IC 6803 LED strip lights with 133 built in programs for use on eves.

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  1. Rich in Las Vegas

    eBay find at a reasonable price

    Thanks for the encouragement. Well, I guess the bug has really taken hold. I got 3 more large blow molds in the past 10 days. The first is a 1993 Empire - Carolina Enterprises Santa that St. Vincent De Paul in Chicago put on eBay. It cost $47 with shipping. It had a broken CFL bulb that had come loose from the back but no damage to the mold. Here it is with new LED lighting. Then to top it off as I was about to leave the local Goodwill outlet store empty handed on Thursday they rolled out a bunch more trays with two blow molds face down in one of them. I grabbed them an headed for the check out. $4 for both of them. It was Joseph and Mary, part of a 3 part set by GFP. Not as shiny or as bright as this picture I stole off eBay but sure more reasonable. Jesus was nowhere to be seen. I converted all of these to LED lighting using a single 4W 480 lumen chip-on-board LED array attached to the original rear cap. I will do a short tutorial on these conversions. I can run all 5 of my full size blow molds (and about 11 more) on one single 60W LED power supply. I like the result.
  2. Rich in Las Vegas

    Menard's Halloween 2018

    If you don't live in an area served by Menards, the shipping costs quoted by the company seem to be very reasonable compared to the charges for items sold on eBay. The GFP 33" light up ghost has been reduced to $25 and they quoted a shipping charge of $19 to ship it from the corporate to Nevada plus it would arrive before Halloween. You can buy the vintage version of the same blow mold on eBay where they charge $34 for the blow mold and $92 for shipping. All of the versions on eBay were $100 or greater when you add in the shipping.
  3. Rich in Las Vegas

    Fake trees outdoors?

    Geez $900 for that tree. That's a little outside of my budget. A lot of them get donated to our local thrift stores when people move in the summer. Most thrift store buyers have little interest in them and it is way too hot for garage sales. They end up in the bulk sales stores that places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army have (often called outlet stores or as-is store for SVA. I haven't seen any marked more than $15. Many are the older incandescent lighted trees but LED lit trees also are there. They come in all sizes from tabletop to full size trees like the one at Costco. You get to try them out before before buying. The one I put outside last year was an all metal three that didn't make any attempt to mimic a real three. I added waterfall lights to a dozen of the branches to complement the LED lights that were fixed to the branches. Right after Christmas I bought two tabletop trees, one with LEDs and the other with light pipes. I will probably put them out next December.
  4. Rich in Las Vegas

    1950's Miller Electric Santa Jet Plane

    A quick search on the company doesn't bring up anything except for a list of products copyrighted in 1954 and this one was last on the list. I agree that it is pretty spectacular. Thanks for posting it.
  5. Rich in Las Vegas

    What are these?

    I hope this is not off topic but does anyone know when they introduced fused plugs as a requirement. I saw two very nice blow molds on eBay this morning that I was thinking of buying and they are equipped with fused plugs. The Empire/Carolina Enterprises candle that arrived yesterday has the old style plug.
  6. Rich in Las Vegas

    eBay find at a reasonable price

    I was looking at Christmas candles on eBay and was dismayed by the high cost of shipping, sometimes as much as two to three times the cost of the candle. Lots of stuff out there with chips, cracks, and major fading but still at a premium price. I came across one for $16 including free shipping. There were only two pictures and no information on the size or manufacturer but for that price I decided to take a chance since the pictures showed it in pretty good condition. It was by an auction house in a small town in Wisconsin so maybe there isn't a lot of interest this time of year. When it arrived I saw it was a full sized candle wrapped in black plastic sheeting and with yards of tape securing the plastic (see pix 1). As it unwrapped I could see it probably had been stored for a long time as it was fairly dirty but with great paint and no fading. The light was included, unbroken, and in working condition in spite of being loose in the top. It is a full size candle light with an E27 base. I removed the incandescent light and cord as I want to run it with LEDs. A quick washing with mild detergent and it was ready to re-lamp. On the back it has the Empire Tarboro, NC label, Caroline Enterprises 1973 and the numbers 024259-1504 at the base. Here are a few pictures showing the candle and my LED conversion. I tried inserting three other pictures but the site takes too long to load them. Package in the mail https://s33.postimg.cc/z3wq83bgv/package.png incandescent light inside https://s33.postimg.cc/q8vvxrhlb/incandescent_light.png COB LED replacement https://s8.postimg.cc/3s3xu4kx1/COB_LED_replacement.png COB LED lit https://s8.postimg.cc/xlay2gu1x/COB_LED_lit.png I looked at the other items they had for sale and most are much more expensive. The GFP Christmas penguin that I acquired at my local goodwill was $60 and in about the same condition as mine.
  7. Rich in Las Vegas

    Menard's Halloween 2018

    I checked out the local Smith's Foods, a subsidiary of Kroger, this morning and all they had was many ceramic Halloween items but no blow molds. The candy was in boxes stacked many high in the aisle where the holiday items will be so maybe they haven't completed putting things out.
  8. Rich in Las Vegas

    Menard's Halloween 2018

    I will have to look at the Kroger stores (Smith's brand) in my area as there are two within 3 miles in each direction but I have never seen a selection of merchandise like that before. As far as Tulsa goes, you are pretty much out of luck. Kroger has a subsidiary (Dillions) in Hutchinson KS. When someone asked the same question you did, but a decade ago, the answer was, "Try Dillion's Groceries - they are owned by Kroger in the Tulsa area. Closest location to Tulsa is the 319 EAST BUCHANNAN, in PRAIRIE GROVE, AR 72753. " Maybe they have opened one of these stores closer to you by now than this one which is 2 hours away.
  9. Rich in Las Vegas

    Menard's Halloween 2018

    For those of us who don't live in Menard country which I think is the Midwest as I have seen a store in Wisconsin, can you give us an idea of what Menard is charging for these. It would be interesting to know the current prices versus what is being charged online for used blow molds. I have been looking at the larger Christmas candles that are about 3 feet high similar to the one shown in the current Cado catalog. The prices for some of them used with chips and cracks is a bit daunting. I do see a bunch of brand new old stock blow molds on Amazon, most of which is $$$ with the exception of one seller with the GFP 40" candle C5050ac for $40 and free shipping. That almost beats the eBay seller with a pair with chips and cracks for $43 +$37 shipping.
  10. Rich in Las Vegas

    Hang Lights on Windows

    I did something like what you want to do but installed the lights inside the house using furring strips to make a rectangular frame that friction fits the plaster adjacent to the window. I used RGB LED strip lights stapled to the wood and connected at each joint with LED connectors for easy disassembly and storage. The components and controllers are very inexpensive. Unfortunately they are socked away in the attic and not readily accessible during the summer heat or I would take a picture of them set in one window.
  11. Rich in Las Vegas

    Wireless remote control for Christmas lights

    The relays are the same on all three of the models I bought - 10 amps for all of the ratings which are for 250VAC, 125VAC, and 30VDC. I even spotted one that has eight relays on the same board for someone with a complex setup. You program each relay separately though you can activate all at one time with a single control button. The nice thing about LED illumination is that it draws about 1/16 the current incandescent lights do if my LED light strings are any indication. When I looked at the 4.8W rating on my 25 foot strings versus 70W on the incandescent strings I was sold on LEDs. If you needed to run much higher currents it would be easy to use these to control a larger relay. The company who makes them is qiachip. http://qiachip.com/ It turns out that one of the eBay sellers I purchased them from was this site. Some of the eBay sellers beat the manufacturer on price and have a greater variety to offer.
  12. I came across 433mhz wireless remote controls by accident while figuring out how to rewire some two way switches in my home so they would work with the new smart wireless remote touch panel switches. You wave your hand across the switch plate and it turns the lights on and off. The newer of these are wi-fi enabled and compatible with smart phone apps. The wireless receivers and fob type transmitters would be an easy and cheap way for remote control of outside Christmas lights. You would have to protect them from moisture but that shouldn't be difficult. They are amazingly small and very inexpensive from overseas vendors. The wireless receivers come in two versions - 12V DC and 85-220VAC. They can be programmed to work with as many as 10 transmitters and can support as many as four different lighting circuits. The ones I show are for one and two circuits. The programing is so simple that even an old guy can do it in a couple of minutes. No teenagers needed. The receivers cost $2 to $3 each for the bare unit and $4 to $5 for ones that come in a case. The range is up to 300 feet in open space. The fob type 4 button transmitter was $3.60. Wireless remote receiver 110VAC 2 channel Wireless remote receiver with box and fob 12V DC I like working with 12V DC and have converted most of my decorations to 12V LED. More on those conversions when I get time to put something together.
  13. Rich in Las Vegas

    Fibreglass and Resin Figurines

    There is plenty of information out there on how to paint fiberglass or resin but many are for large objects like a boat. Here's one for the hobbyist: https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/How-to-Paint-Fiberglass Most recommend using two part epoxy paint (paint + hardener) and meticulous surface preparation to get the paint to adhere. If you are going to do multiple colors, this could get pretty expensive. I came across one website showing a rabbit statue that had been refinished and the results were amazing considering several colors were involved and there was some shading of the colors.
  14. Rich in Las Vegas

    cut out questions

    Marine grade plywood will last for years without delaminating. It is not cheap though. Menards with stores in Wisconsin (maybe IL too?) sells a 4' X 8' X 1/2" sheet for $50. It is a lot easier to anchor things to plywood as you can screw ordinary wood to it. I see coroplast sheets for political signs and they push a steel rod into the ground and run wire through the sign to anchor the sign. I used discarded political signs for some DIY LED lighting and I can attest to the difficulty of shaping it to anything that is not square or rectangular. I see a fair number of coroplast Christmas displays in the Goodwill outlet store and they are almost always cracked after a few years of use. They don't hold up well in our sunlight and fairly hot storage conditions.
  15. Rich in Las Vegas

    Newbie from Melbourne

    Yes, this confused me too when I saw the Melbourne and New Jersey as the location. There is a Millburn in Essex county but I didn't remember ever hearing of a Melbourne and I grew up in NJ west of NYC. You will find one in FL, AR, IA, CA, KY, WA, TN, and MO. I had only heard of the one in FL. In any case, welcome to Planet Christmas. It is fascinating to see what some folks have put together, particular for a newbie.
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