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Did you know?
  • 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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Everything posted by Rich in Las Vegas

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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. 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.
  12. 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.
  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.
  16. Rich in Las Vegas

    Paint stripper on bliw molds

    No, just not any paint stripper will do. Be sure to look for a water based paint stripper and don't use anything that has organic solvents . The Citristrip mentioned above sells for 12 bucks a quart at Lowes and is one that no longer contains nasty, hazardous solvents. If it says "flammable" on the container or can only be used out-of-doors, it probably isn't one to use. Water based paint strippers are less likely to damage the plastic but solvent based ones, particularly the older ones containing methylene chloride will damage the plastic instantly. I used to make my own plexiglass glue by dissolving a chunk of plexiglass in the methylene chloride. If it will dissolve plexiglass, it will mess up most any plastic.
  17. Rich in Las Vegas

    Really Big Lights RGB easy conversion

    I was a little skeptical of the $2 conversion figure but if you buy 20 of them at one time, they are indeed less than $2 each. 40 mm, 24V, 20 pcs WS2811$34.64 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/20PCS-WS2811-6LED-D40-Pixel-Waterproof-String-5050-Module-Strip-Light-40MM-24V/401519176455?hash=item5d7c686b07:g:u9wAAOSw44BYfF0W I see that they also sell the lights in a 12V version. The size for these is 50 mm and there is no wiring attached but the price for just 10 is $13.29 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/10-PC-50mm-WS2811-LED-pixel-module-Full-Color-6LEDs-5050-DC-PCB-Board-12V-D38-6/371689145446?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D2%26asc%3D52935%26meid%3D3945954f9ea54f359865ff0b66a1aae1%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D2%26sd%3D231553300099%26itm%3D371689145446&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851 By the way, you can buy diamond cutting discs for your Dremel tool. They are really great for cutting metal and plastic. Way faster than what you used. There are lots of eBay sources: 5pcs $1.08 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/5PCS-22mm-Emery-Diamond-Coated-cutting-blades-Discs-1-Mandrel-Drill-Bit-Tool/391533344072?hash=item5b2934b548:g:uJoAAOSw6n5XsWe0or from a US seller 10 pcs $4.49 postpaid https://www.ebay.com/itm/10x-mini-Diamond-Cutting-Wheel-Disc-Saw-Blade-Dremel-Rotary-2-Mandrels-50mm/253733655028?hash=item3b13b451f4:g:FiUAAOSwZKRbPt1i
  18. Rich in Las Vegas

    Halloween blow mold devil, skull and jol 3 light string??

    Those look a lot like light strings I pulled out of the attic last fall. There were even some with fabric coated wire that would have been from the 1940s. I put out a box "free stuff" at a garage sale with all my remaining incandescent lights in it. Nobody took the larger lights so they went into the trash. I'm pretty sure I didn't include the fabric coated wire sets in the "free" box but when I checked the wiring, the fabric had not deteriorated in spite of being extremely hot in the summer. BTW, this was before I discovered this site and realized there were people who value this old stuff. I looked at the eBay listing this afternoon. There were 20 bids and it had reached $114 with shipping. Less than two days until it ends. These blow molds are 3" and 5" high. I can't imagine paying that much for three small blow molds. Maybe the addiction hasn't caught on as badly as I thought it had.
  19. Rich in Las Vegas

    Halloween blow mold devil, skull and jol 3 light string??

    I know nothing about the three blow molds shown above but is sure looks as though somebody has just taken three blow molds and electrified them given the placement of the wires. If the price is really outrageous, It would make a lot more sense to just buy similar blow molds around Halloween and light them yourself. It's pretty simple to do and still get a really good result. Last fall I spotted two blow molds at my local Goodwill outlet store, a skull and a hand. They were not lighted but were translucent so a good candidate for being lit. I used two red circular chip-on-board LEDs for the eyes. They were taken from red tail lights that cost me two for a dollar on eBay. I lit the body of both pieces with short sections of SMD 5370 LED strips. I powered them with a 12VDC wall converter from old electronics. The molds, lights and other parts can't have cost more than $2.50 total.
  20. Rich in Las Vegas

    Looking for lights while in USA

    I've never been to Great Britain but a quick look at the electric standards for GB show: 230 Volts and 50 Hz Here in the US everything is 120V and has a different plug so the light strings you buy here probably will not work in your home country. Most countries around the world use 230 or 240V so if you buy things off Alibaba or any of the other Chinese sources (e.g., www.banggood.com) you will see lots of things that will work in GB. Verify the voltage requirements before you buy here.
  21. Rich in Las Vegas

    How did I do?

    I only owned a small number of blow molds of the type that are on the end of a stake for driveway marking up until I found this site after Christmas. I can see that this can become a real addiction. Right after people started taking down decorations I acquired a 39" GFP penguin 078-130016 and a similar sized Union Products angel #7528 from my local Goodwill outlet store where they sell them for $1.89 per pound. I figured that would be it since the season was over. Wrong! In the past two weeks I bought 5 blow molds. I found two GFP 10" blow molds but they were marked "Made in China" - a snowman and a reindeer. No lights and stakes but I can deal with that. This week it was much better. The first thing I saw in the bins this morning was a 22" Santa by Carolina Enterprises and the date 1976. It also had 1358 and 024264 over the name. In the same bin was a double sided Santa head marked Caroline Enterprises 1974 and 024309, 2, and 1570. It also had what may be the Empire stamp - a crown over a capital E. The last one was a 13" Santa marked Empire Plastics Corp. 1968 and the numbers 1351-1379 and 023655. All three of this weeks buy had the original lighting which will allow me to experiment with ways of switching over to LEDs. I can live with 110V but much prefer to use 12V DC. I think I will try using LED vehicle bulbs. They are super cheap and give plenty of light. Since both of these companies have been gone quite a while I wondered just how old they might be. The 10" Chinese made molds were a buck for the two of them. The others were 60 cents, 70 cents, and $2.60 for the larger Santa. I had been looking at eBay for possible purchases but the cost of shipping makes that unlikely. Anything larger than about 12" gets really pricey to ship. I'll take some pictures and post them on postimages soon.
  22. I picked up a set (3) of Hallmark Illuminations Snowflake Snowballs (2005) last Thursday at the Goodwill Outlet Store. They were in the original box. It says they require a Hallmark Power Box. Unlike virtually everyone else who produces Christmas lights, there is no power requirements information on the box or light cord. There was a set of instructions sent with the lights but it was not in the box. Of course I know there is nothing magical about the power box except the price. The lights are LED and RGB. Hallmark has a replacement available but the reviews by actual purchasers rate it rather poorly. I've tried it using 5V DC (USB) and the lights do work but I would like to know the exact output for the original power box. Anyone here have the older Hallmark Powerbox and could measure the output? The eBay price on this is nuts. They start out around $25 and most of the sellers don't include the power source.
  23. Rich in Las Vegas

    Where to get 20 light blue light strings

    You are looking for a half string which would be 25 lights, not 20. Here's one for commercial lights $10 for a string https://www.christmaslightsetc.com/p/Commercial-25-LED-Sapphire-Blue-Mini-Ice-M5-Christmas-Lights-Green-Wire-4-inch-Spacing--19137.htm# but you have to buy the adapter separately for $4 https://www.christmaslightsetc.com/p/Commercial-LED-Power-Adapter-FOR-NEW-LEDs-19526.htm I have not purchased anything from this company. Maybe someone else at this site has and can vouch for their reliability.
  24. Rich in Las Vegas

    Wall Plugs For Fiber Optic Houses

    I replied to this post via PM but will clarify things for the rest of you. Some displays with fiber optics have three colored LEDs to light the fiber optics and a small controller to produce a pattern of light. Most of them use a 12V DC adapter. Many older displays use a color wheel and a MR11 halogen light. The date codes on these displays shown above are 8 or more years old so I suspect they have a 12V AC motor and color wheel. You must use a 12V AC adapter, 1200 mA or larger. The new MR11 12V LEDs will work on a 12V DC adapter but that would probably burn up the AC motor. I know from having hunted for several weeks at my local outlet that 12V DC adapters are very common but the AC variety is very hard to find. I bought a fiber optic tree recently and left the 12V AC adapter at the store. When I got it home I found out that it did have the color wheel with a 12V AC motor. I replaced the MR11 light with an LED light that works on AC or DC but was still lacking a converter. I checked online and simply couldn't find an AC adapter. Luckily I came across another tree today with a color wheel in the base and scavenged the 12V AC adapter for my tree.
  25. Rich in Las Vegas

    How did I do?

    Here are the molds that came from Goodwill. Not too shabby for perhaps $20 total and I only check the place once a week. I wonder how many blow molds go through the outlet store in a season.
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