Jim’s wife and daughters are gathered at the window, excitedly awaiting his arrival. They’ve been popping popcorn in the fireplace to make garlands for the tree.
I had intended to incorporate this old Preiser farm wagon into the town after Christmas, but it seemed a natural to use it for bringing home the tree. I bound the tree with cross stitch thread, and gave Jim red mittens.
I’m always looking for details to add dimension to the photographs of Oak Valley. I added a small plaza to the back of the courthouse, allowing more room for the audience to gather for Christmas carols. I’m debating a small hedge, or small plants, around the plaza. I also added a statue to the park for a little more interest. The children love climbing on it!
I took this a couple of months ago but never posted it. I like the quiet winter morning view of the shoppers and various activities.
This is a very odd couple of drivers, but I hadn’t previously shown this carriage scene at the intersection of Pine and Main Streets.
I took the first photo in very low light (rainy day) with the village lights on, and the other with a combination of artificial lighting to look more like bright daylight. This is a Woodland Scenics group, and I had to work on the clothing of the shoe shiners to make them fit with a vintage theme. I wish the detail on the shoe shine box showed more in the photo, because it’s really nicely detailed with brass foot rests. I don’t know if it shows in the photos, but the customer on the right is holding a cup of coffee. Nice touch!
Peace on Earth and Good Will To Men. I couldn’t resist these last evening photographs on Christmas Eve. I had the oil painting decades before the Christmas village, but always thought they looked lovely together. On Christmas Day a new group of people will move to Oak Valley, so check back on December 25th!
What is Christmas without carols? Over time, I’m sure that Oak Valley’s newly formed choir will grow in members and audience, so the sidewalk may need to expand into a small plaza.
This was difficult to photograph, being in the middle of the town and not getting much natural light. I cannot get intimate views by using a tripod and zoom lens, so usually I set the camera on a small box or directly on the ground to get the closeups. What I sacrifice is range, but I’m OK with that. More than just documenting the figures and the scene, I prefer to create an atmosphere.
The one below was taken from the other side of the park.
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! This may be my last post before Christmas. I have a group of new townspeople wrapped and under my Christmas tree, and I’ll photograph it when it is added to the town. It is Woodland Scenics, not Preiser, and I had to do a little tweaking to make it fit into the vintage theme. However, it’s a very interesting vignette, and I’m excited to welcome it to Oak Valley. Soooo….check back after Christmas for that addition.
I’m also seriously considering creating a choir/caroling group. Preiser has a large men’s chorus, but it is far larger and more modern than I can use. I have an idea of pulling something together using the Preiser 1900’s series. I wish Preiser would create new winter figures for that series!
After Christmas, I plan to wreak havoc in the town, lighting the remaining buildings and doing general clean up and rearranging. At that point, I may roll the table out into the middle of the room to photograph it from a different perspective.
I’ve continued to think about a background for the long side that is against the wall, but can’t come up with anything that looks right. I don’t want to detract from the town, and the HO scale backgrounds from photographs are too realistic to be compatible. I’ve thought about painting a simple background in watercolor, or using mirrors to make the town look like it goes on forever.
Grandma promised, and tonight’s the night!
All of the girls have a crush on the English teacher!
This gives a little different view from Cemetery Hill behind the Belmont Street church. I shot this without flash or supplemental lighting, and, unfortunately, directly toward a wall of windows. I like the natural light, but had to retouch the very reflective plexiglass wall. The other day I saw a TV movie called “Snow Globe” in which a young woman transported into a snow globe to experience a perfect Christmas. That’s somewhat the way I feel about Oak Valley. I don’t want to be transported, but love viewing it from above.
Below is another photo to demonstrate the model train HO scale. I have long fingers, so you can see how small this adult man is. With his dress and attitude, I guess he’s what they would have called a “Dandy”!
Mrs. Howard greeting Mr. Gates in front of the Drexel Street school
I have had this figure for several years, but with his light beige summer suit and straw hat, I felt that he couldn’t be incorporated into the Christmas town. I decided to paint his jacket loden green and his trousers brown so that I could get by with bringing him into the diorama. I left his hat as it was. I think he looks quite jaunty!
I’ve been using a reproduction 1902 Sears Roebuck catalogue and old photos as a reference. In the early 1900’s men wore a variety of clothing, including neck ties and bow ties, various length and style jackets, many styles of hats, and pullover sweaters. I’ve left my little boys in the park in their original long pants, but it appears that little boys almost always wore short pants and stockings, and only in their teens began to wear long pants. Likewise, little girls wore short dresses with stockings (black in winter, white in summer), and migrated to ankle length dresses as young ladies, and full length as women.
I had to relocate the sleigh ride from a remote area of the village just to photograph it. It reminds me of several stories from my great-grandfather’s and his sister’s diaries about sleigh rides with their friends in Naperville, Illinois, coming home so cold that their frozen fingers couldn’t unbutton their coats and wraps. After one nighttime ride, their father said that they must not have much to do to go out on a night like that.
The rider racing with the sleigh reminds me of another of their stories. Their parents had taken their new carriage out for the day, and the sister and brother decided that it would be fun to race their ponies down the main street in Naperville. Needless to say, townspeople told their parents, and they were in big trouble!
This shows the post office and bank on the right, just before the hotel.
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
Mr. and Mrs. Peaslee chatting with Mr. Ellis after service.