Finally coming up for air after a couple of weeks of total focus on finishing this years candy window. Last night was the unveiling and though we had some snags and challenges along the way Snoopy and his dog house look great. If you are in the Salt Lake Valley during the holidays let me know and I’ll give you directions to find the window. There are 8 other candy windows too, including my Frosty from last year. I only got a couple of pictures snapped. Hopefully I can get some more next week of Snoopy and the other candy windows too.
Christmas from A to Z at Festival of Trees
Part of what made this week extra crazy is that we donated the candy sculpture (Christmas from A to Z) I did two years ago to the Festival of Trees. It was in pretty bad shape and I spent 12 hours fixing it up. Good news is there were multiple bidders and it sold for about $650. All that money goes to Primary Children’s Hospital.
I couldn’t bring myself to brave the cold garage and work on Snoopy today so I decided to do the wreath that goes over the door of Snoopy’s doghouse. Small parts like this are kind of fun because I can get them done in a day. Yeah for feeling like I got something done. This was also fun because it is the first piece of the window with lights in it. I love lights glowing through candy. To me it has such a Christmasy feeling.
wreath with lights on
I finally got some photos of the doghouse added to the post from a couple of weeks ago.
Today I thought I’d update on what Bill is doing for the window this year. The core piece is a Raspberry Pi board like in the photo above. What does a computer board have to do with a candy window display for Christmas? I’ll try to explain. There are three sets of Christmas lights in the design: one on the Christmas tree, one on the wreath over the doghouse door and two strings of the large lights that drape over the roof of the doghouse. The plan is to use the Raspberry Pi board along with some other hardware to control how the lights go on and off. We are keeping it pretty simple this year to test things out but hope to do more complicated things with lights in future years.
We are playing around with having the lights synced to music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas“. This is new territory for us but I’m excited at the possibilities. In the worst case scenario we can have the board turn the lights on in the evening and off at midnight or so. Hopefully we will get succeed in doing lots more than that.
As far as candy gluing goes I’m now behind the schedule I made for my self for getting my this years candy window done. Yakira’s career change has distracted me. The plans for getting her to Florida are mostly in place so I’ve got to get back on track.
Still plugging away on Snoopy‘s doghouse. I’m getting close though. I didn’t get any work done on it last Saturday so the roof didn’t get finished until this week. The last step is the trim which consists of around the door, the eaves and the edges of the roof (can’t think of what that is called, or maybe those are the eaves and the other is the soffit). Anyway, I digress. Around the door is done, both gable ends are done. I have a little piecing to do on the soffit on one end and about 2/3 of the edge of the roof on one side.
I’m excited to be almost done with the doghouse. That is a big chunk of the window.
This week the candy gluing started in earnest. I prefer to do the parts that I use silicone caulk as the adhesive out in the garage. That way the house doesn’t get stunk up and I don’t have to worry so much about having adequate ventilation. But first I needed to make a space in the corner of the garage for me to work. It is amazing how much stuff accumulates in the garage over the course of a year. I’m really happy with how I was able to fit an old table into the corner. It has created a great workspace.
Since then I’ve been gluing red Aussie style licorice to Snoopy’s doghouse all week. I’m just about done with the walls. I should be able to finish them tomorrow. Then the roof covered with cinnamon bears is next on the list. Last step of the doghouse is the trim. I’ll work on that next week. Which should keep me on schedule.
Here is a photo of the window as it looked late last week. Bill helped me get the support structure for the tree finished. Yeah! This week, I got some work done on the red star and I got the lights put on the tree. The tree still needs to be painted green. Today I picked up 7 cases of candy from World Foods. I should have most of the candy I need for the window now except the sky which I’ll be order in the next week or so.
I haven’t gotten as much done this week as I’d hope. I’ve been fighting a cold and I finally feel like I’m winning the battle after a week. Hopefully Saturday will be a good day to get lots of candy attached.
I’m almost ready to start gluing on the candy. All the structure is shaped and most of it is painted. I still need to paint the inside of the doghouse black. The biggest thing I have left to do on this stage is the tree. While I have the tree shaped, I still need to build the support structure that will go through the roof of the doghouse to the ground. Then I need to put the lights on the tree and finally paint it. The only other pre-candy prep I need to do is to attach the string of big lights the will drape across the roof of the doghouse to some stiff wire so that it will look the way I want it to. I think I’ll use duct tape.
I’ve got the candy pretty much planned out but I’ll go over that in another post. (I’ll put up pictures as soon as I get some more taken.)
I’ve been putting a lot of time into my candy window the last week or so, trying to reach my goal of getting the structure done before Pup “E” gets here tomorrow. I’ve made good progress too! We just finished up Snoopy (minus his ears). The doghouse is finished. The tree is shaped. It still needs the trunk and support structure put together but we have all the supplies. The snow and on the top of the doghouse is shaped but it needs some more work. I also made the large star for the top of the doghouse and a dog bowl.
I need to get some of the super thick pellon for Snoopy’s ears, his hat, the ribbon etc. I still need to build the whirligig. Once I have the actual box that the window will go in I’ll need to build the base snow and the background snow structure. But I’m really pleased with the progress this week. Hopefully Pup “E” settles in quickly and I’ll be able to get a few things done next week.
I started on Step Four: build following the DOABLE approach to story projects. We picked up a 4×8 sheet of 1/2″ thick Styrofoam insulation to build the doghouse. Bill asked me if I didn’t need two sheets. I replied that the doghouse wasn’t that big so one should be enough. I was wrong. I was missing one side and half the roof. I patched two pieces together to make the side but there isn’t nearly enough to make the other roof panel. That’s what happens when you don’t plan very well. Now it will take another trip to the store. I guess I was being lazy.
I’ve glued together the four sides of the doghouse so they will be set when I get the rest of the roof cut. I also made a little wreath to hang above the door on the end. One item is ready to go. I even have candy that will work for the wreath. It is exciting to be starting on the actual building part of my window! My first big goal is to get the structure done (hopefully before our new puppy comes next Friday).
I really thought that my window location was set but I was wrong. It has moved twice since the last post. Now I hope that it really is decided! But I’m moving forward anyway. I finished Step Two: Organize, today by searching through my candy stash to see what I already have that will work. I’m in good shape except for the larger candy areas like the sky, the doghouse etc.
So now to work on Step Three: Analyze.
Part 1: Assess – I think my plans for this years window are as reasonable as I can make them. We are hoping to do some fun things with computer controlled lights but the design is such that if that doesn’t happen it will be OK. I’ve been careful not to let the size of the window get too large. With getting a late start on things and a new puppy coming time is limited and larger objects means more candy and more candy takes more time to glue it on. This will be one of my smaller windows at about 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall and 2.5 to 3 feet deep. Hopefully it won’t feel small when it is done. So the project moves forward.
Part 2: Plan – I’ve looked at all the parts and pieces of the window and come up with more than 50 tasks that need to be done. Some are fairly simple and easily completed while others might need to broken down into even smaller task when I get involved in the reality of doing that part of the project. I’ve done enough candy windows that there shouldn’t be too many surprises.
Part 3: Timeline – I have a firm deadline (the unveiling on 7th) so the thing the timeline does for me is to help me make sure that I get enough stuff done early so that I don’t have to pull all-nighters to make my deadline. I have it when I have to do that. Creating the window looses all it joy when there is too much pressure. So here is my rough timeline:
window box size – August
list of construction materials – August
purchase construction materials – August
choose candy – August
build structure – September
purchase candy – September
purchase other supplies – September
paint structure – September
attach candy – September through November
final detail & fix problems – November
promotional stuff – November & December
install window – before December 7th
unveiling – December 7th
The timeline is still pretty rough and so I’ll be making detailed plans and goals each week. My first deadline is to get all the structure built (if possible) by the time Pup “E” comes on September 6th. Timelines need to be adaptable to changing circumstances yet help the project stay on track to meet long-term goals.