I don’t think I’ve posted much about this year’s candy window display for South Jordan. Well, now that it is done, I realized I’d better post something. Our theme was Star Wars inspired, “Feel the Force of Christmas” or something along those lines. My neighbor, Andrea (who was wonderful to work with) and I partnered up this year to do the window. She was a lifesaver last year when I broke my hand and she enjoyed it so much that she wanted to help this year, from the beginning. Her daughter Nicole came up with our idea (Yoda reading a book to three Ewoks) and then we went to work. Besides my husband, Bill (who gives more and physical support as needed), another neighbor, Cherri helped (with Yoda’s skin) and Bryce (Bill’s co-worker) built Yoda’s chair. After too many hours of shaping, painting and gluing we finished up last Friday afternoon with several hours to spare before the official “Light the Night” opening at South Jordan City Hall. If you are in the Salt Lake City, Utah area this holiday season stopped by Town Center Drive in South Jordan and see our creation. Plus you can see last years Ferris wheel just south of City Hall in the South Jordan Library.
The figures are ready for their faces. I’m trying a fondant/gum paste mixture this year instead of straight fondant. The gum paste is supposed to give the fondant more stretch. This is a key part of the window. If the faces look good the window should be a success. If the faces turn out bad it is hard to make up for it else where. I’ve not done faces on this scale before. I’ve done bigger and I’ve done smaller. Feeling a bit intimidated about getting started but just need to dive in and get going. After I get the first one done, I should feel better about things.
Bill ended up working all night Friday and all day Saturday so no progress on the Ferris wheel structure. But I sorted through the candy that the Youth Council kids picked out for the figures and made a few adjustments because of scale or color issues. I hope they don’t mind too much. I also order some more candy. I need to pick up some chocolate and yellow licorice for hair and then we should be in pretty good shape to move forward with all the candy.
Another week closer to Christmas. Hopefully we made enough progress too. Bill finished the spokes of the other side of the Ferris wheel on Saturday and the basics of the A-frame to hold it up. He found a motor and gears at Granger this week too. The didn’t have the right size of pillow blocks though. The figures are painted and the additions of pelon are done though they still need painting. I also picked up some fondant and something new to try, gum paste for the faces etc. Five kids from the South Jordan Youth Council came on Saturday and made good progress on putting candy on the cars.
This week I’m working on the faces for the figures and we will see how far I get. In may only be early October but time is starting to feel really short. Sometimes I feel a bit of panic at how much needs to get done. Then I try to take a deep breath and focus on putting in some time everyday and see how much gets done.
We made some good progress on the window last week. The cars for the Ferris wheel are ready for the candy. A couple of them have pull ‘n’ peel licorice on the back and bottom of the cars. I also got 6 of the 16 figures shaped and ready for paint. That feels really good. Bill also got the spokes of one side of the Ferris Wheel welded. That was super exciting to see happen. We put in a lot of hours on Saturday so it was good to see such progress. Our new puppy, Fable handled all the noise of cutting metal and welding like she’d be around it all her life. She is amazing.
We made some good progress on the window last week, especially on Saturday. I got the cars cut out with a band saw on Tuesday and picked up Styrofoam scraps for all the figures. On Wednesday only one girl showed up form the youth council, so we worked on the trees. I was hoping to do some more prep for the cars but ran into a snag. Four youth came on Saturday and they continued worked on the trees. We now have two trees done and two more assembled and one of those with some candy on it. Just one last tree to assemble.
Bill worked hard all day and got all six cars for the Ferris wheel assembled! He needed my help from time to time to hold a part in place while he drilled holes or inserted screws. Bill also figured out how to get the threads cut in some of the metal rods. The first set of thread cutters where too cheap and that was the problem. With a quality die, it was simple to cut the threads. It felt good to make such progress. So much ahead and more hurdles to jump.
Today I picked up some green paint for the cars and green pull ‘n’ peel licorice. I thought I’d need to order the licorice but it turns out that Walmart had the best price for it so I picked up a dozen packages. We may need more. I’ll know better after we get one car covered. Now that they cars are built I can start working on all the figures. There are a bunch of them and that isn’t something that I can ask the kids to do. They can help cover them with candy once they are shaped but I’ve got to do the shaping for two reasons. Because I have the experience and so that all of them have a consistent look and feel. For me that is the next big hurdle. For Bill it is cutting the metal for the big Ferris wheel and getting it all welded together.
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.