The Miniature Christmas Scene
(page 2 of 3)

(Fanatic Project of a Lifetime)

If you've read this far, you've probably gotten the idea of just how out-of-hand this creation got! Nonetheless, to continue...

Here's another (somewhat blurry) photo of the outside:

No doubt the stockings that "hung by the chimney with glee" look disproportionately large to the unknowing. Again, believe it or not, these are indeed to scale and are therefore unusually large in real life. When each of us three kids was born, our Aunt Wilma (Dad's sister) knitted a huge, wonderful, personalized stocking. (See the bottom of Page 3 for a photo of the real thing in relation to normal-sized stockings and the Leiber Family Christmas card for 1968!)

As I previously mentioned, the top came off and the front folded open. Not only did this allow for better viewing of the insides, it also gave the viewer the opportunity to touch and/or move some of the contents. In addition, under the tree skirt was a slider switch that engaged the batteries and lighted the Christmas tree lights, so somone had to open the package to turn them on and off.

Here are some photos of the interior:
I cut the large fireplace "L" out of sheet metal to match the insignia we had in real life. And yes, as hard as it might be to believe, the bricks were a yellow-ochre, so of course I matched that.

I painstakingly forged the fireplace accessories out of brass pieces, fine wire mesh painted black (for the screen), and balsa wood painted bronze-ish for the screen's frame. (Compare the detail to real photos on the Leiber Family Christmas Card collection, year 1955 and the black-and-white reference photo of Jeff and me in front of the fireplace on Page 3.)
The red wax candles standing on both sides of the fireplace may also seem disproportionally large. I made these out of normal-sized candles, allowing the heated wax to drip and form the unique pattern on the replicas, much like the originals. Check out the real things in the 1955 Leiber Family Christmas Card.

Our fireplace had 36 hearth tiles (three rows of 12 each) in a burnt-orange color, so I cut small pieces of balsa wood and used an emery board to file the edges to a bevel, then painted them and "grouted" them to the floor.

Some of the living room floor was covered with a rug, but underneath it and exposed around the sides was the beautiful hardwood flooring. I used hobby-quality pine slats and used wood-stain and real varnish to protect the finish.

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