November 29, 2021





Episode 7  -  November 26, 2021


Good news! The sheep have been rounded up and

found a home, however no sign of the pigs this year.

Probably best not to ask too many questions! 



As the Christmas season gets nearer we like to visit “festive things”.

It puts us in the mood for the joyous Christmas season, and to see

more than the usual amount of smiles all around. A recent trip we

took was to the historic Chatsworth House. It is decorated up for

Christmas and has a big market and light displays in the extensive

gardens. It is some of these features we try to recreate in our

miniature villages, or is it reality copying us? 



These stalls in our village are doing a brisk trade..



However the real thing is quite busy too!



After dark and they look even nicer…



As we walk around, soaking up the atmosphere of the sights,

sounds and smells I can’t help thinking how “Lemax” looking

some of the participants seem. This coffee and crepes

van looks just the part to go in our village! 




The closest we have got is this one, 



We were totally enthralled by an old fashioned manually operated

music organ. It was delightful and straight from a Dickensian street

scene, I think Lemax need to commission something like this! 



We would buy it for sure, it would sit nicely with

some similar items we have. 



To get back to our village, it is now just about complete.

One tradition we have, each year our daughter has to place

the last few people into the village. She always enjoyed helping

us with the village but since going to university in Nottingham

about twelve years ago has lived away from home. So a special

weekend visit home and she places the last villagers into their

positions. Well, that is supposed to be the case, as Sue and I

agreed we don’t need to buy any more “Lemax” this year.

Nexttime I’ll tell you what was bought at a visit to

another garden centre! 


I’ll end this episode with a few pictures from Chatsworth House. 










Episode 6  -  November 15, 2021


We love fireworks ! However I have never really got them as I want

them, the black background they are on I have found difficult to

blend in with the rest of the display, this is last year’s display…



However once again, inspiration from fellow villagers and

their ideas means we are going to try and fix them behind the

background cloth. This probably would have been better doing

at an earlier point in the construction. Rather crudely they are

hung from the framework with string and double sided sticky

tape attached to the front and then pressed tight to the back

cloth. We were quite impressed with the results!




Our ski slope is not for the faint hearted! Definitely a

black run with a pretty steep incline.



Only the bravest take on the challenge….



Unfortunately what they don’t know is there is not a lot of

room at the bottom of the slope, many a mishap as skiers

and tobogganists fail to stop safely!



The obstruction at the bottom of the slope is in fact the grandest

house of the village , Emma’s Cottage, as our daughter is called

Emma this has to be a “show home”. Enclosed landscaped

garden, hot tub and the only motor vehicle in town!



Sue’s latest innovation is to incorporate a stream. A home for

the swans, who were not too pleased with the salt water

situation last year as they were dumped in the harbour.

They seem a lot happier now!




Hmmm.. those swans look very much like ducks to me,

I think the swans are further upstream!



A small piece of land has been reserved for the sheep pen..


The only problem now is I can’t find the sheep!






Episode 5  -  November 1, 2021


With the “big” work mostly done a lot of the more intricate stuff

can commence, whilst some areas, such as the Ski resort are well

advanced others are still to be started. The ballast between the

rails is added and needs a steady hand!



The old town by the harbour has its paving installed! 



Trees are constantly being added all over the display, often

to cover gaps, wires and as Jim Peters commented on one

of his videos, the back of the houses where the power

plugs in. Surely the manufacturers could have

designed them to be a bit more discreet? 




Sue is now working on the harbour, this being one of her favourite

parts of the display. She has been complaining throughout that I

keep shrinking the harbour as the village space became more and

more cramped. The Westley pub sits proudly atop one of our new

pieces of slate. Our water is blue tissue paper with a covering

of blue glitter crystals. 



A bag of small white stones just about finished the job, along with

the lights on the harbour wall.  I’m sure the villagers will soon be

flocking to the harbour especially as I understand the fresh

fish stall is on its way! 



I mentioned earlier that we use a lot of polystyrene to get the

height in the early stages, whilst watching countless videos on

village construction the use of a hot wire foam cutter is seemingly

quite popular. I have looked at the reviews and to be honest they

seem a bit mixed. Many complaints that they break quite easily.

However I sent off for a fairly cheap three piece kit which arrived

a few days ago. Initial feedback from our official polystyrene

cutter is positive! Although a bit late for major use this year, it has

been a boon in cutting smaller bits and pieces without the mess. I

noted whilst watching one of Thea Heyink’s Creation Station videos

that she too is ordering one, it will be interesting to see how she

gets on with it. The villagers are arriving daily and homes have to

be found for them, now where are these sheep going to go! ……







Episode 4  -  October 27, 2021


Having laid out our houses and rides in the approximate locations we

now have a much better idea of how it’s going to look when finished. 





I mentioned that we had to decide on a few pieces to leave out, I said to

Sue that I’ve never really liked the Cathedral too much, the scale doesn’t

do justice to such a grand building and I found the lighting a bit

disappointing too. The kiddies Christmas Carousel also got a negative vote,

for the opposite reason, it seems too big and garish. I was pleased to learn

that Sue had a similar opinion and so it wasn’t a problem at all! 

We also agreed that the Christmas Boutique and Cadieux Bakery were surplus

to requirements. The Boutique we felt was too square and two other bakeries

meant the battle for the villagers bread money was too competitive!





We decided that we would offer these four for sale as a job lot. We are

“displayers” and not “collectors” so we were not aware if our asking price

was too high or too low. We decided £145 (approx $200) to be a fair price.

Within five minutes of putting on a local selling site, we agreed to sell for

£125 after turning down two offers of £100. We were happy with that and

they were collected the next day. The forest area is one of Sue’s

favourites and she has progressed well with her landscaping…



and the Ski resort above too…..



One or two buildings were swapped around as we finalised our plans,

and another couple of items were picked out to be sold, The ice skating

rink was just too large in a village struggling for space, we had looked at

ordering a smaller version. Also the Cotton Candy cart was a bit over

scale for our fairground. I fear that we sold this too cheaply but I couldn’t

find one for sale anywhere as a reference point. Again within minutes a

sale was agreed, and in hindsight I think i went too cheaply! £15 ($20) for

the cart and £35 ($48) for the rink. It goes to show how well Lemax holds

its price for resale, looking on E-Bay rarely are real bargains to be found.

I'm sure many of you have experienced this wonderful event….even though

we know exactly what’s in the box that’s just been delivered, the thrill of

opening it up and pulling out some new items for our village never wanes! 







Episode #3  -  October 24, 2021


We are at the early stages still so without a rigid plan things are likely

to change, and the sooner these decisions are made the easier it is to

implement them.  After a fair amount of work has been done then you

get to the point of no return! Our plan was to gain display space by having

an upper level to give space underneath. This seems to have worked ok

with our ski resort above and Santas workshop in the forest below. 



However neither of us is happy with the upper section on the right

side, and we have to get this sorted before we go much further. 



We are removing the two table structures and reverting to polystyrene

sections, it means we lose a bit of display space but we are both happier

with this now and building work can commence apace once again.



 If we get a chance we like to visit the various garden centres that we

know stock Lemax products and build their own displays. Lots of ideas

are inspired by what others do and as good as watching endless You Tube

videos is you can’t beat seeing it in person and spending time to take it all

in. At one particular display (Frosts in Woburn Sands for any local folk

reading this!) we were impressed with their use of natural stone, or slate

 in the display. A quick decision and we grabbed a barrow and went out to

the landscaping section. We bought several well chosen pieces which

we thought would complement our village. 



Our little car certainly felt the weight of these in the boot! 

Sue is our landscaping expert and quickly made use of the

slate and added her magical touch! 



 We now were “locked in” to the bigger structural decisions and started to

place out our houses and rides to get a better idea of what’s going where. 

We are now aware that all our pieces are not going to fit in! We have

always used all of our collection so this was an unexpected dilemma! 

Was this the right time to tell Sue about the couple of items I wasn’t

keen on? How would she react? We poured a drink, sat down, and

insisted each is honest about their choices to leave out… 







Episode #2  -  October 16, 2021


Having got the base sorted, we are now thinking about what goes where.

This is a big conversation/discussion. It started weeks ago and continues

on a daily basis. We think back to last year and what we want to change.

The problem we now have is an ever growing collection and limited display

space. Our solution is more height, a kind of double decker approach. My DIY

abilities are limited so it’s not going to be an easy option. The simplest

way was a kind of table type construction. 



At this time the railway track is put down. I love trains, Sue not so much!

This is an ongoing battle as I explain how important the expansion of the

railways was to commerce and tourism and our village mustn’t miss out

on that opportunity! 


Reluctantly she agrees to a perimeter track layout as opposed to a

smaller central loop. ( I’m quite pleased with myself at this outcome and

decide not to mention yet plans for an extended tram (trolley line!)


On laying out the track it seems I am several pieces short to join the loop.

Onto the computer, two pieces of track seem very expensive!

(£3.49… not sure how that compares in dollars?)


Anyway a minimum order quantity to qualify for free postage gives me

a chance of redemption! I ask Sue if there is anything else she likes.

Well, when she saw “Sue’s Beads and Bangles” jewellery shop

I was forgiven! 


Another addition this year is the pre-formed mountain top. We bought

this a few years ago but have never used it. I’m not too keen as I prefer

the home made approach. We tend to use a lot of

polystyrene in our scenery builds. 



Hopefully it will grow on me! 

It gave us an excuse to place the first few buildings out. 



This is when the house gets a bit messy as all our village stuff is

hauled down from the attic to be sorted through!








Welcome everyone to our Christmas village for 2021!


Well as you can see, there is no actual village as yet!


I am Phil Adkins and with my wife Sue, here in Northampton, England, each year we like to create our Christmas village, for our enjoyment and hopefully anyone who comes to see it.


We started many years ago with a miniature table top set, progressing slowly at first with an extra piece each year. As time went on, and especially in recent years the village has grown in size and now is a major undertaking!


I must stress that this is a joint project, we do it together, and consequently many discussions have to take place, compromise has to happen or we get nowhere!


Even before we get anything started, the village location has to be decided. We don’t live in a mansion with spare rooms but a modest “semi-detached “ town house. Any space given to the village will impact our daily living routine for the next three months!


A big part of the fun for us is the challenge of a new design and layout so we do not look to repeat last years effort. Two years ago we used the conservatory but last year, a few new pieces meant taking it into the dining room!


I must tell you, neither of us are DIY experts, I have limited tools and even less knowledge how to use them! Sometimes screwing a nail in straight is a challenge. Therefore this is in no way meant to be an instructional exercise! We make things up as we go, not sure if the expression “bodge it” is widely used around the world! 


Our first major challenge was to construct something to hold a

backdrop. Last year we used those sticky wall things that are

supposed to leave no marks on removal. We now have

a red wall with a chunk of paint missing!


We visited a local textile clearance shop and bought some

night sky looking fabric for £1 a metre.


Our base isn’t fancy wooden trestles but the

dining table and cupboard unit.


White painted boards are raised to allow wiring to

come through the pre drilled holes.


We have learned so much from the videos

other people have shared through TVC and YouTube. 







Another example of: