Lionel Plasticville Hall - Mantleburg Line

Last week, I posted a photo of the Schlitz Lionel O Gauge billboard that I scored at the Christmas Train Show out in Wheaton and hinted that we bought a few more things.  Today, you see one of those:  Plasticville Hall.  The version that I bought was fully assembled as you see it here and decorated by someone with some garland and a wreath over the front door.  It is all doll'd up for Christmas time.  And that's part of the appeal here for me:  we only set up the Mantleburg Line as our traditional Christmas train. 

We have enough cars and rolling stock for Mantleburg, but we don't have that many accessories or buildings or structures, so that's what I've been focusing on at the show.  I've come across some of these Plasticville structures and they never appealed to me.  But for some reason (I'm pretty sure it is the garland and wreath!?!?), this one called out to me.  Five dollars later, it was coming home with us. 

Turns out, the one we bought is the origi…

Christmas Amaryllis Comparison - Menards vs. Wannamaker's bulbs

What you see in the two closest pots to the front of the photo are amaryllis bulbs.  In different states of growth.  On the left is a $14 bulb that I bought at Wannamaker's.  On the right - the bulb that is *barely* sticking out of the dirt is a $3 bulb that I bought at Menards.  I planted them at pretty close to the same time but they're at drastically different places in their growth cycle.  The Wannamaker's one seemed expensive at the time, but now I'm thinking it was money well spent compared to the dud that is the bulb from Menards.  I planted the Menards bulb in the puck of dirt that they sent with the bulb, but chose potting soil for the big one.  I threw out the plastic pot from Menards and put it in a pot that drains.  But...the coir (I think that's what the disk that expands of 'dirt' is called?) is contributing to the lack of growth?  That might be part of it, but there's clearly a difference between the two, right?  Like...the $14 bulb is j…

One of Our Vintage Santas - As Seen on TV

There I was:  sitting in my office one evening doing some work and mindlessly watching one of my favorite shows 'American Pickers' on the TV.  I looked up from my laptop and notice that Frank Fritz has picked up a Santa.  I know I've seen it before.  I pause and rewind and sure enough.....I *know* that Santa that Frank has in his hands!
It is one that Nat picked up at an antique sale somewhere over the past few years.  He's now proudly displayed in the front entryway of our #newoldfarmhouse.  Check him out below.  He's awfully cute taking a nap in his big chair:

This piece survived and is proudly displayed.  But....with our new house and fresh slate in terms of decorations, we've gone through some growing pains with our vintage Christmas collection.  Nat has, wisely, parsed some of 'finds' and has decided that we can't keep all of them ourselves.  Of all the pieces that she decided weren't a fit, some of them have been re-housed with family (th…

Marshall Field's Walnut Room Mug Year 2000 - Mr. and Mrs. Santabear

Here's a vintage Christmas pro-tip:  Head to your local Goodwill about two weeks after Thanksgiving and you'll come across an abundance of Christmas decorations that people have discarded.  It works something like this:  Friday after Thanksgiving, people decorate their houses.  By Saturday or Sunday, the 'remnants' (as I call them) are still sitting in the tubs and people have decided that certain things didn't make the cut.  That can be ornaments.  Or figures.  Or garland.  Or lights.  Or...on occasion, Marshall Field's Walnut Room Christmas mugs. 

That's how I came across this Walnut Room Mug from 2000 that features Santa Bear getting married.  Yeah...getting married?!?!?  I don't know the details, but I'm guessing that the folks at Marshall Field's were trying to introduce a female Santa Bear?  So they got Santa Bear married to Mrs. Santa Bear.  Kinda like how Disney introduced Duffy first, then moved on to adding ShellieMay the female versi…

Adolphus Hotel - Added to Coaster Collection

A week or so ago, I posted a coaster from the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs here in the [coaster collection] that made it the #21.  Today is another sweet hotel - the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas - that is now #22.  I stayed at the Adolphus for a few nights and had a huge room.  I guess I shouldn't expect anything less down in Texas, right?  I have a soft spot in my heart for vintage, old-fashioned hotels and the Adolphus lived up to it's billing.

Schlitz Lionel Billboard from Christmas Train Show

Over the weekend, we went out to Wheaton to attend the Great Midwest Train Show with my Dad for our annual visit.  We go every December to look through the tables and I get a big shot of nostalgia as I recall the trips to the train show that I took with my Dad when I was just a little one.  We always come home with some nice loot from the vendors and this year is no different. 

Above you can see a Lionel billboard with a Schlitz Beer card inside of it with the 1974 date on the bottom.  Just $1, too, which makes it all the more sweeter.  We scored a few other items that I'll post here on the blog this week, but this billboard is my favorite item.

We haven't had time to set up the Mantleburg line this year (shameful, I know), but when we do, this will go perfectly trackside next to some of the other accessories.  I also posted about some animated billboards that I picked up earlier this year here on the blog, but I don't remember if I bought one for Mantleburg or not.


Krinner Tree Genie XXL - Game Changer for Christmas Tree Stands

There are a few things in my world that I geek out about:  Disney World.  Pizza.  And Christmas.  I like everything about Christmas and even have a tub of shirts that we drag out that contains *just* Christmas shirts.  Part of one of our Christmas traditions is going down to the Tammen Treeberry Farm and cutting down a tree for our house.  Here's a post from 2010 that talks about that trip.  I also included the Tammen Treeberry Farm on my "favorite holiday things" list of 2010 and 2012.  
This year, we cut down two trees for our #newoldfarmhouse - which is one more than we normally do.  And that meant that we needed a second tree stand.  I went to the Wirecutter - where they (of course) have a piece comparing various standsThey recommended the Krinner Tree Genie XXL

They bill it thusly:
A unique design makes clamping a tree in the Krinner far easier than any kind of stand we’ve found. The Krinner grips the tree trunk with five claws that you tighten by stepping on …