Along with all the base preparations come the background buildings. These are typically done by the display group and many hands touch them in one way or another. This year was to be a monastery and I worked on the cloister piece in the photo below. I got some loose sketches from Brent the designer based on a photograph of a real monastery. Then, much as in my real job, I have to take these sketches and make them work in real life. This foam base will eventually be iced and covered in crushed peanuts. The monastery structure was probably one of the best background buildings ever built, in my opinion. And the scent of peanuts was so strong, we started to wonder if the scent alone could trigger anaphylactic shock in someone seriously allergic, that we put up a warning at the front door.
The week between Family night sees probably the most significant amount of work on the display during that time. It is a bit ironic because after family night, our spouses don't see much of us until a week later. My kids (8 and 10 at the time) LOVE helping, so they spend a lot of time with me after school and during the intermittent weekend helping out. At this stage, they can actually contribute to the display on their own without my supervision and I can continue to work on what I need to work on. Aside from one minor Xacto cut and several hot glue gun burns, they were fine.
The next post will address the final week and all the little details that really make the display shine.