Presépio is Portuguese for "Nativity Scene". Follow along as we build this year's version of a long family tradition. Mai e Pai (Mom & Dad, in Portuguese) started this tradition with just a few figurines bought in a Paris airport, to hundreds of pieces lovingly collected or hand-crafted over the decades and across two continents.

Click here for Wikipedia's description...

24 December, 2010

Progress - just not in my reportage...

It has been a huge challenge to make any progress in the past few weeks...but rest assured that things are well underway!
Why the delays??  Let me just say that my next blog will be about the state of so-called healthcare in this country!  Meaning of course, the immense, lumbering beaurocracy that stands between us and our health/sanity...!!  :(

So - you will see a huge difference, thans in most part to Vóvó and her energy and love for this - and her general lack of patience with slowpokes!!!!!

People have come out of their homes and started making their donations of gifts at the Town Square, the farm animals are in the fields, gardens are looking lush, the fauna in the forests are peeking out from among the firs...

The clothesline was a major challenge/setback - with each pole supported separately, it just kept flopping over and ruining the desperation I wrapped the ends of 2 twisty-ties across the bases, gave it some structural integrity with masking tape, and voilá!

We have sighted the wise men - they are nearing the village, and should get there by Epiphany with no problem.  You can see them in the montage below...  (They may be held up a bit, as they seem to be waiting for a sign from above that it is OK to cross the railroad tracks...)

Merry Christmas, Feliz Natal a todos!!!!!!!!!!!

16 December, 2010

More Chances to Vote! (& our Village Tree Lighting!)

I've gotten feedback that the poll was a good idea, so here is another...
The Town Square is shaping still needs the garden and the gift drop-off area, along with some people, of course, but first, need an opinion on which trees to flank the path to the church...
One set is more diminutive, and can if you squint, look kinda like maple trees...
The other pair is a vintage set from my folk's original collection, and are "sculpted" fir trees.
*NB - the tree lighting ceremony took place tonight - we had wanted to get Maroon 5 to perform, but alas, he opted for that other tree lighting today - at the White House!  Watch here... We'll plan better next year...

Without adding my own prejudice, cast your vote now on what will look better...

(I like this idea too - you all will have a vested interest in coming to see it in person...!

10 December, 2010

Lighthouse gets major improvement!

Thanks to the Donald, the village is that much safer tonight...the lighthouse (or farol), now indicates the compass points!  Our fearless explorers can set forth, and indeed return, confident knowing from whence come their all-important winds...

For the linguists out there, the term "lighthouse" dates back to the mid-1600's.  But in most of the western world, the word derives from the island of Pharos where the lighthouse of Alexandria stood.  Hence farol (pt), phare (fr), even Swedish (fyr), and Bulgarian (фар)!!

Anyhow, thanks to the lighthousekeeper/builder Don for designing such an ingenius way to attach the letters - and what wind-blown and artistic letters they are, too!  Thank you!!

Um Presépio numa casa Portuguesa

Take a look at what our dear friend and Presepio aficionado sent along! Very creative - thanks!!!!
These are shots she took last year, and has now compiled, with great artisitc effect, into this show.
And how on earth did you know that "We Three Kings" is my favorite Christmas carol? J and I used to sing it together when we were little. (Though I know he has blocked out that memory...that, and "The Marines' Hymn" - I have no idea why...) Thanks AMD!
Click Um PRESEPIO numa casa Portuguesa to view...

08 December, 2010

The Story of Christmas" - in the digital age...

My querida prima Gu shared's pretty well done, and understandable even if you don't speak Portuguese - though it helps if you understand google, Facebook, and Twitter!!
(The message at teh end says "Times change - the sentiment stays the same..."

06 December, 2010

A Few Novidades, & Apprentices needed!

It's late so, I'll make it brief...
Here is the progress to-date... Contrary to popular opinon, I do NOT spend every waking moment working on the village!  That is why I need to start it in October... ;)

In fact, Phil spent more time this weekend - designing & creating the flashing circuitry for the crossing signal!!!  At last the denizens can go to the beach without fear of getting hit by a train full of toys...
I did lots of the ground work (pun intended) to ready things for hte next phase - creating the farms and gardens, town square, trees, etc., etc..

** NB... Presepio Vista is now accepting apprenticeships for miniature landscaping and animal husbandry...
Please apply by writing the words "Presepio Internship" on the back of a $50 bill and sending it to me!

Boa noite...  (And don't forget to vote in the previous post!!)

04 December, 2010

Waterfall advice needed - mist or no mist? Vote here...

Looking for advice on whether or not to add "mist" to the waterfall this year...
Here are pics of our usual saran wrap waterfall, with and without the illusion of mist at the bottom.
Does it actually look like mist?  Or does it look like a forgotten bit - kind of like when the surgeon leaves a sponge behind in your innards after an operation...?
Please vote...!

30 November, 2010

Day 2 - Blackout!

After the astonishing productivity of the post-Thanksgiving rush, it was back to "normal" activities.
The only Presépio work done involved emergency utility crews (aka Phil) coming in to service some underground electrical cables - part of the town was plunged into blackness!

The bakery, A&S house, and the windmill were affected.  I panicked, as I thought out only alternatives would be a) leave them without power all season, or b) rip up a huge amount of wiring that had been so neatly taped down, then so perfectly covered with a layer of the finest hand-sifted earth that had taken Ana all day to perfect!

Thankfully, our chief engineer knew that 99% of all power problems happened at the junctions - so we were able to dig up only a tiny portion of the ground.

As you can see, the lights are now working all over the village  - and tomorrow is another day!!!!!!

(Soon we can get started on the gardens and farms!!)

In the beginning...

The 2010 Presépio season is upon us!

Thanks for coming back for the second installment of our blog...a bit of the behind-the-scenes action, some how-to and tips, together with some miscellaneous musings...

This year I THOUGHT I was getting an early start - while planting my daffodils, I filled 2 buckets with the soil we would need... (It's important to do so before the ground freezes!). David helped out by bringing the table up from mothballs, but not much more happened till this past week.

However, we have made up for lost time, thanks to Vóvó and Ana! While Phil and I set the table up, together with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, so that it would be ready in time for Thanksgiving, it wasn't until post-Thanksgiving Day that our productivity rose through the roof!

Everyone was here for bbq'd turkey, but we were so enjoying our own company, especially seeing the college kids home-for-the-holiday, (and of course the yummy foood), that no work was done at all. Happily, Vóvó stayed through Monday, Phil diligently wired, and with a surprise visit from Ana, a major progress was made!! Click below to see my fairly pathetic photo-montage of our progress to-date...

And here is our lovely bbq'd turkey!


06 January, 2010

Epiphany has arrived - along with the Farol Sta Marta

The wise men are slightly delayed...
Watch the video to see why!
(And don't forget - you can skip around by clicking the tags - which I would highly recommend!!  Plus, those tags contain important information... ;) )

Farol Sta Marta, and the story of Epiphany

Well, we did NOT get a visit from the wise men today, but we DID get presents!
First, a quick note about what Epiphany is all about. The wise men, hearing about the birth of Christ, set forth, gifts in hand, to go see the newborn king... It took them a while to get there - 12 days, in fact - which is Jan 6!
This is why we sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas". In fact, some people around the world wait to exchange gifts till the day that baby Jesus got his!

Now, to find out why the wise men didn't make it, you must watch the video in the previous entry.

However, some very wise friends DID come to visit today, and here is what they brought!

This is an amazing, handmade replica of the Farol Sta. Marta, in Cascais, Portugal.
Don the GnomeMeister had been secretly at work, with the clandestine support of Joao & Phil, and perhaps others too.
Phil must now quickly work to electrify it.  Then perhaps the magi can finally find their way over the seas to the village!

Os meus parentes Portugueses devem conhecer este farol...muitos de voçes morem mesme ao lado!

And in case you wonder where the inspiration came is the real thing...

And here, the light is now working!!   Our resident electrician was  inspired - or maybe it was divine intervention?

04 January, 2010

Christmas Village tours now available...

Well, I don't think any videographers need tremble in their sneakers based on my first attempt at video production.  Tell me what you think! (Click that big triangle below)