Galveston County Daily News, December 23, 2007

Galveston County Daily News

December 23, 2007

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Issue date: Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pages available: 7

Previous edition: Saturday, December 22, 2007

Next edition: Monday, December 24, 2007 - Used by the World's Finest Libraries and Institutions
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Publication name: Galveston County Daily News

Location: Galveston, Texas

Pages available: 30,741

Years available: 2007 - 2015

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Galveston County Daily News (Newspaper) - December 23, 2007, Galveston, Texas D8 ? THE DAILY NEWS ? SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2007 GALVESTON COUNTY, TEXAS AP PHOTOS A woman pauses to view the elaborate holiday window display at Lord & Taylor's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. This window displays, which feature Santa Claus delivering gifts by boat during Christmas in Venice, are prepared underground and elevated into position by a hydraulic lift system. WINDOWS Continued from Page D1 The official theme for this year's windows is the five senses. But the windows also transport passers-by to the early part of the 20th century in faraway lands such as Paris, Copenhagen and Denmark. "I always say my last one was my favorite but this one really is up there," Renha said. Other themes near and dear to him were "The Nutcracker" and fairy tales. "The fun part is seeing the windows and eavesdropping on the comments. The best comments are from the kids - they're so honest!" he said. "I take seriously their comments for the next year." Renha never set out to be one of Santa Claus' helpers. He studied to be an architect but soon after school he was asked by family friends to work with them to change . the image of their depart-ment-store chain. "Since \then, I've been in retail," he said with a smile. But when it comes to the holiday windows, Renha doesn't have to worry about pushing the season's "hot items." The process is more organic than that: With a few ideas swirling in his mind, hell do loose sketches of scenes that he thinks will entertain and delight the crowds. Those produce a concept and, then, technical drawings. "That's where my architect and set designer background come in," he said. In the summer, Renha does the same sort of inspiration boards that fashion designers use, a haphazard Santa Claus delivers gifts to children by gondola on a canal in Venice in a scene from Lord & Taylor's flagship store's elaborate Christmas window display. group of magazine clips, photographs, print swatches and color cards that set a mood. He later becomes an expert in the costumes, buildings, fabric, food and colors of the era. It's a lot of work - and expense - for a project that doesn't necessarily drive traffic into the store. But Lord & Taylor's senior vice president of advertising, promotion and public relations LaVelle Olexa said the windows are about a bigger picture. "The world who visits New York City expects fabulous windows. It's something important to the city overall. It would be a big miss not to have them," she said. "People remember coming back with their parents and now coming back with their own children or even grandchildren." Of course, she hopes this goodwill will turn into consumer loyalty eventually. "Maybe they're not shop- ping today, but they might tomorrow or the day after," Olexa said. Ultimately about 200 people have a hand in the creation of the windows, but Renha relies mostly on the two dozen in his own department who are there from the brainstorming sessions to the final touches. 'You can't count the yards of fabric we use for the windows. We buy everything in bulk," Renha said showing off bolts of satin and lace and boxes upon boxes of glittery garland and mini faux cranberries. A few boxes of toymaker Breyer's realistic animal figurines also are scattered about. It's not uncommon for the garland to be cut into 1-inch pieces and all the cranberries cut off their branches. How else would one make a wreath that's scale appropriate for a home where its residents are only 2 feet tall? The hot glue gun is a favorite tool this time of year because everyone is in a rush to finish every last detail, from putting icing on the cakes to positioning the carving knife in Grandpa's hand. "Everything has to be done by hand on this scale," Renha explains. "The details are what makes the difference." Each outfit is finished as if it were headed to the selling floor, with even hems and embellished trim. Shoes for each of the 80 characters are tiny pieces of leather sewn together. Renha can't use typical dolls' clothes because the size isn't quite right - his figures are a little bigger. It's also difficult to find printed fabric for the garments and upholstery because the scale has to be so small. "It's easy to find big prints, especially now in fashion, but not for these proportions," he said. Luckily, a child's tea set does work for the Parisian bakery scene this year. Glass-making isn't one of Renha's many talents. FLYING Continued from Page D1 challenge of it is just a lot of fun." For those unaccustomed to small aircraft, it's difficult to discern exactly when the wheels leave the runway. The transition from taxiing down the Tarmac to flight is so gentle and smooth. Shrinking rooftops and seeing the slight curvature of the Earth gives it away. On a cool and nearly cloudless day from a 1,000 feet, it's easy to understand why George Gould refers to the island as a "sandbar." "That's what it looks like up there," he said. "I was in the Air (National) Guard at Ellington Field, and when I got out, I missed the flying part of it. "When I visit my daughter, it only takes about 2V& hours to get to Dallas." At the airport, the Gould brothers are well known. Their friend Fred Vickers of Pearland has been flying since 1957. He and George Gould have almost completely restored a 1946 Ercoupe that is controlled with a steering wheel rather than rudders. 'You can't put it into a spin," Vickers said. "The guy built the plane for everyone to fly without getting into trouble. "It's a lot like driving a car. The only difference is the plane lands in a cross-wind a little sideways, like a jumbo jet, with casters on the wheels." Both of the Gould's Cessnas achieve relatively good fuel economy, burning from six to eight gallons an hour at a price of $4.20 a gallon for self-service. "When you fly off the island and the water turns blue, you can see a lot of fish," George Gould said. "I've seen hammerheads and dolphins." Morris Gould said years ago, when fuel was more affordable, he'd rent his plane and the pilots would fly to a well-known Brazoria County lunch destination at an airport restaurant called the Windsock Grill. "Until gas prices went crazy, they'd rent it and come back and say they had a $100 hamburger," he said. Hud Hopkins manages the Galveston airport. He said it was the first and also the last remaining airport in Galveston County with a paved surface. There are two runways, each 6,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. "The Houston Gulf Airport in League City shut down about five or six years ago," Hopkins said. "It's a residential area now ... I always tell people that if they're frustrated with the island, it's like the Bahamas up there. The water turns blue, and it looks clean and well maintained." WE'RE RECYCLING. AREYOU? Recycle for our children's future. 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