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12/09/15 - Gingerbread Star Wars at the Sheraton

Every Christmas season we try to drop by the Sheraton in Seattle and check out the gingerbread cookie displays in the lobby. This year the theme was Star Wars, and they had six gingerbread concoctions, one based on each of the movies. Being fans of IV through VI, we probably missed some of the references in the cookie palaces based on episodes I through III. As best we could tell, Jar Jar Binks does not make an appearance.

Every year, there is a lot of wonderful imagination at work in creating these confections, and there is a lot of technical skill involved. They aren't just cookies with a bit of icing. There is a whole confectionary along with the appropriate lighting and sometimes motion. Even if you aren't a Star Wars fan, it is worth dropping by the Sheraton and getting a dose of the Christmas spirit.

Star Wars in gingerbread

Is that the Death Star?

Is this episode II?

More Star Wars magic

Darth Santa being pulled by two AT-ATs.

The Death Star to the rescue, or was it the other way around?


More Star Wars

Uneasy lies the head and all that ...

More magic

Who gets to eat the leftovers?

Keywords: christmas, seattle

12/04/15 - Seattle - City Christmas

We were in Seattle for a few days last week and walked back from Fremont to our hotel. Cities are always beautiful around this time of year. Businesses and homes put up their Christmas lights to counter the winter darkness. Since half of Seattle seems to be under construction, it's great that so many of the looming construction cranes are illuminated as well.

We tried to get into the Volunteer Park Conservatory, but it was closed for a few days.

A view from Fremont Bridge

Along the waterfront

Construction cranes alight

A view across Lake Union

The Space Needle and a bit of a crane

City lights

City sidewalks

Keywords: christmas, seattle, winter

12/01/15 - Lake Angeles Snow

There's already snow on the ground along the Lake Angeles trail. It's a Christmas wonderland.

This looks Christmas-y.

Are those Yule logs?

That's the little bridge.

Maybe it's time to start shopping for a tree.

White snow, black stream

Keywords: christmas, lake angeles

12/27/14 - More Christmas

Here are a couple of our Christmas presents and a teaser.

This little fellow is right at home on our tree.

We finally found something to feed our tribble.

What's that on top of our tree? Stay tuned.

Keywords: christmas

12/23/14 - Christmas Cookie Tree

We are finally recovering from our 2014 Christmas Tree cookie party. Thanks to the efforts of our friends, our little tree was not unadorned. For us, it was easy. We just set out the gingerbread cookies, the dragee and the icing, and our friends set to work. By the time we were ready to light the candles, the tree was decorated and by some serious talent.

Thanks again everyone!

The cookie tree

From the side

Again from the front

A close up

Another close up

The tree looks pretty good in daylight too!

Another daytime view

One of our friends is a real architect.

We're not sure this one would meet code.

Keywords: christmas

12/14/14 - Christmas Party

We Kalebergs haven't quite reached peak Christmas yet. We're still mining the season, but we did have our annual grownups Christmas party. It's a choucroute year, but by the time the choucroute comes out of the oven, laden with smoked pork chops, sausages, duck breast, smoked pheasant, pork hocks, westphalian ham, potatoes, carrots, juniper berries and sauerkraut, everyone is hungry, so we didn't manage to take any pictures. Still, if you look closely, you can see our illuminated fruitcake, some half and half cookies, sweetmeats and candied grapefruit peel.

The spread

You can probably make out some of the goodies in this shot.

Our big tree and the fireplace mantle

The big tree

That's our new Christmas tree topper. It's wifi compatible and based on an Arduino Yun.

Our shaman transforming

The little tree waiting for the cookie tree party


The champagne forest

Keywords: christmas

12/11/14 - Christmas Firetruck

One of the great local customs in Port Angeles is the Christmas firetruck which visits every street in town. It's a vintage firetruck with lights, a tree, Santa and his helper elves giving out candy canes. We're always listening for the siren so we don't miss the truck.

Our neighbor's house - He's a gold star power company customer.

Our place - quiet elegance or maybe we're not as energetic

The firetruck


From the side


Until next Christmas season

Keywords: christmas, port angeles

12/08/14 - Seattle - The Sheraton Cookie House Competition

Every December we try to get to the Sheraton to see the the wonderful seasonal gingerbread concoctions in their lobby. This year the entries were better than ever, and they really helped us get into the mood for Christmas.

This amusement park had a K'Nex roller coaster, as with so many of ours, out of order.

The tropical paradise was as wonderful underwater as above - note the dangling fish below.

This Seattle montage might have been our favorite.

That's Big Bertha emerging from its caverns below route 99.

That's Santa being pulled by a team of salmon.

This one is a traditional nativity scene, complete with the star and the manger.

Note which inn is out of room: The Westin.

We aren't too sure about this Aztec temple with its motto - "From the bottom of our hearts." Uhh, really. This is Christmas.

They did have some tired reindeer soaking their feet.

There was a great Christmas village.

We think that's either a happy Seahawk or a happy Seahawk fan.

Keywords: christmas

11/28/14 - The Kaleberg Advent Calendar

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can decently release the Kaleberg advent calendar. An advent calendar is a calendar that keeps track of the days before Christmas, often a seasonal scene with little doors that are opened to reveal pictures or treats as the big holiday approaches.

Our calendar has been electronic for years now, so we've released our Kaleberg advent calendar as an interactive web page to get people into the seasonal spirit. If you have a late model browser on your computer or are running a more advanced version of IOS or Android, you should be able to join the excitement.

Just follow the link to the Kaleberg Advent Calendar web page and start exploring our Christmas village. Use the four arrow keys to navigate (or touch and drag if you have a touch screen). The carols will begin to play. While you explore the virtual village, watch for changes. This village, like us Kalebergs, takes Christmas seriously.

Explore our Christmas Calendar

Keywords: christmas

01/06/14 - Final Portraits - Christmas Roundup

The Christmas season is over, but the memories linger. With the days so short, we really appreciate the festivals of light.

Dawn on Christmas Day - Of course we were up.

Our tree at peak Christmas - fully loaded

Our wreath

The cookie tree

Some of this year's cookies - thanks to our friends

Keywords: christmas

12/28/13 - Our Cookie Tree

Here's a quick shot of our cookie tree with its candles lit. File this under extreme Christmas.

Keywords: christmas

12/15/13 - The Kaleberg Christmas Party

To celebrate Christmas, the Kaleberg Compound was converted into a Christmas cave, shrouded in greenery and full of warmth and light. There was also cassoulet. Two years ago we had some problems with our cassoulet, but this year we bought most of our pork products from the Clark Family Farm, so our cassoulet was a sparkling success. In fact, this may have been our best cassoulet ever.

This party was also the coming out party for our renovated Empire State Building, now with glowing Neopixel lights, and it gave Godzilla an excuse to positively glow with atomic fire.

Welcome to the Kaleberg Compound.

Our big tree and the decorated mantle.

Our party spread with half and half cookies, dried fruit sweet meats and our illuminated fruitcake. Not shown: the egg nog and the brie en croute with cranberry chutney.

Another view of the table.

Atomic flames, holly lights, skyscrapers and a fruitcake

The big tree in full form

The cookie tree waiting for its gingerbread

The cassoulet

Our champagne forest

Keywords: christmas, clark family, kale

12/12/13 - Santa Claus is Coming to Town

We heard the siren relatively late last night. It got louder, then softer, then finally louder again. It was the annual Port Angeles Christmas firetruck. Santa was on board with his Christmas tree and his escort of elves collecting money for the food bank and passing out candy canes. Yes, Santa Claus is coming to town.

The Port Angeles Christmas firetruck

That's our neighbor's lights across the street.

Santa on his appointed rounds

Keywords: christmas, port angeles

12/11/13 - Edible Art at the Sheraton - 2013

Every Christmas the downtown Sheraton in Seattle hosts some serious gingerbread cookie art. There's more than gingerbread, of course. There's also a lot of candy, spun sugar and serious imagination. This year, the theme was nursery rhymes, rendered as charmingly as ever.

That's Jack's beanstalk towering over Seattle.

This is jolly old London, the setting for oh so many nursery rhymes.

London Bridge is falling down.

Hickory, dickory, dock.

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe.

I saw a ship a sailing.

A close up of the ship - The windows were magical.

If you look carefully, you can see the cow jumping over the moon.

A rendering of Seattle under the bean stalk.

Keywords: christmas, seattle

12/10/13 - Seattle Cranes

It is our favorite time of the year for visiting cities, because this is the time everyone gets serious about decorating for Christmas, and Seattle is no exception. There were wreaths and roping and Christmas lights everywhere, so the city was at its best both by day and by night.

The downtown Christmas tree

The Space Needle and one of the many construction cranes

The Space Needle a bit later - That's the Pacific Science Center down on the left.

The Space Needle and even more cranes

As dusk approaches, the cranes take light.

The guys must have had some real fun decorating this one.

Downtown by night

That crane from another view

More cranes decorated for Christmas

The Space Needle with its Christmas tree topper

The Space Needle again

Keywords: christmas, seattle

12/05/13 - The Making of the Kaleberg Christmas Tree 2013

Our 2013 Christmas tree is coming along nicely. We were driving home from the Farmers' Market and saw a huge tree right on First Street. We screeched to a halt, probably scaring the drivers behind us, but we had to check out this tree. It was huge. It was green. It was a monster. It was way too big for our car, so we had it delivered. Then came the wiring and the lighting, and then the ornaments. It's still a work in progress, but we have to admit that it is quite a tree.

It started right after Thanksgiving and Hanukah collided.

In came the tree, another monster.

Christmas wreath

Early lighting test

All the great skyscrapers are doing this lately. Why not?

By day

By night

Keywords: christmas

12/31/12 - Two Out Of Four

This was a last minute Christmas present suggested by most recent flight back from Seattle. The climb out of Boeing Field takes one over an industrial area south of Seattle. It doesn't look like much by day, but there are all sorts of fascinating lights by night. One set was hypnotizing, a set of four columns lighted two at a time, moving about an invisible shape. A quick trip to the Radio Shack provided an Arduino processor and some red LEDs. JoAnn's fabrics and hobby supplies next door provided four plastic columns for supporting elaborate wedding cakes. Add in a glue gun, a soldering iron and some black foam board, and there was something new under the tree. Be sure to click and watch the dark video. It can be hypnotic.

Click the image to see the movie

The works in a drawer

Click the image to see the movie

Keywords: christmas, seattle, science, art

12/20/12 - The Kaleberg Christmas Party - Grownups Edition

Here are some photos from our grownups Christmas party.

Our welcoming shaman transforming

How many calories in a choucroute? If you have to ask, you can't afford to eat one.

The Christmas table lit by atomic fire

Definitely the grownups party

It was also the eighth night of Hanukah

Half and half cookies and other desserts

Our big tree

Keywords: christmas

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