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DIY LEGO® Mania

Putting It Together I don’t even break a sweat putting together IKEA furniture, but will I have the patience to successfully snap together hundreds of plastic LEGO® bricks to create kitschy Christmas decorations for my tree? We’ll find out.... I will never forget a particular childhood trip to Crown Center, a shopping center in downtown Kansas City. We lived about 100 miles away and a trip to the city was always special, but this trip was different. The shopping center, adjacent to Hallmark’s corporate offices, was hosting an exhibition of fantastic sculptures, all built with LEGO® bricks. There were life-size lions, tigers and elephants, skyscrapers, national monuments, cars, planes and trains. Like most kids, my sister and I always had hundreds of LEGO® bricks to play with, usually scattered on the floors of our rooms. We attempted simple projects but never could have dreamed the plastic pieces could be assembled in a way. When a press release for Chris McVeigh’s, “The LEGO® Christmas Ornament Book,” landed in my inbox a few weeks ago, I was immediately reminded of the wonder of that trip to the city. The 214-page book offered directions to complete 15 different holiday ornaments. Some were traditional, like a poinsettia blossom, wrapped present with a bow and and an angular wreath. There were also

various bulbs and pendants and even a desktop computer, camera and hamburger. My husband adores Christmas—a huge understatement, actually—and the holiday celebrations at our house are a major event, so I thought a theme tree decorated with LEGO® ornaments might become a focal point in our living room, worthy to compete with the six-foot long Christmas village and eight-foot tall polar bear on the front porch. How hard could it be? The book comes complete with a detailed parts list and beautifully illustrated decorations. The best part? Unlike assembling IKEA furniture, no annoying hex key or tiny screws are required. And these instructions were in color. If I could build that bookcase, a couple of ornaments should be a piece of cake. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the disclaimer on the back cover: This book is not authorized or endorsed by the LEGO Group. That meant all the necessary pieces wouldn’t be conveniently found in any pre-packaged set. Turns out it takes at least three different sets to complete the most impressive designs.

Thank to my Amazon Prime membership, the requisite pieces arrived the next day and I set out on this crafty endeavor. About 15 minutes in, I realized why my childhood ambitions for artistic greatness were never fulfilled, it’s hard! And tedious! And after a few minutes, the hard plastic pieces really started to hurt my fingers as I pressed them together. It took hours, but I finally applied the final, 71st piece to the ball depicted on the cover of the book. At this point, I realized that McVeigh and the other geniuses who manage to transform the bricks into ornate sculptures must have amassed huge college debt on engineering degrees. Whether it was ADD or just the simple satisfaction of completing one, I decided there would be no shame in resting on my laurels. No, there would not be a LEGO®-themed tree this Christmas, but I may just find a position of honor for the results of my labor. Now, what do I do with all the leftover pieces? – J.W. Arnold “The LEGO® Christmas Ornament Book” by Chris McVeigh 2016, No Starch Press 214 pg. $19.95

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 November 2016

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