I modeled my Christmas houses on the properties I’ve owned and their ancillary farm buildings, which is actually a cute idea of my dear husband’s. Initially, we were going to put them in the center of Todd’s train set from his childhood, but it needs a lot of repairs and room to set up, so my houses go on my studio mantel.This is the first incarnation of my studio, made December 2008, with the porch columns delineated in real peppermint candy. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box this year and saw the melted mess and mouse poopies! How silly of me to think I could store such a thing without consequence.
I didn’t like the iridescent cellophane for window glass. It ended up looking green all the time, so I replaced it with clear from the roll I keep on hand for gift baskets. Cutting and painting dowels to simulate candy canes gave me new columns.
The bodies of all my houses are crafted from cardboard boxes left in the recycling bin at the office. Thin cardboard is infinitely easier to work with, albeit less sturdy. I paint with acrylic craft paint or leftover house paint. I cut the openings out with my Exacto knife, then add doors and windows with gold paper saved from chocolate gift boxes, all done freehand. The lack of perfection makes it charming. (I personally find perfection rather dull.)
The Dresden paper trim is very expensive, $6 for four pieces, but it really makes a difference and on tiny houses it goes a long way. I bought mine at Artchix: http://www.artchixstudio.com/mall/abpgbord.asp
If you google for ‘German paper scrap’, or ‘Dresden paper’ you may find other offerings and better prices. I didn’t want to spend extra for colors I didn’t buy, so I paint gold or silver paper white or whatever I want. Everything gets fastened with a low temperature glue gun, except for the exterior glitters which I spread craft paste on with a wide brush and sprinkle glitter on over a piece of paper to catch and save the excess.
Last year, I was very happy to discover Martha Stewart glitter at Michael’s. Finally! Someone made glitter fine as powder, like the kind on Christmas ornaments, not the coarse kind for kiddie crafts.
The best glitter in the world, it begs to be told, comes from Michelle Cummings of Faerie Dust Dreams: http://www.etsy.com/shop/FaerieDustDreamsHer silver glitter is on the pink surface of the ‘Love Shack’, as well as on the white roof of the house above. This is my very first attempt at a Christmas house. Along the right side of “Aruba”, the guest cottage named after our honeymoon locale on the first property I owned in Fantinekill (near New Paltz, NY), is a recreation of the stone wall and arbor rendered in peppermint candy and a chenille wire. (The mice had a party with that, too.)
The snow on the roof is from one of those diorama kits in Michael’s for students’ winter scenes for science class, dusted with Martha Stewart crystal fine white glitter. The icicles are cut from sparkly felt, and the bottlebrush tree is from Saturday Finds on Etsy. http://www.etsy.com/shop/saturdayfinds
I’m going to blog about how I make my flocked antique-style bottlebrush trees soon!
The large white house is a replica of my first home, an 1890 farmhouse. The pink-roofed one is my guest cottage "Aruba", the one behind it is the barn, and the pistachio green glittered one is a bungalow on that farm. My husband started this bungalow and I finished it, and it’s one of my favorites. I like to embellish my houses with bits of rhinestones and old jewelry I pick up at yard sales for no more than 50 cents each. I really need to dress the wreath on “Aruba” up.
The houses here are an upcycled one from Target ($3), a yard sale Hallmark former log cabin ornament (10 cents), and a church resembling a Cody Foster design. I have the prettiest rhinestone earring I just found for the front gable, and a wreath, too. I so wish I had a picture of it to share, but I had to send my camera back to the manufacturer. Do bear with me.
The last two houses I have to show you are a henhouse done in Michelle Cumming’s pink glitter (it’s disappointingly darker than it looks on her Etsy site), and one inspired by the high schools of Delhi and Andes, New York.
I saw this at Ace Hardware in Delhi, NY, and had to have it so badly I bought it at only 25% off the week before Christmas, making it around $11. I have 21 hens, and my son Ruffy chases them constantly, so this vignette will always make me smile. I think it needs white Dresden trim along the eaves.
I spent most of November working on this school...and I don’t like it. It’s over scale from the rest of the village, too Georgian and formal rather than Gothic or Victorian, and dreadfully clumsy. I’ll have to take it apart. I think I can save the tower and cupola.
Lastly, everyone in town admires Santa’s ride when the reindeer have time off!
Thanks to my sister Nicole for this gift of a ’53 Fleetwood pink Cadillac. The Santa is from the inside of a snow globe my husband Todd gave me that broke.
Till next time, stay shabby!