Well, I shall whitter on regardless because I have something to share with you today. Do you remember me showing you this photo last week?
Something unusual was going on in the den, not the usual fabric-induced sewing frenzy, but something of a decidedly cardboardy nature. I blame Alicia of that fabulous blog, Posie Gets Cosy (I blame her in the nicest possible way, you understand, in fact in a very grateful way).
That little white card house was just the tip of the crafty iceberg. You see, I didn't need just one house...
...I needed a church too. And LOTS of other houses, oh yes, indeedy.
I also needed glue, paint, shiny paper, glitter and fluffy pretend snow. As you do. Golly, I tell you, my den is never normally this messy, I found that bit quite stressful.
And the tin of Quality Street, yes that was essential too. You'll see why.
Now much as I would love to be able to paint or consider myself an arty type, I'm really rather well... not. But I have a go, all the same. Things never seem to turn out quite as fantastic as I want them to. That's because you need a lot of talent for this arty stuff. It's a lot harder than it looks!
So, there I was, mooching on the 'net through my favourite blogs about a week ago, and my breath caught at the sight of Alicia's stunning village. What can I say? I needed a village of my very own, my own Winter Wonderland. I was transported back to Christmases in years gone by, to my aunt's house in Chester where she always used to have a party on the evening of Christmas day. She owned a small hotel so she had the room to entertain us all. Looking back, I can feel an amused smile forming on my lips. We girls (being me and my three sisters) used to have a sort of love/hate relationship with this party. Think the Christmas party scene in Bridget Jones. Yes, I bet you know the sort of party I'm talking about. There would be my aunt's boxer dogs under the table, slobbering away and hoping for a dropped sausage; the frankly rather naff Christmas presents; and her other half who was always eager to plant a yuckily sloppy kiss on your cheek. You really wanted to be at home listening to your new LP, stuffing your face with Quality Street and watching James Bond.
But the best thing about the party, and really it was always quite a jolly party to be fair, was the display my aunt habitually had each Christmas on the sideboard in her hallway. It was a complete (enormous) Christmas scene, though more of a nativity than a winter village, and I remember being mesmerised by it. The landscape, the undulating hills, were fashioned from crumpled up brown paper; there was a pool of shiny blue acetate; there was textured sand in the desert over which the Three Wise Men were travelling; and there was a proper stable, where the crib was to be found with a tiny Baby Jesus and all the animals. Oh, it was just magical. I do wonder what on earth happened to it.
I'm not a particularly religious person, perhaps that is why I am drawn to the winter village over a nativity (although the Munchkin does have a nativity set). So, for several days I toiled: glue over my fingers; paint on my hands; glitter just about everywhere. I'd like to think this is a work in progress; as I find little accessories, I might add to it, I might even make different houses (but I am pretty well all housed-out by now). May I present to you my own snowy village?
Of course, it really looks better once night sets in...
At the centre, up on the hill, there is of course, the church complete with its stained glass windows. (I had to eat all the orange and strawberry cremes from the Quality Street tin to make the windows. It's a hard job and all that.)
In the hills to the West, there's a small clutch of houses, nestling among their bottle brush trees.
There are a few more fine residences to the East.
Some have their curtains drawn to keep out the snowy cold. Vintage fabric curtains, of course!
And some households are decorating their front doors with Christmas wreaths (pipe cleaner wreaths!)
My snowy village, born 2009...
Hopefully around for many years to come. On a practical note, when I was wobbling a bit over my (lack of) painting skills, I wondered if I should have tried to buy a load of rather more professional looking houses. But the cardboard was pretty much instantly on hand. And it was thrifty too, oh yes indeedy. I had all the mount board hanging around, glue stick, glue gun, glittery card, craft knife, fabric off-cuts, pipe cleaners and all that. I did buy a few tubs of glitter from eBay and my local craft shop, oh and the green and gold bottle brush trees from Sainsburys. But, the white fabric was a remnant from my local sewing shop, just £1. It has a sort of sheen to it which is really rather nice, very snowy. The other coloured bottle brush trees (they're even nicer than the Sainsbury's ones) came from Poundland (yes, really), three trees for £1. I can tell you, I was very chuffed about that! Bottle brush trees in pink, turquoise and silver - for a pound! I picked up the little snowman and the glittery snowflakes in the RSPCA charity shop in Bridport at the weekend. All told, my snowy village has been a remarkably thrifty venture, I think it has cost me less than £20. Many ever-resourceful bloggers left comments on Alicia's blog which Alicia then formed into a list of links, directing to templates for houses or houses to buy. I did print the templates off, only to find I apparently needed to enlarge them. Lacking the ability to do so, and having to get on with my project instantly, (as I always have to), I just drew up my own to appropriate proportions.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my snowy village and a massive thank you to Alicia for inspiring me and to all the crafty bloggers for the links and inspiration. The glitter is just about out of my hair so I am going to go and sit in front of the fire and survey my village!