Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Winter Wonderland

Hello, back again, here I am! I am wondering if there's anybody out there, you've all gone remarkably quiet on me...

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!


  1. That looks fabulous, Hen. Shame you didn't add a photo of you all glittered and painted!!!

    Sue x

  2. Wow, how different, love it !!
    Also eating the choccies to get the stain glass windows is an excellent excuse to eat chocolate. Have a lovely Christmas x

  3. It looks gorgeous Hen, it must've taken ages, I bet the Munchkin loves it! The bottle brush trees were a bargain!
    Rachel x

  4. Hi Hen,
    Just been unbearably busy with school Christmas concerts, laundry, shopping, wrapping of gifts, making and sending cards...etc..
    Thank you for sharing with us all your loveliness...I want to see all your glitter projects! xx

  5. Oh, I forgot to say you're village is a true delight!! xx

  6. you have been busy, a fab village! We have only managed to decorate the tree so far!

  7. I love your snowy village Hen and it was well worth all the stressful mess! I bet the munchkin likes it. Don't let that Jacky Ginge up on to the mantelpiece will you?!!! Gizmo has already had lots of fun knocking the baubles off the tree!x

  8. I was very taken with Aliceas village also but I love the compactness of yours. I hope to do something similar next year on my dresser top. Will you be adding to it each year.

  9. Hello. I love your blog. I have never commented before but I did so love the little village you made! What a beautiful home you have. I love the Christmas picture above the mantle as well. That and the snowflakes look perfect above the village. I have noticed many of the fireplaces on blogs in Britain appear so tiny. Are these coal burners? Anyhow many have such beautiful tile and designs as does yours. Thanks for sharing I just might have to try making some little houses myself.

  10. That's a lovely village! Well done on being such a good miniature architect!


  11. It looks wonderful and a great alternative to a nativity scene. The church looks lovely all lit up with it's pretty stained glass sweetie windows.
    Ann x

  12. OMG! I absolutely LOVE it Hen! You've done a wonderful job! And the lighted 'snow.' Oh my...I might need to make one too...

  13. Hi Hen, I think this is the first time I've commented on your blog but have been following you for a good couple of months :) just had to say: what a lovely idea, I'm very impressed with your village & I want to make one too now but simply don't have the space!! There can never be enough glitter so heartily approve of that too.
    Have a lovely evening, natalie x

  14. That looks really pretty.

    However painful having to eat choccies - am sure the Munchkin would have helped with that task ;)

  15. HEN?!!!! Are there no end to your talents? I ADORE your village, how magical it looks all lit up. It will give you pleasure for many years to come.

  16. Well, i am lost for words. You are incredibly talented and very clever. Your little village is a delight.
    Thankyou for sharing.
    Rachael XX

  17. I love your snowy village, Hen! It is just so adorable. I am still looking for bottle brush trees, seems everyone has them but me! Every place I have been has sold out. Maybe after the New Year I will luck out at one of the thrift shops.

  18. That's truly beautiful, I might just have a go at that myself for next year! How very evocotive!

  19. Gorgeous Hen, well done you have done a wonderful job. Merry Christmas! Kathyx

  20. Fantabulous! I love it! suzie. xxx

  21. Wonder-ful!!! You're such a talented lady!

  22. ooh I likey very much - I saw Alicia's post too and thought how flipping fabulous...and thats where it ended!!!
    Well done you, I bet you can't stop looking at it :)
    Happy Christmas!!

  23. It is really wonderful!I love the lighting effect.How long must it have taken to make I wonder?


  24. That is just fantastic, I think I dropped about 24 years and became 7 when I saw it (I think my maths is right). How much fun you must have had - I will have to show this to my little boys later.
    Lots of love, Kate (the greedy for colour one). xxooxxooxx

  25. G'day
    Gosh your little village is incredible... what a lot of love & work went into it... I think your love & your work makes this all the move special... something bought houses can never do... stand proud you have done a fabulous job... very envious to say the least, the lack of a beautiful fireplace makes it even harder for me to achieve... ha ha... OOroo... B

  26. Wow Hen, they look amazing. So christmassy and pretty on your mantle. I hope you and your family have a wonderful christmas.
    Luv Sophie xxx

  27. I LOVE your snowy village...and I'm so glad you made it rather than buying something already made.

    I live in Australia and every Christmas I dream of one day enjoying a white Christmas :)

  28. Alicia started something I bet! I'd love to do one...maybe next year.

    (and hey, you call 21 comments remarkably quiet? )
    I think there are so many amazing blogs out there that people check on, it's hard to comment on every visit.

  29. good job...that is adorable. jules

  30. Like you I admire that Alicia did. Your village is so beautiful too !You did a great job. You have given to me a good idea to the next Christmas !
    Elisabeth from France

  31. What a wonderful wonderland. It looks absolutely lovely.

  32. Oooh....too much lovliness, it's absolutely gorgeous. I love it.

    I think I'll make a village of just churches though.....I have LOTS of Quality Street I could donate to the cause!!

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a Very Happy New Year.

    Sue xx

  33. I love your Christmas village scene you've done yourself proud making it. I also love the fact you've made it "hilly" instead of just in a row...now have I got time to copy you???? hmmm Lucey xx

  34. it's fantastic Hen... i love it! what would we do without glue guns and quality street i ask?
    love that it was inexpensive and thrifty too.
    happy wednesday!

  35. Hello Hen
    Wrote a comment last night but I probably didn't send it properly - I do that! Your lovely village is absolutely enchanting; so so pretty - I had to call my daughter in to come and see! Love all the details like the lovely little angel called Harry. I recognise the snowman from your last post too. I saw Alicia's village - it never occured to me to have a go; well done you have suppassed yourself! I prefer the handmade houses to bought they look amazing. Worry not about not having artistic talent; you have it in bucket loads! Such a lot of work you have put in to it and you must be thrilled with it - you can add to it every year until you have a massive town on your hands. I bet everyone who sees it just goes WOW! All the photo's are incredible, I clicked on them all and loved them - the last one with the gorgeous tree, the picture hanging over the mantlepiece, the village, paper-chains and snowflakes was just perfection. Total cosiness and Christmas warmth personified. Absolutely lovely.

  36. You really are properly clever Hen!

    In the imortal words of craig Revel Horwood it is "A MAZE ING!"

    loVE IT, wish I had time to have a go at one!

    Love Sarah x

  37. Siobhan,
    I'm hoping you might read these comments sometimes as I just wanted to thank you for the lovely comments you leave me. I am not given your email when you comment so I have no other way of getting back to you. Just want you to know that I appreciate it.
    Have a wonderful Christmas.
    Hen xxx

  38. how fabulous!! well done you - you are clever!! xx

  39. oh gawd.......now I have SERIOUS WINter Village Envy, I mean reaaaaallly bad!

    I had already been drooling over Alicias, had already been tempted by all the links she provided, and now Hen you have absolutely tipped me over the edge with your beautiful creation.
    Your village is absolutely wonderful, really very special indeed. Love it. And your whole room in that last picture looks so cozy, (your tree is enORMous!)....here's wishing you the merriest of christmases....

  40. Stunning! Totally going to add to my list for next year. Would you please put up some photos of the houses close up?

  41. Fabulous. Oh for the imagination and the time, the things I would do!

  42. Absolutely fabulous!!!!

    MY SIL has one of the village scenes and I keep eyeing them up on Amazon to begin my own collection but I do love this far thrifty version!

    Victoria xxx

  43. Absolutely lovely and I'm so impressed by your artistic dedication in eating the strawberry and orange creams. It's a tough job...

  44. Wow !!!!!!!!! what a great job .
    Must remember to try this next year.Thanks for the link and the great inspiration :0)

  45. Hello Hen,
    You have done a beautiful job! Many of us drooled over Alicia's village and her grandma story that goes with - but your patience and care in building your own is wonderful, as is the lovely result! Looks like a happy Christmas in store at the Henhouse - did you make a little hh for your village? That will be for next year, hmm!
    judith b.

  46. wow it looks incredible ! you are so clever at everything!!! ive had a horrid computer virus and still need a new laptop (please santa) so back in blogland properly soon I hope!

  47. What a super decoration! You clever thing...it looks beautiful with all the glowing lights.

  48. WOW! Fantastic!
    Where on earth do you get the patience from?

  49. Am rushing a bit, so can't leave my normal size comment, got to go to knitting. Just had to say a quick FABULOUS Hen! Just wonderful. I've been so looking forward to seeing your village. Must dash, will visit again tomorrow. Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  50. I love your snowy village, its beautiful! xxx

  51. OOOHHHHH Hen, How amazing and wonderful. Just have to add to the chorus of admiration for your talents, and thank you HUGELY for sharing with us all your fabulous creations. I really enjoy reading your blog, and sorry that I don't comment very often, but I always enjoy the photos and chat. have a wonderful and magical Christmas with your family, very best wishes, Wendy.{:0)
    P.S. The other blog that I read is Vannessa's, loved your gifts to her!!!

  52. Hi Hen

    Really pretty houses and church. I have been trying to find some old vintage ones but to no avail. Perhaps I may have to re-think and go down the make it myself route.
    Impressed that you have made all from scratch!
    Thank you for your good wishes.

    Looking at the forecast, it looks like Munckin's wish for snow will come true...

    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  53. I drooled over Alicia's blog too ... you've done an amazing job and you'll be delighted to bring it out year after year I'm sure! Perhaps I'll get round to making one next year, hmmm!

  54. Lovely Hen, What a great Christmas display.

  55. Oh my word - Hen I've said it beofre and I'll say it again, you're a true crafting talent. What a brilliant way to get in the festive spirit too. Its adorable and I think the Munchkin will have many happy memories of it.

    I'd love to live in your little village, close to the church please so I don't have to walk too far to the carol service!

    Happy Christmas Hen.
    love Stephx

  56. ooohh...had that is amazing!
    I'd love to shrink myself and pop inside.....so cute!xxx

  57. Oh how gorgeous is that! Mmm, got me thinking, can I squeeze one more bit of crafting in before christmas!


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