"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jingle All the Way!

While the mobs raided the stores on Black Friday, we stayed home and decorated for Christmas. This year, I had one goal - keep it simple.

While I worked on the mantle, the kids trimmed the tree. This year, I chose a Nativity theme and used pieces from several different sets to complete the scene. If you look closely, behind Mary's an open door. Look inside and you can see Santa Claus coming to deliver presents to the Baby Jesus.

Next to the fireplace is my Adirondack tree, filled with knee-hugger elves and flocked Santas and snowmen. The kids gravitated towards all the old ornaments over the newer ones. Wonder where they learned that?!

This pink Barbie tree is decorated in old pink and aqua glass balls and strung with pastel pearls. My Pink Ladies offset it rather sweetly. This tree has been dubbed the hamster's tree and the kids are hoping Santa will leave little presents for her. Ho-boy.

I can't decide what theme I like more - pink and sparkly or a woodland forest.

Today, I decided to personalize my kids' stockings. Mary has a Victorian-style pink and ruffles stocking, while Nic's has a more folk-art flare. Both are hand-made. Because I can't sew for beans, and am totally jealous of all those who can by the way, I bought Mary's last year on Etsy and my mom made the one for Nic.

Originally, there was an image of a Victorian girl on this stocking. I printed out a picture of when Mary was just a baby and ironed it over the image. Then I added the trim and antique appliques. Now it really feels like Mary's stocking.

Long before Nic was even born, Ma made four of these stockings for us using this old world fabric. Just like Mary, I ironed on a picture of him as a baby and trimmed it in red, gold, and black ric-rac to accent the colors of the funky fabric. Upholstery tacks decorate each corner.

I like to imagine my kids as parents someday, still hanging the same Christmas stockings their mom and grandmom made special just for them.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Decorating Little Cubbies Inside a Christmas Shadowbox

Have you ever worked in miniature? As easy as it sounds to create in the world of smalls, it's actually very challenging and stretches your creative energy. Maybe that's why I love it!

This past summer, I bought these two shadowbox houses on Ebay. The first was made into a Halloween-themed diorama. I knew the other needed to be made for Christmas.

I'd say 95% of these cubbies are decorated using vintage miniatures and accessories. There's just something about combining old trinkets to make new art pieces that draws me in.

This teeny weeny Nativity scene uses glittered black scrapbook paper for the sky and an old rhinestone as the Star of Bethlehem. It even has "sand" which is a textured gel that I mix sand-colored paint in and let set.

Old images, especially of young children, always catch my eye.

I changed the bottle brush tree from the typical green to a shabby chic pink, decorated in little pastel balls. In the background is a piece of bottlecap art my kids and I worked on. This cap holds an image of Rudolph taken from a 1950s Christmas Golden Book.

Looks like Mrs. Claus is about to give old Santa a kiss goodbye before he packs up his sleigh.

This cubby is lined with old jewelry to give it an icy feel. In the background is a picture of an old stone mill in white, I used as my inspiration. I added fake snow and two black and white pictures of little girls from the 1940s. They're actually my Dad's sisters when they were little girls. I love the simplicity of this cubby.

This is an antique spool I carved into a Santa's face. I added the flower just to soften the look.

The background here is old Christmas sheet music, vintage flowers and snowman singing Christmas carols.

This little wide-eyed elf sits on top of a Christmas present and holds a candy cane in his arms. Two large candy canes arch over this cubby and more flowers for added texture. I just love lots of different textures!

A snowman and woman iceskating. Little fingers got to this one. When I went to bed that night, they were on opposite sides of each other. Looks like my son liked them better this way.

In this back of this Santa and reindeer are old plastic trees actually taken from a train set. I just cut them down to fit the size. Another bottlecap decoration, this time with a 1950 Frosty the Snowman smiling inside.

On the far right and left corners of this shadowbox are little angels, acting as if they're guardians in this little world. This cubby holds a tiny house with Santa and his reindeer flying overhead. I added a tiny bottlebrush tree I had actually dyed purple. Although the color didn't seem to fit in with the Christmas theme, the size was perfect and sometimes ya just need to do something out of the ordinary.

On the far bottom right are two elves sitting under two game pieces (I forget what it's called). I found the numbers 25 and in green, so it was a perfect complement to the diorama.

While I was taking pictures of this, my parents surprised me by stopping over. This shadowbox is now on its way to my aunt's house (the older of the little girl's in the white cubby).

As an artist, keeping in balance is a priority. Sure, I love it when something I make sells. And swapping can be very exciting. There are times I just can't part with something and keep it for myself, hoping to pass it down to my children. But other times, I just need to give it away. Hope Aunt Kathleen likes it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Remember These?

Come see the changes in these old Alpine Village houses! I've altered them using vintage miniature Christmas figurines, pastel glitter, fake snow, and lots of other time-worn bits and bobs like cupcake toppers and of course, old-fashioned bottle brush trees!

This was one of my favorites! A bunch of 50s teens doing the jitterbug outside in the snow!

Even Santa's dancing on the rooftop!

One of my other favorites - the Holy Family in front of a church. I love the way the vintage rhinestones glisten against the white glitter and snow.

All will be for sale in my Etsy store, Bucks County Folk Art for $10 a piece (except for the 50s Christmas -this has already been purchased).

Onto more creations!