Thursday, December 22, 2016

Perry Como- It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

 These pictures were taken during our first snowfall at the beginning of December. We had just finished putting up the candles. I love how they brighten things up!

Since I took these pictures we have had two more storms that have each brought 6-8" of snow. Winter is here for sure!
But is does make it feel cozy and Christmasy!
I found this fun video of Perry Como singing "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!"

Thankfully Kerri dog loves the snow! No having to coax her outdoors! (She is usually the one coaxing us!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Vintage Inspired Cardboard Village

For a couple of years now I have been ohhing and ahhing over those little vintage looking cardboard glitter houses. Sometimes they are large enough for table top display and sometimes tiny hanging ornaments. But...... I could never bring myself to buy any. The houses are always covered with so much glitter that the minute you touch it, it is everywhere!
 So I have continued to oh and ah from afar and leave them in the store.

 Until this year, when I decided I needed to make my own!
A quick search online brought up a template from Martha Stewart for a Winter Village. (Click on the link for a tutorial and the template.) I basically followed the directions Martha Stewart gives; print out the template, glue it to cardstock, cut out the house (an Exacto knife is a big help here), fold along the lines and glue together. Then the fun begins! It was so much fun painting and decorating them with "snow"!

(Forgive me if there are too many pictures. This has been my favorite Christmas craft this year and I am so excited with how nice they turned out!)

 If I had used primer like was suggested, the bases probably wouldn't have curled as much as they did. But they are still cute!

I was so excited to to discover the perfect product for the snow! A paint called Snow-Tex. It is the perfect texture and color. For just a hint of sparkle without going overboard, I coated the Snow-Tex with a white shimmer paint. 

 Did you know decorating with little Christmas villages is centuries old? It is primarily a German tradition, but many nationalities also celebrate the holiday with something similar. German-American's nicknamed the houses "Putz houses" using the slang word meaning "to putter around". The villages took a long time to get just right!
In the 1930's the little houses gained enormous popularity and everyone from Sears-Roebuck to dime stores sold Japanese cardboard imports. With the advent of electric Christmas lights, the houses were fitted out with yellow cellophane windows and a hole in the back for a light bulb to shine through. 

 I think my favorite little house is the white church with it's tall steeple and many windows. It reminds me of a vintage Christmas card. 

 This little bungalow I modeled after my cottage with a small front dormer and a low slopping roof. Of course I had to paint it pink! A color that was surprising popular for the little houses.

I hope you have enjoyed a stroll through my little village and history. Do you remember putting up villages or do you have a village every year?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas in Connecticut

Looking for a movie recommendation this weekend? Try one of my favorite Christmas movies,  "Christmas in Connecticut" starring Barbra Stanwyck. It has all the classic movie ingredients I love; a zany plot, delightful characters, a beautiful house, gorgeous costumes by Edith Head, wonderful Christmas decorations, and a couple of aprons!
(Don't you love that mammoth tree dripping with tinsel?!)

As the title implies, the plot revolves around a farmhouse in Connecticut.
Even though Elizabeth Lane (Barbra Stanwyck) doesn't own a farmhouse, she portrays herself as living on a Connecticut farm in her homemaking column. The publisher, unaware of Elizabeth's deception, invites himself and a returning war hero to her farmhouse for the holidays. Elizabeth and her editor hatch a plan to continue the charade. And you can imagine the hijinks that ensue.

"Christmas in Connecticut" was released in 1945, a time when everyone was weary of war and ready to return to pre-war homeyness. The movie abounds with old fashioned domesticity!  A cozy snow covered farmhouse, plenty of home cooked meals, a big cheerful kitchen, a crackling fire and a glittering Christmas tree. 
Nora, the housekeeper, is wearing an old fashioned white apron in this breakfast scene. 

There is even a comical flap-jack flipping scene! Don't you love the kitchen?
Even Barbra Stanwyck is wearing a gingham apron-esque dress, giving her a competent homemaker look.

One of my favorite scenes is when Elizabeth Lane and the war hero, Jefferson Jones, give the baby a bath. Isn't she wearing a fabulous apron?
And don't forget the charming bathroom! 

Have you seen "Christmas in Connecticut"? What is your favorite part of this fun holiday classic?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Cards and Snowflakes

I hope you enjoy looking at vintage cards as much as do, because here they are again! I always look forward to pulling them out each year. 

 This year I went a little simpler and combined the snowflakes and Christmas cards on the clothes line. I picked out cards that featured outdoor snow scenes. I think they compliment each other nicely!

My grandmother's crocheted snowflakes always amaze me! Such detailed work. I never knew how to decorate with such an odd color until I realized it goes perfectly with pink! So glad I figured that out!

 I also set a few cards on the tall bookshelf for a dash more color.

 Yes, that is a light switch in the middle of the wall. All I can say is it is an old house and that is where it has always been......

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Vintage Find: Christmas Santa in Sleigh

Each year there is one vintage Christmas decoration we end up bringing home. Most of the time we don't even know we need it until we find it! This year's find is a blow mold Santa in a sleigh. Cute isn't he?

Santa is on the porch right next to Frosty. They are so cheerful. I love the touches of bright red.

This summer I had taken the table down to the basement. It has always been a bit of a clutter magnet, but then I realized there was no place to put Christmas decorations. So back up it came!

The tinsel trees are another crafty project this year. I love the look of cone trees. But I haven't found any that I really liked (usually too much glitter!). So when I found cardboard cone forms at Hobby Lobby, I scooped up a couple. I also purchased at Hobby Lobby mini tinsel garland in the mini tree decoration section. With a bit of double sided tape, I had the cones wrapped in a few minutes. And for both trees it only cost me about $10!

The other side of the porch is dressed in it's usually wintry pillow covers. We kept it pretty simple this year.

 I love coming up with something new for the front door every year. Sometimes I have an idea what I want beforehand, sometimes not. This year I didn't really have a plan, but once I started it came together.

It is beginning to look very Christmasy here! The winter storm last weekend left a blanket of snow. The cookie varieties are piling up. And I only have four more presents to make. 
How are your Christmas preparations coming?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A DIY Christmas Banner

Once November comes with it's chilly gloom, my craftiness comes out full force. And my favorite type of craft? Christmas! Gifts and decorations, it doesn't matter to me. Each year my list seems to get longer and longer!

 One of this year's projects was a Christmas banner from On Sutton Place. Ann has such elegant taste and is so inspiring. I love how beautiful her banners are. I shared her Spring banner HERE.

You do have to purchase the banner (which comes as a pdf file), but I had all the other supplies on hand: cardstock, string or ribbon (I used baker's twine), scissors and a hole punch.

I don't think I shared this last year For a bit of extra Christmas-ness, I printed out several vintage Christmas cards and taped them on the front of the apple prints in the dining room. 
Mom and I love the vintage bells!

And to tie in with the framed bells, I placed my vintage bells on the window latch. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Simple Knitting

Sometimes the easy and simple is best. Like Elizabeth Zimmerman's Garter Stitch Blanket I have been knitting. A soothing rhythm of clicking metal needles, miles and miles of speedy garter stitch, a simple woolly yarn that is washable.

  Sometimes once a knitter has learned more complicated techniques, garter is left behind. But there is a refreshing simplicity about garter stitch.

I will be sad to finish this project. It has been so enjoyable to settle in evenings with a movie and  watch the pieces grow larger and larger.

Yes, there will be pieces to sew together, but it is quickly and tidily done with a mattress stitch. (And so much better then wrestling with a mammoth knitted project.) 

You can view more details on Ravelry

I am so excited to gift this project! I know it will be loved and used......and greatly appreciated.