Please come by CASTLE IN THE AIR this Holiday Season and share in all the wonders and delights that the Castle is known for! More stories to come...
Very special guests are arriving at 'Mouse Castle' from near and far! Little Miss Plum Blossom, carried in a silk ribboned golden cart, came through the 'Mouse Castle' gates today. Known for her delicate and pale beauty, lovely eyes and near perfect manners, she is now resting in preparation for the big day on friday.
Please come and welcome Plum Blossom and all her other Mouse Friends on Friday November 9th.
Opening Celebration will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. but the shop will be open at 10:00 am.
Only 3 more days until 'Mouse Castle' in unvailed. The Prince of the Castle is seen here looking over his domain. It's the final touches that are being added now... Mouse Domain flags are being hung, silver towers are being polished, lots and lots of stairs are being swept, and cheese, cheese, and more cheese is being cut and placed on platters. Little feet are scurrying every which way, so that everything will be perfect when the Castle gates open this Friday.
Special Opening with spectacular displays, bubbly, hot cider, treats and 25% off Friday November 9th from 5:00 to 7:00
Castle In The Air
1805 4th street
Little Millie Mouse can't wait for the 'Mouse Castle' gates to open! She's borrowed her mothers shoes and filled her handbag with edible goodies in anticipation of the big day! Now if only she could walk without tripping every two steps...
MOUSE CASTLE will open November 9th, 2012, at CASTLE IN THE AIR, in Berkeley, California!
What do Artistic Aristocratic MICE sit on?
Paint brush - palette chairs of course!
Don't miss Castle in the Air's Grand Christmas Opening on November 9th!
Saturday was a very special day for one of the resident Castle Princesses. To mark the occassion I was asked to create a 'Chariot pulled by Butterflies with a Fairy inside' class for this 9 year olds Birthday party. (A students finished chariot is shown above) Its been a few years since I taught 9 year olds, and I had forgotten how attentive and focused they can be! They were as quiet as mice for the first half hour - watching, following and creating.
I hadn't expected them to finish their project so quickly! Karima, Queen of the Castle, came to my rescue and suggested that the girls also create tea-party settings, with toadstool bowls and golden Dresden cutlery. Suddenly their imaginations were set free... The Chariots continued to be embellished, some with umbrellas to protect the fairies from rain. Fairy's were given jewelry and belts. Little tables appeared, created from crepe paper and corks - kids are so ingenious! I was thrilled that they could expand on the theme and create magic!
A table was set up with 'grass' and Fairy Houses, so that the Fairy's had a place to fly their Chariots to, and perhaps even rest on a hammock!
Topping off our party, was a 'Princess Cake' covered in candles, joyous singing and smiles all around!
What was the noise Little Brother Bear heard yesterday? Non other than Santa Bear arriving in style! His green shoe sleigh is pulled by two white goats, decked in antique paisley finery. Santa Bear wears a felted wool jacket and holds a huge bag of toys, enough for all the little bears who are now asleep in bed!
Wishing you a most Merry of Christmas' and Many Blessings for the rest of the year!!!
Just for fun, here is a photo of my Inspiration (top left corner), Santa Bear before being costumed, and the antique chocolate mold I used for my paperclay sleigh...
In Denmark December 23rd is known as 'Lil Jule Aften' or 'Little Christmas Eve'. It is the day when last minute preperations take place and then everyone goes and wishes Merry Christmas to their neighbors and friends. Bear House is enjoying these traditions as well! Here Ms. Bear Cook is busily getting all the trimmings together for the Bears Christmas Eve feast! One of the resident Baby Bears can be seen in the corner begging for sweets...
Papa Bear is writing his letter to Santa, while nibbling on cookies. Do you think he is wishing for fish and honey???
GrandMother Bear is admiring the tree, and Grandfather Bear is enjoying playing with yet another resident Baby Bear. He made this Baby Bears stroller years ago!
Upstairs, Mama Bear is taking a well deserved rest in her bedroom, reading a favorite novel, while little sister plays with her dolls.
Oh my! Just listen to the rukus coming from next door! Little sister runs to investigate...
Seems the rest of the Baby bears, have abandoned bath time and taken to jumping on the bed! Lil Jule Aften is always full of activity and adventure!
But look, Brother Bear hears something outside - what could it be???
To be continued...
Years ago my Mother made a 'BEAR HOUSE' that was displayed only on Christmas - a Tudor confection that she crafted from a kit. As children grew the tradition become lost and forgotton in storage. I was thrilled when my Mother gifted me the house a few weeks ago, and have been busy updating it for this years holidays. Below is the house as it arrived, without snow or trees. Look at all those individual wooden roof tiles! It also has a backyard, with a white picket fence.
The first thing I did was take a big piece of white batting and layed it over the top of the house and then I ripped and tore all the edges to make it appear as if it had just snowed. Next I found a couple of miniature - but larger than dollhouse size christmas trees for the yard. These I sprayed with spary-glue and then sprinkled faux-snow on them for that realistic winter dusting. The out-house (created by my Mother) also received a dusting of snow. If you look closely you'll see a bird-feeder and 'snow-bear' statue in the yard as well. Things are getting cozy at 'BEAR HOUSE'...
More to come...
Today I had the special treat of seeing my friend Dolph Gotelli's 'An Enchanted Christmas' exhibit now being shown at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville. If you are anywhere near Napa this is a not to miss exhibit of amazing wonder and delight! (It runs through January 23rd, so there is still plenty of time!) Dolph has created 30 vignettes of his favorite christmas collectables. Everything from 'Santa on a Midnight walk' above, to Grizelda's Christmas Tree - first image below.
My Mother and I spent nearly two hours looking at all the scenes, each one magical and nostalgic. I especially fell in love with 'Dinner At Willow Hollow' seen first below - depicting a christmas feast attended by a variety of woodland animals. Dolphs attention to details is supreme and his ability to make our hearts go back in time flawless. A couple more of my favorites are also seen below. More information on Dolph can be found HERE. And photos of all the scenes are HERE!
Sometimes I could just kick myself for not finding Inspiration like these earlier! These 3 Vintage German scenes would have made truly wonderful Holiday Classes - I'm thinking of next year now! Just look at the details! And the use of cotton batting, paper scrap and doll house shapes is supreme! Although they are all sold, we can gather hours of creative ideas from these images!!!
As I alluded to in my LAST POST, making these tiny little miniature 'Winter Wonderland' scenes is truly addicting and wonderfully fun! They are easy to create and make me want to do a whole table-scape full of little mountains!!!
Heres what you will need:
Foil, Cotton Batting, Scissors, Moss and natural bits, DAS paper clay (for little houses), Fabric Stiffener (I used Aleene's), Stiffen Quik (Aleene's), Spray on Snow, Glitter and Mica and Hot Glue Gun.
Step one is to decide how big you want your scene to be. We were limited to the inner circumference of our glass domes, (about 3 inches) but you can use any size you'd like. Take a length of heavy duty foil ( about 2 feet or so) and crumple up a preliminary shape to work with. Pinch out peeks, and pay attention to height.
Step two: Cut a piece of creamy white cotton batting big enough that it will cover you foil on all sides when it drapes over. Lay your batting flat on the table and pour some 'Fabric Stiffener' onto the batting and work into the batting with your fingers. You want the batting to be moist and tacky on both sides, but not 'drippy'! Drape batting over your foil, and begin forming it. Use your fingers to create peaks, and let the batting drape dramatically to form mountain ridges along the sides. Press the batting flat to the table along the outside edges. Have fun with this part! When happy with the mountains, set aside to dry.
Step Three: While your mountains are drying you can make some tiny houses out of paper clay or even cut pieces of foam core. I made mine of DAS paper clay, and then painted them different shades of red and pink and glued cotton batting onto the roof tops to give a snow topped roof effect. When your mountains are fairly dry you can cut the edges of the cotton batting to fit what ever size and shape you are aiming for.
Step four: Make trees and bushes from tiny pieces of moss. I cut triangular shapes from pieces of thick moss to simulate conifer trees. Trees often grow in clusters, and even up on the hillsides, but rarely on mountain peeks. Use your imagination... Hot glue trees, and houses in place as desired.
Step five: The Snow! First I sprayed a light dusting of 'Spray Snow'. Be sure to test this before you spray your piece, as a little goes a long way. A heavy spray of snow gives a very different but equally lovely effect as a light spraying. If you wish, you can add a sprinkle of glitter on top of the Spray Snow now. Or you can wait for the snow to dry. Once dry, use the 'Stiffen Quik' as a spray glue, and lightly spray again applying glitter or mica where desired. I found that a small sprinkling of Mica on the peeks gave the impression of 'sunlight on the mountains, and a dusting of finer glitter over the countryside made the lower areas look as if a light snow had just happened. If you can't find a 'Spray Snow', I suggest using the Stiffen Quik and sprinkling on 'fake snow' or glitter.
A couple of my students in the Mother Winter Workshop added crystals and other miniatures with great effect! The skies the limit here, just keep scale in mind when you add things. We also thought about how fun it would be to add mini lights onto our hills. I hope someone will take this project and really go wild with it!!! I know I will be making more of these little worlds soon and hope you will too. ENJOY!!!
Last weekend 5 lovely women joined me in creating their own personal versions of MOTHER WINTER at the CASTLE! Not only was this my last class of the season for the Castle, but I think it was one of my absolute favorite classes! Using glass domes as a 'skirt' and wonderful papers, fabrics. glitters and natural materials - true fantasy versions of Ms. Winter appeared! Inspiration came from Pagan Myths, Marie Antoinette and even the Aura Borealis! My personal favorite part of this project was creating the miniature 'Winter Wonderland' scenes that fits under the glass domes. Teeny Tiny little trees and houses clinging to snow encrusted hillsides - one is truly transported!