I ADORE these masks created by Isabelle Thibeault! Her whimsical Photography found on her blog harks to anthropomorphic fairytales and stories of delight! It would be very very difficult for me to chose just one, but perhaps you can find your own alter ego amongst her creations...
I just LOVE this little Snow Baby on a Snowball Box designed and created by Karima, the owner and Queen of Castle In The Air! Best of all, there is a FREE PDF HERE so you can make your own! You can also buy a kit Here, which comes with everything you need to create your own delightful little Snow Baby Box! I'd like to make a whole family of these, just to put around the house!
Here is another amazing FREE PDF from the wonderfully creative Ann Wood! I have always loved her magnificent paper ships, and now she has generously shared her pattern and instructions for making a enchanting paper boat just in time for you to sail away on Christmas time dreams! Complete Instructions can be found HERE! Can't you just see a family of Snow-babies riding away on one of these?
I think this little 3-D town calendar from Canon is delightful too! I love how each month gives a new scene, and yet you can see all of them at a glance! You can print your own calendar for free here!
And just for fun, I found this wonderful old 'Cook Book' illustration! Doesn't it make you want to cook a holiday feast? Link
At this time of year, my Husband, Daughter and I have an on-going argument about WHEN to start Christmas decorating. Being Danish, My preference has been to wait until the day before the 24th, (OK, a week before would be tolerable). My Husband's family is Swedish, but as transplants to Minnesota, the Tree went up in early December. My 14 year old Daughter wants Christmas to start the day after Thanksgiving! What to do? Compromise... Last week I had the idea of agreeing on getting a tree on December 13th, which also happens to be St Lucia Day, a fitting start to our holiday season. Truth be told, I love having a tree and green garlands in the house - its the rest of 'Christmas decor' that sets my teeth on edge.
With the big date set, discussions have already begun on HOW we will decorate, and with WHAT. A few of you may remember THIS POST about Halloween Decorating with my daughter, well let me tell you, Christmas is no different! She, bless her, has a very definite idea of what Christmas should look like. Lately her favorite line is having a 'Catalog Christmas'. What is a 'Catalog Christmas' to a 14 year old? When all of the ornaments and decorations are color coordinated, and look like they came out of pretty gift boxes from a favorite shop in the Mall. At times like these I truly wonder "Is this MY daughter?" Five huge boxes sit in the rafters of our garage - all labeled Christmas. Each is filled with Nostalgic Scandinavian Jul Decor, Little Red Tomte's, Hand-woven wheat ornaments, Flying geese, crystal icicles and plenty of hand-made delights. No Catalog Christmas in sight.
Today, tired of being sick and a little bored, I decided to jump the gun on Christmas decorating. Ok, the reality is I am also claiming a little bit of 'Christmas Territory' in our tiny house, before the big guns come in on the 13th. I have fantasized about a WHITE CHRISTMAS for years, with lovely white furniture, simple crystal candleholders, and a breath of French elegance. I'm afraid my tastes are too 'Worldly' and 'Eclectic' for this fantasy. Digging out some splendid spangled trees gifted to me earlier this year by Nancy made me smile. Who could sit under these eye-popping trees placed to either side of my mirrored Arts and Crafts sideboard? A Lovely Antique Chinese Embroidery from the equally lovely Nicol sets the stage beautifully. Ten sweet little paper-mache dolls from China, two ducks and a big blue 'Star' crafted by the Castles own John McRae, have created a Ulla Inspired Creche Scene like no other... I love how everything looks together here, the spangled trees framing the hand-sewn treasures. Like an exotic Asian Fairy-tale come to life... I Wonder what my daughter will think???
This beautiful hand carved and hand painted door header graces the enchanting home of fellow blogger Anita of Castles, Crowns and Cottages in Minnesota. Lovingly created by her husband Ruben, chief scribe of the blog Rattus Scribus, who also happens to be the brother of Nancy of Fete et Fleur it set the stage for a delightful day spent with this wonderful couple! These are the JOYS of Bloglandia! Anita is a Fourth grade French Teacher in a French immersion school, and her home is pure Provence! Filled with lovely hand made touches and treasured antiques, that sing of 'Castles', 'Crowns' and 'Cottages'!
Both Anita and Ruben are self taught musicians, Anita on the harp and Ruben on the guitar. My husband, who ended up staying for a couple of hours talking with Ruben, and I were serenaded with lovely music filled with joy and friendship!
Anita and I had planned a day of antiquing but ended up staying in her home and talking all day! We had so much in common and so many things to chat about, time just flew by! The hand colored photo below, is Anita's Grandmother, obviously true beauty and style runs in the family!
This delightful 'Castle Theatre' below, designed by Anita and created by Ruben, has been the place for a number of inspiring tales told on Castles, Crowns, and Cottages, and will surely continue to keep us all enthralled!
And look closely below, and you'll see a wonderful tiny velvet slipper crafted by Anita, in front of a enchanting bouquet also created by her hands! Truly their home was FILLED with treasures such as these...
As you can guess, their Christmas Tree was also a true work of art, nestled in a corner, covered in glitter, feathers and romance!
THANK YOU DEAREST ANITA AND RUBEN for a lovely day, and dreams of many more!
THANK YOU NANCY for making this day happen!
The art and jewelry by Japanese born Shinji Nakaba makes me weep with its pure perfection... Using a variety of materials including classic gold, silver and gemstones but also beer cans and plastic water bottles, Shinji's pieces appear to be plucked from an otherworldly garden of delights! Pure Perfection and Total Wonder!!! Be sure and check out his Blog HERE for more wonderful images of his work, his inspiration and his process.
I absolutely adore the folk-art style painting of English artist Anna Pugh! Her attention to details, love of nature and ability to tell stories within a frame are amazing! Her enchanting artwork mesmerizes and demands a second look. ENJOY!
Where does the time go??? I've been overwhelmed with classes, events and projects, and seem to have neglected my blog. I'm so sorry! I promise to catch you all up as soon as I get some more rest. Yesterday and last night was the CASTLE'S Christmas Transformation . I was the first to arrive at 9:30 am, but not the last to leave! At 11:30 pm, 14 hours later for me, I had to head home, and leave the rest of the Castle Christmas Magic up to the remaining elves... Do come and visit soon!!!
Illustration above by Theodor Kittelsen of Norway.
BELOW: A peek at our 'Christmas' Window (using antique Chinese Theatre Puppets) created by the ever talented John McRae!
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!!!
Four Lovely Women joined me on Tuesday to create 'Fairy Chatelaine's'! Little treasures were encased in clay, glittered, shaped and formed into enchanting charms any fairy would be proud to wear! The first one below, was created by one of the students for "a friend who just lost her Mother", filled with personal symbols and meaning... Truly Wonderful Day!!!
My Husbands Grandparents came from Dalarna when they were young. We have a large collection of wooden Dalarna Horses to prove it! I have always been fond of Scandinavian folk art, and recently discovered the site for Jobs Handtryck. These fabrics have been entirely printed by hand since 1944. Patterns created years ago are as modern today as they were yesterday! Hand-printed means expensive, at around $140.00 a yard, but its hard to resist these patterns! You can also buy their fabric made up into handbags, pillows and shoes among other goodies. I just love the pumpkin print above, wouldn't it make a wonderful Autumn tablecloth? Or how about the beautiful chestnut print below, perfect for a woodland party!
Available statewide through Magdalena York Collection