It’s that time of year again! This weekend we decorated our house for the holiday season, and I’m just loving being surrounded with so much sparkly prettiness! On Thursday we did everything except the Christmas tree (which we are getting this coming weekend) and my Christmas village.
|Christmas Village 2011|
So today I set up my village. I went outside and collected some tiny tree branches, rocks and sand, gathered some sheets of styrofoam (rescued from someone’s garbage in October- we planned to use them to make tomb stones for Halloween but never got around to it), cotton batting, tin foil, waxed paper, and ivory snow detergent… and set out making my village. This is only my second year making a village. Last year I just slapped down the buildings with some cotton batting, so this is actually my first attempt at landscaping. I only have 3 buildings but I really wanted to have fun with the details, so I used a whole card table for my display (plus I’m hoping I get another piece for my birthday this year;))
This coffee shop was my first village building, which I bought myself last year. You can’t have a village without a coffee shop, so I decided to start there. I love that you can see the little people in the window. I made a snowman and snow kitty using left over Ivory Snow paste (which I used on the pond, pictured later). I also made a small wood pile (behind the snow kitty) using twigs from my yard. The twig tree I put in the front yard of my coffee shop had a branch that hung way out over the hill and was just begging for a swing. I knew Scott had a model car in his office that was missing a wheel (thanks to enthusiastic playtime with our daughters) so I swiped the tire from that wheel and tied it to the large branch, and voila- A tire swing! I love how it looks!
I had a package of 21 bottle-brush trees from last year, but because I only have a few pieces and wanted to landscape a large space, I got Scott to pick me up another package of 21. So yes, there are 42 trees for these 3 measly buildings, plus about 10 twig trees I got from shrubs in my back woods. I made pathways to the 2 buildings using some of the kids’ leftover play sand from last summer. All I did was lay it on the cotton batting, so I hope I don’t live to regret using it!
I watched some model train videos on YouTube and saw that they often use a resin for water, but I had used tin foil and waxed paper last year for my frozen pond, and I was pretty sure I could use waxed paper to get the look of a flowing river. I took a long piece of waxed paper and crinkled it up lengthwise to get lots of white lines and ran it down the centre of my village. The back of my village is elevated with a couple of extra blocks of styrofoam so it looks like the river runs from the hills at the back down into the pond in the front. We’ll just overlook the fact that my flowing river appears to instantly freeze into a pond at the bottom of my village. There is a lot of granite on our property, so I got a variety of sizes and colours to make some boulders and rocks to line my river and hide the edges of the waxed paper. The bridge towards the back was given to me by my mom for Christmas last year.
|Bed & Breakfast|
The Bed & Breakfast is the second building in my collection (I got it from Scott for my birthday last year). I made another snowman for its yard, as well as another sand path that leads to the bridge. The Christmas tree in the right corner is an old Christmas decoration that my mom gave me for my kitchen years ago, but it was about the right scale and I needed Christmas tree, so I used it here instead.
I made a pond like this for my village last year, and it was so easy and looked so great, I decided to make another one this year. First I cut a piece of cardboard into the shape of a pond. Then I covered it with tin foil, then waxed paper. I used Ivory Snow powdered detergent to make a paste to make a snowbank edge around the entire pond, but left 2 spaces clear (one for the mouth of the river and one for where people will get on to ice skate). I put lots of tiny rocks to cover where the pond meets the rocks, and put fluffy snow flakes where the waxed paper from the river meets the waxed paper of the pond. I used my finger nail to scrape some figure-8s and circles on the pond, so it looks like it’s been skated on. I really want to find some tiny shovels I can place by one of the snow banks. I adore the cute dog with ice skates (he’s part of a set that you’ll see in another shot).
I bought this tree lot for myself last year when they were on sale at Micheals. Although it’s from another collection (the people are more modern than the other people in my collection) I really loved the look of it, and it reminded me of going to the tree lots when I was a kid (we get our trees from the forest now). It was also really cheap because it was resin rather than porcelain and it had no lights (I put a set of lights on it that was supposed to be worn as a necklace).
|Aerial shot of landscape|
So although I don’t have a huge collection of village pieces, I had a lot of fun landscaping the largish area of my card table. Having fewer buildings meant it was pretty easy to plan the general landscaping (e.g. the areas that would be elevated, building placement, the river, the pond, and sand pathways) and then fill in with details (bottle brush trees, twig trees, rocks, tire swing, snowmen, people, etc.).
Some features that I think would really add to my village would be some sort of piece with movement, some flood lights, and more people. I love the busy villages I’ve seen on YouTube that have lots of lights and people, but I also love the idea of gradually building up my collection. I’m not going to have all the gear right away, and so far I’m really enjoying making my own pieces to add to the few pieces I’ve collected from last year. I don’t think it’s too bad for only one year of collecting, and my second try at a set-up.