Last year I caught the Christmas Village bug and set up my first fairly elaborate village. I had always enjoyed looking at all the details in Scott’s aunt’s village, so I decided I’d start collecting my own pieces 2 years ago. My first village was tiny, and I don’t think I got any pictures of it, but here is a post about last year’s: My second village (2011). I only had 3 buildings, but I did a lot of landscaping.
This year I have a few more buildings (I got some as gifts last year, but those couldn’t make it into last year’s village), and I picked up some gorgeous Department 56 stuff on eBay last month. Last year I had mostly Lemax stuff in my village but now that I see how pretty the D56 stuff is, it will be hard not to go all D56 from now on.
So I set up my Christmas Village today, and it only took me 12 hours! I took pics along the way so I could remember everything for next year. I started by just setting out all my buildings (I have 10 now!), leaving room for my home made pond, just to see if they will fit on my table. I’m using a 6 foot folding buffet table.
|Sophie says “yep, they all fit!”|
Next I got my styrofoam sheets from the garage. Scott and I picked these up from a neighbour’s garbage in the summer of 2011 (yes, we’re THAT classy!), at the time, thinking we’d make tombstones for our yard (for Halloween, of course!), but we never did. I’m so glad we swallowed our pride and picked them up because I checked out the price of styrofoam sheets at Michales this week, and it’s unbelievably expensive!
The other thing I got for my village last year is a train. The train I love and wanted is the Lionel O gage Polar Express train, which I had seen in YouTube videos. I know nothing about trains, but figured it would be expensive… yep! Over $400!!! So last year at the end of the season, I ordered a kids train set from Sears for $30. It has a plastic track and it’s incredibly noisy, but it works! I also picked up a sheet of grass from Michaels when they had their 50% of Lemax sale this week.
I set out my styrofoam sheets to form a base for my tabletop (so I can stick things into it at the end), and smaller sheets stacked up to make a mountain/tunnel. I laid out my grass in front of the mountain. Because the table was a bit wider than the sheets, I left a channel in the middle of the table to allow for cords. I made sure my track joints didn’t fall over the channel.
|Setting out styrofoam sheets that will be the base and the mountain/tunnel|
Next I used my handy-dandy styrofoam cutting tool (basically it’s a long thin piece of metal that heats up to over 200 degrees (C) and melts its way through the foam) which I also got at Michael’s this week (using my 50% coupon). Best 15 bucks I ever spent! Last year I did very little styrofoam cutting, but even that bit was messy and difficult. You do have to move slow, but this beauty allowed me to create a mountain/tunnel from my stacked foam sheets (I glued them together first using my hot glue gun with a low heat stick.
|And we have a mountain!|
Although these photos don;t show it, I went back and added I column on each end of the tunnel to support the mountain. It stands along side the wall and holds up the top sheet of styrofoam. You’ll see it in the completed pics.
|The right side of the tunnel|
|Left side of the tunnel|
|You can see my foam cutting tool on the table there, and all my village stuff on the dining table, waiting to be assembled!|
Next I took off the mountain and painted the inside of the tunnel black and also painted the foam that would not be covered by the mountain. I just used acrylic paints because that’s what I had. It took a LOOOONG time to dry on the styrofoam!
|The base is almost ready!|
I added a large piece of brick road to the left side of the display, which is where my city will be, and glued down the edges of the grass for the country side of my display.
|Finally ready to start the set up!|
I started by putting out all my buildings. At this point I’m just laying the cords out on the table because I am still moving things around a bit. Then I decided I needed to add my accesories because they determined where I placed some of my buildings. I wanted to be sure I had room for everything.
|Let the urban planning begin!|
I put a piece of cotton batting under some buildings to allow me to cover the cords, but I’ll also drape a large piece over the main part of the country side to cover all the transformers (those white boxes are for batter-operated accessories. I don’t use batteries for them, I plug them all into a cool adapter that allows you to plug in 3 accessories in one cord. But the little white boxes remain (unfortunately). They will become snow covered hills in the landscape.
|This is the only residence in my village!|
|The ice-skating dog marks where the pond will go. Floodlights will shine on it.|
|The city section is pretty roughly laid out. I focussed on the country side first.|
|The country side is all done!|
|I will likely add more realistic landscaping/painting to the mountain next year|
|The other side of the mountain|
This is my third year making my pond, and I’m still loving how it turns out! I cut a piece of cardboard to the size and shape I needed. Olivia and Sophie covered it with tin foil, shiny side out. Then they covered it with waxed paper, which gives it a frosty look. I use my fingernail to mark figure 8s and circles. Then we mixed Ivory Snow powder with a bit of water to make a paste and we created a snowbank most of the way around the pond. We left openings for skaters to get on the pond, and an opening for the river. The kids made the snowbanks this year, and I made the river. The river is a strip of waxed paper, crinkled length-wise and lined with rocks from my yard. My sister gave me the skate rental acccesories for my birthday this year (she gave it to me early so I could incorporate it into this year’s village).
|Poor puppy still can’t skate!|
Because of all the transformers and floodlights in this section, I covered the whole thing in batting, then cut holes in the batting where my flood lights needed to pop through. Then I used fine powdered snow to cover the seams in the batting.
|Wish I had a skating pond right outside my front door!|
|The kids play with the city section while I put the finishing touches on the country.|
|loved it so much I wanted one with a slightly different focus, lol!|
|Craving a pumpkin spice latte!|
|Carollers singing by the gazebo|
I did add a few details, including my deciduous trees (picked from shrubs in my backyard) and lots more pebbles, etc., which you can see int eh video.