Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Catastrophe!

     Hi everyone!

    I was so thrilled when I found out that I was the Design Team Members'Special Mention at Country View Challenges for their 'Spooky' challenge. I was so happy to accept the opportunity to design for them again. When I found out that the challenge was to be anything about Christmas, I just knew that I had to share this special house creation with them.....

     I was inspired by one of my favourite artists - Nicola from Paper Profusion who made this gorgeous house you can see here. I thought it was so gorgeous - I loved how she used images behind the door. So I got my Christmas Nicecrane images and looked for a suitable picture...and that is when the ideas exploded!

      I found a picture of Father Christmas who, to me, looked a little bit worried. Then I found a picture of two little girls peeking from behind a curtain...They really should be peeking out the window....I think these little girls were staying up to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas.....and what if he arrived and saw they were waiting to see him....?

      I had a papermache house - the same I used for this and this. I love altering these houses. I was really looking foward to making this - I really adore making miniatures. I love all the problem solving and idea hunting that happens when working with this kind of project. I was glad that for once I wasn't having to make all of this in 1:12 scale - which is what I do with my dolls house. To me this was more of a novelty make and therefore I could be a bit carefree with the scale....and that made it even more fun.

     First I got some brick embossed card and covered it with Fired Brick and Vintage Photo DI. I covered the house with the card. The roof was covered with card that had been covered with Frayed Burlap DI and was cut into strips, which I glued on overlapped to look like a timber roof. I had covered it with a patchy layer of white embossing powder to give a snowy look....I knew I was going to be covering it with texture paste later, but this would be the beginnings of the snow effect.

      I cut a window out of card with a craft knife and painted it with French Roast Fresco paint. I cut the window 'glass' out of acetate and stuck it to the frame. Then I dabbed some Picket Fence DP behind the frame to give a subtle snowy window effect. Then I cut the image of the girls out and stuck it to the acetate.

      The door was cut from balsa wood and covered with French Roast Fresco paint and then some red card was cut to size and added to the frame to make the door. This was covered with Glossy Accents glue.

       I cut out some tiny holly leaves from the Nicecrane images (I adore fussy cutting and have some very good decoupage scissors for this) I have a circle punch so punched a small circle of card, folded it in half and cut an inner circle out leaving a small hoop. I covered this in Pine Needles DS and when dry I stuck the holly leaves on the ring to make a Christmas wreath. A small bow of ivory hemp string and a tiny sequin star finished the wreath.

     The icicles were acetate...cut into random zig-zag shapes and then dabbed with Picket Fence DP. After this glossy accents glue was applied followed by some Rock Candy Distress Glitter.

I added a lace diecut strip of card to the border at the top of the house and painted it with Stone Fresco Paint.

    The tree in the garden was made by cutting several identical Christmas tree shapes, covered them with Pine Needles DS. When dry I folded them all in half and glued all of them together forming a 3-D tree. A silver sequin star was covered in Glossy accents glue and then covered with Rock Candy Distress glitter.

Father Christmas was cut out from the images and glued onto card. Then Walnut Stain DI was blended around the edges.

     The fence was made with branches from my garden. I broke them into small segments then wrapped rusty wire around them to link them.

       The 'Merry Christmas' sign was cut from balsa wood. I painted it with Vanilla Fresco paint, dry brushed some Chocolate Pudding Fresco paint over it and then stamped the Merry Christmas stamp with black Archival ink. I used a stardust embossing powder over the black ink to add a subtle sparkle. A flourish was stamped in Fern green Archival ink and dabbed with an embossing ink red pen..this was also embossed with the stardust embossing powder.

      The post was made from a wooden stick that I stained with Mahogany wood stain and I did the same with a piece of balsa wood that formed the top of the post. I made some holes in the post and the sign and made rings from rusty wire with some jewellery pliers. These rings were then used to attach the sign to the post.

A green gingham ribbon was stuck to the top of the post.

   Santa needed a sack and so I used a piece of burlap, stuck together at the edges and tied with twine. A candy cane brad I bought many years ago was stuck to the sack.

    I used a piece of mount board to construct the ground for the house. I used Frayed Burlap DP for the path and stuck the house to the board. I then scooped lots of texture paste onto the board and began to smoosh it everywhere for the snow.

    I stuck the fence posts into the wet texture paste and when dry they were surprisingly secure...I had expected them to fall over and need gluing in place, but there was no need. I covered the house and tree with the texture paste and then decided that if Father Christmas was visiting this house then surely there should be a chimney!

      I made the chimney from leftover brick embossed card. I cut the shape needed by using the end of the roof as a guide, drew around it (so I had the dimensions needed) and cut out the shapes. I then stuck it all together, adding a mini cotton reel, painted with French Roast Fresco paint, as the chimney pot. I stuck it to the roof and began to add more snow. 

    After the texture paste had dried I needed to whiten it up a little so dabbed some gesso all over and then got to work sprinkling Rock Candy distress glitter EVERYWHERE!....I think you might have guessed that I used a lot!!!

Thanks so much for being here and seeing my 'Christmas Catastrophe' house - I really hope Father Christmas doesn't get too cold waiting for those children to go to sleep! ;o)

    Why not head over to Country View Crafts and make something festive for the 'Bah Humbug' Challenge!

                Have a wonderful Christmas!!!!!!


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  1. Stunning project Laura Love all the details and of course Santa hiding behind the tree!
    Merry Christmas


  2. This is so cute, Laura!

    I KNEW Father Christmas was hiding before I read your explanation as it is so obvious and he really looks very worried. Which makes this piece so adorable and enchanting! Seeing and reading your post put a big big smile on my face! Thank you for sharing!

    Big hug,
    Claudia x

  3. Okay pretty lady - you have won the most wonderful make of the year award. Laura you have been so busy. This make is fabulous and I love these projects that put me inside a little fantasy world. How very talented you are. I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas - miss our chats!

  4. WOOOOOOW. I am totally speechless, lady! This is totally and utterly gorgeous. I'm in love with every detail and that Santa's sack is just adorable. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! xxx

  5. What an absolute triumph this is!
    A decoration such as this becomes a treasure and an heirloom, it is fabulous in all its most wonderful details.
    Nicola is a lovely lade and it is true that she is such an incredibly talented artist, so little wonder you were inspired by her.
    Festive Wishes

  6. This is phenomenal, Laura! I saw PP's house too and it was just wonderful. Yours is different and just as lovely. The details are so inspiring: those wonderful icicles, the little girls at the window, the chimney and the use of colour and texture - it is an absolute delight! I have so enjoyed looking at your work this year. It has been a privilege to see such beauty. Have a wonderful Christmas and a Creative New Year! Julie Ann xx

  7. Absolutely fantastic piece Laura and thank-you so much for the shout-out. Your house and scene are really wonderful and very beautifully crafted. Especially love the added chimney. I am sure you and yours will enjoy taking this beauty out each December in years to come. Nicola x

  8. A stunning project Laura. The details are amazing, you are a very talented lady.
    Yvonne x

  9. When I saw "catastrophe" in the title, I thought a tragedy befell your GORGEOUS house. You are one amazingly creative lady. The is oh so pretty. What a treasure! Merry Christmas! nise

  10. This is stunning Laura. Love it! There is so much detail to absorb... more than 1 viewing! Love the way you have explained how things were done... very clever ideas. It certainly should become a treasured family heirloom. Thank you also for following my blog. I was delighted with your positive comments. Cheers, Di

  11. absolutely awesome creations and fab details on your house!

  12. LOVE this Christmas scene....everything is lovely and perfect. You are a wonderful artist and I wished I lived next door to youuuuu! God bless and thanks so ever much for all that you share!


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