Friday, 2 December 2016
Walking in a Ginger Wonderland
Hello all! Long time, no post...
I think that's about the quietest it's ever been at Words and Pictures, but November was full of work which took me jaunting up and down the UK (at least there were no aeroplanes involved for once) and now I've been struck down by a winter bug which has knocked most of the stuffing out of me.
I'm hoping against hope to be ready for a singing workshop this Saturday, but it's not looking good voice-wise!
For now I'm very happy to be here at the start of a new challenge at A Vintage Journey. This month the wonderful Deb is looking for lots of Winter Magic.
As always, my amazing team-mates are offering plenty of inspiration so do take a look, and here's what I've come up with for a touch of magic this winter.
(Plenty of photos coming up to make up for being absent for so long... you may want a nice cup of hot chocolate to see you through...)
For me, the festive season starts with Advent Sunday when we sit down to write our Christmas wishlists by candlelight, and traditionally we also decorate a gingerbread house (though that's been put on hold this year since I was feeling so out of sorts... my niece and nephew will be coming round one day after school to do it instead).
This particular gingerbread house has already put in an appearance over at Cestina's Dollshouses. Do click on the link if you'd like to see the photo-story of its "creation".
Don't tell Sasha and Gregor (you'll just have to visit Cestina if you want to know who I'm on about there!), but this little house is of course not actually made of gingerbread.
You'll recognise the Tim Holtz Vintage Village die, I'm sure. I cut it from quite thick cardboard (from my hoard of broken down cardboard boxes), and used Vintage Photo Distress Spray to give it a darker gingerbread hue.
I sealed it with DecoArt Matte Medium so that the ink wouldn't bleed into my icing, and then the DecoArt Snow Writer went into action to provide the decoration.
The house we decorate is usually covered with garish sweets and candies but, like Sasha, I prefer the traditional iced look.
I kept it pretty simple with hearts and flourishes, and of course the tiling on the roof.
One of the magical things for me about winter is that sense of being curled up cosily indoors while the winter weather takes hold outside.
So once Sasha and Gregor and Co. had finished with the house, I decided I wanted to give it a winter woodland setting.
I tried a Camembert box, but it was too small to hold anything but the house itself, so I've taken the lid off the largest of a set of cardboard stacking boxes. The big box will just have to live without a lid in its future life.
Here's the "naked" planning stage - just to see if the vision will somehow work in reality...
The box lid has been altered with the DecoArt Chalky Finish paints - a combination of Rustic and Relic underneath, then Crackle Medium, and Everlasting over the top.
Then I used my finger to add some touches of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics in Raw Umber and Quinacridone Gold.
The Idea-ology bottle brush trees have just had a little frosting of gesso on their branches for a slightly snowy look.
I used some Raw Umber on their bases to darken them towards more of a tree trunk effect.
I've got some of my favourite pinecones scattered around the foot of the trees, also with a hint of frosty gesso.
And yes, I know those pinecones couldn't possibly have grown to that size on those particular trees, but this is a Ginger Wonderland, so just like with Alice in Wonderland anything can happen size-wise!
There are little wooden slices (picked up ridiculously cheaply at The Works, I believe) to form the path across the crackled snow and ice up to the door.
I cut the Tim Holtz On the Fence from kraft card a couple of times and gave it a spritz of Vintage Photo Distress Spray for that gingerbread look, as well as a dusting of light gesso snow.
Right from the start, I'd had a vision of the rusty wire "handle" over the top, with dangles of some sort.
I punched holes in the sides of the lid (now a base rather than a lid, really) at the beginning, and made sure they stayed clear of paint and crackle medium through the process.
I glued a couple of rusty rings (some sort of jewellery findings, I think - they looked useful to me, so I bought some) around the holes and fed my twisted rusty wire through, securing it on the inside by bending it around the interior curve of the base.
I knew I had some rusty snowflakes, but it took a while to track them down (it's such a long time since I've been in the craft room that it's hard to settle back in and find things).
Having finally found them, I attached them with jump rings, and added the Season Muse Token for good measure.
After all, this project is all about the magic of the winter season...
And, of course, no winter is complete for me without the magic of candlelight. (I prefer the real thing but I don't want to set fire to my house - burnt gingerbread is no good!)
There's a lot of talk about "hygge" around at the moment - the Danish word referring to a sense of wellbeing, warmth, contentment and harmony. It's very hard to translate into one word.
It's mostly about making ordinary everyday things meaningful, beautiful and special - for instance, choosing to light a candle at mealtimes - and about taking pleasure in small things like a warm fire, a soft blanket, a pair of woolly socks and a hot drink.
I think it's a close relative of the German "Gemütlichkeit", summoning up moments of warmth, companionship and candlelight... and neither word is really translatable into English. Cosy is slightly too twee, and is more about the physical sensation than the emotional content of the moment.
But this project definitely creates a sense of "hygge" for me. The rustic feel, the simple natural colours, the house just nestled into its woodland glade, secure and safe as the snow and frost begin to appear. It makes me feel warm inside.
And because it's a gingerbread house, you even get that hint of what I'm drinking as I'm huddled with my books and blankets beside the fire - yes, a gingerbread latte for me, please! And that, as far as I'm concerned, is a touch of Winter Magic.
Do hop over and see what my team-mates find magical about Winter, and I hope you'll come and share your version of Winter Magic with us at A Vintage Journey this month. It's always fantastic to see what you come up with.
For now though I'll love you and leave you, I hope, with a warm sense of "hygge" to carry you through the day. Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you again soon.
Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself around us, that something so intangible it is almost like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but it will always be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.
Augusta E. Rundel
I'd like to enter this in the following:
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, they're playing O Christmas Tree this week
And at Frilly and Funkie the theme is Home for the Holidays - well, this is definitely a home for the holidays!
At Love to Create Challenges it is, as always, an Anything Creative/Mixed Media Goes theme, so I'd like to play along there
And at the Creative Artiste Challenge Blog it's also Anything Mixed Media Goes so I'm playing there too