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It Takes a [Department 56] Village...

 many people collect Department 56 villages,
and  everyone has seen those 'ping pong table sized displays' of them in stores, right?
very impressive feats of visual merchandising, and entertaining, too!

but no one REALLY has that much room in their home to replicate it!
so how do you display a large collection of little houses and churches and people and trees 
...in a REAL home?

'Divide and Conquer'!
my client simply cleared off the tops of all of the tables in her formal living room, 
giving us room to design miniature landscapes for her elegant villages.
[the more 'playful' collectibles went into the kitchen, as shown in this post]

 the sofa table and two shelf units flanking the fireplace offer copious space to display her villages
and her gorgeous antique furnishings added such warmth to the scenes...

from year to year, the setups changed, but we always used her antique wooden boxes as risers, 
to lift some of the buildings up in the 'landscape'.
stacks of old books could be used for this, as well...

simple batting snow adds whimsy - especially when it is separated to appear as a 'shoveled' walkway,
or as a stream (see the shot of the sofa table up above)

 the batting snow also hides the boxes that these houses came in, so they can act as risers...
 AND it hides the electrical cords!

 placing some of the lighted buildings low on shelves brings light and interest to the shelf units,
offering a perfect viewing perspective for children.

 this close-up of the sofa table setup reveals that it is double-sided,
making sure that there is a happy view from any vantage point in the room...

 the sideboard holds yet another village scene... 
one year this setup was built on top of a large mirrored tray, 
so that the mirror could peek out of the snow as a frozen lake!

here are just a few more photos of this beautiful home...

the wonderful family who owned it has moved on,
as have i... and i will miss the creative and happy hours spent decorating there.


Cookin' Up Some Holiday Decor!

i had the pleasure of decorating an executive residence in Seattle for many years,
becoming friends with the remarkable family who lived there...
and let me tell you the homeowner's copious collections provided me and my decorating crew
with a PLETHORA of materials to work with!

the thing with huge collections is to divide and conquer...
her large collection of Department 56 houses 
was always given the place of honor in her living room and kitchen. 
each year, we'd rearrange and create new scenes using the same houses with changing props.

a few of the kitchen displays are shown here...

above, the gigantic island hosts a woodland scene 
with moss, snow, twigs, and shiny red ornament trees & garlands as the large focal points.
glass cake pedestals hold faux cakes, and a cut glass vase with a glass plate on top
serves as an even higher vantage point for woodland creature figures to gather...
in the bay window,
two nutcracker pedestals lift Department 56 houses and faux cakes up high, 
while various old food tins act as pedestals for more from her collection of 150+ nutcrackers -
these are bakers, candymakers, winemakers, and creators of other foodie delights!
gumdrop trees (some light up!) and candied faux fruit floral picks
add more color to the theme.
low glass pedestals hold more Department 56 houses.
 another year, we put the shiny red garlands into tall vases,
and topped them with huge clear glass platters.
those formed tall pedestals in the back of the bay window, 
where the largest Department 56 houses were stars!
 yet another year, the red shiny ornament trees moved to the bay window,
sitting up high on the nutcracker pedestals.
white plastic snowflakes dot the garland behind the houses
and from red shiny ball garland and greenery swags over the window.

i'll share another post with photos from her living room Department 56 displays soon...
in the meantime, take a look at her largest Nutcrackers, guarding the front doors!
these guys were 8 feet tall!!!


sweet snowmen

back in about '06, i created this display of charming little vintage-looking snowmen
for one of my retail clients (Columbia Winery in Seattle, WA).
i loved these sweet creations, but red is rarely a part of my home decor palette...
[note: i created this display and the banner in it, and photographed it, 
but the snowmen are not mine. they are Seasons of Cannon Falls, i believe]

i NEVER let what's available 'OUT THERE' limit me...
i just start making my own versions of things i love if i can't find exactly what i want.
that's what HOMEWARDfound style is all about:
grab what you've got on hand and make something you love!
[call it 'making do' if you'd like...
when I was a kid, i had a Childcraft book called 'Make and Do',
and i read it cover to cover and made every single thing inside!]

so, i decided to make some of my own snowmen using vintage papers,
and then accent them in colors that WOULD coordinate with my decor.

i gathered up 
scrapbook papers, old books, buttons, yarn, ribbon, stickers, styro balls, glue,
leftover sweater bits & pieces, bells, wire, glitter, paint, beads, cupcake papers, ribbon,
some aluminum stacking cups - and got to work makin' a royal MESS!

here's what i came up with:

 a JoYfuL SnOwMaN
some BLuShInG SnOw BaBiEs
[i think the little guy on the left looks a bit like Linus from Peanuts!] 
a miniature SpArKlY SnOwMaN
he's actually made from two pompoms, glued together and covered with glitter!

i also made a sweet decorated box
and embellished a house for them all to live in, happily ever after...
of course, about two years LATER, my color scheme had changed
so I 'made over' my little miniature snowman in neutrals:
then i made him a new friend and put him in his own mini-dome
[a stemless wine glass turned upside down]
they are a happy pair!
making do . make and do.
our decor can be what we want it to be!


CandyLand Holiday Tea

 for a Holiday decorating seminar presentation one year, i pulled together this colorful and fun theme...
'CaNdY LaNd HoLiDaY TeA'

it began with the traditional colors of red and green - with a twist: bright, happy LIME green!
the theme builds on the idea of a Holiday tea party with LOTS of 'sweet as candy' great ideas:

*in the photo above, you can see that a candy-striped vintage apron is used as a seat cover
[a charming way to protect OR camouflage your dining room chairs!]

*my wire mannequin was dressed as the hostess 
in her charming 'dress' of draped gingham curtain panel and another vintage Christmas apron
a 'pom pom' fringe was added to her dress by using resin ornaments from the dollar store
and her 'scarf' is a piece of garland adorned with more resin ornaments and 'candy' floral picks.
she would be perfect greeting guests at the door!

*vintage tablecloths in red and white, red and white ribbon and candy canes on the tree,
and a Santa hat tree topper add color and pattern to the setting.
*red and white ornaments and plain red plastic beaded garlands 
are displayed like hard candies in glass bowls, candy dishes, and champagne saucers
 [some of those ornaments actually look JUST like peppermint candies!
i separated a long glass garland so that i could use them this way]
* making these cute 'bon bon' ornaments is simple
AND everything you need can be found at the dollar store!

*start with resin ornaments. 
*hot glue a pom pom to the front of the hanger on top.
*pop them into prettily-layered cupcake/candy papers, 
and display on a cupcake tree or pedestal!
[of course, you can also hang them on a tree]
* i was inspired to make this sweet take-home treat by creative artist & designer Betz White
Miss Betz created some swirly felted cupcakes a few years ago (they are famous now!) 
and i made my own version for this display... NOT to sell.

*my cup cakes are made from fat green 'caterpillar' yarn, 
*wind in a spiral and glue to a styrofoam ball.
*pop that into a paper liner inside a teacup with a wired ribbon around it.
[making them actual CUP cakes, if you get my drift]
*on top, a wired ribbon flower with a fat red pom pom 'cherry' finishes it off. 
*a pretty tag shows each guest where to sit at your tea party!

PS: my Christmas China pattern is 'Happy Holidays' by Nikko
* i shared this tip in another post recently, 
but since it originated in this setup, i'll just pop the photo in here...
mini stockings make a terrific holder for flatware & napkin on the table or at a buffet!
*these candles and ribbon with 'candy cane' patterns add so much to the theme...
the candles shown are manufactured, but it's very easy to make them!

*start with plain white pillar candles 
[IKEA is a great resource for these - inexpensive and they burn beautifully & long, with no smoke]
*use red craft paint and a foam brush to paint on stripes
(use masking tape in various widths to mask it off if you'd like)
*once dry, cover surface with elmer's white glue and then roll in SUGAR!
the sugar adds a soft sparkle, which looks more like candy than glitter does...

had this decor been in my own home rather than at a resort for a seminar,
i would have added one more thing to top it all off:
ornament-draped chandeliers!
 easy to do with plastic or glass beaded garlands and ornaments
and big round light bulbs, just for fun!


Tattered N' Torn Christmas Decor

silver and white are staples for the Holiday decor in my home. 
yet each year, i add something new like
another color [or non-color in the case of clear glass]
to breathe new life into the rooms we live in. 

one year, I decided to bring in browns, coppers, bronzes, and wood
i love the warmth and masculine touch it brought to the decor...

i call this look 'Tattered & Torn'
and i hope that you will find some inspiration for your own home, table, or party decor here!
hanging on an old door turned pegrack at the entry to our Cottage,
leather bags and a weathered chair hold knit scarves, mittens, holiday decor and a sweet teddy bear

on the white mantel, a gathering of silver serveware is dressed up with
a floral arrangement, candles, and ornaments galore...
one end of the mantel holds this tiny nosegay arrangement
made with a dried hydrangea blossom and one of my chenille stem poinsettias 
simply placed in a silver mint julep cup with a crepe paper collar.
stockings made from old linen fabric and the trim from a vintage dress hang from brown bows.
the buffet in the dining room held another arrangement of silver pieces, 
loaded with ornaments, florals, candles, and silver flatware.
i like STUFF, what can i say?! i load things up for an abundant look... 
[no, i honestly never used this as a server!]

on the wall, a huge twig wreath is flanked by two wire baskets
filled with dried hydrangeas, vintage paper, and ornaments
 adding scale to the wall arrangement.

ah, and the lamps? new. i paid something like $14 each at Marshalls for them.
i took some muslin fabric and swooped it around the white lampshades, and tied it with string.
the warm creamy ivory light made this room glow!
the arrangement features a sweet birds nest, 
with a tiny ceramic brown bird decorating HER nest with tinsel!
celery glasses hold my silver flatware, ready for a party...
my grandmother's silver sugar spoon on display...
 a beautiful tiny arrangement of a dried hydrangea and dried roses,
in a silver creamer...
 on the dining table, a centerpiece is created on two trays that are easily removed,
and the tall arrangement in the center coordinates with the ones on the buffet and mantel.
the tablecloth is actually a beautiful piece of sari fabric...
up above the table is a simple chandelier with linen shades,
and several wire garden baskets hung upside down... just because i could!
[tho they DO coordinate with the wire baskets on the wall above the buffet...]
and finally, the Christmas tree... this one was pretty unique
i had a small white vintage tree  - and then found a vintage aluminum tree on craigslist!
[i LOVE craigslist!]

since you can't put light strands on an aluminum tree (fire & shock hazard)
i just nestled the two trees together(a bit like trees grow in the forest...)
and then decorated the white one with large white C9 lights,
and an array of ornaments, vintage finds, and crafted goodies:
the brown stars look like gingerbread - but they are pre-cut felt stars from the dollar store, 
painted with brown textured patio furniture paint
those silver beads are on bendable wires, able to swoop and loop through the branches.
tiny buttons on wires and gold acorns dance on the branch ends...
my white santa mugs again, this time suspended as tree ornaments with brown ribbons.
[people always ask where i found white vintage santa mugs... 
these came with red paint on them, just like the ones you always see in antique stores. 
i simply soaked them in hot soapy water, then used a credit card to scrape off the softened paint]

the other ornaments are beads and charms on wires,  with the names of my family members on them
i had some silver candle clips, so i added these long white tapers to the tree.
and no, i didn't light them!
a vintage painted ornament in the perfect copper & brown colors,
and a new star... i found six of these at a thrift store. they were PINK.
i spray painted them silver, and now they look perfectly vintage!