Friday, 18 September 2015

Home for Christmas

Hi there!

I'm delighted to say that I'm being featured today over at the wonderful A Vintage Journey as one of their Guest Designers (Thank-you ladies!). I was really pleased when I learned that the theme to work towards was 'Home Sweet Home'. Those familiar with my blog are bound to know that Christmas is my favourite topic to craft for. Christmas, for me anyway, is all about being at home, in the company of loved ones. I've created a Christmas home decor project with lots of emphasis on products and techniques from the one and only Tim Holtz. I've been dabbling at the project over several weeks so am happy to finally have it done and dusted.

Please be warned that a photo laden long post follows! Apologies for the different tones in photos. Weather was dismally grey outside up to my sending snaps to AVJ, I've managed to take some sharper pics since.

So first up here's the whole project...

The house is a chipboard 'Large Twin Peaks' by Melissa Frances.

Beginning with the front of the house, I've decorated it using Maja Design papers except for the little muchkin images at the windows from Inkido. Almost all papers have been well frantaged. The centre of roof is stamped / embossed using a Christmas text stamp from Inkido. The outer roof sides are then treated using one of my favourite techniques as follows. First I dry embossed each side with Tim Holtz (TH) 'Tiles' texture fade. I then brayered over Versamark, sprinkled on some EP and heat embossed. Repeated latter stage several times so as to build up some nice thick definition to the raised areas. Also added silver 'pearls' using a pearl pen. Then applied same technique to the eaves on different colour paper.

You'll see lots of tinsel throughout project - all from TH Idea-ology. I suggest leaving tinsel placement until last as one's heat gun can cause it to shrivel and shrivelled tinsel is not a good look! The numerals 25 are silver sparkle embossed. They, and the deer, are diecut using TH movers and shakers. The little deer atop the roof is held in place with an Idea-ology memo pin. Practically everything in the project has been crackled and splattered with gusto!

As soon as I saw the Kaisercraft wooden street light online I knew it would fit perfectly for the house, together with the Idea-ology battery lantern. The street light and fence were an awfully long time coming together. I used 2 layers of cardstock when cutting the fence (a TH decorative strip die). First I made it silver but it didn't contrast enough. I had bought the new TH paint 'Ground Espresso' thinking it would match the roof, which it did, but the fence then seemed too dark for Christmas and more akin to Halloween. So I coated everything in 'Clear Rock Candy' glitter but it was still too dark. Next idea was to spray it with Tattered Angels glimmer mist in 'Sapphire'. This was an improvement but still seemed too dark - navy now. Finally I dabbed on lots of Distress Stain in 'Brushed Pewter' - ta da!! Pleased with result!

The little toys, instruments and several other metal embellishments have been polished with silver gilding wax. I stencilled (TH 'Holly Bough') the front walls and sprinkled on Melissa Frances silver glitter to adhere whilst texture paste still wet. Also hot glued several berries. Decorated the windows with lace curtains and created shutters from some narrow strips of corrugated card that I sprayed with Sapphire glimmer mist. I secured an Idea-ology metal word band to the front using silver string between two TH ring fasteners (having highlighted the inscribed text with white paint). Also sprayed an Idea-ology tree to make it blue and decorated with tinsel and copper star by Nunn Design. Added lace, bows and pearls to eaves.

The beautiful pin in the chimney is made by the lovely Mandy and you can purchase her gorgeous sets here.

Moving around to the right side I stencilled some snowflakes (TH ' Holiday Knit') and coated them with Clear Rock Candy glitter.

Diecut a layered snowflake (by TH), coated with crackle, highlighted with DIs and finished with a centre brad. Also diecut text using Thinlits 'Holiday Words' and painted with 'Ground Espresso' topped with crackle.

Placed an owl charm at top having gilded him with silver wax. Metal box corners are on the roof corners too once I dabbed them with 'antique bronze' distress stain and some stickles. I can see that there is a little gap up at the roof/eaves joining but hey, as Mr. Cohen sings; "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in"!

Let's now turn to the rear...

I've stamped and embossed both the angel and the wise men using TH 'Joyful Song' stamp set. A technique I use to try and define stamped images better is to add a thick coat of glossy or crackle accents over and to the rims of image, it just adds a little relief. I masked the angel and stamped music across the roof with a Katzelkraft stamp. Should have included earlier that the house walls are also stamped randomly with a Germanic Script stamp by Katzelkraft. On the roof are silver star brads with blue gems added to each centre. The wise men have been overstencilled with DIs through the TH 'Rays' stencil and adorned amidst stencilled stars (some of which are white embossed for variation - another TH technique!). The scene is positioned through an aperture cut using the TH 'Baroque' die and 'grounded' with glass glitter. Stamped sentiments are by Cat's Life Press stamps.

Some close ups;

An Idea-ology lightbulb, inked blue, atop a stained Game Spinner.

Tinsel and 'Mercury Glass' Stickles present too!

A gilded Prima resin wing is placed on the stamped Angel's wing.

The Guiding Star dangles from a Ring Fastener on a Game Spinner.

If you are still reading this I'm seriously impressed and very grateful!

Another twirl around to find a faux wooden door chained shut using an Idea-ology Swivel Clasp. The doors hinge open and are held in place with Idea-ology Hitch Fasteners and brads.

Wood effect achieved using embossing folder and DIs. I've used lots of Gesso and Snow-Tex on whole project for snowy effects.

More stencilling evident and lots more metal embellishments. 'No Peeking' is from a Unity 'itty bitty' stamp. Pearls placed on the fence all the way round.

Bet you'll never guess who is behind the door!!!

You can see too that some-one has left parcels lying around for the munchkins inside. 

Finally, let's inspect the very sparkly delivery agents;

The sleigh sides are cut using a die by TH. When cutting reverse sides remember to turn any patterned paper back to front so to speak, otherwise you'll end up having to do everything twice just like me!! Including the Flourish stencilling! Stencil by TH using crackle paste by Decoart. Over-painted sides then with the usual Ranger crackle. The base of the sleigh has been embossed with sliver glitter EP. Created a centre for the sleigh using some blue sprayed corrugated card that was pliable to shape. Again sprayed an Idea-ology tree blue, added berries and painted burlap 'sack' with 'Ground Espresso' - knew it would come in handy.

The dashing reindeer are cut with die by you know who! (I mean Tim Holtz - not Voldemort!) Again, make sure to cut any reverse patterned paper right rather than get it wrong, again, like me!! I've adorned the deer with sprayed Idea-ology wreaths. These are couture, made-to-measure wreaths in fact as the standard size issued by Ranger was too large and required adjustment. (Am I mad entirely?) Jingle bells are stitched to the wreaths also! These cardboard reinforced deer have lovely blingy antlers and lots of crackle and are tied to the sleigh via little Idea-ology Screw Eyes.

Mounted the Sleigh etc. on a wrapped rectangle of chipboard and placed the house etc. on Idea-ology Foundations Feet that have been painted quite a few shades but ended up finally being glossy white.

So what more can I say but:

Huge thanks to all the talented ladies over at A Vintage Journey for inviting me to Guest Design today. This has taken a long time to make, in fits and starts, but I'm pleased with results - a rare happening! You still have plenty of time to enter their 'Home Sweet Home' challenge here.

It is too early though to say 'Hxxxy Cxxxxxxxs' but you know what I mean. If you would like to see any more of my altered Melissa Frances chipboard houses they are here, here and here.

Thanks so much as always for stopping by.

Nicola x

I wish to enter project to the following challenges:
Simon Says Stamp Monday - Love This Technique
Country View Crafts Challenge - Numbers
Craft For The Craic - Anything but a square or rectangle
The Ribbon Girl Challenge - Everything goes with an Image
Try it on Tuesdays - Add Some Metal
Scrapy Land Challenge - Add an Image plus use die Scrapland sells (Sizzix)
Christmas at Sweet Stampin' Challenge - Festive Decor
Sparkles Christmas Challenges - Oh Christmas Tree!
Creative Inspirations - Your Favourite Occasion (Christmas)
Love To Create - ANything Mixed Media / Creative Goes


  1. Wow, this is stunning, a real work of art, thanks for the inpiration, just beautiful xo Julie P

  2. How wonderful! I love all the detail you put in. Great idea to do blue trees, and Santa behind the door is so cute. The lace trim is just a perfect touch, too. So much work you have put into this, and it is a feast for the eyes.

  3. Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me! Nicola I should have realized it was you from the get go. Outstanding - I will be going back to look at your pictures again and again. Absolutely delightful!!!!!
    Sandy xx

  4. WOW!!! What an amazing make my dear! Love it! So many wonderful details and such beautiful design! My favorite is that little lamp :) What a fantastic touch...
    Thank you for this feast for my eyes :)
    Hugs :)

    Paper Talk with Samra

  5. Oh my gosh, Nicola!!!! Another of your vintage Christmas pieces! GORGEOUS!!! This twin peaks Melissa Frances house is just artistry in it's best! I so love your style and I would have known immediately this was your creation! Elegant and beautiful!!

  6. OMG Nicola, this is over the top GORGEOUS!!!! Wow, so much detail, so many clever ideas, I absolutely love every little corner of it, a complete triumph!!!

  7. Gorgeous, gorgeous house! Love it! x

  8. WOW Nicola, this is Stunning with a huge capital 'S' So many techniques and details all coming together so beautifully. I bet you can't wait for Christmas to display this.
    Avril xx
    p.s. Thanks for linking to TioT

  9. An absolutely stunning creation! Nicola . Truly gorgeous - the colours , the detail,the textures and effects , the embellishments , even the glitter (which is saying something from someone known to be a glitter groaner lol .) So many wonderful special touches too that really steal your heart and remind you of the magic of christmas !
    Congratulations on your Guest design spot at AVJ too .

  10. Stunning and really beautiful with so many lovely details!

  11. Well what can I say Nicola? What an amazing and beautiful creation, I need to keep going back and looking and see more detail every time , it's just beautiful

    Thanks for joining us at Sparkles Christmas challenge this month

  12. Unbelievable, Nicola! Beyond stunning - the attention to detail is phenomenal, the Christmassy papers, fabulous use of die-cuts - the reindeer and the sleigh, oh my word! - and the whole thing just makes my heart sing. Wow, wow and wow! What a brilliant guest design project - thank you for sharing such a wonderful home with us at A Vintage Journey - almost makes me want to stop travelling and settle down!
    Alison xx

  13. Oh my gosh, I don't even know what to say!! This is the most amazing thing ever!! Wow, Nicola, the details are spectacular!! It took me forever to comment because I was studying every picture!! This is beyond description!! You did such an amazing job!! I absolutely love, love, love this!! Wow!! I would keep this displayed all year long!! It's phenomenal!! Thank you so much for linking this up at Scrapy Land!! Have a great weekend :)

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  14. I got so carried away I forgot to say thank you for playing along at Country View Challenges too. (Though I see my comment hasn't bobbed up here - do hope it hasn't vanished into the ether.)
    Alison xx

  15. What an absolute treasure this stunning Christmas House and Sleigh is Nicola, with so many amazing details. Absolutely stunning, I love it. Thanks so much for GD for Us all at A Vintage Journey.
    Hope you are well, Julie xx

  16. OMG, that's flippin' fantabulous! YES! Yes, you are the queen of holiday crafting and I loooove seeing the goodies you make, but this home is glorious. So stinking cute. I almost found myself waving to those happy children in the window!! As much as I reveled in your talent, I quite loved reading your post too. The "delivery agents" cracked me up!! This is AWESOME!!
    Here's me giving you a virtual high 5...
    Lisa xx

  17. Wow! such an amazingly detailed project. It is a magical creation, so much wonderful detail. I enjoyed rading of how you achieved this project. Many thanks for sharing the detailed information. Thank you for joining us at Sparkles Christmas Caz .DT

  18. This is quite the crafty accomplishment! Wow! Bet it took forever to create! Sure looks amazing and the extra details really work! Love it!

  19. This is beyond gorgeous!! Wow! there is so much beautiful detail in here, what an inspiring piece! Thanks for joining the Monday challenge at Simon Says Stamp this week!

  20. woooo! what an incredible project and such beautiful details in every tiny spot! I love everything about your decoration, and can only imagine how much love and enjoyment went into its creation! Thanks for sharing your pretty project in the Scrapy Land Challenge! Hope you will join us again! hugs and blessings, de {Creative Smiles}

  21. What a fantastic piece of art for Christmas, must have taken so long to make, thanks so much for sharing

  22. Nicola
    Pick me up from the floor! Oh my word this is astonishing. The detail and not only that, it is the way you created a scene which I am sure belongs on a film set from a bygone era. The way you created a beautiful sense of nostalgia, when all was well with the world and everyone was neighbourly and I can here the crunch of snow underfoot.
    Magical, to say the very least and will remain in my memory for a long time. A true work of art and from the heart.
    Congratulations on your spot, you deserve this.

  23. Wow Nicola !!!! this is fantastic and I agree with fact it reminds me of the film "A Wonderful Life" as the houses looked just like this one............I bet you love this movie too if you are a big Christmas fan xx

    I absolutely love this and the details are just fantastic. Hope you are feeling better too

    Take care and huge hugs Annie xx

  24. PS meant to say that your blog is looking fabulous too xx

  25. Oh my Christmas word...a labor of holiday love!!! Each side is wonderful and decorated to the tee! LOVE the sleigh as well! Gorgeous work!!!!

  26. WOW, Fabulous Nicola, A work of art in every way. So many details,must have taken forever to create but no doubt a Labor of Love to be cherished through the years!!
    Congrats on being Featured!!! Well Deserved
    Hugs Lynn

  27. Wow- Wow- Wow- - what a fantastic projekt!!! I love what you habe done - so many beautiful Details!!! Hugs Dagmar

  28. Your post is definitely not too long, it was a true pleasure to read how you created this ABSOLUTELY STUNNING project Nicola. You know how much I love 3D projects and I am totally blown away by this gorgeous creation! I love the papers you used, the beautiful vintage blues, the sparkles, the embellishments, the feet, the sleigh and reindeer - just everything. I want to live in that house! Stunning work Nicola and thank you SO much for sharing this with us at AVJ, you are a fabulous artist! Big hugs, Anne xxx

  29. Wow! What a gorgeous project! Love it! Obviously made with so much love and creativity!

  30. This is simply stunning! Thanks for playing at Creative Inspirations! xxx

  31. my goodness what a stunning project! So many beautiful details.Thanks so much for joining our 'Anything Creative/mixed media goes' at
    Claire xx

  32. This Nicola, is the most fantastic little house I have ever seen, nothing is missing for making an entry here, to a very magical evening.
    So very beautiful it is all, and love the door opening to Santa ,and all your other amazing details. Such a wonderful step back in time, seing your little wonder ! Fabulous is not enough here !!
    Dorthe, xo

  33. This is amazing! It is one of the best Christmas projects I have ever seen and totally magical. So beautiful. And look at all those details. Thank you so much for sharing this beauty with us at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog!

  34. Wow!! This is such an amazing project! I absolutely love all the details you put on and around this awesome Christmas house! You have to keep that out all year and not pack it away after Christmas, it is too amazing to be stored away. Thanks for playing along with us at the Scrapy Land Challenge #26!

  35. Oh! Oh! Oh! This is just the most amazing creation! It's just the sort of thing they have in the Grand Magasins at Christmas in Paris! I will be looking at this again! So happy that you joined us at Try It On Tuesday! Chrisx

  36. A really super project, love it thank you for joining us on the Tiot challenge hugs Bee.

  37. Wow just stunning love all the details.

    Hugs Diane

  38. HI Nicola Just popped back to congratulate you on your win over at Simon Says Stamp .So pleased for you as it is so deserved . Your Christmas home is magnificent .

  39. What a fantastic little house this is!! The details everywhere are stunning.....and thank you for the great step outs! WOW!! xx Lynn

  40. OMG..this is absolutely beautiful! Drop dead gorgeous...what a fun Christmas project!! :)
    Thank you for joining Craft for the craic.
    Suchi DTxx

  41. Wow - what an awesome project!
    Thank you for sharing with us at Christmas at Sweet Stampin this month, Wedgie xxx

  42. OMG that's great project, you spent lots of time on making it and it is awesome, thanks for taking part in scrapyland challenge

  43. Congratulations for being chosen the winner of our Scrapyland Challenge #27. Well deserved for a gorgeous Christmas house with all of the intricate details. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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Thank-you! Your visit and comment is very much appreciated. Nicola x