Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Christmas House

  My little Christmas house is all finished and last night it took it's place of honor on the baby grand in my Down River Parlor. I am very pleased with it. And even though it is not a ginger bread house, it is My Christmas House. Please come some time for a tour. I will always leave the lights on and Sissy will give a big jump and a kiss. Happy Thanksgiving in the mean time. Richard

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My Country Cottage, My Shabby Chic Attempt,Before Digital Cameras.

    Before I bought, My Old Historic House, here in Clarksville,Missouri, I owned and restored a  little country cottage. It was a frame home, white with a shingled roof and shutters. There was a double lot  and I had made the most wondermus cottage garden, complete with picket fence, arbors and rock paths leading to a little pond with a covered foot bridge.I had all my favorite flowers like, peony, roses, holly hocks and snowballs. I lived in St. Louis at that time and came and spent the weekends at the cottage. Like the big Victorian house I have now, the cottage was a run down mess when I found it. I have a way about wanting to save all the old houses I see. After spending a year and way to much money, the sweet little cottage was done. I spent a couple of years there and then I found the mother house. To afford the big house, I had to sell the cottage. it was bitter sweet, but in the end, the Victorian Mansion won.

    Going through boxes of pictures looking for something I came across these photos of the cottage. These were taken before I had a digital camera and before I knew about photo shop or Picasa. So I scanned them on my printer today. Downloaded them to a file on the computer and tried to clean them up. They are much better than they were, but still not real quality. I just thought it might be fun to share them with you today. I did a country shabby chic look for the interior. I have never been a lover of all the white, as I like color to much. There was a mixture of country, french and shabby furniture. Lots of wicker thrown in for fun. You can kinda make out most of it and see it was fun. I had an estate sale and sold most of the stuff, some I put in my shop and sold. A few pieces I kept for the big house.

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  Sorry the pictures are not better. Have fun and I hope you enjoy one of my former homes. Come see me and Sissy Dog some time. I will leave the lights on and Sissy will always meet you with a jump and a kiss.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Preparing for the Holidays, giving in and selling out.

My version of a  vintage German paper Christmas house.

Made to scale, 1/3 inch equals 1 foot.

The windows were made from yellow plastic folder covers.Small  electric Christmas light sets are used to light the windows. 

 It is getting close to that time again, Christmas is just around the corner. I know we all claim that people just start Christmas way to soon, forgetting about Thanksgiving. I agree, but sometimes we have to start early to get it all done. That is what I have been doing.
   I always admire the Christmas decorations at the White House. I look forward to the TV special showing them every year. One of my favorite things is the ginger bread house. I dream of doing one or having one done of  My Old Historic House. Well I can't see that happening. I was inspired this year by a couple of things. One was the article about a  Blog friend, The Polo House.  Her old polo barn,turned home, was featured this month in Midwest Living magazine. One thing she had in the article that struck my fancy, was a small copy of her home, made to resemble the old German paper houses from Christmas past. One of my dealers here in the antique mall just brought in one, a church and house with a picket fence. I thought, well, maybe instead of a ginger bread house ,I could do a paper house. Thus the ideal began. I wanted mine to be a little bigger than most of the  vintage houses. I went with the scale of 1/3 inch equals 1 foot. I made it out of cardboard. I had just received 3 huge boxes full of Christmas decorations  and I was wondering how I was going to get rid of all that cardboard. The answer was, make a mini of My Old Historic House. It took several days. I built it in sections, painted as I went along and put it all together with the glue gun. Don't you just love that wonderful toy?

This was taken as the house was in production.

I used the glue gun to make piles and drifts of snow. When the hot glue cooled, I painted it with white craft paint. Then white craft  glue and scatter snow.
  Besides the glue sticks the only other material I used was paint, scatter snow and an old yellow plastic folder, cut up for the windows. I also used some  tree light that I had in storage. The tree lights were put inside and made the windows glow, they are LED, so should not get too hot and last a long time.  You could use battery ones, but the electric ones are the ones I had on hand. I plan to place the paper house on the piano in the Gentlemen's parlor. I will place it on  cotton and surround it with my vintage bottle brush Christmas trees. The yellow windows will glow when lighted.  So this is, my gingerbread house.

This package of 3 is only $3.00. They hold the regular clear bulbs. 

They slide right out of the plastic holders.

I cut stripes from the package backing to wrap around the candle to make it fit the holder.

A touch of glue stick from the hot glue gun holds it in place as you wrap.

Test to see how much you need to hold it firm in the candle holder. Glue the end in place when the right size. Mine fit really snug.

   While on a trip to the dollar store to get paint and snow I spotted these batter operated candles.They were designed to go in windows. The placing of a single candle in your windows at Christmas time  goes way back. I think the thought being, it was to light the way for  Mary and Joseph. Today it might be more like, lighting the way for Santa. I had seen these candles before and never gave them a thought. I have never  placed candles in my windows. But, what caught my eye this time was, one of the candles in the package had fallen out of the little gold holder they were in. A brain storm erupted in my head. If they come out of the holders, they could be used in other candle holders.I love to give candle light tours of the house. Candles are very hard to find, really hard  in the rural area where I live. I usually  end up going to a church supply in the city, 70 miles from home. They are expensive. Cost around $10.00 a dozen. After a couple of nights they have to be replaced. They drip, they smoke and they are dangerous. I know they say they don't drip, but, if the furnace or air from a draft blows on them, they drip. It is a lot of work to clean up piles of wax. Not to mention, in a candelabra , one candle will be tall and the other burned down. I have about 80 candles in my  two parlors and dining room. It can add up to buy candles for them. Not to mention the danger of fire. I had looked at the new battery operated candles on line. They sell for up to and around $8.00 each. Add that up,$8.00 times 80. Get the picture. Giving tours of the house is a business. Where  I do enjoy sharing the old house, I am  doing it to turn a profit. So I bought several of the battery operated candles and batteries,( this is the downfall,batteries are expensive and it takes 2 per candle,) and went home to give them a try. The candles came  right out of the holders. The batteries  go in from the top. I tried one and it was a little small for the candle holder. My solution was to wrap the base of the candle, I used strips, that I cut, from the package the candles came in. Again my favorite toy, the glue gun was used  to hold the strips to the plastic candle and in place. They fit real snug now. There was two types of candles at the dollar store. One was with a frosted LED light bulb, the other a clear regular bulb. I brought some of each and my pick is the frosted LED. It looks so much better in a dark room. Now my mission is to go to every Dollar Store with in many miles to find enough of these candles to fill all my holders.I fell like I am selling out. I hate the thought of fake candles. But in the wake of the times and for safety sake, they have won out. All I will have to do is replace the battery. I am testing one to see just how many hours I can expect from 2 batteries. The LED ones, should last a long while. I think the bulb wattage is like 3.

LED  battery operated  candles on the dining room mantle.

I like the softness of this LED bulb when it is on, looks more like a candle flame.

The frosted LED lights, my favorite, in the dining room wall sconce

The clear glass regular bulb, battery operated Dollar Store lights in the e mantle in the parlor.

    I sold out once and bought a very expensive fake tree. I did use it one season. Where every one thought it looked great and was fine, in my mind, it could never do. I donated it to the local grade school.Part of the Christmas season is going to the tree lot and picking out the biggest tree you can find. Trouble is, I have to go to the city to do this, but lunch on the road, shopping and a day away, will make it all seem worth while.
    I slowly see all the old ways disappearing. Fake trees, fake candles, fake, fake, fake. I do understand why it is happening. . I don't like it,but,I am slowly giving in, selling out,but, what are we to do?

A picture of My Old Historic House and my  Christmas Paper House.
PS. Pictures of the house in place on the parlor piano with snow drape and bottle brush trees will  be posted soon.