I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

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


Lauren Hatwell said...

How beautiful! I was just thinking I'd like to see it lit up and... Just magical! Lx

experiments in paper said...

This resonates on so many levels, not least of which is your concept of "hygge". The Dutch have a similar word "gezellig" - again not quite captured by "cosy" or "charming".... so reflective of a socially connected culture to my mind. We could certainly use more of the notion over here, in buckets.

I adore your house - this has to be one of my favorite of your pieces..... absolutely perfect in all the details including how you've finished the base. It reminds me of a slab of birch tree. And the lighting - not only spot on but so glad you've forgone candles this time! Best of holidays, friend, and hope you are on the mend! xxx Lynn

S@ndy Diller said...

Adore your non-gingerbread house. I simply says Christmas and all that it brings. So sweet that it lights up. Such a nice decoration for the season. Hugs, S@ndy xx

Monika Gulyas said...

Fabulous gingerbread house, Alison! It really looks as a real one! Yummy!!! xx

Helen said...

I love this house and it's setting, looks fabulous and will grace a winter decor setting. Hope you feel better soon. I have a cold and nasty cough right now... hopefully be better for the office Christmas do next week!

Astrid Maclean said...

Your little house truly looks magical, both in "day light" and of course when it is lit up! Superb use of the die, a real delight!
Hope you feel better soon! xxx

brenda said...

As always a lovely creation Alison.

Have a good weekend.

B x

sally said...

So sorry to hear you're feeling rotten, I hope that the gingerbread latte helps....I'm heading into Aberdeen this morning and plan on having one:-).

This is a delightful wintry scene & who cares if the pine cones are not to scale- the base reminds me of a silver birch trunk so still in keeping with the Scandinavian hygge scene!

Sally xx

Andrea Small said...

Oooooooh! How lovely with the light. Please to lay out a mushroom or cake for me to nibble, so I can shrink enough to step across the magic path and into the house...
Andrea xxx

chrissie said...

Hope you soon feel a lot better Alison and make it to the singing workshop.

The project is just amazing with so many transformations from the ordinary to the magical.The lights inside will be wonderful when it is dark. I remember bottle brush trese from when I was very young and my grandmother had them on the Christmas tree fastened by a strong metal clip. She also had real candles lit on the tree. In a small house with lots of little children running around it is a good job health and safety wasn't invented then:)So you made me recall something from the past for sure,

Take Care

Love Chrissie xx

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Lovely to have you back Alison and wow what a stunner you've made too! Hope you feel better soon too
Donna xx

Suzanne C said...

Brilliant! The details you put into this are stunning and it lights up too! Hope you are feeling better!

Lys said...

A fabulous gingerbread house! Just the magical feel we need in this advent time. And the light makes it just perfect!

SewPaperPaint said...

How absolutely wonderful is this quaint little scape, Alison! I'm very sorry to hear that you are under the weather, but glad that you have squeezed in some much needed and treasured crafting hours. The wire hanger is indeed my favorite part of this amazing project. And thanks for sharing the hygge concept with us Americans! I had quite the interesting read on Google and sure could learn a lot from this! Happy Christmas! Hugs, Autumn

Lucy said...

This makes me happy just to look at it. Higgle - I've read the word before, but had forgotten. It's a great concept and applies beautifully to your gingerbread house.

Dorthe said...

Oh Alison,
Your "gingerbread" house is so wonderful, and oh so - hyggeligt - (love you use our Danish word, with that special meaning ! You really achieved --hygge-- in that cabin, so lovely nesting in the snow covered landscape . Beautiful with the rustic feeling, dear.
I hope you are soon well again, to be able to --hygge-- with your niece and nephew . All the best and Happy 2.Sunday in Advent !!
Dorthe, xo

Sandy said...

I am sorry you are not feeling so good - with the schedule you have been keeping and all the airplane travel, it is now wonder you caught a bug!
Now who doesn't love gingerbread houses - I know I do and this one really looks quite real!
My best to you Alison!!
Sandy xx

Redanne said...

Alison, your gingerbread house scene is an absolute delight, I love the way you did the roof and the fact that it lights up is just an extra bonus. That box lid was the perfect size to contain this wonderful setting. I just love everything about it. You certainly brought a little 'hygge' into my world today with this wonderful creation! Anne xx

Chrissy said...

Absolutely delightful Alison and so very clever and gorgeous..if I couls shrink myself I would be so happy living in your winter wonderland gingerbread house..FANTASTIC..hope feel better real soon..take care.


Jenny Marples said...

First up I'm sorry to hear you're feeling poorly - I really hope you are much better soon. Now for that gingerbread house - inspired!!! I love the iced roof and wooden stepping stones to the front door. And it looks like you have a beautiful woven birch rainbow over the whole scene. Love it!!! xx

Julia Aston said...

What a wonderful magically cottage in the wood Alison! LOVE the deep crackle on your stand - the wonderful walk up to the door and wire hanging - a perfect winter holiday decoration! Julia xx

Paper Profusion said...

Snap on coincidence!! I was only today listening to a Woman's Hour podcast that included a Norwegian lady describing "hygge"! In fact she claimed the concept was from original Norse times and was a little vexed that the Danes have claimed it as theirs! Anyway, I love your sweet and cosy little escape world Alison, perfect for winter indeed. It's an idyllic escape! Looking forward to seeing the main part of that box turn up in a future Words & Pictures creation. Sending you warmest wishes Alison for a speedy get well soon. Nicola x

Meggymay said...

Alison you may have been busy but this project sure ha the WOW factor, its gorgeous. At first it reminded me of a Gingerbread house. them later when I saw it lit up, It looked cozy and welcoming on a winters night.
I hope you feel better soon. Take care, you have had such a busy year.
Yvonne xx

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Sorry to hear you are not fee,I got well Alison. Sending hugs for a speedy recovery. Love your piece of work today, the house is gorgeous and I adore the roof and stepping stones. A wonderful warm homely feeling to this piece. Hugs. Tracy x

Andree said...

A wonderfully whimsical looking gingerbread house and garden. The textures and details are fabulous.
Thank you for joining in with the December challenge "Anything Mixed Media Goes" at Creative Artiste Mixed Media and good luck x

Pamellia said...

Wow, what a glorious Christmas project Alison! There are so many details that I love, I'm not sure where to begin! I would love to shrink down and be so tiny that I could walk around and see everything up close! Amazing concept, incredible end result... good enough to eat. lol

Nikki Acton said...

How I wish I had your eye for detail - there are so many on here and I am sure I have missed some. Gorgeous creation Alison. Good to see you back, albeit busy. Sorry you have been struck down with the winter lurgy - hope you are feeling better soon. Nikki xx

Jackie PN said...

Delightful and magical Alison!!
dear friend, I do hope you are feeling better soon- nothing worse than starting out the holiday season with an awful bug! Sending healing wishes! Jackie xo

Kath Stewart said...

stunning project Alison...it looks good enough to eat...hope you manage to get rid of the winter lurgy and feel better soon....thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge...hugs kath xxx

pearshapedcrafting said...

This magical little scene has definitely given me a sense of 'hygge'! You really do have a great way of making magic Alison! Sorry I haven't been around much lately! Hugs, Chrisx

maj. said...

Beautiful work! Love it!!!

Meihsia Liu said...

Wow.. this is such a fantastic creation, Alison. Love your awesome design! :)

Brenda Brown said...

Oh my goodness this is just utterly adorable Alison with so much work and an incredible eye for detail. I love the very natural rustic look of your gingerbread house and it's beautiful setting and the crackled base is amazing.
Hope you're feeling better and got to your singing workshop and I also hope things slow down for a bit now so you can enjoy a less hectic December and run up to Christmas. Huge hugs xxx

Jennie Atkinson said...

Firstly Alison I hope you are feeling a lot better now - not good to get a bug now after the busy year you have had. Take care of yourself!

And wow! what a fabulous house ....... so incredibly stunning in so many ways. It's just gorgeous! xxx

Nan G said...

Oh butterfly, what a warm and cozy home! Who wouldn't want to come visit and have a cuppa.! Take care dear Alison. I do hope you have some down time coming to rest and rejuvenate after your busy year. Warm hugs, Nan

Wendy Bellino said...

I can't believe that is cardboard, it looks just like gingerbread with the frosting decor! Don't you love when a little idea (your rusty wire handle) comes together at the end? The light inside is the perfect finishing touch! My nieces would love this, they love to make gnome homes and fairy gardens!

cheiron said...

Such a fun and festive project! Thank you so much for playing along with us over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog this week :)

Barbara said...

Alison this piece is fantastic! love the "biscuit" look! Your work is ready to eat! Fabulous as always! Barbara

Diana Taylor said...

This is so adorable - I do love gingerbread houses and I really thought you'd been cooking when I first saw this! I love the woodland setting and I love the rusty wire handle - just perfect to finish it off and very 'you'! I've just dug out from the back of a kitchen cupboard several cake boards of differing sizes that have never been used and I've been thinking of using them as bases for some TH houses but I really like the depth of your base - it looks so good proportionally. Absolutely delightful!

Mrs.B said...

This is fabulous and so many details, I also popped over to Cestina's to read the story of Sasha and Gregor and it's creation. I'm glad you were able to make it 'yours' after they were finished with it.
Hope by now you are feeling better.
Avril xx

Lynne Moncrieff said...

I am so thankful I have managed a quick visit this evening - I miss visiting you and seeing your art.
This brings a smile to my face, it is brimming with nostalgia and viewing it just makes me feel all cosy inside.

Suzanne C said...

I am back to say thank you for sharing this with us at the Frilly and Funkie "home for the holidays" challenge. I love all the beautiful details... that you decorated this like a gingerbread house! Brilliant!

Princess Judy Palmer said...

So magical looking! What a wonderful warm and cozy (twee or not) winter scene. Now, pass the cocoa and those warm woolen socks.

Gio said...

It's so sweet and lovely, and looks like so darn, crunchy, yummy gingerbread!

maria's knutselplezier said...

Wow what a sweet,little house , I really admire you , I could never make this myself, so beautiful to see all these small elements making this project like real!!!

Have fun!!

Cocofolies said...

Oh Alison... What a marvelous Ginger home and project!!!!!!
I've found at last the time to read you and dream a little, this is so enchanting and adorable... I adore it.
I've pinned this of course :)
I hope you were able to attend to your singing workshop, and had fun dear Alison! xx

Amanda said...

Don't know how I missed this? Utterly beautiful looks totally good enough to eat, fabulous
Amanda x

Deb said...

Alison, what can I say, this is indeed truly magical! I adore your delicious little gingerbread house and the setting you created for it is spot on perfect. Hygge describes it to a T, warmth, light and home, what more could a person ask for. Love it to pieces and hope you are well on the road to recovery, Deb xo

Hazel Agnew said...

Totally adorable and moving in shortly! Xx

Juliz Design Post said...

Oh my goodness Alison another awesome house you have designed. I love the little scene it sits in, simply perfect in every way. My house you gifted to me last year is sitting on my fireplace, just love it so much.
Julie x

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

I'm playing catch up tonight... Sorry. Love your gingerbread house.... Better than the real one you missed and no calories!!! I'm sure it looks great in your mom's place!!!

Julie Lee said...

What can I say - other than true magic? This post is a delight Alison! I'm sorry to hear about the horrible bug and I hope you're now feeling 100%. I've been going backwards and playing 'catch up'. It's been a winter feast of beauty! xx

A Pink said...

Apologies for arriving late Alison and I do hope you are feeling much better than you were .
Your cosy gingerbread house and its setting are fabulous. You really have created such a wonderful sense of 'hygge' for me too and brought a christmas tradition of making gingerbread houses ( I've never made one- edible or inedible) to life.
So creative
hugs x

Nancy Dynes said...

This is such a lovely holiday project! Thank you so much for joining us at the Frilly and Funkie Challenge!!

Lys said...

... and I forgot to thank you for joining us at Creative Artiste December Challenge!

crafty creations said...

Absolutely stunning so many elements to look at - love it

Happy and Healthy New Year

Hilda xx