Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve At The Castle

Happy New Year - Part Two

As you might be aware, Ken is holding a New Year's Eve Party at the Castle. He has spent the day feverishly getting the place ready. It is winter now, and the huge old place is a bit drafty and dark and cold! But Ken is very resourceful and has a way of getting things DONE in time! So the torches have been lit and the fire lit in the hearth.
Ken has donned his finest evening attire and is surveying his work from the Minstrels Gallery! He has thought of everything, even a glittering Disco ball hangs from the ceiling!

He checks the fire in the hearth. It is not as robust and ROARING as he would like...... but it is the first fire to be lit in this hearth in so many years ... no-one knows how long it has been! He thinks it will warm the guests nicely when they arrive!
As will the Punch he has mixed and arranged on the long table at one end of the Hall!
The table is covered in the finest snowy white linen.... and choice but humble foods are available for refreshments! Guard Ian is standing guard over the punch bowl which is a Treasured Family Heirloom and is enormously valuable!

You MUST have a closer look...... isn't it beautiful in it's tarnished glory?
(Dear readers, this is none other than the Salt Cellar from my Mother's Wedding Silver - the rest of which she got rid of a long time ago - but I kept this Salt Cellar because I KNEW it was REALLY a dollhouse Punch Bowl - it has lurked in the back of MY china cabinet for so many years....!...... Just waiting for tonight!)
So Ken is proud of his arrangements and the Party is ready to begin!

Meanwhile, back at the Lovely Old Dollhouse, Cousin Kitty has agreed to babysit Annabelle so Chip and Sally May can go to the party. She wasn't feeling like going to the party herself. She MUCH prefers a quiet evening at home with her beloved cats! Besides, she felt it was the LEAST she could do for Pollyanna. And she and Annabelle just might have some fun together!
It turns out there was a last minute crisis with the musicians for the evening! Their car broke down and they could NOT make it to the party! But Helen has found a solution. She Loves to play the harp and is feeling pleasantly angelic and nostalgic and doesn't mind providing the music for the party!
So the dancing has begun and the Hall is filling with guests and Ken is feeling the proud Host! (Doesn't he look just FANTASTIC in his evening suit? NOW can you understand why I bought him all those years ago?)
He is very glad to see the Aileens have come! They are new in the area and don't know too many people yet. But they are very nice and interesting people! They have brought their two children to the party too. Perhaps they could not find a sitter? Or perhaps they are the types who like to bring their children everywhere. Either way, here they are! The adults will perhaps have to behave themselves with the children looking on? Hmm?
Oh, and Felicity has come too! She is looking as stunning as ever! She has brought her friend Georgiana with her. They are VERY well dressed! It IS New Year's EVE after all!
Now, where do you think the children are going? They have an entire CASTLE to play in! Don't you wish you were them?
Adults look SO funny from way above.... almost like little dolls!
The children aren't the ONLY ones exploring and enjoying the view from above! Great Uncle Albert is pondering the Relative Value of RELATIVES from this vantage point! Do you think he will come to any new conclusions? And he has found a stray lad from the town who has crashed the party! Helen doesn't mind the company.
But she likes it best when Charles joins her in the dimly lit romantic balcony.... even though she must keep playing .....
The guests are having so much fun, the place is quite warmed up and no-one is thinking of the hour.... Ken is paying close attention to Felicity....... and Will has introduced himself to Georgiana......
But suddenly there is a commotion by the entrance! A SMALL voice says quite clearly "I WANT MY MOMMA!" Everyone turns to see Kitty and Annabelle in the doorway!

Sally May opens her arms and Annabelle runs to her! But What are you doing here she asks in surprise? Cousin Kitty explains that Annabelle would NOT go to bed and since they were still awake, and it WAS almost midnight, she decided they might as well JOIN the party, rather than SUFFER alone!
Almost MIDNIGHT you say? Isn't ANYONE paying attention to the TIME? Have they MISSED the magic MOMENT of the NEW YEAR? Thankfully, NOT QUITE! This ball will not drop, but there is still time for everyone to gather.......
And so they form the traditional circle and join hands to sing in the NEW YEAR!
Lest Old Acquaintance be forgot..... but for the arrival of the youngest child they would have forgotten the MOMENT!
Happy NEW YEAR to ALL out there in Blogland! For many of you, the New Year Moment has already come and gone.... but here on this side of the ocean, in this dreamworld of mine...... Old Acquaintances are never forgotten and New Ones are always WELCOME!
May you all join with your loved ones and have a Wonderful New Year!
Bessos, and Mini hugs to you all!
(And there is still two hours and thirty minutes left before the New Year Moment Here!)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gifts And A (Sur)Prize

The Night(mare) After Christmas or Happy New Year - Part One

Christmas Morning! Is there anything as wonderful as a child's first glimpse of the gifts awaiting under the Christmas Tree? Annabelle doesn't know WHICH gift to try first! Christmas morning must be the most magical one of the entire year. Pollyanna loves Christmas morning and all the excitement and anticipation of opening the gifts!
But THIS year there have been a few EXTRA surprises! To start with, her distant cousin Katherine, better known as Crazy Cousin Kitty, arrived in the middle of the night with ALL EIGHT of her cats! Her boiler failed in her apartment and her pipes froze and she was desperate for somewhere to stay. Of course, she could NOT leave the cats in the unheated apartment! So here she is on the living room sofa. Her landlord assured her it would only be a few days til the plumbing could be fixed.....
Pollyanna doesn't mind cousin Kitty staying, but she's not so sure about all those cats! One or two cats are easy, but EIGHT she thinks is just a bit much to expect a welcome! But never mind. It is Christmas after all, and everyone should feel welcome!
Chip is looking in to see what Annabelle thinks of her gifts.......

And Pollyanna is opening one too! It is from Arthur. Just LOOK what he has given her!
(Thank you EWA! These were sent to me by Ewa who's blog is The Old Maid! Aren't they lovely? A tiny crown and a book of Music with readable pages! She also sent me some bigger gifts that are now hanging on my big tree! :))
But Pollyanna is sure they are from Arthur!
And he says he has another special gift for her.... this little Glitter House! He knows how much Pollyanna loves houses ...... and perhaps someday they will have a house of their own!
Pollyanna is enchanted! It is SO BEAUTIFUL! And she loves the dream of a house of their own...
She sets it carefully on the table with the Creche, hoping it will be safe from the cats there!

And look who else is here! Great Uncle Albert came over for the day! He's brought his latest project with him to show what he's been working on..... not that any of us would understand.... but he would be happy to try to explain it to you if you'd like?
And when things get too busy in the living room, Helen and Charles just stay in the kitchen. They have plenty to talk about and love their morning coffee together!
So Christmas morning became Christmas Evening and still everybody was having a wonderful time so they stayed. Pollyanna wasn't sure where everyone would sleep... but Helen and Charles have been staying at a local Inn anyway. They just come over for the company and meals! And then pretty soon it was Boxing Day, then the day AFTER Boxing Day, and everyone was still here! Somewhere along the way a cat got the little GLITTER HOUSE and chased it around the room as if it were a cat toy! Bad Cat!
He left it in the corner under the edge of the rocking horse rocker....... where no-one could see it!
And Annabelle wanted to ride her horse..... Oh Dear! What's this? The GLITTER HOUSE is squashed flat!
(Actually, it was the US MAIL that did the dastardly squashing! :( . But I thought it would be more fun to make a story about it...... I actually had un-squished it a bit - it arrived quite flat!)
But nonetheless, Pollyanna is quite heartbroken when she finds out! She suspects one of the cats is to blame.... But Cousin Kitty is sure none of her cats would do such a thing!
Pollyanna is starting to wonder if she will EVER just have her life back to NORMAL?
She has nothing against cats...... she loves cats.......but .....
Pollyanna decides she just needs to get away from everybody for a change! She rushes over to Arthur's house. She wants to tell him about the GLITTER HOUSE, but she is so afraid it is a bad omen and their Dream will come to nothing....... she isn't sure if she should tell him......
When she gets there she finds him deep in a philosophical discussion with his friend Will Ott. She is so disappointed that he is not alone..... they can't talk.... she can't tell him what's wrong.....
She makes up some silly excuse for dropping by. Arthur reminds her he will be picking her up at seven to go to the New Year's Eve party at the Castle. Pollyanna had COMPLETELY forgotten! With everything else that has been going on it had just slipped her mind!
"But I have NOTHING to wear!" she laments.
You can come as you are he replies. You look lovely no matter what you wear!
Pollyanna sighs. Sometimes he says the nicest things! She's glad she stopped by after all......
Sometimes the real gift isn't a thing at all........


Special thanks go to Ewa for the lovely gifts - I hope you don't mind that I let Arthur take the credit for them!
And special thanks go to Karin Corbin whose Glitter House I won in her giveaway - it arrived sadly abused and she has promised to send another! I can't tell you how enchanting it is up close!
Thank you blog friends!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Nativity

The Christmas Card

Dear readers, you can see in the picture above that this year's Christmas Card is done! I am running late, it is not to the printers or mailed, but I wanted to include it in this post because the theme of the card, the Nativity, matches the theme of this post. I had hoped to post this blog sooner, but I am running late.... And because I am running late, I will not bore you with showing you ALL of my Nativities.... just a select few!
To begin with, one of my earliest Christmas memories is of reading a book about the Christmas story that showed the birth of the Christ Child and the manger with the animals looking over him. I was fascinated with that story, and always wanted to have my own Creche. But it wasn't until I saw the magnificent antique Creche that my ex-husband's family bought in Sicily many years ago, that I was inspired to create one of my own. Theirs was entirely hand made of paper mache and cardboard and included many figures representing the local villagers dancing on the lawn, and shepherds and at least a dozen angels with musical instruments flying overhead. The figures were each about eight inches tall, so the entire creche set up took up a large part of their living room! I was inspired to try to make my own version - and while my creche copied some of their features, it was not at all like theirs in the end. My figures ended up slightly larger in scale - between eight and ten inches tall, and I didn't end up making as many of the extra village figures as I had originally planned. Mine are made from paper mache and old fashioned brown paper bags on wire armatures, eventually painted with acrylic paints (a process which took me nearly FOREVER to complete!) The whole Creche takes up a fair amount of room, but I set it up in a corner of my Dining Room/Studio next to the Lovely Old Dollhouse. Here below you can see most of it.... excluding the camels and the horse that the Kings travel on..... they take up too much room to fit in this picture!
And here is a slightly closer view of the angels overhead......
And a closer view. The Innkeeper is looking on in the back of the stable, and his wife is acting as the midwife, drying a towel by the fire. The Kings approach on the left, and the shepherds are awed by the angels overhead.....
And here is a closer shot of the Holy family, with Mary preparing to nurse the newborn babe. I have made her with a bared breast in the manner of the numerous Medieval images of the Madonna nursing her child. (When I sculpted this figure I had a one year old son, so I was feeling particularly maternal!)
This creche is larger than traditional dollhouse scale, so I have not tried to incorporate it into my miniature dollhouse world. But that does not mean I have ignored the Nativity in my mini homes! On the contrary, I have collected tiny Creche figures over the years and carefully set them aside for the Someday Dollhouses! The smallest of these are set up in the bay window of the Folly. I am pretty sure it was NOT Arthur's doing! Pollyanna is the one who likes to decorate! (These are not figures made by me....)
Here is a closer look....
And Pollyanna has a much larger and fancier version which she has set up in the Lovely Old Dollhouse! She has invited Sally May and Chip to bring Annabelle to see it.
Here you can see a little closer...
And a really close view.....
(These are resin figures, each about 3/4 inch tall.)
As for the Medieval world in my Castle Dollhouse...... the Nativity was a VERY important part of the liturgical year. And while in Medieval times, they may have had creches that they set up to show the scene of the Christ Child's birth, it was more often that they had painted walls depicting the Nativity, or carved Altar Screens showing the stages of Christ's life from birth to death. Because I am running SO LATE with my projects, I have not yet painted the wall that will have the Nativity scene in the Chapel. I promise to show it to you when I do get it finished!
But nonetheless, it is Christmas Eve and the humble people living in the Castle have gone to the Chapel to hear the Midnight Mass performed by the traveling Monk who has come just in time! He has lit the Altar Candles and is about to begin.......
You can see that they have a carved and gilded Altar Screen depicting the Birth of the Christ Child.... and a very beautifully ornamented book from which he will read the story....
Here , have a closer look.....
So we are gathered together the whole world over, to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child!
I have always been fascinated with the Nativity, and have come, like many of you, to adore the newborn babe.

And so I send you all a Christmas wish;
That you find Love, Peace, Health and Joy in your Coming year!

The Nativity And The Christmas Card Too!