Sunday, 11 December 2016

Here comes Advent - Week Three

Just before greeting the Third Sunday in Advent, a little photo hark-back to last week's post.   Yesterday there was a Christmas market in Bavorov and I have just received some photos of the tiny Christmas village in situ in Small Worlds which I should like to share with you....

Sadly the train is still bound for nowhere.....

And now for the Third Sunday.  Just before I leave the Czech Republic each year my final task in Small Worlds is to prepare it - in a small way of course - for Christmas.   This can be quite hard to do in September.....

For the past two years I have left a "Christmas Card" in the window, to be revealed at the beginning of Advent, and my plan is that this should be a permanent tradition.   So the very first thing I did in my new work rooms, The Stables, was to create this year's card.

The inspiration for the card came from a single angel who emerged from among the miniature decorations.   As soon as I saw her I thought she was crying out for a shop called "At the Sign of the Angel"....

So I set about finding something for the shop to sell.   And what better at this time of the year than Christmas trees and all that is needed to decorate them?   I knew that I would be able to locate all the Christmas stuff with ease now that The Stables is in operation.

There has been a fairly grotty kit-shop knocking around for about thirty years.  I used it a few times for a Christmas scene, at one point adding the base of a date box to serve as a path for some carol singers.  

I tried to lever off the date box so that the shop would stand flat on the polystyrene snow but whatever glue I had used all those years ago proved intractable and I was instead left cutting a suitable hole in the polystyrene sheet to accommodate it.... 

The shop had suffered some damage in the garage when weedkiller leaked onto it so I had to wallpaper the inside.   

A horrid job because it is full of angles and I am spatially challenged - and fairly useless at wallpapering, particularly if I am using some ancient and much creased Christmas paper, also about thirty years old.  Still, the plan was that most of the wallpaper would be hidden from view by the shop contents so I wasn't too bothered by the poor results.

I needed some shelves to hold display items; an old cigar box dresser served for one set of shelves; for the other I removed the ugly wooden items from a rather nice Christmas tree shelf unit and glued it to the back wall, behind the counter. 

Filling the shelves was easy - there were more than enough tiny ornaments around including one bear made by daughter-in-law Laura, she of the jewellery and corsets in Gosthwaites Department Store. 

The two little bears at the top are among the last left of many made by Butterfly as relaxation after she had finished a set of public exams.   Some of the others found their way into a Teddy Bears Picnic (who remembers this?) Butterfly and I made years ago for another skilled maker - Lynda of the liquorice allsorts and teeny ballet shoes

And since this is a shop selling not only decorations, but Christmas trees themselves, I dug out as many of these as I could find, and pots to suit. 

The trees would eventually find a home on the cigar box dresser. But first some of them needed dressing themselves.   Suffice it to say that it was a very fiddly, sticky job!

Some more ancient items were dismembered and put to fresh use - this was a very satisfying project in terms of reusing objects that had been around a long time.



No shop selling Christmas decorations is complete without a nativity scene.   My tiny scene has appeared on the blog before, in 2013, but here it has much more room to spread out.

The sheep are part of a very fortuitous gift from Ruth Allen, who wrote the enticing text for the museum flyers.  She presented me with several boxes of model railway layout materials including a multitude of animals .....

What have we here I wonder?
Aha, so that's what they are!
As I set up the nativity scene I thought what a pity it was that there was no donkey in that horde of beasts and lo, what should appear on the thought but one single, solitary donkey!   

Not much else to do now, other than to source two signs, one in Czech and one in English, advertising the sale of freshly cut trees, and two more signs wishing everyone a Happy Christmas.

Then came the fun part of putting it all together.   I leave you with a few close ups and the final result, together with my very best wishes for a peaceful and joyous Christmas.

I hope you have enjoyed preparing my Christmas card along with me.   Next Sunday is the last in Advent, time to light the fourth candle on the wreath and take a peek at what is going on in the Walmer Victorian house this year.   Christmas is all about tradition so it may not be so very different from before - or will it?   Come and join me next Sunday to find out.....


  1. So glad the some of the creatures have been useful. It would have been Dad's 92nd birthday this coming Friday, so I've been thinking about him quite a bit over the last few days, and seeing the railway layout animals again ... well, let's just say the screen got a bit blurry for a while.

    1. It was so lovely to be able to enhance the crib scene with the sheep and finding the solo donkey was the icing on the cake. It must have been some railway layout! I am delighted to be able to offer them all a good home.Gilx

  2. A triumph! How satisfying to use all those bits and pieces you've had for so long. Umm...what is the creature at the front of the nativity scene, please? Looks a bit like the rear view of a tiny rhino..
    Andrea xx

    1. Tsk tsk they had no rhinos in Bethlehem! It's a goat with its head down. You can just see the horn on the right. I don't think it emerged from Ruth's flock, I believe it was already in residence in a drawer in SW.

  3. A lovely Christmas "card", though I think it would cost quite a lot to post in the old-fashioned way, so it's just as well there are such things as blogs so that you can post it that way instead. Very glad to see those tiny pots of charms actually being used. I usually buy them for the little jars they often come in and just tip out the contents!

    1. Yes I do the same - witness the jars containing the famous liquorice allsorts. I too was delighted to find a use for them. Maybe someone will be moved to make the Crown Jewels at some point. That should use a good few of them up!

  4. Wonderful post Cestina - You certainly have saved a lot of minis and it has paid off. What were the little bears made with?
    I sure wish I could visit your little world - so glad you post!
    Merry Christmas!
    Sandy Claus

    1. Thanks Sandy - the little bears, and all the food in the picnic, are made of Fimo. Just like Lynda's liquorice allsorts!