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ADDED FEBRUARY 2016

I am running out of room for twelfth scale settings, so my goal is to finish things or only do small vignettes and pass on as much of my stash as possible so that I can concentrate on smaller scales.

During the Christmas holidays 2015, I got together several unfinished Michaels hutches, two examples of which are shown above, and lots of miscellaneous contriving pieces from my stash so my daughter Dana, granddaughter Jenna and gdil Joy Anna could make quick Christmas baking scenes.

I also provided a base from stacked pieces of balsa for a kitchen island, including as counter tops leftover doors that I had removed from other hutches that I had previously turned into quarter scale houses. It would be their job to sand these pieces and decide on their finishes, either stain or paint.

Originally my niece and her daughter were supposed to join us, too, but unfortunately the date had to be changed because I was ill, and then my niece was ill, and when we finally got together Dana couldn't join us because she was out of town for business. So it was just the two girls and I.

They each chose the hutch they wanted to use. In their brown bags were the kit for the kitchen island, including strips for baseboard trim, and also multiple accessory bags with items from my stash.

One sandwich bag held miniature paper plates, buttons for plates and platters, large flat sequins, wine bottles, bits of this and that for contriving baked goods, along with pans, a small teapot, Chrysnbon cups and saucers, etc.

In the second goodie bag were stickers, pieces of decorative card, paper doilies, bits of lace, Christmas tree and wreath tie-on's, little shopping bags, findings, small Christmas pieces, etc.

A few Christmases ago I purchased several of these sleds when they were greatly reduced in the after-holiday sales. (Several years earlier I had used two similar sleds to make the screens for Santa's Nap, hingeing them with a strip of paper, painted blue to match the back.)

This time I wanted to paint my hutch and island in the color from the one with the snowman, because that dark blue was different from anything I already had. (The color of the hutch is actually closer to the color of the sled than it looks in the picture.)

My original plan was to remove the sled runners and glue them on the front as sides for a shelf unit, but that glue was about as strong a bond as I ever encountered, and I could not get them loose.

Since I had more than one, I decided to experiment by putting one in the microwave for a few seconds to see if I could loosen the glue. It worked, and I pulled the runners back and forth and eventually got them removed. By that time, though, I did not want to do anything further with it, so just added it to the left of the hutch.

The girls decided not to use a sled now; perhaps for something in the future.

Unfortunately, although I loved the dark blue, everything I placed on the shelves disappeared into its darkness, so I needed to find a way to make things more visible.

The shelf edging was a bit of lace cut from a larger strip; the angel trims were confetti, and as soon as I added them to the shelf edge, it immediately looked better.

An ME Peace sticker behind the teapot makes it show up more clearly. I also used a stain marker on the metal for a bit more depth. The lemon tree was in my stash, made in the 80s using directions from a booklet on miniature Colonial Christmas decorations. The green canister is made from one of those little dessicants that are used to keep moisture out of packages, etc., along with a strip from a Christmas ME note card. The wee Santa has been hanging around for years.

I used a gold sequin as background for the Christmas pudding, which is made from one of my stash cakes and a red button. Another sticker provices a background for the marzipan cake, which is a bit of Christmas candy decoration. The cups and saucers are Chrysnbon. I gave them a light wash to give them more definition.

I decided to keep the lower side doors closed. The wreath was a Christmas package tie-on, squeezed to an oval to fit into the space. The goose with a tiny Christmas wreath around its neck is a button, and the bow is made from a strip cut from a piece of plaid Christmas ribbon.

I painted my counter top and trim with the same blue, and covered the base with a printie, which I also provided in the goodie bags. Because the sled had a snow man, I used this dimensional sticker on the front. In retrospect, I could have easily left it plain but that sticker was STUCK, so here it remains.

Also in the goodie bags from my stash were Christmas cocoa mugs with whipped cream topping and candy stirrers, which I had made multiples of for little Christmas gifts in the past.

The cupcakes are wood plugs, with white gloss paint as topping, along with some chopped nuts and candied cherry bits made from leftover scraps of baked Fimo. They are on a red button platter. My cook has already washed up her baking utensils, which are stacked in the amber "glass" loaf pan. The towel is one of several which I made years ago.

The girls took a different tack.

After they removed items like the rough pediments and unwanted doors, etc., they gave the hutches a good sanding and decided to go more rustic in their approaches, using stains instead of paint.

Jenna likes the spare look and wanted the emphasis on the angel figures.

She emphasized treats on her island top, including a small pan of brownies and a large goblet of eggnog.

Joy Anna used a combination of stains similar to her own kitchen. She also elected to use the canister labels that I had provided in the printie, along with a cardstock gingerbread house.

Her island showed baking in progress. The rising dough in the pottery bowl was a bead from a strange necklace and she used craft foam and a hole punch for her cookie dough and cookies. She also contrived the spatula from a connector piece for a tiny dental brush which I had thought we might use as a mini tree. Never would have thought of using that part as a spatula!

This was a fun day, and we worked steadily for HOURS. We were pleased with our final results and they were excited and ready to plan another project for January!

My goal for this time with the girls was not only to do something for the holiday, but also to clear out more items from my stash.

I spent time planning how to make the island, finally gluing together strips of balsa that I wanted to get rid of, and getting my dear husband to cut them to size. As I was getting out the hutches I came across several leftover doors that I had removed from other hutches to make my quarter scale houses. They became perfect tops for our islands.

For days I gathered stuff, putting things into individual baggies for each person, including extras in case others joined in. Their goodie bags included not only kitchen items but everything from stocking caps made from the fingertips of gloves to wrappings and boxes for Christmas gifts (a small samping of individual baggies and pieces are shown above).

I also gathered wax paper, paper plates, condiment cups for paints and glue, toothpicks, paint brushes, various tools, etc. I was preparing as I would for a workshop at a show, and was exhausted before they even got here! And not only that, we only wound up using a small fraction of all those items I had so laboriously searched out and bagged!

The girls said that I did not need to do all that next time. "All you will have to do, Nana, is tell us what to do and we will be happy to gather things and then put everything away when we finish."

Relieved at not duplicating that exhausting experience, I agreed! I am too old for all that work, and glad to let the girls do everything. In future, I will only gather those things that would be too difficult to explain to them how to get.

And that's going to make a huge difference in MY mini fun!

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