Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there...







Before you start asking yourselves whose blog you are reading, I can assure you that these two little people are actually in the Bedroom of my Canal House.  Yes!  These two lovely doll children are mine.   Dolls.  For a non doll person.  Absolutely.  I found them at the Arnhem fair last October at Angel's Little Ones and took them home with me. 

Now mind you, these two lovely faces will not be residing in the Canal House.  No, that is just a step too far for me.  These kids will live in my Christmas House.  But as that is far from finished I let them live in the Canal House for now.  A few weeks ago I bought a lovely book 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' (made by Caterina) for them and I thought it was cruel not to let them read it until their house is finished.  So here they are, big brother is reading to his little sister. 

I bought the little sweater (Le Petit Tricot- no website) and socks (Annelies de Kort) in Arnhem as well.  My friend and I were almost fighting over the little sweater, we both loved it but she let me have it!  We have very similar tastes, even when there is a hundred things on a stall, we both pick the same thing. 

The boy is wearing jeans for now, but I will make him a pair of brown corduroy knickerbockers when I have found the fabric.  For the girl I made a pretty white blouse and little bloomers finished with lace.  She is still waiting for her little pinafore dress (I am thinking of doing a little smocked bodice perhaps).  But for now they are lovely as they are...

'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!'



I am a lucky girl!  A few days ago I won Debora's giveaway, a miniature Narwhal tusk.   Narwhals are the unicorns of the sea , with their beautiful long tusks they look like mythical creatures.

Debora is a very talented miniaturist and, hardly surprising,  made perfect miniature versions of Narwhal tusks.  Her attention to detail is wonderful, and is was a joy to unwrap my gift. 




For the time being I have put the tusk in the library of my Canal House, but I want to give it s spot where the detail can be seen more easily.  One detail I really like (and can't be seen in the photo) is the hollowed out end of the tusk, it really looks like the inside of a tooth. 




But all of the detail is wonderful really, the beautiful curved grooves in the tusk, the little routed edge around the mahogany, the hand engraved brass plaque...

Thank you so much for your beautiful giveaway Debora, it is a little treasure!




...Christmas? 

I was working a little Christmas scene and wanted to use little bottle brush Christmas trees.  Of course I didn't have any so I searched for something to use instead.  I found some chenille stems so I made them out of that.  Very quick and easy, and they look so cute!


I thought some of you might want to make these too, so I made a mini tutorial for you.  I made them in this blue-grey colour, but of course you can use any colour and use many different decorations on them. 
For the base I used plastic thingies which cover up screws, but you could use a bit of a dowel or a pen, whatever you have laying around .

Have fun!





Finally!  I have started work on the attic bedrooms.  As there is only one bedroom so far in the Canal House (which seems a bit odd for such a big house), I decided that the attic would have two bedrooms and a bathroom.  For one of the bedrooms I have just finished making this bed.


The bed is in the Louis XVI style, made out of pieces of skirting board and matboard and upholstered with a white cotton.   As it is mostly matboard  (which basically is a thick cardboard) it is not as strong as a wooden bed would be.  But as long as the inhabitants of the Canal House don't start jumping up and down on it, the bed should be fine. 



The sheet and pillowcase are made of  fine cotton.  I printed the duvet cover on a piece of regular white cotton from an old sheet.   The design is actually from an old rug, but I rather like it for the bed.




I made the mattress from a lovely striped cotton resembling ticking.  It was supposed to be covered up by the bedding, but as I finished it I liked it so much I wanted to have it exposed a bit.  Totally unrealistic of course, who ever sleeps on a mattress without any sheets?  But it looks nice!



The painting is one I found on internet and printed to the right size for the little frame.  I have had the frame for ages, I don't really know where it came from.  It was very chunky though, so I reduced the thickness of it by at least half  (just by sanding and sanding and sanding....) which now makes it pretty and delicate.


Yesterday I celebrated St. Nicholas eve with my family.  The old Saint has been very generous to us (as always I should say) and we had enormous fun while opening our presents.   I received a couple of very small packages which, as you can imagine, made me very happy. 

In one of the gifts I found this beautiful antique opalesque glass and enamelled vase.  It is French, made around the turn of the last century.  I photographed it in the upstairs hallway (which I have nearly finished, but more on that later),  the colours go so well together.  Thank you St. Nicholas!



In another small package I found a box chock-full of old Chinese mother of pearl gambling chips.  These are so very pretty, they all have different little designs on them.   I keep getting new ideas of how to use them for my miniatures.  I love these!  Thank you St. Nicholas!



In the next few photos I will show you a not-so-little gift I received.  My Dutch readers will probably recognize it immediately, as it is a well known part of our St. Nicholas tradition.  The feast of St. Nicholas has been celebrated for centuries in the Netherlands.  Many centuries ago, it became a feast celebrated within the family.  As the children received their gifts anonymously (as the Saint originally did as well), their gifts were covered with a sack, the first letter of their names placed on top it to indicate who it was for. 

For a long time now gifts are wrapped and the names are written on the wrapping paper. The idea of the first letter of the name has still remained, and we now get our initial in chocolate.   These chocolate letters are available only around St. Nicholas time.

In my family it is no secret that I love, love, love a certain brand of chocolate, and when I get a big chocolate initial it usually doesn't last the day.  The rest of the year I have to do without (which is probably for the best).  Until now.  One of my gifts was a big, heavy box.  When I opened it I found this:


My first and last name spelled in chocolate letters!  14 of them!  And my favourite brand! 



St. Nicholas thought this would last me the whole year, so about one per month on average (yeah, like that is going to happen).



I am not sure whether or not to thank the old man for this ;)  Thank goodness he also gave me new exercise clothes, although the size on one of them was XXL.  Maybe he can see into the future?  Oh, I surely hope not!



He arrived in the Netherlands three weeks ago, but this weekend he will be very busy!  St.Nicholas eve is Monday night, but many people will celebrate today or tomorrow.  Most people will help the old Saint and do the gift buying, wrapping, surprise making and poem writing for him.