Saturday, November 22, 2014

Little Houses, little houses - Christmas Crafting!

Greetings, friends on the Interwebs!

Halloween is over, and it's finally getting cold enough that I can think Christmasy.   It seems like a long way off still, but only a month and few days.

One of the local Garden Centers does a "Ladies Night" in November that my daughter & I have gone to for the past few years.   Area stores, crafters and other vendors put up tables inside the greenhouse to sell their wares, and they have Christmas music playing and little trays of cheeses, crackers, cookies and other noms to sample.   The Garden center has a "Christmas Shoppe" with an array of lovely ornaments and other decorations and decorating ideas.   So it was all quite beautiful.

My lovely daughter near some of the Christmas decorations

Little Houses, little houses, and they are all made out of Ticky-Tack.  (well actually cardboard, glue and glitter)

If you are like me,  you can go back in your mind to the Christmases of your youth, and remember all the special ornaments and decorations that you had.   Some of you may have those very same ornaments for your trees now, inherited from mom, dad or grandparents.  Or maybe you are creating your own special memories with your kids by making ornaments with them.  

One of the memories I have are of a few little houses that went to our Christmas Village.

Vivid pink, aqua blue and white. Honestly, they seemed very out of place with the other alpine-esque houses.  These little cardboard homes look like tiny replicas of stucco houses that would be found in Florida or some other temperate climate.  But we would set them up on a snowy peak, along with the rest of the village that centered around the manger. (truth be told, those houses were probably much more suited to the type found around the Mediterranean climate of Bethlehem, but we'll get into ethnocentricism of our own culture another day).

(picture from Retro-renovation)

More Putz houses on display from

Until recently, I didn't know that these little houses had a name, and had lots of little sister houses out there!   This style of house is known as a "Putz" house.    Brief history -  the name 'putz' comes from the German  'decoration' or (putzen) 'to take your time decorating.'   (you may also have heard someone say that they are 'putzing' around, meaning they are taking their time doing whatever task they are doing.

In the 1900's,  candy would come in little boxes shaped like houses or stores, and people would use the boxes (once done with the candy!)  to decorate under their Christmas trees,  creating little villages.   Around 1930, the Japanese started creating the little houses (sans candy) for the American Market for Christmastime.  They were popular into the 1960's, when consumers moved onto other decorations.

There are several websites that have much more detailed history, links and PRINTABLES!

"Little Glitter Houses" (Howard Lamey)

"Retro-Renovation" (Pam & Kate)

(Etsy & Ebay also offer many of these vintage houses for sale if you don't trust yourself with craft scissors and glue).

The nice thing about these houses is that the possibilities are limitless in terms of decoration and personalization of them.

Crafting with Putzes

So anyway, I'm not just waxing poetic about the little houses from yesteryear....  
I actually came across not one, mind you, but TWO crafts recently that featured the little Putz houses.

"Ally's Scrap Blog"

The first craft I came across via many pictures on Pinterest, and followed them back to "Ally's Scrap Blog." She credits the original craft to Linda Albrecht.      These are adorable little houses set atop covered tins.   I am having a hard time figuring out the actual size though, as the tins if they are standard cookie tins which are about 7" or 8"  diameter, then the houses must be fairly large.  (Her page does not give any indication on which tins they used).   Regular (vintage) Putz houses are only a few inches big, so several would fit on a larger tin, or maybe you can find smaller tins to use.

Her blog page also doesn't include a schematic for the actual house, just a notation to download them from the Victoria Magazine Website.

[Note - a little digging on my part and I came across one of the downloads:

via this blog here (that has more printables & links YAY!)

SPECIAL NOTE - a pop up box says they (Victoria Magazine) are discontinuing the Workspace/PDF patterns as of January 2015, so download it soon if you plan on using them.]

The Second craft jumped out at me while grocery shopping from the cover of the latest Martha Stewart Living Magazine (Dec/Jan issue)

Martha and her elves  say you  can purchase the houses online, but also have templates at 

The magazine article guides you through glizting up the trees, teasing out cotton balls, painting the houses, and nestling all the stuff with glue into the wreath.

So there you have it folks,  Fun with houses!   
I am hoping to make some soon, will post follow up pictures if I can.   

What Holiday crafts do you enjoy doing?   Please share in the comments below!

xo Yvonne