I was thrilled to announce last week that I had a new addition to my ridiculously large collection of Department 56 Dickens Village buildings but I was too sick to actually put the village together.
Not this weekend, motherfuckers.
Village planning...is an art. There are a lot of things to take in to consideration when you have been blessed with a huge variety of edifices and occupants, but have very little space in which to display them. This year, I had one windowsill in the living room to work with and in the office, I had two windowsills AND the top of the large filing cabinet. To work!
First, I got all of my buildings and accessories out and put them on the bed to contemplate them.
(Just FYI, you can click on any of the following photos to enbiggen. I know you don't want to miss a single detail.)
I started with the one windowsill in the living room - I had room for two buildings there, but nothing REALLY matches my lovely Victorian house. The Bluebird Cottage is too humble; the Observatory needs more space; and there's no effing way rich people are going to live that close to the Molasses Factory. Serious NIMBY issues.
In the end, I decided to place the Village Well and Holy Cross next to the house and wrapped the well's gazebo with some cute little LED lights from Welk's that our friend Boka tipped me off to. They look blue in the shitty picture, but they're white in real life. Then, of course, I added a straight couple about to make out while some lesbian nuns caroled nearby. SEASONAL. Wintersea planning - complete!
The much larger metropolis of Rosewood Cross took a lot of planning this year. I decided to go with a municipal/commercial/education theme this year and tried to create a vignette with a variety of shapes and levels, you know, for visual interest.
On top of the filing cabinet, we have the water tower, the Royal Carriage and Cartwright Coach Builders, who - you guessed it - service the Royal Carriage! The Queen is a very demanding client but they enjoy the prestige.
Here's a close-up of Cartwright's - such great detail. A lot of the newer Department 56 Dickens Village pieces have weird, fake-looking colours that I hate - this piece has that classic look historical fiction nerds prefer.
On windowsill #1, I decided that a little shopping and entertainment were in order - after marvelling at the animated photographs and Egyptian museum at Piccadilly's Finest Gallery, residents of Rosewood Cross can dabble in the occult by picking up a little something from Lily Bros Gazing Balls (heh heh). To round out the afternoon, the gentlemen can buy their ladies a posy from Eliza Doolittle's flower cart. All she wants is a room somewhere. But don't worry, she's shacking up with the head wheelwright from Cartwright Coach Builders, so she's getting hers.
Windowsill #2 was a big challenge. I technically had room for two buildings. But kids need room to roam. So I decided to put the Boarding School there and surround it with happy youngsters taunting birds.
I like how the little boy in this close up looks as if he's hitting himself in the face with the birdcage.
This afternoon, my old friend Mami stopped by with her adorable daughters to drop off their awesome shoeboxes and when I found out that one of them knits, I brought them into the office to show them my stash (NOTHING WEIRD). They were horrified by how much yarn I had, but they were very keen on the village and spent a lot of time looking carefully at the vignette and politely not touching it. I explained the logic behind all of my building choices and the older one nodded thoughtfully, as if she appreciated my attention to detail.
Then the younger one said "I wish we could see your village!"
Confused, I replied "This IS the village."
"No," she said, eyes aflame with the burgeoning fire of a village zealot, "I mean, your WHOLE village, with ALLLL the buildings."
Ahhh, grasshopper. You have learned well. And Mami, I'm sorry if your kids suddenly want a village real bad.
I'm very happy with my choices this year and am pleased with how it turned out. But this morning, I woke up and found that I was already thinking about next year. And I am already SUPER EXCITED.