Sunday, December 23, 2012

'Twas the Night (almost) Before Christmas ...

Back in October, whilst drooling over a Hallowe'en display from MK's Little Cabinet of Curiosities, a small votive shown in Madame Kismet's post captured the insomniac's  attention. MK was most generous and allowed the insomniac  to “borrow” the photo for reference so she could attempt to make something similar. As was to be expected, the end result bears little resemblance to the original except for the black Dresden trim, which at a distance looks a bit like the metal trim on the prototype. Possibly the fact Madame Kismet purchased the votive in Frankfurt sparked the idea of covering one's interpretation with pages from an old German book instead of leaving it plain. Whatever the reasoning behind the somewhat perplexing deviations that were made during the recreation, one can't help but feel pleased with the final outcome.

MK's Original Votive

Should you not happen to have an old German book with this particular Gothic Font in your collection, here are some pages to start you on your way. Print out a copy of the text and paste it onto your glass container with some sort of decoupage medium such as Mod Podge or Collage Pauge. Then give the paper an aged look with either Distress Ink (apply after the  decoupage medium has dried) or Distress Stain (apply while medium is still wet). Trim the paper to fit by ripping it while wet to create a tattered edge. Add some Dresden trim around the top (Collage Stuff has a lovely selection of black trims) with whatever glue you have at hand. Might one suggest that Diamond Glaze, the only glue left in the cupboard that had not dried up since last Christmas, was not a good choice. You may want to try something different.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

If you're planning to keep the votive, add a coat of clear varnish to protect the paper. But in the unlikely event you've not cleaned off your craft table properly and have small pieces of grey melton wool from the mukluks you're currently working on embedded in the decoupage medium, you should probably avoid the varnish so the paper can be easily removed after Christmas and you can redo the votive again next year. Note to Self: make more of an effort to centre the paper on the large votive a bit better next year ...

The Insomniac's  Versions

Distress Ink on left votive (subtle aging effect)
Distress Stain on right votive (not so subtle)

To create the stars shown tastefully tossed amongst the votives above, cut pieces of cardboard in your desired shape. Glue a piece of the text onto the front and back of the cardboard, then trim to fit the cardboard. Distress the edges with a Distress Ink Pad (Dusty Concord has been used on the cut-outs below), and glitter the edges with Stickles glitter glue which will hide the cardboard interior nicely. These little cut-outs have many different uses during the holidays, such as:

Adding a bit of purple filler
to the black glittered pine cone display ...

... or extending the life of your centerpiece
by strategically covering up the dying greenery.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Corvidae Corvus ...

The stockings made of old upholstery material were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there ...

His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
When he saw that they'd left him a decanter of sherry!

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight -
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

The insomniac  will be taking a brief hiatus from blogging over the holiday season, returning again on January 13th. First on the post-Christmas To Do list, the refinishing and reupholstering of a lovely Gothic settee and chair; to be made ready for sale in the Attic and someone's eventual enjoyment of it in their  Gothic Mansion. But not this  Gothic Mansion, because obviously there is no more room. And the only New Year's resolution one has any intention whatsoever of keeping, is that 2013 will be the year the downsizing process begins. Really.

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties. And a very Merry Christmas to you and yours ... xox.


    'Twas the Night Before Christmas or A Visit from St. Nicholas, Clement Clarke Moore - the slightly modified version.


  1. Oh my so pretty! I love making things with textprint on, I made roses of an old book last year that I have in my kitchen window. :D

    I love your fireplace! I wish I will have a fireplace in the future.

    A very Merry Christmas to you, and a happy new year! <3

    1. There's something wonderful about a piece of old text from a book. Probably a sure sign one could never become enamored with one of those electronic book thingies! Maybe you could do a post on your roses? :o)

      This is the first house we ever had with a fireplace, but now one can't imagine living without it. Not only is it handy for hanging stockings by the chimney with care on, but there's nothing better than a roaring fire in the middle of winter!

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you as well, dear Lesthi! xox

    2. I did a post about them on my old blog (in swedish though)
      maybe I do a new one on my current blog after christmas. ^^

      I totally understand that! We had one in an apartment when I was little, and it was so cozy and we used to barbeque sausage in it :'D

      Thank you! :3

    3. Oh, they're beautiful - but yes, detailed  instructions in English would be awesome! ;o)

  2. Those little stars and the bat are simple but extremely pretty way to make decoration a bit lighter but still gothic! I love them and shall make them my self for the next party I'll have. :)

    1. They are a very easy craft, and at this busy time of year it's nice to have something to make which doesn't add more stress to one's life. Plus anything with glitter is always good during the holidays, right? So glad you like them ... maybe you'll show us your end result when you're done!

      Have a lovely holiday season, Jade! xox

  3. Oooh... Honey... that's a wonderful idea...! And I wish you a very merry christmas and a happy new year!!!

    1. Thank you for the inspiration, Madame Kismet! Enjoy your holiday season!! xox

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you, Little Miss P! Have a wonderful holiday!! xox

  5. Lovely decorations! Its very inspiring. I love to use Dresden trims on anything. :-) oh are you going to sell the settee? I wish the freight costs were cheaper ! Wishing you a God Jul. <3

    1. Thank you, linnea-maria! Did you happen to notice the lovely little decoration the crow on the right was clutching? That was a gift from a very, VERY dear friend! ;o)

      Yes, the settee will be sold ... the original burgundy fabric is in fantastic shape, but the wood needs sprucing up and will probably be painted BLACK! What a surprise, right?

      A God Jul to you, and have a wonderful holiday with your family! xox

  6. ...And a blissful sleep, pleasant dreams and Happy Holidays to you as well, Insomniac!

  7. A Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013 to you too. :) Are those taxidermied crows? They look very realistic. "His eyes - how they twinkled! His dimples: how merry,
    When he saw that they'd left him a decanter of sherry!" Cute. :) Could you tell me a little about the antique white and gold (porcelain?) decorations on your mantel? I've never seen anything like those before.

    1. Yes, they are taxidermied crows. We have four crows plus two jackdaws and a magpie. That doesn't seem excessive, does it? ;o)

      The white and gold griffin piece is a match/spill holder. They were commonly found on mantles, and were used to hold thin pieces of wood to transfer a flame to a fireplace before matches became widely available. That piece was a lucky find on eBay. The Merry Christmas souvenir mug was found in an antique mall a few Christmases ago, and since it looks so good with the match holder it stays out all year round!

      Have a wonderful holiday, Justine! xox

  8. Really nice thingys you made, I love the purple edges and the old look of the paper :)
    Hope you're having a great holiday! <3

    1. Thank you, Sandra - and one hopes your holiday is/was great, too! xox

  9. Such beautiful things you have made, and what a great mantle you have!
    I sell many candle holders similar to that of MK's in my store - can it be a European thing/style?
    God belated Jul!

    1. Thank you, and thank you again!

      You have a store? Is it an online store? Can one shop there right now? :o)

      Hope your Jul was fantastic, and there was lots of glögg flowing! xox

    2. We're not on-line (yet), and right now we're actually thinking about physically relocating. Business isn't really thriving :( But I promise to let you know should my stuff ever get pixel-and-air-born!

    3. Yes, it's a tough go for retailers these days - online or not, it seems. It's hard to compete against those Big Box stores (don't get me started!) ;o)

      Please do let me know if you ever choose to go online - always up for an online shopping spree! :D

  10. Santa's hitting the sherry again! That jolly, old booze hound! :D Love both the original votive and your beautiful recreations. Your home is so lovely, full of delightful treasures and curiosities. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and my very best wishes for 2013!

    1. Santa, you old dog ... ;o)

      Thank you for your lovely comments on the votives and our home! And one hopes that your 2013 is a delightful year as well, Little Gothic Horrors! xox

  11. What a perfect little craft! And your display ideas for the cut-out shapes are great! Everything looks cozy and darkly delightful! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, GothBarbie!

      Making the little cut-out shapes brings back fond memories of childhood, which is probably why one so enjoys adding to that particular collection every year! xox

  12. Replies
    1. LOL ... past tense, Lady M. The Gothic Mansion was sold last November. Stay tuned for the continuing adventures of the Little Gothic Cottage, which should be ready for us to move into in the very near future. :)

      And thanks for commenting. :)