Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

October 24, 2012

Christmas Shelf

I found this cool shelf at the thrift shop the day I went looking for the silk ties, and at $2.50, I had to have it.  I loved the little door in front. 

I knew what I wanted to do with it, but the heart shaped hanger would not go at all and I reluctantly removed it.  

I wanted to make my own distressed piece and read up on the technique.  First I did a base coat of dark red.  After the paint dried I rubbed a wax candle on all the edges.  Then 2 coats of off white.    

When the paint was dry I rubbed the edges with steel wool and it worked perfectly to remove the white paint where the wax was, allowing the dark red underneath to show through.  

Next came the 'Great Gate Debate'.  Couldn't decide if I wanted to use it or not.  So as usual, I put it up to a vote on Facebook.  With the gate?

Or without it?  Most everyone voted for 'without'

My friend Shelly came up with the brilliant idea of putting the gate behind the figures and once I mocked it up, I was amazed at how good it looked!  Talk about thinking outside the box!  That suggestion really enabled me to go a totally different way with my original vision of this cubby, and it came out way better.  Thank you Shelly!!!!!  :-D

Once I attached the gate in back, I started working on all the cubbies.  Added hooks to the top one.  Then I went to town with the background papers and the other little figures.  I had such a good time making the scenes!!  A lot of the items I used are childhood ornaments.

In the first cubby we have an adorable teddy that I bought in the mid 80s.  I added the candy cane to his paw.  I glued all the crystals and the star to the tree.  Each side is wallpapered with striped paper and I added a patterned gold button for a wall hanging.  The back uses glittery cardstock.  Isn't the wee penguin cute?  

I first painted this cubby with tiny silver microbeads mixed into Mod Podge to create a silvery textured look. All of the elements in this one are new....the balls, greens, presents and train were purchased specifically for this opening.

Here's another one I did with Christmas coloured microbeads/glitter in Mod Podge.  The wood sled ornament was given to me by my parents in about 1970, and I added the glittery present button in front.  The back paper has a candy pattern on it.

My dad gave me this deer family in my stocking in about 1973 or 74.  The side walls are done in dark green paper with a subtle pine tree design, and the back is dark blue paper.  Then I stuck silver snowflakes on them.  There are also 5 mini bottle brush trees in the back, and fiberfill snow.

Here's the cubby with the gate in the back.  I LOVE the way this ended up looking.  Both of the glass figures were also stocking stuffers in the 70s.  I used fiberfill for the snow and put 2 holly sprigs on either side of the walls, and also added the poinsettia in front of the tree.

Behind the gate I did ripped green paper for rolling hills in the background and dark blue paper on which I stuck silver stars.  I also added the elf and 2 trees so that it looks like they are behind the gate.

Decoupaged these vintage Victorian designs on the top and both sides.

I always get kind of sad whenever I finish a project.  This was a lot of fun to make and I would love to do another one!


  1. You have far too much time on your hands lol! Very cute and very christmassy. Is it nearly christmas? surely not?

  2. I'm not usually fond of this kind of thing, but this one is lovely.

  3. What fun! I love how you incorporated things from your past to give it a special touch.
    Everyday Inspired

  4. Anonymous5:17 AM

    I'm glad you kept the gate. Putting it in the back was a really good idea because it turned out adorable. You really do amazing work.

  5. How cool is that? You are so creative! I would have never thought to make something like that.


  6. This is awesome JoJo! I LOVE all the little pieces; especially the vintage ones that mean something to you. It's all so creatively put together! I have a collection of reindeer, so I particularly LOVE the teenie tiny deer!!!

  7. Oh My God! It's Adorable :)

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  9. Thanks all! I was so sad when this project came to an end. I would love to do another. I'm not even sure where I'm gonna put this come December.

  10. Your $2.50 find turned into a real treasure. I'm glad you kept the gate as I thought it charming and yes it does look much better in the background than in front. Funny how just a shift of position can change the whole perspective.
    The finished piece is absolutely enchanting and just waiting for the Christmas Holidays to roll around. :)

  11. What fun! Thank you for your sharing!
    Gemstone Beads