As I once again am trying to keep organized and in touch with you all as to what I have been creating, I realized that I still haven’t done an official ‘reveal’ of the latest building in my North Star Village “Christmas in the Village” series. Shame on me!
I began this series last year with the Toys in the Attic toy store:
I am creating both painting patterns and wood kits for all of the following piece. I use DecoArt Americana acrylic paint and mediums (available at www.decoart.com or at your favorite craft supplier) in all the instructions and I cut my wood pieces from Baltic birch plywood as well as MDF. All the patterns come with easy to follow step-by-step instructions and lots and lots of color photos so that any painter can complete the projects successfully.
The storefronts each come in two sizes – large and small, and consist of the building itself, several overlay pieces, and a stand so that you can arrange it and create your own little village wherever you pleased. I make them in two sizes because I realize that not everyone has the same amount of room and I want to offer different the option for the two sizes. I am happy that I did, as orders I have received for each of the sizes are equally strong.
I also decided to create a ‘matching’ ornament set for those who may like the special elements of the buildings, but would rather hang ornaments on a tree rather than have standing pieces. For the Toys in the Attic store, the ornament set consisted of these four pieces:
I was pretty happy with the response to these. While I know it can sometimes become confusing (I hear that from my partner Keith who does all the work on our websites) I feel that it really does broaden the appeal of the project to many. And with the amount of time and energy that I invest in a pattern like this, I want it to be something that anyone interested can accomplish. Even if they are newer to painting. Someone may feel that painting the entire building would be a bit intimidating, but wouldn’t think twice about trying to paint just the ornaments. It is a ‘baby step’ approach to encouraging newer painters to try.
The patterns that I create are pretty comprehensive. For this series and this type of project in general, the patterns themselves are over 30 pages with over 50 color step-by-step photographs to help even newer painters accomplish the project and have fun doing so. I like breaking things down like this, as I feel that if one is more knowledgeable they can easily skim through the parts they don’t need. However, if someone is new and unsure, the instructions are there for them to learn from. To me, it is a win/win approach and again – I have had great feedback from those who have purchased my patterns from me. I think that is important to do things in this manner, as patterns are regarded as written lessons and the success or failure of a project can affect a new painter quite a bit. I want those who create my projects to feel proud and accomplished when they are done. That will encourage them to do more painting and we will all benefit from that.
Because they are so involved, I have set my own personal goal of releasing only two to three buildings per year. I know this may sound like a low number, but I am a firm believer in “quality over quantity” for reasons stated above. I would rather have fewer patterns of high quality released than many more that were not quite up to my standards. Besides – because I also hand cut the kits as well as the many other wood surfaces I work on for my other patterns and orders, I am finding that my time to design has been quite limited. I don’t want to get in over my head and offering a couple of buildings a year allows time for the most recent one to die down a bit before I tackle another one. The anticipation from everyone is rather fun, too. It assures that the quality of subsequent buildings will always be as good as, if not better than those that came before it. It is all about the process.
The second building in the series was The Enchanted Florist.
It also had an accompanying ornament set for those who wanted just ornaments:
While the building was proportionally the same as the toy store (I used the door as the unifying factor) it was larger due to the fact that it was a two-story structure. My partner (and a few customers) noted this, but I assure you that I had thought this through and I wanted it to be this way. After all – when we go to small villages and walked down Main Street, every building wasn’t the same size. Some of the shops were much smaller than others and I didn’t want a cookie cutter size limitation that would restrict the amount of elements that I want to show in each building. (It is my fantasy village, so I get to be the architect! 😉 ) It was quite a bit of fun to have five windows to fill with cute items that one may find at a florist! Not to mention the things that were outside the shop, like the swan sleigh and the gnome topiary. I found that the second building was even more fun than the first.
And now I have the bakery:
The Pink Macaron is the latest and third storefront added to the village. I had such fun filling the windows with a variety of sweets and breads and cookies:
I also added two nutcracker solders and a Christmas tree made from macarons, and a pretty stained-glass door and transom with a pastel wheat motif.
It is truly a fantasy store that anyone would love to visit! The ornament set that coordinates with the bakery consists of ten pieces:
(I told you I kept thinking of more items to add!) It was really a labor of love and I am so proud of the outcome.
I had finished it up nearly two months ago, and I announced its availability in my “Let’s Paint (and CREATE!) with Sheila Landry” group on Facebook. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/paintwithsheila) I tend to show my ‘Groupies’ stuff most often, and they got first crack at ordering. (If you wish to join, just put in a request and you will be better kept up to date on what I am up to.)
I must say – they kept me quite busy, which is why I haven’t really announced the completion of this and the availability of the kits and patterns until now. I have been working pretty much non-stop on that and some other collaboration pieces that I have had with other designers that are also my friends. This is my first chance to take a breath and get my bearings.
But I feel ready to go ‘public’ with it now, and the patterns and kits are all available at my website at www.tolepaintingdesigns.com. As I mentioned, all three buildings come in two sizes and have ornament sets available. I offer wood kits for everything and the patterns are available as either paper copies or PDF patterns. Plus – if you buy the paper pattern I will send you a PDF copy on request as a courtesy. This way you can have the pattern on your devices if you like to paint from your tablet or computer screen (I do!) I find this very helpful.
I am really excited about this series in general. While it may seem like it takes a while to produce each individual building, the process itself of doing so is quite a lot of fun. I have ideas for so many more buildings that I will be making in the future. While I may get overwhelmed at times, I want to be sure that ever single piece is filled with lots of elements that make us smile. I know this series will keep me busy for quite some time to come.
Thank you, everyone for being so patient with me! You have all kept me really busy and really loving what I do!
Until next time . . .