After a particularly chilly winter in Frosty Frolic Land, the Snowbabies are going coastal– to the beach, that is! Surrounded by white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, these Snowbabies are going to spend their days basking in the warm sunshine and making memories that are sure to last a lifetime. “It was different and exciting to think about trading in the arctic chill of winter for some sunshine,” explained Snowbabies artist Kristi Jensen-Pierro. “I loved adding the red and white stripe details. It’s neat to be able to do something a little bit different.”
Fun in the sun
The Beach Babies collection features red stripe accents that are the perfect pop of summer color to refresh your home decor with. Mix and match any of the pieces to make a charming addition to any bookshelf, centerpiece, or end table. Each Beach Baby is adorned with the bling of a crystal rosette on their adorable swim caps. Whether on sand or water, these Beach Babies have a sense for style and glam.
The Snowbabies have shrugged off their winter blues and are ready to take on summer! Interested in creating a fun scene with your Beach Babies like those featured in this blog? The Beach Babies cabana is the perfect backdrop for fun in the sun. Click here to purchase.
We discovered VillageVignettes owner, Mike Landry, on Instagram and loved the detail of his Village displays. There are so many possibilities when it comes to creating a display, and his attention to detail is impressive. We wanted to know a bit more about Mike and what inspires him to create these intricate scenes.
An Interview with Village Vignettes Creator, Mike Landry
1. What are three words your friends and family would use to describe you?
Creative, enthusiastic, and fun.
2. What are your hobbies?
When I’m not working on or thinking up ideas for my next village display, you can usually find me spending time with my family (my wife, new baby boy, and our dog), drawing, playing video games, listening to audiobooks, tasting craft beer, or tinkering with house projects.
3. Where are you from/where do you currently live?
I grew up in a small town called Shirley, Massachusetts, about an hour west of Boston. I moved around the state a bit through college and early adulthood, but I’ve never lived outside Massachusetts. My wife and I eventually bought a house in Shirley, about 10 minutes from where I lived as a kid. That’s where I am now, raising my own family in my hometown.
4. How long have you been creating Village displays?
I’ve been building foam display platforms for about 3 years now, but my love for holiday villages has been around much longer than that. I was always fascinated by my grandmother’s Christmas display, a wonderland of fluffy white cotton and fun little houses and figures. I was honored to inherit most of her pieces and still proudly include them in my vignettes today.
5. What was your first display design?
My first foam display platform was very simple compared to the detail I add now. I started with scrap bits of white packing styrofoam and managed to cobble together a basic town square with a small mountain to one side. It had a few levels and some stairs, but no paint or carved stonework.
6. What are your “go to” tools?
I couldn’t do my work without Hot Wire Foam Factory’s tools. I use a variety of their hot wire tools, but the workhorse of the bunch is their sculpting tool. My next most-used tool is a hobby knife/box cutter and infinite replacement blades. The insulation
foam I work with is a sharp blade’s worst enemy, so I’m constantly replacing blades. My crafting utility belt also includes xacto knives, pens & pencils, aluminum foil rolled into various shapes, stones from my backyard, and a paintbrush with the bristles removed that I use as a cobblestone stamp.
7. Where do you find inspiration when you’re creating a display?
As I mentioned before I live in New England, where I’m lucky enough to find inspiration everywhere I look. From the brick and cobblestone streets of Salem and Boston, to the fields and forests of Central and Western MA, my state is full of inspiration for Halloween and Christmas landscapes. I’m constantly looking around wherever I go. There are so many stone walls, streams and ponds, rocky cliffs, and other details that are staples of any village display. Inspiration is always just around the corner
8. What is the most challenging part of designing a new display?
It’s definitely trying to work out the size of each piece and how they should all fit together. Sometimes I’ll design a generic display where I try to provide areas to display small, medium, and large houses; and other times I’ll work from a list of specific buildings and accessories with exact measurements. It’s an ongoing challenge to make sure that there’s enough space to display everything while leaving room for the details of the landscape to shine through. It’s also a challenge balancing my desire to put a ton of character and detail into my displays without them becoming overwhelming and distracting from the actual village collection being displayed.
9. What is your favorite Department 56 Village piece?
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, so I think this answer is a no brainer. I added The Griswold Holiday House to my collection last year and I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to eventually collecting the entire set, but the house that Clark built is by far my favorite piece.
10. If you could create a display for anyone, who would it be and why?
I would absolutely love to create a display for the owners of Ralphie’s actual house from A Christmas Story. For those who don’t know, a fan purchased and renovated the house used in A Christmas Story, and it has now become a sort of museum and sightseeing destination. It would be fantastic to recreate scenes from the movie (using the wonderful D56 pieces of course) to display in their museum. If the A Christmas Story House owners end up reading this, give me a call!
If you’re interested in seeing more of Mike’s work, make sure to check out his Instagram by clicking here. We love seeing our customers creations! Make sure to tag us in your Department 56 Instagram and Facebook posts so that we can see them.
Pet owners know that their “fur babies” are special and packed with unique personality. In life it’s the little moments that make relationships special and with a pet it’s no different. Show your love for your four legged friend with Snowbabies and their lovable companions. Even if you don’t have a pet of your own, these make perfect gifts for anyone who has a special place in their heart for four legged friends.
Here are five reasons furry friends are the best friends:
Your pet will never judge you.
Pets make the BEST listeners.
Your secrets are always safe.
They love you just the way you are!
No matter how big or small, they make the perfect companion.
It’s difficult to imagine anything cuter than a calmly sleeping pup. Show some extra love for your furry friend by customizing this piece with their name!
For a dog, every day is the best day ever! Who needs personal space when you can have some furry cuddles instead?
Show off your inner diva with The Glam Squad. There’s no better partner in crime and fabulousness than an adorable kitty! The pink accents and pearl accessories make this piece perfect for any girly-girl.
If only planking were as simple as this Snowbaby makes it appear! There’s nothing better than moral support from your furry one. Talk about purrrrfect form!
Department 56 Sculptor Kiri Namtvedt and Artist Tate Yotter give an insider view on what it was like creating the new and quirky Department 56 Pusheen ornaments.
“The first time I ever saw Pusheen I didn’t even know what her name was, but the image resonated right away because this little cat was sitting in an open refrigerator eating all the pie and I could totally relate. Pie is the best food, after all. When I found out that we were doing Pusheen ornaments I thought it was so fun to see a three-dimensional Pusheen – so simple and round, like a pet rock, but still having all the fun adventures.”
“Let me start by saying that you don’t have to be a cat-lover to love Pusheen, but it definitely helps. For those of us with cats in our lives, Pusheen’s mannerisms are on point. If you don’t know Pusheen, Google her immediately, and let the giggling begin. You might remember her from Facebook. You might know her from her adorable gifs on the interweb. You may even know her from the plushies released last year by our sister company GUND.”
“If you’ve never heard of her Pusheen is a tubby little gray lady kitty. And she’s hilarious. She likes to eat pizza and doughnuts, loves spending Christmas with her fluffy friend Stormy and of course, like any cat, enjoys napping. Basically Pusheen is my spirit animal.”
“Artist Clare Belton created Pusheen. The tubby gray lady kitty was born of Clare’s comics on everydaycute.com. Sadly this site no longer exists. But fear not! Pusheen has become an Internet sensation. This year I had the pleasure of working with Pusheen Corp and Clare in developing a line of ornaments for Department 56. I was so excited about this line and am hoping you find these little ornaments as charming as I do.”
Pusheen ornaments will be available starting this summer at your local gift retailer and at www.department56.com