Monday 19 December 2016

Nutcracker Sleigh and Characters - Julie Ann

Hello! I hope you're beginning to feel Festive! Sometimes life becomes stressful this close to Christmas, so I suggest you join me for an evening at the Ballet and escape your worries for a while.  I'm not doing 'step by steps' of how I made the little characters, but there are hints and close-ups, and if you want to find instructions of how to make the beautiful Christmas sleigh they are downloadable here. Without further ado, let's put some tiny Calico art dolls through their paces!

Meet Clara! She loves her parents' annual Christmas Eve party, especially the extraordinary gifts the mysterious 'Uncle Drosselmeyer', her godfather creates for the occasion. This year, to her delight, he has given her a nutcracker with a bright red soldier's coat. Her cousin, Frans says he wants it and that it's not a 'girl's toy', but Clara holds her Nutcracker close. She knows that he was made specially for her and that she will discover he's no ordinary nutcracker! 

Clara doesn't want to let go of her gift for a second, but she grows tired with all the excitement. When she is carried off to bed, the Nutcracker falls from her grasp and lands in a muddle of discarded wrapping paper and ribbons under the tree.

In the early hours Clara sits up in bed, wide awake - Where is her nutcracker? She tip-toes down to the living-room. Everything looks strange and rather eerie in the moonlight through the french doors. Then to her horror, Clara sees a large mouse scurrying across the floor with a crown in his hand. She rubs her eyes! Is she dreaming or is he wearing clothes? In dismay she watches her Nutcracker engage in mortal combat with the Mouse King, battling for the crown he has stolen from the Fairy at the top of the tree!

Clara did not need to worry. Her brave Nutcracker is victorious. His triumph over the Mouse King has magical consequences. He is transformed into a prince and he takes Clara with him in an intricately carved wooden sleigh to the Land of the Sugarplum Fairy.

Clara enjoys one magical entertainment after another in a land where sweets grow on trees and rose petals dance and swirl with Snowflakes. As the dawn breaks on Christmas morning, the wonderful fairyland evaporates and Clara finds herself in her bed with her Nutcracker in her arms.

 I wanted room to create character so I replaced the heads provided in the kits, giving Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy grey-board hearts; the Mouse King a Squirrel's head and the Nutcracker an oval mdf shape. To create the impression of aged wooden toys, the faces are all drawn on crackle. Clara holds a little metal nutcracker charm. I removed the ring from the top with my Dremel. The Nutcracker's hat was made from one of the signs on a sheet of lamp-post shapes! The Mouse King has a squirrel's head and part of a flourish for his tail! Here again a Dremel came in useful for all the cutting!

Instructions for making the wonderfully intricate and easy to assemble sleigh are downloadable here.

I added texture with melted gold UTEE. It was lots of fun dripping Gesso over the edges and sprinkling with glitter to create a snowy impression.

The sleigh is so beautifully detailed that gilding paste and a pearly sequin soon create the impression of a splendid troika.

The seat is painted red with gilding paste applied through a stencil. It is so quick to put together. You just need to make sure that you don't get paint in the slots and that you use a strong glue that dries clear.
I wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas. May your dreams come true and may you be contented and blessed, sharing special time with family and friends.

Calico Craft Parts used on this Project

Art Dolls (Standard) (Small, Style 2) 
Mini Greyboard shapes  (hearts)
Sheet of mini wood Lamp posts (style 3)
Sheet of mini wooden crowns (Style 1)
Sheet of mini wooden wings (Style 1)
Sheet of mini wooden Christmas shapes (Mix 2)
Squirrel wood shape style 11
Curled Vine Fancy Flourish (Style 3)
3D Sleigh Kit (Style 2)


  1. Fabulous decorations Julie, clever idea and wonderful detail. Tracy x

  2. OMGoodness JulieAnn!!!!
    How spectacular are these characters and sleigh!! What a delightful post to open and find not just one character,but four!and a beautiful royal sleigh to be pull along in! I believe the mouse king is my favorite! I so love the Nutcracker- thank you for sharing this delightful Christmas treasure!
    Jackie xx

  3. Absolutely magical characters, Julie Ann - what a delightful post! And I think I need to head straight off to put that sleigh in my shopping basket!
    Alison x

  4. So evocative, Julie Ann! I traveled with Clara and her Nutcracker...but I must confess a fondness for the Mouse King! I love his Flourish Tail! xox

  5. oh, so clever, Julie Ann!! the sleigh is adorable.

  6. Thank You so much, for the comments Tracy, Jackie, Alison, Heather and Helen. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a wonderfully creative 2017. xxx