Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Xmas Garden House

This is a doll house that my great-grandfather made for my grandmother in 1886. My mother has written a beautiful, sad story about it, but that will have to wait till another time.

There was a tradition of Christmas gardens in Baltimore, long ago. I didn't grow up in Baltimore. I grew up in New Jersey. But my mother grew up in Annapolis, and her mother grew up in Baltimore. She had a very sad childhood.

When I was little this house was always under the tree with an amazing assortment of tiny figures and furniture all around it. Cast iron hoboes, reindeer and skaters, snow babies, turkeys, tiny Oriental rugs, a gramophone, a coffee grinder, a Chinese boy and girl... A train circled the tree. I liked to put my head right by the tracks and see the train coming straight at me. The train smoke was this delicious odd smell.

My sister and I used to fantasize about the second floor of this house, because there isn't any.

I was going to decorate it fully and capture it with stop motion, but I ran out of time. Here's a little test with one Chinese cat and two turkeys. Maybe when I come back I'll do a full version. I've only tried stop motion a couple of times, and found it hard to get a sense of the timing. My new camera has a remote with a shutter button, and I can import the jpegs into Flash.


Namowal said...

Wow, that house came fully stocked. It must have been exciting, as a kid, to take it out each year and be reunited with the "tenants!"

sal said...

The dollhouse and the animation are both great fun!

Linda said...

This is very fun/kind of other-worldly. Even the trees in the window behind the house / how they change! We want to hear your mom's story even though it's sad.