Monday 6 December 2021

Here Comes Santa Claus...

Hello friends...

Hope you've all had a wonderful weekend and your Christmas preparations are underway! I must admit, I'm slightly behind, I usually have the decorations and my tree in place by the first week of December but after a crazy week of booster jabs and their not so welcome side effects, it's now time to get my Santa's hat on and decorate the house!

In the meantime, we are celebrating all things Christmas over on the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog and this week, our theme is SANTA! The DT are also showcasing the amazing products of the one and only Tim Holtz and as always, if you'd like to join us and play along, we can't wait to see what you will be making!

For my project, I'm sharing a piece that I made using Tim's brand new Christmas 2021 idea-ology products and I can't wait to show you around Santa's Grotto. It's packed full of details and plenty of Christmas magic from Tim and I hope you'll enjoy your visit! Remember, Santa knows if you've been good, or bad...

So let's get started and we'll begin with the structure...


I used the idea-ology Vignette Shrine for my base. This comes in three pieces, the shrine and the 2 platforms which you attach to the base. But I wanted to add an extra piece to my shrine so that I had a wider base and for this I used a piece of wood that actually came of the side of a Vignette Box that arrived smashed into pieces. I covered this base with the wood planks design paper from the Christmas Backdrops set.

You can also use mount board for this or you can use an offcut of wood, it will create the same effect! I attached the extra width to the base with collage medium and then I placed a Pinked Etcetera Trim, covered with more of the Backdrops paper that was die cut using the Decorative Trims Thinlits Die set by Tim Holtz and I placed the trim over the top of the join to cover and strengthen this base section.

Now to decorate and to begin with I painted the back with Peeled Paint Distress Paint and adhered some Christmas Design Tape around the edges, just to create a neat finish.

Moving onto the sides and for this I used the Collage Tiles which fit perfectly. I arranged the tiles down each side and onto the roof, adhering them with Matte Collage Medium and trimming away the excess. I then applied a coat of the medium over the top to seal them and once dry, I ran some Walnut Stain Distress Crayon around the edges and over the joins of the Collage Tiles.

Inside the shrine, I used some of the Christmas Backdrops paper on the back wall, I used a combination of the red weathered wood design and the wood planks tape that I used on the base. I covered the sides with Candy Stripe paper from the Christmas Worn Wallpaper.

Along the raw edges on the front of the shrine, I cut some more of the Worn Wallpaper into narrow strips that would fit the edges and then adhered it to my structure. I then applied some Crackle Paste over the front edges, allowed this to dry before applying Walnut Stain Distress Crayon over the top to accentuate the texture.


On the side of the box, I placed a handle. The handle is from the Mini Hardware Set and Handle and after applying a small amount of Translucent Grit Paste, which I allowed to dry ~ I then painted the handle red, with Candied Apple Distress Paint.

I then attached the handle to the left hand side of the box and placed two Hardware Heads into teh holes before I then tied a tag to the handle. This is from the Christmas Ephemera pack and I just crumpled it slightly and then smoothed it out before inking it with Walnut Stain Distress Ink and then tying it to the handle.


For the shelf across the top of the shrine, I used two Pinked Etcetera Trims that I trimmed so they would fit inside the box and then adhered together to form a 'L' shape. I covered the trims with Crackle Paste and once this was dry and the crackles had appeared, I ran the Walnut Stain Crayon over the top and rubbed the colour into the cracks to accentuate them.

Attach the shelf inside the box with Matte Collage Medium and allow to dry.

On this shelf I placed three different sizes of Drippy Candles and hot glued them into place. I added some pine cones from my garden that I frosted with Rock Candy Distress Glitter and then surrounded the arrangement with Mica Flakes, adhered into place with Glossy Accents. Place a Mirrored Star on the top of the shrine.

I adhered two Hardware Findings to either side of the shelf, rusting them with a little Crackling Campfire, Ground Espresso and Black Soot Distress Paint to make them look slightly rusty.


Now for Santa's Grotto and the first thing was to make the sign that stands behind him. This is cut from one of the Christmas Backdrops paper and I trimmed this section down so that it would fit inside the box. One the surface of the paper, I applied the embossing dabber and then sprinkled with Frosted Crystal Embossing Powder. Tap away the excess powder and heat emboss until the powder becomes crystallised. I then backed it with a piece of mountboard to make it substantial so that it won't collapse or buckle inside the box. Run the Walnut Stain Crayon around the edges of the sign.

I attached the finish sign inside the box with foam pads to bring it slightly forward before applying Mica Flakes around the edges, adhering them with Glossy Accents.

At this stage, I also attached two of the red stars from the Baseboard Pack and inside the grotto, I also placed some wood slices, which will become a support for Santa's feet when I place him inside.

Next is the star of the show and this image is taken from Christmas Layers pack. I made, and attached an acetate bracket on the back of Santa, placing the bracket against the widest part of him, so that it will stabilise him inside the box and he won't bend.

Attach the opposite end of the bracket to the back of the box, and attach Santa to the right of the sign.



To create the white tips, of the tree, I applied gesso to the tips only using my finger and allowed it to dry. I then used Winterberry from the Holiday Mica Spray Stains set and spritzed it over the tree to colour it. Once dry, I rolled the tree in some Glossy Accents I squeezed out onto my craft sheet and then sprinkled Rock Candy Glitter over the top. Allow to dry before wrapping some of the paper offcuts around the wooden base of the tree and then attaching it in place on the left hand side.

To complete the tree, I coloured some Bauble Findings with a combination of Foundry Alloy Alcohol Ink and Mushroom Alcohol Ink and attached them to the tree.


I surround the tree with tiny presents. I bought these small wooden blocks which are readily available online and then covered them in offcuts of the Backdrops papers. To complete the presents I tied twine around them and on some of them I added small name tags which I took from the Clippings Sticker Book.

One to Jack and on the other side I added one to Betsy.

Candy Cane Basket

On the opposite side, I added a Candy Cane basket.

This is an idea-ology Thimble which I altered with a little Speckled Egg, Picket Fence and Tarnished Brass Distress Paint. I attached the thimble to the base of the shrine, placing it to the right and then wrapped some of the longer Christmas Confections in plastic, before placing them inside the thimble.

I then took one of the Mini Flair buttons, 2 for 25cents which I attached to a Memo Pin and stuck this inside the candy arrangement.

I arranged some more presents around the thimble and also placed one to tumble out of the shrine itself before I attached some little candy pieces in a cluster.

Finally, I sprinkled the base with Mica Flakes to give that dusting of icy goodness over the entire piece...

...before I added the finishing touch of the 'we dreamed of Santa Claus' sticker across the front of the base of the shrine.

So that completes Santa's Grotto and it's ready to display for Christmas time. I hope you've enjoyed reading all about this project and as always, if you make anything, or been inspired by anything that you've seen here on my blog ~ then please, let me know by tagging me on social media or leaving a comment here and I will be right over to take a look!

Don't forget that every week, one lucky random participant has the chance to win a $25 gift voucher from Simon Says Stamp and you can join in up to 5 times, which means you could have 5 chances to winYou have until next Monday at 8am Ohio time. 1pm UK time, 2 pm CET to join in and good luck....

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today ~ stay safe and keep well.
Love Emma xxx

Recipe for project:

Stampers Anonymous: Pinked Etcetera Trims
Distress Ink: Walnut Stain
Distress Crayon: Walnut Stain
Distress Paint: Speckled Egg, Peeled Paint, Crackling Campfire, Tarnished Brass, Candied Apple, Black Soot, Ground Espresso
Alcohol Ink: Foundry Alloy, Mushroom
Surfaces: Mountboard from my stash
Wooden Blocks and twine from my stash


  1. Stunning Emma. Love how you always pay attention to details. Especially those gift wrapped boxes and bucket of candy canes. So clever my lovely Bestie xxx

  2. Love this project, I think this is the one I will get started many details and so much to look at and take stuff!!!

  3. It is a beautiful and very inspiring work. Thanks for sharing.
    Merry Christmas!!!

  4. Emma this is an amazing make. You are so kind to share the how to. There are so many details to look at and take in. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I had to read the instructions for this great make. So many wonderful details. I just love the thimble of peppermint sticks! Thanks for sharing.


Thank you for all your comments and messages, they are all appreciated and I hope you'll come back and visit again soon...
Emma ~xx

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