summer cottage with a vine in yellow and periwinkle

I drew the pattern for this house in February of this year (2024). When I tested the pattern with a paper mockup, I found about five things that needed to be changed. Never skip the mockup on a new pattern!

After adjusting the pattern, I ended up with this house. If I didn’t add a vine, I could add two windows above the front door. Other alternate versions would be to add two chimneys, or make a tall chimney for the left side of the house, deleting the windows on that side. The bumpout could be left off the front for a different version of this pattern. A house can be placed on a foam core foundation, which lifts it enough to add extra steps to the front door. This pattern could have a roof over the front door to make a porch. Use your imagination to make different houses from the same pattern.

Getting started. The house is assembled and ready for landscaping. I use hot glue to assemble my Putz houses.

In progress. I love the new system for organizing my flower embellishments. I was able to pick the boxes I might use and see at a glance what was available for the Putz house. When done, it was easy to sort the leftovers back into the proper boxes and put them back in the flower drawer.

The greeting card used to make the base features a porch swing, pillows and books in shades of blue and yellow. The perfect setting for an early cup of coffee or for book reading on a breezy summer afternoon. Check out my tutorial for making a putz base from a greeting card.

A hole in the back allows the use of a small LED light string for lighting this and other glitter houses in your glitter house village.

I added a vining rose to this house. The yellow roses were so perfect with the yellow of the bumpout on the front of the house. The fence was painted with the same yellow used on the bumpout, but I lightened it with some white to make a slightly paler shade.

The fence is made from wooden coffee stir sticks. Here is a link to my tutorial on making wooden picket fences. Picket fence tutorial

A wide step leads up to the front door.

A puff of smoke is included in case your summer evening turns chilly. It is tucked into the chimney and is easily removed if not needed.

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda  🙂

organizing flower supplies

I used the past two days to sort and organize my stock of little flowers. I had previously sorted them by color. There were eight sections. I found that it was good to have them sorted, but the individual colors were too jumbled to use efficiently.

After I started the project, I thought to take a picture. The right half of the drawer shows what it looked like when I just sorted by colors. I had divided the flowers into eight colors, dividing the sections with foam core I cut to fit the drawer. I found, as I worked with them on projects, that I wasted time sorting through a particular color because it was so jumbled. Lots of stuff in plastic bags. Some in little plastic containers, some loose in the section. I decided to make small boxes to sort the flowers into smaller sections.

I made the little boxes from white poster board. I decided to make them 3″ square. I measured the depth of the drawer to see how high the sides of the boxes should be. The drawer is 2.5″ deep. I cut the boxes so they would be 2 1/4″ deep to make sure they would clear the opening.

Once I had all the sections sorted into smaller bits, I sorted them by ROYGBIV. I started at the bottom of the left side with red, moved into pink, then coral, orange, yellow, green (only one box of green!), blue, turquoise, dark blue, then, multi-colored mixes.

I had four boxes of white embellishments and no room in the flower drawer. I have two small drawers above the flower drawer that hold pip stems and larger flowers that I don’t need often. I put the white boxes in the left hand drawer.

I divided the pip stem drawers with boxes I made from foam core with a poster board bottom. I cut them to fit the width snugly so they wouldn’t slide up and down the drawer. I put them together with hot glue. Because I didn’t make enough boxes to fill the drawer, I can move the boxes so I have various size spaces between them.

In this drawer you can see the two sizes of pips I like to use. The top and bottom sections have mini pip stems. Those are my favorite. They are harder to find than the usual size.

I use pip stems to create budding spring trees.

I use these mini pink pips on green stems a lot.

The pip stems also work as spring vines. This one twines over the roof of a spring barn.

They also work well to vine over an Irish cottage.

It took some time to organize, but the effort will be well worth it when I make spring and summer Putz houses. Besides, organizing things is my favorite. Can you tell!?

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda 🙂

a new garden

Our previous home had a large yard, with almost four acres to play with. We let a one-acre wooded area grow up in the back. Over the course of 25 years, we planted a lot of trees, shrubs and flowers in the rest of the yard. A favorite activity was “walking the yard” to see what was blooming. Our older son and his family now live in that house. Now they’re the ones walking the yard to keep up with what’s happening.

Here are a few pictures of our previous garden.

Heavy on the daylilies. We collected about 400 different varieties of daylilies over the years. Our favorites were moved to our new home, but we don’t have the amount we had previously.

Hostas were another plant we collected. We have moved many of those to our new home. Native to northeastern Asia, these are a nonnative we plan to keep.

I love Russian sage, but that won’t make the trip from the previous garden. We’ll plant penstemons, blue star, liatris and other native spikey plants instead.

We’ve been in our new home for two and a half years. It’s a brand new start. Part of the half acre yard has very poor soil. It needs some attention. Compost, chips and native plants will be added as we’re able.

We are planning an eco friendly yard, with native trees, shrubs and plants that support native wildlife. We want to support everything from insects and birds to small animals. There are some nonnatives in the yard that we would like to replace with natives. The rule of thumb for native to nonnative ratio in a suburban environment is 70% native and no more than 30% nonnative. The more natives used, the better. I’ve already mentioned some nonnatives that we moved from the previous garden. Included are some “family” plants. My grandmother’s lilac, daffodils from Russell’s family farm, etc. We want to keep those, but most other nonnatives in our current yard will be replaced eventually.

If you’ve researched anything about planting native, you probably know that, if you can plant only one tree in your yard to support wildlife, it should be an oak tree. Oaks support more wildlife than any other native tree. We are blessed with ten large oak trees in our yard. Our home backs onto ten acres of a neighbor’s property that has been planted with many oak trees. We’re off to a good start.

Russell has planted elderberries, hazelnuts, and beautyberry shrubs, and choke cherry, dogwood, and redbud trees. We have a pussy willow and a buttonbush shrub on order.

Last week, we decided where we want a wide pathway for walking the yard. We began putting that together. I took plastic tape off cardboard boxes. Russell spread the boxes on the path and topped them with chips. With that decided, we now have a good idea where flower beds and shrubs should be planted.

We plan to have an open space off the screened porch, but the rest of the backyard, we hope, will eventually be completely planted with native shrubs and flowers, with some foot paths for access.

It’s going to be an adventure! ~~Rhonda 🙂

get ready to celebrate the fourth of july

Here is a sweet little Putz house to celebrate Independence Day! It is listed in my Etsy shop.

All proceeds from my shop support the work of Kenya Mercy Ministries dot org. KMM works with children and their families who live in the largest urban slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

This is pattern 091523. The house features a large tree, a handcrafted, wooden picket fence, an American flag and its own fireworks display! The base measures 6 1/4″ wide by 4 1/2″ deep. The Putz, without the fireworks, is 5″ tall as measured from the bottom of the base to the top of the chimney. With the fireworks it is 9 1/2″ high.

The base is made from an upcycled greeting card, featuring two children with an alpaca and an American flag. So cute!

A hole in the back allows the use of a small LED light string for lighting this and other glitter houses in your glitter house village.

The fireworks fit into clear tubes on the back and are removable for storage. The short tubes are glued to the back. The longer tubes protect the fireworks when they are in storage. When the house is displayed, the long tubes can be stored on the back of the house, by placing them on the fireworks pick. They won’t show from the front.

The yard is enclosed by a white, handcrafted, wooden, picket fence. I make the picket fences from wooden, coffee stir sticks.

A large summer tree shades the front yard. It is made from a tree armature, artificial moss, and tiny leaves. I paint the armature brown and dust it with glitter. When the paint is dry, I add the moss and a sprinkle of tiny leaves.

In the yard, you see the Star-Spangled Banner waving in the breeze. The little round window above the door is covered with a flattened, metal bead cap.

The view from above.

The Independence Day house comes with a puff of smoke, just in case it rains. You know Grandma will say, “Sure!”, when you ask if you can roast your hotdogs in her fireplace.

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing! ~~Rhonda 🙂

has spring found you?

We have been enjoying daffodils and other spring flowers for a month or so. Today DH picked a sprig of lilac for me. A tiny bouquet that smells so good!

We’ve lived in our new home for 2 1/2 years. The yard has a long way to go before we can enjoy the number of spring flowers we had at the previous house. Fortunately, we live only two miles north of the other house, and our older son and his family live there now. They have been bringing over bouquets of spring flowers for me to enjoy. This one includes redbud blossoms (purple), quince (coral), a variety of daffodils and a beautiful pink tulip.

Winston always wants to check out fresh flowers. He sometimes thinks they are a snack for him. This bouquet included various daffodils, honesty plant (purple), lilac, and Virginia bluebells (blue).

Winston and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset last night. This is looking from the window in my craft room.

The color lasted twenty minutes or longer. It was beautiful!

I am currently working on a Fourth of July Putz house. I will post pictures of it in a few days. The little house is done, but the yard needs to be landscaped. And there will be fireworks!

I hope you have a happy and blessed Easter! ~~Rhonda 🙂

craft storage / picket fence supplies

One of my favorite storage systems are small, three-drawer, plastic containers. They work well to contain supplies that are needed only for one particular project. 

These drawers are stored in the island in the middle of the craft room. I can turn in my desk chair, grab a drawer, and turn back to my desk without getting up.

This is the side of the island that faces my desk. The island has been redesigned since I took this picture. I’ll have to take new pictures. I didn’t like the three feet on the end.

The other side faces the counter and drawers at the back of the craft room. I keep things here I don’t need as often as the items on the other side. This side is now filled with cubby baskets.

“Fence Strips” is a drawer that contains items for fences made from poster board strips. I cut strips 11″ long by 3/4″ wide from white poster board. Eleven inches fits my drawer. I draw a line down the middle. When I want a fence, I choose the decorative scissor I want for that putz house and cut the strip evenly along the pencil line. The box on the bottom has strips I’ve cut and some leftover painted strips. Maybe I’ll use them some day. Maybe I won’t. The box is my container. My limit. When the box gets too full, I save my faves and throw the others out. The box on the top, which is the right side of the drawer, has the marked strips, ready for the next fence I need. The scissors are my favorite “fence scissors.” I have other decorative scissors, but these are my fence scissors. Stored at point of use. Always where I need them.

The drawer marked “Post and Board Fence” are supplies for making the kinds of fences that are common on farms. The drawer holds finished fences, popsicle sticks, craft matchsticks, and containers of precut posts.

“Fence Posts, Railroad Tracks, Wood Stars” holds the different kinds of posts I use at the corners and the ends of some fences. Because there’s extra room, it also acquired train tracks and wood stars (not sure why the stars were stored there). The stars were moved to my “diorama ornament” supplies, which is a large drawer under the counter in the craft room. This fence drawer has round and square sticks, different widths, etc. When I need to cut some, I cut enough to have on hand for a while.

NOTE: This is a good place to give you my hint for labeling these drawers. I need to change the title of this drawer, now that the stars are stored elsewhere. I put a sticky note, or a piece of colored paper, on the inside of the drawer and hold it in place with a bit of tape, if needed. The colored paper provides a background that makes the label easy to read. I write with black marker on the front (outside) of the drawer. When the label needs to be changed, I wipe it clean with hand sanitizer and a Mr. Clean eraser. So easy. When dry, the drawer (or a tote or other plastic container) can be given a new name.

The “Picket Fences” drawer is full of completed fences that are waiting for Putz houses that need them. I store these in 7″ by 3″ plastic bags. When making fences, I usually make six sections of each fence style I am constructing. Two sections are usually enough to fence a Putz house.

“Picket Fence Supplies” is just that. Items I need to make more picket fences. I don’t store the tools I use, like wire cutters, glue, etc., in the drawer. Just the items the fence is actually made of. Stir sticks, containers of different kinds of pickets, stacks of cut “boards.”

“Steps and Paths” doesn’t have anything to do with fences, but this last drawer holds the materials I use to make steps and walkways. Balsa wood strips, worn out emory boards I used as sandpaper, cardboard of different thicknesses, etc.

It is so convenient to pull one drawer and take it to my craft desk. I have all the supplies needed for the project I am working on. If I am making new fences, I pull the fence supplies drawer. If I need fence posts, I pull that drawer. When done, the supplies go back into the drawer and the drawer goes back into the drawer container where it belongs. The drawers keep all the supplies contained and cleanup is easy when I’m done with the project. They are neatly stored away till next time they are needed.

It is a relief to me to have everything in a “home.” I know where needed items are. I can reach them easily. I can put them away just as easily. It makes my crafting time much more productive than when I can’t remember where I left a tool or where a particular needed embellishment has been stored. Easy to access storage means I can spend more time on crafting and less time on searching. It’s a work in progress, but it just keeps getting better and better. My sister’s fifth grade teacher said, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, till your good is better and your better’s best.” I’ve never forgotten. Thank you, Miss Varner!

My tutorial for making picket fences can be found here.

Join me on my putzing craft page on Facebook.

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda 🙂

tutorial / making picket fences for Putz houses / 2024

I have written a few posts about making fences for Putz houses, but as time goes by, experience lends a hand. This post contains instructions for my latest method. I find this method easy and fairly quick, considering it involves many small pieces. I can make a five-inch section of fencing in about twenty minutes. It takes two or three sections to fence a Putz house, depending on the size of the base. I rarely make bases over 4″x6.” Larger bases would require more sections, of course.

Fences can be made in many styles. Search the internet or Pinterest for “picket fence” to see pictures of different kinds of fences. I found inspiration for most of these styles online.

Here are a few pictures of finished Putz houses with picket fences that I made.
I love the style pictured below. Combining two kinds of pickets makes a very interesting fence.

The fence can include fence posts or not. Your choice.

Think outside the box. A fence doesn’t need to enclose the entire putz.
PS, I’ve always thought of this pattern as an old barn that has been renovated into a beautiful home.

This is the greeting card used for the base of the above barn. It inspired my wonky fence.


Supplies you will need to follow this tutorial.

  • Cutting mat, with measurement marks.
  • X-ACTO knife or other craft knife.
  • White glue. I use tacky glue.
  • Syringe with blunt tip needle to apply the glue.
  • Coffee stir sticks.
  • Small wire cutters to cut points on the ends of pickets.
  • Hot glue gun This is my favorite glue gun. I love the cordless feature.
  • Needle-nose tweezers.
  • Palette knife for lifting the glued down fence section from the mat. An offset handle is helpful.
  • Sandpaper. I use nail files, with two different grits. When they are worn out, I use them to cut steps for the houses.
  • Safety glasses are a good idea. The little pickets can fly all over as they are cut.

The coffee stir sticks I use are 7.5″ long. A longer stick gives you more pickets. The ends can be cut off to make rounded pickets. I cut the pickets with a wire cutter. The wire cutter easily cuts points on the picket tip, if a pointed picket is needed. The rest of the stir stick can be cut into the size of picket needed.

To make the horizontal boards to hold the pickets, I begin by marking a score line down the long edge of the stick. Recut the line a few times to go all the way through. Cut slowly to maintain control. I cut them freehand, but it could be done with a metal or acrylic ruler as a guide to keep the lines straight..

When cutting by hand, which I do, the boards won’t all look the same, but I like the varied look for these fences. They are crafted one section at a time, not in a cookie-cutter style.

Below, I have cut a sliver off one side for use as a board. The boards are the thinnest sticks to the left. I then cut pickets from the wider sticks, after cutting off the board. This will make uneven pickets, but I like the look. To make pickets that are all the same width, cut them from a stir stick, without cutting any boards off the edge.

I attach the boards to the mat with a small dot of hot glue on the ends of the boards. I set the boards about an 1/4″ apart. The hot glue holds them in place and makes it easier to place the pickets on the board.

I use a syringe with a blunt tip needle to apply white glue to the horizontal bars.
Note the container of pickets. When I am making them, I do a lot at a time, so I don’t need to make more pickets every time I need to make a fence. This task is fodder for binging TV.

When applying the pickets, I use the rule lines on the mat to make the pattern even all the way across. This is necessary, so the design being laid down will be even on two or more sections. If you have uneven designs, the sections may not match from one side of the putz to the other.

Below, the sections on each side have seven pickets each. The ends will be trimmed. When the sides are placed, they should be lined up so the front pieces, when glued down at the corners, will be straight across the front.

See the picture below. These pickets are not set at a regular interval. My mistake. I should have set the first two pickets as I did, then gone to the next 1″ mark to set two more, lined up as the first ones were. Then I could go back to insert the middle two pickets. It would be okay to eyeball the middle pickets, because the pickets on either side will be the same, all along the length of the section. Setting pickets at measured intervals keeps the design consistant all along the section. Eyeballing the space between each set of pickets, as I did below, means the design slowly shifted to the left, out of sinc with other sections of the same fence.

The shift is obvious in the picture below. I had two problems. First, the pickets were not all the same width. If aware of that, it isn’t a problem, as it is easy to adjust them as the section is made. Second, I neglected to line the pickets with each inch mark before setting in the middle two pickets.

When applying the pickets to the boards, line up the tops of the pickets, not the bottoms. Each picket doesn’t have to be cut the same length as the other pickets. When the glue is dry, the bottom can be cut with a large pair of scissors to make it even.

The bottoms of the fence sections have been cut even in the picture below.

At this point, the sections need to be left alone until the glue is completely dry.

The top section below has wet glue. The one below is almost dry.

When the section is completely dry, I use a palette knife to gently wiggle and lift the fence off the mat to lift the hot glue I used at each end of the board to hold the boards to the mat. The fence may be damaged if the fence section is removed without first loosing the hot glue. If white glue was applied to the boards, thick enough to run onto the mat while affixing pickets, those places will have to be lifted free, too.

Gently run the palette knife under the fence section. Jiggle and slide it when glue is encountered. I can see that, in this picture, I was in a hurry to remove the section. I should have waited until the white glue was complety dry. Dry glue is much more stable than wet glue.

Backside. All the glue is completely dry.

Front side. The one on the left is trimmed at the bottom. The one on the right isn’t trimmed yet.

When painting the pickets, I prefer an old, damaged, stiff, bristly brush. About 1/2″ wide. The stiffness and the bristles help the paint get into all the nooks and crannies. I paint each section with one coat of paint on both sides, let it dry completely and then add a second coat of paint to each side of the fence section. I immediately add the glitter, then leave the sections to dry completely before tidying up the paint job. See before and after below.

Needle nose tweezers come in handy for cleaning up the fence paint. I insert them in each space of the fence, and rock the tweezers back and forth to clear the excess paint. Do the same from the other side of the fence. Each space, all the way down the section.

The fence is complete. I use hot glue to hold it to the base. This house has a porch which I cut from a paint stirring stick. The stepping stones are painted onto the base.

This is the above house completed. A fence can add a wonderful detail to a Putz house.

You can see more of my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda

tutorial / putz house construction…on the inside

I have cut this pattern from poster board, affixed the window panes, and am ready to construct it. This is pattern 090319.


I always add a base to each putz house pattern I draw. The base is attached to the main body of the house. The walls are glued to the flaps on the base of the house. The base provides stability. It keeps the house in alignment so there is little shifting of the walls.

My patterns have flaps that allow the pieces of the pattern to be glued together. On the front of the house below, I am showing how I used to assemble the pattern pieces to the flaps. I would set the flaps under the pattern piece I was adding. One problem with this method is the amount of light that can show through the joins of the pattern when it is lit from within. With the flaps underneath, there are usually slivers between pattern pieces where light can leak out.

Below, is the method I use now. I glue the flaps on top rather than below. It creates a barrier to light leakage. This method is a bit more cumbersome, but I think it is the best way to prevent light leaks.

I prefer hot glue for assembling pattern pieces. Others like to use white glue. The disadvantage of hot glue is the quick set. That’s also a plus, in my mind. But to use hot glue, you need to be familiar with the way patterns fit together so you can work quickly, you have to understand how the hot glue works, and you need to be fast. White glue gives time to fudge and fiddle, which is easier when you first begin to make these little glitter houses.

If hot glue blobs on the pattern piece, it can be smoothed by rubbing the side of the hot glue nozzle across the blob.

I make the house stronger by putting a line of hot glue in the corners and around the window pane inserts. My window panes aren’t going to pop out sometime down the road.

The only caution is this. Don’t put hot glue in any fold that isn’t yet attached to its designated pattern piece. If you put hot glue in a flap, like the bottom flap above that isn’t yet attached to the back piece, the glue may create an obstruction to the fitting of the two pieces together. Hot glue that is hardened will permanently set the angle of the corner or the flap. Don’t do that until sure of how the pieces should fit together.

I like to add glue around the bottom of the patterns pieces, where they join the base of the house. It helps hold in the window panes and it adds strength to the house as a whole.

The pattern is assembled as much as it can be before painting. I’ve chosen the greeting card for the base and have decided which colors I am going to use. Colors for my putz building are inspired by the colors of the greeting card. The next step is to decide which color will be used on the house, the roofs, and the trim.

You can see my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda

i’m baaaa…aaack…i think.

It has been three years since I have posted to this blog. At that time, I had thought about changing to a different format. I had some help from one of my kids (all my “kids” are grown and gone from home), but I had a lot of trouble trying to change over. So, I am going to come back here and see if I can remember how this works!

I am, by my own and probably everyone else’s account, a detail person. A perfectionist. I’m an Enneagram 1, if you are familiar with the enneagram. I love the details of anything. I love organizing the details. I want things to be done right! If I don’t know how to proceed, though, it becomes a huge road block that I have great difficulty overcoming, which is, I think, what happened to my blog.

We had several major upheavals during the early Covid period of time. Besides the fact that my husband is a health care provider, which was extreme pressure to live under during those early days, we also moved from our big, 160-year-old house to a smaller one, built 25 years before we bought it. It was time to downsize. We stayed in the same small town, but moved two miles north. Our old house was at the south end of James Street and our new house is at the north end of James Street. Odd but true.

Our previous home is now the home of our older son and his family. It is wonderful to have them so close!
Our new home is a great delight. We love it!

When I turned 65, I told my husband I wanted to be moved by the time we turned 70. Before we had even started looking for a new home, I began the long haul of decluttering, donating, and disappearing a lot of the JUST PLAIN STUFF we had accumulated over the years. As many of you know, I had 130 totes of Christmas decorations. We used to put up more than 20 Christmas trees that were four foot high or taller. Everything was like that. Cooking supplies, crafting supplies, sewing supplies, bicycling items, a large collection of books, boxes and totes our children left because it seemed so easy to let it sit in the attic, furniture we had accumulated over the years, etc. Lots and lots of stuff! Going through it was a huge job! My husband helped, of course, but my best helper was my friend Lindy. She and her daughter helped me go through everything. What a long process. But by the time we found our new home, I had spent eighteen months clearing out the old house. Big, big job, but I was so ready to do it.

One evening, before the decluttering started, I was searching YouTube for “declutter” and found Dana K. White. Dana taught me SO much about how to let go, declutter, live with less, and find happiness in all of that. I bought her audiobook How to Declutter at the Speed of Life. I listened to it over and over. I decluttered while I listened. She understands the way my mind works. I will forever be grateful to Dana for all the things she taught me.

Dana has a simple five step plan for dealing with clutter. The first two steps don’t even involve any emotional decisions. It was an easy process when I stuck to her steps and took my time to work my way though each space in our home. I donated a lot, gave away a lot to my family and friends, and pitched a lot of trash/junk. I won’t list the steps here. Teaching the process to you is Dana’s job. LOL! Buy her book!

When it was time to move, in October of 2021, I was ready! Again, thanks to my husband, to my dear friend Lindy and her daughter, to my sisters who came to help, and to others who contributed to the process in many ways. They will never know how much all that help meant to me. I am so grateful!

I was rather surprised by how much clutter was actually moved. Phase two happened as I began to open totes. Why did we bring that?! Where I am going to put this?? The huge old house had space to keep things. Even things I didn’t need. The new house has limited space. Which is a good thing! It’s been a slow but encouraging process of decluttering what we moved. The house is so easy to keep clean because we have so much less stuff than we used to. And I don’t miss a single thing we left behind!

The only downfall of the new house was the lack of crafting space on the first floor. As I get older, I find things like stairs harder to handle. So…we decided to add an addition with a craft room. We also added a handicap-accessible bathroom and a small laundry room. And a catio, which is what we call the screened porch. The cats (and we!) love it! Our contractors were great and we are grateful for all the work they did, the ideas they contributed, and their willingness to listen to and implement our own ideas. Construction isn’t a pain-free process, but Brian and Denny made it as easy as possible for us. If you’re local and need a contractor recommendation, just ask!

After months of endless decisions, the noise of hammering and sawing, ordering this and ordering that, the addition was done. We love it so much. It opened the house up a bit and provided extra living space. And I have a craft room that I love, with five big windows, lots of drawers, and shelving to hold supplies. It provides a beautiful view of the neighbor’s ten acres of oak trees and wildlife habitat that our yard backs up to. What a blessing to find such a beautiful area to live.

This picture was taken while the addition (to the left) was under construction. The big window on the left is the craft room. To the right of that window is the catio. The original house is two stories. To the right is the garage.

putz house sidewalks

There are many ways to make sidewalks for Putz houses. I’ll post some of my favorites here.

I use foam-filled nail files as sanding sticks. When they are too worn and smooth to sand any longer, I use them to make steps and sidewalks.

A single largish piece can be used to make a landing outside a front door. Note that I draw my patterns so the bottom of the door sits up a bit from the bottom of the house, leaving enough room to slide a step in front of them.

This step is made from a 1″ wide nail file. I cut it longer than the door width, so it spans beyond the door on both sides. I paint the step twice, letting the first coat dry. While the second coat is wet, I gitter it with very fine, clear glitter. When dry, I sand the bottom to smooth out any drips, then use hot glue to glue it to the base in front of the door.

ORIGINAL Yellow and Periwinkle Spring Putz House

This house has a similar sidewalk, but I extended the use of the nail file to make stepping stones. I cut them into rounded shapes. When the paint and glitter were done, I glued them to the base, leaving space between them. I used artificial moss between the stones.

ORIGINAL Easter Spring Putz House

I cut retangular shapes from a nail file, then offset them to make this sidewalk.

ORIGINAL Red and Purple Putz House

Another way I like to make stepping stones is to use the nail file for the step at the door, and paint the rest of the steps right onto the base. Again, paint one coat. Dry. Paint second coat. Glitter while wet. Let dry. Add an outline of moss. Note: This door step is cut from the curved end of the nail file.

stepping stones

This house is done the same way, but with snow.

MINI size Red and Dark Brown Putz House

This Putz has a step at the door, then a long winding path painted onto the base.

TINY MINI Yellow and Green Putz House

The nice thing about painting the sidewalk directly on the base is how easy that makes it to put the sidewalk anywhere it needs to be to fit the space.

ORIGINAL Periwinkle and Green Putz Church

This house has no step section under the door. The sidewalk was painted from the door to the fence and outlined with moss and flowers.

ORIGINAL size Yellow and Green Easter Putz House

The following house has a porch with two steps down to the front lawn. I used a palette knife to spread the snow where the front walk would be.

ORIGINAL Yellow and Blue Putz House

A palette knife was used for the barnyard of this little barn.

TINY MINI Red and Grey Barn

Another sidewalk option is small stones. These can be actual rocks or handcrafted, paper clay rocks. I used real stones.

Mini Irish Cottage Putz with rose vine

Curves can give interest to the sidewalk. Stepping stones (real or painted) and a fully painted sidewalk both work for this kind of curving sidewalk.

MINI Yellow and Blue Putz house

This house has two steps down to a wide sidewalk.

Red and Grey Putz House

I used punched hearts from cardstock to make this sidewalk.

ORIGINAL Pink and Red Valentine Putz House

Large punched hearts were used to make this one. I punched them from a medium-weight poster board.

MINI Purple and Pink Valentine Putz House
MINI Purple and Pink Valentine Putz House

Sidewalks can be lined with beads.

Putz house

This autumn house has a sidewalk paved with foil leaves.

IMG_3403

I hope that will spark some ideas for you. Build the sidewalk from stepping stones, foamcore board, nail files, etc. Line them with stones, beads, chenille stems, plants, moss or flowers. Make them straight, make them curved. Whatever makes you happy! Do that!

You can see more of my Putz houses and Christmas ornaments in my Etsy shop.

ChristmasNotebook.etsy.com

If you are interested in crafting Putz houses of your own, check out my Putz tutorials for more information. Putz House Tutorials

I am always happy to answer questions about the process. Please ask, if you are wondering about the details of putzing!

All proceeds from my Etsy shop benefit Kenya Mercy Ministries. They work with the urban poor of Nairobi, Kenya, particularly the children and their families who live in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Thank you for your part in helping these children when you purchase items from my shop!

~~Rhonda