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Reuse: Making a Christmas village from old blocks

Several months ago my kids went through their vast wooden block collection and pulled out a bunch that they never used. Mostly odd-shaped or very small blocks were put into a bag for donation. As I was looking through them, one reminded me of a church. Another of a barn roof, and then I saw houses. A village started to take shape, and I knew a project was to be added to the ever-growing list.

I've seen some pretty cute Christmas villages on various blogs and Web sites, looking all cozy and charming. Not being much of a shopper, I knew I'd never spend the money on one. Could I create one using only items we already owned? I pulled out my stash of house paint sample pots and some brushes and spent three nights painting and gluing. White crinkled paper left over from product packaging, white lights, two white bowls and fallen branches were gathered. The kids rounded up any woodland animals they could find, and this is what we came up with:

Village
Villagedetail
Villagedetail2 

It's nothing fancy or particularly artistic, but it's serving a purpose: to create a kid-friendly little wonderland from stuff around the house. It adds merriment to our dining nook, and my son loves to sit and stare at it with all of the lights off, moving the animals around to new forest hideaways. The kids have plans to add snowmen and stars and possibly more creatures and trees. A skating pond! I love to watch their imaginations spill out like a big, overflowing bathtub of water. Unlike some projects I've attempted after running to Michael's, the hardware store and umpteen other shops (and then ended up disappointed in the results) this was totally no-stress. As the holidays should be, right?

What are some of your favorite handmade holiday decorations? Any good reuse projects to share?

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