October 9, 2009

Putz Houses

What is a Putz house?
Accordng to Big Indoor Trains  website ," one collector, Ted Althof, cardboard houses made to be filled with candy were around in the early 1900s. But the "breakthrough" came when Japanese-made pasteboard houses started coming with colored celophane windows and a hole in the back for electric Christmas tree lights, which were just becoming available to most families. This breakthrough may have occurred in the mid-1920s. But the earliest definite catalog listing Ted can find of such a set comes from 1928.
At first there was no glitter to speak of - evidently it took the cardboard houses a few years to evolve into the glitter-covered buildings most of us remember today. Ted has catalogued an amazing variety of these things and attempted to narrow down which kinds were made in which years. So, when you visit his site (the link is listed below), be certain to check his history pages."
 Why they were called putz houses?..It  is meant to "fuss,  ...putz around "as  our German ancestors called it, getting their Christmas decorations all displayed. ...and I enjoyed putzing around fixing these houses.!

I had fun making these Putz Houses. I have fond memories of my own mom setting them up at Christmas, which I posted pictures of on this blog site ( last year) I made these from cut up plain old cardboard boxes, lollipop sticks ,cello, a special cutter for the edging, glue, snowtex and glitter. It has been fun, though I wouldn't want to make a living from it! Right now I look like the glittery fairy queen..all sparkly !
I will post the pictures in the stages I made them...enjoy!

construction is 4 inches square.Lollipop porch rail and
paper punched trim (bought the punch at walmarts)

I added clear plastic in front of the windows
and behind that printed windows as below. alo painted it off white color and added blue roof.
and child greeters in a doorway
 then embellished with twiggy wreath, pines and lots of glitter!

In the Village, We Can Build a Snowman!

"Putzes" were described to me by mom as glitter houses .She said she remembered families would set landscape and community around the Christmas tree, with the stable and baby Jesus in the center. . In her own home, she would make a putz village with little fake trees and "frozen lake" made of aluminum foil or small mirrors. Once she used blue paper and put a clear glass over it, which is what I did for my own village this year. In years past , I marveled over the scene of lakes and snow with these beautiful little houses with glowing lights inside.Mom usually placed hers on the lamp table in the front window area of the living room. One year I remember it being under the tree, always a traditional thing for her to have out...just as her own mom had done . Building "scenes" such as this was once traditional to many families. I was thrilled to see that stores like Bergner's and Farm& Fleet had putz houses for sale this year..the old fashioned , glittery card board kind!! . I bought some and brought them home to build a village! My grandson , Jeremy , helped me arrange them and a family's old tradition was restarted. It has always interested me to learn to make these houses and even more so, to collect the old ones like my grandma might have used. However, with small grandchildren, I decided to not go that route this year, and let them enjoy helping with ones that weren't of such great value.

From what mom always said , Putz in Germany meant to keep to putz around with a project until you are satisfied with it. A holiday display as this would be something families would work on and putter with until Christmas Eve this day collectors call those glittered houses "putzes". Houses show here were made by members of Delphi's Prim and Rustic forum , and myself.
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