The Iowan

Wooden Wine Box Vignette

By Connie Earl

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What feature makes this display unique and valuable to other builders? 

Since I have a limited amount of space in which to display my Village, I like to make vignettes in boxes or baskets. I have access to beautiful wooden wine boxes in which I create vignettes to place in various locations in my condo — thanks to my sister who works at Goody Goody Liquors, a very large wine and liquor store where she is the wine consultant. She provides these beautiful wooden boxes that come from Europe. 

This particular box is deep, but narrow in width. The winery building would not fit in the box, but I wanted to use this box. So I came up with this idea for an overhang on which to place the building. It gave the display a very unique look and great depth. Since my sister sells wine for a living, I gave it to her, and she took it to Goody Goody Liquors, where it is on display in a very appropriate environment.

Photo 1

To fill the box to within a couple of inches of the top, cut two pieces of 2” Styrofoam™ to fit snugly.

Photo 2

I angled the top piece of Styrofoam to make a slope and covered half of it with Department 56® ground cover. Then a pathway was cut in it and filled with gravel. This will be the vineyard part of the display.

Photo 3

Pieces were glued together and sloped with hot wire as one piece. Then, enough material was sliced off at the back to allow the backdrop to be placed behind it.

Photo 4

For a backdrop, I found a picture of a vineyard, printed it on my printer, then took it to Kinko’s and had it enlarged. The picture was then mounted on a piece of foam board cut to fit into the back of the box.

Photo 5

Here, the foam board backdrop is glued to the back of the box.

Photo 6

After sculpting the overhang piece with a hot wire, the side is painted to look like rock. Then, on the underside, I cut a groove that would fit over the edge of the box.

Photo 7

The overhang piece was glued in place, fitting it down snugly on the edge of the box. Note that I cut out an area in the back to allow for the backdrop.

Photo 8

The sloping half on the right is the vineyard. I placed steps going from the vineyard to the winery, and accessory pieces of people working in the vineyard. A hole through the Styrofoam allowed the light cord to come out the bottom.

Photo 9

Finished piece. For added effect, I found some small artificial grapes and vines and placed them around the vineyard.

Photo 10

With the backdrop, it appears as though the grape pickers are walking into the rows of vines.

Photo 11

Finished vignette with accompanying wine bottle. The vignette is now appropriately displayed in a Goody Goody Wine and Liquor store in Fort Worth, Texas.

Photo 12


Biography of Connie Earl

I have been collecting since 1990, starting with the North Pole Village and  have almost this entire village. Since I live in a condo, I long ago ran out of room and began taking my “leftovers” to my work, setting up a village in the lobby. After my retirement, my village display now goes to a local Santa Land to fill out his train platform at Christmas time. I also have a lot of Halloween. 

Of course, this became an addiction, and I joined an NCC club, where we can all talk about the villages without everyone thinking we are sort of crazy. I have been to several collector gatherings, as well. 

When Seasons Bay® came out, I thought the buildings were beautiful and the collection reminded me of a Northeast lake resort, where my roots are, so I purchased the whole village. I like that you can change it for the seasons with the accessories. However, I was sort of relieved when they discontinued it because I could not continue to buy all three villages due to both finances and storage! I set Seasons Bay up for the summer and am glad to have a village that is not holiday oriented. The “Garden Valley Vineyards” used in this display is from Seasons Bay.



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