Antoinette Stockenberg, Author(524K)

Are we ready for Christmas?


A Christmas Picture Book: Season One

A Parade in the Village

Each Christmas when I begin to assemble my antique village of 1930's cardboard Japanese houses and pre-war German tin figures ("Zinnfiguren"), I run into the same old problem: my mantel can only fit a dozen or so houses, and over time I have collected more than that. So every year I have to leave well-loved houses and tin figures in their storage boxes, even though Christmas should be their season to come alive. For this mantel, I've assembled fourteen of my very favorite antique cardboard houses, along with many of the tin characters that people them. As satisfying as this ephemeral holiday art is to create, I found that it needed a story. I began my Christmas tale with this mantel tableau and have added characters and their stories to it every year for a decade since then. Read and enjoy!

Download Antoinette's Christmas Mantel: Season One for free!


A Christmas Picture Book: Season Two

A River Runs Through It

As I called forth my antique village from its place of sleep to appear again this Christmas, I thought of the legend of Brigadoon. True, my village appears once a year, not once every hundred years; and, yes, the houses seem to change and move around a bit (not that they can move that far on a mantel). But the essence of the Brigadoon legend is the same: a whole little world, filled with characters with their own stories to tell, materializes as if by magic, casts its spell, and then -- poof! -- is gone. Every one of us, grownup and child alike, who has practiced this act of magic waits all year to do it again.

Almost everything you see in my mantel villages is from before World War II. The cardboard houses were all made in Japan, most in the early 1930's. The little flat figures, called "zinnfiguren," are from Germany. The street lamps are -- what else? -- Lionel. The bottlebrush trees are faded and rusty but carry their age, like everything else in this miniature world, with grace and panache. It's deeply satisfying to know that through most of the last century, other dreamers arranged these very same toys to tell their own stories. May it ever be so.

Download Antoinette's Christmas Mantel: Season Two for your tablet


A Christmas Picture Book: Season Three

Christmas in Keepsake

If you've been to my Home Page, then you know I've converted my out-of-print novels into eBook format.  A particular favorite of mine is KEEPSAKE, a novel of romantic suspense which opens with a village Christmas scene.  I love that scene, and so I decided to recreate a version of it in my mantel village this year.  More villagers -- those tiny tin figures that the Germans call "Zinnfiguren" -- have shown up, and so have the cardboard houses they live in.  A gazebo figures prominently in my novel's opening Christmas scene, so I had to create one for my mantel. Scraps of cardboard, a strip of paper doily, a fence cut from gutter guard (!), snippets of wood dowel, bits of loofah ... and there you have it:  a sweet little gazebo in keeping with the charming irregularities of the antique houses that surround it.  It's as fragile as those nearly century-old Japanese cardboard houses, and I hope it will last as long for the generations after me.

Download Antoinette's Christmas Mantel: Season Three for your tablet

Webmaster's Note (not the author's 🙂):

These pictorial eBooks contain large images and can be enjoyed on a tablet, PC or Mac. On a tablet you can use any of your favorite apps (Amazon Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo Books or Google Play Books). On your tablet choose a two column display in landscape mode. The images will be initially reduced to column width but can be expanded to full screen by double tapping.

On a PC the best approach is to purchase from Amazon and use the free Kindle for PC app. Make the app as large as desired and again choose a two column mode. The images, which are reduced to column width, can be expanded to full screen by double clicking them.

On a Mac you have your choice of buying from iTunes and using Apple Books or buying from Amazon and using Kindle for Mac. Make the app as large as desired and again choose a two column mode. Double click the images to enlarge them.

If you are lucky enough to have a 4K or Retina display you will be in for a special treat.