Friday, December 3, 2010

THE CRECHE IS BACK!

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One of the first things I do when I start my Christmas decorating is to place my Fontanini nativity on the mantel, because it is one of my favorite Christmas decorations.  (I think I could probably just post the same photos every year for my Christmas décor, because I really don’t change things up much from one year to the next!) 

Several years ago, I was looking at tablecloths in a closet at an estate sale.  I glanced up at a shelf above the tablecloths and spotted a box (I can’t recall what was written on the side of the box.  It wasn’t “Christmas” or “nativity”, but whatever it was, it made me think there might be a Christmas decoration inside, so I asked someone to get it down for me.)  The estate sale sellers had not even taken it from the shelf, so it was not priced.  Inside the box, I discovered the figures for a Fontanini nativity set.  I put them back into the box and took it to the sellers to ask the price.  They didn’t even look at the contents – just what was on top – and they asked if I would pay $15 for the box.  I calmly said, “yes, I think I can do that”, and paid for the box. 

 

holy famly

musicians

The Fontanini family in Italy has been producing these figures since 1908. The fourth generation of that family operates the factory now.  I don’t think this is an old set, but I know it is worth more than $15.00.  The figures are a heavy plastic (thank goodness, because I’ve dropped many of them while trying to arrange them on the mantel). This year, I dropped baby Jesus.  I moved all of the furniture from around the fireplace, got on my hands and knees and searched, with flashlight in hand, FOREVER! I even went to look in my dog’s hiding place to see if she had stolen baby Jesus to use as a chew toy.  I finally decided that I would have to ask my grandchildren – who still have good eyes – to come over and search for him.   I couldn’t find him anywhere!  When I got back up on my ladder to try to adjust something, I spotted him, comfortably resting in one of the dried hydrangeas in the swag on the mantel.  I was so glad that the hydrangea had provided a soft place for him to land, but I was so frustrated about how much time I had spent crawling around on the floor!ANMLS They are not really shockingly expensive figures, but I love the details and the soft colors used in these figures.  However, I did just see the 3 figures on camels on ebay, and the price is currently $85.00 for the 3 of them!

KNGS ON CAMLS

angel

3 kngs

The backdrop I use did not come with the set.  I bought it for $5.00 at a garage sale.

NATIVITY

MANTEL

The angels on the lamps are also Italian and purchased at a different estate sale.  They are much more fragile than the Fontanini figures.  The angel on one lamp has only one wing left and she is close to loosing the other wing (I wonder if she has not been a very good angel – more likely, I have not been a very good caretaker.)  I can’t remember how much I paid for these, but I know it wasn’t more than $5.00 each.

lmp angels

Since I consider this one of my favorite bargains ever, I am linking to

Junkin Finds at A La Carte.

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I am also linking this post to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper.

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After you visit the Favorite Things links below, be sure to go to A La Carte and The Tablescaper to find links to other wonderful posts.  Thank you for coming to visit my little blog.  laurie


45 comments:

Mitzi said...

Actually, I think your nativity set is worth more than you are thinking. I bought a set at an auction for 28.00 knowing that it was worth much more. If you were to buy the pieces individually, they are quite expensive. Good find! I love putting mine out each year too.
Happy Holidays.

Karen @ The Whimsical Lady said...

Wow... You got a steal. It's a gorgeous... gorgeous display. I've been wanting a Fontanini set for years. My mouth just hit the floor hearing how much you paid for it. You say it isn't a high end set... I would disagree. So happy for you. And a little jealous :)

Karen

Olive Cooper said...

So glad you found baby Jesus. The set is stunning and a great bargain and a perfect example of why I become tachycardic at estate sales! merry♥O

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Laurie...

Girlfriend, your Nativity is FABULOUS!!! I really enjoyed all the close-up photos so that we could see all the beautiful details! Each figure is painted soooo beautifully...I love it! I think that this is the prettiest Nativity that I've ever seen!!! Ohhh...and I love the backdrop that you use for the Nativity! I can't believe that you got that for a mere $5...not to mention the entire Nativity for $15!!! What a blessing, my friend...you deserve it!!! Well Girlfriend, your Christmas mantel is simply gorgeous...I love that you always place your Nativity there...it is showcased perfectly!!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us...this has been such a treat!!!

I also wanted to thank you for hosting the Favorites party. I just posted a rerun because I'm still trying to get all my decorating done at the house and I'm not very good at multi-tasking these days! Hehe!

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend!

Love ya,
Chari

shannon i olson said...

How lovely Laurie! What a great find, Merry Christmas!

Annie Joy said...

Absolutely beautiful! What a treasure and what pleasure it must bring to you and your family! Annie

carolinajewel said...

So beautiful! I love my Fontanini too but I didn't get the bargain you did!!!

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Beautiful nativity set Laurie, I can see why it's one of your favorite things-enjoy:@)

Glenda/MidSouth said...

What a beautiful nativity set! You definitely got a great bargain. Your trees are beautiful.
There is no way I would get down on my hands and knees, unless there was someone around to pull me back up. :-D
Have a great weekend.

GardenofDaisies said...

Wow, you really did get a bargain!! Really beautiful! The first Christmas item I unpack on the day after Thanksgiving is always the nativity scene.

vignette design said...

Hi Laurie,
I can see why your creche is your favorite Christmas decoration. I love it! The detail is just wonderful. Those Italians know how to make a great nativity scene, don't they! Glad you found your baby Jesus too. Your entire mantle looks fabulous. You should seriously consider entering it in Tartanscot's holiday mantel contest! I think you would win! xo Delores

Pat said...

I would not have been able to speak. My heart would have been pounding away in my throat!LOL...I remember this from last year. I absolutely love it Laurie!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh Laurie, that's the most beautiful nativity scene that I have ever seen. Your mantel is stunning. I love it all so much. You really do know how to make the most fabulous vignettes. Gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

Sherry said...

Laurie,
That is just beautiful and I love how you have it displayed! Very nice.
Sherry

salmagundi said...

I have a few pieces of the Fontanini nativity that I bought (but not at your bargain prices) because I thought they were beautiful and still durable so the grandkids could play with it. My big set is a Hummel - no way would I let the kids play with that!! After seeing your huge set, I want more pieces. Thanks for sharing yours. Sally

The Pleasures of Homemaking said...

Those figures are so detailed! They really are quite beautiful. What a lucky lucky find!

Manuela

Jacqueline said...

This is so gorgeous and they are really expensive new! You are very fortunate to own such a lovely nativity. I love gorgeous nativities. As a child our simple nativity was my favorite thing. It sat on top of the TV.

bj said...

Hope you are linking up with Happier Than a Pig..on 14th..Nativity or Reason for the Season. This is a perfect post for it.:)
xo bj

Sue said...

Laurie, Those figures in the nativity have so much detailing in them. You got a deal, girlfriend I was laughing out loud at you looking all around the room on your hands and knees, only to find poor baby Jesus in the hydrangea blossom. I probably spent the same amount of time as you did when I was down on my hands and knees looking for my contact lens this afternoon. I knew it had popped out, heard it hit the sink, but it was nowhere to be found. After about 30 minutes, I said my little prayer to St. Anthony- who always helps me find important things..... Lo and behold, I checked my decorative hair comb, which I had tossed to the floor so I could thoroughly examine the sink- and it was stuck inside the "tines" or whatever you call them. I don't ask the poor saint for help with anything minor- but an expensive $100 contact lens- I asked!!! Anyway.... now that my diatribe is done.... LOVE your set and the backdrop. Gorgeous!!!
♥ Sue

Mellodee said...

There certainly isn't much I could add to what has already been said. It's beautiful, the back-story is great, and it looks out and out impressive on your mantle. I love my Nativity too, but its not in the same league as yours!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

That is one of the prettiest nativity sets I've ever seen and $15 WOW!! Thanks for joining Junkin Finds Friday!

Cass @ That Old House said...

Your nativity set is wonderful ... and an amazing bargain! But my favorite part of this post is your thinking your dog had stolen the baby Jesus for a chewie!
Priceless.
Thanks for hosting!
Cass

Christie said...

Laurie! I have missed you! It is good to be back in blogland with my friends! My decorating friends who love the little treasures in life!:) I love the nativity! I started to collect some for my children! What a beautiful you have!

The Tablescaper said...

What a beautiful creche. One clearly to be valued.

- The Tablescaper

Sarah said...

Beautiful, Laurie. How wonderful that you found this treasure to enjoy in your own home. I bet your children treasure it as well. ~ Sarah

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

I love your nativity, Laurie! It's gorgeous! And you really got a bargain there, too! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Oh Laurie! What a FIND! I'm just crazy about your nativity.... I'm so happy you found Jesus! :-)

I joined the party today... I'm trying so hard to get back in the swing of things...

Huggies!
Spencer

Carol said...

Laurie,
What a beautiful creche! It is surely a treasure.
Your header is looking glorious! Beautiful.
Thank you for hosting this delightful party!
Have a wonderful weekend.

dogsmom said...

My sister hs a collection of blown glass Fontanini ornaments that she and our mother started years ago when we (sis & I) were in college. No one ever thought to give me fragile or foo-foo gifts. Now whenever I see anything Fontanini I think of my sister and I have purchased a few for her as well.

xinex said...

Your Nativity set is so pretty, Laurie. Waahhh! I am so far behind and I am so jealous of all your Christmas decor. We just got back from a cruise last night and I am still unpacking...Christine

xinex said...

Your Nativity set is so pretty, Laurie. Waahhh! I am so far behind and I am so jealous of all your Christmas decor. We just got back from a cruise last night and I am still unpacking...Christine

Marlee said...

What an awesome find! Your mantel is absolutely gorgeous and really reflects the real reason for the season. ~ Marlee

Emily {Frilly Details} said...

I think you scored the bargain of the century! I used to work at a Christian bookstore and we sold Fontanini every Christmas. The small pieces were at least $20 each and the bigger sets were well into the $40 range. Great job finding such a bargain!!

The Mom said...

I am thankful that I stumbled upon you. I love the Fontanini set. I had a friend who had every single piece (she is in heaven now celebrating with the real deal!) and it took up half of her living room, but all the neighborhood would drop by to see the Nativity that filled the window. We used to tease her that she did not have Bethlehem in her window, she had all the Holy Land. Blessings to you this Christmas!

Debbie said...

That's the nativiy set that I have always wanted. I have another one, and every time I start to purchase pieces for that set, something comes up, and I put it off another Christmas.

Yours is so beautiful to me. I love it.

Kat said...

I love Nativity sets, and this is a beauty Laurie! The detail is really beautiful. I can't believe they didn't even look in the box! My mother used to have a cat who would take baby Jesus out of the manger and hide him under the tree, every single year! Hope you are having a blessed Christmas season. Kat

Debby@Just Breathe said...

They do make the most beautiful ones on the market. I have my Willow Tree on my mantel. Thank you for sharing.

Brenda BE said...

This is so true of many people in the world. We search and search for Jesus only to find He was there all the time.

Becca said...

That is an absolutely beautiful nativity! The detail is amazing ... what a wonderful find that truly reminds us all the reason for the season. And, thank you for allowing me to party with you by sharing my nutcracker mantel! Your home is beautiful. *Becca*

Marlis said...

I've always wanted a Fontanini nativity. You found a treasure in that box. I love how you have arranged it. It's simply stunning.

The Tablescaper said...

Thanks so much for being a part of Seasonal Sundays!

- The Tablescaper

Pamela said...

I was just in a place Saturday who sold these figures--I priced a camel for 36.00. The most beautiful nativity by them is the outdoor set--@25,000.00! My colection isn't much on the $$ scale but I love each one of them.

shirley said...

Your Nativity set is one to behold through the years for sure. No matter the cost, I think it is priceless as it brings you a true feeling of Christ. I think it is just beautiful and the angels on the lamps, can the wings be fixed? I sure hope so as they are just stunning..

lvroftiques said...

OMG!! You SCORED!!! What a breath taking set! It couldn't have gone to a better home either......But I'm still green with envy *winks* Vanna

Kathleen said...

That is just beautiful! And I think it was divine intervention it found you at that sale. The Lord knew you would give it a good home and display it proudly!