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Crazy about Christmas

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By Nathan L. McBroom

One of the most Christmas spirited towns in Shelby County is located in a Finchville woman's living room.

Since 1993, Joyce Medley has been painting and displaying her Christmas houses in a yuletide village that grows every year as Medley adds to her creation. She said that the joy of creating the houses in the village is seeing them enjoyed by her family and those she loves.

"It's just enjoyable to look at," she said.

In total, she has painted between 80 to 90 houses for the village. And every year she will paint several houses during the summer in preparation for the upcoming Christmas season. This past summer she painted six new houses for the village and she already has some ideas for next year.

The pieces in the village range from shops and restaurants to churches and schoolhouses. Along with the houses, Medley has added a train, a river, a skating rink and a roadway with a Christmas parade on it in order to make the village more life like.

Medley said the Christmas village that flanks the Christmas tree in the living room is the centerpiece of the house.

Painting the houses is Medley's creative outlet. Medley buys the houses from art supply stores as blank plaster figures. She said sometimes she adheres to the color scheme that is suggested in the packaging and sometimes she completely goes it on her own. Over the years, she has acquired a wide assortment of paints and she said she enjoys trying new things.

Depending on the amount of detail required, the houses can take Medley as short as a couple of hours or can take as long as several days.

And Medley likes to put a personal touch on each one of the houses. All five of Medley's grandchildren have a store in the village named after them. In the village there is a Lisa's crafts, Sarah's toys and Justin's market.

Medley said she looks forward to the time of year when she can turn her living room into a winter wonderland.

Joyce's husband, Sam, said that having the patience and talent to create the houses is not easy. Sam tried his hand at the art but soon decided that it was not for him.

"I sat down and started painting and I screwed up so bad that I threw the thing against the wall," he said.

Sam now finds his creative outlet in helping his wife set up the village and in taking care of technical aspects of display such as the toy train and waterfall.

The village takes Sam two days to set up.