Monday, August 31, 2009

White Orchid Mushrooms Growing

Today I spent in the dark basement, growing mushrooms! The characteristic white dots were added to the red roof, and tiny mushrooms were planted around the house. To give an idea of scale, the pink foam is one inch thick. The stems and caps are made of Fimo polyclay. The stems are translucent with a smidge of flesh mixed in; the caps are red with sparkles. I formed the caps over the ends of a couple of paint brushes and baked stems and caps separately. After they cooled, I glued them together and used the tip of a toothpick to put tiny dots of 3D "puff" paint on them.
They add just the right amount of color to landscaping.

This side of the house looks a bit bare. Not sure what will go here, but it needs something.
The bay window side seems to be finished.
A little visitor came to the back of the house. It's hard to believe he's a button. Too cute!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The White Orchid garden grows

I spent several hours today on the landscaping, adding flowers and several kinds of greenery. In addition to the base paint, there are patches of model railroad turf, dry moss, and model railroad lichen. In combination, they give the effect of a forest floor.The yellow and purple flowers started out as white flowers cut from real life size artificial flower stems. They got a makeover with two or three shades of craft paint just blobbed on. Plain white just didn't cut the mustard. They're not planted in formal beds but just grow willy-nilly.
I like the way the mushroom looks. I want to make some smaller ones out of polyclay to tuck in here and there to bring in more red color.
As a change from the messy greenery, I put together a birdhouse kit I've had for some time. I like the natural colors, so I didn't paint it as suggested in the kit's directions. I painted the pole brown and I think I'll darken the scalloped edge a little; it looks too new. I may have to glue some moss on the roof, too.
Across the back I put a couple kinds of moss. I may add a few surprises there later on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

White Orchid landscaping

As I typed the title for this entry, I realized I'd started out numbering the White Orchid entries. I don't know why. It's another example of how I over-engineer projects ... lol.

Today I worked on the landscaping. I'm trying to do this with stuff I have on hand. Luckily, there are lots of items left from prior projects. I have no idea where the pine tree came from, but it works well on one side of the door. The mushroom on the other side of the porch is a glass Christmas ornament. I took the hanger part off and used the Dremel ever so gently to remove the glass stub on the top. I glued a circle from the paper punch over the hole. When it dries, I'll glue the mushroom in; in this photo it's leaning.

The base was painted to simulate the bricks, rocks, grass, and dirt. Old tea leaves were glued on for the dirt, and the moss/grass is model railroad greenery. There's a lot of detail work to be done. If you click on the pictures, you can see the small plants on the pine tree side.
In the second photo you can see a bit of fencing left over from the houseboat. I hadn't planned to put a fence there, but it looks good, so it will stay.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back to Work on the White Orchid

Two months! That's a long time to go without minis, but I've been keeping in touch via the Greenleaf Dollhouse Forum for vicarious mini fixes. The garden has been keeping me busy, and the first two weeks in August, Lloyd and I were in the Czech Republic. It has been a busy summer! These ceramic pieces are souvenirs from the Czech Republic. They are decorated in the traditional Southern Bohemia manner. They will go into the Pierce, which insists it is going to be a Bohemian inn with a bar and restaurant. I'm looking forward to making mini roast pork and dumplings with sauerkraut.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The garden is semi dormant, and my craft area has been screaming for attention, so this afternoon I descended to do a little cleanup -- or so I thought. I almost hate to post these photos, but you really need to see how it deteriorated while sitting unused.

Oh ... see the Van Buren box? A cousin presented me with it when we went to visit in July. She'd bought it for her daughter years ago but never got around to building it. I think this one will be made and donated to a charity, but that's a way down the line. The current project is the White Orchid, which ought to be finished in jig time. After I got everything cleaned up, somewhat sorted and put away, I worked on the base. It is glued to a lazy susan, so the house will turn easily. Because it has battery pack lights, no need to worry about a cord getting tangled.
The base is a sheet of foamcore board with a layer of contractor's foam with rounded edges. A couple scraps of the foam form the berms on either side of the porch. I covered all of it with a thin layer of wallboard mud. For a while I was thinking it would be a snow scene, but I think it will be a summery forest setting for better contrast with the white of the building. When the mud dries, I'll give it a coat of gesso, and then paint in some rocks and the brick walkway by the stairs. I have some train layout greenery and lycopodium and other bits of greenery and flowers I can use. I may make some tiny mushrooms, too.
It's good to be back in the mini workshop!
By the way, if you'd like to see some photos from our trip, check the blog here.