Room Boxes by Denise Morales
In the back left hand corner of the shelf is a 1/4" scale retro metal patio chair decorated with tiny dried flowers. The plastic terra-cotta angel was weathered with Typhus Corrosion Citadel paint and Folk Art Painted Finishes moss paint. Air dry clay mushrooms and dried flowers are arranged inside another gelatin capsule and a cut-off small glass bottle. A brass lantern is weathered with different colors of Citadel paints. I chalked up three paper cones made by Paulette. Behind the cones stands a Shrinky Dink reject piece. Saved from another 1/4" scale kit is a Jean Day picture frame encasing a rose print. Two more aged boxes are placed next to a porcelain vase made by Tina Squire.
There are many ways to distress terra cotta pots and here are some ideas of what I did to my mini pots: I liked using the Citadel Typhus Corrosion for the inside and outside of the pots. I especially liked how it left a dirty residue on the inside of the pots reminding me of old dirt. Other Citadel paints and a mixture of gel stain and white or green paint were dabbed on here and there with a brush or make-up sponge and/or blotted with a paper towel. I looked at pictures of weathered pots and noticed that they aged in a variety of ways--no need to have anxiety of getting it wrong!
I was inspired to make these unnamed flowers after I had seen ones made by Sherrill Jenkins, a fellow club member. A how-to article written by Lesley Shepherd was used to make the tulip bulbs in the glass bowl -- she used such a clever technique to make the paper thin outer sheets of the bulbs. I painted the inside of pill capsules with apricot pink nail polish to make the soap bottles. The green spritzer bottle was made with a small pony bead, a tiny jump ring, soft brass pin, jewelry findings and wire for the spout.
Noah's Birdhouse Ark was a kit made by Magic Touch Miniatures. I think I purchased it at an estate sale so I do not know how old it was. A tiny pot man is made with the smallest of the Braxton Payne pots (14 of the tiniest pots for the arms and legs and 2 larger size ones for the head and body). I just glued the stacked pots together and weathered them and then stuck bits of dried moss in between here and there. The laser cut snail garden art stakes are a kit by Jean Lierman. My miniature group spent many weeks working on flowers and here are some displayed in the mat board flower box, another project kit. Although barely legible, the quote "Gardening is good for the Soul" was incorporated into this scene after reading it on Pinterest, Again, I used the block letters from the Jane Harrop block kit to spell out the word pansy. Hardly noticeable is a another tote bag item, a string covered flower pot that I painted with the Typhus Citadel paint. It is the one with the planted pansies on the right side.
On top of the pink stool is a Victorian Mixed Seed kit from Cat & Co. Below it are some well-worn shoes and to the right is a mostly shy critter of the shed, a lizard by Mini Gems.
This mat board cornice and window were also part of the project kit, although I had to cut down the window so that it would fit in my 9"H x 11"W x 7"D box. I would like to point out that I covered this gatorboard back wall with the Ranger matte texture paste and then painted it with chalk paints.
At the end of the birthday party, themed tote bag items, which are made by different members and miniature groups, are given to the particpants. Sandra Manring gave a printed sheet of butterflies and I used three in this framed display. The brown frame was part of a greenhouse lantern kit made by Mini Etchers and I displayed the lantern on the floor next to the chair, which is seen in another photo. The green wreath is made with a wire-like decorator moss that I had in my stash. The small pots are Braxton Payne and the tiny rabbit is from Barbra Meyer of Mini Gems. The green silk bow is dotted with watered down Citadel paints to give a stained aged look and I then scrunched up the wet tails to give it a somewhat pleated flowing appearance. The white daisies are a Laura Settle laser-cut sheet.
Society of American Miniaturists (http://minisam.wildapricot.org), is a Texas based miniature group that meets twice a year for classes and an annual birthday party that rotates among five different Texas cities. In February 2017 the San Antonio miniaturists hosted the yearly birthday party whose theme was called "A Dome of Your Own." Since I have decided to keep uniformity with my miniature scenes, I chose to forgo the dome and used one of my medium sized fabricated boxes in which to create the scene. Because I tried to use almost all of the kits and materials graciously provided in the project kit by the hardworking ladies, I chose to create a pretty yet shabby and weathered garden shed miniature setting. I felt like I put on my grunge-artist hat while aging the walls, furniture and garden accessories--pure satisfaction because I use the technique of weathering to coverup so many of my imperfections in workmanship not only in this scene, but all of my other ones as well. Completed in August 2017.
The project kit came with two mat board and wood shutter kits and I used one as a shelf on the top right side of the box. On the left is a wonderful dollhouse birdhouse kit by an unknown maker because I put together the kit so long ago that I threw all of the information away--but I have gotten so many compliments on it. Above it to the right and contributed to the party by my group, is a suncatcher made with a split key ring and a design printed onto transparency film . The concept was created by Amy Bannister who has an incredible technical talent for designing dollhouses and furniture. Below the suncatcher is a birdhouse designed by Beckie who has mastered Coreldraw. My miniature group spent several weeks working on wire mesh sculptures and two of the domes are displayed on the shelf. Purchased at Michael's, we used wire mesh that is used for sculpture and armature, and stretched these over different forms such as glass domes or wooden dowels. These were then trimmed with metal scissors, spray painted and embellished with jewelry findings. These were a little tricky to make because the metal could easily scratch and cut tender fingers. The laser cut wooden angel is a button that I found at a scrapbooking convention and painted it with a mini micro brush and pastel chalks and maybe aged a little with the Citadel paints. Lastly, inside a 1/4" scale wheelbarrow made at a show years ago, I made a floral arrangement using reindeer moss, real tiny leaves, and tiny 1/4" scale printed flower blossoms by D and K Enterprises of Vancouver, WA.
This happy pensive porcelain frog sits behind a frilly Beckie doily and on top of a footstool made with a fabric covered button.
After Paulette and I had admired a fellow miniaturist's antique double basin washtub sink with stand, we decided to make ours with cardboard, cardstock, small string and thread, and two ketchup containers from Whataburger. We were pleased with how they turned out considering no wood or metal were used with the exception being the wood "counter."
Presented on the left side of the box is this four shelf bookcase with drawer that was made with mat board. Years ago I had purchased a large paper trimmer from Costco and with this room box I began using it to cut other materials beside paper such as the thick mat board, plastic window, cardboard strips, and pieces of wood. ( I scored the material several times before it was cut through.)
I used the letters of a Jane Harrop block kit to make the garden sign. The clock is a manufactured miniature and the tiny bunny in the dome display was made using a railroad scale rabbit, my mold maker and air dry clay, gelatin pill capsule, dried flowers, and round wooden base. Paulette Svec printed box templates, weathered with the Citadel paints, and book jackets which are displayed on the shelves. Old wrinkled papers are spilling out of a rope pull drawer. I glued pieces of reindeer moss in between items on the shelves and glued Flower Soft foamy fibers on top of the moss. Since I did not have green Flower Soft, onto a pile of the pinkish fibers, I dropped dots of green paints and Adirondak green ink and mixed them with a brush to stain the Flower Soft. The effect left the pinkish foam fibers with a nicely variegated green look.
At the top center hangs a string of Braxton Payne pots, an idea inspired by a Pinterest picture. On the left are more True 2 Scale succulents. The large birdhouse was made by the late Karen Markland. I fiddled with a stylus and tweezers for a while to get the right look for the yellow Bonnie Lavish garden gloves. The pink Japanese anemones are a Templewood Miniatures kit.
I thought it might be helpful to see a photo of some of the products that I used to create some of the items and finishes in this box.
Biscuits on plate were made with a Lisa Engler laser-cut wooden mold and the fruits were millefiori slices. The liquid in the drinks were made with Lisa Pavelka's Magic Gloss and tinted with chalk pastels. In the bottom of the photo are two kits by True 2 Scale that were found in the Round Table Treasures section of the NAME July/August 2017 Miniature Gazette Magazine. These true to scale succulents were printed in 3D and I must say they are quite impressive.
What true gardener would put an orchid in the dark back corner of a potting table? Or perhaps it is a silk plant. Either way, instead of storing it in some miniature box of goods only to be forgotten, I chose to place it in this scene. Judith Sousa's orchid was the inspiration for this miniature group project and after I made it I felt that the stark white petals of the flowers did not mesh with the grunge look of the shed. However, I found the placement of it in the carved out wooden bowl on the bottom shelf of the table very acceptable and pretty.
This potting tray was a kit by the Elmers and I added printable plant stakes by True 2 Scale. A succulent is made with parts of a plastic plant.
Fellow club member Beckie Sanderson shared with me some of her "UFO"s (unfinished objects) at one club meeting which included this gorgeous silk thread crocheted doily. I was thrilled to be gifted this IGMA artisan's work and I wanted to be able to incorporate her crocheted doilies into this room box. So this peachy pink doily was made into a pillow and it became the focal point for me in choosing all of the colors in the box to coordinate with it. You will notice pops of this strong color throughout the box as I tried to blend it into the entire scene. For example, a linen cloth needlepoint
canvas hat was painted a salmon pink color, as well as, the birdhouse rooftop and rose on top of the books in the corner.
Since I consider chairs within my scenes as furniture pieces to be decorated, through a stroke of luck this ivy vine fell on top of the chair giving me the idea to decorate with it by spreading it out as if it had grown wildly on the back of the chair. Oh well. . . . . . this meant that the "mini she" of the shed had a little cleaning up to do before she sat down for her snack.
Underneath the sink is another lantern kit by Mini Etchers. I became overzealous while antiquing my first flower pot for the scene that I crushed it between my fingers while holding it. No need for it to go to waste as I placed the pieces underneath the sink stand. A discarded cinder block holds a pair of used gardening shears.
Vintage twine/string holders are made with aged filagree jewelry findings. I trimmed the fringe of a silk evergreen branch to make the wreath. Garden Angel, a half-inch scale kit by Robin Betterley, was aged with Tim Holtz'sDistress Ink Pads. Also in the tote bag was this shelving kit by the late Sharolyn Lankford which included two nicely cut wooden hearts. I glued the two hearts together and made a mosaic birdhouse which is seen in the photo below.
Thank you so much for visiting!
A Mini She-Shed
On the right is a garden book kit by Melinda Jones. Unfortunately, I messed up the cover by painting it with Mod Podge and leaving it upside down to dry. I pulled it up immediately upon realizing my mistake but some of the cover had been torn off. As a consequence, I decided to collage the outside of it instead of the inside. This worked out better for me because since I glue all of my miniatures down in a scene I would never have been able to appreciate all of the beautiful photos and pictures provided in the kit.
Also from this viewpoint, I wanted to point out the upholstery tack cardboard 1/2" strips that I used on the wall for wooden planks. This was another material supplied in the kit and was intended to be used for covering the edges of the foamcore.
To make the tile roof of the birdhouse, I painted a flattened out piece of air dry clay with nail polish, then with scissors cut little tiles that were glued onto the roof. The tiles were painted with gloss Mod Podge and the matte texture paste made the grout. The birdhouse sits on top of another tote bag gift, a wooden post by Lyn Latimer.
On top of a half-inch table kit by the late Shirley Blair sits a tray of snack food, an antique vase with roses, a stack of small books with a 1/144th scale metal mini watering can, and a butterfly scene inside a pill capsule dome. To tone down the color of the tablecloth by giving it a more dingy look, I painted it with Gail Wilson's Overdye.
As mentioned earlier, here is the Mini Etchers greenhouse lantern kit. Although barely visible, inside is a 1/144th scale metal mini fairy chair sitting on top of a stack of small books next to a topiary tree planted inside the teeniest pot made by Braxton Payne.
I cannot remember how long ago I purchased this flower press kit by Ruth Moe but I cannot say enough of how awed I was that this miniaturist found and pressed the tiniest real leaves and plants seen in the two top pictures above. After seeing these, I am inspired to make an effort to be on the lookout for bitty plants so that I can press some myself.
On top hangs a broken china garden stepping stone. I photocopied onto brochure paper pictures of vintage china plates. Then, with scissors, I cut these out into parts that resembled broken pieces of china. I then layed and glued them on top of a circular Woodsie. I painted the pieces with gloss Mod Podge and then filled the cracks between the "broken shards" with matte texture paste from Ranger using a tiny paintbrush.
I painted some dried Australian Holly leaves that I have had in my stash for ages to make this ivy-like vine. To achieve the crackle finish seen here on the cornice and window trim, I used Tim Holtz's Distress Crackle Paint and then painted over some of the paint chips with the Citadel paints so that the cracks were better defined. On the left, the angel bird house was a kit. Paulette shared with me an extra metal mini watering can that she had and I spray painted it with copper paint and aged it with the Citadel paints. I found a very fine netting-like fabric and tied it into a super tight knot and hung it casually from the window for a curtain.
Also in the project kit were 4 scalloped shaped shelves and I was glad that I could use one in the corner of the partial wall. Sitting on top of the shelf is a David Krupik candlestick and a stack of leather covered books with lace and flowers.