Room Boxes by Denise Morales

The old beach chair and umbrella tucked into the back corner was a kit from Ruth Stewart. Orange extension cord was made by Barbra Lopez using her Fimo clay and clay extruder gun.

Ask any fisherman about the biggest fish he ever caught and he will weave an amazing story of real and imagined success where bragging rights are part of the territory. Telling and listening to tall fish tales of "hooking the big one" is part of the fun of this calming yet exciting outdoor sport.  Corpus Christi, a popular fishing destination which lies on the southern Texas coast overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, was the location of the Society of American Miniaturists annual birthday party in February  2019. The theme for the Saturday activity was an InterCoastal Fishing Cabin and included a sink cabinet, shelving units, window and door kits to fill a small wooden shadow box.  Below you will find photos of how I used the kit components to create my own version of an unpretentious fisherman's cave.  I envisioned that this humble shack was cobbled together three generations ago in the 1970's and  was still being used today even though the floors, countertops, walls, and decor showed serious signs of being outdated, aged and shabby. In the next few weeks I plan to give this to my son for his high school graduation.   Completed May 2019.

Hook the Big one

    (In mini, of course!)

I miniaturized photos of my son fishing at various locations.  

The microwave, single burner stove, backsplash tiles, counter and reclaimed wood wall planks were cut with my Cricut Maker.  I am inept at cutting straight lines in wood and paper and this machine has helped me achieve more professional results.  Super happy with this purchase from JoAnne's. 

When I would remember and before I would rinse my dirty paint brush that was used to paint other items, I would just run it along the edges of the counter, windowsill, back wall above the tile backsplash, around the sink, etc., to give the appearance of dirt and grime building up through the years. I even added rusty rings using the edges of the plastic cups that are seen in the wooden crate on the left.  These cups were just the parts to pens and pencils found at the dollar store.

In the top right, the dark stained wood panel board displays fishing lures, bobbers, and weights.  The lures and bobbers were made with air dry clay, painted with bright acrylic paints and then brushed with Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments found in the scrapbook section of the craft store. A silver 34 gauge wire was used for the hooks and no hole silver beads aged with alcohol inks made the weights. 

Reinforcing the allusion of a shack on the beach, sand is sprinkled on the floor and then brushed with matte Mod Podge so that it remains in place.

I purchased an unpainted pewter tackle box, by Martha's Miniatures, painted it with metallic green nail polish and then added many different fishing lures, bobbers, reels, tools and bait packages. From Academy website, an outdoor sportsman store, I screenshot photos of the crab and frog lures, printed them, then had my Cricut Maker cut the shapes out. Notice how precisely cut are the very slender crab legs. I would never have been able to achieve these perfect results with a pair of tiny scissors. I then colored the white edges with a brush marker and cupped them, with a ball stylus and foam pad, to give dimension.  For the frogs, I brushed them with several layers of triple thick.  They are placed in the top right side of the box.

The Coleman cooler was made by D-tales.

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The fish seat cover, made with Cricut Kraft Board, was designed and cut using the Cricut Maker. This seat was glued on top of a small wooden stepladder.

For the potted plant, I took apart and painted green the fibers of a coconut liner to make this wispy plant which reminded me of beach grass found on sand dunes.

Thanks for visiting!!!

Please note the dilapidated screen on this door:  I went to the dollar store and bought food strainers made with a plastic white mesh.  After I painted 2 mesh rectangles with silver paint and aged them with a little weathering solution, I cut holes in the mesh with my scissors and glued these rectangles to the back of the wooden door. These techniques gave the ratty look that I was seeking. 

​Brown and black hair net was used as the fish netting around the wooden crab trap.

Nearly 70 miniaturists throughout the state and a few out-of-staters attended the party.  As a parting gift, over 40 tote bag items made by member clubs and individuals were shared with the attendants. Tweaking with the aid of scissors, sandpaper, paint and weathering solutions, I was able to use  nearly all of these items so that they would fit into this timeworn and rustic shack. A few of the tote bag items included the fishing pole kits, the fish trophy and the broom, all pictured above.  

No worries as this is not a real miniature sea horse, but one made with air dry clay and a mold from Ruth Stewart. The creamy colored coral is a piece of dried white Reindeer Moss. This small sea sculpture looks incredibly realistic considering that the painted seahorse is only 1/4" tall.

Rustic wooden beads are sewn onto the edge of the white netting to make floats of a casting net. I purchased the black galoshes on eBay from China and weathered them with Folk Art Cottage White Pickling Wash, white ink and glued fine sand onto the edges.  I didn't know where to put these cut out paper fish which was another tote bag item.  So, I painted them with several coats of Triple Thick and a coat of Matte Mod Podge, then placed them in the galosh as I remembered glimpses from my childhood of cartoon images where fish were swimming in a boot. Silly, right?

Two years ago I bought this barrel and crate set on Etsy from In Some Small Ways Minis in the UK. At the time, I had no intentional plan to use them but I was drawn to the medieval look. Now, I am so pleased with the purchase because it was the perfect piece for this box as I had placed numerous other chairs and tables and nothing looked right. On the barrel is a green Coleman lantern made with odds and ends that I have collected for years.  I wish now I had taken a photo of the parts I used, but I never know what the final outcome will look like or if I will have success. Old cheap necklaces are sprayed with white primer then painted with various weathering solutions and paint to look weathered and rusty. 

I was determined to fit the above white weathered chair into the scene.  However, no placement of it any where on the floor seemed  right.  Then I placed it on top of this shelf and it just seemed to make sense---wouldn't a fisherman move it out of the way onto a shelving unit to give him more floor space? Not only that, wouldn't he begin to place clutter on top such as his fisherman's straw hat (which I made nearly 30 years ago), and old, yellowed, unread newspapers? A fish identifier book gets pushed into the mix as well.

The crab basket sitting in the Corpus Christi crate on the left is made with wire metal shaped around lipstick tubes to form circular rings and fine netting. These were contributed by my miniature group and designed by Carolyne Martinez.