With the 4th of July coming up next month, I thought I’d try my hand at building a little ramshackle roadside fireworks stand from scratch! I built the entire stand from foamcore and textured it with steel brushes to resemble wood.
I searched for vintage fireworks images and found a ton of great old posters, which I affixed to the front and sides of the stand, as well as old packaging that I was able to print out and turn into bottle rockets, sparklers and fountains. For the little smoke bombs, I painted wooden beads black and glued white embroidery thread in the hole on top for the wick.
To make the lit sparklers, I use a pom-pom making method with silver tinsel for the tops and then glued the sparkler to a piece of white floral wire.
To make the flags and bunting, I printed the images on inkjet printer fabric. For the flags, I cut them out and folded them in half around a trimmed and sanded toothpick and then glued them. I aged the edges with a Tim Holtz ink pad. For the bunting, I glued the half circles together at the tops and then sewed across the length of the bunting, pulling the thread taut to create the bunched effect. I then took a piece of red ribbon and glued that across the top to cover up the stitches.
To fill out the stand, I also printed out little patriotic top hats, pinwheels, a bird house and Cracker Jack boxes. I thought they brought a little nostalgia to the overall look of the stand.
A little over a month ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and ran across a Pier 1 ad for terrariums. When I saw the Daisy Terrarium, I just knew I needed to get it and transform it into a miniature conservatory!
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with creating miniature plants and flowers, with the help of laser cut sheets from Tropical Miniatures by Mary Kinloch (the orchids, the split leaf philodendron, the parlor palm and the ruffle fern). Every other plant or flower was created through trial and error, hand cutting and shaping paper as well as floral tape.
My biggest challenges were the fountain and the scarlet macaw. For the fountain, I started with a fairy garden bird bath. I then used polymer clay to sculpt the base of the fountain.
I used UV resin and clear kitchen wrap cut into thin strips to create the cascading water effect. I sculpted my koi fish from polymer clay, then painted it with acrylic paint and Pearl Ex powder to give it that fishy shimmer.
Once the koi was complete, I filled the base of the fountain with resin. When it was almost fully cured, I added my water lilies and lily pads. They were all created with paper punches and alcohol ink markers, then shaped and detailed with a ball stylus.
The Scarlet Macaw
For the macaw’s perch, I started with wooden dowels painted with a metallic bronze acrylic. I then sculpted my macaw’s feet separately in polymer clay and glued them to the perch.
Next, I sculpted the macaw’s body from red polymer clay. His eyes are 1mm glass eyes, and the area around his eyes and his beak have been painted with acrylics.
After I baked the polymer clay, I hand cut every feather and applied tacky glue to affix them. Once the feathers were in place, I used red flock to cover his head and his body. When that was done, I used E6000 glue to affix the parrot to his feet on the perch. This macaw is the first bird I’ve ever sculpted, and I have to say, I’m delighted with the results!
The Tropical Flowers, Trees and Plants
I created several cymbidium orchid arrangements in different colors with help from Mary Kinloch’s laser cut sheets. I also hand cut the butterflies, which were printed out on my inkjet printer.
I mainly used alcohol ink markers to color the orchids, and I love the vibrant hues I achieved.
In my quest to make more tropical-styles of plants and flowers, I spent a lot of time looking at photos online and decided to try anthurium, aka flamingo flowers. I hand cut each and every flower and leaf on these plants, and I used a high gloss varnish to give them that shiny, waxy look.
To this arrangement, I added some bromeliads, a butterfly and ferns to fill it out.
The bird of paradise was tricky, but I finally figured out the shapes I needed to achieve the right look. I hand cut each component and used floral tape over wire for the leaves.
I also made a parlor palm from Mary Kinloch’s laser sheets, but the large potted double palm was a happy-go-lucky accident that turned out great!
I stumbled upon a feathery-looking floral pick at Michael’s and thought that it might make amazing palm fronds, so I bought a few, brought them home and painted them with green acrylic. Lo and behold, they do look awesome! To make the palm trunks, I wrapped brown pipe cleaners with brown floral tape until I got the diameter I wanted. Then, I painted over the trunks with matte gel medium, followed by various shades of brown and gray acrylic paints. I added coconut fiber just under the fronds to cover up the floral tape that holds the separate fronds together, and it worked out perfectly.
Lastly, I made the draecana with twigs I had in my craft stash and floral tape over wire. When I had a grouping of several leaves ready, I wrapped the stems in more floral tape and painted over that with matte gel medium tinted with green acrylic.
As you can tell, this was a real labor of love. It was also my first major “roombox-type” project, and I’m so proud of how it turned out.
Because I had so much fun with this, I ordered a smaller size Daisy Terrarium from Pier 1. So what’s next? Maybe an aviary? Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!
Two weeks ago, I was browsing the Facebook Marketplace and ran across a vintage dollhouse for sale that came with tons of furniture, accessories and a greenhouse. I could tell it would definitely need some work, but I was immediately drawn to it. Despite the fact that I’m working full-time as a miniaturist now, I don’t have a dollhouse of my own!
At the price she was asking, I just couldn’t resist. So my husband and I drove the 45 minutes to pick it up and painstakingly tried to cram it into our SUV. Yes, it’s that big. It just barely fit in the back with the seats folded up.
It’s now home and hanging out on an entirely-too-small card table (I have plans to head to IKEA this weekend to pick up a more appropriately sized table), and I’m now faced with the challenge of where to start.
Sorry for the less-than-stellar initial photos. Once I get this on a table where I can move it, I’ll be able to get better lighting and photos.
I started out by trying to identify the maker and model, but that’s presenting a challenge. I’m fairly certain this originated somewhere around the 70s – though I may stand corrected – and I think it’s made by Real Good Toys. Believe it or not, the lady selling it still had all of the parts lists and assembly instructions. According to the parts list, this model appears to be the “Fox Hollow” but I haven’t been able to find a single bit of information about it on the web.
I definitely intend to rehab and complete the exterior before moving inside. At first glance, the clapboard siding is warped in a number of places, meaning I’ll probably have to remove it all and replace it.
Secondly, all of the windows need to be fixed up and replaced. The good news is the shingles on the roof are all in pretty good shape – only a few little spots to fix up.
Lastly, that porch. I am not a fan of blue, so that’s going to have to go. I would really prefer wood planking, so we’ll see how that shapes up.
So, that’s what I’ve gotten myself into! This is going to be a major learning curve for me, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get the look I’m going for – a modern farmhouse. I’ll continue to share updates about my progress, so wish me luck!
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