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Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Playing With A New Plant

Happy New Year! We saw the New Year in with a case of the flu here, but we are just about over it now. While waiting, I did keep busy, checking out all the December 2016 Advent Calendar pages I could find. The French one had a wonderful new plant on it, so I decided to give it a go.

Did you pop the berries of the snowberry bush when you were a child? The scientific name is Symphorina, Symphorine in French. The lovely detail in the miniature is what caught my eye. I loved popping those berries when I was a child in The Netherlands, they grew all over the nearest city park. My Carpenter-in-Chief, as a child in Nova Scotia, also popped those berries, on the way to and from school. So the berries are also a bit of a nostalgia for childhood.

There may be a small Shabby Chic vignette in my future this year, and this is one of those plants that would tone beautifully in such a setting. You can find it at the blog jicolin, calendrier d'avant 2016, Dec. 16 - I really don't know why the blog won't let me add in a proper link, but just google jicolin and you will get there.

The maker used small styrofoam balls from Pascale Garnier, which were then baked to reduce the size; I prefer to use household items, so I used some model railroad scale apples for the tiny berries at the top of the branch. When I discovered these were much the same size as the poppy seeds in my pantry, I decided to use those for the second batch of baby berries I made.

When the tiny "berries" had dried thoroughly, I put more glue on the stems and added mustard seeds, shaping them a bit with my fingers. Once these larger "berries" were dry, I glued some extra seeds in the odd gap that appeared here and there.

Once the glue was dry, I painted the whole thing white for an undercoat, using a dry brush to remove excess paint from between the seeds, as it could hide detail. Once that was dry,  the tiny seeds are painted a very pale green, and the larger seeds pink in one batch and white in the second, again dry brushing to clean up detail. I found a tiny bit of cream added to the white paint toned down the starkness a little. (I was taught that one should avoid stark white and stark black in miniatures as a rule.) I used a brown micro-tip permanent pen to make the tiny dot on the ends of the berries, that represent the bottom blossom. (I used a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen - you have to use a permanent pen, or paint, to prevent smearing when varnishing.)  I had to touch up the green stems, then used satin varnish on the berries. For the leaves, I followed the tutorial on the advent calendar, as I had one of the suggested punches.

I tried to add a close-up of the berries, but the photo comes out sideways, although I rotated it previously; however, the computer won't let us - three of us have tried!

Then I spent a fair bit of the day figuring out how other miniaturists create those wonderfully shabby and chalky interiors, and making copious notes....


  1. Te han quedado preciosas, feliz año nuevo:-)

  2. Love the berries, Marijke! They'd look great in any winter arrangement. - Marilyn D., Oromocto, NB