Miniature Gardening: Christmas in July PLUS a Very Fun DIY
I know, I can hear you now. Groaning while asking, “Christmas in July? Really, Janit? We’ve barely started summer and you’re already on about December?” BUT, hear me out.
Recall any previous December with the holidays fast approaching. Your to-do list is not going away, the kids are
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starting to bounce off the walls because SANTA IS COMING!! The invitations to do this or that are piling up and you have gifts to figure out – AND you haven’t done your decorating yet, not to mention your miniature garden decorating! Ugh. Where did the time go?
So here’s why, as a crafty and creative miniature gardener, you start thinking about Christmas in July:
- You have the time to make anything you want in miniature.
- You will have special homemade gifts to give – and you know they make the BEST gifts!
- You will have the cutest miniature decorations to show off, to add to presents, or to give as gifts.
- You will be able to enjoy the busy holiday season more with less to worry about.
- You will have more time in December to spend with your friends and family.
- You can save time and money!!
Now, is Christmas in July starting to make more sense now?
Time for a Fun DIY: Miniature Log Animals
I wasn’t able to get this out last December! I was on a Miniaturizing Martha campaign here and in my research, I found these on her website that really, really needed miniaturizing! So I thought this would make a very fun DIY to celebrate Christmas in July. Here is some insight that came out of my experiments:
Cut all the pieces and lay them out before you start drilling and gluing to see if they are in proportion to each other, and the torso.
In a Pig’s Ear
We’ve been experimenting with a few different log animals, but because all the parts boil down to the same pieces (head, legs, tail, ears and torso,) we needed a way to differentiate between a cat and a pig. We found the characteristics of the animals must come from the face, the length of the legs and the shape of the tail and ears – because the torso is always the same for any log-animal.
For example, a pig’s log-ears would be circles because a cat’s ears are triangles (artistic license. :o) The shape of a dog’s ears can range greatly, but if you give your log-dog pointed ears like a Chihuahua, it just might look like a cat. So, go deeper into the individual characteristics of the animal you are replicating, and stick to the stereotype to get the point across. Going back to the log-dog, give it the classic, floppy teardrop ears instead.
Drill the holes for the arms, legs and neck at angles to help animate the animal. If you don’t, the log-animal may look too stiff.
The snout is another way to get your ideas across. Using the stereotypical shapes for the nose and nostrils is a must. The round, pig’s nostrils can deliver the fun instantly, whereas the cat’s snout can be divided up into a peace sign using a thin marker with a triangle nose colored-in at the top of the snout (see picture below.) Or, skip the snout-details and for some simple holiday fun, attach a red pompom nose!
Simplify the characteristics of the snout and ears to get the point across to the viewer. Don’t make them have to guess what it is, it will break the enchantment of miniatures.
Get a Leg Up
The legs can tell a lot about the kind of animal too, short legs can make a pig look fatter and cuter, long legs can make a cat more svelte. If you are making an animal in a sitting position, cut the arms and legs the same length for standing upright to get the proper proportion.
Have a bit of fun with the tail too. Make it the same shape of tail to suit the animal, of course, but make it out of glitter-covered tinsel wire, a fluffy red bow or pompom.
Mossy tips of Maple tree branches made the perfect antlers for this lil’ set of miniature log reindeer. They are very fragile, so I didn’t worry about weatherproofing and used a hot glue gun to put it together. Hide the glue by putting a bit of moss on the hot glue before it dries.
Now Add Cuteness
Now that you have you main components of your log animal decided upon, take a moment and think about how to glue them on in a jaunty way. Rather than perfectly straight legs, make the back legs spread farther apart than the front legs for a more playful stance.
The head becomes more animated when it’s cocked to one side. For a dog, the ears may be in different positions from each other, but a cat or pig’s ears are normally matched.
Put a little twinkly garland around its neck and you’re all set for the smiles and giggles.
A Quick Lesson in Interesting
This little tidbit will get you a ton of mileage in your crafting, decorating and miniature gardening. It’s one of those little tips that if you don’t know, you don’t know, you know?
To make any design of any type more interesting, make it off-center. A good example is in the video & film world, they visualize the screen in thirds and purposefully put the focal point off to the side for a more intriguing shot to keep you engaged and watching.
Why is an off-center image or design more interesting?
It’s because we are symmetrical: our faces and our bodies, (for the most part.) We’re so accustomed to seeing our symmetrical-selves that anything off-center, or asymmetrical, tends to attract our attention more quickly simply because it’s different from us.
Besides, it’s a LOT easier to create something that’s off-center than it is to create a perfectly symmetrical miniature because there is a strong, innate tendency within all of us to analyze and compare a symmetrical scene to see if it is perfect or not.
So have fun using these little tweaks to add life to your miniature log animals and watch the smiles and giggles erupt over the holidays.
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