Posts Tagged craft

EXTREME CUTE ALERT: 185 Reasons To Go To ‘The Miniature Show’

Dollhouse miniature garden accessories

Getting ready for The Miniature Show next week. Creating tiny accessories for the dollhouse miniature garden is one of my favorite things to do. 

EXTREME CUTE ALERT: 185 Reasons To Go To ‘The Miniature Show’

If you are a lover of anything miniature, you should be in Chicago next week.

If you’ve never been to a miniature show, this will totally blow your mind.

If you’ve never been to this kind of high-caliber miniature show, this will totally open your mind.

I am thrilled to have been invited to The Miniature Show at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg just outside of Chicago from April 20 to the 22nd. I’m one reason – the other 184 reasons are the miniaturists from all over the world (!) that will be vending along with me, or represented in the show through Swan House Miniatures

Here are some of my top reasons why you should come and enjoy The Miniature Show along with me:

  • Perfection in miniature. Do you love to get new things? Brand new, never “used?” Like that new car,
    Dollhouse miniature garden accessories

    What would it look like if it was left out in the garden for way too long?

    but after a about a year it doesn’t look so new anymore? How about your house? Same thing right? Well, with miniatures, you can have that level of perfection ALL THE TIME. Anything you want too. Anything. It’s out there in miniature. See the perfect miniature work of Jim Pounder here, he’ll be at next week’s The Miniature Show too.

  • Fantastic fantasy. You can have it all in small. If it’s really well-done, precise and clever, all fantasy in miniature can enchant because it looks so realistic. Believability can be sustained, if only for a moment. It’s awesome. How about a miniature table with chicken legs from Jason Getzan, see them here. One inch tall fairies by Penny Thomson here. Both Jason and Penny will be at The Miniature Show too.
  • Dollhouse miniature garden accessories

    You will find aging and customizing techniques all throughout my new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book coming out this June! 

    Miniature food that looks SO perfect, you can smell it. No joke. The realism is so awesome, it tricked my mind into thinking that I could smell whatever miniature food I was looking at. Carl Brondson is one of “those” miniaturists here.

  • New ideas, techniques and insight. Saved the best for last! By looking at other people’s miniature work, you can’t help but get different insights, new ideas and learn different techniques that will help you in your own work. You will be inspired to raise your own bar and try new things just by being around the experts. Here are all of the top miniaturists that you’ll be witnessing: see the complete list here.
miniature fairy house

A miniature fairy house for the miniature dollhouse garden. Getting back into the miniatures has been a blast – I’m SO glad I was invited to do this show!

Not Convinced Yet?

How about TWO MORE miniature shows happening at the same time with FREE shuttles going to back and forth every day to all three shows? Here’s the Chicago International Show website and the 3 Blind Mice Show’s website. See you there!

Like this? Join us and thousands of other miniature gardeners for your weekly does of all things miniature garden, The Mini Garden Gazette. Sign up through our new website, MiniatureGarden.com or visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center’s website, TwoGreenThumbs.com to join.

miniature garden accessories

Having fun using real materials to create my miniatures. This snail-shell planter is from a project in my new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book coming out this June. (2107)

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Miniature Fairy Gardening : What They Won’t Tell You But I Will

TruthAboutMoss 1

Miniature Fairy Gardening : What They Won’t Tell You But I Will

Ugh. It’s a pet peeve of mine. I should be a consumer advocate. I just hate seeing people set up for failure – especially in our beloved miniature garden niche.

A customer emailed the other day and complained that her moss smelled musty. After a bit of digging, pun intended, I Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvofound out she used the new moss “sheets” to cover the ground in and around her plants. The moss was getting moldy because of the dampness of the soil in the living garden. Unfortunately, she was sold artificial moss for that specific purpose: to “grow” it in her fairy garden.

Ugh x 2. Really?

The fairy garden moss that is out on the market today will not work with live plants nor will it grow. It’s fake and should be used only for artificial scenes. It will suffocate and kill the soil, and any roots if it is used with real plants too. (Soil is alive, dirt is dead – but that is another blog post, right here.)

THIS includes any kind of preserved moss, moss sheets, moss clumps, Spanish moss, reindeer moss, whatever you want to call it. It will NOT grow in a living miniature nor any fairy garden.

And the funniest thing about this is: it’s expensive!

Ugh x 3!!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

Fake moss can’t replace the real thing. It will get musty and moldy in a real garden environment. Fake moss is at the top, the real moss is below on the left in sheet form, and in clumps on the right. Both live-moss samples we find on our property here in Seattle.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

AND THEN, I see videos of “professional designers” laying the moss sheets right on the soil! The “designer” then tucks the odd (living) plant in here and there, right into the fake moss! I wonder if she can hear me yelling at her from my desk in Seattle. Lol! Poor plants. That’s just not going to work out well at all. That silly moss will become a nice moldy mess because of the dampness of the living garden, and it will fade to brown quickly in the sun too.

Quick Moss Primer:

What is it then? These are my definitions of the different kinds of craft mosses. I’m 98% sure I have it correct but, they do such crazy stuff in the craft-supply world and in the gift industry, I’m leaving a small margin of error.

Reindeer Moss – Is really a lichen. It was alive at one point, but needs to be killed and preserved to sit on the big-box-store shelves. It comes in dark green, chartreuse green and shades of brown.

Moss Sheets – A certain kind of moss was killed and treated and glued to a plastic mesh, or burlap. It is perfectly dead too. There are “moss sheets” packs that aren’t glued down as well, that can be ripped into tinier pieces for your artificial garden projects.

Mood Moss – An anomaly. Lol! I don’t know what it is made of but it is not moss. And, what made it moody? It didn’t get a seat on the bus this morning on the way to work? It didn’t have a date for Friday night? :o)

Spanish Moss – It’s not a moss either, it’s a bromeliad, Tillandsia usneoides. If you are plucking this off the trees down in the southern states, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to de-bug it. The Spanish Moss you find in stores is preserved and very dead too.

Ad-MossGarden

Living Moss Rules: 

  • If you want moss in your living miniature garden, stick with real moss. 
  • If you want moss, you need the correct environment for it to grow it in which is difficult to replicate if it doesn’t happen naturally.
  • If you want moss to grow on rocks, you need to find moss that grows on rocks or pavement.
  • If you want moss to grow on the soil, you need to find moss that grows on the soil.
  • Moss needs light and water too.
  • DIGGING & HARVESTING MOSS FROM PUBLIC LANDS AND FORESTS IS VERY, VERY WRONG. Natural-growing moss is part of the eco-system and if you take away one part of the system, the other parts will suffer and/or fail. Please harvest responsibly or… 

Here are Some Real Moss Resources:

Here is our moss guru, the indelible David Spain with his great (and funny!) website on everything mossy: https://www.mossandstonegardens.com/

Here is our moss for sale that we cultivate here on our property, 3 different types (or stages) of growth. Only available in the winter months. Moss does go dormant in the dry, summer months so if you’re searching for our moss in the dormant months, please come back later! :o)

And leave that fake moss for your other crafty projects! Make a purse or hat for Mom’s Day, or a tie for Father’s Day.

Like this? Want to know more about miniature and fairy gardening from people who will tell you straight? Join us here for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

You can tell it is fake by looking at the backside. If it is not soil – it is fake.

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

Not convinced yet? Steve thought it was dried moss until I showed him the inside. Rip it open and you’ll see the fibers.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook raises the bar on fairy gardening. Get your copy today, click the picture to go to our online store!

Your Miniature Garden Center

 

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More Miniature Gardening at the HUGE Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

Miniature Gardening at Disney World

More Miniature Gardening at the HUGE Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

Whew! I’ve been catching up on everything since our whirlwind tour to Florida earlier this month. I came back exhausted and hit a bottleneck of work so it took a couple of weeks for me to recover, decompress and collect my thoughts. So, not only did I miss blogging for a couple of weeks, I actually missed three whole weeks without publishing a Mini Garden Gazette! I remain grateful that the global economy doesn’t rest on miniature gardening. At least not yet. Lol! :o)

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop

Now available for PRE-ORDER! The first edition of Gardening in Miniature sold out before the book was even launched! Get your copy reserved TODAY!

We had a fabulous time at Disney World demonstrating three different garden designs and three different projects from my new book from Timber Press, Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World (now available for pre-order!). This time around, we had the chance to meet all the Epcot “regulars” who didn’t get a chance to see us three years ago because we were there during Holy Week, one of the busiest weeks of the festival and the response was – AGAIN – awesome!

Shown here are the gardens that we made for Disney. I’m recreating the talks I gave in video format for our Miniature Garden Society so you can enjoy them too!

Miniature Gardening at Disney World

The “Underwater Sea Garden” turned out so well, I had to laugh at myself at the end of the demo! Debbie, the coordinator of this grand show, chose that pot for it – it was PERFECT! 

 

“You can take it with you!” I had fun modeling with this miniature garden in a trug – it’s the new handbag for Spring! Perhaps it’s time to give Ralph Lauren a call about a handbag design idea? 

 

 

And this last miniature garden demo was about entertaining in the miniature garden. We showed how to use our exclusive Mini Patio Mix Kit to create a patio that won’t wash away when you water it.

 

 

Yours Truly presenting at Epcot. Thankfully, they had an overhead camera so Phil, the camera and sound guy, was able to zoom in on my tiny projects.

Find all your plants, parts and pieces for the wonderful hobby of Gardening in Miniature at America’s First and Favorite Miniature Garden Center here.

Like this? Want to dig deeper? Join us and thousands of other miniature gardeners for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette. Sign up here.

 

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Miniature Moss Gardening

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

Myown State Park, Version 2. Made with different kinds of living moss. 1/44th scale <- it’s the dollhouse for the dollhouse scale.

Miniature Moss Gardening

I missed the deadline for registering my exhibit for the Seattle Dollhouse Miniature Show that is going this weekend. I was supposed to register “before March 1st, 2017 – no exceptions!” While it was tempting to email the owner Pat Bennet to ask for an exception, I refrained. Between the two of us, I think the only person who would find that funny is me. Lol! (If you know Pat, you’ll know what I mean.)

So, I made it anyway.

I’ve been collecting different mosses from around our property for a moss-study for the Miniature Garden Society and I couldn’t resist creating this second version of Myown State Park in 1/144th scale. I made the first version for my first display for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2004, you can see it here at the top of the page.

I’ve also written about the use of that “new” fairy garden moss that they are selling in the garden centers and big-box stores that is totally fake and makes a moldy-mess in the living miniature gardens, Miniature Gardening: What They Won’t But I Will

Like this? They you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter – it’s free and weekly. Sign up here.

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

It’s a miniature garden for the miniature garden in 144th scale. That little picnic bench I picked up from the Seattle Miniature Show.

 

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

There are many kinds of moss if you look closely. This clump has some lichen growing in along with it.

 

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

This is how the moss flowers – it will scatter it’s spores in the wind once the flower goes to seed.

 

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

Bird’s eye view. The pot is about 8″ long.

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

Tiny gravel marks the paths. It was a challenge to find “logs” small enough. I had to use a perennial stem.

 

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

The new Primo Dwarf Arborvitae started this idea. It looks like a tiny version of those huge trees you see in our national forests.

 

Miniature Moss Gardening from The Miniature Garden Society

Very fun. I used tiny sedum-seedlings and tucked them into the hillside here and there. I mixed up the moss types too, to make it look like small shrubs growing in patches on the “grass.”

 

http://www.MiniatureGardenSociety.com

We’re digging deeper. Join us at our new members-only website!

 

The Truth About Fairy Moss

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Growing, Evolving & Updating: Miniature Gardens vs. Fairy Gardens – What is the Difference?

Fairy door and windows.

Not a miniature garden but very cute! From the “Our Favorite Miniature Gardens” – and old album from HGTV.com

Miniature Gardens vs. Fairy Gardens – What is the Difference?

This is an update to a blog that I published on the difference between miniature gardening and fairy gardening about 6 1/2 years ago. 

I opened up a little can of worms the other day on our Facebook page.

Thankfully, I’m a little hardcore when it comes to gardening and I like worms.

Fairy Gardening with Two Green Thumbs.comI had created a post for our Facebook page that linked to a series of fairy gardens on HGTV.com (link has been changed) and suggested that they should start hanging out with us “real miniature gardeners.”

I must admit, that was a bit hasty in retrospect, but I didn’t mean to offend anyone so here’s an explanation of where that comment came from.

The first picture in the album was the one shown above, with a couple of windows and a door nailed to a tree with a fairy in front of it. Inside the album, however, there were a couple of pictures that were very pretty little fairy gardens, and pictures of a fairy house and a gnome house – but they were all fairy gardens, not miniature gardens. HGTV had called them miniature gardens – thus the comment “that they should start hanging out with us ‘real miniature gardeners.'”

A very pretty little Fairy Garden

From the HGTV.com album. Fairy gardens are a type of miniature garden and if there is a fairy in it, then the word ‘fairy’ belongs in the name.

“Why?” asked Facebook follower Patti Sherwood, the founder and leader of the Miniature and Fairy Garden forum on Garden Share.com (This forum appears to be dead now.) “… because I truly believe that every attempt at creating a garden of any kind should be applauded and not criticized.”

That is STILL a great question, Patti.

But I felt like Martha Stewart. She is always made fun of because of her quest for excellence and perfection. But, you know what? She raised our game. Martha made us want for a better home and a better life through the domestic arts. Heck, we didn’t even call it “domestic arts” until she did! It was called housework and cooking. How unglamorous… until Martha  came along and redefined it for us.

Yes, I think every attempt at gardening should be applauded, especially because plants help the air, reduce our stress, help the environment, and add comfort visually and emotionally.

But, promoting any type of gardening is not what I do. My focus is living miniature gardening.Janit's Mini Garden Etsy Store

“Lettuce define our terms.”
              – Kermit the Frog

 

A “Little” History

The term ‘miniature garden’ used to be an all-encompassing phrase for any small sized garden, living or artificial. It could be as big as a
small backyard or as small as a thimble-sized terrarium. Dish gardens, bonsai, penjing, rock gardening, railroad gardening, gnome gardening, tray gardening, windowsill gardening, teacup gardening, terrariums, vivariums and Wardian cases (I’ve probably missed some.) were all called miniature gardening before the miniature garden hobby took off. Now, the terms have officially changed.

So here is the definition of miniature gardening.

And yes, it is my own definition, I can not think of who else would have the authority and perspective to define it so I’ll claim it. You’ll now find this definition on many websites.

Living Miniature Gardens

Living Miniature Gardens include plants, patio/paths and an accessory all in scale with one another.

Definition: A miniature garden is the perfect blend of tiny trees, plants, hardscaping and garden accessories that are in scale with one another to create a lasting, living garden scene or vignette. Miniature gardens are gardens in miniature.

That’s it, right there.

And as a leader and a professional (like HGTV.com) I feel it is part of my job to bring out the best miniature gardener in everybody.

So, when one is adding a fairy figure to a bunch of plants and calling it a miniature garden, that isn’t right, it is a fairy garden.

A window and door hammered onto a tree is not a miniature garden. It could lead to one – but I would be hard-pressed to even call it a garden. Where are the plants?

A sign propped up in the corner with a fairy a pebble path is a fairy garden, not a “miniature garden” even though it is cute as a button.

And the “Our Favorite Miniature Gardens” on the HGTV.com site was an album of fairy gardens.

The Big Boys Aren’t Getting it Right

Best selling Gardening in Miniature book

We wrote the book on it.

It’s interesting to note that these types of big “garden” websites seem to not really care about being precise nor do they seem to care about teaching the right things to their viewers/readers.

I found another great example of this from the Better Homes and Gardens website recently, where they called a planted jello-mould a ‘terrarium’ and proceeded to plant up a dish garden incorrectly, (the charcoal layer is a filter and goes on top of the gravel,) called it a bundt pan, and used plants that have completely different watering and light needs – THEN they put a pebble path and a wee bench in it, technically making it a miniature garden. It is SO not a terrarium, it isn’t even funnySee it here.

I was a bit floored after viewing so I posted it in one of my independent garden center forums and asked if this type of information should be corrected by us, the professional gardeners in the industry. I had several store owners chime-in and basically said, “So what? It’s cute and it will sell fast. They’ll have to come back and buy more plants!” 

Oh. Dear. I was under the impression that customers are people that trust independent shop owners to sell them the right solutions that will work – not die. If a customer just wants to buy plants from an untrustworthy source that will die, that’s what big-box stores are for. :o)

So it seems that some store owners just want sell you anything and these big websites just want the traffic for their advertising revenue. BUT why they mis-inform their customers/readers leaves me very perplexed when it is just as easy to create and teach proper content?

Gee, I guess I’ve been doing it all wrong all these years, but at least I can sleep at night. Please enjoy our ad-free website and online store where we care about our customers, the information and the products we sell ~> ONLY at TwoGreenThumbs.com apparently!

What do you think? Am I being too picky about nomenclature? Leave a comment below about my current definition of what we do here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center and help us define what we do so we can continue to share, enjoy and create living miniature gardens.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook! For Advanced Fairy Gardeners only. It’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book. Click the picture for more.

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Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Valentine's Day in the Miniature Garden

Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden can be loaded with decor – or kept really simple with one or two accent pieces.

Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Creating miniature gardens is so much fun because you can adapt them to any
situation, any theme or any occasion. But another fun thing to do with this new-again hobby – and Valentine’s Day gives you a perfect opportunity to – is to share them. A miniature garden can easily deliver a personalized message sent straight from the heart.

If you are short on decorations, a simple accent piece can still send a huge message. A red chair, an engraved heart or ‘hugs’ rock, or this simple how-to can send sweet love to your Valentine.

Don’t have a Valentine? Then it’s a perfect excuse to treat yourself and do something YOU love!

Want to see more of the 2013 Valentine Garden? They will be posted in our February newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette. Join our email list here and get instant access to the archives after confirming through your email.

How to Make Valentine’s Day Decorations for Your Miniature Garden:

We found the package of foam hearts at JoAnns Fabrics (40% off!) to make these really quick decorative garden stakes that you can add to any miniature garden and get your message love across.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One package of foam cutouts
  • Wood popsicle sticks &/or coffee sticks
  • Paint colors of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper

Best selling Gardening in Miniature bookAAAAND the craft stores now carry all kinds of cutouts for every occasion! Paint the stakes to match the holiday color to make it look more polished. We tried writing on them with a small Sharpie marker, but it turned out a bit faded – the foam doesn’t accept the ink very well.

Be sure to take out the heart stakes after the 14th and wait for the wood to dry before storing them for next year. Like the miniature holiday decor, they should last for a long time if you don’t leave them out in the weather all year.

See our previous post of gift-giving ideas: The Most Incredible Gift of All Time. Make Quick and Affordable Gifts. A Miniature Garden for Every Budget.

More ideas from your  Miniature Garden Center:

– Pretty Garden Screen

Pretty Grapevine Birdath

– White Porcelain Pot Set with Saucers (really cute)

– White Arbor with Gate

– White Wooden Love Seat

– White Swan Porcelain Vase Set

– Short White Picket Border Fence

– Miniature Garden Plants for Sun or Part Sun

– Miniature Garden Plants for Shade

– Shop for Plants by Zone

valentineportrait 

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Tired of Winter? Tired of Politics? Have NO FEAR…

Miniature Garden Society - the best website for Miniature Gardening on the Planet!

Miniature Garden Society – the best website for Miniature Gardening on the Planet!

Tired of Winter? Tired of Politics? Have NO FEAR…

…Your Miniature Gardeners are HERE!

Ugh. That silly groundhog called for SIX more weeks of winter…

Okay, you’re going to have to envision my green cape with my miniature garden logo flapping behind me in the breeze okay? With a green leotard, a mini skirt and really cute boots… can you picture it in your mind? Good. Nice boots, huh? Lol! Here’s what I have for you:

  • A website full of original content on your favorite topic of miniature gardening that is growing and evolving constantly.
  • A place to connect to people that do the same thing you do.
  • A website where there is always something growing.
  • A place for you to ask any question about miniature gardening, plants or accessories.
  • A website where you can find a yummy project for the afternoon, or for the long weekend.
  • A safe place for you to go on the internet that is free of flashing ads, videos that play at random, or ads that have tracked your latest search.

But wait. There’s more.

How about a website that shows you how you can make money doing what you love to do?

I’ve been working on this website for over 2 years now but it feels like I’ve only just started because there is still a TON of information that I have to put up in this unique website.

More projects, insight, how-to’s, upcoming show reviews, interviews and reviews of everything miniature garden! PLUS – I have a super-exciting secret that I’m ONLY sharing here, on this intro page to the Miniature Garden Society Website. You’ll have to click-in to find it out. (Promotion period for this has ended.)

:o)

 

Miniature Garden Society - the best website for Miniature Gardening on the Planet!

The Miniature Garden Society website includes – and will include – exclusive reviews, previews, interviews and news! Fun and informative! Click the picture to find out more. ;o)

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