Category: "Flowers and plants"

Lovely flowers and garage minis

by brae  

I received a birthday package from Debora today.  She sent me some of her gorgeous handmade flowers along with some Chrysnbon kits (she knows my weakness).  These are all ready for planting, so I'll have to decide whether they will go in a planter or be part of the landscaping for a build.  hmm.  Thank you so much, Debora!  :D

Jasper helped unwrap, of course.

I also picked up two fun eBay items for Milo Valley Farm this past week...a compressor and a drill press.  These are heavy items, but there are no maker marks.

That's it! I'm leaving!

by brae  

Or "leafing" is perhaps the word I need here.  :D  I finally had some time to work on the maple tree again.  This is three hours of work, so that ought to tell you just how much time this will take.  I foresee many movies and TV marathons in my future.

I made 425 additional leaves to add to the approximate 800 from the Easy Leaves sheets, for 1,225.  I still might need more, but for now I am starting to apply the leaves to the tree.  I can make more as needed.  Each leaf is applied using a mix of Aleene's Quick Dry and super glue gel using a toothpick; the glue is applied to the stem only.  Long, slant-nosed tweezers are a lifesaver.  :]

I've spaced the leaves apart.  I will go back later and add in more to fill in.  Right now they are also flat, but once they dry I can bend them down, up or sideways.  By applying the leaves to all the branches, I can keep going until I reach the fullness I want without overdoing one section and ending up bare in another.  Plus, I want to use the slightly smaller leaves from the Easy Leaf sheets throughout.  By working all around, these will be evenly distributed even if I end up with more of the manually paper punched leaves overall.

Under the maple tree - part 5

by brae  

Continuing work on the maple tree.  A real tree has a great deal more branches than the base I've created, and those branches taper into batches of leaves.  My purpose is to get the general feel of a maple tree and to accent the landscaping.  In the original tutorial from the DVD Master Miniaturists: Landscaping Primer with Diane Myrick, the artist uses foam foliage materials for better coverage but it looks best when viewed from afar.  My trees are a compromise on full coverage versus good in the close-up view.  :]

Now for some math.  The Easy Leaves kits state there are 282 leaves per package.  This takes into account that some of the leaves on the frame are incomplete.  So, with three kits, I have a starting point of 846 leaves, but let's drop that down 5% for loss, mishaps and unusable leaves to roughly 800.  I have 95 base branches, which makes for 8.4 leaves per branch.  No matter what, I will need to make more leaves using paper punches.

The 95 branches may seem like a lot, but there will be bare spots if I leave it as is.  Adding branches after the putty has dried is not impossible, but there are some drawbacks and limitations.  Yes, you can start out with more wires to have more base branches, but then you end up with more of the bulky base branches and not thin branches at the ends where they are needed the most.  Carrying thin wires with the larger wires still adds bulk to the base branches.

I took short lengths of 30 gauge brown wire and curled them around the base branches where needed, adding 120 small branches.  Now I have 215 branches, which makes for 3.7 leaves per branch from my existing batch.  While I still need more leaves, their placement will be spread out on the surface more like a real tree.

I mixed Durham's Water Putty again and covered the joins.  This does create bulk and you can somewhat see the twists since I didn't go overboard with the application, but this shouldn't be a focal point once the putty is painted to match the bark and the leaves are on.  I didn't add these before finishing the base tree and branches because it is hard to paint the interior with all these fiddly branches on the outer surface.  Much easier to just touch up the paint where needed.

I have two paper punches with maple leaf shapes, and they are comparable in size to the Easy Leaves.  I'll use origami paper pre-painted to coordinate with the existing leaves I've started.

It might be awhile before I post about the maple again...lots of leaf prep work to do and then the actual leaf application.  :]

Under the maple tree - part 4

by brae  

Continuing work on the maple tree.  I filled the bottom of the trunk with water putty to make a solid base.  I wasn't worried about it toppling over, but I didn't want the outer shell to crack if it were bumped or squeezed in the wrong way.

To achieve a good base color for the bark, I mixed Zinc and Bittersweet Chocolate by Americana.  I stippled the paint onto the tree to avoid leaving obvious brush marks.  After letting the paint dry, it was easier to see which areas were missed in the first go around.

I dry brushed some Zinc mixed with Mississippi Mud to highlight.

The lighter paint brought out the bark detail.  It looks solid and treelike, no?  :D

I like the slight bend in the trunk...seems much more natural.

Now, it's ready to sprout leaves!  :D

Under the maple tree - part 3

by brae  

Continuing work on the maple tree.  The water putty dried hard overnight.  Some of the thin binding wires showed through the layer as expected and the texture was smooth due to the watery consistency of the first application.

I mixed more water putty, this time thicker than the consistency of pancake batter.  I had to work quickly since the mixture wanted to set fast.  I used a stiff brush to apply the putty, making bark-like texture with quick brushstrokes as I went.

I did this for the main branches and trunk, leaving the thinner branches with the lighter coat from yesterday.  The paint will seal any bare spots on the thin branches, and I didn't want to build any more bulk on those wires.  This will also make the end wires more easily shaped and trimmed as needed.  You can bend the putty covered wires a little, but you risk cracking the surface of the hardened putty.

I hadn't covered the base of the trunk all that well initially since it was hard to hold the tree while the putty was wet on the upper portions.

This time, I filled in more and added the bark texture.  I might need to fill in underneath tomorrow once this layer dries to make the base solid.

Next up, paint will be applied and the tree should really come to life.

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