The Spooky Panda House

Hi!

I hope you guys are doing well! It’s Friday! I will be leading group counseling sessions and play therapy sessions all day, and I am so excited! It’s a lot of work, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

For this post, I am going to share some pictures of the dollhouse that the Panda family lives in with Baby Ghost.

The Panda house is the third dollhouse I built, and I finished it in early 2019. The outside is grey and black, and the inside has a black and white theme.

Front of the Panda House

We display the Panda house on that cute marble antique table. I think it looks very fancy.

I purchased the dollhouse kit from FleursGifts on Etsy, and I was really pleased with the quality of the wood and the details of the dollhouse. Her shop seems to be closed now, but I got some really great houses from her, and I loved that her houses were so perfectly Calico Critter-sized.

I’m a book lover, so almost all my dollhouses have libraries. Below is the library in the Panda house. It’s decorated for Halloween.

Panda House Library

The picture below is actually quite old, but it gives you an idea of the interior of the house and its scale. Most of the empty rooms below have furniture in them now. One of the rooms even has a unicorn skeleton!

Panda House Interior

Thank you for reading!

Haunted House/Room Box

Hi there!

I hope you’re doing well!

I used scrap wood, extra windows, and foam core to build a haunted house/ room box over the weekend!

Haunted House

I had a lot of fun wrecking it with paint and sandpaper to make it look as abandoned and decrepit as possible.

Haunted house – interior

I haven’t decided what to do with this house yet. I don’t think I’ll have anyone live in it, but maybe someone from Mushroom Meadow will stumble upon it and be scared. Or maybe it will be the location of one of Mushroom Meadow’s many Halloween parties.

The attic has a large barrel of poison, some rope, newspaper, and decorative lace in it. Someone tried to use newspaper to patch the holes in the roof–almost as though someone has been hanging out up there!

Haunted house attic

I used air dry clay and craft moss in this house too. I have a lot left over from when I built the fairytale house. I have a lot of stones left over too, so I surrounded the haunted house with them.

Haunted house interior

It was also nice to have a use for some of my broken things, like that window pan and the chair.

Overall, it was a fun weekend project, and I can’t wait to incorporate it into Mushroom Meadow somehow. I’ll probably include Baby Ghost since he’s a ghost, and this is a haunted house.

Thank you for reading! Have a great Wednesday!

The Miniature Laboratory

Hi there!

I hope you’re doing well! It’s Monday, and I have a lot of homework to do this week! Lots of papers to write and things to think about!

I used to work in a biochemistry laboratory, so I decided to give making a miniature lab a shot. Two doctors work in it, Dr. Oreo and her husband, Dr. Midnight. Their lab is in an abandoned building towards the edge of Mushroom Meadow.

Laboratory

They have books, a laboratory fridge, an eyewash station, and plenty of beakers. I stitched their lab coats myself. I want to make them some new ones soon though. Also, as you can see in the above photo, Dr. Oreo and Dr. Midnight are not afraid to eat in the lab (even though they really shouldn’t be doing that).

Mr. Alpaca with the eyewash station

The eyewash station/ emergency shower is made of polymer clay, wire, and a wooden stick. For a first attempt at any kind of shower and sink, I think it turned out nice.

Recently, a wonderful friend sent Dr. Midnight and Dr. Oreo some new lab equipment and a new table to add to their furniture. Peep the diet coke in the fridge. I love that the beakers and flasks came with colored plastic to put inside them. I haven’t tried working with resin yet, so all my other flasks are empty.

New lab equipment

The outside of the laboratory is just foam core, but I really want to cover it in brick or something and have it be a real part of Mushroom Meadow because it’s one of my favorite miniatures.

Dr. Oreo and Dr. Midnight are such rulebreakers. They have signs right in front of them that say not to have food in the lab, but they’re always eating. This is a Calico Critter fridge that I painted on to make it look worn and like maybe some lab explosions had happened near it (or inside it). That sandwich is oozing.

The black table in the back was made by me, and the bookshelf was made using a box and popsicle sticks for the shelves. The sink and countertop is Calico Critter, but I painted it brown and black and added some multicolored stains on it to look like spills. I found the Bunsen burner on the black table on Ebay. It makes me so happy that they have their own Bunsen burner!

Laboratory

The wooden floor and walls are weathered and splattered with who knows what kinds of chemicals. Dr. Oreo studies mostly neuroscience, which is why there’s a brain in the tray on the counter. Dr. Midnight just likes mixing things to see what happens. He’s working on a special Halloween drink right now for the upcoming Halloween party in Mushroom Meadow.

Experimental Halloween drink

It looks delicious–I love all the toppings, but I have no idea what he injecting into it. If you attend the Halloween party, maybe avoid these drinks!

Thank you for reading! Have a great week!

Tulip LaPoodle

Hi there!

I hope you’re doing well!

Today I’d like to introduce Tulip LaPoodle.

Tulip LaPoodle learning to fly

A while ago, Tulip LaPoodle packed her things and moved out of Mushroom Meadow. It just wasn’t the place for her. So, she lives outside the town with a hedgehog friend and three Sylvanian fairies, named Peridot, Rosie, and Bluebell. The hedgehog was a gift from one of my Instagram friends, and I just love it. It has such a cute little face, and its texture is helpful for grounding me.

Peridot, Rosie, and Bluebell

Tulip LaPoodle was living with the fairies for a bit, but as of last weekend, she now has her own place! I built her a little room box out of foam core and popsicle sticks.

Tulip LaPoodle’s Room Box – first floor

Because there isn’t any room left in my study, I’ve been building little room boxes that I don’t intend to keep if we ever move or something. Tulip LaPoodle’s house is the first of these.

Sink and a pumpkin bundt cake

I especially love the roof I added to it.

Second floor of Tulip LaPoodle’s house

That’s all for Tulip’s house!

Thank you for reading!

Baby Ghost

Hi there!

I hope you guys are doing well and feeling loved!

In Mushroom Meadow, a very special citizen resides. His name is Baby Ghost.

Baby Ghost

Baby Ghost was accidentally summoned in July of 2020 by the Panda twins when they were playing with the Ouija board unsupervised.

The Summoning of Baby Ghost

Of course, the Panda twins were absolutely terrified at first. But thankfully, Baby Ghost is a friendly ghost. Mrs. Panda was also annoyed initially because the twins know better than to play with the Ouija Board without her or their dad present. She was also very grateful that they summoned a friendly ghost and not something dangerous. After the shock wore off, Mrs. Panda decided to adopt Baby Ghost as one of her own, and she gave him the graveyard room to sleep in.

Baby Ghost in his bedroom

The Panda House is a spooky house, so I’ll share more pictures of the other rooms in it in a future post. I made the bed in Baby Ghost’s room, but the rest of the furniture and decorations are from other shops and places.

During the month of October, Mrs. Panda allows Baby Ghost to haunt all of Mushroom Meadow. He can go anywhere he likes. However, during the other months of the year, Baby Ghost must stay home. Although, Mrs. Panda does let him go out sometimes. He got to attend the Mini Masquerade Ball last July, and sometimes he visits Cordelia. Baby Ghost and Cordelia are best friends. Cordelia is the only baby mermaid in Mushroom Meadow, and Baby Ghost is the only baby ghost, so they’re both different, and they bonded over that. The Otters love having Baby Ghost over too because Baby Ghost helps keep Cordelia company while the Otters eat their brownies. Cordelia hates brownies. She only likes sushi and seaweed.

Baby Ghost visiting the Chiffons last October

Baby Ghost loves being spooky and surprising the citizens of Mushroom Meadow in their homes, but he also loves when they’re not scared at all because then they usually let him stay and play. Last year, Kiki Chiffon and Lily Bunny weren’t scared of him at all, and they invited him to have tea and bagels with them. He was very pleased. Everyone in Mushroom Meadow loves Baby Ghost very much, and they try to be prepared for Baby Ghost’s October visits.

Baby Ghost at the Lavender House

This year, the Deer family invited Baby Ghost to have freshly baked Halloween cookies with them.

Baby Ghost and one of the panda twins

The Pandas have their house decorated for Halloween, so I’ll have to post more pictures of their house in a later post. Baby Ghost has many more places to go this October. He’s only been to the Lavender House so far. He hasn’t even met the fairies or gone to the café yet! I hope you enjoyed meeting Baby Ghost!

Thank you for reading!

October!

Hi there!

I took last week off from posting because it was my orientation week at the place I’ll be completing my practicum for my master’s in counseling. I learned so much, and I even got to shadow a couple days! All the information was a little overwhelming, but I’m ready to start working with clients!

I also got to do my first play therapy sessions last week, and those were amazing. I definitely made a couple mistakes here and there during them, but I think, overall, my sessions went well. What amazed me the most was how quickly they went by. I only have to have 30-minute sessions for my class, and I expected them to feel really slow, but before I knew it, I was giving the 5-minute warning. Kids really do just play, and it’s so rewarding to let them lead the relationship.

Anyway, onto miniatures! It’s October, which means Mushroom Meadow had to be decorated for autumn and Halloween! First, Mother Deer welcomed autumn in an outfit made of leaves.

Mother Deer at the Pumpkin Patch

Her husband, Father Deer, was a little shocked at her attire, but after 15 years of marriage, he’s learned to just go with Mother Deer’s unique fashion ideas. All the pumpkins in the picture above were made by me using polymer clay. I love making pumpkins. They’re so easy! I’ll have to post a tutorial sometime. Mother Deer also went to Mushroom Café to show off her new leaf outfit.

Mother Deer at the Café

Next, the Red Pandas threw an autumn-themed tea party! The Red Pandas love their tea parties. Well, all the citizens of Mushroom Meadow love their tea parties.

I made all the food and the teapot and cups in the above picture as well. I’m in love with the cake I made. It turned out so pretty!

At the Fairytale House, Queen Maple just finished decorating the exterior.

Queen Maple in front of the Fairytale House

Some of Queen Maple’s pumpkins are from CatzillasMinis on Etsy, and the rest were made by me. Queen Maple still has to decorate the inside of her house, but she’s been so busy lately! It’s a lot of work to be a queen. Maybe King Maple will have to do the decorating this year.

I’ll share more of Mushroom Meadow’s Halloween and autumn decorations in the next few posts. There’s so much to cover! Mushroom Meadow just adores this time of year, so a lot is going on!

Thank you for reading!

The Strawberry Cottage

Six years ago, my friend took her own life. She was 18. She’d struggled with depression and suicide attempts since she was 9. Just a child. I built the Strawberry Cottage (pictures below) for her.

It’s still missing some important pieces, but it has some of the things she loved in it. I need to put shingles on the roof still too. I just hate doing shingles. But I promise to do it eventually!

We always said we’d be neighbors someday, so the Strawberry Cottage is next to the Lavender House, which is my house. Lavender is my favorite color, and I was often told that I looked like a “deer in headlights” as a kid, so the Deer family lives in my house. I wanted to accept the child I was in order to move forward and become the adult I am now.

The Strawberry Cottage and the Lavender House at Christmas

Red pandas were our favorite animal, and after reading The Golden Compass series by Phillip Pullman, we agreed that our daemons would be red pandas. Thus, the red panda Calico Critter family is who lives in the Strawberry Cottage. I love the dresses that the mom and daughter wear.

The Red Panda family

The daughter’s bedroom is filled with the things my friend loved. Her favorite movies, albums, and books are on the bookshelf. The room and home are strawberry-themed because we loved strawberries. We also loved regular, grocery store mushrooms (not the hallucinogenic kind!!), hence, Mushroom Meadow. I miss going to Target with her and buying a thing of mushrooms to eat. I also miss her singing Lady Marmalade and Zydrate Anatomy. I miss everything about her.

Red panda daughter’s room

I miss her, and I wish she were here to see her house. I wish she could meet my dogs and my husband. I know she would love them. The dining room is pictured below. Sometimes I leave a cheesecake on the buffet because that was one of our favorite desserts.

The dining room

We were avid readers, so the living room has lots of books. It needs more furniture, but I haven’t decided what else to add.

The living room

The Red Pandas throw a lot of tea parties because we wanted to have a tea party together at a fancy restaurant someday.

Pumpkin spice tea party

We were both competitive ice skaters as kids, so Ivy Red Panda and Emma Deer go ice skating at Cate’s Ice Rink often as well.

Ice skating friends

Suicide prevention is not just checking on your friends. It’s access to healthcare and mental healthcare, making a livable wage, resources for victims of domestic violence, decriminalization of addiction, housing the homeless, education about mental health, LGBTQ+ acceptance, support for veterans, and believing and allowing people to share their struggles without judgment. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It’s the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34. Men over the age of 65 have the highest risk of suicide.

I miss my friend every single day.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Needle-Felting

Hi there!

I hope you’re doing well today!

Needle-felting is a new craft I picked up a few months ago. I wear leather gloves on my thumb and my pointer finger, and I use a foam mat underneath the felting. I still manage to stab myself quite frequently, so be careful if you give this hobby a try. I have a mix of synthetic and real wool. I personally prefer synthetic wool because I don’t like having to clean the real wool before I can use it. It also seems to come in more colors? I’m not sure. I haven’t fully figured out how to buy wool and stuff yet.

I haven’t made much, but I have so many ideas. My first creation was this really ugly bear (pictured below) that my husband said was “horrid.” That bear is the first thing I ever needle-felted though, so he’s special to me.

The horrid bear

I kept practicing though, and I bought a needle-felting kit online to try something while following directions. It turned out so cute:

Mushroom Shiba

I love him. I love mushrooms. I was so happy after I made this because it really gave me the confidence to keep working at needle-felting. I made this rainbow hedgehog/mouse guy next to celebrate Pride Month last June:

I love his little ears. Most recently, I’ve been wanting to make more miniature things for my dollhouses using needle-felting. I’ve seen micro-needle-felting online, and I’m not entirely sure how to do it yet, but I really want to learn because I love making tiny things! A couple of the miniatures I’ve needle-felted are pictured below:

A needle-felted dog and teddy bear with some Calico Critters

Thank you for reading!

Listening Skills

Since starting the master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, I’ve learned so much about how to listen and connect with others in a way that makes them feel heard.

One skill that I’ve found to be useful is mirroring the person I’m interacting with. I try to match their energy, and I match the amount of eye contact they’re giving. Everyone seems to have a different level of eye contact that they’re comfortable with. I personally do not like a lot of eye contact, but if I’m speaking to someone who does, then I adapt to suit their preferences.

As for energy, I think a lot of us know how it feels to be super excited about something and to tell someone important to us about it, only for them to be not really listening or worse, to think whatever we’re excited about is stupid. So, I do my best to match the other person’s energy in a conversation. I am genuinely excited when someone comes to me with something they’re passionate about. It means I’m important enough to them that they want me to know about it. It’s kind of an honor. I also try to ask questions about whatever it is. In my experience, even if the question ends up being dumb, they’re usually just really excited to have an opportunity to talk more about it.

Another skill that has been helpful for me even in regular conversation has been reflecting. Reflecting is when you think about what the person has said and identify the feelings or meanings contained in their words and body language. This can help the other person feel validated. Reflecting can look something like this:

Person 1: My friends didn’t sit with me at lunch today. They sat outside and played hopscotch after without me.

Person 2 (reflection): It sounds like you felt left out and sad when your friends did their own thing at lunch today.

It’s usually okay to mess up the reflection too because it gives the other person a chance to correct you and tell you more about what’s going on with them.

A big area that I’ve been working on since I started school is how quiet my voice is naturally. People have told me my whole life that I’m soft-spoken, and they can’t hear me, but I never really knew how to fix it. I’ve really had to practice at speaking up, and sometimes, it really feels like I’m yelling, but when I play my audio back, I’m definitely not. It’s been interesting for me.

I’m also working on challenging and confrontation skills. These can be really important for making progress with clients, and they scare me a little because I’m not used to using them. They seem less scary to me now that I’ve learned more about them. A “challenge” can be like when a person is saying that they aren’t angry, but their hands are balled into tight fists, and their teeth are clenched, and you challenge them by pointing out their fists and teeth.

That’s all I have to say about listening skills for now. I hope you have a great day!

Igloo Dollhouse

Hi all!

Welcome back!

Last year, I bought the Polar Bear Calico Critter family. I had an idea to build them an igloo house, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I’ve only built one other dollhouse from scratch–the Otter Shack–and I love that house, but it’s not anything like an igloo.

I ended up cutting foam board into strips to make it rounded. I also decided to have the house be two stories tall. Floor-to-ceiling height is 6 inches for each floor, so I guess about 1:24th scale.

Igloo in progress

You can kind of see in the picture above how I place the strips. I used tiny nails and glue to hold them in place. I really wanted a rounded dome roof, like an igloo would have, but I couldn’t make it work. I tried foil shaped around wire, and I considered just using a lot of air dry clay, but both were too heavy, so my igloo house has a flat top. If anyone has any tips, I will probably make a new igloo someday, and I would love to learn how to make a domed roof.

Igloo

I used my sculpting tools to add lines to give the appearance of bricks. I textured a little bit with a toothbrush and also using my fingers (I wore gloves to avoid fingerprints). I painted it all white, and then I went back over the lines with pale blue paint to make it look icy. I also used white glitter to make the igloo shiny like snow.

Close-up of the igloo after painting and air dry clay

I ended up with some annoying bubbles in the airdry clay, but it was my first time ever working with it, and I learned a lot. For example, when I spread it too thin, it cracks!

For the interior of the house, I actually took months to decide what to do. Initially, I had been planning on wood paneling the walls to give it kind of a rustic theme, but every time I tried, it just looked wrong. I talked to some of my friends on Instagram to get ideas, and basically we decided that it would look best if I lined the inside with white felt to make the inside look as snowy as the outside.

Igloo house interior

I took so long to finish the inside that the Polar Bears had another baby!

The bottom floor only has that pink sofa that doesn’t really fit. It’s too big. I can’t decide what else to put down there. My husband thinks it needs a kitchen of some kind, so maybe I’ll add some kitchen pieces. In the upstairs, I made the bed and the tiny dresser myself, but the crib is from Smallsminnimall on Etsy. I love their shop! Everything in it is just so pretty. The little fireplace is from Michaels. The bookcase is from a miniature library kit.

I hope you like this house! If you have any tips on domed roofs for miniatures, please share!