I’m Cate, and I’m in school to become a therapist. I love dogs, miniatures, Sylvanian Families, and my husband. I live in Texas (sigh). I hope to move somewhere a little colder after I finish my master’s degree.
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.
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.
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.
In Mushroom Meadow, a very special citizen resides. His name is Baby Ghost.
Baby Ghost was accidentally summoned in July of 2020 by the Panda twins when they were playing with the Ouija board unsupervised.
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.
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 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.
This year, the Deer family invited Baby Ghost to have freshly baked Halloween cookies with them.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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 Red Pandas throw a lot of tea parties because we wanted to have a tea party together at a fancy restaurant someday.
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.
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 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.
I kept practicing though, and I bought a needle-felting kit online to try something while following directions. It turned out so cute:
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
For my embroidery, I use mainly DMC 6-strand embroidery thread. They have glitter thread that I love as well! It’s so pretty and almost fluffy looking. For the past year, I have been working on an embroidery gift for my sister. It was supposed to be for her 21st birthday, but school and tutoring and volunteering had me very busy, so now she will be getting it for Christmas (hopefully). It’s supposed to be a surprise, so I won’t be sharing pictures of it until it’s been given to her. It’s very detailed, so it’s been a lot of work. I hope she likes it!
Before embroidery, I first got into cross stitch because one of the miniature accounts I follow makes the cutest cross stitch pillows for their dollhouses, and I wanted to give it a try. Cross stitch is really soothing, and I love mapping out what I’ve going to make on a grid. I mostly use Stitch Fiddle for mapping. The free version has everything I need.
I love League of Legends, so my first big cross stitch was of Lulu, and I did another of Orianna after that. I also stitch things randomly when I am bored. It helps keep me off my phone. I work really hard to minimize the time I spend doom-scrolling on my phone. I play a lot of Quinn now, so I’ll have to do a cross stitch or an embroidery of her soon to add to my collection of League of Legends-inspired creations.
From cross stitch, I found a bunch of embroidery accounts on Instagram, and I knew I needed to try it. It’s so colorful, and I love sewing.
My favorite piece of embroidery that I’ve made so far is the piece below. I made it as a birthday gift to myself last year. I used the DMC glitter thread for the dress, and I really like how it looks. The grapes/flowers are French knots, and the roses are woven wheel stitches. I also used a lot of satin stitches. I really need to buy a frame for it so that I can hang it up somewhere.
In early 2020, I made my sister a Taylor Swift embroidery because we think she’s great, and my sister was really excited about the release of Lover. We both grew up with Taylor Swift, so her music is a special part of our relationship. I’d love to see her in concert someday, but with the ongoing pandemic, I’m starting to feel like that will never happen.
The embroidery piece below was inspired by Seven by Taylor Swift. I relate to that song a lot, and I think the music and lyrics are gorgeous. Their legs kind of blend into the grass, but I think the hair looks nice, especially the curls. It’s been a year since I made this, and they’re still very curly! The water to the side looks terrible, but I’ve decided to process it as a learning experience.
I can’t wait to be done with my sister’s present so that I have more time for other embroidery projects. I made this Winter Wonderland Lulu last year, and I would really like to make some other winter fairies this year. I might also embroider some Little Legends from Teamfight Tactics. I love the penguins, and the fuwas, and the unicorns.
Here’s a Lovestruck Fuwa that I embroidered:
As you can see, I really like League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics. I have even more clay creations to go with all my sewing. I play on the weekends with my husband, and we mostly only play normals. I sort of hate ranked. I am not competitive at all, so I am just not built for it. I would rather have fun and feel safe making mistakes.
I made my Instagram account for miniatures in 2019, and it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. Everyone is so, so nice, and I have made so many friends. Many of us mail each other cards and little gifts regularly, and it’s such a nice way to feel connected to each other. It also forced me to start using the postal system more, which, because I am very much so an adult now, is something I needed.
The support and positivity of the miniature community is wonderful. I love the virtual activities that some accounts have come up with during the pandemic. This past summer, I participated in a virtual princess party and a really fun August event that set a daily theme for our posts. I have a pancake party coming up, and I am still debating whether I will host a Halloween or autumn-themed party. Even if I don’t, I’m sure someone will be hosting a Halloween party that I can participate in.
Everyone’s miniatures have backstories as well. I also love the accounts that are from the point of view of their miniatures and tell stories about the happenings of their miniature cities. I love reading the different stories behind each dollhouse and its inhabitants. Everyone is so creative, and it inspires me to be more creative. I also think it’s really fun when someone takes their miniatures with them on vacation. It’s so cute to see a Calico Critter or a doll visiting the beach or a castle in Europe!
An ongoing story from my Mushroom Meadow is that the Otter family adopted a baby mermaid last year, and they named her Cordelia. She’s the only non-Calico Critter in Mushroom Meadow. You can see her being held by Mrs. Otter in front of their Christmas stockings in the photo below. She’s a sweet little mermaid doll that I purchased from an Etsy shop called Monteserena Arts. I was just scrolling through Etsy one day when I stumbled upon her, and I just had to have her. I love mermaids, and she’s so precious.
Instagram has also been great for finding inspiration and getting tips from people who have been making miniatures for longer than me. Many people share videos of their process and include lists of the materials they used so that others can try it for themselves. I, personally, love when someone feels inspired by something I made. It makes me so happy!
I didn’t even know about working with clay or needle-felting or embroidery art before I made my Instagram account, and now I have trouble imagining my life without those things. I also learned to use air-dry clay from watching a video made by one account who was making a stone wall for their dollhouse. I made the igloo pictured below using the techniques that I saw them using.
It’s just amazing to be a part of such a wonderful and kind community. It’s restored my faith in humanity a little.
I mentioned in my first post that the first Calico Critter of Mushroom Meadow was Mrs. Bear. She was purchased by my husband to live in the first dollhouse I built as an adult. The house pictured below. The first floor is a bakery, and Mrs. Bear is a baker. She bakes all the sweet treats for Mushroom Meadow, and each morning, she delivers some of them, mostly cookies and muffins, to Mushroom Café to be sold before returning to open her bakery for the day. She loves baking, but she also loves babies, and she frequently babysits the babies of Mushroom Meadow to give their parents a break.
Back to Mrs. Bear. Michael also bought me Calico Critter blind bags from Walmart back then, so I ended up with a couple of baby bears who became Mrs. Bear’s children and moved in with her soon after. She was a single mom of two and running a bakery, and it was a lot of work for her. Around this time, I also learned to work with polymer clay and started making more baked goods to fill out her bakery more. It was pretty bare for a while, as I only owned one cake that I had purchased from a craft store.
Mrs. Bear loves holidays, so she is always hosting brunches at her bakery to celebrate each event. For her Christmas brunch last year, she made donuts, cookies, waffles, and red and green macarons.
Eventually, some more figures, Mrs. Collie and her son, were purchased because I wanted their bike and I thought they were a cute pair. There is a Collie dad that I think is part of a beach set, but I don’t really like that set enough to buy it. And regardless, Mrs. Collie is a lesbian.
A year ago, Mrs. Bear and Mrs. Collie married, and Mrs. Collie and her son also moved into the bakery.
Mrs. Bear, of course, made the wedding cake, pictured below, for their wedding, and it was a big hit in Mushroom Meadow!
Mrs. Bear and Mrs. Collie were the first wedding in Mushroom Meadow, but they definitely will not be the last. I really love making cakes, and I hope to build a church soon, so there will be many, many more weddings in Mushroom Meadow!
The marriage of Mrs. Bear and Mrs. Collie was a bit of an adjustment for everyone because now the upstairs apartment of the bakery is not very big, but they love each other very much, and they are all a very happy family!
Mrs. Collie now works in the bakery with Mrs. Bear to help her out. Mrs. Collie is not a very good baker, but she is good at taking orders and making deliveries on her bike. She also helps watch the babies when Mrs. Bear is otherwise occupied. They enjoy reading and going on bike rides together in their free time.