I am Learning Crochet!

Hi there!

I hope you’re all doing well!

Monday comes way too early now that I work at my practicum site on Saturdays. I love having the opportunity to help out though. I worry about the teens being bored on the weekends without school or access to their friends or cell phones.

Besides work, I learned to crochet! I’m so proud of myself! At first, I tried it, and I honestly thought it was too hard for me. I just couldn’t seem to make my hands do what I needed them to do. But I gave it a couple of days, and when I tried again, I was able to make it work! The first thing I crocheted was Harry Potter from a kit my sister gifted me at Christmas.

He’s decent enough for a first try. I’m not sure how, but I ran out of the yarn for his pants, so I had to switch colors. I guess the kit didn’t have enough? Or maybe I messed up somewhere else. Who knows. His feet are terrible too. One of them is backwards. I was going to throw him away, but my husband insisted on keeping him for himself. Michael has named him “Scary Potter.”

“Scary Potter”

Since making Scary Potter, I’ve also learned to make clothing for my Calico Critters! First, I made a new outfit for Tulip LaPoodle:

Tulip LaPoodle in her new outfit

I also made this tiny crochet coffee mug for the babies to sit in:

Coffee mug

I really like the mug pattern. I see myself using it a lot in the future. I might not always add a face, but I can imagine some cute Christmas decorations and maybe a silly chair in a play room for the Calico Critters using this pattern.

I made this cute yellow dress for Cecelia Reindeer:

Her giant popsicle is from TinySugar on Etsy. I love buying from that shop. She has great molds, and her foods are cute and reasonably priced.

My favorite creation so far has been the tiny mushroom shirt I made for Ivy Red Panda:

Mushroom Shirt on Ivy

Oh, and this past weekend, I made some fruit dresses for the babies!

Fruit dresses

I love these fruit dresses so much. I didn’t find a free pattern for baby Calico Critters, so I had to make one up, and they both turned out really cute! I’m so happy with them!

I think I will write down the patterns I made up and post them for y’all since the internet seems to need free dress patterns for the babies!

Thank you for reading!

Mushroom Café and the Chiffon Apartment

Hi there!

Happy Friday!

I’m closing out my second week of officially being a practicum counseling student. I’ve picked up an extra day at my practicum site to ensure that I meet my required hours. I also now conduct psychosocial assessments there. Not much else has changed though. I was exhausted last weekend, but I think getting my booster was a big part of that.

Anyway, on to the post! The apartment above Mushroom Café is where the Chiffon family lives. I found the dollhouse on Facebook Marketplace, and I love it so much. It’s gorgeous, and it was in wonderful shape. Here is the front:

Mushroom Café and Chiffon Apartment

I love cafés. Before I had to give up caffeine, my favorite weekend activity was finding a new café for Michael and I to try. So, of course, Mushroom Meadow has a café. Mushroom Café is owned by the Chiffons, and for the most part, they handle all their business on their own. It can get pretty crowded though, so sometimes Mr. Alpaca or Mr. Polar Bear will help out behind the counter.

Here’s the inside of Mushroom Café from Christmas 2020:

Mushroom Café Christmas 2020

Recently, I added a bookcase for all my miniature mugs.

Mug Collection

Here are some more details of the cafe:

Better pictures of the counter:

The upstairs apartment has two rooms. On one side, the Chiffon parents live, and the children live on the other. I wanted their apartment to look cozy.

Mrs. Chiffon next to the parents’ bed

She has a soft throw currently, but now that I can crochet, I’d like to crochet a throw for their bed.

The kitchen area

More pictures of the parents’ side of the apartment:

The children’s room is Kiki’s Delivery Service-themed. I love Studio Ghibli movies. They’re so gorgeous.

I tried to include as many little Kiki details as I could. I’d like to make a Kiki dress for the Chiffon Daughter now.

Thank you for reading!

Update!

Hi there!

I’m so sorry for the random hiatus. School, life, and well, everything kind of got away from me for some time there.

I found out I needed surgery, and I wanted to have all my school assignments complete beforehand, so I wouldn’t have to worry about anything but recovering after. I turned in all my schoolwork early, and I had surgery on December 3rd. I’m feeling great now. I’m also a little amazed at myself for getting everything turned in early like that and still maintaining my 4.0. It was a lot of work. Anyway, it wasn’t a major surgery, and the recovery was really easy. I’m weirdly exhausted the past few days, but I’m hoping that’s just because Christmas was a lot.

I’m still leading group therapy with adolescent girls, but for now, my play therapy sessions are over. My practicum starts January 10, and I really can’t wait. I want more practice and experience. I’m excited! I’m also really hopeful that I will get to do more play therapy.

I’ve been glad to have a break from school, but with Christmas and post-op appointments, I’ve still been so busy. We just had new Internet installed yesterday too, so the room where Mushroom Meadow is located is a huge mess, and most of the furniture is too heavy for me to move myself. I’ll have to wait for Michael to get home.

My last post was two months ago and about Halloween, so I’ll start updating everyone on Mushroom Meadow from that point.

Thank you for reading!

Mushroom Meadow’s Halloween Fun!

Hi there!

Happy Friday! I hope you’re doing well and feeling ready for the weekend.

Halloween is this Sunday, and I’m so excited!

Mushroom Meadow has a table entirely dedicated to their Halloween party.

Halloween Party

I gathered almost all of the pumpkins I’ve made, along with the ones from CatzillasMinis on Etsy, and I put them all around the giant pumpkin.

Those little balloons on the pumpkin cart are from a dear friend, and two of the three brooms are from CatzillasMinis. The big table in the middle was made by me, and the bridge, hay bales, baskets, white chairs and table, unicorn, black tree, and autumn leaves are all from Michaels craft store.

Little Witch

I made the witch’s hat and tutu in the picture above.

Plates from Elizabitzies

The amazing and adorable Halloween plates are from Elizabitzies on Etsy.

I love decorating tables. I don’t know why. I just find it so fun. The Jack Skellington cake and cauldrons are polymer clay, and I made them. I also made the pumpkins and the green candles.

Candy shop

I really should have made more face pumpkins this year.

Pumpkin with Lights

I put lights in my pumpkin too!

Yay spooky season!

Have a happy Halloween everyone!

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!

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.

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!

Welcome to Cate’s Mushroom Meadow!

Hi there!

My name is Cate, and I am also known as @mushroom_miniatures on Instagram. I am a graduate student in a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. I have two precious dogs named Isaac and Miria. They are both girls! They’re named after the characters from the anime Baccano. They’re both rescues, and I hope to rescue many more animals once we own a home and have more space. My husband, Michael, and I met in 2012, and we have been married a little over two years. He’s my bestest buddy, and I love him so much! He’s very supportive of my hobbies, and he even built the shelves that Mushroom Meadow is on.

Mushroom Meadow is the name of my dollhouse village. I built my first dollhouse when I was 11, and I fell absolutely in love with the hobby. My village is populated by Calico Critters/Sylvanian Families. To clear up any confusion, here in the United States, these toys are called Calico Critters, but everywhere else, they’re called Sylvanian Families. I’m a little obsessed with these cute toys–I have amassed quite a few at this point. They’re just so cute! I especially love the Red Panda family pictured below. Red pandas are one of my favorite animals!

The Red Panda Calico Critter Family

Initially, when I began building dollhouses and making miniatures again in 2017, I didn’t plan to have figures in my houses. However, Michael found a Calico Critter Bear at Walmart, and he thought it was the cutest and most well-made toy he’d ever seen. The dollhouse I had recently completed at the time had a bakery on the first floor, and this bear Calico Critter came with a set of donuts and accessories. Michael insisted that it needed to live in this dollhouse and be a baker because it was perfect. I had never had any Calico Critters growing up, but my little sister and the kid I babysat both had multiple families and furniture sets, so I’d seen them before. At first, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted Calico Critters in my village. I didn’t want to be one of those adults that still played with toys–I didn’t know how important play was to all stages of life back then! I adore Calico Critters now. They really are such detailed little toys. I love how, in the furniture sets, the sinks will have pipes and pretty little designs on the cabinets. I can’t imagine Mushroom Meadow without my Calico Critters. They’ve given me a space to come up with fun stories to share with my Instagram friends and to express myself. Speaking of Instagram, I really love the miniatures/dollhouse/Calico Critter accounts on Instagram. Last year, an Instagram follower created an event where everyone in the dollhouse community posted a picture of their dollhouse(s) all lit up for Christmas. It was so much fun to see everyone’s posts and get to know accounts I hadn’t interacted with before. Everyone is just so kind and accepting. I love it!

Mushroom Meadow at Christmas

In general, I love arts and crafts, and in addition to miniature-making, I also embroider, work with clay, and needle-felt. On this blog, I will be sharing my miniatures and anything else I make. I will also provide tips and techniques that I’ve learned that may be helpful to others. With embroidery, especially, I am constantly having new ideas or seeing new stitches to try on YouTube or Instagram. Right now, I am feeling very inspired by the song The Willow Maid by Erutan, so I am wanting to embroider a fairy soon, like in the song. As for clay, because it’s September, I am working on Halloween-themed food and decorations for my dollhouses. Somehow, I still have not made any actual miniature Halloween candy, so that is one of my goals for this year. Also, I love looking back at some of the things I made when I first got started. I will probably share comparisons of old creations vs. new creations because I think it’s helpful for others to see the journey. I don’t know if this is true for everyone, but for me, personally, it helps to know that everyone starts somewhere, and no one is perfect the first time they try something.

Embroidery of a Ghost Lady in a Lake

I will also use this blog to share some of the happenings of Mushroom Meadow. It’s a very busy place! Recently, a new family, the Maple Cats, moved in, and to make matters more complicated, they’re royalty! The Maple Cats live in a house I’ve named “The Fairytale House.” I included a picture below, but I will show more pictures and provide more information on this house in a future post. Every one of my dollhouses has a theme and a story. They’re all reflections of my personality and the things I love. And of course, autumn is here, which means Halloween is coming up! Everyone in Mushroom Meadow is unearthing their Halloween decorations and figuring out their costumes. Holidays are a very big deal in Mushroom Meadow. Every house gets decorated, and it’s a lot of fun.

The Fairytale House

Finally, because I am in my second year of my counseling program, my life is changing pretty considerably. I start working with real clients in the Spring. I am nervous and excited and happy and just feeling lots of mostly good feelings. I want to use this blog to share my journey and some of the things that I am learning along the way. All my classes so far have felt so valuable, and I have learned so much about people and how to connect with them. I have also learned a lot about how I can improve myself and my own functioning. It’s been a lot to process, but I love talking about school, and I hope you guys will be cool with hearing about it.

I don’t sell anything I make, but I would be happy to direct you to my very talented miniaturist friends if there is something you like or are interested in!

Anyway, I hope you’ll stick around for more. I can’t wait to hear your tips and feedback about my miniatures, art, and even my experiences in school!