Sunday, 15 December 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....

Just enough time to squeeze in two posts before Christmas I think - so back to the breadbins.... 

I dithered for a while about posting the Santa story this week and then decided it was just too soon to bring him down the chimney.

So, since snow is likely to be around in the Czech Republic at the moment, at least in the mountains, if not in Bavorov itself, I decided to go with the snow scene first.

But before frost and snow descend on us, and overwhelm all the fungi on the forest floor, let's take a closer look at the fishing basket which houses Peter the Mycological Rabbit.

(I've just realised that none of the last three containers we will be looking at in detail are actually breadbins.  Never mind, at least they are not traditional dolls houses...)

Peter has been around a very long time.   As someone with a passion for fungi-collecting and another passion for all things miniature it was very natural that I should at some point combine the two.   This basket was very easy to put together - I found both the small rabbit and the basket in Ikea.

The various mushrooms have come my way either from friends who made them in clay or they are New Year's decorations from Germany or Austria.   Some are even real!   Those are the ones on the tree trunks lying on the forest floor. 

The fearsome spirit in the tree trunk at the back came from Denmark more years ago than I care to remember and both wooden gnomes were acquired in Germany, also many years ago.

Railway modellers amongst you will recognise the moss strewn across the basket and once all that was in place, all that remained was to make sure that Peter was fully equipped to go out and show off his foraging skills.

When I first started to learn about fungi - something that is fairly uncommon in England, unlike in the Czech Republic, where the greeting when you visit someone in the country is not "What's the weather been like?" but rather "Are there mushrooms?" - the leader on the first course I attended told us we should go into the woods and fields armed with several essential items.

First and foremost a basket - fungi do not do well in plastic bags.   Then a decent knife so that you can raise the mushroom from below the soil.  A toothbrush, or other small brush to clean off the worst of the woodland debris before taking them home, and a good small guide.   Last of all, a handbag sized pocket mirror.   We gawped at that.  Why on earth?  "Because", he explained, "you do not always want to pick the mushroom, but you do want to be able to see underneath so that you can identify it by the gill shape and colour..."

Peter has all of these, plus a nifty little camera for on the spot photos.  

The rather large knife jammed into the top of his trousers is a tribute to another course tutor who insisted on leaping across large logs and fallen tree trunks brandishing what could only be described as a scimitar.   When at rest, he also thrust it into his trousers.....

And so to the snow scene.   

This too was very simple to make.   You take a photo frame and remove the back for the moment. Cut a wide strip of card, the length to fit the perimeter of the inside of the frame, and the width to the depth that you would like your scene. Glue it into the frame and then glue what was the back of the frame onto the back of the card.

Oops, hang on a moment, it's better to decorate both the card and the backdrop first, before gluing it all together.   But it really is that simple and most of us have redundant photo frames lying around at home.

I'm afraid I haven't any photos from complete scratch because I already had a frame which had housed another scene so I did do what it is easier not to, which is paste  the new backdrops into an already constructed box.

The sky round the sides  is real life-sized wallpaper and the church at the back, as every Czech person reading this will know, is from one of the wonderful annual calendars featuring the work of Josef Lada.  I have been collecting them for many years and have some plans in mind for using a few more images in the future....

Once the frame has been glued together then you have to build a little platform to carry the scene.   Very easy if it is going to be a snowscene because clearly that's exactly what polystyrene ceiling tiles were made for.   And I was quite impressed with the effect of grey paint on a rather more pobbly one.   Just like a drystone wall....

A bit of white painted moss down the sides to hide the inevitable gaps and time for the snowman and snow balls to make an appearance.   More polystyrene for the balls..... 

and a cake decoration snowman plus a few cake decoration trees.... 

Then out come the children to play - they too have been in my collection a very long time - and another scene can take its place in the display window.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into how easy it can be to create a miniature scene and that you will join me next weekend for the last blog post before 2014 arrives.

In the meantime I hope you have a peaceful run up to Christmas, enjoying the preparations, listening to lots of Christmas music and singing along as well.   Thank you for continuing to follow my journey in Small Worlds.


  1. Love the dry-stone-walling... and the Lada makes a brilliant backdrop. But, dash it all, now I need to watch Die Hard AGAIN!

    1. I'll watch with you with great pleasure.....

  2. Thank you for the joy your pieces always bring and also for the information about collecting mushrooms. I see lots of them when we are out walking and always say I will learn more about which ones are edible but I never actually do it :(

    So much fun in the snow scene and the wall at the front is just amazing.

    Love Chrissie x

    1. Thank you :-) The key thing with collecting for eating is to learn three or four really safe ones that you can unfailingly identify. Fungi are masters of disguise! The very best way to learn is to go on a led foray - you will find them locally all over the country. Usually ramblers' organisations do them in the autumn. Your local library will have details....

  3. oh how lovely! Peter is simply splendid. What fun a Freudian would have had with the scimitar-wielding mushroom hunter. I urge to you to obtain one for your own use - I'm sure A and J would be delighted with it on your cemetery expeditions.

    The snow scene is gorgeous - how clever to use the picture. And the music is the perfect accompaniment.

    Happy sigh

    A x

    1. I have a neat little mushroom knife that folds easily away on itself. No scimitars for me! The crowds of us around him watched his antics with our hearts in our mouths.....

      There will be more Lada scenes, I promise.

  4. Most satisfactory! I like Peter [M] Rabbit a lot. BTW, I went back to the Winchester Christmas market last Tuesday, and treated myself to one of the Josephine Chisholm postcard calendars. So should you want another set of the small pictures, I can pop the sheet in the post to you ...

    1. Ooh yes please, I'd love some more. Do you have my UK address or shall I email it to you?

  5. Another wonderful post. I need to share your blog with my young grandaughter. She is only 7 but very arty. She loves to make things and loves nature so this one will delight her.
    I think the picture frames and paper bags will be fair game, once I show her your bog.