Local Greengrocer Expanding Business

Local greengrocer Gail Goat is pleased to announce the expansion of her business.

“I’ve doubled my retail retail space and now offer several more fruits and vegetables for sale. It is a huge step forward for my business, and I couldn’t be more excited,” she explained.

greengrocer expansion

She now offers an expanded variety of fresh fruits and vegetables – on the day we visited she had watermelon, oranges, strawberries, and raspberries; as well as tomatoes, green beans, squash, and mushrooms on her new display.

Her young daughter, Gabby was quite enthusiastic over he mother’s new offerings, scampering up and popping a strawberry into her mouth.

greengrocer expansion story

“Yum, Yum!” was Gabby’s review.

Local baker Mortimer Mouse is embracing the new, larger greengrocer’s: “I love to use fresh ingredients in my baking. And I never know when inspiration will strike. So having Mrs. Goat’s right down the street is perfect for me. I need some oranges today – doesn’t orange buttermilk pound cake sound delectable?”

greengrocer expansion story 2

The greengrocery is open from 9-5 every day and Mrs. Goat will be happy to fill a bag with the freshest foods just for you.


This is a project that I have had finished since the summer, but haven’t had a chance to share. I originally posted about the greengrocery a long time ago. Here is that post. After my first greengrocery post, I made a second display stand in order to write the tutorial on how to build it. Since that time it’s been floating around in my craft room waiting to be filled. 

I started by making some wooden crates. The tutorial I used originally seems to be gone, so maybe I should do one soon. Then came the part that is both very tedious and very fun to me: filling the crates. 

greengrocer expansion 3

greengrocer expansion produce

Most of the tutorials for the fruits and veggies have disappeared – so frustrating!

All but the raspberries were made with polymer clay. The raspberries are made out of thread, glue, and glass microbeads. 

One technique that I learned during this project was varnishing my baked polymer clay. I researched a lot online, trying to find a varnish that wasn’t too expensive and that came in a not-too-large container. There are so many disagreements online about the best varnish to use, it was really overwhelming to sort through all the different opinions. But I settled on using “Pledge brand Floor Care Finish“. I cannot attest to how this product will hold up over time, but it looks nice now. I really love the dimension and realism it gives to those items that would be shiny in real life. The squash and tomatoes were given a quick single coat of the varnish, as was the flesh of the cut watermelon. I also went back to my previous greengrocer display and added varnish to the pumpkins and the eggplant. The eggplant, especially looks so much better with some shine (as long as you can ignore the fingerprints – and I can.


Do you think I should add tutorials for any of the things on this post? It’s so frustrating for so many online tutorials to disappear – would doing my own be helpful? I’m definitely not an expert at all. But I hate showing what I’ve made without at least offering some help on how to make something. 


Greengrocer Display Tutorial

Here are directions on how to build Mrs. Goat’s greengrocery display. I’m admittedly not the best at doing tutorials, so please let me know if any part of this needs more clarification! This display is made for these crates from Other items may fit on this display as well, but it was designed with those particular crates in mind.


  • Bass or balsa wood sheets, 1/16″ thick (mine was 4″ wide by 24″ long, so I only needed part of one sheet)
  • Balsa wood sticks, 3/16″ x 3/8″ (I needed two 36″ long sticks)
  • Balsa wood stick, 1/8″ square
  • Self-healing cutting mat or other cutting surface
  • Xacto knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Glue appropriate for wood. I use Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue (a PVA glue)
  • Toothpicks
  • Paint of your choice. I use multi-surface acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush


  1. Using an Xacto knife and metal ruler, begin by cutting the wooden sheets into the two flat parts of the display. Each flat should be 4-1/4″ by 1-3/4″. Since my sheet was only 4″ wide, I first cut the 4-1/4″ length, then subdivided it into the two 1-3/4″ widths (plus a little bit left-over.)tuto1tuto2tuto3tuto4
  2. Cut the 3/16″ x 3/8″ wood into eight lengths, each 4-1/4″ long. If lucky, you can get all eight lengths out of one stick. However, balsa wood is prone to splitting and/or breakage, so having more on-hand than you think you will need is a good practice.
  3. Cut two lengths of the 1/8″ square wood, each 4-1/4″ long.
  4. You should now have:
    • 2 wood sheeting flats, each 4-1/4″ x 1-3/4″
    • 8 pieces of 3/16″ x 3/8″ wood, each 4-1/4″ long
    • 2 pieces of 1/8″ x 1/8″ wood, each 4-1/4″ longtuto5
  5. You have two options at this point. 1) Paint all pieces with 2 coats of acrylic paint OR 2) continue onto Step 6 for assembly. If you want the painting to be easier, paint now. If you want the construction to be easier, construct now. For the purposes of this tutorial, I pre-painted all of the materials. But if I had to do it again, I would assemble first and paint later. It’s really up to you.
  6. Assemble the stand with the glue, using toothpicks for application. Apply glue all over the 3/16″ width of one of your lengths of wood. Carefully line up and apply along the long length of one of the flats.tuto6tuto7
  7. Apply glue to one of the 1/8″ square lengths. Apply to the front edge of the flat.tuto8
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with other flat.
  9. Apply two of the 3/16″ x 3/8″ strips to the bottom side of each flat.tuto9
  10. Choose one of the two units to be the back tier. Add the two remaining 3/16″ x 3/8″ strips to the bottom of the previously glued strips, doubling the heighttuto10
  11. Add lots of glue to the back of the bottom tier. Really give it a nice coating, like frosting a cake. Bring the two tiers together and very gently join them together.tuto11
  12. If you did not paint the pieces for the display in step 5, allow the glue to dry and give it two coats of paint.
  13. Allow the glue and paint to dry completely before placing handmade crates or other items on top. In general, be very gentle with your display, as it is quite delicate.


Mrs. Goat’s Greengrocery Display

Local citizen Mrs. Gail Goat is helping to spearhead a campaign to get the youth of Crabapple Crossings to embrace good nutritional habits. As a purveyor of fresh vegetables to the town, she is in a unique position to encourage healthy eating.

“I know that with my children, they sometimes turn up their noses at the veggies on their plates, afraid to try new things. At least with my kids, I have found that offering vegetables for them to taste without pressure, especially in their raw form seems to make the veggies less scary and more an exciting undertaking. So I decided to offer this to all the children of the village. After school, I will offer the children tastes of what vegetables I have available at no cost. I think the children of the town will be excited to get a free snack.”

While I was interviewing Mrs. Goat, several village children stopped by. Mrs. Goat offered Hugh Holstein some broccoli.

grocer story 2

At first Hugh wasn’t sure. “I’m not sure I like broccoli,” he said.

“That’s okay,” said Mrs. Goat. “But if you change your mind, I’ll be happy to give you some.”

“What do you think, should I try it?” Hugh asked his companion, Martin Mouse.

“I love broccoli!” Martin said. “I think you should at least taste it.”

grocer story 3

“Okay,” Hugh said. “I’ll give it a shot.” He bit into the broccoli. “Ooh, it’s a bit peppery. But it’s pretty good! Thank you, Mrs. Goat.”

“You’re welcome, Hugh” she replied.

grocer story 4

Meanwhile, Wesley Whitetail was peeking into the bin of pumpkins. “I don’t think you’ll like those so much, Wesley,” Mrs. Goat told the tot. “They need to be cooked to taste yummy. Why don’t you try this carrot instead? It’s orange like the pumpkins.”

grocer story 5

Wesley happily accepted the carrot and crunched happily on it. “Normally Wesley doesn’t like to eat his veggies,” said his older sister Winnie Whitetail. “But I guess he’s enjoying his carrot a lot!” she said as he finished. “I’m sure mama will be so happy to hear that Wesley has gained a new appreciation for a healthy snack!”

Mrs. Goat is already quite pleased with the success of her program. “If it gets just one child to discover a new favorite vegetable, I’ll call it a success. And I think today proved that it can work.”

Mrs. Goat’s greengrocery is open daily from 9 to 5. She offers seasonal vegetables at this time and hopes to offer a variety of fruits in the future.

The theme for the third round of Iron Craft was “G is for…” Our projects had to relate to a skill, material, or subject that begins with the letter “G.” I decided that Mrs. Goat’s Greengrocery would certainly fit this alphabet-based theme.


This project was not as intensive as my last one, but I really should learn not to make so many projects that need to be “filled”!

I began this project by creating the crates based on this tutorial from They came together pretty easily, although I now see that I didn’t actually follow the tutorial particularly well. They turned out pretty nicely despite my apparent inability to follow directions.

I then built the stand. I wanted the crates to be on an angle, so I played around with different thicknesses of balsa wood. I eventually settled on a 3/8″ riser. I also used 1/8″ wood to create a little lip or stop at the fronts of the risers to keep the crates from sliding off. The entire project is made of these two widths of wood and 1/16″ wood sheets. After assembly, I painted it a fresh spring green.

Then I had to fill the crates (why do I keep doing this to myself!?) As it is winter here, I decided to primarily make winter vegetables. I also wanted a variety of colors to make the display more appealing. I use Premo Sculpey, because I have heard that it is one of the more stiff clays. I always have very warm hands, so I chose a clay that could withstand that. I also work on tile that I keep in the refrigerator when I’m not working on it. I realize I am very much in the minority with my hot hands, so it’s worthwhile doing some research to find what will work best for you.

I used a whole bunch of tutorials as a guideline for my veggies. Most of these tutorials are very involved and result in hyper-realistic veggies. I am not that much of a stickler for super-realism – my village inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals; a little cartoonishness is okay with me. (And I’m kind of lazy.) So these links are just guidelines – I definitely did not follow every step!

  1. Carrots (video)
  2. Eggplant/aubergine
  3. Parsnip (pretty much the same as carrots)
  4. Broccoli (video)
  5. Butternut squash (video)
  6. Potatoes (video)
  7. Beets (for general shape)
  8. Pumpkin (video; and see butternut squash video)

Some of the items I made enough to fill the crate; others I didn’t. For those that didn’t look full enough, I added some small bits of crumpled tissue paper on the bottom of the crates to give them a fuller look. I then made mini signs with some scrap paper and used a 01/.25 mm micron pen to write the signs. I used Scotch tape to stick them on. It’s really not sticking well, so I will need to find some other solution.

Greengrocer stand

This project was really fun. I truly enjoyed creating all the veggies and working with polymer clay. I’ve only done maybe one or two other projects with the clay, so this has been a great learning experience. Figuring out how to mix the clays I had to get the right colors was really interesting. I always had a reference image available for color matching and shaping. Are my items amazing? No, but they are effective-enough for my taste. And I can see why people are enthusiastic about polymer clay; it really is fun!