Lucky Otter Sushi

It has been a year and a half since local resident Owen Otter opened his sushi eatery in the former Seaside Restaurant. Although that location was quite successful, Mr. Otter decided that it was time for a change.

“I loved running my own restaurant in Crabapple Crossings, but I found that such a large restaurant space wasn’t the best fit for me. Making sushi is my true passion, but I was  expanding my menu more and more and spending a lot more time cooking other things. I decided it was time to return to sushi as my focus.”

Selling the Seaside Restaurant building allowed for Mr. Otter to downsize his operation. The new restaurant “Lucky Otter Sushi” is much smaller, featuring only a few counter seats and carry-out business. “Our new location is right across from Center Park. On nice days, sushi makes for a wonderful picnic.”

Lucky Otter Sushi 1

We stopped in at noon on a recent weekday and found it to be a local lunchtime hot spot. Although most business was for take-out, we spotted Mayor Carl Cuddle-Bear enjoying his sushi lunch at the counter.

Lucky Otter Sushi 4

“You cannot find fresher sushi anywhere,” said Mayor Cuddle-Bear, tucking into a plate of tuna rolls and nigiri. “I am here for lunch almost every day. The menu changes on a daily basis, as the offerings are dependent on the fresh catches of the day. It’s just wonderful.”

Lucky Otter Sushi 2

“It’s true,” Mr. Otter explained. “Whatever tasty fish my wife, Octavia has available that day becomes the sushi for lunch or dinner.”

Lucky Otter Sushi 3

Unsurprisingly, Octavia Otter was also at the restaurant enjoying a sushi lunch. “I’m so happy that my husband is following his dream. I couldn’t be prouder of all the hard work he puts in every day and I hope that everyone who visits the restaurant can taste the passion that he puts into every piece of sushi he serves.”

Lucky Otter Sushi is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday; 11AM to 10PM Monday through Thursday and 11AM to midnight Friday and Saturday.


The theme for this round of Year of Creative Crafting was “Yum!: All about food! You can make anything relating to kitchens, cooking, restaurants, food, or eating.”

I admit I went a bit over-the-top this and was up late last night trying to finish the sushi restaurant to my satisfaction. I mentioned a while back in my works in progress post that I made quite a few miniature plates of sushi. Well, those mini sushi plates have been sort of floating around my craft room without a more permanent location because I had never been happy with the Seaside Restaurant as a sushi place. It was just too cute as a seaside grill, and the decor really didn’t match what I was wanting to create. So for this challenge I decided to finally make the sushi restaurant I had been envisioning for a year or more.

Lucky Otter Sushi 5

As with all my building projects, the sushi bar started with pieces of foam core board. I have blogged about my process at least a couple times in the past, so I won’t get into that too much here.

My main materials for the build were the foam core, card stock, and balsa wood. 

My big challenge with this build was the shoji screens I wanted to feature as a decorative element. These are made of balsa wood, vellum paper, and a little bit of woodgrain-printed paper. I drew the lines with a thin Sharpie marker. They look like they could open and close, but they are purely decorative, as I could not figure out a sliding track. 

I tried to make the floors look like Japanese tatami mats – they are a slightly textured card stock that I rubber stamped with a burlap design. I then colored two edges with a Sharpie marker. 

The wall art is some thin card stock with a ginkgo leaf print. I really wanted some foiled washi paper or origami paper to use for the wall decor, but I went to every shop I could think of, and didn’t find what I wanted. I wasn’t sure about the ginkgo print, but I think I am growing more fond of it.

Lucky Otter Sushi 7

The base of the bar itself is made of foam core covered with woodgrain print paper. The staggered counter is balsa wood.

The waving cat figure I bought several years ago as a souvenir at the Japan pavilion in Disney’s Epcot Center. I think it is the perfect decor for the sushi restaurant.

From the picture above, you can see a bit of the food preparation area of the restaurant. Starting from the back, I made a little hangiri bowl out of wood grain paper and a touch of silver Sharpie to make the bands. I didn’t get a good picture, but it does have polymer clay rice in it. A small piece of scored green paper made a sushi rolling mat. The cutting board and knife are from a Calico Critters set, I don’t recall which one(s). The pieces of nori seaweed are squares of black crepe paper.

Lucky Otter Sushi 8


In my original sushi case post, I made a quarter-round case with clear plastic sheeting, card stock, and thin foam core. Although I liked the look of the case, I found it a bit too tall and wide for my more petite sushi restaurant. Coming up with a new case turned out to be quite the challenge. I attempted a couple of ideas, but nothing was working quite right, and I was running out of time for the challenge…I didn’t have the time to design and troubleshoot. Well, inspiration unexpectedly struck yesterday afternoon when I spied a plastic insert on my craft table. It was the plastic packaging from the Calico Critters Children’s Bedroom Set that I received as a gift. For some reason I kept the molded plastic insert, thinking I may want some part of it someday for a project, nothing really in my mind. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered a section of it was the perfect height and width for my new sushi cooler! I carefully cut it out with sharp scissors. I guess being a bit of a pack-rat turned out to be a good thing for once!

Lucky Otter Sushi 6

For the dining side of the bar, I made chopsticks out of cut toothpicks and made little paper sleeves for them out of copy paper. I also designed and printed miniature menus for the restaurant. They carry over the ginkgo leaf design from the wall art on the cover and are actually printed inside with the sushi that are on the plates (This is a bit visible in the menu at the back.)

The restaurant stools are simply 3/4″ wood cubes. To my surprise, critters can actually sit on them without too much coaxing!

I think that pretty much covers my sushi restaurant project top to bottom. I think it is really cute and I can’t believe I finished before my deadline!




Around Town: Wash Day

laundry tub 1

For a bit of “slice of life” we spotted local resident Mrs. Jennifer Janis both getting some housework done and enjoying some warm weather by doing her laundry outdoors.

“It is definitely not my favorite chore, but I am so glad to finally get some sunshine and fresh air.” she said. “I’m sure we will have several more cold days, but today definitely had the promise of spring!”

laundry tub 2

Mrs. Janis was happy to show us her old-fashioned wash tub and wash board. “I know there are more modern ways to clean clothes,” she said. “But some things really need a good scrubbing by paw and serious elbow grease.”


I definitely ran out of time for this round of  2018: Year of Creative Crafting! The theme this time was “Gold, Silver, and Bronze: Since the Winter Olympics are going on now let’s get inspired by the gold, silver, and bronze medals (and metals.) This challenge is all about metal materials and metallic colors. Don’t feel limited to the three metals listed above – copper, rose gold, aluminum, and more are welcome, as are metallic paints of any color. Even metallic glitter counts! Your project doesn’t have to be entirely metal or metallic, but it should have at least one metal or metallic element”

I procrastinated so much on this one…my excuse is that I was watching the aforementioned Olympic Games! I suddenly realized this past weekend that I had no project to share and no “brilliant” ideas. But I had to make something!

Luckily, several weeks back I had grabbed a two clean 2 oz. condiment cups from a restaurant with the idea that they could be transformed into something for my village. With the deadline in my mind, I decided to give one of the cups a couple of coats of silver nail polish I had on-hand. Yes, I know the Scrubby Dubby challenge already passed…but it was metallic and fit the challenge.

But still, I wasn’t satisfied. No challenge project has to be large or over-the-top, but I just didn’t feel that I had authentically challenged myself with this craft. So I decided to make a complimentary item, also featuring the metallic theme. 

To go along with the wash tub, I made a miniature wash board. It is made out of balsa wood and a little bit of silver foil paper. I made this on Monday (yesterday) and it didn’t take terribly long from conceptualization to completed item.

laundry tub 3

Because I love to “talk” here is a bit about my process:

  1. I think of an idea – in this case, making a washboard. It will challenge me to make one and it will include a metallic element.
  2. I look up pictures of the item I want to make. Typically a google image search is adequate.
  3. I sketch the project on graph paper. I use paper with markings every 1/4-inch and draw it to scale based on the materials I plan to use. I have a small collection of balsa and bass wood of various sizes so I try to choose which pieces I will use at this point, so the scale is correct. I also like to grab a critter and hold it up to the scale drawing just to make sure I’m not making my item too big or too small.
  4. Using the scale drawing, I cut the wood pieces. I use a metal ruler, a self-healing cutting mat, and an exacto blade to do most of my cutting. Cutting errors are not uncommon for me! When working small scale, even 1/16th or 1/32 of an inch can make a huge difference. So while I am cutting, I am constantly “dry fitting” my pieces to make sure they are correct. The one positive in working in such a small scale is that if you mess it up at this point, just cut a new piece, and you’re only throwing away about an inch of the material…or you can save it for a future project.
  5. Work on the non-wood portions of the project. In this case, the “metal” scrub surface. This took some time to get right. My first inclination was to use some aluminum foil and give it pleats by scoring and folding it. I tried this technique but wasn’t pleased with how it looked. It was too flat and didn’t look right. Then I remembered I have a “paper crimper” (that I’ve never really used before.) First, I tried crimping some of the aluminum foil, and though it looked good, the foil was too soft and malleable – it distorted with even gentle handling and would be a bear to get glued down. Finally, I thought of using some paper-backed silver foil I had. I used the crimper on it – and it was perfect!
  6. Glue everything together. Glue the foil to the wooden base. Glue the washboard together. I really like to use Aleene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. It is super thick coming out of the bottle (I have to squeeze so hard!) but it really does stick quickly.

And that was my process for making the washboard. I really love how the washboard came out and that it added another metallic element for the challenge. The washboard took about an hour and a half or so, and that is including the conceptualizing, all the trial-and-error, and needing to re-cut some of the pieces. I’m so glad I challenged myself a bit more beyond the wash tub, because the washboard is one of my favorite things I’ve made!

laundry tub 4

Around Town: Cottage Embroidery

Local citizen Connie Cuddle-Bear shares with us her first place, blue ribbon winning embroidery project.

mini cross-stitch 1

“I submitted my cross stitch of a country cottage to the Sylvanian Stitchery Festival on a whim. I never thought it would win a first place ribbon!” she explained.

The Sylvanian Stitchery Festival is a competition and show held once a year. They accept submissions from all over Sylvania in a wide variety of categories. Mrs. Cuddle-Bear’s entry in the “cross-stitch: country life: houses” category nabbed her the win.

“It’s such a lovely honor to show my work to all of Sylvania and get to see all of the wonderful embroidery,” she says. “I think I may need to start planning for next year’s project as soon as possible!”


The challenge for this round of 2018: Year of Creative Crafting on the Sylvanian Families Forum was “Hanging by a Thread: This is a materials challenge – yarn, string, floss, twine – you can use anything cord-like in your project. It doesn’t necessarily need to be the main material of your project, but your project must use at least one of these materials.”

I really try to keep the challenges fair, in that I do not plan ahead for the projects I make for the challenges. Yes, I write the challenges ahead of time, but I try really hard not to think about what I am going to make until the challenge is posted. I don’t crochet or knit – techniques that are wonderfully useful for critter crafting. But I do enjoy cross-stitching. So it was a matter of finding the right project to make.

In my frequent thrift store visits, I often find cross stitching magazines. And imagine my excitement when I found an older issue of Cross Stitch Gold (Issue 28 from 2005) that featured some very cute cottages by designer Lesley Teare.

mini cross-stitch 3

The cross-stitch pattern called for 14-count Aida, but of course it wouldn’t be a mini if it were 6″ square! So I decided to make it very difficult on myself and try to stitch the design on 32-count linen.

I used a single strand of embroidery floss and a quilting needle (smaller eye and pointier in order to get through the tiny holes) to stitch the design. It took me three evenings to stitch – probably more time than it would have taken to stitch it in full size. 

mini cross-stitch 4

It’s definitely not perfect (please ignore the mediocre frame) and definitely wouldn’t be a real blue-ribbon winner, but I think it’s quite charming. And I’ll probably never do such tiny embroidery again – give me regular-scale cross-stitching over this micro-stitching any day!

Various Works in Progress and Finds

I always seem to find myself in a place where I have a lot of different projects at various points of completion; yet normally I don’t share my projects until they are more or less “complete.” While I love sharing my finished projects, it makes for quite sporadic posting! So today I’ll show off a bunch of things I have worked on or purchased over the past few months. Of course, most of these things will show up again when the overall projects are completed, but I’m ready to give some sneak-peeks!

One of my biggest projects on and off over the past few months has been the Porker house. You may remember almost a year ago (!!!) I posted my progress on the house I was building for above the Porkers’ grocery store. I have slowly (oh, so slowly) been working on getting the house furnished. My main focus so far has been on the kitchen/dining area.

kitchen wip

The first area I created is the compact kitchen. The cabinets are made of white-painted balsa for the bases and unfinished balsa for the counters. The “curtains” are made of fabric applied to aluminum foil and then “scrunched” and glued to give realistic folds. The drawer pulls are small beads.

kitchen wip 2

I loved making the stove. It is roughly based on three different vintage stoves. (Door configuration and clock) I so wish the pink stoves of the 1950s would come back into vogue! If I can’t have one for my house, I can enjoy making one for my mini village.  The stove is made of balsa wood, pink nail polish, silver Sharpie paint pen, black paper, silver paper, small adhesive rhinestones, a tiny printie, and a dimensional lacquer. I might do a tutorial on the stove at some point.

dining wip

Since the Porker family is rather large (mother, father, three girls, and two boys!) I needed a large dining table. It is made of balsa wood painted white. The room is intended to have a country farmhouse look, so just one coat of white paint was adequate. I made two low benches of balsa that I painted blue. The table runner is a strip of ribbon, and I made a balsa wood box (painted red) and some pretty pink paper roses.

flowers wip

Unlike my other paper flowers which have been made of tissue paper, these are made of handmade paper – maybe mulberry paper? From afar, they look really nice, but up close, they have a bit of fuzziness to them. There are definitely pros and cons to both papers.

mini pyrex wip

In my real life, I collect vintage Pyrex glassware. Like a lot of collectors, I am partial to designs in pink and turquoise. These “pyrex” dishes are made from some packaging plastic from the Li’l Woodzeez flower shop. I carefully cut out the pieces (adding the little handles as seen on the pink pieces.) I painted the insides with white acrylic paint (it’s a bit more streaky than I’d prefer) and the outsides with nail polish. I’d love to add white decals on the outsides to make them look more like real Pyrex, but I have not figured out how to achieve that yet.

In other projects, I’ve been working on some bits for an upcoming sushi restaurant I’ve been planning. Back in 2016, I made a sushi cooler and had planned to convert the Seaside Restaurant into a sushi joint. But since then I decided I liked the restaurant as-is and wanted the sushi shop to be its own thing.

sushi wip

I added shine to the sushi fish with the floor finish I mentioned in my post about the greengrocer’s. I made new trays for the sushi fish out of toothpicks and permanently glued the “scallops” into a miniature wooden bowl I had on-hand.

sushi wip 2

My sushi-making mood continued with making plates full of nigiri and rolls with wasabi and ginger.

sushi wip 3

The seaweed is made from black crepe paper streamers and the roe is made from translucent microbeads – the same as the raspberries in my greengrocer stand. I love how my sushi turned out!


While my crafting time is often dedicated to various projects, in real life I can’t be cooped up in my craft room all the time. I love going to local thrift stores to look for inexpensive clothes, vintage glassware (especially Pyrex!), and of course, Calico Critters!

thrift house 2

A couple of weeks ago I had an especially good “Critter Day.” As soon as I saw the Cozy Cottage, I snapped it up. It might be missing its second floor, but I don’t think I’ll have any trouble making a new one out of foam core. Once I saw the cottage in the store, I thought there may be other Critter items to be found. At this thrift shop, all small toys are placed in bags and priced as a “lot.” One bag I found had the bed and drawers. And when I saw the unclothed tiny kitty in the bottom of another bag, I knew I had to “rescue” it, even though I don’t collect cats or dogs.

Thrift tiny kitty

Maybe the tiny kitty (probably to be named Tiny Kitty) will become my travel Critter. I have ideas regarding giving it at least one new outfit, and maybe a cozy bed in an Altoids tin.

thrift misc

In the bags with the furniture and kitty were a bunch of other fun mini things. Some are Playmobil, some are erasers, and others are a bit random. I am especially partial to the pink suitcase, green and white carriage, and the little deer figurine. Not a bad haul for $3.71!

And of course, I am working on my project for the current challenge of 2018: Year of Creative Crafting Challenge. This round is “Hanging by a Thread.” As a sneak peek, let me tell you I am doing some cross-stitch…much smaller than I’ve ever attempted before. I hope it comes out!


Around Town: Spring Cleaning Supplies

In our neck of the woods, spring seems like it is just around the corner. And with spring comes the tradition of a thorough cleaning of the home. Paul Porker of Porker’s Grocery Store is eager to remind readers that his shop carries a wide range of cleaning supplies to make your home fresh and clean for those sunnier and warmer days ahead.



Oh my! Even though I, myself chose the theme for the second round of 2018: Year of Creative Crafting Challenge, it was a tough one! The theme I created was “Scrubby Dubby: For this challenge, think “clean and tidy.” Maybe it’s time for laundry, for washing up dishes, or even taking a bath. Make something that relates to cleaning or getting clean.”


It took me quite some time to decide what I was going to make. I finally settled on  making some miniature boxes of cleaning supplies. I did a good amount of searching online for printables and eventually found some images I liked. I wanted packages that looked more timeless than from a certain era, so I did a lot of picking-and-choosing.


I did most of my searching on Pinterest, so I don’t have a proper attribution for every box. But here are a few that I could properly source:

As I received a new printer for Christmas, I was excited to give it a spin printing minis. I printed on a “65 lb.” cardstock and sprayed it with a flexible fixative. Once it was dry, but before cutting out the boxes, I carefully scored all of the fold lines with the back (non-sharp side) of an craft knife. I did this on an old mousepad, so the score lines would be deeper. I found using a metal ruler helped keep my lines straight. I then carefully cut out the boxes, folded them, and “dry fit” them in order to understand how they should be put together and to trim any excess paper that was in the way. Then I used some fast grab PVA glue and carefully applied to the glue to the various flaps and tabs using a toothpick.



As you can see, not every box is perfect, but all except the very narrow Oxydol box can stand on its own. I think they are quite fun and will add a touch of realism to the village. 

Miniature Snake Plant Tutorial

Making the snake plant (for my Year of Crafting Creatively challenge that I’m doing at the Sylvanian Families Forum) was so easy and fun and I loved the result so much that I decided that a photo tutorial was in order. So let’s make a miniature snake plant!

Step 16

What you’ll need:

  • Air-dry clay (mine is a brown “foam” clay similar to Crayola Clay Magic.) If you can’t find brown, use white, but you’ll need paint.
  • Green, yellow, or green-ish yellow cardstock paper (For this tutorial I used Stampin’ Up paper in “Lemon-Lime Twist.”)
  • Green markers in similar colors, one lighter, one darker. For ease of use, I recommend that the lighter color have a brush tip, and the darker one a fine tip. (I used Stampin’ Up Stampin’ Write markers in “Lemon-Lime Twist” and “Old Olive”)
  • A pair of sharp scissors. Small scissors will probably work better than big ones since you’ll be cutting little pieces.
  • A pot to put your plant in

Step 1 Materials

Step 1: Using your scissors, cut 10-12 pointy leaves from the cardstock, about 1-inch tall.

Step 2

Step 2: Using the lighter colored marker (with brush tip) add color to the center of the leaf, leaving a small rim uncolored on the edges.

Step 4

Step 3: Do this to both sides of all the leaves.

Step 5

Step 4: With the darker marker (with the fine tip) add stripes to the leaves in varying widths. Make sure to only add the stripes to the part you colored with the lighter marker, keeping the edges free from ink.

Step 6

Step 5: Add the stripes to both sides of all the leaves.

Step 7

Step 6: Using the edge of your desk or table, carefully curve the leaves from edge to edge.

Step 8

Step 7: Repeat for all leaves.

Step 9

Step 8: Fill your pot with the air-dry clay.

Step 10

Step 9: Put your leaves in order from shortest to tallest.

Step 11

Step 10: Start with your shortest leaf, and insert it near the center of your air-dry clay filled pot.

step 12

Step 11: With your next tallest leaf, place it next-to and sort of overlapping the first leaf.

Step 13

Step 12: Working your way from shortest leaf to tallest, build around from the inside of the plant to the outside. As you work from inside to outside, position leaves from a more upright, vertical position to a more angled position.

Step 14

Step 13: Continue until all the leaves have been placed. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the clay to fully dry.

Step 15

And there you have it – a cute and easy snake plant that will add some happy greenery to your miniature projects!

Flower Shop Grand Opening

grand opening 1

“It is with great pleasure that I congratulate you on the grand opening of your flower shop” announced Mayor Carl Cuddle-Bear as the villagers cheered. “You are a wonderful resource for Crabapple Crossings – your knowledge of plants and flowers is truly unsurpassed. I know that you will have great success!”

grand opening 2

Today was the grand opening for Mrs. Mitzi Mouse’s Flower Shop just off the town’s main square. Entering her shop, one is treated to a riot of color and aromas, with beautiful plants all around, ready and available to purchase. “It’s truly a dream come true,” Mrs. Mouse explained. “I hope that I have something for everyone – from exotic orchids that need care and attention to cacti and succulents that are quite happy with very little effort.”

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Little Wesley Whitetail was captivated by a pot of velvety African violets, but that wasn’t quite what his mother, Wanda Whitetail had in mind.

grand opening 3

“I am looking for a plant that will help keep my house healthy and fresh,” said Mrs. Whitetail. “And maybe something that doesn’t need very much attention?”

“I have just the plant for you!” said Mrs. Mouse, excited to share her expertise. “I think a snake plant is just perfect. It doesn’t need a lot of care and is wonderful for improving indoor air quality.”

grand opening 5

“Oh, that does sound wonderful! Thank you so much, it will be perfect for us,” said Mrs. Whitetail, purchasing the plant.

Mrs. Mouse made sure to let us know, “Don’t hesitate to come to the shop even if you aren’t looking to buy. As president of the Crabapple Crossings Gardening Club, I am happy to answer any questions or help you troubleshoot a sick plant. I just want to share my love of flora with anyone and everyone!”


This is a a bit of a two-fer post. It’s both the finished (as much as any of my projects are ever really finished) flower shop and my first project for the 2018: Year of Creative Crafting Challenge.

A bit about the challenge – I’ve had such fun and been so motivated to craft when I’ve had challenges and deadlines. So I decided I wanted to run a year-long challenge to get myself crafting again. Having others participate make it so much more fun than just doing it myself, so I am posing the challenges on the Sylvanian Families Forum. Every two weeks on Wednesday, I will post a challenge, and then have 2 weeks (really 13 days) to complete that challenge, posting the completed projects on the Tuesday before the new challenge. 

The theme for the first challenge was “Happy and Healthy”  “Make something that relates to the concept of “Health.” You could make a healthy food, some exercise equipment, something for the doctor or dentist office, or anything else “healthy” you can think of.”

As I was finishing up working on the Flower Shop, I wanted to make a plant that can help clean the air, as clean air is very important for good health. I researched a bit, and found that the snake plant is a wonderful plant for healthy air, so that’s what I decided to make.

snake plants

These plants were super fun and easy! Here’s a tutorial on how to make them!

The second part of my post is sharing my completed flower shop. I did a bit of repainting of most of the Li’l Woodzeez plants and flowers. Most were actually quite nice with color choices. For many I simply added some color where it didn’t quite cover the whole molded shape. Others I just added a bit of another color to make them more realistic (for example the daffodils got orange centers to give them more dimension.) Another improvement I undertook was making the cacti more realistic. 


(Sorry about the blurry pictures…my camera hates this cactus for some reason.)

This was quite an easy fix and made a big difference. I carefully painted the “dirt” base a dark brown. After it dried, I applied white glue and sprinkled on some decorative sand from the craft store’s floral department. It looks much more realistic and was so easy.

I love how the flower shop looks with all its plants and flowers – very happy! Although I have a terrible black thumb in real life (I can’t seem to keep plants alive…) at least my villagers have lovely greenery for their homes!

Flower Shop Renovation Under Way

After nearly two years of running her flower cart, Mrs. Mitzi Mouse has decided that her floral business is ready to expand – into a “brick and mortar” location.

“I am so thrilled that my flower business has been successful. I love providing happy colors and aromas for my neighbors’ homes and events,” Mrs. Mouse explained. “And going forward, having a permanent location with some new offerings will be such a wonderful asset. I spend so much time outdoors already tending to my gardens, that I am ready to spend some time inside!”

Mrs. Mouse gave a brief tour of her new store.

Flower Shop 2

“When you come through the door, you’ll be greeted by shelves of potted plants. These are new items for my business. I think my customers will love having long-lasting flora instead of only cut flowers available to them.”

Flower Shop 1

“Over here, I think will be cut flower options – the flowers that have made my business successful over the past couple of years. I need to speak to Mr. Beaver about having some custom shelves built for this area. And of course the bay window provides lots of the natural light my plants need.”

Mrs. Mouse hopes to have her shop filled in the next couple of weeks. “I can’t wait to invite all of my friends and neighbors to my grand opening. We can all use some cheery flowers!”


This project is my second Li’l Woodzeez makeover. (My first was the bakery.) I am so drawn to these toys – they come with so many parts and accessories, and are so affordable. You can see all the fun stuff this comes with on the Li’l Woodzeez website. But I consistently find the color choices for these structures unappealing. I’m sure they are eye-catching to children, to whom the company is trying to appeal. But I prefer a softer, less neon look. As it was, the flower shop was a quite aggressive lime green with pink, orange, and teal accents. Definitely not a soft look!

Flower Shop Pre-Paint 1Flower Shop Pre-Paint 2

So I decided that a repaint was in order. I actually think that green is a wonderful color for a floral shop, so I chose a spray paint in a more subtle green. For the spray paint, I used Krylon ColorMaster Paint and Primer mostly because it is easily available in my area, comes in a lot of colors, and is advertised as adhering to plastics. The reviews for this paint aren’t very good, but I have had no problems with it. Granted, I do not apply any sort of top coat, nor is the finished project subject to vigorous play. But I have no complaints about this paint. 

To prepare, I taped off the portions of the piece that I actually liked. In this case, I like the brown floor and the tan shelves. For the floor, I first cut a piece of a plastic bag into a rectangle a bit smaller than the floor. I used masking tape to adhere it around the edges.  This was so I didn’t have to cover the entire floor in masking tape; I only needed to tape around the edges. I also used masking tape to cover the shelves. This was very finicky work and required a lot of small pieces of tape.

Flower Shop Taped 1Flower Shop Taped 2

The same taping continued to the front of the building. It’s important to carefully line up the edges of the tape with whatever you are masking – anything that isn’t taped is going to get paint, and anything that is taped will not. So being precise is crucial. 

Then it was time to prepare my work area. It is very important to spray paint in a well ventilated area! So I do my spray painting outside. Of course, where I live, this means I can’t paint all year-round (often too cold or too hot) but it is much safer. I put down a plastic trash bag in my yard so I don’t end up painting the grass, and clean up is easier. It is also helpful to have a cardboard box on which to put the item, so you aren’t having to work so close to the ground. I also wear a dust mask and goggles, both to protect my eyes and to keep paint from getting on my glasses. Then it is time to spray! If it is windy, make sure that you aren’t spraying into the wind, or you will be painted! It is better to spray in thin, even coats rather than thick coats because thick coats are likely to drip and won’t dry nicely. Your paint should have instructions on the drying times. With this paint, it says that is dry to the touch within 10 minutes and additional coats should be added within 4 hours. So I think I painted three coats, waiting about 15 minutes between coats. After it looked well- covered, I brought it into my garage to finish drying. Even though after 10 minutes it is dry “to touch” you shouldn’t handle it for at least an hour, and even then, you may put fingerprints on it. So this is another advantage to putting it on a box to spray it – you can move it without touching it! The paint says it takes 24 hours to completely cure, but I found that it still seemed tacky. So I think I let it dry for around 36 hours before I brought it inside for more work.

First order of business was to remove the tape. Then it was time to paint the details – as I had spray-painted almost everything, all the details needed to be added back in. First I painted the dark brown wall behind the shelves. Getting my paintbrush into so many little nooks and crannies was tricky, but I love the end result. Then I added bits of paint to areas that I didn’t want green – the bay window became white, the flowers got painted, the door got a refresh. This is a very detailed and slow process, but it helps the end result look so much nicer. Also, since my displays are almost always of the interiors, I didn’t do too much painting on the exterior, and I did not paint any of the details on the side exterior walls. It’s a lot of work, is difficult to get right, and pretty much never is visible.

Flower Shop Renovation 2

To finish it up, I added the wallpaper. I made several preliminary patterns for the main wall because I wanted it to fit nicely around the window frame. I made these preliminary patterns with white copy paper, getting it just right before I cut into my patterned paper. The other challenge for this part of the project was that there were 3-D moldings of some accessories on this wall. Most were quite shallow, but there was one area that was molded quite deeply. In order for the wallpaper to fit flush, the deep molding had to go. So I used a new-to-me tool – a Dremel tool. I used a fairly rough sanding barrel to scrape off the offending molding. It is important to not have your tool going too fast or the plastic won’t be sanded off – it can melt! I am definitely a complete amateur when it comes to this tool, so if you want to learn more about best practices using it, do your research! I applied the wallpaper with some strong double-sided tape, though I’ve been having some issues with it wanting to lift a bit. So I may end up adding some glue at a later time. 

Flower Shop Renovation 1

As per usual, there are so many more little things I want to add – a flower display rack, maybe some more home-y details on the walls. But I think the lighter green is a big improvement and it is overall more aesthetically pleasing to me. I‘m quite happy with how this “renovation” turned out.

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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. 

Minor Repair

Sometimes I need to return to an otherwise finished project and tweak or fix some aspect that isn’t working. The latest was a minor but annoying issue in the candy shop.

I’m not sure if it was just from the weight of the jars or whether it suffered a bit of damage in the move, but the wall shelf in the candy shop was starting to sag:

Shelf Fix 1

(Excuse the untidy background of my work table.)

The shelf was originally attached with super-sticky tape adhesive. But as you can see, the front edge was beginning to sag downward. Every time I noticed it, I would try to push it back into the proper position, but soon it would be angled downwards again.

So I decided that I needed to shore it up a bit. I measured and cut some bass wood to create a bracket at each end to help hold the shelf horizontally. A bit of paint and some glue later, the shelf looked much better:

Shelf Fix 2

So not a big project, but a good one for peace of mind.