In my on-going clearing out of my stash, I came across plants, pots, buckets, etc., all kinds of gardening stuff, most of which was inexpensive, and I was faced with the choice of either using it or giving it away. Maybe I might do a dusty or abandoned potting shed, I thought, and then I came across something else in my stash that changed my thinking entirely.
I have used several Todd McFarlane action figures from movies as characters in my scenes. This is the character The Chrone, from the Sleepy Hollow film starring Johnny Depp. Aha! What a perfectly horrible figure to sell some pretty disreputable stuff.
Once I decided who she was going to be, I looked again through my stash for odd, misshapen, dusty, cheap (!) plants that could go in the scene. The plant in the yellow basket, front right, was an actual dried plant my husband once brought me from one of his hikes. Others were from swaps many years ago, etc. A few were good agave type plants that seemed to belong in a witch's shop.
I painted singing faces on inexpensive potted daisies, painted the eyes and the tips of the beaks on the dried plant to form The Bird Beak Plant, and added little blobs to a faded chysanthemum to make the Yellow Freckle plant.
I have been collecting and making mushrooms for a long time. The mushrooms on an old book page showing various varieties was a purchase, as was the mushroom log. I don't recall where I got that knife.
The painted rocks were probably swap items; I don't recall exactly now.
Once I had a collection of possible items to use, I was pleased to find things that went together, like the various little ghost items. For a while there, I had a huge mess on my work table of various little boxes and shallow trays holding stuff.
I did not want or have room for another roombox, so went back to one of my trusty domes. The base is made from cardboard, painted with brown iron oxide. I began adding some bits of floral foam to eliminate the flatness, which would be covered later to perhaps suggest spilled dirt. I added more "dirt," moss and various greenery/brownery as I went along.
I tested various display pieces for fit and came up with three - a wooden potting bench, a small wire shelf unit and a round iron table.
I have had this potting bench for a long time. I believe it may have been from a garden swap. It was a bit large for most of the gardening scenes I have done over the years, so I was happy to finally have a use for it. Those flowers looked a bit too cheery for this scene, so I painted frowning faces on them. By the time the setting was finished, none of them showed anyway!
My husband is always impressed with how much stuff I can crowd into a small scene. It really helps to have different levels.
Here you can see I have also added dried plants, rusty pots, and a barrel underneath. The plants were made from very fine dried tree roots from a dead tree Robert removed from our front yard years ago. I soaked them in bleach water first, then spread them to dry. Been using those roots for years!
Here more of the dried plant/tree roots have been added. The barrel and wooden buckets used throughout this scene I found in JoAnn's Crafts. I gave them some grunging.
So, the first display is finished - up to a point; I knew other items would be added later. Some things don't show up in pictures of the finished scene, but in real life you can peer down into the scene and see them, like that piece of fool's gold on the shelf. I removed the grey mouse and later used two little white ones.
The second piece I decided to use was this wire wicker shelf unit. I painted over its original white with a stone grey, gave it a dirty water wash, and used my stain pen to further age it. The claw piece which I planned to use on top was a purchase from AlphaStamps. I also used the stain pen to mute the metal's brightness.
I added the eye from a sheet of dimensional stickers in my stash.
I used more dimensional stickers on a tall plant with blue flowers to form the Bat Bloomer. I forget what the plant was originally supposed to be. It is potted in another wooden bucket.
In my stash I found some tiny fingernail ghost decals. I cut them out and glued them to the twig, forming the Ghostly Bonsai.
The third display piece was this green iron table. I didn't have to do a thing to it except load it up. In pictures nobody can tell, but in real life if you lean directly over it and look closely, the centers of those yellow blooms are small spiders.
I added a tallish cone shaped metal bead to the center, topped with a round disc so that I could have an elevated space, both for variety in height and to add the watering can and some hand tools. The piece of cloth helps soften the scene and echoes the piece used under the collection of ghostly items on the work bench. I used a tiny wooden box on its side to display them inside and out but you can only really see it in real life.
The round tray with pitcher, etc., was a McFarlane accessory item with the Sleepy Hollow Ichabod Crane figure that I purchased. I made the Whatevers in the jar; the pieces in the acorn cap bowl are wee natural pods from the desert, I think, and the gourds barely visible underneath were part of several I made in a workshop many years ago.
All the books are my own creations, except for the Witch's Log on the lower shelf, which was part of a packet of old papers and documents that was my prize for winning a contest years ago. I have used those pieces in so many scenes over the years. What a great selection, and I still have some. The sign and labels were printies that I either made or adapted.
The last big thing I did was to turn The Crone into my character Pernicia.
Boy, wouldn't you like to meet up with her on a darkened street?
My helpful husband uses heavy cutters to remove the hard plastic hair first. Naturally, I saved it. lol
And later, I used pieces to make the Monkey's Paw dangling off the edge of the table here.
What an intriguing construction!
I used my cutters to snip off each of the snakes and the tail which stuck out of the back of her head, which was supposed to push them in and out of The Crone's eyes and mouth, I suppose.
All of them wound up in one or the other of Pernicia's plants, like this one. Although most of the plants I used were rather shabby to begin with, my agaves were all well made; well, as good as I could make them at the time. lol
At this point, the snakes and her hair have been removed, as has the ragged plastic overdress. In the process her left hand came off but was easy to reattach later.
I needed a fabric that would not be overwhelmed by the figure's strong face and posture, so I used a lightweight brown flannel with a pink floral element. It was heavy enough to conceal the contours underneath, yet easily drapable because it is cotton.
Her original heavy resin/rubber costuming was a challenge because of the different levels and fullnesses. One of the first things I did was to ask Robert to use my heavy cutters to cut away the excess at the bottom of the skirt so that she would fit more easily in the space available in this dome scene.
I cut a rectangle for the skirt, first coating the figure with glue, finger pleating it and pressing into place, starting with the center front and working toward the back, draping in natural folds while keeping it as close to the body as possible.
I wanted to make sure that interesting boot showed, although the bare leg was not appropriate for this character at all.
I cut a flannel rectangle for each sleeve, gluing the edge under at shoulder and hem for a finished look, and after spreading glue on the back, draped it over each arm, shaping to conform to the bend at the elbow, forming a seam underneath. I chose not to cover the bodice because it looked too bulky, but used a piece of cotton netting to soften it somewhat, also tucking a bit into each sleeve. I did add a fabric waistband to cover the raw edge of the skirt top.
Since I wrapped the skirt from front to back and because of the original bustle look, it did not meet well, so I needed something to cover the uneven seam. Here I have made a panel to go down the center back.
After the entire dress was finished and the folds arranged the way I wanted, I glued the excess fabric neatly underneath.
The locks, keys and scissors hanging from her chatelaine are from my stash of findings and were the last pieces added to her dress.
When it came time for the wigging, nothing in my hair stash seemed appropriate for such an over the top figure.
When I was in the washroom cleaning lint from the dryer screen, I thought, Aha! I brought that wad and some more from the waste basket to my work table and blended some pieces together, first twisting it around to a peak on top, but decided on a more sedate look and gave her a basic do.
Then my eye fell on various bits of lichen, wee pods and such. Another Aha! She stores stuff in her hair until she needs it, I thought!
I just couldn't resist ...
...adding more and more ...
Well, ready or not, here is Pernicia!
Most of the accessories from The Crone fantasy figure were also used in this setting, except for the amulet.
Here is the candle; perfect for this scene.
The skull lies on a How To Make ... page. One bowl is used atop a stack of resin books, which were also accessories with another McFarlane figure; I think perhaps from a Tim Burton film. I bought several when I found them on Ebay.
Book stacks like these have been used in at least two other settings that I recall, including Anachronon the Alchemist. I cut away the black birds that were perched on top of them. One is shown above with the mouse.
I used another on Pernicia's shoulder.
This plastic dome came from Target. I found it online while I was working on this scene, and couldn't believe my good fortune, so I immediately ordered it. Although they don't all show here, there are three claw feet on the base, as well as a bat at the top, which I unfortunately cut off in my picture.
This was a fun setting to do, and I hope you enjoyed your tour of Pernicia's Plants & Potions as much as I did.