Time for a little Domythic D.I.Y.!
I have a glass dome in the center of my mantle. I bought it a month or so ago from a local antique vendor I love, Dresden Junk-shun. The dome is 7" tall at the center, and I believe I paid either $3 or $5 for it.
It was only after I got the dome home that I realized the base of the glass fit the lid from a jar candle I had already burned down and disposed of. The candle lid would make a perfect base for the glass.
For a while, I had the dome centered on my mantle, with a red heart candle I own inside to celebrate Valentine's Day. But since Valentine's season is now over, I wanted to change things up a little. I had it stuck in my head that I wanted to do something inside that was Domythic and involved a miniature tree.
I stopped by Dresden Junk-shun again today and happened upon a small brass taper candlestick that only stood about 3" tall or so. It was a definite purchase at $1.
From the craft store, I purchased some modeling clay. I actually needed this for another project, so I don't even count it as an expense toward this one.
After searching the craft store high and low for an appropriate dried or faux floral item that could be broken up or divided to resemble a tree, I came up empty handed. I thought perhaps I could use some wire to make an armature and cover it in the clay. When I walked out, I decided to take a meander beside the store, and found a pine tree there with several smaller saplings underneath it, bare branched and quite lovely. I took a few tiny branches from the tree, being sure to leave an offering (please make sure you do this for anything you take from nature...today, I didn't have a stone or feather with me, so I buried a penny from my pocket), and went on home.
Well, wouldn't you know, when I reached my back yard, I glanced over at my flower bed and saw a dried Sedum plant with foliage that was just what I was looking for.
I broke off a branch of the plant. Taking a little bit of the clay (about the size of a flat quarter or so) I pressed it into the bottom of the brass candlestick, and used it to support the twig of Sedum. To make up for the size difference in the top of the candlestick, I stuffed moss into the top.
The base of the dome, once a candle lid, I painted with black and gold paint mixed together. Once that dried, I did a layer of gold nail polish (thanks Bryony for the tip!) around the edge, making it look like worn and aged brass or gold, instead of the original shiny silver of the lid. I added moss to the base of the dome as well.
Now for the fun part. While at the craft store, I perused their selection of doll house accessories, hoping they might have something whimsical or fantastical. I was delighted to find a package of miniscule books, with pages and everything. A package of a dozen or so was $2.99. Perfect. I carefully placed some of the books in among the "branches" of my tree, and laid some at the feet of the "urn."
In one open book, I wrote the words at the beginning of Yeats' "Stolen Child" in teeny tiny handwriting. (It's a good thing I write very very small normally anyway)
Finally, I leafed through my spare crafting copy of Brian Froud and Alan Lee's Faeries (I've used this for crafts before...the paperback edition was falling apart when I picked it up at a yard sale for a quarter) and found a selection of text I wanted to use. I burned the edges of the paper carefully (my goodness, that paper burned quickly!) to add a feeling of age.
To get the paper to stay upright in the back of the dome, I put two glue dots from a package I had (I do love glue dots...they come on a roll, and they have been useful in many a craft) on the paper, and carefully pressed it to the dome.
And there you have it...my Faerie Book Tree.
Here it is in its final location at the center of my mantlepiece.
And finally a shot of the tiny book with my pinky finger for size reference.
The final cost of this craft was negligible: $3 for the doll books, $1 for the brass candlestick, and $5 (I'll go high end since I can't recall) for the dome. Less than $10 total! Oh, and incidentally, the branches I broke off from the tree beside the craft store still got used...I put them in an awesome antique bottle I also found today from Dresden Junk-Shun. The purple bottle has an embossed tree and "Straubmuller's Elixer: Tree of Life: Since 1880" on the front, and "Nectar: The Golden Life of Health & Vitality" on the back. Perfect.
This was an incredibly enjoyable craft to create for the house. I was tickled to see it come together, and it's the especially fun sort of craft where you can use bits and pieces of my idea along with what you might have on hand to create your own version. If there's no Sedum available, go for a walk and find another winter plant or tree that could possibly yield a miniature "tree" of its own. If you can't find dollhouse books, hang baubles from the branches of your tree, or cover it in glitter and beads. Bottom line: make it your own, and have fun!!