By Linda Day

I have always had an interest in small houses and decorating. In the beginning the doll's houses were made from cardboard boxes and the furnishings were made using construction paper.

At age 19, I purchased my first real doll's house, and ever since then collecting and making miniatures has been one of my greatest obsessions! At the moment I work as an administrative assistant for the employee health department of a local hospital. I basically work bankers’ hours, so I am able to spend time on the weekends making minis or searching thrift and discount stores looking for items that I can transform into minis.

If I am lucky I can squeeze in some time to work on smaller projects in the evenings. Because my dining table is a perfect place to set up for projects, we rarely use it for dining! The piece that is being featured here is a backyard picnic scene that was created when a side wall broke apart from one of my room boxes.

I had never created an outdoor scene, and I had a picnic table and some grass, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to up-cycle and also create something using materials that were different from what I normally use. Along with building and decorating, another fun challenge for me is to find ordinary objects and alter them to be used in my miniature world.

There is a cake for dessert and watermelon for those watching their figure.

For example, the fence is made from a bamboo placemat. The patio is made from pieces of life sized ceramic tile. The bushes are from the greenery department of a local pound store. All of the food was made by myself using polymer clay. The flags are cupcake picks, which were given to me by a dear friend, so I thought this was the perfect setting to showcase them!

The paper plate idea was also borrowed from a fellow miniaturist. The dishes, silverware, drinks, grill, and cooler were all purchased from various places. I have had this particular display for over seven years now, and it has definitely evolved. I change the theme for holidays or birthday celebrations, and the food is constantly changing as I learn new techniques.

A wonderful close up showing the amazing detail Linda has added to the barbecue foods.

The fun part of decorating this piece is that there are so many items that can fit here. The potential for the little details that can be added is amazing! It enables me to add the little unknown covered dish on the table that the mini guests are hesitant to eat, and the little tin of the grill master’s “secret” barbecue sauce.

My favourite part of this piece is the versatility. I never added another wall or cover, so changes are easily made, as nothing is glued down. This particular scene also allows me to pay respect to the occasion, and in some small way to honour those who have served our country, some making the ultimate sacrifice.

I have so many future projects and ideas milling around in my head that I will never run out of minis to make or refurbish. I am constantly finding items or containers to create scenes around or inside.

I would love for anyone who has even the tiniest interest in miniatures to explore, even if a full collection isn’t desired. A small box, cake stand, or bread box can provide a great space to start a small project. You never know how large your “mini” love can grow!

Linda handmade all of the food herself.
An aerial view of the set up shows the pop and perhaps some cold beers in the bucket with ice.
Homemade barbecue sauce stays close to the grill.