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November 2007

My grandmother always liked chickens, and when I was a child I loved gathering eggs for her, (and for my dad in later years when he was going through a chicken-raising phase). In Granny's no-frills 40's country kitchen I remember carefully placing both white and brown eggs in a crockery bowl on the counter top of her Hoosier cupboard.

In my own kitchen I have a grouping of chicken collectibles which I often display in the Fall, as well as some items which stay in a corner cupboard. Since I had a small collection of miniature chicken items, it seemed appropriate to do a chicken setting in this extra hutch in honor of my grandmother. It usually resides on my china cabinet in a small glass box with mirrored back.

This little scene was one of the first I did after discovering the wonders of Michaels hutches. It was left over from several that my husband sprayed yellow for a garden hutch workshop that I presented to our then-club.

That's a geranium in a wooden twig basket on the right side top. The green plant on the left was made from a miniature coil of green something from Michaels.

I didn't do much to the painted hutch; just gave it a dirty water wash and glued on the black and white checks glossy paper strips cut from a Mary Engelbreit advertising flyer. The plates at the back are paper, with a rooster in the center. They came from a site someone sent me to in my early days online; unfortunately I didn't think to write down the person's name at that time.

Those are Chrysnbon chickens on the right, and the cups are as well. The little china hen in the middle I have had for a long time; don't recall where I got her. The inexpensive white teapot was in my stash.

If you look closely you may be able to see a thin strip of plastic on this shelf. I have found it is a lot easier to experiment with placement, then glue the items to the strip, then slide it into place on the shelf. You can change things later if you want to and it also helps keep those very lightweight items from tipping and tilting everywhere.

And speaking of tilting, that dish of fruit on the main shelf is from my early Fimo food-making days; the tilt is because I glued it atop a towel and didn't look closely enough at the finished product! The two plates are paper coated with varnish; the colorful bowl in the center is from Mexico. The canister on the right has a flower picture on it; I just turned it around. The chicken is inexpensive plastic, and the wire basket dates back to my daughter's dollhouse days in the 70's. The eggs are Fimo, too.

There's another strip of the black and white checked paper glued to the fake drawer. I replaced the wooden knobs with glass-headed pins to serve as pulls.

Here's that towel that caused the tilting fruit! I cut the chicks from another fabric and glued them to the end of the fringed check. The towel was then saturated with a glue-water mixture, pulled through my fingers to remove excess moisture, formed into natural folds and pleats, then taped into shape with masking tape to dry on the shelf, which I first covered with a piece of plastic wrap, then removed after the towel was dry. It glued easily then to the shelf. Actually, I think it would look better if it hung a little more straight down, but what the heck. That was a long time ago and I am not going to change it now.

I used to have a full-size clay baking pot like the one shown here. You just let the dish soak in water until it had absorbed all the moisture it could, placed your seasoned chicken inside, put the lid on and baked. Chicken, or any other meat, came out juicy and delicious with no added liquid at all.

The little geranium pot was from an early swap; I can't remember who it came from, unfortunately. The copper pans are from Mexico, I think.

The chair was purchased in Tennessee; about the only miniature except cows that I found when we visited our son and daughter-in-law when they lived there. It was hand-carved by a local man and has a seat made of woven twine string.

I made the cushion from a piece of the same farm print that is used for pillows in Moo-Moo's Cow Shop.

The hen dates back to my children's childhood; it was originally green plastic, part of a farm set. I repainted her and set her in a nest made from excelsior cut into small pieces. The basket was an inexpensive purchase.

The table skirt and floor covering are coordinating prints. The table is made from a plastic cup. The glass top is an extra lens from an old handled box flashlight that belonged to my husband's father. DH found the extra lenses wrapped in paper in the bottom of his father's old toolbox and gave them to me.

These glass tops are an excellent way to gain more space on a small table. I have a larger glass top on a skirted table in my real-life living room. It's very heavy, with a beveled edge; bought it at Hobby Lobby.

The sunflowers are repainted inexpensive clay pieces that usually come in a cluster on green wire stems. I gave them a coat of yellow, painted the center brown, then used a red-brown wash in the center. The pitcher is actually a creamer from an out-of-scale teaset. The placemats are paper; the napkin rings are gold jump rings, and the cotton napkins are fringed black and white checks.

I have done lots of miniature settings, but this still remains one of my favorites and always makes me smile when I pass by it and all my other chickens.

Since I put together this little setting, I have accumulated lots more miniature chicken stuff, so plan to have a small shop or stall soon.

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