My room was a total mess so I spent most of my time in bed playing Skyrim and hunting around for the tissues! I'm feeling better but I'm still pretty contagious so keep your distance!
In the meantime, I had an odd craving to make some new yard animals. So, armed with my trusty iPhone for photo reference and a pile of sculpey, I got to work...
The first batch were really simplistic and lacked beaks...
...but the rest turned out pretty well!
As they were so small I just used the heat-gun on them rather than stick them in the oven, hence the rather fetching burn patterns they're modelling here.
Before I painted them I realised I'd need somewhere for them to go, somewhere I could photograph them that would tie into my little yard and then it hit me - a bird table!
That one is from my grandpa's garden and yes, a pair of pheasants is next on the agenda!
I really liked the rustic style of it and having hooks on the side really opened up the possibilities of adding more feeders to it, thus making it far more interesting.
In fact, a feeder was the first thing I actually made but I'll get to that one later...
I had some very thin wood veneer in one of my drawers (from cheese packaging of all things, lol) which would be perfect for the roof and an assortment of coffee stirrers and dowelling.
I found this piece in the same drawer and while I still have no idea where it came from, it proved to be the perfect size for the main table part.
I made holes in the sides with a thumb-tack and the hooks out of some fine wire I found on the floor at college the other day. (recycling ftw!)
The roof was a bit problematic to begin with as by this point I realised that I'd left all my measuring things at college so I was going to have to guesstimate everything. In the end this resulted in a seriously wonky looking structure which I easily worked around in EAE canon by saying that David built it. :P
The main part is two triangles of thin wood doublesided onto some card with a wooden rod in the middle. The 'shingles' were roughly cut out and glued on afterwards.
Pretty much everything was guesstimated and I had no idea if it would all fit together in the end!
Luckily for me, it did!
This photo is really rather flattering as it hides the exceptionally squint roof section and the fact that one of the legs doesn't actually touch the ground properly...
I went over it with a couple of washes to bring out the grain and make it look less like I'd made it out of scraps which worked an absolute treat! A couple of layers of matte varnish later it looked like this!
Now, back to the birds...
I didn't have anything in particular in mind when I made some of them but there were a couple I modelled specifically on particular birds. Out of the lot, this little guy is my favourite.
The Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus or Parus caeruleus)
He was a right pain to paint as he's so small but I think he was worth the effort.
I also made a male Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
A Dunnock, (Prunella modularis)
...a Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
(called Thor, lol)
...a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
The suet feeder was made from some fine mesh filled with painted sponge.
...a rather svelte Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus)
and a Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris) who turned out too small!
You can see my favourite feeder in that photo too. It was actually the first thing I made - even before the birds!
I'll do a tutorial for it if anyone's interested but it's pretty self evident what it's made from - a clear plastic drinking straw, wire, very fine grit and cork for the seeds and some card for the lid.
Here it is with a penny for scale.
I also made some half coconuts out of sculpey which were painted and then decorated with some of the spare seedmix from the feeder.
I thought it would be nice if it were set up beside the yard's feedroom/shed along with all the other wild animals that visit the yard on a regular basis. I made everything other than the rabbits (although I did paint them) and the shed, which my dad made. (actually for my mum but she doesn't like modern miniatures so I stole it. XD)
The flying bird at the bottom is a Starling but he doesn't photograph well, alas. I made Noel the Fieldfare and Mrs B the Blackbird years ago, as well as Corwin the Raven up on the roof.The rest of the birds haven't been named yet so post your ideas in the comments if you like. :D
Hopefully these won't be the last additions to the EAE menagerie - I've got plenty of ideas but suggestions are always welcomed!