I became interested in miniatures in the same way I expect many young girls do, my father made me a dollhouse for Christmas. I was quite little at the time and remember sneaking upstairs by myself from the basement family room to have a peek at it while the others were downstairs. That house gave me hours of joy as I played with it.
At some point my family and I made a trip to Chicago and visited the Museum of Science and Industry, which of course houses Colleen Moore’s famous Fairy Castle. I gave my poor parents good reason to regret that decision.
Having seen the Fairy Castle in all its magnificence, I quickly became a dollhouse snob. No longer was I content to have my cozy, modern toy domicile. Where were the turrets? The genuine gemstones and epic paintings? The golden accents? My world had expanded and I was discontent with what I had, the result being my parents tried to pacify me with homemade upgrades.
Skip ahead a few years to that awkward age when as a young girl you still want to play with your toys but you don’t want to admit it to your friends at school and giggle about boys instead. My family had moved to a different state after my father changed jobs and I whiled away many hours with the dollhouse he had made me, subjecting my resident doll family to unimaginably ridiculous plots. I’m not 100% sure how it happened, but at some point I ended up in a local miniature shop. Mind. Blown.
I still remember it as a beautiful, magical place filled with some of the loveliest things imaginable. Needless to say, my horizons were broadened once again. I begged for another dollhouse for Christmas, but became convinced I wasn’t going to get one.
On Christmas morning my family has always had an order to how presents are opened, with the smallest going first, working up to the most impressive “big” gifts. As any self respecting preteen would, I poked around the tree in the days leading up to Christmas, searching for what I hoped would be a dollhouse kit. Nothing doing. None of the boxes with my name on them were large enough. But as “big gift” time drew near, it became apparent my parents had pulled one over on me.
There was in fact a large box left over, one that had been wrapped in different papers at each end and stashed under other presents so I couldn’t tell. Pulling the papers off, I was elated to behold a Victorian Alison Jr. kit made by Real Good Toys. Well played, Mom & Dad, well played.
For the next several months my father and I (mostly my father) put the Alison Jr. together, he gluing on each individual shingle and I impatiently waiting for the day when I could start to fill it. But life moves on. My father got a job in another state, I was about to start High School, and by the time the dollhouse came out of storage I had moved on to other interests and pursuits.
Then came a brief stint in college, a long term illness, quitting a couple of low paying jobs, and suddenly I decided I wanted to work on the dollhouse again. I had found a miniature shop nearby, and purchased new shutters, posts for the porch, and wallpaper. I also ordered two of the extensions for the Alison Jr. Why I thought this was a good idea while I was unemployed, I don’t know, but I never put the extensions together and the little miniature shop… closed up shop. Once again, I let the dollhouse go.
After another move to my parents’ current home, it was laid to rest in their basement. When my husband and I married, I did not move the dollhouse with me, not knowing where to put it and worried it and the furniture I had gathered would only get damaged. When I caught glimpses of it, I would feel guilty as I noticed the shingles coming off and the dust collecting on it, knowing that my father had put many hours of hard work into its making. I told myself and others that it was going to be what I did when we retired, and gave a nostalgic sigh whenever I passed the miniatures section at Hobby Lobby.
But then I happened to be reading a library book that mentioned a dollhouse, and how lovely it was. I started pining for my own again, and after doing a bit of thinking realized I had (after painting and trying to decorate our condo) a fair amount of what I would need to make progress on my poor, forgotten miniature home. Which brings you up to date to my previous post.
Well, that was a long ramble. If you’re still with me and reading this, I hope I haven’t bored you to the brink of insanity. Thanks again for stopping by, and God bless!