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Hello! My name is Erin Zavala, I am 44 years old, and I have loved miniatures since I was about 6 years old, maybe younger. There’s just something so magical and captivating about anything small. I currently live in Washington DC, where my husband is stationed as an active duty military member. Originally from Los Angeles, I was incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to shop at stores like Dollhouse Lady Miniatures in Arcadia, Mott’s Miniature Museum in Anaheim, Angel’s Attic in Santa Monica, Larrianne’s Small Wonders (then in Camarillo), and later, at the Carole & Barry Kaye Museum of Miniatures gift shop (both locations). When I was in Kindergarten my friend Amanda had the most amazing dollhouse - her Mom was an interior designer and had kitbashed a beautiful Farmhouse for her. It really was beautiful and filled with so many mini treasures I just wanted to sit and look at it and rearrange the pieces over and over again. This obsession with my friend’s dollhouse led to my Grandparents getting me a Holly Hobbie Homespun Honey & Spice dollhouse, and completely furnishing it from top to bottom. It was my most treasured possession. At around age 8 (in the early 1980’s) I started a nearly lifelong subscription to Nutshell News and Miniatures Showcase (which didn’t last very long, unfortunately). I started seriously saving my money for the exquisite (and often very, very expensive) miniatures I saw in NN and at the Museum and shops. I could only afford small, accessory pieces from artists like Ron Benson, Todd Kreuger, Betsy Niederer, The Doll’s Cobbler, Harry Smith, Mosaic Press, Barbara Raheb, Pete Aquisto and Victor Franco, amongst others, but the accessories … these teeny tiny daily items rendered so perfectly, so artistically simply took (and still takes) my breath away. I started trying my hand at realistic renderings of furniture and accessories when I was older, with kits, kit-bashed and my own designs from scratch. My dollhouse held a continuous rotation of every kind of miniature I could populate it with, and into my teens and twenties I continued to hunt down treasures and make things for it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take it with me when I got married. My husband was and still is Active Duty in the Navy, and we move around too much for me to pack up the house and all of it’s tiny pieces every 2-4 years (if anyone else here is either in the military or a military spouse they will understand why military movers would absolutely destroy it, and most likely a lot of my collection would be “lost” forever), so I left it at my parents with their blessing. Well … one day my Papa went to move it, and he dropped it. It splintered into pieces beyond repair, and that was that. Thank goodness I had, over the years, brought all of my miniature furniture and accessories to “live” with us. Cataloged, wrapped up safely and stored in numbered bins, they had waited to reunite with their home, and now it was gone. I have looked for my childhood dollhouse for the last decade +. I have had yet to see one come up at auction, on eBay or Etsy or on the mini-boards; but just yesterday, through kismet, a wonderful lady found an old post of mine on here and told me she had found a kit, still in box, in her Grandmother’s attic. This part is hers to tell, but she has agreed to sell it to me!! I haven’t felt elation like this since we entered the pandemic years, and I am so insanely happy I feel as if I could split in two!!! Since this has already become an encyclopedia of giant proportions I’ll just say that today, in 2021, I collect fine artisan, up and coming artisan, eBay, Etsy, handmade, homemade (by me) and factory made pieces almost exclusively through the internet. My latest purchase was a beautiful Marcia Backstrom doll, dressed by Marcia and absolutely perfect down to the feathers in her hat. I love how kind, sharing, compassionate, empathetic, creative and passionate the miniature world is … it’s always been this safe, creative and quiet place to be when I’m feeling crazy in the world. If you’ve read this far, thank you so much! I tend to go on and on about miniatures, and I’ve never had anyone to really talk to about them! I have lurked here for forever, and was a member of the Tiny Talk and Small Talk miniature forums when our phone lines still plugged us into the internet!!! I’m attached a photo of my minis I made in my early teens (hence Mr. Pink Bear getting deconstructed and given a strong tea bath; he needed a little makeover, hahahaha). Also attached is a picture of me in the 1980’s as a child with my Holly Hobbie house. Much ❤️, everyone, and happy mini-ing!!!!
Hi. I am new to the world of doll houses. I started My first one tonight I have the Orchid House. I am sure I will make a lot of mistakes but I am so excited. About building it I am a mobile dog groomer by day so I will do all my work at night. The main problem is my eye sight is not great with reading small print. Is there any where I can download the instruction book so I can making reading the directions easier? I look forward to talking to people who know how to build these wonderful houses.