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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 everyone! I haven’t been around in a bit because I’ve been building my Etsy shop. But- I’ve reached a point where realize I could really use the input and combined miniatures wisdom of this community-
First, I have to say I love Etsy and especially miniatures shopping on Etsy- and it’s really kind of mind boggling when you realize just how many miniatures makers and artisans there are all over the world!
I know at least some of you must have experience as merchants on Etsy, either of miniatures supplies and/or handmade artisan miniature items,etc. and I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with any parts of the process! One thing I have come across is the huge amount of mass manufactured dollhouse miniatures available for very cheap. It’s hard to compete with those kinds of prices!
When setting out to make items for an Etsy shop, how do you decide what to make , and if it will sell? How can you find a niche without overspecializing?
These are just some of the things that I have thought as I’ve gone through the early processes of setting up my shop. Here’s the link if you want to check it out https://etsy.me/2M1CJOj - all positive and constructive feedback is welcomed!!
By My Miniature Madness
I've been busy over the last several weeks going through my collection and dismantling three of my major dollhouse projects. I have literally run out of space, and if I want to do more projects in the future (and I really do), I need to let go of some of the older stuff. Here's a link to the items I have listed on eBay - all the opening bids start at $.99 and most things are just sold as big lots of like items:
These are the dismantled structures I have on Craigslist. They are all big and heavy and the shipping seems pretty cost prohibitive to list them on eBay. I am not even sure what to ask for them, so please feel free to make suggestions in terms of pricing or whatever you think would be helpful to move them on:
By Homemade Miniatures
Homemade Miniatures is available on Facebook with new inventory weekly!
Sharing 3 generations of love for dollhouses and miniatures! We create modern and organic 1:12th scale furniture kits made from solid wood and soft fabrics. These kits are enjoyed from miniaturists filling their dollhouses to loved ones looking for a hobby to share together.
Our furniture kits include instruction booklets, pre cut pieces, sanded & unpainted wood, and linens (if applicable). These kits are ready to be designed, painted, and turned into one of a kind pieces that are homemade and handmade by you!
Toilet and sink made using homemade cold porcelain, ( my toilet actually flushes water..fill the tank, push the handle and watch the water disappear ), roll top bread box, leather mules for Barbie.
Cold porcelain......easy to make, put in air tight container it will last for months and not rot, easy to work with, no baking,
drys as fast as school glue and hard as a rock almost...hard enough to carve like wood and sand too.
For a lump about the size of a golf ball ----
1/4 c Cornstarch
1/8 c School Glue ..doesn't have to be school glue, any white glue or craft glue will work.
1tsp Mineral Oil....baby oil is ok as well as face cream like Noxzema, maybe even olive oil or coconut oil- sewing machine oil? LOL ....worth a try!
Ive used mineral oil and Noxzema ...both worked fine except Noxzema is too smelly.
Put the 3 ingredients into a container and stir until it starts clumping into chunks, then using your fingers,
need the clumps together..adjust the consistency adding more corn starch to firm it up or more glue to moisten...
You will know the consistency is correct when the inside of the container looks clean as well as your fingers.