Jump to content

Recommended Posts

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!!!!

 

BF5A36F2-E3EC-44D2-921B-5C73A915020F.jpeg

BABD7F91-87D9-434E-A965-2F92A3D1EDF1.jpeg

2D6F04B2-1E0A-44BB-AD47-2EF9F274767E.jpeg

98DAB2EC-B68E-42E0-BA10-425AE6E817F2.jpeg

55F93C0A-3535-426A-B293-FB2B348B0228.jpeg

1BCBAF35-316E-4C84-A096-C00434CE5757.jpeg

D5FCB341-E528-4F35-B2ED-61FBC317E127.jpeg

75EAC9CD-60EC-4B9C-BD1A-AFEBA12DCA07.jpeg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

:wave: Hi Erin!  

My son and his wife live in North Potomac.  

I just loved reading your story!  Oh, how I would love to see your little treasures and chat minis with you. 😄 Looking forward to gleaning some miniature knowledge from your years of experience!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry you lost your house, but you will always have your memories! I am thrilled you found another kit in the box. Now you can make new memories while reliving the old! I look forward to hearing you participate in discussions to share your knowledge and experiences.

P.S. have you considered writing for a career? You are a great Storyteller!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome, Erin! 

My father was a career Naval officer, and my husband was also in the Navy when we married, so I know EXACTLY what you mean about movers, and the necessity in any case of paring down belongings when you move every 3 years. 

 

I enjoyed reading your post—I will never criticize anyone about length, as I can go on and on myself.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/6/2021 at 1:54 PM, jbnmini said:

:wave: Hi Erin!  

My son and his wife live in North Potomac.  

I just loved reading your story!  Oh, how I would love to see your little treasures and chat minis with you. 😄 Looking forward to gleaning some miniature knowledge from your years of experience!

I am so happy to be here! I’ve lurked for FAR too many years, but have been so busy with the kids I haven’t been able to really work on minis, or even just to contribute to forums!!! I still have 2 at home (Joanna, 14 and Juniper, 6) and one (Mason, 24) living in Norfolk, Virginia. North Potomac is such beautiful country, and it’s somewhere we might settle when my husband retires 😌

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/6/2021 at 2:06 PM, havanaholly said:

Welcome to the little family, Erin.  I'm one of those people who makes almost everything I put into my houses.

Oh my goodness!!! I aspire to do just that, but time just seems to slip away from me! I made tons of things when I was younger, but I had two of my children later in life <geriatric pregnancies, hahaha> and verrrry spaced out (there’s almost 17 years between my first and last!!), so I’ve been focused on them for the last 20 or so years. Now, with Covid, the two littler ones have been home with me for almost a year and a half, while I’ve been enrolled in college trying to get nursing prerequisites out of the way (I really want to be a nurse). The littlest, Juniper, LOVES making miniatures and watching mini-YouTube how-tos like Bentley House Miniatures with me (if you YouTube I highly recommend!!). She makes her own playscale dolls like Monster High buildings and rooms with cardboard and tons of craft materials we have laying about. My 14 year old, Joanna, loves to paint tiny scale game pieces (Star Wars exclusively for the moment) and has become quite talented at that endeavor, so at least I maybe have passed that “mini gene” down to them!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/6/2021 at 7:37 PM, Kells said:

This was a lovely post and I read every word. So happy for you that you've found another of your first house!

Thank you!!! I was BESIDE MYSELF when I got the notification that someone had a complete kit and was willing to sell it to me. What a gift! And thank you for liking my loooong post, I tend to be a very chatty person and I have NEVER had a mini-friendship in real life, probably because I started so young and then moved around so much as a military spouse. So I am just tickled and very grateful this forum exists and is so active — online mini friends are the best!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
On 8/6/2021 at 7:48 PM, Medieval said:

Sorry you lost your house, but you will always have your memories! I am thrilled you found another kit in the box. Now you can make new memories while reliving the old! I look forward to hearing you participate in discussions to share your knowledge and experiences.

P.S. have you considered writing for a career? You are a great Storyteller!

Thank you! I don’t blame my Dad for dropping the house (I had to leave it behind - so it was more my own fault than his!) and you’re right; I have TONS of memories of my first house to reminisce about. 
 

Thank you, also, for complimenting my writing! I have kept a daily journal since I was 14 (30 years now!) and have always loved writing almost anything! I never thought to turn it into a career … I think I might have a touch of something called “Pretender Syndrome” (I don’t think is a diagnosable disorder, just a name for a way of thinking about oneself) when it comes to things like writing or art … but THAT is such a vast topic I will just touch on it here.

My paternal grandparents met on Broadway in Oklahoma!, Dad was a child actor who played Beanie Harper on a Soap Opera called Love of Life and an opera singer, Great-grandparents were entertainers and <mostly B & C> movie actors; my Great Grandpa Emory has over 250 movie credits and a lot more TV credits to his name. My Great Grandmother, Effie, who performed with Emory on the Chautauqua and Vaudeville circuits and did some movie and TV work, was also a very talented painter and artist. It seemed as if every member on my Dad’s side of the family had some amazing, breathtaking talent, but for some reason I was always very overtaken by the feeling that anything I did or made wasn’t good enough. I don’t blame my family; they were (and are!) gregarious and amazing, humor-filled and intelligent. The feeling just came as a part of my own genetic makeup, and even with therapy and such I really haven’t been able to shutter it, just to mute it a bit. 
 

And so, with my writing as with all of my creative ventures, I’ve just kept it private and close to my bosom. Maybe some day I’ll take that leap … turning 40 for me was a life-changing event and I have stopped caring more and more what other people think about me as I get older (as long as I’m kind and generous and a good human being). It’s such a freeing place to be, and I want to continue to explore down this (semi) new-found path of “putting things out there”!!!!! If anyone has read *this far*, BLESS YOU. Told ya I was chatty 😂😂😂😂❤️❤️❤️

Edited by erinezavala
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, peonyfoxburr said:

Welcome, Erin! 

My father was a career Naval officer, and my husband was also in the Navy when we married, so I know EXACTLY what you mean about movers, and the necessity in any case of paring down belongings when you move every 3 years. 

 

I enjoyed reading your post—I will never criticize anyone about length, as I can go on and on myself.

Oh, the military life!! It has it’s perks, and it’s problems, but I’ve been very blessed and lucky for my husband to have good, continual work throughout all of these economic ups and downs!!! His career also afforded me the ability to stay at home with the kids, which is a privilege I don’t take lightly. I’m so glad you didn’t mind my long introduction post - it’s good to know that brevity is not *always* wanted or warranted!!! ❤️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, havanaholly said:

Erin, I was 50 when I decided to go to nursing school.

I am so inspired by this - I’m struggling right now because of some mental health issues and the effects of the psychotropic drugs I have to take. The drugs just rob me of quick recall, so I have had to take a break (probably through the Fall semester) so that I can stabilize. Thank you for giving me hope that I *can* do this!!!! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Erin :wave: Welcome to signing up and chatting! I like long posts too, I get lots of information. I find it particularly difficult to tell stories concisely, but at this stage in life (turned 40 in July) I figure if you ask, I'm going to tell, and if you don't want to listen you won't ask again :p I always have additional questions when a story is told concisely! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/9/2021 at 3:51 PM, Muriel said:

Hi Erin :wave: Welcome to signing up and chatting! I like long posts too, I get lots of information. I find it particularly difficult to tell stories concisely, but at this stage in life (turned 40 in July) I figure if you ask, I'm going to tell, and if you don't want to listen you won't ask again :p I always have additional questions when a story is told concisely! 

I love this!!!! And welcome to the 40+ club! Turning 40 was a pinnacle in my life - I stopped caring *so much* about what other people thought of me. I am a people pleaser extraordinaire, so I still struggle with this, but turning 40 DEFINITELY helped send me down a better path!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Loved finding this and reading about your "mini journey".  I found my Holly Hobbie house by sheer good luck and it's been my passion project for the last two years.  It's so hard to find anything in this particular dollhouse online so I tried to attach some photos but I can't make the size small enough (ironically)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By peonyfoxburr
      Greetings and salutations—as indicated, I live in Massachusetts, about 40 miles northwest as the crow flies from Boston. Remember the line in “Paul Revere’’s Ride” about riding to “spread the alarm/ To every Middlesex village and farm/ For the country folk to be up and to arm?” My town is one of the villages he didn’t reach, because of being captured by the British between Lexington and Concord.
      I came to miniatures and dollhouses by way of collecting small dolls and their assorted accessories and belongings. I have worked on a couple of roomboxes and a very small dollhouse (the Adams), but my current is my first really big house. Bought it as a shell years ago fron Real Good Toys, and then it sat until shortly before the pandemic began and all my outside activities got cancelled. In its finished form, depending upon whether you added porches or additions, it appears on Pinterest as the Hawthorne, the Woodstock, or the Altamont—generic Victorian with a tower and a big front gable. As none of the finishing accessory packs are available anymore, finishing will require some further purchases, and possibly some kit bashing. 
      I retired from work seven years ago, and have enjoyed the free time to pursue all my interests, which include fiber arts (knitting and spindle spinning), gardening, sewing (aspiring quilter!), birding, and attending to whatever animals are sharing the house at the time, though I’m down to one cat at present. He’s deliberately ignoring me right now, because he got taken to the vet for his annual checkup today and is mad at me. 
      And now I’m off to apply another coat of paint to The Hawthorne-Woodstock-Altamont dollhouse!
       
    • By JeannieS
      Hi, Everyone!  I am new to the Greenleaf Forum.  I live in Fairfield County, CT.  I have loved tiny things since I was a child and from about age 9 into my teens I loved decorating my childhood dollhouse (a four-room tin house with an "addition" of 8 rooms thanks to two liquor store boxes, haha) and making mini things for it.  I really didn't pack the house away until I went to college, but then for about ten years I didn't think much about miniatures.  Then I found a dollhouse kit at Goodwill and put that together and decorated it sort of on a whim.  Ten MORE years went by, and my mom sent me a little quarantine birthday care package that contained a miniature room kit, which I finished putting together a few weeks ago.  I started poking around on Instagram looking at some of the amazing things miniaturists do, and now I am wondering why I haven't been making miniatures and building things this whole time!  I think I didn't realize what a large community of people it is.  It sort of felt like something I enjoyed as a kid and almost didn't realize could be a hobby for me as a "grown-up", too.  So here I am!  I just bought an Aster Cottage kit, and am slowly getting ready to put that together with a Christmas theme, but I'm doing lots of reading and preparing because I want it to look great :-)  
    • By Lula
      Oh my goodness, I so happy I found this forum. Super excited to get to know all these creative minds.  I have zero experience building dollhouses - well as an art student 100 years ago in HS, I did create a miniature Shakespearian Scene for my English teacher. That’s it!
      My husband purchase this dollhouse for my at a Fleamarket. I’m planning on rehabbing it ;-) 
      xxx-ooo
       
    • By lrsafari
      Although in the near term I won't be able to contribute... It is rude to drop by without annoucing your arrival
      Scott, living in Phoenix, Arizona with family. Years desired to build a dollhouse for daughters, but time and life didn't allow. I hope to refocus later in life and build in On30, O gauge (Lionel) narrow gauge model railroad.  Large scale, and motion.
      Will post in correct forum, will pass on a Dura-Craft  Heritage.  
      I looked through a lot of your posts and work.  Stunning demonstration of skill, art, focus and patience!
       
       
    • By Caraloo
      Greetings!  I’ve been a member for a couple years, but posted for the first time just yesterday.  I live in Missouri, and have always loved miniatures.  I’m currently renovating and landscaping my largest dollhouse. Ten rooms, all brick.  My aunt found it in an antique shop 15 years ago.  I also have built a 3 story Christmas building (Celerity), a half scale (scratch built from Nutshell News plans), and several kit room boxes.  I love all the knowledge and creativity in this community!
×
×
  • Create New...