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Minnies and Such

Updated: Aug 20, 2018

Are you guys watching Making It on NBC? I almost fell off my chair (okay, couch) last week when they announced that Tuesday's episode was about two of my favoritest things on Earth: FORTS and TERRARIUMS!! Well, okay, forts are most definitely one of my top faves, but terrariums are really more of just one example of a favorite grouping of mine: miniature, teeny-tiny things. It's all part of my deep and abiding love of childhood and all its possibilities, and last week's episode of Making It could not have been more up my alley!

Black and white drawing of a large tree holding several elaborate treehouses.
Original pen and ink drawing of what my childhood self fervently believed she could accomplish with sticks and leaves every Saturday when she trekked out to the woods to build a fort.

Ah, memories....

During my own childhood, I was a total kid’s kid, you know? Building forts in the woods? Did it. Swimming in creeks? Yep. Inventing dangerous contraptions out of old junk? Uh huh. Rolling in mud for absolutely no reason? Ask my mom. In my neighborhood, we hunted ghosts and played Jail Break after dark, and we even had a local dump to play hide-and-seek in. Good times.

But my most enduring memory of childhood is definitely building elaborate miniature worlds for my dolls, stuffed animals, Barbies, He-Man figures (I was unconstrained by gender stereotypes even as a tiny person) and other assorted “friends.” Sometimes I just used imaginary residents for my constructions – fairy houses were a personal fave, and this was long, long (loooong…I’m feeling old) before the recent fairy craze, and for me the best part of having pet fish was arranging all the stuff in their aquarium every time we cleaned it. My goldfish Pizza (yeah, he looked like pepperoni pizza – what?) had a dining room made out of sea shells and a plastic bucket, just sayin’. When my dad built a dollhouse for me when I was around 9 years old, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Well, I still have that dollhouse – it’s fully furnished and sitting on full display in my living room – and my love of all things tiny hasn’t gone away. If anything, it’s gone a bit bonkers. If you check me out on Pinterest, you’ll see that one of my boards is called “Minnies & Such” which is my ode to all the tiny things out there in the world (and also, I had this childhood dream of opening a dollhouse store someday, and I planned to call it Minnies & Such – hey, it could still happen.) Because, I can’t help it. Because, I’m obsessed. Because Pinterest causes addiction, I’m certain of it.

Original watercolor paintings for Canned Ham's paper doll set

You might also notice the section of my Etsy shop entitled “Little Something Funs.” Yes, you guessed it – that’s a play on words. It’s the section of my shop where I sell miniature things. Right now, it’s tiny dollhouses for paper dolls. Making these things is so much fun! I highly recommend it for your next crafting get-together. Each room fits inside a little 4” by 4” pasteboard box. All of the furnishings and decorations inside are made from found objects, so a sharp eye will see retro refrigerators made from Altoid tins, fully stocked with canned goods made from thread spools, among other clever uses. Each room comes with its own paper doll inhabitant, made from vintage sewing pattern covers. Seriously, so cute. And apparently, it’s not just me! I’ve had folks buy these just to put on a coffee table or bookshelf. One guy bought a retro kitchen for his fiancée, and he planned to put the key to their new house in it and leave it on her desk (dude, you’re awesome). One grandmother bought a bunch of them for her twin granddaughters to play with in the car on a family road trip. I had a fellow yinzer request a custom one, decorated as a 1980s rec room covered in Steelers gear. Last Christmas, I was told they were great stocking stuffers. Whatever floats your tiny, miniature boat!!

So, moral of the story is, childhood is awesome, or at least it should be. Never let it die. If you want to haul your action figures out to the backyard and build the most elaborate Ewok village known to humankind, do it. You wanna put a dollhouse in your living room, do it. You wanna sell tiny paper doll dollhouses on Etsy, do it. You wanna BUY tiny paper doll dollhouses on Etsy (shameless plug), do it. No one’s looking, and even if they are, who cares? Life’s short. Play like a kid!

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