Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 2: My (dis) love (updated May 14, 2013) for American Miniaturist Magazine

I recently learned of the magazine American Miniaturist. How you may ask? (Or I shall ask for you :)  In my new obsession to read, learn, and look at all things miniature, along with my desire to show my husband that I too was capable of spending a little money on a hobby (that beer stuff sure added up fast...and still continues to) I started a new "game" I call e-bay.  I should probably add that I recently got an IPhone, and then found the e-bay app, which dramatically enhanced my desire to play the e-bay "game".  Anyway, I started playing the game with miniature magazines...and WOW, was I good at this game. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not very good at video games, so to finally find one that I'm good at, made me want to play it all the time.  The best part of this game is truly the prizes!  And I won A LOT of them!  In one of my prize packages was 4 issues of American Miniaturist magazine.  I instantly fell in love with this magazine, up and beyond any other magazine or book.  It is a great size, handy to slip into a purse, so I can always have a copy on me when I'm stuck somewhere.  The printing and pictures are amazing.  The projects are awesome, and every issue has a "snippets" page, which are cutouts.  My e-bay game forever changed that day.  I started playing just for this prize.  To date I have 51 of 98 issues published, I'm a current subscriber, and I'm still playing the e-bay game for the missing issues. 

After I started really getting into this magazine, I thought how great it would be to have a list of all the projects, ideas, and tips in the magazine, that way when I get into a project, and I'm looking for ideas, or how to make things for it, I can reference my list and go right to the issues.  On top of that, it's a great way to look at each issue.  So that brings me to today.  I walked outside my house about 4:30 to let the dogs out, and realized it was about 15 degrees warmer outside than in, and I had been freezing all day.  So I grabbed a stack of magazines and my laptop and sat on my front porch and started a spreadsheet.  about 7:30 the mosquito's came out to have me for dinner, so I went into the house, but then instantly had this great idea, it was still really nice out, so why not build a fire in the back yard and enjoy the evening, that should keep the little biters at bay.  Who says you need to have friends over to have a bon-fire!  So here I now sit, alone by the fire, basking in all the mini ideas that have been running through my head.  I should post a few more old pictures, and get on with telling you about the house I'm currently working on and all the cool stuff I did to the exterior of it in the past few days...but I think I'll just keep it too myself for a little longer....I'll give ya a hint though, it's cooler than I imagined and I'm actually freak'n proud of how it's turning out.

Update May 14, 2013...I'm soo beyond frustrated with not only how horrible American Miniaturist's handles customer service, the inconsistencies in their Imag (digital magazines, which is all I get anymore from any magazines) and their complete lack of anything NEW thats actually miniature related, that I now regret the last subscription renewal I did...and for the record I didn't just wake up and feel this one day, they've been pushing me to this point for about a year and a half now.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day 1.3: 1989ish....from idea to house!

I planned this house on paper, and then built it!  As you can see, it wasn't so fancy, in fact it was meant to be a cabin. It was my 1st attempt at adding an interior room (the bathroom).  I hand laid the wood floor in the huge living space (I recall being so proud of that wood floor :). I was too afraid to tackle stairs, as I had nothing but problems with my only other house that had stairs, so I gave them a ladder to climb to the bedrooms.  Luckily this family never moved into this cabin, could you imagine climbing a ladder with say a baby, or pregnant, just to go to bed.  What was I thinking? O that's right, I was thinking like a teenager :)

I envisioned this being the 'cabin' a large family would come to, and all hang out in the living room together.  Thinking about it now, hanging out in the living room would be the easiest choice....see end of paragraph 1 :)  It never got any farther than this though.

Day 1.2: My 1st dollhouse

This is my first house.  I received it in 1977, for my 5th Birthday

Day 1: My first attempt to "Blog"

Been thinking about this for, O a LONG time.....and I'm not sure what finally made me decide this morning to see how difficult it would be to actually start a blog, but I'm amazed to learn that I sat down at my computer about 2 minutes ago, and here I am, already writing my first posting.  I'll be completely honest, I'm not so sure I was prepared for it to be so easy.  I haven't even thought about what I would write.  So I guess I'll just "wing it", 

Let's see, maybe I'll just try to interview myself, that should get some thoughts flowing. 

Q1) Why am I starting a blog?
A1) Cause I have this passion that's been burning in me since I was a small child, for dollhouses, houses, and really all things miniature (except for a few things in life, which I prefer not to be miniature :) It all started when I was maybe in preschool, I went to play at a friends house, and she had this magnificent dollhouse.  Thinking back on how perception can change over the years, it could have been a crappy cardboard house with homemade stuff in it, but I don't think that's the case, cause after talking non-stop about it, my parents built me my first house....and I recall that immediate mixed feeling of 'O'YES! My own dollhouse! and ' and 'WOW, is this nothing like her house'.  My 1st house was a 4 room farmhouse. It wasn't big, it wasn't extravagant.  It was sparsely furnished and it was fairly "non-realistic", as far as real houses go.  But I didn't complain (as far as I can recall) cause here was my own house.  Looking back now (as an adult and parent) I realize the cost difference between my house and her house (I'm not kidding you, my memory of her house was something like in a museum...and she got to play with it :) but I'm guessing my parents had a little sticker shock when they looked into this gift I so desperately wanted.  Not to mention, as a parent, isn't our second thought after doing a small amount of research "How long is this really gonna last? Is it really worth the investment?" 

Looking back now, I realize that this "investment" was the one that was to stick!  I spent hours playing in that house, I re-arranged the rooms.  The family that lived in it had a baby.  They eventually got a Porsche (very practical choice for a farmhouse :) Every chance I had to look at dollhouse stuff and give gifts to this family, I took.  When I turned 16 and could drive (and had a job) my passion burned like never before.  I found miniature shops to go to. I saved my money and bought a plywood house shell, and I worked on that house!  It was way more up to date than the farmhouse.  It was the 80's, and this house showed it!  I think I have pictures somewhere...I guess I'll have to look into how I get those on here :)  Eventually I ended up selling this house...for $500!  which was about what I put into it, but I was just so proud to sell it at all.  And when you are a teenager, and you've spent $500 over a couple years it doesn't feel like much, but boy to get it dropped on ya in 1 lump sum, it felt like ALOT! 

My next house was a cabin I designed myself, I bought a piece of plywood, and I built!  This house never got finished, and roughly 18 years later (after moving it with me MULTIPLE times) I sold it on Craigslist for $50. I can look back on my attachment, and reason for holding on to it, it was my first "built from my own idea" house.  It was built really well also I may add.  However, my thoughts on things like room sizes were drastically off.  Maybe today I could make it work, but I just never got it off the ground once it was built.

From there I bought another plywood kit, I believe it was on clearance and it was too good of a deal to pass up.  It was a chalet, but it wasn't going to stay a chalet :)  This was my first time "kit-bashing" although I'm not sure the changes I made really fall into this term.  More or less, I look 1 style of house and made it into, of all things, a country style house, and with an awesome deck!  This house stuck with me for MANY years also.  I would work on it here and there.  I moved MANY times and it followed.  It spent time in a living room in one house, and the garage in the next.  Last summer this house also found a new home thanks to Craigslist. 

You see, I think I panic'd last summer when I made my last move.  I kept thinking how I wasn't going to have room in the new house for these "projects that were never gonna get completed".  And I wasn't going to have room in my life for this "hobby" that I had 18 years ago.  Over the years dollhouses (more than I've talked about so far :)  have come into my life, spent some time being neglected, and then moved on.  I thought why not just end the cycle and not even move this stuff.  So I sold these 2 houses, and most of the stuff in them.  I kept 2 small boxes of stuff I just couldn't part with, and a glencroft kit that I had bought at the Goodwill for like $10.  I figured well the winters can get long in my new area, maybe this is something to tinker on if I need something, and it's a $10 project, so if i start it and it doesn't go well, I can always toss it in the trash and not be out much.  Or maybe I could make it a holiday house for a decoration or something.  So in the trailer it went, and on the shelf in the new garage it sat. 

I met my husband 2 years ago June 26 (2009).  About 6 months after we met, he started brewing beer.  He kept saying how he really wanted and needed a hobby.  He said he had gotten into a few things over the years, but nothing ever stuck and nothing ever fueled a fire within him.  Over the course of the following few months, I watched as my husband studied beer and the process of making it.  It was amazing to me.  I'm not even kidding a little bit, my husband has a PHD in beer!  I've seen this beer hobby consume him.  I've seen him spend money (rationalizing the whole time) that shocks me.  But he loves it!  Not just the drinking part :)  He loves the process. He loves the socializing we do when he brews (people love to come "brew" with him).  He loves learning new things about it, trying new things, reading stuff, traveling to different places and trying new beers. It's crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!

This past winter, I believe it was a Saturday evening, and I was home alone (strange after spending my entire life living in a fairly large city, and raising 4 kids, that now I live "Up-North" in the country, and all my baby's have their own lives...and my husband is a pilot) anyway, something made me think of that kit in the garage.  I brought it in the house and thought, 'Wow, this thing is soo ugly, what would I do if I would be a waste of time".  Then a light bulb went off.  I've tried soo many hobby's over the years, and nothing has really 'stuck' and no fire has ever really burned, except here I am, 37 years old, staring at a dollhouse kit, still in the box and wow, is it ugly!  Then I thought of all the house's I had changed over the years.  Then I thought about my husband's beer hobby. Then I thought about Google.  So I Google'd Glendroft, hit images, and there was my inspiration.  This kit, sitting in front of me (still in the box) was right there on my screen, only it was beautiful.  It was done in stone and stucco, with beautiful steps and an awesome roof.   And I realized, this desire to find a hobby to quench my creative thirst that I always have, has been right there all along, but instead of looking at it like a gift, I had been looking at it like a chore or trailer for the past 15-18 plus years.  Then I thought about my husband and how he had invested the time into his hobby, and spent a little money (I think fairly guilt-freely) and his result is amazing.  So I let him be my "hobby role-model" and I tore the box open and in my living room that night, I built the shell that would become my 1st house back in the miniature world. 

So after all this digression, what was the question?  Why am I starting a blog?  I guess cause while learning and doing research, and getting into the "mini" world again, I've started to enjoy the pictures and ideas that I've found online, and I thought maybe someone else might be interested in seeing the things I'm doing.  There's also a little part of me that loves to write and I find it a therapeutic, so I figure maybe this will also help me mentally and emotionally, both areas I could use some help :)  So, if your reading this, I hope you enjoyed my 1st blog.  I'm going to attempt to figure out adding pictures next, and who knows what I'll write about next time :)