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    November 2010

    Member of the Month - Meet Jo! (Jo Med)
    By Heidi Cleveland

    Congrats Jo!

      I am happy! I ate my turkey dinner. I love it and look forward to it. My family does not. After almost 25 years together, Hubs tells me he really does not like turkey. It has all been a lie! *snicker*  Last year I had cooked Thanksgiving dinner three weeks early because I was having surgery on a herniated disc and would not be able to cook on Thanksgiving. Hubby had to work on our actual Turkey day, so we had Chinese food. Bad Chinese food. This year I am better. Turkey was on November 21st and home made General Tso for Thanksgiving!  After you have slept off the turkey coma or not, you should start thinking about decking the halls. Your dollhouses and mini people will love you for it.  Trees, wreathes, presents, and twinkling lights. Or you can place a beautiful miniature Menorah on your dining room table. Have your mini kids play with a Dreidel.

    Congrats Jo!

     I would love to introduce you to our November Member of the Month, Jo (Jo Meds). Jo has been a member of the Greenleaf forum since January 24, 2009. I love Jo`s attention to detail on all things that she does. Especially the dolls she has been making. Each one is unique and I wish I could buy them all!  You can view her masterpieces in her Etsy store called PocketPygmies by Jo Med.  She is an artist even though she does not think so herself.

    Congrats Jo!

    Jo was born in Derby UK in 1950. She remembers thinking as a child that in the year 2000 she would be 50, but that seemed so far away to her at the time. She wonders where all the time went. Her Mum and Dad both worked and Jo was an only child. She admits she was a bit spoiled but not spoiled enough to have her own doll house. She cannot recall be upset over that fact like many other grown up dollhouse owners. She is different because she came to this hobby late in life. Jo went to art college after she left grammar school but ended up in an administrative job working for the Post Office. She painted occasionally just for fun. She could only handle ten years of that job before she went stir crazy. So she high tailed it to Africa for a couple years, where she worked in a couple different jobs. It was very interesting sitting in her office and having someone come in and tell her to be careful of the Black Mamba under the steps outside. She loved her time there but eventually moved on and came back to the UK. Several years later she found herself back at the P.O.  After several positions, she ended up as the project manager and retired in May 2010. She finds retirement strange after working all of her life. Strange in a good way.

    Congrats Jo!

     She is married to John and they have a son called John who is now 23 years old and working in London in the Post office.

    Congrats Jo!

    Jo had a brief spell in the 1980s when she toyed with the idea of making a doll house. But there was no internet and not many places to go for advice. DHE was open though and she did go and drool at the shop in Ripley. She attempted to make furniture out of balsa wood. She was short on money, time, and patience so those bits of wood were thrown away and she put miniatures aside. Fast forward to the birth of her granddaughter in 2006. She realized that she was a grandmother. For her second Christmas, Jo decided to get her a dolls house. She bought her a plain wood one with furniture and dolls that was suitable for a 2 year old. She had such a wonderful time putting it together and decorating it that her husband John gave her a Garfield for Christmas in 2008.  It arrived in January 2009 and she has been working on it ever since. When she started it, she used her project management skills and planned as much as she could in advance so she knew what she wanted it to look like. Things did change a bit over time but then even project managers can change their minds and their spec. LOL

    Congrats Jo!

    Jo has loved ALMOST all of the building process. Once she carefully applied her siding according to instructions with the packet. Then she painted it. Thirty minutes later it had all flipped up off the wall and made the house look as if it was covered with louvered shutters. Picture it: It was late at night, she was a lady of a certain age, in her nightie and slippers, wild hair, and even wilder eyes snorting like a bull at the gate. If she could have picked that darn house up on her own, it would have been in the garden pond the following morning. The next day, after a good nights` sleep and a reviving cup of tea, she ripped all the siding off and started again. She will not make that mistake again.  What she does love about doll houses is realism. She loves houses that do not really look like doll houses but miniature models of real house. Contrary to what she feels, that also extends to realism in fantasy houses also.

     She has been very busy during her Garfield build. First it was dressing beds, then making daybeds, making dolls, and then making gardens. But the dolls have now become a habit for Jo. She loves seeing who pops out of the clay. Each time it is a surprise. Jo never really knows what a figure is going to look like until she paints the face. Then it is a character with personality. Jo says she would love to be as good as some of the doll artists out there and one day have a stand at a show. Personally, I think your dolls are absolutely marvelous Jo. If I won the lottery, I would clean you out of your supply!
    In the meantime, she started to sell some dolls on Ebay and in her Etsy shop. It took her months to come around to the idea of parting with any of them. She still misses a couple of them, who are in far flung places now but she has their photos so she will never forget them. Jo has only built one house so far but she has great ambitions for the Rutland Grange which was a present from John about 18 months ago. It will be attached to the Bath Town House to make another monstrously big building. She is dying to start this project. It will be an archeologists club. It will be an old house set in the 1930s, containing furniture from bygone ages, hand me downs, and artifacts collected over time. She will have to make some very special people to live there.

    Congrats Jo!

    If Jo was to give any advice to budding miniaturists (and she feels she is not really qualified to advise anyone), she would say that you do not know what you can do until you give it a try. Whatever seems difficult and beyond you, it is only a question away. Ask on the Greenleaf forum, sit back, wait for half an hour, and there will usually be a flood of supportive and informatory responses that will get you started.

    Jo, you have inspired me in so many ways this morning. I am here in my jammies, drinking my second cup of coffee, on the other side of the Pond. There was so many of your pictures that I wanted to feature but I only had so much space in the article.

    You can see the rest of Jo`s pictures in her gallery here.

    Your life story and your miniature story will probably inspire many people after they read it. You ARE an artist Jo, in every sense of the word.

    For her participation in the Member of the month, Jo will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Greenleaf Store.

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