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    September 2009

    Member of the Month - Meet Shy Spirit!
    By Heidi Cleveland

    Member of the Month

    We are winding down to the end of summer. Here in the Northeast, we did not have much of a summer. It was cool, cloudy and raining most of the time. September never disappoints though. Air conditioners are whirring. Sweat is dripping. Not much is done in the miniature arena except maybe sit and stare at your accomplishments.

    I would like to introduce you to September`s Member of the Month, Rosalind (Shy Spirit). Shy has been a member of the Greenleaf forum since June 13, 2006. Shy has a flair with color and details in her miniatures. She is also a great person to talk to on the forums.

    Member of the Month

    Shy grew up in England but at the age of ten, she moved to Canada with her family.  She has a wonderful partner who likes to see her miniatures and dollhouses. He is glad that the hobby makes her happy. She has two children. Her son is 22 years old and her daughter is 20 years old. Neither of them are interested in miniatures, but her furbabies (her three cats) make up for the kids` lack of interest. Dollhouses and miniatures have always been a love of hers, but Shy also has a passion for the theatre. She originally wanted a stage career but decided after studying at Theatre School there in Canada, that being a stay at home Mom was more important to her.

    She did not give up on the theatre completely. Shy was able to act in community theatres, dinner theatres, summer stock, and fringe. For over ten years Shy was a stage make up artist.  She also taught children’s theatre for ten years. Now that her children are grown, her focus has swung back into dollhouses and miniatures.

    Shy was fortunate to have a wonderful dollhouse to play with as a child. It was handmade for her mother by her uncle, whose job in the Navy enabled him to pick up things for the dollhouse from all over the world. It was a very lovely house. It had real glass windows, bear skin rug, brass curtain rods and a fireplace that flickered magically.  Shy loved that dollhouse very much and was devastated when it was given away to her Mother’s cousin’s little girl. That happened when the family immigrated to Canada. It was supposed to stay in the family but it has mysteriously disappeared.

    Member of the Month

    Shy would say she is a "Jack of all trades and a Master of None" in the dollhouse world. If she was rich, she thinks she would be more of a collector but she does love to make little things herself.  She feels she is not very experienced in building dollhouse because she has only built two so far and rehabbed one. She will consider herself a builder when she has more houses under her belt.  She does love the decorating aspect of dollhouses. There are so many different styles that she wants to try. For now, decorating is her favorite in the whole process. She says that building a dollhouse is still a very scary prospect for her. It is a good thing because every time she accomplishes a part that is difficult, she feels on top of the world! Shy does not think there is any part of building a dollhouse that she hates. Hate is such a strong word. Building a dollhouse is a positive experience and extremely therapeutic. Even a splinter isn't that bad. A splinter is like a badge of honor. It is a visible sign that she is working on a creation.

    Member of the Month

    The first dollhouse that Shy started to build was the Coventry Cottage. She was nervous, excited and very eager to get going on it. She carried that box home from the store with great anticipation. She had waited for year to have her own dollhouse and now the time had come. She lovingly looked at the picture on front of the box, imagining what her version would look like. She opened the box, pulled out the instructions, read the instructions and made herself some tea. She prepared all the pieces for construction and was proud of her accomplishment. Shy read the instructions over again and started to get worried. Would the floor break as she eased it into place? Would the corners be squared? Would the walls warp when they were painted? She felt lost, alone, and inadequate. She piled all the pieces into a couple of boxes and sadly put them away. That was many years ago and she is sad to admit that the poor little cottage is still waiting for her to rescue it from limbo. (Rescue it Shy! Rescue it now!)  That cottage is going to get built one of these days and Shy will not worry about the “What-ifs"  She has her army of Greenleafers to help her out if she runs into trouble.
    Shy wishes there was a Greenleaf convention. She would love to meet all the special people that she admires and spends time with online. Her other miniature dream would be to have a real workspace. A dedicated area/studio all set up with bookshelves, counters, tools, and supplies organized perfectly. I love that dream!
    This year, Shy wants to make time for building more of the kits that wait patiently for her attention. There are never enough hours in the day for all the things that need doing. She may even splurge and take a professional workshop course.

    Shy`s favorite mini is very small indeed. It is a tiny piece of painted wood. It is a part of one of the shelves on the faux bookshelf from her Mom`s English dollhouse. It had broken off before the dollhouse was given away and she hid it. For many years, that partial row of faux books was her secret treasure. It will have a pride of place in a dollhouse one day. For now, it is tucked away in her box of cherished miniatures.  Shy had a very difficult time trying to say which of her dollhouses her favorite was. She said it was like asking a Mother to pick which of her children were her favorite. She has decided on the Vineyard Cottage. It is very special to her. It isn't built yet but the plans she has for it are quite specific. It is all finished in her mind`s eye and definitely would have been her late Father`s pride and joy.

    Shy gives the same advice that she would give to any newbie to the dollhouse hobby. Do not take yourself too seriously, explore, play, and follow your instincts. Do research, read books, magazines, have fun searching online, talk to other miniaturists – join a club if you can, and join miniature forums - and don’t be afraid of making mistakes!  It’s good to plan ahead, but don’t get stuck “thinking” too much.  Sometimes you just have to jump right in and “do”!  Advice and suggestions from others can be helpful … but in the long run, the miniature world that you create answers to nobody else but you.  Learn as much as you can about the world around you – it can all be applied to minis in one way or another … after all, the world of miniatures is the same as the world we live in, just a little smaller.  Last but not least - remember that the Greenleaf forum is here for us all.  It is like attending the friendliest, funniest, most interesting university for miniatures – with countless treasure troves of information, eye-candy, and kindred spirits.

    You can visit Shy`s gallery here.

    For participating in the Member of the Month, Shy will receive a $25 gift certificate to the Greenleaf Store.

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