When I'm old, I'll build dollhouses...

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[Warning: I tend to be very verbose and have no idea how long this will be. :D Greetings from Washington State!]

As a kid I always told myself that when I got old and near retirement age (60's or so), then I would allow myself to finally have my miniatures fascination go from being a perpetual window shopper to an active hobby. I grew up in the early 80's with a mother and older sister utterly fascinated by dollhouses while my dad built model railroads. Mom used to have an old dollhouse catalog that was about 1.5 inches thick that I would slowly flip through as if mesmerized, normally stopping 4-5 hours later when my eyes were burning. I certainly couldn't do more than just look. 6 Years old and I was clear about the fact that they were grownup toys.

Back then we had a local miniatures store a couple of towns over that was like a complete wonderland. "You can look, but don't touch" proceeded every single time we stepped into the doors. Huge Plexiglas cabinets towering over my head, lights blazing to illuminate the shelves upon shelves of living room sets, kitchens, bedroom furniture; taking all of the realistic glory that I would pour over and dream about from the catalog as I obediently kept my hands clasped behind my back. I tried to imagine what it would be like actually wiring a dollhouse and have those tiny Tiffany lamps illuminating perfectly decorated rooms. I would always seek out one of my favorite things: the tiny gumball machine with a metal stand and the glass bulb filled with gumballs (beads.) Swiftly or slowly the trip would always come to an end, but not before my sister and I tried to stand on our tiptoes to look into the Plexiglas time capsule delicately protecting this monstrous three story multi-roomed Victorian wonder, complete with gingerbread molding and a tower that even had a pointy roof. (I believe it was The Garfield.) It was a thing that dreams were built on. (I think I may have to attribute my overwhelming love of everything Victorian to that shop.) Even at 7 years old I could see and understand the gargantuan task it represented, and how something like that was a monumental achievement. We could have looked at it for hours and still would have had to been peeled away. I felt like I'd have to be a millionaire before I could ever have something like that. And I was okay with that.

But what really gutted me every single time was looking at the painted and unpainted houses sitting high on the shelves (far from wondering fingers) that were the 'bargain' dollhouse kits. Just once I wanted to leave that store with a kit box under my arm. They were dreams that were literally and proverbially out of my reach. $100 at the time felt like it might as well have been $10,000. We couldn't even afford the punch out wood furniture kits, let alone a full house no matter how small. Every time we left the store I was heartbroken and fighting back tears. I now know that the houses that were forever burned into my memories were the Arthur, the Glencroft, the Tennyson, the Buttercup, the Orchid, possibility even the Westville, Magnolia, and/or Coventry Cottage.

For my 8th birthday my dad took me to a local toy shop. I can't remember if he asked me if I wanted a dollhouse or just let me choose what I wanted in the store. Again, high up on a shelf there was two handmade dollhouses, unpainted and waiting for a home. One was small and simple, the other about double the size. I looked all over the cramped store for something 'reasonable' that I could be happy enough with. But I kept staring at the dollhouses. I was in a state of shock when dad said I could have the little one. Much of this trip is hazy because I had accidentally cut my leg open earlier that day on an old glass tabletop that mom had, requiring a trip to the ER and multiple stitches. By the time we were paying for my house the numbing meds were wearing off and the pain started setting in like the doctor had sewn bees into my calf. It was a weird mix of emotions being elated but flipping from that to pain I couldn't ignore made that aspect less than pleasant.

A couple weeks later dad and I went to Ace Hardware and I got to choose the color to paint my house: deep royal blue (it was my favorite color at the time.) Again I had to deal with a weird mix of emotions because I couldn't get away from the feeling that the dollhouse, and working on any part of it together, was not about the dollhouse but about him trying to 'play dad' after my parents got divorced. When I was 4-5 years old I used to stand in his workshop and watch him build stuff all the time, but usually working on his model railroads. I desperately wanted to be a part of it. But I was always kept at an arm's length. I knew I was not supposed to touch anything in his workshop but I wanted to learn so bad it hurt, as I stood there silently with my hands behind my back like a soldier. Every time it was me just standing there watching whatever he was working on, asking the occasional question. He certainly was not an engaged teacher. Usually I felt ignored or that my silent presence there was just an annoyance despite trying super hard to be a good kid. I thought that If I minded my manners every time that I could show I was capable of at least learning. I was royally jealous when he built a massive dollhouse for my mom and one for my sister (before the divorce) one Christmas that had 8-9 room in them, complete with wood shingles! (Those were the only 'decorations' on the raw plywood houses, but I was still envious.) Sis eventually gathered a small collection of minis that included 'fancy' stuff like a couple Chrysnbon sets as well as just little things she collected, her dollhouse dolls with the hard heads and painted blond hair. Mom used to even have this tiny punch bowl set that I was utterly fascinated with. But I never got any of that.

Vague but happier memories ran through my mind as I was sitting there, staring at my new dollhouse house, smelling the stinky oil paint, while dad was trying to instruct me on painting. Yet it was painfully obvious he was holding back his short temper as it nearly boiled over at my less than perfect painting skills. There was no way I could have been perfect enough for his expectation. It was about him doing something so he could pat himself on the back later for being a good dad, not about what I wanted or if I was even having fun. (He is a Vietnam vet with severe PTSD and could go into red rages seemingly at the drop of a hat. The entire time I was terrified of setting him off. It certainly was not fun.)

Still, I had my homemade dollhouse with some equally homemade furniture that I could dream of turning into a real dollhouse of my own. Thankfully Dad never did anything else with my dollhouse after that, so I really felt like it was really mine to do whatever I wanted with. Even if it was a bit gimpy (there was no door) and the furniture look like it was made out of unpainted wooden blocks. Soon after I was able to buy a small Russ Troll doll that I named Annie. I still think her 'puppy dog eyes' are super adorable. She had white hair so she must have been a grandma, and since grandmas were allowed to have dollhouses, my childhood dollhouse became known as Annie's house. I wanted so badly to turn it into a 'real' dollhouse, but it looked like the person who drafted the plans couldn't figure out what size of doll it should be for. The downstairs completely towered over her 2 inch tall self, yet the upstairs she nearly hit her head on the ceiling. I tried putting a counter in the kitchen area once (a 1"x1" pink painted chunk of wood, with glitter) and once she was standing in the room, there was no space for anything on the other side of the space. I had seen plenty of dollhouses that were put together and then just looked at but for me half of the fun was to play with them. I spent many long hours thinking about how I wanted to customize the house for her. She was not human, so to my childish mind it made her a fae/fairie creature and something that lived in the woods (I was addicted to David the Gnome cartoon at the time.) So I wanted to make her a fairy house.

It seemed simple since it mostly would require me to collect natural materials instead of buying fancy dollhouse furniture. In the end it proved to be massively more difficult than I could have imagined. (Decades before Pinterest.) One thing I did accomplish was to texturize the roof. All it took was wood glue, sand, a foam brush and green food coloring. I was pretty proud of myself that it gave a 'rustic' look to it. All these years later I'm still proud of it even if it isn't perfect and needs a good scrubbing to remove the dust. I wanted her house to fit into nature so I glued small rocks around the short edge of the porch to look like cobblestones. I took some of the green glue and dabbed it all over the blue paint to give it the green look as if some thin layer of moss or lichen were growing on it, because who would have a bright blue house in the middle of the woods? At one point I even tried to glue some sprigs of silk flowers to one of the outside walls to change the visual scale and to look like it was tucked into some flowers in the forest. That part looked terrible and I sadly pulled them off a few years later. I had a good concept but no idea how to even execute it. By then Mom had sold her dollhouse and Sis' box of dollhouse stuff got lost in a move (she was utterly heartbroken beyond belief) and her dollhouse was being used as bookshelves. It was certainly "a make do or do without" period in our lives as my mom was working, attending university and trying to raise 4 kids (I'm the youngest.)

I love my dollhouse but it wasn't a 'real' dollhouse. I just couldn't imagine all that cool stuff in the old catalog ever working in there, and it would certainly be hard to find a door to fit the tall but narrow arched doorway into the house. It didn't even have stairs. I still played with it from time to time, but I just was going nowhere with it feeling like it was only a play dollhouse.

Fast-forward a couple of decades to Sept. 2017: A little more than a year had passed since my body decided to be a freak. Within a few months I could no longer tolerate dairy, wheat/gluten, yeast, oil, any water that isn't distilled, corn, a myriad of other foods with corn derivatives (including medications, vitamins, & painkillers), and suddenly became deathly allergic to baking soda requiring me to get an Epipen prescription. The change seemed completely ludicrous and I still can't fathom why it happened but the pain it causes when I do accidentally eat those things has regularly left me to deal with levels of pain high enough to make me break out in a sweat, severe cramping all over my body where I just have to lay there curled up in a ball and using all the energy I have to keep breathing. And it last for 6-12 hours. By this time I had essentially been bedridden since June. The severity of my health had reached the point that one day I took about 45 minutes to cut my hair and got in the shower. A minute later I decided to just stand in the shower and just let the water wash over me, thinking I was just getting overheated. 30 seconds after that I had to curl up in the bottom of the tub before I completely passed out. It took me a full two hours to recover enough energy to drag myself out of the tub and back into bed. Another time even 30-40 minutes of light exertion (like cleaning the kitchen) left me nearly unable to walk, my mind would be shutting down, completely screwing up my speech making me talk painfully slow, a headache making me feel like my head was trying to explode where my skull connects to my spine, light, sound, movement, and touch were enough to make me start crying because it was excruciating. Just trying to lay down was unbelievably painful and made me cry. Eight hours of bed rest later and my speech patterns still hadn't completely returned to normal.

I am only 39. My body shouldn't be acting like I'm a sickly 85 years old.

It has been a hard year full of my live becoming ever more restricted. I'm so used to being an OCD workaholic (even though I'm a stay-at-home spouse) who is able to hyperfocus for days.  I had tried my best to adapt the last 7 years to having a severe sun allergy that triggers hives in less than a minute if I'm in sunlight, despite wanting to do nothing but garden and be outdoors. But now there are days when I can't even sit up in bed without propping my head up and having my arms being in so much pain that I almost can't lift my phone to type a text message to my husband. Cooking used to be something I could easily do, but now if I do, I have to spend the whole next day and a half resting. So many things changing in ways that I could never imagine (and even goes against cultural norms that people take for granted) that it has been mental whiplash trying to adapt. Recently I've discovered that it is very likely due to a chronic illness that I've had since I was 12 and didn't know it. I was diagnosed with a psychosomatic illness at the time because the doctor thought I was just making it up to skip school. And I've been ignoring it for 26 years because I thought I was just crazy, when in fact it is looking more and more like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

But the whole kitchen incident was a tipping point for me. I cannot even explain how scared it made me. Over the months I could no longer do the hobbies I have done for years (sewing and doll photography most notably) because the movement literally exhausts me. In September It looked like my health was just going downhill with no sign of stopping. Somehow I stumbled across miniatures again. I had never entirely given them up but I would collect tutorials and watch tons of videos, yet create not a single mini. For the last 6 years I've been collecting 1/3 and 1/4 scale Japanese anime style vinyl dolls (Dollfie Dreams) and miniature scale just won't work for them. So it wasn't uncommon for me to have some use for the info, but often the supplies and materials just didn't scale up to the larger dolls. But once again I found myself on Pinterest just collecting all of the mini tutorials I could find. It was a real shock to me when I thought about no longer being a 'window shopper' and actually doing minis, only to hear the reply in my head "But that's what I do when I'm old." I couldn't believe I had heard myself say that even in my head.

Here I was, not even sure if I would be little more than a vegetable in two years from now and I was still telling myself "Not yet." (I've done research since then and the outlook is not so dire, but at the time I had no clue.) I found myself asking, "If not now, when?" I could not think of how my life could become even more restricted and me still being able to function. As it was there were many days I'd be laying in bed crying because it felt like every last one of my creative abilities was being yanked from me. I could no longer build or do repairs around the house because it took more exertion than I could manage. I can only sit up in a chair to sew for 2 hours on my best days, with 3-4 days of rest in between. Same goes for doing anything at my crafting table, and it certainly applies to doing a photo shoot with my vinyl 'kiddos.' I didn't want to turn into this blob of flesh that just watched TV all the time. I have always had to do things with my hands. After a quick and honest assessment I realized that the miniatures are possibility the remaining thing left for me where I can still use all of my creative skills but not have it be detrimental and cause me exhaustion.

I knew that the dollhouse kit was not the most expensive part in the end, but I still had the notion that they were out of reach cost wise (despite how easily I've spent $$$ on our kiddos.) But I still had my childhood dollhouse, borked/weird as it may be. So I went looking for information on how to determine the scale of a dollhouse. I was more than a little stunned that it seemed like Annie's house might be 1/12 scale, but I was sure I was messing up the measurement. By this time I had collected four 11cm (4.25 inch) Obitsu articulated dolls and started to wonder how they would fit in Annie's house. So I pulled it off the shelf it has been sitting for years and placed them inside. I was stunned to see that not only did they fit the short upstairs, they also better fit the taller downstairs. The most amazing thing of all to me is that they fit through the space for the front door without having to turn sideways. They were the first dolls I had that seem to fit the house even if they were slightly child sized by comparison. I knew that the easy way to check proper scale was to get one of the stamped wood furniture kits, if they were still around.

I was SO delighted to find the Greenleaf site, a name I knew so very well. I was stunned at how inexpensive the furniture kits were. As a kid everything just seemed expensive. I was blown away by seeing so many of the dollhouses I so fondly remember, and completely tickled that many of them still use the product images that were in that old gargantuan catalog. It was a complete delight to stroll down memory lane, but this time knowing I didn't have to look, but not touch. Dreams and happiness for sale.

Yet there was one very extremely unexpected thing that took me a little time to uncover. I was looking at the dollhouses in the store when I discovered the Haunted House/Bobbi. My jaw nearly hit the floor. If you strip away everything that isn't the walls, floor & ceiling, shape the door hole like the window in the door, remove the center piece of the roof, and altering the interior to remove the doorways and the stairs... making it as utterly basic as you can, and that is Annie's house. What it looks like is whoever made my dollhouse took the basic pattern from this design and made minor alterations and cut it out from thin plywood. It is held together with small nails and glue but has not a single tab and slot that the company made kits contain. Finally so much about my dollhouse made sense. I could never figure out why there were no stairs, or how in the world the edges of the windows were supposed to be trimmed, and a myriad of other niggling details. I was stunned to see another picture of my dollhouse, and even more gobsmacked that it had any sort of scale to it at all. I had never seen any picture of another dollhouse even remotely looking like mine.

I can say it has only (happily) gone downhill from there. I've got projects I can work on to my heart's content on the days I have enough energy & pain tolerance. It has been made more doable by setting up a crafting table next to my bed so I can work on things when I have just a little energy. I'm not known for doing something "just a little bit" and this is no exception. I now own the Greenleaf Village, Storybook Cottage, the Travel Trailer (my husband and I thought it was hilarious), living room furniture kit, half scale dining room furniture kit (checking the scale with some of my dolls), the Buttercup (joint project with my husband for a steampunk themed house), and I bought an very old (complete!) Washington kit off of eBay. So I'll certainly have projects for quite some time. :cheezy:

If you are still here...I hope this was somewhat worth the read. I'm really eager to get pics up but I know I need at least 5 posts first. Don't worry, they won't all be massive like this. 

I really look forward to participating on the forums now that I've done an adequate intro. (My OCD will always tell me that I missed something. Miniatures has been helping me reinforce that life isn't perfect, but that doesn't make it horridly flawed.)

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Welcome from another Washingtonian! My mom is still waiting for me to "outgrow" anything related to dollhouses. I'm 61. Ain't gonna happen.

Anyway, I was wondering if you had had your doctor check you for Lyme disease? I had a friend with almost some of those same symptoms and it turned out to be Lyme. Of course, she lives back east and I think the doctors there check everyone as a matter of course. Out here you might have to fight with them to check for Lyme.

Anyway, I'm glad you can have the real dollhouses now. Isn't it neat being a grownup with youthful tastes? And yes, when you can, post pics of what you've done!

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Phew....now THAT’S an intro!   Welcome and being an optimist I like to think that there are always better days ahead. 

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Welcome to the little family, Jonathan.  I began building dollhouse kits about the time I started Nursing School, when I was 50, which was over 25 years ago.  If you aren't going to play with them, I see no reason to build them.

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:wave:  Hello! And welcome to our little family!  I thoroughly enjoyed reading your intro- you have a talent for writing as much as being crafty!  While my own Fibromyalgia is quite minimal compared to your suffering, I certainly can relate to those feelings when your life suddenly goes from being active to severely restricted.  As they say over on the Fibro forum: {{butterfly hugs}}.  We're glad you are here!

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Welcome, Jonathon!  That was a very interesting read.  I'm sorry for the pain you've been suffering, but I'm glad you decided not to wait and to pursue your passion now.  Looking forward to your pictures! 

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Wow what a fantastic read!  Seriously...have you ever thought of being an author?  I could visualise it all as you were talking (well, writing) - the image of this wee child being so good in the presence of a very broken Dad (who really did not want to be broken and would have struggled so much with that), made me teary.  Like Jackie, I have Fibromyalgia and have had since at least 1997 (first diagnosis).  My almost 18yr old daughter was diagnosed formally on Monday with fibro as well....it's a genetic thing but pretty darn sad for one so young - especially as she's seen me suffer over the years.  While I can certainly sympathise with CFS, thankfully as Jackie states:

5 hours ago, jbnmini said:

 Fibromyalgia is quite minimal compared to your suffering, I certainly can relate to those feelings when your life suddenly goes from being active to severely restricted.  

I love Washington State - we spent a fair bit of time in Bellingham and Lynden - despite living and being from New Zealand.  My hubby (who has muscular dystrophy) works in the dairy industry.  I am totally fascinated by your story and I'm looking forward to hearing more from you and seeing your photos.  I'm pretty new to the miniature world - I got my Pierce about 3-4 yrs ago I think and did a few 1:24 scale kits before that which really got me hooked.  Welcome!  And I do hope that your health is getting better all the time.  Sometimes these restrictions come out of nowhere but end up having silver linings we would never have seen otherwise.  Ie ....miniatures. xx

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Welcome Jonathan, I show up as Washington as it is where I get my mini stuff sent, I am actually just over the border in Canada.. I can also relate to part of your story but won't bore you with the details. So good that you can now work on your houses. I have been collecting houses and related stuff for a few months as it is getting harder all the time for me to leave the house so I wanted a good stock to choose from, I did a few house many many years ago but had to stop and put them off till recently so I am starting over in my moonlight years..

I hope your houses bring you the concentration and focus mine have and things start to go a bit better for you.

 

XX Jeannine

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Rodentraiser: Hello from the other side of the mountains! :wave: I've had other people ask me if it was various things including Hashimoto's or other autoimmune diseases, but the hard fact is that if it is ME/CFS there currently is no medical test the doctor can do to easily identify that is precisely what it is. So if the doctor is knowledgeable and knows about ME/CFS it's helpful but pretty much the way to diagnose it is to eliminate the possibility of all the other autoimmune diseases first. One thing that makes ME/CFS distinctive from the others is the symptoms getting much worse after exercise or physical exertion above the individual's tolerable level. Any other autoimmune disease that I've heard about is improved with physical activity, but not ME. (Case in point of my example of trying to clean the kitchen.) And what's worse is if the does get pushed beyond their limit and has to deal with the multi-system physical backlash, there is a distinctive chance that they may not recover from the symptoms and the simply become chronic and the norm of their existence. With all of the chaos of the holidays (birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's) that it has all been too overwhelming and I've been just trying to keep my daily life as normal and level as I can so I don't feel constantly overwhelmed. I know I need to get back to the doctor to get more testing done, it is just physically and emotionally brutal. After a year and a half of this severe roller coaster my body has put me through I finally feel like I've had a little time to have somewhat of a normal life again and it's really hard forcing myself out of that to turn myself into a guinea pig. Even simply going to a doctor's appointment isn't something I can do on my own and rely heavily on my husband to help with even something as simple as that. But I have been getting persistent with him again that I need help in getting my appointments dealt with. It is just really physically draining having to feel like a broken record just to be heard and to get help. That is another difficulty in being sick like this is obviously needing help but struggling to have the focus, pain tolerance, and social endurance to seek the help that is obviously needed. Many days I have to remind myself that "doing my best" can simply mean not doing things that make me more sick, or sick again.

I'm just happy to have a home water distiller that doesn't make me sick (distilled water is the only water I can drink that doesn't make me violently and painfully ill.) Buying it all the time was just getting annoying and it never seemed like we had enough on hand to do 'normal' cooking. We eat a lot of dried beans that need to be soaked and rinsed before they are even cooked, so just for a single pound of beans it could take 2+ gallons of water just to have cooked beans. Now I can distill as much as I need so having access to any dried beans I want feels like having a completely new food category available to eat. I've loved garbanzos/chickpeas for a long time (I grew up hating beans because they only came up in 3-bean salad that I hate, or spicy chili that gave me painful indigestion.) But now I can eat them again as much as I want. Including grinding them into flour. It's such a weird and amazing ingredient to play with because it can easily be cooked like (corn) polenta with just seasoning, salt and water. I never knew garbanzos stuck together so much, even more than super thick cold oatmeal. I haven't had the energy to try it yet, but it looks like it could work for homemade gluten-free pasta. I have not had pasta in 8-9 months so it would be awesome if it works. Other than miniatures and collecting dolls to fit the houses, this is the extent of my excitement the last few months. I hate how I'm not able to super multitask like I used to even 2 years ago, often making it feel like I have to choose between trying to find things I can eat and learning how to get creative with the few foods I can still have, or saving up the energy to fight and get a diagnosis from the doctor(s). I'm sure it is a similar struggle for someone with cancer who has to keep going back to chemo. If you have the choice, sometimes you just need to say that you need to stop for a while to let your body be normal to just recover for a bit. (If you are curious, this is my Banned Foods list which still needs to be updated to add  molasses, oatmeal, and a few other foods to it. :sad_2: )

One unexpected turn in the miniatures front that has made me really happy is the Hubby has started to get really excited about it. Due to me having a hard time multitasking or switching major trains of thought I decided to get him the Buttercup as a Valentines present so he could make a Steampunk themed house (I could no think of a gift that was not miniatures related.) He's not usually the crafty type but he does enjoy doing craft projects if they have the steps laid out. So I told him I would help him with it (mostly as an adviser rather than doing it for him.) I thought he might be somewhat interested in it since he collects dolls along with me, but he has been LOVING it! The kit arrived the day before his vacation started and he has been working on it like a busy little bee. He was just beaming after it was dry fitted and didn't want to take it apart again to do the sanding and all of the steps to follow because he was just so happy to see that he had built it.:cheezy:I think the biggest shock of all was when he casually said "I don't think I want to put electricity in this one, it would be a bit too much (overwhelming) for this project. But maybe the next one..." At the time I agreed with him but it wasn't until much later that it finally sunk in that he's already thinking of his next one. :cheer: I'm not one to talk though... I already have 4 house kits (2 are the same), various Greenleaf furniture kits, and the Greenleaf village, all of which I'm itching to get worked on so I can get other kits still on my list... LOL!

Keifer: Actually I was pretty proud that it was only about 5.5 pages in google docs... my intro post 6 years ago on the Dollfie Dream forum was a solid 10 pages. So I was being fairly succinct this time. LMAO! It may sound silly, but I really prefer to be an optimist. It just feels a lot better, keeps my stress levels down and doesn't waste so much energy. Even on some of my bad days I'm happy that it isn't as bad as it was some previous time the same symptoms flair up far worse. Even if I'm in pain, if I can think past it I always have an escape away from it until it passes. Or I can just look at pics of other people's mini houses they have done and just sit there being amazed on how they even figured out how to do it all. The learning never ends. Yay! :D

Havanaholly: It really made me laugh hearing someone say essentially that dollhouses are to play with. Surprisingly that's something I've almost never seen adults do. It was always more like making dioramas that sit in glass cases and are never touched. And I always felt sad for the houses with no one living inside, as if aliens suddenly came and zapped them away in the middle of their life. I was really surprised as I started reading through posts and seeing how many people were saying that the houses will tell you who they are. That was a first for me in reference to houses but an aspect that I'm thoroughly familiar with having to do with doll characters. In the beginning you think you know them entirely and can just make all the decisions for them, constructing every last bit of them yourself. Until their personality kicks in. One of my vinyl girls (a Dollfie Dream hybrid) wouldn't even let me choose her name. She even did that herself. It is her twin sister's fault that miniatures burst into my life after she would not shut up about how it would be nice to have a fairy village, or that we needed a fairy village, or that we had to have a fairy village... Just to get her to shut up is when I placed my 11cm dolls in Annie's house, having no clue the avalanche it would trigger. Even the little pixie/brownie named Potato (but we just call him Po) I bought my first kit for was very quiet with never much to say until he got his house. Now he won't even let me choose the fabric for his bed sheets. LOL!

Even the two vintage Washington kits I got a few weeks ago are having two distinct personalities already. One needs to have sheet #1 replaced since it's missing, and the 2nd showed only the back of a sheet in the kit that just happened to be the first sheet (it took quite a bit of squinting to figure it out) but the eBay title made it sound like it was incomplete while the description said it was. It was a real shock to me that the second kit was complete, even including the the clear windows! I wish I knew how old it was, but needless to say that the instructions look like an old pirate map. LOL! So I was thrilled to be able to trace the missing pieces onto a sheet of paper to have replacements made and have two complete kits. Of course just today the Washington 2.0 is listed as available to buy from the store :doh: but personally I'm thrilled and utterly delighted to work on a kit that could be the same age as me. Definitely requires a lot more TLC than a newer one. But the feeling that I get to finally be the first one to make them into real houses after being kits for 3-4 decades is something I still can't describe in words. My childhood self would be beyond proud at rescuing the poor things. I have a soft heart for strays or adoptees. My husband and I call our Dollfie Dreams and other vinyl dolls our adopted kiddos because for various reasons real kids were just not what life had in store for us. Even if they aren't as mobile they sure keep our life filled and busy. Each and every one has an opinion, expressing them every chance they get. My first Dollfie Dream is a quiet little snow pixie boy named Tamayuki. For quite some time I thought Po was very much like a miniature Tama, until Po clearly started to flat out tell me no, he didn't like the fabric I suggested for his bedding but instead wanted the other fabric that was slightly out of scale for him. He clearly said he was not pleased I painted his bed blue. He doesn't like blue. I had forgotten because lighter blue is Tama's second favorite color after a silver gray. Our Dollfie Dreams will regularly pop up in our dollhouse photos because they like helping their 11cm friends. I think the biggest shock of all was discovering that the 'half scale' (1/24th?) Greenleaf dollhouses are the right size to be dollhouses for the Dollfie Dreams to have for their dollhouses. As if I need encouragement for the addiction to get even worse. :D

Jbnmini: Thank you for the compliment on my writing. :blush: My husband said it was well written too, but I haven't been able to hold my focus long enough to read through it more than once and that was just checking for obvious errors. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Sometimes it's really weird having symptoms get really bad out of the middle of nowhere like mine did 1.5 years ago and having people in your life not understand why you 'suddenly' can't be as active as you used to, it's not temporary, and it won't resolve itself with a little more sleep. As a kid I would have never been able to fathom that a curiosity and budding passion for tiny things would be my saving grace and sanity 30+ years later. It is just a tiny world filled with so much stuff that I can do. I may not be able to garden anymore but I can still make miniature plants. I can build furniture, lay floors, paint rooms, build houses with wraparound porches, even have the Victorian house out in the country if I wanted to. It really does feel like a life of no limits. And that makes me so very happy.

Mesp2k: Hello! :D 

Debsrand56: I'm glad you enjoyed my long ramble. All my posts aren't going to be these massive texts. I feel like I have to constantly apologize for that. I meant to reply to these comments sooner. My concentration has gone out the window and I wasn't able to hold my thoughts together again to form enough coherent sentences to reply to all the lovely comments until now. One downside of me writing so much is it makes it take longer to reach my 5 post requirement to post my pics. Hopefully I can remedy that pretty quickly. :bear: (I also hope no one minds me using the emoji as much as I do. I'm dyslexic and it helps break up the text so my brain doesn't freak out at me.)

Shareb: Why thank you! :blush: I have been working on writing stories for my fantasy world for 15+ years now and still haven't managed to get a single story finished to see if it would even be publishable. But I still love writing and it has always given me another way to escape from this unreasonable body. The down sides are when I can't think long enough to work on any of it as can happen for months on end or my carpel tunnel acts up so badly that it makes it impossible. I finished three chapters in November with NaNoWriMo and had to stop because my wrist was in too much pain and I was shocked at how much the pace physically exhausted me. I'm sure my perfectionist streak doesn't help that I can't willfully write poorly. Sometimes just choosing who to write is an overwhelming obstacle. About a decade back I counted and I had over 100 named characters that had enough of a personality to spark stories of their own (one of them was even just a wizard's hat... it sure has a lot of personality for being inanimate.) The world has gotten much bigger since then. And then our Dollfie Dreams decided to invade because 'the kiddos' thought it would be fun to have a romp through my fantasy world, triggering even more characters to be created... My rough guess at the moment is I probably have 200-250 characters running around my head popping up all the time voicing their opinions on everything. I think my two favorite things about writing is descriptions and placing two or more characters in a situation to see what happens. One of my personal rules about characters is that they have to be fully formed enough to tell me who they are and how they view/interact with the world around them before I will even give them the time of day. In the beginning it seemed like a really good rule. Now some days it feels like I'm surrounded by a room full of noisy middle school and high school kids all yammering with each other and just doing their own thing with the occasional adult thrown in. And that's just the Dollfie Dreams. Throw in the fantasy world into the mix and then you have wizards who like to meddle, a collection of gods that are about as straight forward as Greek/Roman mythology, a steampunk town run by a magical being who wouldn't know physics if it hit him, pirate queens who are not actually pirates, a country bumpkin girl about to venture into a magical world after she grew up being told magic didn't exist, a bumbling fool of a man hopping from one bit of trouble to another thanks to the magical pocket watch he obtained under questionable circumstances that allows him to hop anywhere he wishes within the world, a human/goblin prince who has set out to eliminate persons within his father's court while attempting to retrieve his runaway sister, a traveling theater troupe that is not as it seems, elves wrecking havoc whenever they choose to slink out of the shadows, vampires, gnomes, fairies, jungle tribes, miniature 'bigfoots' living in a Victorian tree house city made only from natural materials, merfolk, brownies, sprites, arctic dinosaurs, minotaurs, unicorn, selkies, harpies (just to name a very few)...

...and a conclave of scribes out in the desert trying furiously to chronicle it all as the madness runs rampant. LOL! (Seriously, this is just the very briefest overview of what I can remember off the top of my head.) I think the problem is my mind rarely knows when to have a thought end. So these stories keep continuing as they jump all over the place depending on who's voice is the loudest on any given day that I'm able to write. I started writing my fantasy world because I was mad that I was not finding the precise stories I wanted to read at the time. So I've had moments when I'd be thrilled to have them officially published, but I just don't know if I can deal with the work and criticism it would take if I were to publish them and the (utterly impossible) chance that my goofy stories would ever gain even the most minor level of recognition that would require any sort of publicity, I just physically couldn't keep up.

That isn't to say I don't want to share them with the world. The older I get the more I wonder what I benefit from them not being shared. They were written with the intent that it was for myself but also for other people. Every day that goes by and they sit unseen by anyone but myself and my husband, I really question why I still cling to the notion that I was taught that your creative works have to be for-profit. I grew up in a highly artistic family so 'art = work/paycheck.' But that doesn't mesh with how I live my life within my physical means. Turning my writing into a job is physically impossible for me. Sure more money in the household budget would be great, but it would just go towards dolls and miniatures. It isn't enough to justify making writing my occupation and dealing with the stress involved.

What I continue to think about on a daily level is if there is a 'best' way to just plunk it on the internet and just let it out in the world. I could update when I felt like it/was able and perhaps have something like a paypal donation link if someone super duper wanted to throw a couple of dollars at me for the work I did. I've been a part of quite a few fandoms (many of them anime or other book series) and it always hits a point where you feel like you hit a wall that has a massive sign on it that reads 'THIS DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU!' Often that has to do with copyright issues or just the creators themselves not wanting anyone else to mess with their stuff. But it makes a person feel shut out from the very thing they love and are passionate about. Years ago I realized that my fantasy world is too big for me to write it all. My stories are just one tour guide to an entire world. Even if I was capable of writing every waking moment of every day for the rest of my life it would never be enough time to write all the stories. I started to realize that more than a decade ago. The biggest gift that someone could give back to me is to write stories within my world that were so well done that I'd have to remind myself I didn't write them. This is a passion to me, not money. And with various Creative Commons licences I don't see how it wouldn't work. (Also just acknowledging the fact that if if someone were to take it, they would do it if it had copyrights or not.) There are so many other people out there who do such lovely and creative things for the sake of making beautiful things that I still hold the hope that if my stories were available that they could perhaps find it to be a place where they could freely express themselves too. I know for a fact I'm not the only artist who hates it all being about the money. I hate how it feels like money controls everything. Storytelling used to be just a group of people sitting around a campfire talking about their world in allegory interwoven with memories. I'm a massive fan of knowledge and mythology. That is far more important to me than money. And who's to say we can't write new myths? I love science but I also know it does not have the answer to everything. It can tell use about all the chemical reactions in the body that happens from various stimuli that 'creates' emotions, but cannot distill the essence of why as human beings we still feel the compulsion to have things to believe in or hope to rely on. It cannot explain the origin of a soul. Myths can't either, yet they help us to understand a world that is too big for our minds to grasp. The world of knowledge is ever expanding, especially in the modern age but there is finite space in our small brains. We cannot process the incessant stream of information like a computer. We still need storytellers. And all I want is to be able to freely tell my stories. Organically as I see fit. Not through the eyes of a censoring editor or a publishing house with certain goals. I want to tell my stories as they truly are, as they should be.

Thimble Hall: Some people dip their toes into the world of miniatures, apparently I dive right into the ocean head first. LOL! Some days it is maddening because my OCD brain wants to sit and focus on one kit from start to finish while my short attention span wants to do a little bit on all the kits within a few days. Still haven't figured out what one is the better method. But it truly makes me so very happy every single day. Enough so that I often find myself wondering why I keep thinking I'm sick since I can do all this stuff (I'm so used to working with smaller scale with our 1/3 and 1/4 scale dolls that my brain doesn't see the difference between that and full scale anymore.) So when I get up and try to do stuff like 2 years ago "normal" and my body starts functioning really weird (like getting dizzy super easily just by turning around to grab something behind me a couple of times in a row) having my body not react right still is a shock to me. 

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Congratulations on having a supportive hubs to share this addiction hobby with.  Mine just buys me kits and tools (and lets me play with his tools; I love his lathe & bandsaw).  I'm a 76 year old great-granny and when I still can the hubs & I hike, paddle kayaks and ride bikes (well, with my balance issues mine is a 27-speed Cat Trike), so I am very much into playing.

Somebody get Deb to read Jonathan's intro and see if any of it sounds familiar.

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Thank you! Been learning today how to make my galleries work properly. I don't know if it is always finicky when uploading multiple pics at once, or if the forums just doesn't like my limited memory Chromebook. All I know is that I have a full album full of the wrong pics I can't move or delete so I just removed it from public view. Uploading pics individually works fine but a lot more tedious.

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I have never had luck with the bulk load.  Fortunately tedium doesn't bother me so much;  I enjoy shingling.

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I've got two albums complete now. It was just really frustrating at first figuring out what was going wrong.

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You have done well, Grasshopper!

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:clap: It's a bit slow and tedious, but I think that has to do with trying to catch up on a lot of pics since November.

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Welcome...I am the strange 1/6 one with the Bay Window Project.  However there are wonderful and encouraging members here.  I didn't even think about building.  I was because I could not longer do my rearranging of my backyard garden because of C1 down to L2 pain.  It WAS horrible.  Then I decided I would just get a Ken, Barbie, Skipper, Stacey, Chelsea and make a park bench.  Then decided to try building a bit of furniture...crude, but I tried.  THEN, I got a 1:12 kit for a contest.  It was a learning curve.  The next year I kitbashed the contest kit from 1:12 to 1:6.  Not bad...kept learning and learning and learning.  Build some room boxes 1:12 and 1:6.  Then the BAY WINDOW.....quite a learning curve and undertaking.  I still cannot do wiring, but have enjoyed my learning.  YOU ARE IN GREAT COMPANY HERE!!!

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Welcome, Jonathan, from another Washingtonian.  So glad you are finally able to indulge in your love of dollhouses. This hobby can be very therapeutic, also. 

 

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And a warm welcome to you from this complete "newby" :)

   Although I have never experienced anything close to the hell you have been/currently going through, my wife suffers from Fibro and extreme migraines. Her symptoms get so bad she can be down for a week or so at a time. I feel so helpless when this happens as I can't do anything to ease her pain.  I can not fathom the amount of pain and suffering those with chronic illnesses must endure. 

   I'm so glad you have found some comfort in rediscovering the world of miniatures! It's interesting what the brain can bring to the surface in times of worry, grief etc. Circumstances can lead you to look at things differently and open pathways that were once blocked. I recently experienced one such event which led me to this wonderful forum (I briefly explain in my new member intro). I often wonder if life gets in the way of things simply because it's not the right time in your life for that "thing". 

   Anyway again welcome and please keep us updated on your progress. Sometimes it's the little things that help propel you along the way!

Bill

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2 hours ago, WBrownIV said:

I often wonder if life gets in the way of things simply because it's not the right time in your life for that "thing". 

Wisely spoken, Bill. Sometimes I think we tend to get too far ahead of ourselves and need to slow down to let that "thing" catch up with us. 

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