Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by miniature things. The dollhouse I received maybe in kindergarten or first grade was a favorite toy and I played with it for years and years, creating more elaborate furniture and decorations as I grew older, eventually graduating to attending “miniature shows” where adults displayed the most incredibly intricate tiny treasures, 99% of which were sadly far out of the price range of a twelve or thirteen year old girl with a limited allowance. But I did get lots of ideas of things I could make myself or with my friend Suzanne – at some point we started making miniatures together.
We even turned it into a bit of a “business” around late middle school into early high school. Our only time to sell was at the annual town craft fair, but we worked for hours and hours all year to make tiny fruits, furniture, rugs, presents, cats and dogs, teeny paper bags filled with tiny groceries, tiny breads and cakes – you name it, we tried to miniaturize it. And while the stuff was mighty fragile, it looked pretty good!
We struggled with pricing – things that took us hours and hours to make might sell for seventy-five cents or a dollar. But we weren’t really doing it for the money anyway. We were perturbed however, when one year at the fair, Suzanne’s brothers made about $100 selling those little fuzzy balls with feet, googly eyes and antennae – remember them? Each one took them probably two minutes to make, while our little treasures had taken us all year to create. Alas, adorable google-eyed fuzz balls enjoyed a much larger customer base than miniature spider plants in teeny tiny macrame hanging baskets!
My penchant for miniatures dwindled once I had my own real life home to furnish, decorate and keep up with. I no longer felt the need to make tiny little rooms full of tiny little furniture. But over the years I have shared the fun and all of my cool miniature-making secrets with other children – teaching after school classes called “World in Miniature” for a while – stuff like that.
And when we were evacuated for Katrina, the younger boy in our evacuation family and I found that we shared a love of tiny things. We could pore over I Spy Treasure Hunt together for hours. At the time he was in second grade. When we had champagne at some point and I turned the cap into a tiny bistro chair, he and I started scheming to make an entire miniature scene. What fun I had with both boys, helping them design and make their own miniature treasures!
So while I don’t always turn champagne caps into chairs, I do always think about doing it, and know that it’s possible. I also know that you can turn toothpaste caps into lampshades. I have to keep myself from saving tiny things that would make good plates or cups or other little items. Who knows – maybe some day I’ll start making miniatures again. Or maybe I’ll just entertain small children occasionally by turning champagne caps into chairs.