do people want to read about miniatures?

I haven’t sewn anything new lately, so it’s been kind of quiet here. Incidentally, I think I’m going to start using capital letters when I blog, because, you know, I can. I know how. I use capital letters when I write by hand. & I’m starting to feel weird about clinging to this affectation I embraced as a teenager now that I’m 36 years old.

There has been a little more action recently on my miniatures blog. But I am wondering if I should fold the content over there into what I do here. This has never been just a sewing blog or a parenting blog or a feminist blog or whatever. It’s always just been a Ciara blog. I got an email from a woman who reads here (hi, Kathleen! Sorry I haven’t replied yet!) & she said she first started reading my blog because she was into my zines, & then she was into the parenting stuff because a lot of her friends were having babies, & then she liked the sewing stuff because she sews, & now she’s excited about the miniatures thing because she recently got into miniatures too. We contain multitudes, right? Why should I cordon my interests off into these little bits & bobs when I’ve never really done it before?

I honestly think I just feel kind of embarrassed. While many people are able to recognize that miniatures can be incredible works of art, there’s still this whiff of weird around “grown woman has a dollhouse”. It doesn’t seem very punk! & definitely part of what bothers me about some aspects of the miniatures world (& this goes for sewing too) is the emphasis on acquisition & collecting. Spending money to buy what other people have made. Granted, some of those people are incredible artisans that are able to produce work I could never dream of. But I don’t want to collect & acquire. I want to make.

I am also thinking that making a mini-a-day is probably way over-ambitious. After all, there are other things I want & need to do with my time. I still want to sew, I still want to read, & I still have a child to look after. This realization was prompted by putting Ramona down for her nap yesterday & then sitting down with my paints to make a Christmas present for Jared. I was just painting a little portrait, a little bigger than a playing card. I was thinking, “This will take me half an hour & then I’ll wash the dishes,” or whatever. THREE HOURS later, I was finally finishing it up. & it didn’t have quite the level of detail I wanted because a) I don’t yet have the skills for that, b) I need better quality paintbrushes, & c) he came home a little bit early & didn’t honor his promise to stay upstairs until I told him I was done.

So I’m thinking maybe a mini-a-week is more realistic, & I can revisit this goal as I learn more about miniature-making & where my skills & abilities lie. At this point, I am reasonably good at sewing & made a 2015 goal of sewing one new item a week…& I did not meet that goal. I think I made like forty things. Which is pretty good, & obviously a few of them (paper-pieced, hand-quilted quilt, I’m looking at you) demanded WAY more time than a person could give in a week, even working full-time. Had I counted each individual block in that quilt (each of which took a minimum of two hours, which is about how long it takes to whip up a knit shirt start to finish, which would count as one item), I would easily exceed my one-project-per-week goal.

Also, I am pretty sure Jared got me a dollhouse kit for Christmas. (He doesn’t read my blog except for like twice a year, so I think I’m safe floating this supposition.) & not just an easy-peasy two-room $25 deal from Home Depot. I was showing him different dollhouses online & showed him a giant 11-room mansion with two balconies & gingerbread & a secret tower room & a really unique L-shaped construction & I was like, “This is basically my Platonic ideal of a dollhouse, but let’s be real. It’s like four feet wide.” He was like, “So? If you like it, that’s what you should get.” I was like, “We’ll see,” & laughed it off, & the next week, an enormous box arrived in the mail.

Having never built a dollhouse (or, really, anything aside from a very lopsided & poorly-sanded wooden box back in 8th grade shop class) before, putting this thing together is going to be a HUGE project. & since I don’t see myself ever really feeling the need for more than one dollhouse once I have a four-foot 11-room mansion, I want to make this one good. Like with lights & properly-scaled wallpaper & maybe even working glass windows & stained glass transoms here & there. It’s going to be a HUGE project.

Plus we will almost certainly be moving again in 2016 (even if we stay in Lawrence, we’re moving houses because our landlord is such a joker–how it is almost Christmas & he still has not followed through on his promises to install storm windows “before it gets cold”?) &…I just feel like I have a lot on my plate. I want to pursue this miniature-making hobby, but I don’t want to bite off so much that I instantly regret everything.

I miss my sewing machine. I took a big break after I finished my winter coat, & then I put the machine in storage so we could re-appropriate my sewing space for our Christmas tree. We just got the tree on Saturday, so it’s only been a few days, & it’s only a few more days until Christmas. But having my machine unplugged & tucked away is a weird feeling.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

6 thoughts on “do people want to read about miniatures?

  1. I would love to read about this. I did a lot of miniatures as a teenager, but I’m now in a one bedroom apartment with barely enough room for the sewing.
    I get what you mean about the prejudice though. It can be hard, and I’m definitely more into the making than collecting.
    Looking forward to seeing what you get up to

    1. awesome! this is very encouraging. though i also barely have any room for this stuff. the dollhouse that i suspect i am getting for christmas is HUGE. my partner has offered to move one of the bookcases out of his office so i can move in a craft table, but i’m not sure he realizes just how enormous this house is (it’s not built yet), & all the room the miniature-making will eat…

  2. LJ got an enormous dollhouse from my mother in law for Christmas. Like, so enormous that we haven’t brought it home yet because it won’t fit in our car with a car seat installed. So I think miniatures might end up being relevant to my interests. It belonged to my husband’s sisters, but I think it’s pretty sparsely decorated.

    1. I just facebook messaged you a photo. I haven’t seen it in person but my husband took a picture when they were there. It looks pretty basic, but it must be pretty solid to have lasted this long (my sisters in law are in their 60s!). I think it’s 7 rooms, but one takes up an entire floor.

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