Back when I first got into the miniatures hobby, you just couldn't find miniatures. This was pre-Internet, back in the dark ages of the 1970s. While dollhouse miniatures were pretty big business in England, the U.S. just didn't have that much available. A rare toy store might carry a few, but they were few and far between. You learned to develop your eye to "see" miniatures in ordinary items that could be found in a hardware store or other commonplace locations. For instance, there is a copper piece that plumbers use that looks very much like a miniature cooking pot. An empty jelly container at a fast-food restaurant makes a good miniature sink (with a wee bit of tweaking). An empty cream container is about the right size for a miniature wastebasket. And so on and so forth.
Things have much improved over the years and miniatures are easier to find. Now, with the Internet, you can find just about anything in miniature that you might think about possibly wanting for a miniature scene. You might not be able to pay for it, but you can find it. But my mind hasn't adjusted to that. It still thinks I need to grab and hoard mini items when I see them, as insurance for the needs of future projects.
So I have a serious hidden stash of miniature furniture, miniature accessories, and things that I see that could maybe be used to create miniature illusions one of these days down the road. This stash has been growing quietly in the darkness for several years, during a period that I have been focused on my genealogy hobby.
I mentioned awhile back that I had a genealogy burnout earlier this year and decided to take the summer off in favor of returning to my knitting and miniatures hobbies for a change of pace. The knitting fell by the wayside when I made a completely asinine, stupid mistake in the middle of a shawl. I decided that I had best divert to the miniatures before I got frustrated enough to strangle myself with the knotted mess that I ended up with after trying to correct the asinine, stupid mistake.
So my first step was to dig out all the boxes of squirreled away miniatures and inventory what I had to work with. It was truly frightening. Boxes and boxes of furniture. Boxes of accessories. Boxes of wallpaper, flooring, windows, paint. About 6-8 dollhouse kits. I could never buy another miniature (fat chance) and have enough on hand to furnish every one of those dollhouse kits that have not yet been put together, not to mention all the box rooms and vignettes that are on the drawing board.
I've actually completed three miniature projects this year, so there is hope. The latest is a project inspired by a $3 garden shed I found at a Hallmark shop.
Aside from the shed itself, I think I made two purchases to complete the little scene. Everything else I found in my stash. I'm not sure whether I should be pleased with that fact or worried about myself. Because this was just a tiny tip on the top of an iceberg.
I started thinking about this after reading an article by the Yarn Harlot and her reflections on how to hide your stash of yarn from your loved ones. She correctly identified that it's a sense of security that is behind the accumulation of a stash. You're always afraid that you might never again find that perfect yarn and sometimes the satisfaction comes not from the article made with the perfect yarn, but the ability to hold the perfect yarn in your hands and ponder what might be made with it. It's a little like that for me and miniatures.
I find it satisfying to know that if I get an urge in the middle of the night to create a miniature room scene, I don't have to go any further than the guest room where I will find the box for the scene and everything that will go into it and can conceivably have the finished scene ready before dawn.
I never have. But I could. And that's security.
(I also have a yarn stash. All cleverly hidden from my loved ones.)