It’s Etsy Team Game Day again! Today my Oregon Duckies don’t play ’til evening, and we’re going to have a crowd of people over to watch, so i’m typing to the sounds of Oklahoma State v. Kansas State. I’ve missed the past two Saturdays of posting because I’ve basically been sick for a month. This is NOT an auspicious start to the winter season, especially since my 9 year old’s been home from school sick for this entire past week. Talk about a drain on a crafter’s creative energies…. It’s a miracle I’m still coherent.
Anyway, enough about that. I’m fine now, and I’m excited to be back in the saddle again… with a feature on my Crafting in Color Teammate Mouse Market—maker of miniature dollhouse food and jewelry!
Now, before I get started, a little background. Those of you reading who know me, know that I have a secret passion for dollhouses. In fact, my very first post on Facebook was to narrate the progress of a dollhouse I was building, allegedly for my daughter.
This dollhouse was a meaningful project. Dollhouses and miniatures were loves that i had always shared with my EXTREMELY CRAFTY Mother, who I always describe as “the Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart.”
For years we talked about making one, but we never did, and soon I was grown and gone from the house and our chance was past. At least, until I had my own daughter. When Miyako turned one year old, my mother bought a really nice dollhouse kit for us to build together for her. But, I lived in Oregon, my mother in Pittsburgh! And I was a new assistant professor, scrambling to get tenure. The dollhouse was not built, and not built, and soon 10 years had passed.
But when Miyako was 10, our family moved into a historic old Victorian in Illinois that we started renovating, and somehow the Grand Dame, as we called that lovely house, inspired me to get out the dollhouse kit, and build it.
My daughter greeted the project with total indifference. She’d never once spent a minute willingly with a doll in her life. She’s a paper and pen girl. But I loved that dollhouse with a passion.
The kit was an old-school one, that included an enormous quantity of real wood detailing that all had to be hand-cut and sanded, and then sealed, and painted, and then finished. It took about 2 weeks of Paper Demon-level obsessive work. I sewed tiny curtains, of course.
Naturally, when finished, I became even more obsessed with finding tiny objects to fill it. And this is where my true love of miniatures came out. Fortunately, we lived in the midwest at the time, and went to the farm estate auctions weekly. What a grand source of lovely old pieces for a dollhouse! Even a little family of cornhusk dolls to move in and tiny kittens as pets and squirrels for the rooftop!
However. It was my son who came to love the dollhouse. As quasi Deathstar for his Lego Storm Troopers…. Sigh….
I decorated the dollhouse for Christmas, but soon the overall indifference of my children and the quizzical looks of my partner, as well as our upcoming move back to Oregon, put paid to my dollhouse obsession. And I never got to indulge myself in what I REALLY wanted to buy, which was MINIATURE FOOD FOR MY DOLLHOUSE FAMILY.
And this, dear patient readers, is where Mouse Market comes in. Mouse Market is an Etsy shop dedicated to handmade dollhouse miniatures and jewelry, all made from polymer clay. Now, there are PLENTY of miniature polymer clay food makers out there….. but trust me, none of them are in the ballpark of Mo Tipton of Mouse Market.
Mo explains that she combines
my love of miniatures with my training as a pastry chef and a graphic designer to create detailed, realistic foods in 1/12 scale…
But, she’s too modest. “Detailed,” and “realistic” doesn’t do her pieces justice. Because they go beyond realism to encompass a whimsical wit and a sweet affection for food itself in all its homey glory. In other words, it’s not just her technical skill in reproducing food in clay, but her sense of which foods to feature, and why. Take her matzoh ball soup, for example.
These are the foods of love and comfort, lovingly recreated to make a tiny home within a home.
I was taken with her sweet Halloween-themed items, like her skull cookies displayed on a plate of glitter.
But my greatest joy, prompting me to call my partner away from her beloved football to come to the computer, was her tiny package of fresh atlantic salmon. We buy fresh salmon every week (to be fair–we don’t buy atlantic, only fresh pacific!), and any self-respecting dollhouse of mine will need to have this in its tiny refrigerator.
For those who are dollhouse-deprived, rest assured that Mo also makes the most delightful jewelry ever. She’s currently featuring these Rainbow Layer Cake Earrings, which I want to point out, are just perfect for October, Gay Pride Month.
One of the things I love best about her work is that she gives it a backstory. For example, she doesn’t just make Broccoli Earrings, but *Organic* Broccoli Earrings (in a *Spicy* Cheddar Sauce).
When my dollhouse comes out of the shipping cube, and gets set up in our new house, just in time for Christmas, I am going to lay out a minituare Christmas dinner spread the highlight of which is going to be her STUFFED TURKEY WITH SQUASH RINGS, SWEET POTATOES WITH MARSHMALLOWS, and her CHRISTMAS COOKIE TRAY.
And my little cornhusk dolls from the prairie are going to be SO happy…
Find Mouse Market at these places:
On Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mousemarket
At her blog: http://themousemarket.com
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/themousemarket