Merrie Soltis – Miniaturist of the Month
Meet Merrie and her cat Marco! Merrie lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia and is Real Good Toys’ Miniaturist of the Month. As most of us, Merrie remembers that her love of dollhouses began during her childhood. Her first dollhouse was a plastic Fisher-Price™ house. But when her dad made her a dollhouse out of a refrigerator box, she was smitten. Her dad realized her love for the homemade dollhouse, so he found a pattern and made a dollhouse from cardboard, and then made the same dollhouse from wood for a Christmas gift for Merrie. They painted and decorated it just like their real home. Merrie spent her dollar allowances to buy plastic furniture for her dollhouse from the local drug store.
When Merrie was older, she got a DuraCraft dollhouse kit. She says, “I insisted on the biggest one they made!” It took her dad 8 months to build it and he assembled it with a hot glue gun. After 30 years of being stored in a damp basement, it needed lots of restoration. Merrie had always said she was going to fix the house up one day, but after consulting with her local dollhouse shop, Miniature Designs in Lawrenceville, GA, they suggested that she start over with a new kit. Enter the Real Good Toys Newport Dollhouse kit. After looking at her work, it is amazing to know that this is the first dollhouse she has ever built herself. She says, “It has taken me a whole year from start to finish.” Merrie created her dollhouse in authentic Victorian style and added the Newport two-story addition. She upgraded the trim and added different window pediments. She also added a stained glass door and attic window by miniature artisan, Barbara Sabia. You’ll notice lots of miniature cats that closely resemble Marco. Merrie explains that in Victorian times people loved nature and incorporated it into their decor. She says stuffed birds were quite popular, so she gave her dollhouse living room a peacock theme.
What does Merrie like to do when she is not working on her dollhouse? She enjoys growing award winning irises. They are beautiful! She has even incorporated her irises in the stained glass. Merrie and her husband, and her Himalayan cat Marco, share their home, which according to Merrie has been a wreck for a solid year. Her husband, who is an avid canoeist, worked on his his new boat in the den, while Merrie worked on her dollhouse in the living room and dining room. She says, “I didn’t think I would ever get all the paint chips and sawdust out of the rug.” I think these two are in need of a workshop!
When I asked Merrie, “What does working with miniatures mean to you and what does it do for you?” Merrie said, “…I think part of it is this desire to create a perfect miniature world. My real house, like my real life, is messy and chaotic! My kitchen counter is covered with bills, I didn’t have time to make the bed this morning, there’s 500 jars of stuff on the bathroom sink. I don’t have to worry about any of that with the dollhouse. The cats never shed on the velvet sofa. The kids don’t leave their toys all over the house. I can buy the beautiful antique victorian sofa without having to worry about someone spilling Coke on it, or whether it’s going to be comfortable. I can wallpaper a whole room in red and another in big flowers. The food in the refrigerator never goes bad. The plants never die. And unlike my real house, this one comes with a maid! Like I said, it’s perfect.”
Thanks for sharing with us Merrie! I can’t wait to see what you create next!