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My Mini Journey...

I first discovered miniatures like most people, as a child. I had Barbies, but had to get creative when it came to furniture and accessories. That's when I first developed my "mini eyes", searching for everyday objects that could be re-purposed for Barbie's living needs. Unlike most girls my age, I was not at all into Ken. It was G.I. Joe and all the cool rugged accessories for me and my little ladies. I even married my real life G.I. Joe in 1987, a sweet and wonderful rugged outdoor guy with a fuzzy beard to rub, too!

My first foray into miniature dollhouses didn't come until I was 14 years old. I had my first regular paying job (besides a paper route) and saw a 1/24th scale dollhouse kit by Greenleaf. I saved and saved, and was delighted the day I got to bring it home. And that's where it stayed, safely in it's box for many years. I think I was just so intimidated by all of the pieces, all of the instructions, and probably afraid to ask my grumpy dad for help. Eventually, I actually glued it all together, decided it was more trouble than a wife and mom had time for, and stuck it out in the garage. I did find a dead mouse in it years later, so I guess it came in handy for someone!

Miniatures came into my life again in 1998. My husband, myself and our two kids, a girl age 10 and a boy age 8, had just moved back to Washington after living on the Central Coast of California for 10 years. During one of our weekend explorations, we happened upon Dolly's Dollhouses in Seattle. My oh my! It was as if my whole life had been leading to this moment! I was completely infatuated! I decided right then and there that my daughter's childhood just wouldn't be complete unless she got a dollhouse and all the fixings for Christmas.

Secretly, my husband and I went back to Dolly's without the kids. Dolly was just awesome, and helped us pick out a pre-built but unfinished 8 room house built by a local wood crafter. Then it was up to me to secretly paint, wallpaper, finish and decorate - all while my daughter was in school.

I was actually shocked at the cost of all the little things a dollhouse needed. It was like setting up an actual house, and some items had price tags bigger than the real life items I owned!

After spending about $600.00 and still not satisfied with the completeness of this legacy gift, we had to get creative. We could not afford not to! I'd make trips to Dolly's or search on ebay for the things I still needed, then try to imagine ways that I could make them myself. It was incredible! I learned so much about Fimo, resin casting, mini woodworking, printies and how to re-purpose or rehab found items inexpensively. If I was crazed with miniatures before, I became obsessed with making them! I probably spent even more money initially, because tools and supplies can also be expensive, but creativity was an addiction!

My daughter loved the dollhouse initially. I even got her to sit with me and create mini foods for the kitchen. I'd left two rooms unfinished so that she could enjoy the decorating part too. All too soon though, she discovered the boy band Hanson and moved quickly into her preteen activities. The dollhouse just sat like a monument in her room, collecting dust.

For me, however, I discovered that I could make miniature prepping food scenes and actually sell them on ebay! I had fun with this for months! I made enough in profits that I could actually begin to purchase more tools and materials and expand my creativity. It was a short lived dream, because my part time job turned to full time. Mini's would have to wait again until 2002...

Three Bears Porridge Breakfast

In January of 2002 my full time job turned into a mass layoff (thanks to the economy after 9/11). We had just moved into a bigger and way less affordable house, so I needed to have an income, but from doing what?

I decided that I should try to live my passion and that meant working in my passion! I cashed in my 401K and started Rainy Day Miniatures. I got a business license, created a web site, started a new ebay account, ordered a ton of miniature items (wholesale costs were awesome), made a ton of items and went "live" in late February. I even had a table at The Seattle Dollhouse & Miniatures Show!

Every month on the web site I would publish a "How To" article with step by step photos. I did lighting, constructing, foods, furniture etc. Soon, between ebay auctions and web site purchases I was shipping about 80 packages per week! This was amazing, and I loved the techie side of my job, too! I was able to complete many projects, and really started to feel confident in my new little skills!

The problem with all of this joy, was that I was working 15 hours a day just to keep up! On top of this, I always seemed to "reinvest" my profits back into more mini treasures for me. You cannot be a miniature addict and work in a miniature business - not if you actually need to make a living at it. In October of 2003 I got a "real job". Little did I know that life would redirect me away from minis for nearly nine years... Somehow raising kids and working full time can derail you from some things you love.

Fast forward to 2012... Suddenly an opportunity to work from home presents itself. I jump on it, and knowing I no longer have to work 50+ hours a week or commute 2 - 3 hours a day, I begin to dream in miniature again!

My first project back in the mini world was a replica tourist store and campground that my husband and I had dreamed of owning for years. Since we live in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, our dream business is called Encounters Gifts & Grub. It's a place for tourists on their way to Mt. Rainier National Park to camp, eat, and learn about all things Bigfoot! Please take a look at the page!

Encounters Gifts & Grub


  1. Him= Jodi Just catching up on how you came to mini, It is a familiar story. I packed away my house in 2002 and my husband and I went offshore sailing. It was not until 2010 that I began to make a concerted effort to finish The French House that had been a work in progress since the mid '90s.
    I am very hesitant to begin again as I feel I do not have enough space in my workroom for another house.
    The call of mini is pretty strong and such fun learning new techniques in small scale.
    All the best Janine

    1. Hi Janine! Thanks so much for reading my journey post!
      Sailing? How exciting! That must have been a wonderful adventure!
      Did you finish The French House? I would love to see photos if you have them posted someplace!
      If you hesitate on a new project, you will regret it! Your soul longs to create, and won't fully develop until you do. Maybe trying a smaller scale might solve the issue of space. I know mine is limited, as well, and I'll only be able to do smaller projects until we retire to our future barn/house.
      On the Starbucks project, I had to make every single thing due to budget constraints. That was the most fun I ever had. It really wakes up your creativity, and nothing can beat that feeling of self satisfaction! Please do a project, and then tell me all about it!

  2. Hi! I LOVE your blog!!! You have a true knack for minis and I really like the way you pay such close attention to detail. Like you, I have a true passion for everything miniature and actually built my first dollhouse during my teen years. However, life kicks in and well...time becomes nonexistent. Over the last year I've been dreaming of getting a project started but, have no time or space so, I live vicariously through pinterest and lovely blogs, like yours. Please keep posting!!

    Also, I'm super excited to see the revenge house you're working on for the creatin contest....I literally can not wait for December! Keep up the great work!

  3. Hi Courtney - thank you so much for the kind words! They really lifted my spirit!

    I hope that soon you'll find time for some minis. Even working on a small kit piece does wonders for your soul. It truly is affordable therapy!

    I managed to get a bit further on the contest build. The fun part is taking shape, and soon I'll get to begin work on the piggies themselves!

    Thanks so much for reading, and especially for taking the time to write! It was really nice to receive your encouragement!

  4. Jodi, you are talented beyond belief! I adore your miniatures and your gorgeous stores. You are an exceptional talent.

  5. Thank you for the lovely comment and for being here to explore this wonderful hobby with me!

  6. Dolly's Dollhouse - there's a blast from the past!! I used to live in Ballard and visited Dolly's regularly - bought tons of stuff but never really got going - family, job, etc. Left Seattle and now 20 plus years later, have time to get started on some of these projects. You have inspired me - so glad I found your blog on Pinterest!!!

    1. Thank you Kathleen! I am so happy to have inspired you! Many of us discover minis at the wrong time, but luckily, eventually, our time does come! I hope you get to fulfill your mini dreams and am so grateful for social media that connects and inspires all of us! There's a wonderful, knowledgeable and supportive community out there and that is something we didn't have 20 years ago!

  7. So many similar stories. I am at a place in my life that I can start my dream of miniatures. However, I am at a loss. No idea what to do, where to start, and how to begin this journey???

    Any ideas, blogs, videos, places I should start? Eeeek, a little afraid to take the first step.

    great pics, love the story,


    1. Hi Brenda!

      I'm so excited for you to begin your mini journey!!! I remember so dearly being able to jump back in, and how exciting that time in my life was because I had my project to enjoy!

      I highly recommend starting small. So many people start off buying their dream kit, take one look at the parts and instructions, become intimidated, then under the bed it goes. So if you start small, have one great success, your mini muscles will grow significantly and you'll be ready to take on much more for the second build!

      If you were my mini buddy, sitting right next to me at my craft table, I would encourage you to build The Primrose by Greenleaf. It is manageable with basic tools, and I shall give you links to what I'd recommend you have to start with.

      The kit can be purchased here:

      For the wallpaper and trims, I'd go to They always have great prices and great coupons to sign up for. But do shop around and compare. These links will show you what to get and then you can compare prices online and at retail stores like Hobby Lobby or Joann's.

      Must have saw:

      Cork backed ruler for cutting straight edges
      Clamps or bulldog fasteners:

      Aleen's Tacky Glue:

      Super Glue Gel:

      Wallpaper mucilage:

      Craft knife:

      Good to have:

      Self healing cutting mat:

      Easy Cutter:

      Pin vice with bits:

      You will learn so much your first time, and reading lots of blogs helps. I recommend all the blogs in my blog roll located in the right column of my blog. I'd also recommend joining the Greenleaf forum. There are so many helpful folks to answer questions and you can search for topics and find a wealth of info:

      If you want a step by step manual to make your first project, you can't do better than Caroline's from Cinderella Moments Etsy store:

      I wish you the best of luck on your journey! Feel free to email any time with specific questions to