Sunday, April 21, 2013

In memory of the passing of miniature brick-and-mortar shops.

What do you do when you run out of glue? Answer: Find another project! And mourn the passing of our brick and mortar shops.

The inevitable happened this weekend. I ran out of the wallpaper mucilage I use. Yes, I suppose I could have tried a different product. But I didn't want to. I like what I was using: MiniGraphics Wallpaper Mucilage.

I knew A.C. Moore had a small dollhouse section, so I headed out, hoping to purchase some there. No luck. They only carry a small selection of furniture, some Classics brand building components, some random carpets, along with a few accessory items.

When Mom and I began actively pursuing our mini hobby, we had several choices of shops in the New Haven, CT area. I think it was maybe the late 1970's - early 1980's.

Our favorite was "The Crafty Owl" in North Haven run by Hazel Smith. Hazel was a teacher who ran the shop outside of her work hours. She also had a fun dollhouse "museum" in a separate room, that you could enter for the "huge" fee of 25 cents!! After a number of years running the store out of the first floor of an old home, Hazel moved her shop to a standalone shop on the main drag in North Haven. Hazel also ran the twice yearly doll shows at the New Haven Motor Inn. At some point, the date of which I can't remember, she retired, then, sadly passed away. I think her daughter, Florence had briefly considered carrying on her mother's work but she moved away (Pennsylvania?) and I lost touch. I often wonder what happened to Hazel's wonderful collection.

In those days, one had the choice of decorating in the Victorian style or the Colonial style. That was about it. Another local miniaturist Beverly Finley, owned Colonial Pine Miniatures. She had a little shop in her house, which was an original colonial salt-box home in Hamden. She also ran an annual dollhouse show.

Mom bought me a present when I earned my Master;s degree: a 3 story townhouse, purchased from a small shop on Route 10 in Cheshire - can't remember the name. I spent tons of money purchasing beautiful resin windows and doors created by Derek Perkins for that house from Paul Lawson (hope I remembered the name correctly) who ran Miniature Mansions out of a small shop off Whalley Avenue in New Haven. That was 1985. Still haven't installed those windows!

Then there was Roberta Glidden. Roberta ran local shows and opened shop in several locations: her home in Cheshire, a shop in the Watch Factory Mall in Cheshire and lastly a shop on Rt. 68 (I think!) in Cheshire, near Southington. Roberta usually held one of her shows the first week in March. As Mom's birthday was March 5th, we attended every year as part of her birthday celebration. One year, the show was on Mom's actual birthday! At that show she won one of her prized possessions: a British baby carriage.

In Stratford, there was a shop owned by a funny woman who smoked a lot. It was later purchased by a man who wanted to keep the shop going - very commendable. Unfortunately, it didn't last long.

In North Haven, we could also buy supplies at Hubie's Hobbies.

The last shop I frequented was Mirabella Miniatures in Fairfield. The owner had to close her shop due to health concerns. 

There were other miniature shops in CT, of course, but these were the ones I frequented. I remember a shop in Seymour, one in Brookfield, and Molly Brody's in Stamford.

Writing this, I am thinking someone should do a "History of Miniature Shopping in CT" Any volunteers? 

Oh, BTW - I ordered the wallpaper mucilage online. Should be here later this week.

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