I have been a tom boy, avid doll collector and lover of miniatures all my life. Growing up in Seattle, I would go to the museum and spend as long as I could staring at and studying the lighted dollhouse. I always wanted a dollhouse, but due to our financial situation, as a child, it was never possible to have my own. I got my first dollhouse when I was in my thirties, and now own quite a few, including a giant roombox, Wilson's Pond. In 1991, luck came my way and I won the special drawing at the Good Sam show. I was so excited, I think I broke my mother's ear drums! Anyway, my doll collection, dollhouse and roombox collection have overtaken our living room and are spilling out into the rest of the house! In 1990, I started making my own miniatures for sale. In my twenties I had become a cake designer, not just a decorator, they were sculpted cakes, self-taught other than the basic Wilton course. I was in demand, particularly by caterers, those that catered to the high and mighty, and the rich and famous of the San Francisco Bay area. This continued until 1987, when I became very ill. I have Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus and have recently been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus, and have been in a wheelchair since 1987. After I recovered enough to function again, I tried making the Fairmont Hotel and Mount Everest, in full-size cakes, for clients in San Francisco. The cakes turned out beautifully, but my mom had to run her legs off getting things for me. I never realized how much I stood while doing these cakes. It became obvious, at that time, I could no longer make full-size cakes without putting stress on my mother. Consequently, we came up with the idea of doing them in miniature with all the detail, just like the full-size cakes. I can now duplicate anyone's real wedding cake in miniature from a picture, any scale desired, even large enough to fill a large dome. A great gift for a keepsake!
From there it grew, with so many ideas, our line continues to expand. It has been a great outlet for both of us; my mother is a very talented artisan as well. I could not do the miniatures shows alone, and my mother has been wonderful enough to follow me in my endeavors. It's great to have her working along side me. We also live together, along with my grandmother who is 83. Besides our miniatures, we also do other crafts and collect donations for abused children, the homeless, and any others in need. We collect it and give it to the people in need, free.
We use my mom's initials for the name of the business, A.J.S. Productions. Not many people have seen us in the past year or so, but we are looking forward to changing that! I think my greatest accomplishment is never stopping, no matter what happens. Keeping a positive attitude, a hearty laugh and keeping a smile on my face, I take all the enjoyment out of life that I can get. My greatest strength is my mother's constant encouragement and belief in me, and always being there to give a helping hand.I'm also well known for speeding in my wheelchair at shows, but so far I haven't had any victims!
Reprinted from "A Reference Guide to Miniature Makers Marks" ISBN: 0-9644481-0-6
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