This is the one thing I could fix this year.
Not that I have any issues with the Mandalorian Season 2 finale from a narrative perspective. It was thrilling to watch and actually made sense.
It just hurt, in a year where you really gotta have storyteller nerves of steel to hurt your audience.
Luckily, I have two dollhouses and now a miniature bakery which serve as Valhalla for all the characters I love. I finished this out so fast!! I ordered the blue space macarons from a miniature maker in France, Gaël Atelier, and thank goodness they arrived very fast.
I am all about safe harbor, about refuge.
If you are a character who has helped me survive, and they make you in action figure form (or I can make a custom), you will get a cozy place to retire, with other avatars of beloved fictional people. I am GRATEFUL to stories, and this is my demonstration of that. I don’t believe in true love, but I do believe in chosen family and reunion across time.
I also have a lot of history with bakeries.
Because being an artist in the US is goddam hard, I have worked so many food service and retail jobs. I have worked at, managed, worked with so many bakeries and patisseries and chocolate companies.
I have endless bakery dreamscapes, rolling maps of the bakeries I’ve known.
I have known and loved a treasury of fancy bakeries! Bakeries are my love affair and my luxury, the place I go to feel good.
I have missed visiting Berlin’s bakeries so much, this year.
This one represents them, the physical space of working in a fine bakery.
Polishing the brass on the pastry case in my white uniform at Wuollet in St. Paul when I was 22, arranging my Belgian chocolate case at Dean & De Luca in Georgetown, where I was manager of the Bread and Pastry department at 29, going into San Francisco’s fanciest stores as a sales rep for Albert Uster at 30.
Making my famous white chocolate, pistachio praline and mango buttercream cake at the Phoenix Pastaficio in Berkeley in 2001.
And watching someone pay five dollars for a slice, then buy another and eat that too. Back to work as a barista at 42, in the Great Recession, at Wicked Grounds, slicing caramel chocolate mouse cake, serving my future husband a fancy milkshake.
Pulling shots is a kind of muscle memory that I will hold forever, even as my body is breaking down.
I know espresso machines like some people know motorbikes. I couldn’t say enough about working in First Wave, Second Wave and Third Wave coffee houses in this piece, so I’m also making a combination Magic Shoppe/Coffee Roastery! You can see it coming together below.
I blame Re-Ment for releasing the incredible Snoopy’s Coffee Roastery set this year.
I did not make these things myself, no! Most of the miniatures are from the Japanese Gachapon or blind-box company Re-Ment. Some of the cakes I have been saving since I started collecting Re-Ment in 2008. There are also cakes I bought at the incredible dollhouse museum in New Orleans in 2000, when I went there for Siggraph (oh that’s right, I used to work in visual effects too!). At last they have a place.
I scratch-built the counter for the espresso machine and added tons of trim, stained to match, to tie together all the other pieces.
The pass-through, where you go out into the store to bus tables, should properly be hinged, though I have known places where you duck under. I made the trellis out of coffee stirrers and spraypainted it to match everything else. It took a solid thirty hours to carefully position and glue down all the tiny things.
Of course Grogu gets choccie milk and squid to eat!
I used UV resin to make the slimy dish of spiders-in-gelee that Lando is presenting to the Baby. I was a little uncomfortable permanently encasing rare Megahouse (another Gachapon company, no longer active in food miniatures) pieces in green resin slime. But I did it anyway.
And now Baby Grogu can feast with his Mandalorian safely in this place forever!
Or at least for a while. That’s good enough for me.
UPDATED Feb 18 2021: I made Baby a blankie!
I felt a little fragile and short on serotonin yesterday, so I sewed Baby Yoda a little space print blankie and pillow for his hoverpram.
Now the baby’s things are in his pram (his bowl, his precious sphere and his cyclops frog!) and another nice space friend is joining the party on the bakery patio.
I also added lights to the patio.
These are battery-operated LED lights which use a coin battery in their bases. The bases attach to a magnetic disc, which is glued to the wall. It’s a pain to pop them off and turn them on individually, but not nearly as bad as the whole transitional LED light system nightmare of the X-Men dollhouse (see below).
Updated March 28 2021: added more rare Re-ment bakery and chocolate miniatures!
I finally found the macarons!
Re-ment’s macaron box set has been a holy grail item for Re-ment collectors forever. I found a set in Europe, yay! I also got another box from the Snoopy’s Coffee Roastery set with the shelf unit, and painted it to match, so I could put a bowl of whipped cream, some chocolate for shaving, bread loaves and boxes on it. I love the “Petit Gateau” set boxes and bags, which remind me of endlessly folding bakery boxes at Wuollet in my twenties.
Moving the bread loaves gave me room to display breakfast pastries! And the decorated cookies from another set I’ve had since the Oughts.
A huge part of being a collector is managing and displaying your collections.
This bakery made me feel like I’d made great progress in displaying my bakery goods, until I looked at the Bakery organizer boxes and saw they were still nearly full…
But at least I finally displayed the ridiculously rare and immensely relevant-to-my-interests Chocolate Insects!
More on the construction of this roombox here.
More about my bakery life here.
Other X-Men and Action figure dollhouse projects and action figure customs:
Danger Room work in progress!
My first action figure dollhouse.
My action figure subway station.
A New York City subway car, underneath a dollhouse in Berlin.
Projects for the X-Men Dollhouse – a blackboard for the library
The X-Men Dollhouse – nearly finished, and the goddam lighting
The X-Men Dollhouse – stairs and lighting
The X-Men Dollhouse – wallpaper and assembly
The X-Men Dollhouse – getting started!
Lila Cheney and Lilandra customs.
My Rahne and Dani lovebird action figure customs
Douglock custom figures hanging in Kitty and Illyana’s room.