About Me

I Love Miniature Houses

And I Like to Recycle

Hi, my name is Jackie and I am the artisan behind A Cottage in the Forest.

I love miniature houses. And I like to recycle. Actually, my passion is all things miniature. As a child I lived for a year in England, where my parents took me to Windsor Castle to see Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. I can’t remember a single other thing about the castle. For hours I circled the Dolls’ House. I suspect I was quite the brat when it was time to leave.

Today, I have over 30 birdhouses in my garden, I used to collect ceramic houses until I ran out of space, and I have a complete 2nd Christmas village packed away in my attic which I made 30+ years ago out of needlepoint and plastic canvas.

Then, in 2015 I was in our local craft store and saw the first of the Tim Holtz Village dies. I bought them, rushed home, and ran into my first problem. How to make them? I wasn’t into scrapbooking and had almost no cardstock. I had bought my steel die cutting machine to make lightweight flower earrings out of aluminum cans for my jewelry business. So I shrugged, and made my first cottage out of Coke and Budweiser cans.

First aluminum can house

I Want Them All!

Though the Tim Holtz Village dies gave me the ability to make several different style buildings, I soon wanted to branch out. And ran into problems. I wanted to add a fire station and a pub to my village, but couldn’t find a pattern for either one. I longed to add a Valentine’s Day cottage and Jennifer Maker graciously gave me permission to make and sell ones based her Maker’s Cottage. But the size was too big to work with the Tim Holz Village, and it took me multiple tries to resize it so it looked right. I searched for a pattern for a lighthouse that would go with my beach themed houses. Yet upon reading a comment about one pattern I found, it indicated the pattern didn’t fit together well. Was this a problem with the pattern, or was the person trying to make it just lacking experience? I was soon yearning for one source that gave me free patterns for buildings I couldn’t find elsewhere, review patterns from all over the internet, and help me resize the patterns to make one cohesive village. 

I saw a need that would let me do what I love.  I took a class from Jennifer Maker on how to design SVG patterns and launched this website.

More About Me

I had a very artistic mother who shared her joy of crafting with me. I don’t think I’ve found a craft yet that I haven’t fallen in love with. Besides the cottages out of aluminum cans, I also make miniature wire bonsai trees that you will find in my shop. I restore antique purses, and love to wire wrap, bead, knit, crochet, kumihimo braiding, lampworking, enameling, jewelry making, metalwork, and combining all of the above! I enjoy baking but am indifferent to cooking. Luckily my husband is a fantastic cook.  

A 5th generation Californian, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband Gordon and our 3 Border Collies. We have 3 grown children, as well as a daughter-in-law and an almost son-in-law. And we have 3 rambunctious grand-dogs and a grand-kitty. All six dogs enjoy chasing each other around our house and garden. Below is a rare instance when I got them to stop and pose. I must have been holding a ham over my head.

The dogs in my life

Gordon and I enjoy the outdoors. We have an extensive garden, and with our usually lovely California weather, we spend a lot of time in it. Gordon grows grapes as well as fruit and vegetables, and makes excellent homemade wine and beer, while I make jam from our fruit. My other hobbies are my koi pond and growing bonsai. I am a retired CPA, while Gordon keeps promising me he will retire any day now. Besides regular hikes with our Border Collies, we backpack, snorkel and scuba dive, and love to travel. And at least once a year we go our separate ways, he to ski with his friends, and me to go on bike tours with mine.

I have two other websites, Arhyonel Antiques where I sell antique and reproduction beaded purse patterns and restored antiques, and Arhyonel Designs, where I sell wire wrapped and enameled gifts and jewelry, as well as beaded ornament patterns.


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