South Hills Woman Wins Third Place in World Miniatures Contest | Living
Melissa Bulifant has always been a bit artistic.
The Bethel Park woman also always had a desire to build a dollhouse.
His skill and desire won him third place in the 28th Annual Creatin’ Contest, sponsored by Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com.
Bulifant, from Edenborn near Uniontown, was surprised to learn that her creation, titled ‘On The Mon’, was one of the winners. It is a miniature version of a family boathouse on the Monongahela River.
“I thought they were wrong. Honestly, I did,” she said, laughing. “I was thrilled. I was just doing it for the satisfaction of accomplishing it. It was completely unexpected. That’s wonderful.”
For his third place, Bulifant won a $250 gift certificate.
There were over 100 attendees from six different countries and from almost every state in the United States. A grand prize winner has been selected, along with the first, second and third place winners.
There were also nine first-time winners and eight honorable mentions.
Bulifant’s motivation to work on a dollhouse has increased as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused her to spend more time at home.
“Remote work gave me a few extra hours a day,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to make a dollhouse, so this was my chance to do it.”
Bulifant fell on the miniatures.com website and read about the contest.
Participants were given a kit as a starting point and their creativity flowed from it. The kit included three walls, a roof and a half floor.
“I saw the kit and something clicked in my mind,” Bulifant said. “I knew what I wanted to do. I’m so glad I did, because I absolutely loved it.
The theme of his creation stems from his father’s love of fishing.
“He worked in the coal mines and fishing was his weekend release,” Bulifant said of his father, Richard Smith, who died in 1991. “He never had a place like this, so at every step, I thought, ‘What would my dad like?’ I thought of it as an old building that has been passed down from generation to generation.
A video on the miniatures.com The Facebook page features Bulifant describing the making of “On The Mon” and provides an explanation of the intricate details that went into each room of the house.
And the details are quite intricate, missing nothing relevant for a relaxing fishing trip.
Upstairs has a living room with a sofa and chairs. A refrigerator and sink are also located in part of the living room. Of course, the fridge – a facsimile of his own fridge – is adorned with a miniature Steelers magnet. There is a complete bathroom with sink, shower and toilet. The project even includes the wiring to turn on the lamps.
Two boats named after her dogs – Rosie and Tasha – sit under the living room, ready for the next fishing trip.
“He just has that feel that I wanted him to have,” Bulifant said. “There is nothing new, nothing shiny and shiny; just a comfortable, happy place where you can relax (and) be with your family. Everything slows down and you can enjoy the people and the place where you are.
Bulifant said she had plenty of time to work on “On The Mon” after undergoing surgery for a broken foot last summer. Being somewhat incapacitated gave her time to work on the project.
“I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere,” she recalls. “I made every brick and put every brick on this thing the whole time I had my foot in the air. It was tough, but I liked how it felt.
The bricks are foam board insulation and the ceiling is instant coffee stained wood grain, as are the living room floors. Bulifant said the coffee produced a rich brown stain.
Bulifant laughed when she spoke about the part of her home that had been taken over by the project. She said her family were patient with her, adding that the foot surgery probably won her some sympathy.
“Everyone supported me, which was really good,” she said. “These houses are not small. I was everywhere. I took over the kitchen for a while. I took over the living room. I was probably in three rooms.
Bulifant enjoyed her first contest and said she plans to enter again.
“I kind of have an idea that I’m working on,” she said. “I really want to do this again. It was just fun. I found a hobby.