Saturday, July 31, 2021

My New Project

For the past couple days, I've had an itch.

A creative itch.

I tried to stave it off with some late-night shopping sessions on Etsy, but finally I realized that I didn't want to buy something creative. I want to make something creative. 

So I did what any red-blooded creative type would do: I went out to my workspace in the garage and started rattling around through bins full of half-baked projects that had been abandoned for one reason or another, looking for something to light me up.

And I found a gem.

* * * * *

Let me throw this story back a couple years to a day in mid-December that found me strolling around Michaels, looking at the ragged remainders of Christmas decor and wondering why I held out hope that there might still be a pearl among the aisles and aisles of swine. 

It's a stretch to call my find a pearl. It was a cheap shadow box with a corny Christmas message and a glued-on plastic figure, and it was awful. But I suddenly envisioned a brighter future for this little box, so I took it home and eventually gave it new life.

This turned out to be a brilliantly fun project.  

And as the fates would have it, as soon as I wrapped up that project, I found myself once again wandering another year's ramshackle week-before-Christmas aisles in Michaels whence I came upon another equally garish and tacky (to me) shadow box begging for redemption.

Okay, Universe, I accept your challenge. 

Just like my first-go round, it was the simple shape and sturdy structure of this diamond in the rough that gave me hope. This little mama was an interesting geometric construction - a triangle atop a square - and to me, immediately screamed dollhouse.

Oh, yes. I could definitely get on board with a dollhouse project. Immediately, visions of sugar plums began dancing in my head, and a clear picture of a lil' Night Before Christmas scene popped into my brain.

So it was that last December, I bought this second funky little frame, brought it home, stripped away the old embellishments, and... promptly ran out of gas. 

That's when I plopped it into my bin of stalled projects where it's laid till I picked it up this week.
My Christmas cottage begins to take shape with a new attic floor and custom wallpaper. 

My vision is to turn what began as a pointed box into a two-story dollhouse by adding a strip of wood to serve as the first-story ceiling and the second-story floor. Hoping to find a decent match to the existing perimeter wood, I sorted through my collection of leftover dowels and trim pieces, and I struck gold. 

Now, with this segment of square dowel tucked into place, I would never guess that the attic floor was not part of the original design. It looks like it's always been there.
See how the attic floor does not come out as far as the walls of the house? 
Yeah. That was bothering me. A lot. 

Once I fine-tuned the fit of the floor piece, I turned my attention to the wallpaper.

It was not even a question that I wanted stripes for the living room downstairs, and dots in the attic bedroom, and I opted to use a shade of red that matches to the outside of the box (although the reds certainly seem to clash in the light of this photo.)

Easy and fun.
The first version of my itty bitty custom beds, half-assembled. 

Ready now to think about some beds. 

I'll be honest, this is where I really got thrown off in my first attempt with this project. I spent considerable time scrolling around Etsy, hoping to find some adorable wooden bunk beds perfectly sized for my small-scale house. But normal doll houses are much bigger than mine, so I had zero luck in finding viable options.

This week, I discovered a bold new confidence within myself. Forget Etsy, I silently swaggered, I'll build my own furniture. 

Riding the rocket fuel of my optimism, I rifled through more drawers of supplies and came upon the Goldilocks of popsicle sticks - not too big, not too small - but just the right size for beds that will fit perfectly in my attic. 

I came up with a simple design. Several careful measurements and precise cuts later, I grabbed my glue and began final assembly.

Which is exactly when my brain blew up.

* * * * *

Suddenly, I saw another, better way to build the floor joist so it will be the same width as the overall frame of the house.

And I hit upon a simpler and stronger design for my beds which would, frankly, bring me silly amounts of joy.

So with a single sweep of my hand, I knocked aside the old pieces and began again.

* * * * * 

These changes cost me nothing more than a couple bucks at Home Depot and maybe an hour of my time. But it's hard to describe the satisfaction I find in this kind of creative problem-solving. 

No instructions, 
no manuals, 
no photographs of how the final product should look. 

This project is just me and my imagination, shooting for the moon, seeing how far I can fly with an idea and my own two hands.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to root through my box of fabric scraps to see if I've got anything that might serve as tiny sheets and blankets. 

I'll keep you posted as my new project continues. 

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