I can’t believe we’re over half way through January already! We’ve been BUSY around here…lots of house projects going on. Our laundry room renovation was coming right along, until we hit an obstacle. It turns out the wall we’re planning on fitting with a pocket door is load-bearing. So I’ve been living with a big hole between the laundry room and the kitchen for over a week while we waited for expert advice. We now know how to proceed…it’s going to be doable–yay!!–but not quite the simple straightforward project we had envisioned. But projects are rarely as straightforward as we hope, are they?!!
We also took advantage of 4 of our boys being away at camp this past weekend to switch out one of the bedrooms with my craft room. That was a HUGE job…no walls came down, but boy oh boy do I have a LOT of craft stuff! It doesn’t seem like nearly so much until I have to carry it all into a different room and reorganize it! And because my new room is larger, a trip to Ikea for more storage furniture just might have been necessary. 😉
But now I have plenty of room for my kids to craft with me without all of us tripping over each other. We’re going to have so much fun in our new space! One of the things I’m going to do now that I have more room is rekindle an old hobby–miniatures!
Growing up, I had a beautiful doll house that my grandfather built me from a kit. I loved that house, and my mom and I spent many hours decorating it and creating tiny little treasures for its small inhabitants. Last summer my mom brought me several boxes of furniture and accessories that we had either bought or made many years ago. Shortly thereafter I found this doll house at an auction at our local Goodwill store:
It’s basic, but solid and well put together…and I got it for a mere $20! It needs a few small repairs, such as the stair rail upstairs and a new front stoop and window box, but I’m confident I can figure out how to fix those right up.
I’m going to install electricity and change up all the colors, wallpaper, and what not. Then we’ll have all sorts of fun creating tiny treasures to fill it up! I took these 3 photos when I first brought it home last summer. Joanna and I furnished it somewhat with some of the things my mom brought me and Joanna’s dolls. We found her a similar but more kid-friendly doll house on Craigslist, so when we make stuff we’ll make double for both houses. She’s not getting electricity in hers until she’s quite a bit older though.
One of the first little things we made was actually a request from Josh, one of my teens. He was taking a break from a school assignment and suggested that we needed teeny tiny pencils. So we made these cuties out of toothpicks:
I put together a few photos to show how we made them. They are super simple. All you need are some toothpicks, 4 colors of craft paint (yellow, pink, metallic silver, and black), and some sandpaper. I used some jewelry-making wire snips to cut the toothpicks, but you could use a craft knife or even sturdy scissors instead. A word of warning…hold the toothpick with the end aiming into something–a small box, a cup, etc.–because otherwise when you snip it it will shoot across the room and could be dangerous. I’m speaking from experience. Thankfully no one was impaled with that first cut!
I cut a bit longer than 3/4″ off each end of the toothpick. These are a little bigger than true 1/12 scale, but they are still tiny! I think you’d need something thinner than a toothpick to get a true 1/12 scale. After I cut them, I used a scrap of sandpaper to sand down and slightly round the edges of the cut end. Then holding the very end of the pointed tip, I painted all but the point yellow.
Once the yellow paint dried, I dipped the flat ends in pink paint to make the erasers. A scrap of styrofoam makes a great drying rack…just poke the pointy tips into it.
Once the pink paint dried, I used a small paint brush to paint a band of metallic silver around the bottom edge of each eraser.
The toothpicks I used are cheap. They’re not super smooth, and my close-up photos really accentuate that. Tip: buy better toothpicks. Or maybe sand them with really fine sandpaper before starting. I only have a medium grit at the moment, so I didn’t try that.
Once the silver paint dried, I just barely dipped the pointy tips in black paint, to make the pencil lead. Then I kind of rolled the tip along the edge of a piece of paper so it wouldn’t look blobby.
And there you have it…cute teeny tiny pencils! The 2 that we made for these photos went immediately to live in Joanna’s doll house, along with several tiny squares of paper for her dolls to draw on. She informed me that now she needs a table for her dolls to color on, so I have a feeling we’ll be making one of those soon. After all, it makes perfect sense that miniature dolls need a craft space just like we do!
I’ll be posting some photos of my new craft space as soon as I get some of the finishing touches done. Better yet, I’d love to be able to reveal our finished laundry room makeover by the end of the month. Here’s hoping it goes more or less smoothly from here on out!