My Commitment Problem

Its true, I have a commitment problem.

Not to the house, and definitely not to my husband or anything foolish like that.

I simply can’t commit to style.

There are far too many ways to decorate this house. Far too many! Especially as it seems the house is now a castle, or at least a fortress. Manor estate, maybe?

I was absolutely brooding about it. Unlike the patio, I had no idea what I was going to do.

I…just…can’t!

I did realize that the layout was simply impossible. There is no where to put a bathroom. The first two floors are too large, and there’s a door on one side of the bottom floor and they both have the elevator. Huh. I could divide the second floor into a bathroom and a bedroom, but…there would then be a balcony in the bathroom. That’s just weird. Now, there might come a day when I remove that balcony. Let’s just say I’ve already planned out an addition. But that’s out there somewhere.

The third floor certainly has smaller rooms that would be more bathroom appropriate but there’s still that elevator and then the stairs to the party patio which have no doorway…and no, that’s not an appropriate bathroom location, either.

The only remaining room is the top floor next to the party patio. And that’s about as weird as the room with the balcony.

I’ve known from the beginning that I wanted to use the Popsicle stick floor technique. In every YouTube video I’ve seen, they’re just awesome. They look just like “real people” floors. But, well, too modern. Don’t get me wrong, they’d be perfect for a modern room or even a “Mid-Century Modern” room, but again, that’s not the absolute all that I want for this house.

Although at least now I think I have a plan.

I went through oodles of ideas for floors. I’ve seen scrapbook paper used, so that was a good idea, and I even thought of using bathroom mats and cutting them down for carpeting. Which I might still do. But…

I’d still have to make a decision!

What style? What color? Which room was what? Where’s the kitchen? The bathroom? The bedroom? And what color will the furniture be, then? Which wood finish?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!

The first thing I realized is that, since Popsicle sticks are technically still wood–cheap wood, for sure, but wood–they could be stained.

A world opened up before my eyes. ALL the styles. ALL the colors.

But I’d still have to make a decision and declare, “THIS room is the bathroom, and THIS room is the kitchen, and THIS is the style and color I’m using in the living room,” and I just don’t want too. And you can’t make me!!!

Then it came upon me, like one of those visions prophets have but, y’know, a lot more normal.

Foam board.

Foam board is cheap, even cheaper than cheap as they have it at Dollar Tree and that’s about as low as you can go. It can be easily cut with just my li’l ole X-acto knives, and measured to fit any room of the house. ALL the rooms of the house.

Three finished floors. I got better at cutting as I went along…

Its even easier because the first two floors are the same size, and the two left side floors on the third and fourth are the same size. Interchangeable floors for the win!!!

These were the three colors of stain that my beloved Hubs just happened to have leftovers laying about–rosewood, gunstock, and colonial. So far, gunstock is my favorite although the colonial (walnut, I believe) has a lovely old house feel to it. Now that I have the measurements, if I like (and you know I do!), I can very easily make as many floors in as many different looks as I like. And yes, I already have a bathmat (from Aldi no less, cheap!) ready to be sacrificed for some nice, comfy, casual living room. Probably.

I have to say, they look amazing in the house, too! I am now back on track. Not only is this a very useful idea for floors, I can easily make similar foam board, or even paper board walls. I might have to use Velcro to keep them in place, but I luckily already have quite the stock of that laying about. Given the times (lockdown and all that), I’m currently stuck with the “what I have on hand” or might be able to get at the grocery store which is about the only place we go these days. Ordering online is still possible but, well, backed up. A lot.

Now I’ve no reason to have to commit. I can have as many styles as I choose…which means this will be a long, unending hobby. I feel that’s important with hobbies. Why would you want one you could actually finish? Even after the house is “finished,” there will be more to do on the house, furniture, furnishings, and then of course there’s the dolls and the clothes and shoes and…

I will enjoy this for many, many more years to come. Commitment free.

 

 

Balcony and Cross-Crafting

I knew what I wanted to do with the balcony/party patio. I’d known before I even started the outside. Its probably the only part of this house rehab that I’d planned ahead.

I just didn’t know exactly how I was going to accomplish it.

So now I’m going to introduce you all to the world of Cross Training Crafts or Cross Crafts. Hey, its good enough for pro-athletes, its good enough for us, right?

Like most crafters, this isn’t my first rodeo. Not by a long shot. I’ve still got a lot of irons in the fire. Who doesn’t? Is there a square inch at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, or Joann “Fabrics” that you don’t walk through, even just aimlessly browsing? I thought not.

My personal craft journey started ages and ages ago. Probably with preschool finger painting. Heh. But in closer memory, I was into Dungeons and Dragons as early as Junior High so the first full-on art I remember being interested in was painting miniatures. I was already restringing some beads around that time. Later, I combined the fine brushes of miniature painting with a friend’s wire twisting and made jewelry for sale for the first time in college. I then branched off into bead-weaving and then later into my own bead-stringing designs with gemstones. Yeah, I still have quite a few beads lying about the house, but that’s another story.

There are “posts” missing, and the top of the railing broke so I removed it. In order to add the hair pins, I need to add posts as they need to be closer.

I am hoping to make the railing look more like wrought-iron. That part ought to be easy enough; paint it black, right? Oh, and one of my favorite YouTubers, Fun and Crafts, made a railing incorporating old-school hair pins that was dead on what I’m wanting. Then I found some lovely square dowel rods, so I believe I’m all set. The railing is now in pretty bad shape; the years of storage weren’t kind to it.

Probably the only thing I knew for sure I wanted to do, before even starting to look for materials, was some sort of faux stone for the patio. On this concept, I got really lucky.

I was browsing around YouTube, not really with any purpose in mind, just letting it recommend what it would. And wouldn’t you know it, the Mighty YouTube Randomizer (which isn’t really random, I know) came up with Black Magic Craft. Now I don’t remember which of his videos came up first, but I remember being fascinated because, like both My Froggy Stuff and Fun and Crafts, he was using foam board as the basis for building most of his creations. Of course, they’re on a much smaller scale but the fundamentals are the same. And wouldn’t you know it, he did a faux stone with cardboard egg cartons. YES!!! So convenient–easily available, free, and I even happened to have a couple lying around. I set to work immediately, excited beyond belief and…

Every new craft has a learning curve, amirite?

You’ll be happy to know it didn’t stay like this. I began with the floor, which as you can easily tell isn’t all that great. By the time I got to the walls, I had gotten the technique down a little better. This was probably after the first round of dry-brushing. I just felt it needed some additional coloring to bring it all together and make it look more natural. It definitely needed something at this stage, as it looked, well, awful. So I kept going.

If you’re thinking of attempting this, let me warn you…the glue you use and the texture of the egg carton will make a difference. Not all egg cartons are as hard, thick, or whatever. I used what Black Magic Crafts suggested for glue, which was Mod Podge. It worked great, but I think my container might’ve been a bit on the older side. The torn bits of egg carton were, well, stiff and hard, and ended up being pointing and almost dangerous to touch. I watered down the Mod Podge a bit, almost soaking the cardboard in it, and that seemed to negate that at least a little. By the time I got to the walls, I was almost using the Mod Podge and cardboard as if it were Papier Mache…soaking it in a dilution of Mod Podge and water. But hey, it worked, and that was the point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the final effect. Minus the railings, of course, which will be next. The floor is still a bit messed up, but I’m hoping that with some furniture and so forth, it’ll hardly be noticeable. Hoping. Because there’s like 3 layers of Mod Podge on this now, so those stones are not coming back up easily!!! Honestly, it looks a lot better in person, mostly because I’m a horrible photographer. That, I’m sure, I’ll get better at as things go along…

I hope.