I haven’t made anything with matchboxes in a while, so I was overdue. This mini market was inspired by something similar (I think) that I spotted in the wilds of the internet but then couldn’t find again. Maybe it was just a dream (but a very particular and miniature kind of dream).
This tiny marketplace has a vaguely Mexican look thanks to the some bright 2″ origami paper and a nifty hole punch I got my hands on. Love that hole punch something fierce. I made a counter for the ice cream shop out of card stock and striped tape. Ditto the little table in the coffee shop (but this time I used checkered tape). The itty ice cream cones, donuts and penguins come from my son’s Japanese eraser collection (borrowed without permission!)
Who wouldn’t awake, hobbled with aches, after sleeping on this perfect pea? Even with the assorted mattresses, 22 in all?
I promised to post photos of the cardboard box storybook house the grade schoolers made in my library this year. And only months later, I’m keeping my word! Each room was paired with a fairy tale and kid-created with tape, glue stick, thread, and recyclables: scraps of fabric, felt, boxes, egg cartons. This room, of course, belongs to the Princess of The Princess and the Pea.
We read Lauren Child’s version of the tale for inspiration. (Lauren herself constructed exquisite miniature rooms and paper doll cut outs to illustrate the story.) Then we savored the spin-offs: The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch and Mini Grey’s The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be.
The students used thread or embroidery floss and sewed pieces of felt or fabric scraps together. This involved a bit of prep–pre-threading needles so the kids could get to work. The bed is a paper-covered box with clothespin bed posts.
And this little table and chairs adds luster to the princess’s room, I think. Her crown is on a chest of drawers against the back wall.
This year in my library (FYI: my day job is elementary school librarian), the kids are making a storybook house from cardboard boxes and recyclables. Every week we add a room–Jack’s beanstalk-green bedroom, Little Red’s ruby-hued bachelorette pad, etc. Right now we’re working on the Three Bears’ kitchen, where a golden-curled interloper slurps up soup and breaks chairs.
The students do their creative best with glue sticks and dull scissors. But sometimes I help out on the sly. This is such a case.
Armed with toilet paper cardboard rolls, scrapbook paper and my trusty glue gun, I happily spent an evening making three chairs–in varying sizes. I sliced and narrowed the toilet paper roll for Baby Bear’s squat seat, and sliced and joined two rolls for Papa Bear’s wide berth. (Mama Bear’s medium chair didn’t need adjusting. It was just right.)
I wish I had directions to share, but I don’t. In keeping with the spirit of our library project, I just winged it and left things in crude form. I will post photos of the storybook house soon though so you can see the kids’ imaginative handiwork. They amaze me.
I’ve been in the mood to make but not sure exactly what. Maybe I could sew something small and messy? Something upcycled so to avoid spending time and money at the fabric store? I rummaged in my drawer of scraps and found . . . velvet 3.5″ square swatches from a furniture company (for an armchair we never ordered) and corduroys worn thin and frayed.
I enjoyed matching the dark corduroy–it’s a brownish purple–with cheerful pink corduroy and the deep velvety squares. I trimmed and sewed as straight as I could, but the goal was small and messy after all. Now that I have a patched 14″ square, it seems I’ll have to make a pillow. Any ideas about what kind of fabric I should use for backing–velvet, corduroy, dyed linen, cotton?
I’ve been saving champagne corks for a while meaning to twist together some tiny cafe chairs, but I had forgotten about the project until . . . I tripped onto This Is My Dollhouse, a recent picture book by Giselle Potter (published by Schwartz & Wade Books). As a maker and admirer of all things itty bitty as well as a fan of Potter’s doll-like, oval-faced illustrations, I couldn’t resist getting my hands on the book.
The story is about a girl who creates a dollhouse out of a cardboard box, furnishing it from snippets and household bits.
Inside the dust jacket is a hidden treat: hints and ideas for making and outfitting your own cardboard box dollhouse.
Clothespins and a matchbox become a bed. Bottle caps make perfect plates. Pieces of yellow string equal noodles. Fried eggs? Pencil a yellow circle on a white scrap! The story honors a child’s ability to transform the ordinary into a miniature world.
So, I found my champagne corks where I had squirreled them away. If you have a supply ready, here’s how to make them:
You need: a wire cutter and a champagne (or craft beer!) cork
Step 1: Cut the wire that connects the bottom of the cork cage. Try to straighten out the twists as best you can.
Step 2: Twist the wire into the shape you’d like and hook and secure the loose ends to the back legs of your chair.
The tricky part (other than all that twisting that ended up lopsided in my attempts) is to secure the back and keep the seat on the chair. If the legs splay out too much, the seat falls off. You need to straighten the legs a bit to keep the seat attached.