Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crafts From The Past: Ending Cat Houselessness, Beginner Carpentry, and Miniature Anachronisms

This week is Thanksgiving, and I’m back at home. So, I thought it would be fun to recount some projects from my earlier days. 

Extreme Makeover: Cat Home Edition?

When I was 13 my family got two kittens.  They were sisters named Macy and Sedona.  After we’d had them for about a month I talked my Dad into helping me build a rather large house for them.  I even learned how to use a jigsaw and a table saw. I figured if dogs got houses, cats needed them too.  If this house was on the market, I think the ad would look something like this.
Macy surveys the view from her estate.  

HOUSE FOR SALE:  Two stories, with attic. Whimsical coloring.  Patio and deck. Small doorways.  Open floorplan. Hardwood floors.  2 bedrooms.  No bathroom. Litter box nearby.  Conveniently located 3 feet from restaurants “The Water Bowl” and “The Food Bowl”.  No stairs, just “openings”.  Not handicap accessible.  Good schools, friendly community. Great for a 2-cat family who loves to entertain.
Hey kid, get off my lawn!!

Don't look at me. Don't look me in the eyes.

I don't require stairs.

These days Macy lives in this big house alone because my poor little Sedona has gone on to her heavenly reward.   When we first built it, I called it The Cat House but I had to quickly change that to “The Feline Habitat” when my uncle kindly informed me of the negative connotations associated with the former.  Yikes.  This is a family-friendly establishment.

This Old House: Easy Roofing Solutions…for those who are afraid of heights.

One year for Christmas I got a completely wonderful Doll House.  Not a Barbie Beach House.  Not a Playschool Plastic Bowl Cut Family Doll House (you know what I’m talking about)…although I had one of those too. Not one of those “Loving Family” or whatever doll houses with the real working electrical fixtures and crib that sings songs.


An honest-to-goodness, made of wood, built by my own mom and dad doll house.  It was probably the best Christmas present ever.  Materialistically speaking, of course.   Anyway.  I guess I was 9 or so.  My Dad built it, but I did ALL, and I mean ALL the painting myself.  My mom helped me with the roof.  You have to glue each shingle on by hand.  It’s pretty time-consuming.  So much so, in fact, that I never finished it.  Until yesterday, that is.  That’s right, dear readers.  For about 13 years the roof has been unfinished.  Way back when I was 9, for some reason I didn’t finish the very middle part of the roof, just a very little part.  Then the shingles got lost or something.   This week, I found them in the basement!  In the very stainless-steel mixing bowl I borrowed from the kitchen to hold them in 13 years ago!  So, I finished the roof, and repaired various pieces of furniture that had been broken over the years.  
You can see the maid through the front door.  That's right, they've got a maid!
Don't you wish your home overlooked a pool table? (and had no back?)

You may notice something strange about this house.  Something a little….not right.  No, it's not the creepy, glassy-eyed expressions of the non-bendable doll house people 10-year-old me choose from a doll house specialty store for the ridiculous price of 7.50 each (WHAT WAS I THINKING?) Maybe you would call them “glaring chronological errors” or “startling anachronisms”.  For example, the figurines appear to be dressed in some sort of Victorian fashion (1837-1901)….yet the kitchen floor is very 1950’s.  Also, it’s pretty amazing to have an electric stove…which was an exhibit at the World’s fair in 1893 so it seems pretty surprising for a family such as this to already have one. And that fridge?  Well, our little family here probably should have an “ice box” since refrigeration didn’t really catch on until the early 20th century.   Please also notice that this family has ONE OIL LAMP for their entire home. Now THAT is just wishful thinking.  I won’t continue.  You get the idea.  Clearly, 9-year-old me was not that concerned with constructing a historically accurate house.  Of course, I’m still not that worried about it, so I guess it’s okay. 

Here are a few rooms for your perusal.
The Kitchen. 
The Living Room.  My, doesn't she look like she is having a good time?
Mr. Head of Household checks himself out in the mirror.
9 year old me painted this room too look almost exactly like my room at home, minus the blob-butterflies.
What Victorian home would be complete without an ocean themed  school room?

I think I’m going to give the whole thing a nice coat of polyurethane to preserve it for posterity.  I mean, I feel like this is an heirloom-quality toy, you know?  Handle with care J


  1. Oh no, I hope it wasn't "Uncle Rob" who told you that a cat house might be misconstrued....