Thursday, February 24, 2011

If the Shoe Fits, or Even G.I. Joes Wear Pink Sometimes

Even a manly man like Joe likes to express
his own personal style on occasion.
I need a box of 70 count, size 5, Parent's Choice diapers from Wal-Mart. No, you could not accuse me of being brand loyal, I usually make a bee-line for whatever is cheapest, but in this case I can only use this specific item. Why? I need it for the box. I have three such boxes already, and I need a fourth for my next doll house. Sometimes you find materials in strange places, where you least expect them. Ever been sipping coffee at Bob Evans, adding a container of creamer to your refill, only to have a eureka moment? The creamer tub looks just like a tiny, white trash can, and you need this for your doll house bathroom! Or maybe you had a hankerin' for some hot, savory Giovanni's pizza, delivered right to your door. Salivating, you open the box, only to be struck by how much the little plastic spacer that keeps the cheese from sticking to the lid looks like a footstool or a small ottoman, just the kind of thing you need in your doll house nursery. When working in miniature, it helps to keep your eyes open and your imagination switch in the 'on' position, because you never know when and where you'll find treasure. For example, my son't G.I. Joes each have a pair of Chuck Taylor's instead of army boots to wear, and you know where they came from? A key chain display at the local dollar store. Sure, one of the Joes is saddled with a pair of pink shoes, but he is secure in his masculinity, and besides, they are stylin', and best of all, unique. When you re-purpose an item, you insure that your project will be unique in a way that a creation filled with mass-produced items never can be. Sure, anyone with money can buy enough accessories to make a great doll house, there are wonderful pieces on the market, but if you want to create something that is truly unique, something that embodies your aesthetic, then you have to be creative and work unconventionally. And if you can save money while doing that, all the better, just ask Joe.
The upstairs room of Eli's GI Joe house has yellow tissue-paper walls and green marble contact paper flooring. His twin size bed is a colorful fabric-covered egg carton with cardboard headboard. Joe's wind-up robot was purchased at the Dollar General for $1 and his ceramic plate came from a tea set. He holds his buddy, a pencil topper monkey. Joe's hat is the toe of a baby sock and his shoes were key chains in a former life.

The Joe's living room has colorful, red wrapping paper walls, and a contact paper hardwood floor. Joe and Barbie are relaxing on a couch made from pinned Styrofoam and denim. Puppy is from a cowboy set, the bowling pin and dish in the corner are dollar store finds. And yes, the stool in the corner came from a pizza box.

Eli's G.I. Joe house is made from a combination of recycled materials and dollar store and flea market finds. What was your favorite homemade toy growing up, and what was it made from?

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