I think it really first began when the wee girl talked us into getting her a Barbie...because then her growing Barbie/Princess family needed a place to live.
Then I came across an ingenius idea on Pinterest (evil, evil time sucking place...but a good kind of evil) where a mom had turned four 3-ring binders into Barbie house rooms and made all of the furniture to go with it. She was kind enough to include tutorials for the various bits of furniture. Everything looked simple enough, I decided I could do the same thing.
And then I kept seeing old, discarded dressers, armoires and shelves being repurposed into play kitchens and doll houses. Since there was a birthday coming up (tomorrow) I was on the lookout for a cheap shelf to use instead of the binder idea. Also, because I'm apparently a masochist.
One Saturday morning, about a month ago, I was out for a run. On the street back behind us I passed an elderly lady bringing items out to the front yard for a yard sale. I stopped and helped her carry out an old desk shelf. It was scratched up, dusty, covered in cobwebs and paint stains. She told me I could have it for $5. Sold! I finished my run and drove back around with the Jeep.
The next day the kiddos went to the Y with their dad and I pulled the shelf out of the shed and had it sanded, primed and stashed back in the shed before they got home. The remainder of the house had to be completed inside the shed...a dark, smelly, smallish shed. A lot of afternoons with big brother as a look out. Though we did get her help when we were priming the new backerboard. She had no idea she was painting her own birthday present!
Ta daa! The only furniture I didn't make was the bathroom set. But I found it on sale for far less than the materials to make it would have cost. And I bought a couple pieces of foam for the beds, sofa and chair. Everything else is made from bits and pieces I already had. I printed out pictures of the items I didn't have room for...the dressers, bookshelves, stove and refrigerator...and glued them to the walls. The wallpaper downstairs' rugs are scrapbook paper, the bedroom rugs are dollar store placemats.
I kept track of what I spent. Total cost for the project was right at $40. A store bought, solid wood, furnished doll house of this size? $300. Wee girlie's reaction? Absolutely priceless: