Hello! At the beginning of 2023 I gave myself the challenge of creating at least one thing every week (as described in this post). If you’re doing the challenge yourself, I hope you made something you’re happy with last week.
Something interesting that I distinctly noticed last week was how good it made me feel to create what I did. It was an extremely dark and gloomy week here in Toronto — cold with drizzly rain on most days, with the sun barely coming out all. That type of weather usually leaves me (and everyone, I assume) feeling kind of low, but I honestly noticed a mood lift resulting from making what I did, especially with the little door.
So, I looked up the mental health benefits that come with making things and found this article, which states :
“Research has shown that crafting, regardless of the medium you use, can bolster mood, improve self-confidence, and reduce stress overall. In addition, crafting has also shown to improve mental agility, improves both gross and fine motor movements, and also decrease cognitive decline. Crafting additionally has been shown to be a natural anti-depressant. Research studies have shown that those suffering from PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Insomnia and any level of chronic pain have achieved a reduction in symptoms by incorporating crafts into their lives.
Crafting creates a situation very similar to that of meditation. When engaged in a craft, you are focusing on the here and now. In those moments, time stands still. You are able to forget the stressors of day to day life and be part of something completely separate. In addition, crafting stimulates the production of dopamine, the “feel good” neurotransmitter, that is responsible for pleasure and enjoyment.”
This past week I stepped out of my wheelhouse and did a little wood working. The word “little” is a relevant one in that sentence because the thing I made is quite tiny — it’s a door to go with a wooden bird house that I found at Michaels (this one). I’ll be using this decoratively indoors and not as an actual bird house, although, I might get another one for outside in the spring and see if any birds make a home of it.
1) The Door : I needed some thin wood so I picked up a kit in the crafting section of Dollarama, which contained 7 precut pieces of wood that you were meant to put together to form a small house (I should have taken a photo of the kit but I forgot to). From this kit, I used the plain base piece of wood for the door itself, which I cut down to the right size. I also used the back piece which already had a charming heart shaped window cut into it. I cut that second piece down to make 2 panels for the door, of course, making use of that heart shaped window.
The project involved cutting the wood, which I did using a sharp utility knife and a ruler. I scored the wood with the knife until it was about 3/4 of the way through. Then I was able to snap it off. Note that you really have to cut a good groove into the wood before trying to snap it because this type of crafting wood is often plywood and you won’t get a good cut unless you begin with a deep enough groove (I learned that from experience and had to do some extra gluing when I would not otherwise have needed to).
Once the wood is the right size, you sand all the edges. Then glue the panels onto the door using wood glue if you have some. Clamp and let the glue dry. Sand off any obvious glue that has seeped out because the paint won’t stick well to the dried glue.
The paint is acrylic craft paint. To get a mossy green colour, I mixed up about 5 drops of “grass green”, one drop of white and one drop of “burnt umber brown”. Paint 2 coats of paint and let dry.
Glue a small wooden bead on for a doorknob.
The door is not actually attached to the house. I’ve just leaned it for now but I might add some leather hinges to permanently attach. Note that if you want to be able to add a sting of lights, as seen below, you have to be able to easily get through the door-hole.
↑ For scale, the door is about the height of a regular size egg. ↑
2) The house came in a light natural wood tone and I wanted to give it a weathered outdoorsy look. I considered painting it and then sanding it off in areas to give it an aged look, but, in the end, I did something easier that gave me the effect I wanted. I watered down the acrylic craft paint quite a bit and that acted like a stain, sinking right into the untreated wood. The base of the house is watered down “burnt umber brown”. I painted the whole thing (including the roof) with that. Then, before waiting until it was dry, I added some of the watered down brown paint to some full strength green paint, and used that as a wash on the roof.
Then I went to bed thinking that I’d ruined my birdhouse because it didn’t look very good. Thankfully, when I woke up in the morning I was pleased to see that it looked like I had hoped it would, once all the water had dried off.
↑ Here it is with one of those battery powered wire strings of tiny lights. The battery pack has to go through the hole for the door, so if you make a door and want to add lights, don’t glue the door to the house. ↑
3) Another, unrelated creative effort : I made a Youtube video in which I shared some recent thrift store finds (including the oil painting in these photos). And if you’re here on the blog, you may already have seen that I did a blog post about that, too, where the video is linked. And, now that I’m on Instagram, (I started on New Year’s Day), I posted a couple of photos of the stuff there. If you’re on Instagram and would like to see my page, it is here : Loulou Vintage Home on Instagram
Thank you for reading and happy creating! xo loulou