How to build a house in an afternoon.

I share genetics with some very crafty people.

When we were kids, my mom would hand-sew our costumes each Halloween, often creating the patterns herself or dramatically modifying existing patterns to bring into reality the costumes of her imagination—a tree (with a nest and birds on top), a rabbit in a hat, a black widow spider, a butterfly with wings so giant I had to fold them and walk sideways through doorways. Now that she’s no longer winning storybook parades vicariously through her children, my mom newly decorates her dining room table each month to match the holiday or season.

My sister once hand-painted a checkerboard for us, complete with University of Michigan and Ohio State game pieces. One of my aunts etched the champagne flutes my spouse and I used at our wedding. Another aunt owns a needlepoint design company and designed and stitched elaborate cross-stitch samplers to commemorate the births of each of my children. My maternal grandmother used to hand-color black-and-white photographs. My great-grandmother left a legacy of doilies and quilts when she died in the 1980’s.

I am from very crafty stock, but although I know my way around a sewing machine, have created sweaters in both knit and crochet, and have a glue gun (or two) in my ankle holster, I generally find crafting frustrating. I have too little tolerance for the discrepancy between my imagination and the reality of my completed works and too little skill to close the gap.

Still, sometimes the craftiness builds up and needs an outlet. Sometimes that need for an crafting outlet coincides with the need to dispose of some large pieces of cardboard. Then this happens:

I originally imagined an elaborate cardboard castle complete with drawbridge but luckily found instructions here that better matched my attention span and my stock of duct tape. And it’s collapsible!


2 Replies to “How to build a house in an afternoon.”

  1. Wow, that looks so big! I have a very love-hate relationship with crafting too. I like to make things with my hands, but I rarely like the result enough to be able to ignore the imperfections that I know too well. I hope the kids enjoyed the castle.


    1. The kids like it a lot, but they complain that it’s drafty and predict it will be a better place to sit and read in warmer weather.


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