The Whimsical World of Mr. Crafter

I recently mentioned the creative, inventive spaces my incredible husband has created in our homes over the years and you asked to see pictures.  I finally dug some up (with help from friends – thanks Lisa!) and am excited to show you his biggest projects!

I guess I’ll do this chronologically.  About a year before we got married we bought a cute little 1960 starter home.  We were attracted to the fact that it was clean, cheap, and in original condition.  We did a lot to this house and it was totally adorable by the time we left.  It was even on HGTV!  But the real gem of this house was the backyard.  It had been neglected over the years, but the large lot was a patchwork of flowerbeds and paths with no lawn whatsoever.  We couldn’t wait to get back there and start bringing it back to life!  Mr. Crafter’s very first brainstorm came when we tore the clothesline out.  It was in a narrow space created by the garden shed, the privacy fence, and a boxwood.  He decided it was a perfect space for an astroturf outdoor bowling alley, which it definitely turned out to be!

He scored that old high school gymnasium scoreboard while scouting props for a production company he was working for at the time.  The best part was the loud buzzer.  Luckily our neighbor had as crazy a backyard as we did and loved it!  This picture was taken right after we got married 7 years ago – our arrow sign is congratulating us.

The bowling alley ended up in a book called ManSpace (amazon link here) and is a great gift idea for anyone who wants to encourage or inspire their men to follow their design ideas.

After the bowling alley, I fully embraced Mr. Crafter’s wild ideas.  For example, soon after that we bought a 1960s Shasta Airflyte and decided to rip out the large raised beds on the opposite side of the yard to create a sweet little yard for our trailer.

What we didn’t expect was that ripping out the raised beds would create LOTS of excess soil.  No problem!  Mr. Crafter had the brilliant idea of using that soil to sculpt an octopus rising out of the lawn that we would plant sod on.  You can’t see it in this picture because it’s behind the lilies.  This is the only existing picture of Dr. Octopus, sadly:

Thanks Lisa for finding it and thanks Alex for modeling it!  You can’t see his long winding tentacles here unfortunately.  There were more than a few parties that wound down with a handful of people passed out relaxing in his grassy embrace.  His bowling ball eyes, however, were the best part, I think.  They matched the bowling ball finials on the fence, another Mr. Crafter contribution to our yard design.

It was sad to leave this house, and the yard especially, but we did.  The next house was during the time I was pregnant and Little Betty was an infant, so not much got done to that house.  But of course Mr. Crafter had to leave his mark in some way!  Now, you should know that Mr. Crafter is, no joke, one of the top 3 James Dean nerds in existence.  Little Betty’s middle name is even Rebel (and no, her real first name is not Betty.)  In this house Mr. Crafter created a to-scale replica of James Dean’s 1955 New York City apartment in our guest room.  For years he had been pouring over photos of it with a magnifying glass, trying to identify every book and knick-knack on the shelves and buying what he could identify on ebay.  And finally he had enough to build it.  Here is the real room:

And here is Mr. Crafter’s room:

Mr. Crafter was so meticulous he even made sure the knots in the pine were in the same places as the real room.  He has plans to re-create this project in the upstairs of the barn.

And now, here we are in our dream house and even though he’s been busier with work than he ever has been in his entire life, he has made time to leave his mark on our new home with his project of turning our barn/his office into a 1955 Mobil gas station.  It’s really coming together, but just you wait!  A year from now I’m sure it will be even more insane.  We have plans to turn this into a proper guesthouse with the James Dean room upstairs and an outdoor bathroom off the back.

I am a lucky, lucky girl to be married to such an amazing man!



14 thoughts on “The Whimsical World of Mr. Crafter

  1. awesome! can’t wait to see it! love and miss you…Missy Mo and I have a big suprise present for you we’ll bring on the plane next time we visit…that’s all I can say!

    love and miss you – Joshie

    • Colonel!!! Is it a puppy?? I hope that means you are coming to visit soon! The anticipation is killing me!
      We sure had some good times in the Octopus Garden, didn’t we?

    • Laura, the pig is a funny story. The mister is always scouting weird stuff, and this pig was up on a giant rotisserie about 200 feet above a BBQ joint. When it closed down he hounded the people involved until they gave it to him. Everyone we love has a photo atop Mr. Pork Belly. I think he’s going to be relocated to my veggie garden soon :)

  2. i love all of this! my husband is really laid back and lets me go crazy with collections and ideas, but i would LOVE for him to be as excited and dorky as i am! and i mean that as a compliment. I LOOOOOVE that he recreated the james dean room down to buying the same books! i want to see it when he does it in the guest room! you guys must have so much fun together!

    • Thanks Rae! Yes, Mr. Crafter is definitely as collecting-crazed as I am and it’s really really fun. His next big idea is to find a life size dinosaur to put in the backyard so it’s peeking over the roof of the house. THAT will be awesome. And give Travis some credit! It sounds like he loves picking as much as you do :)

  3. Wish my dh was handy with the tools…I’d have him building all kinds of things for me.
    The vintage 7 up machine is so cool…love the snowflakes. I have fond memories of going to the gas stations in the ’60s and getting a bottle of Dr. Pepper or Orange NeHi…when I visit my sister I always have to go to the antique store up there and buy a bottled coke from their vintage machine. Yep, I’m old enough to remember the old vending machines…cigarettes and candy ones that you had to pull a knob out to release the candy…no push buttons. You need to find those old vending machines from the bathrooms of the Drive-In movies – they were on the wall…I still remember buying little trinkets like Mexican jumping beans in little capsules, rainbonnets in colorful plastic purses, those square letter puzzles.
    And, one of my other favorite vendings was the comic book machine…I haven’t seen one in forever. Fun memories.

    • Tammy, Mr. Crafter is NOT handy with the tools, bless his adorable heart. We are just the idea people – we have a fabulous contractor that makes them reality for us. And I miss those jumping beans too!!

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