An example of this is the roof shingles. I wanted to use wood shingles, but couldn't find any in the right scale. So the witch house sat on my kitchen table while I mulled over what to do. Then, toward the end of December, I bought a 2012 calendar for the kitchen. Part of the packaging was a piece of cardboard that seemed exactly the right thickness. Ruler, mechanical pencil and my favorite pair of scissors plus a little time, and "Voila!" Witch house shingles!
The next example of this was what to do about the exterior walls. I had a stack of illustration board that I had rescued from the recycling bin... So I cut and glued pieces to cover the exterior walls. This did a couple of things: first, it hid the rounded edges and corners of the box; second, it eliminated the need to sand the surface. I painted the entire outside cream and let it sit on the kitchen table for a few days while I thought about what to do next....
Enter the tattered kitchen scrubby! I had decided I was going to use a sea sponge to dab on a little darker color to make the exterior look a bit like stucco and not so "new", but I didn't have a sea sponge... Rooting around in the kitchen, I found an old (clean) kitchen scrubby that was falling apart and had big pills all over it. Turns out it was the perfect thing to dab on the paint.
Again, the witch house sat around for a few days while I thought, "What next?" Some architectural details were needed. The tall, narrow house made me think of Tudor style houses. I looked through my wood stash but didn't have anything the right dimension. Then I came across the leftovers from the bamboo placemat I deconstructed to make Abigail's floor. Perfect thickness and width for whatever scale this little house is. I painted several strips with dark brown paint, then trimmed and glued everything in place. Here's a (blurry--sorry!) picture of what the witch house looks like now: