Thank you so much for the response (and all the really lovely compliments) about Emilia's coffee shop. I am completely overwhelmed! You all made my day.
I also wanted to answer a few questions, and give a few resources.
1. Melissa asked about tape (see resources below) and if the entire espresso machine is made of cardboard. Yup. I taped cardboard into the general shape of an espresso machine and then stuffed it with craft paper so that it wouldn't collapse (Emilia is 3 after all and prone to aggressive shot pulling). I made the button by putting a backing of cardboard about an inch behind the top face and making a spring from folding card stock back and forth and gluing it both to the button and the backing of cardboard. The knob is a wooden knob from Michaels that I screwed into the back. Does that make any sense? I hope so!
2. Sarah asked about sharing construction tips. I'd love to! I can't give a play by play, because I really just sort of make it up as I go along, but I'd love to answer any questions you might have about construction and how to make it durable (hint: doubling up on cardboard and tons of paper tape!), so let me know if you have specific questions.
And a handy resource list:
1. Fisher Price cash register bought on Etsy.
2. The wooden food is a mix of Plan Toys and Melissa and Doug pieces.
3. The little coffee maker (which is a GREAT stand alone piece) is Educo's Rise N Shine Coffee Maker.
4. The cups and pitcher that we use for "foaming" milk and pulling shots is part of the Plan Toys tea set.
5. The to go coffee cups and lids are from Garnish.
6. The blue polka dot muffin holders are from Shop Sweet Lulu.
7. I made all the felt food from the 8.5"x11" pieces of felt from Michaels and embroidery floss. And I guess I wasn't too clear. I did sew everything...I just didn't follow any sewing rules (since I don't know any). That's what I meant by faking it. The only patterns I used were cutting apart coffee cups and muffin holders; the rest I just sort of made up as I went along.
8. When constructing with cardboard, it's all about the paper tape. I get mine from Uline, but I'm sure you can find it other places as well.
9. Emilia's darling little apron was custom made by the amazing Claire from Small Batch Production.
It's funny. When I embarked on this crazy project, I asked my husband if I should build it entirely of cardboard or try to get scrap wood and base pieces from IKEA. He challenged me to try and do it without spending a lot of money. We had all the cardboard boxes, I already had loads of paper tape for shipping goods to clients, and Emilia already had the wooden food and different pieces. The only things I purchased were felt, embroidery floss, the cash register and her apron. All told, I barely spent $50 on the entire thing.
It did take me about 6-8 weeks to finish the entire project (usually in evenings after I finished working). I actually finished it in February, but with everything going on, hadn't had a chance to really talk about it until now.
Let me know if you have any questions and if any of you decide to tackle this and make your kid a coffee shop...you HAVE to let me know how it turns out!