My favorite base for a project is an old clock box. The shape is always more interesting, and the size is usually right for the scale I enjoy working with. They are more expensive than other containers. I recently got this one on eBay for around 40 dollars.
It needs a little work. I love the striped veneer on the front edges, but as you can see, it has considerable damage on the right bottom edge. I have several choices here. I could strip the veneer off all sides - no way! I could just stain the portion that is missing the veneer to match the color, I could paint the entire bottom a different color after filling in the gap, or I could just cover the entire bottom with another piece of wood or metal trim. I will think about it.
The finials on the sides leave a lot to be desired. I would like something a little "fancier" or unique. I could replace them with something else entirely, or I could just paint them in bright colors, or maybe stick something on top of them like glass spheres. I will think about it.
I think I want to use