Wednesday, June 15, 2011

If I can do this, anyone can. (Zoe's bed)

Inexperienced, clumsy me. The one who recently discovered and was inspired to build Zoe's play kitchen and my coffee table, prior to which I had never used a drill or a power saw, other than maybe briefly in techie in school, but I don't remember much about that. Anyway the point is, I am very very much a beginner. I make TONS of mistakes. But I like tackling big projects.

And when I saw plans on Ana White for a loft bed with playhouse underneath, a dream was born. With the element of a child's imagination added, this piece of furniture could create magical childhood memories. I imagined how I'd love to play in it if I were a child. This could be awesome. So I got a bit overambitious and I jumped in on a project I was no where near qualified to tackle. "Don't tell me what I can and can't do."

So first I'll win your approval by showing off the finished project. This is Ana's design with some modifications by me. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Zoe's new bed!

Next I'll tell you everything I did wrong.

Every leg post is supposed to have 3 boards which combine when assembling the built walls. I misread some instructions so the finished bed has one of the legs with 2 boards and one with 4 boards. Oops. It wasn't too hard to adjust it to still fit solid, but still quite an oops.

Some of the railings weren't tight, and the boards were splitting. They're all good now, but it took much more time and more attempts than it ought to have.

After I built the large back wall, it occurred to us that it wouldn't fit in through her door, so we had to saw it in half and stick it back together in her room.

A word of advice...use a lighter weight plywood for the walls.  I used heavy particleboard and man those walls were hard to lug around.

I built this baby completely myself, then Rene helped me assemble it, which turned out to be a far greater task than I had anticipated, keeping us up til midnight twice. All the niggly little finishing touches etc. Plus I decided at the last minute that I wanted to paint the rails brown instead of the cream they had been, so we repainted when it was in her room assembled. Thank you for your help Rene!

Unfortunately, in the process of making Zoe's bed, I had my fattest moment ever when I sat on Turtle's bed and broke it. We replaced it with a cheap wee one from a yard sale and I will eventually have to make him one too. Rene got a laugh out of it. So we're +1 bed and -1 bed.

So here's our work in progress.

It started its life as a pile of wood

Sometimes I worked (on safe things that weren't too noisy) with a baby on my back

Getting there...

Painting, staining and having helpers

Rene staying up late helping install things

Ok so now for the fun bit - the details. It's all in the details.

The stairs are really fun. They are safer than a ladder and the best part is...

...hidden storage compartments. Great design Anna! We use the bottom two as storage (unfinished wood, but nobody has to see it). They're great for extra bedding, or hiding a secret journal or something. We have a padlock on the top one and have something extra special inside, which you'll see in a minute.

Here's the top of the bed. I'd like to make Zoe some blankets to co-ordinate with her house, but I have other things ahead of that in the priority list.

 *waves at Ally in the bumbo*

Let's have a peek inside. Here's the front window from the inside. I'm not great at sewing and had no pattern for these curtains. I made many mistakes and they look ridiculous to me, but Zoe likes them which was the goal.

Let's have a look at the left wall. See that rectangular thing on the right side? That's why we have the padlock on the top storage shelf.

It's a fish tank! With guppies. We need to get a brighter light for it, since this one is pretty dull. But you get the main idea. This was my idea and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Rene helped with getting the box it sits on to fit inside the storage stairs which I built first, foolishly. There's a little ledge to rest things on, and plenty space in the storage stairs for their food and accessories. The light is on a timer.

"And what's that big black rectangle on the wall for?" I hear you ask. "It's a chalkboard, freak" I reply, 'cause I'm rude like that.

Let's visit the far right side. I wanted shelves but didn't think it through properly. These are functional, but not super pretty. Oh well.

And the other window.

And finally, the feature fireplace. I love this fireplace. I made it out of reclaimed cedar from someone's 25 year old swingset. It has a story to tell.

And looky what it does at the touch of this remote

We tried many different home made attempts, before ultimately buying this one, which is better than our red boa with small fan prototypes. This is a fan with cool leds. It doesn't get hot at all.

Zoe wanted to pose with her house for the blog.

So there you have it. And if I can do it, anyone can.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Every day is...

*I* thought we had a great day today. Church in the morning then some special snacks from Trader Joe for a treat, then our annual tradition of strawberry picking, riding on the hay stack ride (without hay, but it was the same truck), then home to enjoy home made snow cones and popsicles in the sun outside and play in both pools, and refreshing ourselves with juicy, chilled watermelon.

But apparently it was "the worst day ever". Which is funny, because yesterday was also the worst day ever, as was the day before that, and before that and so on.

Ah, the joys.