Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Time is Building Time!

As of yesterday, it is officially summer and not a moment too soon. I really miss blogging all winter and chatting with my cyber pals. With three busy kids keeping me on the go, I don't do have time for much else but dreaming of the projects I want to work on and trying to keep warm. Not having a basement or garage, I am forced to wait for the snow to clear and the weather to warm up before I can drag out the tools and paint brushes and get to it!

A little super exciting news... this month we finally had our house painted! We bought it five years ago and the paint was past its prime at that point so it was really ready for a redo this spring. It's a heritage home so we have to stick to the historical palette, but we used Monterey White and Georgian Green (both Benjamin Moore) and I am so pleased with the results. Once I finish the porch, I will post photos!

So onto my summer dream projects. We made an outdoor table last year so this year I need 10 chairs to go with it. We're going to use Ana White's Simple Stackable Chairs plan - haven't decided on the finish yet, but 10 chairs will take a while so I have some time yet...

Simple Stackable Outdoor Chairs

I have a big, empty wall in my dining room and a whole lot of stuff with no place to go, so project number 2 is Ana White's Planked Wood Sideboard. I LOVE this piece of furniture and can't wait to get going on it. Again, no decision on colour or finish but I rely on furniture to reveal itself to me once it's built. Oh, and we're going to put a hutch on top for extra display and storage.

Planked Wood Sideboard

I need a place for my decor items and odds and ends in the family room and I fell in love with this Rustic Console table. And I already know I will do the exact same finish as Hillary used in her version - I have always wanted to try the vinegar and steel wool trick so this is the perfect opportunity and Hillary's is beautiful!

I would say "last but not least" but who are we kidding... there will never be a "last" project! My 6-year old wants bunk beds. I have always resisted bunk beds because I have never been fond of how they look but I saw this photo in Coastal Living and I am officially a bunk bed convert. I love the combination of chunky wood and weightless look and the ladder at the end is such a great idea. We are going to use Ana White's Classic Bunk Beds plan and make a few modifications. 

owen's bunk beds

There's a lot more but I think I better try to keep things realistic, I'd like to spend some time on my hanging daybed and enjoying the season with my kids too!

I can't wait to see what everyone's up to these days - I hope to talk to you all soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

See You This Summer!

I have really missed my blog this winter and so many times, I wanted to stop everything and just get back to building and blogging. Without a place to build or work on projects I really can't get much done over the winter months and my three kids have far more interesting lives than I do so there really isn't much time for anything other than homework, dance, play practice, hockey, football, and gymnastics!

I have a lot of new projects planned for the summer, I can't wait to get back to it, and I hope to be able to keep my blog updated at the same time - I really should have thought all this through before deciding to get a full time job to support myself, it really does take up a lot of my time!

Lucky for me we won't be taking a summer vacation this year so there will be lots of time for building bunk beds and a dining room console and rearranging my kitchen cabinets which will likely involve putting the sink and dishwasher back where they were when we moved in ( I guess I should have left well enough alone!)

Thanks everyone for your kind emails and comments over the last few months - I have really missed being an active part of the blog world and can't wait to get back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lookout Moon Pie!

One of the many reasons I hadn't blogged for a while is because I have a new best friend who was taking up a whole lot of my time. That's right, just like your teacher used to have before every classroom got a smartboard.... I am now the proud owner of an old-school, super awesome overhead projector.

Of all my project passions, signs are one of my favourites with a seemingly endless supply of inspiration and possibilities. So an overhead projector allows me to skip the print on paper, transfer with carbon paper approach that I used on my last lot of signs. 

With this new beauty you can plan out your sign on the computer and print it straight onto an overhead transparency (I had to order them online because they are so old-school they don't sell them in the stores anymore!) and project it onto your surface. Trace the lines and you are ready to paint! Not only does it mean I don't have to trace everything I do, but there is no way I could do anything large scale so my very first sign was HUGE, because it could be!

I found this gorgeous Moon Pie sign on the internet and had to make it. It's a direct copy, nothing "inspirational" about it. Sometimes, it's not so much that I want to "own" something I see, I just need to make it. Partly because I want to see if I can but mostly because I love the process, often more than the product. So, I will most likely put this one in my "sell" pile but I really enjoyed making it!

Layer of bright blue then a layer of yellow onto a piece of well-seasoned plywood

Traced the entire pattern onto the wood

Paint each section with craft paint

Fill in the main colour and distress with a power sander!

Detail beauty shot!

So, I have a self-diagnosed case of craft OCD and when the sign was finished, I didn't love the colour, too royal blue and not navy enough.

So I gave it another coat in a darker blue and distressed it again. This is the final product (I promise...)

It's about 3 x 4 feet - my biggest sign ever. With my overhead projector in tow, I may just start painting signs on the side of my house!

Linking Up Here – come join the parties!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation...

Summer is my favourite season by far, but because I don't have a basement, workshop or garage, summer is the season when I work the hardest, desperately trying to complete every DIY project I have been dreaming about all winter before the snow flies again! Coupled with the fact that summer means my kids are busier than in the winter, up later and there's nothing good on T.V. so we end up watching Netflix every night, it seemed like I was never near my computer for more than a few minutes at time.

I have spent limited time swinging on my wonderful Hanging Daybed and hours and hours swinging a hammer... and holding a sander! But the good news is that I have accomplished quite a bit, I have a lot to share and best of all, I finally managed to get over my fear of power tools and I made one project all by myself!

So, I am hoping to get back into my regular routine and start posting again but for now, here's a little sneak peek of how I spent my summer vacation...

Numbered Wall Cubbies Plan by Ana White. As soon as it popped into my email, I had to have it! I made mine a bit bigger so the cubbies are more roomy and because that's the size of scrap wood I had on hand!

I measured, cut and assembled every bit of it myself. I used a nail gun to put it together but added some black nails to give it some more character

Painted with the technique Ana describes in her post - black spray paint, covered in white paint and distressed with a power sander.

I really love the finish and have used the technique twice since.

The numbers font is Century Schoolbook (Uh, ya, the same font and colour as my Numbered Staircase - geez, what is my thing with navy blue numbers???) printed on to paper and traced with a pen so I could follow the indent to fill in with paint.Waited for it to dry and distressed the front again with the power sander.

 Finished the whole thing with furniture wax and I absolutely love it.

We hung it in my son's room and he quickly populated the cubbies with his treasured possessions!

 Who can blame him?

Linking Up Here – come join the parties!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Dreams... of a Hanging Daybed

If you have read even one of my posts, you know that I love soaking up the genius that runs rampant in the blogosphere. The beauty doesn't have to be complicated, sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that capture my imagination and won't let go. I still marvel at the concept of notebook paper canvas bags and how such a simple idea can be so captivating.

 Last summer, I fell in love with Ana White's hanging daybed and put it on my "list". Then a few months ago, I came across this beauty at Life at Firelake Camp. Wheels turning, ideas formulating.... building fingers itching... I have been dreaming about my very own hanging daybed for a year.

This Spring we took on the challenge of getting rid of our scrap wood pile, not at the dump, but by incorporating as much of it as possible into homemade projects. So, we looked over the plans, measured the available space and hauled the spare single mattress down from the attic.

I wanted minimal space around the mattress - so it wouldn't take up too much space on the porch so based on the measurement of the mattress (75 x 37) and the width of the scrap fence boards (standard size from the deck section of the box store) the platform is 82 x 42.

We laid out 6 fence boards across and one on each end to add the length we needed. We built the frame out of scrap 2 x 4s to measure 79 x 40 and laid it down over the fence boards. We screwed in another piece of board across the part where the end piece meets the length pieces and pushed up against the frame to stabilize the ends and we used a jig tool to attach the frame to the platform boards.

We also added a cross piece of 2 x 4 to keep the frame nice and sturdy (my carpenter works quickly and I didn't catch a photo of that, but it's just another piece of 2 x 4 across the middle underneath and screwed into the sides. 

We used a 3/4 inch spade bit to drill the holes just inside the corners of the frame, realizing after the fact that it would have been better to drill a small pilot hole from the bottom and then drill the large hole from the top. When the bit came through the "right side" of the platform, it split the wood and pulled off random chips. I used wood filler to smooth out the chips and let it dry. 

I have the whole thing a good sanding with 150 grit and my palm sander to make the wood nice and smooth and soft to the touch. I paid special attention to the corners to round out the sharp bits. That way, getting bumped with the corner of the swing will hurt a bit but won't scrape delicate shins. What good is a daybed that bites you when you walk by?

Ah, the rope... if pressed I would have to admit that this manila rope is the main reason I wanted the daybed. It's so rustic and harbour-y. We bought 44 feet so that we could accomodate the 9 foot porch ceiling and the knots at both ends. I had the store cut it in one piece so that whatever was left at the end would be in one piece instead of a bunch of little pieces.

We also bought eye hooks for the ceiling (looks like a circle with a straight screw piece sticking off of it). We located the joists for a good, secure connection - you'll need to use whatever fasteners are right for your situation. A couple of apple crates worked perfectly to prop up the platform at the height we wanted while we secured the ropes. Be sure to put your mattress on the base when you are deciding on height, it makes a difference visually and you want to make sure it's at a comfortable level to get on and off once it's up and running.

I made a nice tight double knot in the end of the rope and threaded all 44 feet of it through the first hole from the bottom, then on a ladder, threaded the rope through the eye hook, pulled the rope taught but not too tight and checked it with a level to make sure it was straight from the platform to the ceiling. Once all the ropes are attached, remove the props from underneath and your daybed is officially hanging! In this photo, it looks like the platform is on a slant - it's actually level, the porch has a bit of a slant for water run off!

You will see that I decided against painting it right away. When it was sanded, the wood was so nice and soft I couldn't bear to cover it up. I am not sure if it looks great in its natural state, but the whole porch and the whole house need painting so it fits right it. I can still paint it at some point.

Now for the fun part, gathering up the pillows, bedspreads and quilts and making it into a bed! 

After all the work I could really use a nap!

Many, many hours of swinging at all hours of the day and night, including a mother/sons Crazy Eights tournament, it's holding up beautifully and surprisingly, being treated by everyone with love and respect (I was a little concerned about daybed surfing but so far, so good!)

Linking Up Here – come join the parties!

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