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!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And Voila.... Art!

I have essentially nothing on the walls of my house and I really need to fix that. Reason # 876 why I love the blog world, it's all about ideas and inspiration and inexpensive ways to create beauty in your home. So, I have big, empty walls, no money and very few original ideas, where to begin?

Well, what do I love? Colour. Texture. Fabric. Big pieces that make a statement. (and cover up big, empty walls)

And what do I have? Wood. Scrap wood. Lots and lots of scrap wood. And paint. Lots of small bottles of craft paint in all my favourite colours!

Hey, maybe I can put the paint on the wood! And then somehow attach it all together charm someone into attaching it all together for me. That could be art, right?

Well, I think so. And you might too. I've been inspired by many, many beautiful wooden art projects so it's definitely not an original idea, but that's ok - I've only had one original idea in the last year and I used it up on my chalkboard dresser, which is totally worth checking out, if only because it's my only original idea... I do like to think that anyone can make this concept their own just by using a palette of your favourite colours and assembling the pieces in a way that makes you happy.

So here's how you too can create your own wall art in just a few easy steps.

1. Sweet talk someone (in my case, it was my husband) into making you a whole bunch of fabulous pieces of wood furniture (may I suggest a bookshelf, a mudroom locker/cubby system, picnic table, bench, and outdoor lounge chairs?  Man, I really am charming!)

2. Insist on saving scraps because you have a really great art project in mind. Leave them in a plastic bin for 5 months.

4. Take out the pieces and slather a different colour paint on each one, sometimes squirting two or even three different colours on one piece and letting them mix together as you spread the paint around. Sand off some of the paint you just put spent all that time applying.

5. Lay out all the pieces trying to figure out how to put it all together. Completely lose interest in the project and put all the pieces back into the bin.

7. Let stand for 1 year (at least). If some of the pieces are strewn about the yard by small children and left there through the winter, so much the better. If you did it right, the pieces will be dirty and stained and maybe even a bit warped!

8. When one evening, your husband takes out all the pieces and his saw, spring into action and lay the pieces out again, sawing off small bits here and there, and form them into a sort of wooden quilt.

9. Use a pocket jig tool thingy (which makes "pocket" holes so you can attached wood pieces side-to-side).

10. Attach two long pieces of scrap wood to the back from top to bottom to stabilize it and give you something to attach the hanging wire to.

And there you have it! Art. Made out of wood, covered in paint, looking like fabric, with lots of texture and impressive large-wall covering capabilities.

Don't over think it. It's going to look beautiful no matter how it goes together so don't worry if there are two of the same colour beside each other, etc. This blue board somehow escaped the natural distressing process of being left under the picnic table all winter and looked too clean so I took a pinch of soil out of my garden and rubbed it into the paint - the best thing to make things look dirty is dirt!

The imperfections are what makes it so appealing to me, I don't know what that circle mark is, but I like it! Ditto that split in the grey piece. I think it was a mistake cut made early in our furniture making days - love it!

So there you have it. I made art. And I do believe that makes me (and the guy who put it all together) an artist! It's hanging over my fireplace...

and every time I look at it, it makes me happy and really, that's all that matters!

Linking Up Here – come join the parties!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ready for Summer - is it every coming?

So, no luck at the garage sales today. My partner in crime wasn't feeling well yesterday so she slept in this morning and I was on my own. I think that's why I didn't find anything good; she's my good luck charm! At any rate, I saved myself some money and put my energy into other things, like taking a nap in the hammock. I did get some good cleaning up done around the yard and pool area. Though it isn't completely finished, my pool deck is looking a whole lot better. We've had lovely weather for the past few days but still not warm enough for what I would call summer.

You may have seen my post about a month ago talking about how the good weather gives me project fever and my plans for a patio makeover and lounge chair finishing. When my pool was installed way back whenever, it was plopped it into the middle of a full blown garden so by the time I got a hold of it, it was overgrown with mostly weeds taking over the pool area. I am lucky to have a separately fenced area with a nice, secure gate that houses my pool but I have been longing to get it tidied up and more usable and that was this Spring's project. Well, mostly my husband's project - he's the one who made the loungers, ripped out the garden, hauled most of the dirt (I managed 10 wheel barrows full!) and put in the patio stones (left over from major patio overhaul we did two years ago.) So, here's what it looked like a month ago.

Shudder... you never realize how bad it was until it's fixed up! We sold the table and chairs and started digging. Remember, we were using leftover stones so naturally we had juuuuust enough to almost finish it. Eeeeesh, what project ever goes smoothly? We are still working on finding the few extras that we need but this is what it looks like with the table and chairs in place...

See? better already! Now for the lounge chairs. "We" built these last summer based mostly on the plan Ana White's wonderful plan for a chaise with a bit of a size modification to match the cushions we found on sale for $25 each! I was supposed to paint the loungers last year and never got around to it. Can't remember what I was doing but it must have been important because without paint, they are so unattractive (lovely craftsmanship, though!).

So, this Spring, I dragged out the ol' can of exterior white and got down to it AND, complained the whole time to anyone who would listen. the slat bottoms were really annoying and I had to paint one side and then the other, and then it rained so I had to wait before I could resume painting, etc. But, they're done now and they look fabulous and I am so glad I put all that effort into them.

 So, with the table, chairs, loungers and matching umbrellas (also scored on sale end of season last year), here's how it looks!

Now, if it would only warm up, I might be tempted to jump in!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gone Sale-ing

We had a fantastic Canada Day! There was a parade downtown, a day long party in the park, activities all evening and fireworks at the beach at dusk.... and my kids were having none of it. They were up late last night for a movie in the park and didn`t seem to feel like anymore excitement.

They were quite clear this morning that all they wanted to do was to have a lazy day today. Fine with me. I have always said they are incredibly low maintenance when it comes to entertainment. Last summer we took them down the beach for a dinner picnic and they raved about it for 2 weeks! Trip to Disneyworld last summer notwithstanding, we really try to keep our lives as simple as possible and take in the small pleasures in life so it is great to see them embracing that.

So we celebrated our love for our wonderful country together, at home. We ran out to buy some chain for the hammock we inherited last summer from my dad and spent the rest of the day swinging in the hammock, blowing bubbles, and swimming. We ate all our meals outside and made frozen lemonade in the blender. It was pure heaven! We are all well rested and ready to take on the weekend, and good thing too - tomorrow is garage sale day. I have been really lucky the last few times I`ve been out and I am looking forward to a few hours of treasure hunting with my 12-year old partner in crime who has a terrific eye for well-loved, time-beautified treasures.

She chose this gorgeous toboggan last week.

The paint colour, worn in wood, leather straps and original rope were too good to pass up! She`s thrilled that we can fit 5 people on it and is `super excited`` about winter already.

At the same house, we found these gorgeous bobbins. My daughter noticed them right away and said how nice they would look on a bookshelf. I love the fact that they still have yarn on them. I am going to leave them as is - they are already on my bookshelf!

Ten starfish for $2 - yes, please! They even threw the basket in for free.

This summer we moved my white aluminum table and chairs to the pool area and my husband made me a new table (reveal on that coming soon!).  I really wanted `real`plates to use on the gorgeous new table but didn`t want to use my grown up plates. So, this was a real score - 12 dinner plates from the local church sale for $2. I was holding the plates and asked my daughter to get the money out of my wallet - she was going to count out $24, not quite believing it was $2 for all 12, not $2 each! I love them and we have already used them many times.

I have been looking for a chair like this for three years, I love the wood and the fact that it rolls and swivels, but usually they come with arms and I wanted one without so this was a real score - only $5 and spied by my very clever accomplice.

So we are up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to head out to a brand new flea market being held at the local drive-in theatre. Of course, why didn`t I think of that... what a great idea!. I have all my fingers crossed that it will be wonderful and become a regular thing.

I will be sure to let you know how it goes!
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