Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cubby Storage System - Part 1

I've had my eye on the Cameron Storage System from Pottery Barn for about 2 years now.  I love the size of it, the storage it offers, and even the fact that the bottom doubles as a little bench.  The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the $1500ish price tag.  

Amazingly, I came across these plans here on the Ana White web site for how to build the exact same storage system...for only around $350ish!  As you can imagine, I [coxed and pleaded and implored my hubby and then...] immediately jumped in!

Initially, I was going to try to have all the MDF cut at one time.  I thought that would help me to get the most out of each board.  However, after a week of making lists and lists of materials needed and graphs of how each board would be cut (and then realizing I made a mistake and having to start all over), I decided to take it one step at a time.  Also, had I tried getting it all cut at one time, I would have to wait while they made 56ish cuts for me at Home Depot.  

So, I've started on my first open cubby!  I bought enough wood (MDF) to build three cubbies.  After reading about other peoples' experiences online, I decided to paint the inside boards before nailing it all together.  

Deciding on which white to use was also a task!  I definitely didn't want it to be stark white.  I ended up going with Magnolia Blossom, which is a creamy white with a hint of yellow (as opposed to hints of brown or gray).

This is the look with which I hope to end up.  I'm positive that if I have this storage system with little baskets inside, the children will never leave a toy on the floor and the school/playroom will be perfectly picked up all the time....right?....right?!?  

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Elementary Table Build Complete!

I am so excited to share these photos!  Normally, when I make something, I am very quick to point out the flaws in it.  With this table, however, I keep looking at it and thinking, "I can't believe I built that!" 

For a couple of years, I have had my eye on this table from Land of Nod, but haven't been able to swollow the $500 it would cost to get the table and chairs.   I had all but resigned myself to compromising and getting some less expensive Ikea furniture when I came across Ana White's website.   I about fell out of my chair when I came across the plans to make the same exact style table.  In addition, all of the hundreds of plans on her site are free.  Thank you, Ana!

Here are a few photos:

And, in the play/school room:

Here is proof to all you doubters that I can actually use a power tool!  (Though, technically, I guess this only proves that I can hold a powertool, but I promise I'm using it here.)

One of the best parts of building the furniture is getting to spend time with my husband, Marcos.  I love when we end up in the garage building together after the children have gone to bed, instead of finding ourselves in front of the tv or, worse, in different rooms watching different things on different tvs.  

Here is the work in progress.  Notice the pallet in the background?!?  That's going to be used for our next little project.  All of this furniture is going to be used in Merrick's homeschool room.  After we finish putting the sealer on the table, we are going to make a crate for library books, $5 wall shelves for forward facing books, 2 bookcases inspired by the Land of Nod Cube Collection, and some wall art that I am VERY excited about. 

I can't wait to see the whole room come together.  Here's to hoping I still have all of my fingers once it's all finished...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Making My First Chair!

 My friends, I have a new obsession: woodmaking!

After having my eye on the Elementary table from Land of Nod for more than a year, I accidently came across the plans for how to build it at Ana White Knock Off Wood.  Actually, that one plan is just one of hundreds (if not thousands!) of plans on her site!

I'm not very experienced in the art of woodmaking.  I've made three things to be exact: this Subway art, our raised vegetable garden bed (does that even count?), and a somewhat defective train table for Merrick when he was just a tot.  This chair is the first official piece of actual furniture that I made.  And, yes, by "I", I mean "my husband and me".  And, yes, by "my husband and me," I probably mean, "mostly my husband."

I chose to make the chair before making the table because it seemed simple and a good place to start.  It's also called the "$4 Stackable Chair" so I thought that if something went wrong, I'd only be out $4.  Little did I know, it actually cost me $34 to build.  The $4 only applied to the wood itself.  I also had to buy screws, a square, a right angle clamp, more screws, and top coat spray paint.

By the time I started in on the first step, I had to run to my hubby for help.  I had already completely stripped a screw and was about to just toss the beginnings of my chair in the trash.  He had to help me each step of the way.  Half way through, one of our neighbors popped into the garage and said, "I have a Pottery Barn table and chairs we no longer use that I can sell you."  I was about to jump on it, but Marcos shooed her out saying that he was confident in my mad skills with a drill.  He's lucky I didn't have a hammer in my hand at the time.

Although, despite how challenging it was to put even the simplest chair together, and despite the fact that it cost pretty much the same as if I had bought one at the store, and despite the fact that it is a bit crooked and rough in some areas, I loved the time that Marcos and I spent together building it.  It was great bonding time.  And, I love how my children have a chair their size that they can use every day...and Marcos and I made it with our own two hands (and heart).

Scoutie Girl loves the chair.  I about jumped out of my skin with excitement the first time the kids sat on it...and it didn't break.  

Now that the paint has dried and I'm no longer having hallucinations from the top coat fumes, it is on to making chair #2.  Then, if we survive that, on to the elementary trestle table.  Wish us luck!