Sometimes it’s the big things

In my last post I mentioned that I used wood leftover from building Mini’s bed. Let’s talk some more about that! Up until now she’s mostly slept in a full-sized bed that originally belonged to my great grandparents. It’s a piece of boarding house furniture that’s lasted longer than it was probably meant to. It’s been refinished a couple of times, and passed back and forth in my family quite a bit. It went from my great-grandparents in Iowa to my grandmother in Texas to my parents to Professor Furious and I in our first apartments then to Mini. It went with us to Minnesota and back. And y’all, I have to admit, it’s mostly because nobody wanted to be the person who got rid of the bed. At first I held onto it because it had been mine at Grandma’s house and it made me think of her. Now I’ve gotten to the point where I think about her in other ways, and also a chunk of one of the feet just flat fell off when we made the move to Small Town. And while a full size bed has been nice for Mini with regards to bedtime stories and cuddling when she’s sick, it takes up floor space and I wanted her to have something she chose. I don’t want her to have some ridiculous guilt about being the one to get rid of the bed when she’s in her twenties. Then, through a friend of mine, I found Ana White’s website. If you don’t know, it’s chock full of woodworking plans. Most of them fairly basic, all of them completely doable when your husband builds theatre sets for a living. And by doable I mean it’s really easy to hand him the plans and say, “This, please.”

The concept of a loft bed for Mini has been kicking around in my brain since I took her on an IKEA trip a couple of years ago and she was totally fascinated by the ones set up in the store. Y’all, we live so far away from an IKEA now. Plus I knew we could totally build one. It’s a platform that you put a mattress on. Approximately 90% of building set pieces involves building platforms. So I poked around the Ana White site and found this junior camp loft bed. Finally, over Christmas break, Professor Furious had the time to poke at the plans, order the wood, and build it. Now here is where I’d have a bunch of amazing in progress shots for you if I was a better blogger. But we were building it out at the shop, which is unheated, and it was in the 30s. I was more interested in moving fast than taking pictures. The cold did slow down the build, though, since it took the wood glue longer to cure, and also the wood got a little rained on when it got delivered. (Alas, we are still without a truck of our own.)

I probably should have made her bed before I took this, but I was so excited that it was done that I couldn't wait.
I probably should have made her bed before I took this, but I was so excited that it was done that I couldn’t wait.

As you can see, clean up wasn’t even finished (drill, lower left corner) before she started hanging out and playing in the under area. We skipped the stairs in favor of a ladder style simply to save a little time and money. I think it’s also good for her to practice her climbing skills. Adding the steps if she had too much trouble climbing up and down was totally left as a possibility, but it hasn’t been a problem. Her little cousin J might have a problem, but that’s what milk crates are for.

Fort mode!
Fort mode!

Mini has a thing for forts and “camping,” so I knew that was an aspect that would definitely be explored. I’m going to hit up the thrift stores and see if I can’t find some cheap plain white sheets. I have plans for making curtains that are a little more permanent, and also a little more fun. I’m envisioning scenes and windows, and am basically all around trying to bite off more than I can chew. It’ll be fun! 20150209_154529You can see were’s using some of the space for a toy box. My mom suggested adding shelves there, but seriously, she has enough shelves. Mini camped in here over the weekend. I think she maybe wanted an air mattress, but I was so mean and made her use our Sumo Omni instead. Now that we’re back to school nights and she has to sleep up in her bed, the Omni makes a good bedtime story spot so that I don’t have to climb up. The bed completely supports my 300 pounds (I had Professor Furious way overbuild it), but that is a narrow space for getting up there. Plus, I like forts! Right now we’re lighting it with a little headlamp, but I want to pick up some mini-lanterns or some other super cute lighting. In the end, it’s not exactly the end because we still need to paint it, but it’s up and Mini is super happy. I’m okay with calling it good where it is,. It’s built, it’s anchored to the wall, and the kiddo is not climbing into our bed nearly as often as she was before. I’m looking forward to the next project, a dining table. If you have any technical questions, comment below and I will poke the professor for answers.

Sometimes it’s the little things

It’s been a while! I had a Halloween post started, and then WordPress ate it, and then I got discouraged, and then Thanksgiving was ridiculous, and winter break was moreso, and the weather said nope to all my outside plans, and I have little things I’ve been doing, but nothing major, and here we are. I’m not teaching this semester, which means our budget is quite a bit tighter than I’d like. But I’m still trying to make changes that make things better.

One of the things I love about our house, that absolutely sold me on it, is our storage, especially the storage in our kitchen. Our last house was a rental and sort of a cookie cutter budget deal. (Literally, I knew a few people who had our exact house. And you could tell from the front that there were several more of it in our neighborhood.) The kitchen was set up weirdly and had about four square feet of counter space. So you can imagine what the storage situation was like. We unpacked the bare essentials and left everything else in boxes in the garage for the year we were there. But this house. Oh I love my house. Our kitchen isn’t the biggest ever, but we have counter space. And the cabinets! So many cabinets! We’ve unpacked everything and we have *multiple* empty cabinets. The mixing bowls aren’t even nested, each one has its own spot. But there’s always something, isn’t there?

We’ve got a drawer full of spices, but the bigger canisters live in cabinet. A cabinet where they fall on my head when I’m rummaging for the thing I need that is always at the very back of the shelf. So what’s a mostly broke Pinterest-loving girl to do? We just built Mini a new bed (another post! Soon!), and there were some leftover bits of wood.

20150123_155633I snagged a couple of pieces of 2×4 that are about 22 inches long. I had some contact paper kicking around from an old project, and so I decided to go ahead and use that the cover the boards. Why 22 inches? That’s how long they were and it happened to fit pretty well. Now a word about contact paper: it’s a pain in the ass. I got this one because I liked the pattern, but also because it said it’s repositionable. The repositionable part comes from the adhesive not being so sticky. The problem is, they made it too much less sticky and it comes up a lot. Super annoying and I probably won’t go that route again. I cut enough to wrap each board like a present, and then secured each seam with a piece of tape. Seriously, they sat on the counter for two minutes while I emptied the cabinet and it started coming off.

So here’s where the clever part comes in, you stand one board up so it’s tall and then set the other board so it’s not so tall for stair steppy tiers. I have no idea where I first saw this. It’s probably been on Pinterest a hundred times. Hell, I may have read it in a Helpful Hints from Heloise column when I was Mini’s age. (I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house where there were two volumes of fairy tales, a copy of Tom Sawyer, and lots of Reader’s Digest and Good Housekeeping. I was probably the only eight year old to read Erma Bombeck’s books. Sometimes I say things like this and then realize things about my personality make more sense.) So anyway here’s the in-progress, just so you can see the board placement:

So very exciting, I know.
So very exciting, I know.

These are all our taller bottles the little teeny ones live in the drawer along with the odd-shaped stuff, extra ramen seasoning packets, and Pizza Hut parmesan and red pepper flake packets. But the problem is some of the taller things are a lot taller.20150123_162504So even with the extra height it was hard to tell what was what for the stuff in the back. I used a fine tip silver paint pen to label the spices with black lids, and red Sharpie for the rest. Yes, you can see the labels for the chili powder and comino, but I don’t know what will eventually be shuffled where, so I went ahead and labelled them. They say open because we have multiple jars of both of those, so I can tell easily which I need to grab. Why do we have multiples? Our grocery store has cruddy selection when it comes to spices and also doesn’t carry Fiesta, so when we make the two-hour trek to HEB, we stock up. And yes, we do go through them fairly quickly.

Would all of this be better with fancy uniform spice bottles? Sure. But fancy uniform things cost money, and I already had everything here on hand. Was it worth it to go to the trouble of covering the boards with contact paper? Maybe not, since you can’t really see it. I like knowing it’s there, but definitely not something I would have bought specifically for this project. All in all, it was free(ish), and took me about ten minutes. Now when I open the door I won’t have things falling on my head, and it looks a lot nicer. It’s not the biggest thing ever, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing. I think that’s something I need to work on keeping in mind with regards to the house. There are big expensive things we really want to do, but that doesn’t mean we should knock out the easy little things.