Monday, April 12, 2010

Building a DVD shelf system

Please, please, PLEASE ignore my flood curtains. I am moving the green curtains upstairs (only cream down here soon) but I haven't finished their replacements yet and they're a little short.

As many of you know I am completely over the moon about finding the KnockOffWood blog. I have SO many projects in the works right now, some from her plans and some of my own design, now that I'm inspired to be creative. I have just finished off one of my family room projects that I was inspired to create after going through the easy plans at KnockOffWood. Note, this is not one of her plans but I did adapt some ideas from there.

If you're interested in doing something similar I have posted below the steps I took in making the shelves. If you've never built something yourself before I would highly recommend checking out Ana's site and looking through some of her instructions first as she gives some really easy to follow instructions and tips.

I decided that I didn't have enough space for my movies as I was stacking them two deep just to fit them on the current shelves. I thought about putting them in a binder and chucking the cases but really my kids still flip through boxes (and the boxes end up scattered around the house). If the movies were in a binder I'm worried that they wouldn't get put back and they'll get scratched without the boxes. So instead I decided on a new shelf for them that will hold everything without taking a bunch of floor space. Since my downstairs has 9 foot ceilings I made it 8 feet tall (plus 6 inch feet) by 4 feet wide. I gave it the 6 inch feet so I could clear the 5 1/4" baseboard and still be flush to the wall.

My shopping list:
8 - 8' 1x8 boards (be sure they're nice and straight)
1 - 1.5' 4x4 post scrap
56 - shelf pins

My cut list:
A) 2 - 96" (8') 1x8 (sides)
B) 1 - 94.5" 1x8 (middle upright)
C) 2 - 48" (4') 1x8 (top and bottom)
D) 16 - 23.5" 1x8 (shelves)
E) 3 - 6" 4x4 (feet)

Two of the D shelves (in the middle) are screwed in for extra stability but the others are held in place with shelf pins. You should mark and drill all of your pin holes BEFORE you screw this together. Keep in mind that the middle upright is offset from the sides by 3/4" on the top and bottom (to make room for the top and bottom shelves) when you're lining up the holes for drilling. Also, you'll see that my bottom shelf is taller than the rest for a couple reasons. First, I wanted the shelves to each be tall enough for the movies and a couple fingers (so they're easy to remove) but no more so as to fit in as much as possible. Second, I wanted a little room at the bottom for decorative items. It's a good idea to pre-sand all boards at this point rather than trying to get into corners later.

Once everything was sanded I just screwed boards A and C together into a rectangle and then screwed board B in from the top and bottom. I then screwed two of the D boards in the middle in place. I waited to attach the feet until after painting the rest because with feet only on the front there was no way this was going to stand up on its own with them on. Holes were filled with putty and then one more quick sanding to smooth those out.

It was freezing outside when I painted this and the primer can said 50 degrees or warmer so I moved it indoors to my dining room and painted with the windows open for ventilation. The whole thing has a coat of primer and two coats of paint total. I went ahead with a satin finish since the kids will be touching it a lot and it will have to be wipeable.

After it was all painted I pushed all of the pins in and set the rest of the shelves in place to check the fit one last time before I attached the feet and installed it.

The feet were then screwed on and the whole thing was secured to the wall studs in several places to make sure it won't tip over (it is only 8" deep so securing it is essential!). You could fill in the holes for the feet with putty but I didn't. I choose not to both because if I move later I want the feet to be removable (who knows if I'll still have 9' ceilings) and also because once the shelves are loaded I won't see the screws anyway. I did go ahead and dab some blue paint on the heads after they were in though.

An installed picture before it was loaded with movies:

And the finished product, all loaded up:

All of the kids' movies are on the bottom for easy reach and my collection now has room to grow. Yay!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Camouflage/Army Theme Birthday Party

Still catching up on my backlog. Here are some shots I took of my oldest son's birthday party last month. He is very much into all things military (games, toys, etc) so I thought that an army party would go over well.

I made sure all of the little soldiers were set up with helmets, binoculars and dog tags. Since the girls were revolting a little (not so into army stuff) I added little pink bows to their helmets/party hats and that seemed to make everyone happy.

To keep the kids occupied I gave them a scavenger hunt, disguised as military "missions". As they completed each mission a clue for a new mission was waiting for them. They had to:
~ Rescue their comrade (I tied up a teddy bear and put him in the laundry room)
~ Observe and report (Tell me about some objects in a particular room)
~ Cooperate to help our allies retreat (Get 5 army men and bring them back)
~ Traverse a mine field (Obstacle course in the living room)
~ Sneak through enemy territory (Get to the kitchen without being seen by the adults)

At the end the little soldiers were victorious (of course) and located their prize bags.

The cake I *thought* would be really easy. I looked up a few camouflage cakes on the internet and tried to duplicate them but as soon as I started frosting I quickly had misgivings and thought I'd made a mistake instead. I pushed on, however, and am glad that I did. All in all I think it actually turned out pretty nice. I just used some army toys (well washed) that he had received at Christmas time to top it off. The frosting is a homemade powder sugar/butter mix with half colored brown by the vanilla and half colored green. I just poured the brown mix over the whole thing and then put the green in spots. Since the frosting is pretty runny when first made this was very easy and then I refrigerated it for about 10 minutes to set up the frosting before I added the toys.

Joe had a little help blowing out his birthday candles.

Luckily, he seemed to think that it was a great joke and all was well.

9 years old already. Wow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And... Breathe...

I'm still here. I know it's been a month since I posted and all I can say is I was fighting with being overwhelmed. I have enough to occupy 40 hours a day when I only get 24 and something had to give for a while. I felt much like the picture above. Like I had so much to get done and only this little window available to me.

Anyway, so I am simplifying. If I have disappeared from your follower list please know that it is nothing against you or your blog personally. I have trimmed my list from roughly 130 sites down to 60 as I've found that to be a good manageable number. I am still taking pictures (and I'll post some of those tomorrow) but I won't be taking pictures everyday. The simple reason is that if you work all day, come home to do homework and make dinner, get all the chores done and then try to fit in pictures every night then at some point you have to concede that the rest of your life isn't possible anymore. And that's a concession that I can't make.

I am a mother, a fiance, a crafter, a camera enthusiast, a woodworker, an employee, a daughter, sister, etc. And I love all of these things. But I also need to fit in books, drink coffee, and breathe. I can't make jewelry if I don't have time to come up with ideas. I can't take a picture of the same thing everyday and I can't get a different picture if I don't leave the house.

Now don't think that I'm just complaining. I'm not. I have a plan. I commit to going to work (obviously). I commit to being a family member in all the various ways (love you all!). And for the rest I commit to do the best I can, when I can. I took a 4 day breather in Oregon and I feel sane again. Over the last week I am starting to feel like I am me and I can feel some of the creative mojo coming back. I have pictures to post of a DVD bookcase that I've built (it's *huge*) and tonight I am starting on the playhouse bed that I've been promising my daughter. I'm excited about things to come and I can't wait to share it with you all.