Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Somebody's Getting A New Bed!

We're in the middle of several projects around the house right now.  One of them involves a brand new full sized mattress that we picked up with a coupon at Overstock.  It is a memory foam mattress with an organic cotton cover on it, and it ended up costing us nearly the same amount that a budget Sealy mattress at Sam's Club would have cost.  We also found new organic cotton full sized sheets on clearance (50% off!) at Target this week, and a new quilt cover at Home Goods.  We have plans to build a bed in the near future as well!

I don't plan on posting the rest of this week so I can focus on other projects and on my Mom's visit (yeah!!), so I hope you have a super rest of the week and weekend too!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Basement Clubhouse Fort

For a long while, our basement playroom looked like this:
We had a little stage that we made using two IKEA Expedit units and a tension rod that we hung the stage curtains on.  We also enjoyed a Nilo Train Table that I picked up at Goodwill for $10 a couple years ago.  The chairs around the table were Target online clearance purchases.

At some point, I decided that the kids needed a play fort/reading loft in our basement.  I really liked the look of the Pottery Barn Kid's Eli Fort Bed:

Pottery Barn Kids

But it had a $1399 price tag plus tax and shipping, AND it was too big for our space.  We needed something cheaper and smaller, with the same fort like feel.  I discovered Ana White had come up with plans for the Eli Fort Bed, so Bill looked over her plans and modified them to fit our needs.  We decided on a fort base that was 6' long x 4' wide for the interior dimensions.  (Shorter and wider than the Eli Fort Bed.)

The Process

Here was how our play room looked all cleared out:

Bill put in many hours over his break working in the garage in really cold temperatures.  He was such a trooper!!  Charm did some helping too:)!

After constructing all four sides of the structure in the garage, we carried them to the back of our house and through the basement walk out door.  Next, Bill put the fort together, while I held it in place.  Here it is all together:

Once the structure had four sides, Bill installed the hardwood floor using 2" x 6" boards.  He also made a ladder for the fort.

The next day, I sanded and sanded and sanded.  Our entire basement got ridiculously dirty.  The saw dust was everywhere!!  We plan to stain or poly or paint the fort in the spring when we can air out our house more, but for now the wood is raw (and very smooth!).  We changed out the light fixture in the space too because the big round paper fixture was too big.  The new light fixture was from our guest bedroom in the basement.  The guest bedroom then got the light fixture that was in our front room upstairs, and the front room now has the big round fixture that had been in the basement playroom.  Did you follow that?  It was a little light fixture changing extravaganza, and was especially interesting because all three lights are from IKEA and are therefore all very quirky in how they are attached.  

The loft portion has a 4' x 6' rug on top of the hardwood floor to keep the space nice and cozy.  We have a couple big pillows up there and some books too!

It's hard to get a good picture, but you can get a little feel for the space with this picture:

 I set up the area underneath the fort like a grocery store:
We purposely adjusted the height of the fort so that Lucky could stand up beneath the fort and above it as well (for now anyway:)).  We wanted both spaces to be usable and fun spaces for the kids.

I found the fruit scale on Amazon:).

I made some grocery lists for the kids using small clipboards:).

I have big plans to change up the fort area often using different themes.  While Bill was out building the fort, Lucky, Charm and I came up with a huge list of possibilities from making the fort into a fire station or a castle...from a library to a bakery.  I can't wait to make their visions a reality!  I plan to post pictures to the blog as we change fort themes, and also when we make general fort updates.  Bill is planning on making some hinged window panes for the two windows in the near future....and I have window flower boxes on my wish list:).

I hope you all have a super weekend!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Big Ol' Basement Update

Back in September, I posted this image and wrote about a basement update that was about to happen:

Well, it happened!!

Because I'm a very slow blogger, I took pictures of our updated basement before Christmas, but am just getting to writing this now.  I could in theory take more pictures, but then I'd have to go pick up the basement to make it look picture ready, and I'm not interested in doing that at the moment.  Please ignore the Christmas decor:).

For reference, here's a couple 'before' pictures from long ago:

And here is how our basement looks now (minus a couple Christmas items):

We love how it turned out!  The added storage has been wonderful around the fireplace where we store games, dvd's, and soon our video components will be moved into the cabinets.  We love having a 'mini kitchen' in the basement as well.  It is so convenient to have a sink right next to our crafting area:)!!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  If you are local...stay warm!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Put Some Wheels On It

Bill and I have been doing a bit of furniture browsing lately as we work to come up with plans for our office and an extra upstairs bedroom.  While out and about at furniture stores, I find myself staring at every console table, end table, coffee table or bookshelf that has wheels.  I'm obsessed with wheeled furniture.  I even told Bill, "I think I'm in love with anything with wheels on it."  Bill responded, "I guess I better find me some wheels."  Ha ha.  That funny engineer of mine:).

During this conversation, I remembered that Bill built me a huge console table with wheels in November that I have yet to post that's what you get to read about today.  Lucky dogs:)!!

We decided long ago that we wanted a console table behind our Karlstad in the basement.  You can see a picture here how we even left space for the console table:

It just took us a year to come up with an idea of what we wanted, plan it, build it, and it's not totally done yet either.  We decided we wanted the table to span the entire distance behind the couch, be about 18" deep which is wide enough for lamps but not too wide, and be about the height of the couch.  (If anyone is interested in the exact dimensions, I can easily get them.  A couple months ago, I had them memorized, but not anymore:).)  We also decided we wanted the ends of the table to have storage shelves for books, blankets or toys, so we based the table design on this bookshelf by Ana White.  We obviously adjusted the plan to fit our dimensions, we didn't use plywood (only standard sized boards) and we added wheels.  The purpose of the wheels is two fold.  First, we can access the outlets (to switch out lamps, etc) with ease, and we can still have a place for the kids to play with puppets if we push the table aside.  (They loved hiding behind the couch and popping the puppets above the couch before the table was in place, and we didn't want to permanently take that ability away from them.)

Here are a few pictures of the process:

Lucky had a turn drilling too, but she also had fun playing with this big red ribbon:)!

Once the table was all built, we carried it to the basement where the wheels were attached:

Isn't she pretty?:

I love the added storage on the sides:

The table cost about $100 total including the 8 stainless steel casters.  Considering the price tags on all of the tables I was loving at the furniture stores we visited, $100 is a steal for this size of table.  I still have to stain the table, and will post updated pictures in the future.  I'm not looking forward to that job, but I'll get it done:)!

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

School Paper Plan

Our mudroom, a current work in progress, was experiencing a paper work explosion ever since Lucky started preschool this year.  We love looking through all of her projects and letter practice, but we haven't been sure where to put these papers after we look and read through them.  I have a basket they've been living in the mudroom:

These pictures are nice pictures, because in reality the papers were shooting out in every direction and I took these pictures after we had worked on the pile for a bit.

We sorted the papers into four piles.  One for Lucky, one for Charm, one for Bill and me, and one for recycling.  We talked to the kids about how we couldn't save all of their papers, because we would run out of space.  We could only save the projects and papers they liked the best.  Sorting went pretty well, but in the middle of the big sort, I realized that some of these papers might be enjoyed by our extended family members.  We put this set together for Uncle D.B.:

He got a turkey bookmark, the letters 'D' and 'B', and a story board about a Giant, which is appropriate for Uncle D.B., who is very tall.  We put together 5 packages like this one, and they went in the mail today!

My pile consisted of a few 'keepers' like this:

On Thanksgiving, Lucky did portraits of everyone there.  This was mine.  I love it so much.  She even got my hair highlights right!!

And this:

Please note that Lucky titled this picture, "Daddy's Belly".  It is not his face, but his abdomen..nipples, belly button and all!!

And this:

And my very favorite one:

Lucky colored in this picture at school and then her teachers helped her write how she knows that God is taking care of her.  Her response, "God keeps me safe from dinosaurs."  Priceless.  You can't make this stuff up.  I wish I knew if this came after a visit to the science museum where they have dinosaur fossils on exhibit.   Regardless, it's a keeper!

Lucky, Charm and I put our respective piles into our 'Memory' Bins in our closets for safe keeping:).  Here's Lucky's:
(Yes, it's getting full.  We'll be going through it soon.)

And now my mudroom basket looks like this:

I'm sure the school paper pile will be huge again in no time, and come June we'll need to sort through the pile again, but now we've got a system to follow in the future!

And on a totally unrelated note, here are a couple more deals for you:

In addition to a fantastic furniture sale, I found the entire section of Green Toys on clearance for 50% off at World Market.  The tea set that I really wanted was sold out, but I'm putting these two away for birthdays!

Also, Babies R Us has a super sale going on for Babyganics Products.  They are all Buy One Get One Free!    That's 50% off!!  I like their bath wash for the kids, their baby wipes, and their detergent too!  Also, their surface cleaner is great!

I'm not sure how long either of these sales is going on for or if they are regional, so you may want to call your store before you make a trip!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

IKEA Deal-for-Ya (Target and JCPenney too!)

One of the ideas I'm toying with for the New Year is focusing my blog a bit more on 'deals' that I find.  When I first started this blog, I posted about our grocery deals and other random things that I'd find along the way.  While grocery shopping deals have been sparse since our transition to organic eating, I still love deal shopping, especially when it comes to educational products, toys, games and clothing for kids.   I'm also thinking about starting a new blog that would focus on kids more since Sunshine On the Inside has been more about home decorating and healthy lifestyle as of late.   I'd want to write these deal posts in a timely manner so that others could benefit from my 'finds'.  Until I make a decision and/or set up a brand new blog, I'm just going to post everything here!

This IKEA deal may be store specific, but when Lucky, Charm and I headed to our local IKEA (Bloomington, MN) yesterday, we stumbled upon these finger puppets, which were normally $1 each on sale for 10 cents each!!

We also found these 'circus hats' on sale for 49 cents each (down from $3.99 each):

Target online toy clearance is in full swing too!  Here are a few fun toys that I found in the Target Clearance Toy section online.  (Locally, our retail stores have 30-50% off toys right now but they should be marked down to 70% off in the very near future.)

$11.21 (Regularly $18.69)

$47.48 (Regularly $94.99)

$10.78 (Reg $17.99)

Also JCPenney is having a big clearance toy sale right now.

$5 (Regularly $20)

$10 (Regularly $40)

There are lots and lots of deals on JCPenney's site, and you can choose 'site to store' shipping for free shipping!

Happy Shopping!:)