Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Outdoor Play Area - Part Three

Here is the play area as it appears right now.

I sanded the kitchen area to remove the finish on the rustic bookshelf it once was. To keep costs down I used a can of stain that I had from a previous furniture refinishing job. The colour turned out quite nice. Next came the varathane. I used a clear outdoor deck and furniture varathane - the label said 'odourless' and it was surprisingly odour free (from my experience a lot of scent- free claims are just that).

I applied the four coat recommendation of varathane as this structure will be left outside. It was then screwed down to the garden wall for safety reasons.

Mr. K jumped in and built two little benches.

The first fits over the window well and pretty much covers the window entirely. The window is in our tiny furnace room so the loss of natural light was never a problem.

The second little seat is a box that fits over the root base of our virginia creeper.

I sanded, stained, and varathaned both of the little seats. You'll notice that they turned out much darker than the kitchen. This is due to the fact that the seats are made from pressure treated wood that we had lying around from our porch and fence build a few years ago. Normally this inconsistency would drive me bonkers, but it surprisingly doesn't bother me.

Once everything was put in its right place, I packed pebble stones into the remaining spaces. I am certain these will need replacing throughout the spring and summer as the child folk use them for soups and magic potions!!!!

The only thing left to do is decorate - my favorite part!

Stay tuned for the final chapter.

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Outdoor Play Area - Part Two

In my search for inspiration for the child folk's outdoor play area, you may recall that I stumbled across this. All of these adorable little kitchens were hand made and I knew that they were well within my tool-handling capabilities.

Unlike the inspirational kitchens, however, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the supplies. I found a rustic, solid wood, sturdy, handmade bookshelf on Craigslist for $15. When I went to see it, the seller dropped the price down to $10. Sold! Since this kitchen will be left outside, it was important that the bookshelf be solid wood.

The shelf was measured and cut down to desired size.

A stainless steal mixing bowl (from my kitchen) was then traced in position for a sink. To cut our the circle a drill was first used to make a hole big enough to insert the skill saw in order to cut out the entire piece.

You will notice that the corners of the bookshelf have notches cut out of them. I purchased 2"x2" pieces of wood that will be drilled into the notches to fasten some type of curtain and/or awning. I am still undecided about what I want to put here - the bunting for sure, but what else?

Still to be done:

Stay tuned for more.

Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sew Cute!


I made my first bunting about five months ago for my friend's mother's retirement party. I had so much fun doing so that I knew it wouldn't be my last.

Regarding the child folk's outdoor play area, I really wanted a covered section - the logistics of which I am still struggling with. I will however be adding the bunting that I just can't seem to stop sewing.

As I wanted to keep the cost way, way down I used (a lot) of restraint and didn't purchase any new fabric for the bunting - I just gathered up my scraps, made a template out of bristol board (in two sizes) and went to town. That is the wonderful thing about bunting - you need remarkably little fabric to make an impact.

The bunting needs pressing and the photos are a tad dark as they were taken in the basement - I will reshoot the bunting when it is hung outside.

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Child Folk Outdoor Play Area - Part One

When we moved into our house our yard was nothing but flagstones and a few plants in oddly placed areas in an otherwise empty garden beside out house. Over the last five years we have done a lot of work in the yard but left most of the odd plants where they were because, well - we had two kids in the meantime and very little money to spend on outdoor beautification.

Recently, little K has taken to climbing behind one of the odd plants into a weird little area of vine roots, dirt and a dangerous window well. Despite several scraped legs, she persists. It got me thinking that I never really liked the plant in the first place - which got me thinking that I should dig up the small 4'x4' area and make it kid friendly. That led me on an inspirational search for what to put in that area.

We already have a heavy duty plastic climber found on craigslist several years ago so I knew I didn't want anything else big and plastic, especially an outdoor house. I'm of the mindset that if you give children everything they think they want two things occur - the first is that they don't want it anymore, and the second is the destruction of the creative process that got them to wanting it in the first place.

So what to do? I wanted to build an area that is open to interpretation and imagination and let the child folk be themselves in all their wonderful silliness. I also wanted a space that could be left outside to be weathered and worn and could get dirty too. I envisioned a little outdoor kitchen/ice cream stand/ shop/laboratory -essentially a space that offers the bones of play so that the young ones could fill in the rest. Oh and of course it has to be cheap, cheap, cheap too!
Too much to ask?

Here is the space in its original state - note the gas meter, virginia creeper roots that we want to keep, the window well and the pipes!

It took me forever to dig up the plant as I wanted to save the roots so that my neighbours could replant it.

Leveling the soil.

We purchased outdoor wood tiles from Ikea to use as a makeshift floor that would allow for water drainage. They can be cut into smaller tiles for little spaces and screwed together for stability.
Stay tuned for Part Two - kitchen design.
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My Vintage Addiction

I can't really pin point when my love affair for things vintage took a dangerous tumble down the gutter of addiction, but it did a while back. I am a recovering vintage addict now and my 12 step program includes earning no income as a stay-at-home mom, the economy, and no storage space in my petite home - not necessarily in that order.

My particular poison is vintage toys. I love that they were once loved. I love the evidence of adoration tattooed on them like a badge of honour. The smell - ah well I could do without the smell, but I generally don't buy anything that can't be disinfected and/or washed in the washing machine. Etsy is my main source for fab finds - outside of estate sales, yard sales and a few Salvation Army locations. Here is a peak at a few of my favourite finds.

I have collected a lot of cute pieces over the years, sadly some of which has been kept in boxes as I just don't have the space for it all. I am in the process of setting up an Etsy shop to share some of my finds. I will post when it is open for business.

Thank you for stopping by.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day.
Today is a day of mixed emotions for me.
I am blessed to be Mommy to two incredible little people. We are one another's universe.
When I was eight, my Mother was a passenger in a car that was hit by a train.
I grew up without her.
And so on this day, when my kids are lavishing me in their love, I feel more like that eight-year-old girl missing her mom than I do a Mother myself.
I am so lonesome and so loved.
Today is a hard day.
Today is a beautiful day.

Thank you for stopping by.

Image by Mary Cassat "Mother and Child XI"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My Fab!

I love fabric, and I am an huge fan of the incredible designs by Anna Maria Horner. I am always drawn to her patterns and palettes. She is mother to five with one more on the way! Wow, she is really an inspiration. Check out her blog here to get a wee glimpse.

Last year I made a shower curtain from sketchbook in ivory and pillows from branching out - both from her Drawing Room line.

Yesterday I received this stack of fabric from an amazing etsy shop afabricoutlet. It is from Horner's latest line Good Folks. The fabric is intended to spruce up our drab patio.

Here is a glimpse of our patio as it looks now. We have a cheapy Ikea table and chairs that was really beaten up last summer. I sanded it and applied what I thought was a semi-transparent stain. The employee that mixed the colour at Home Depot made a big mistake with the colour and it turned out terribly. I loathe the colour and to add insult to injury, it is peeling off! So my plan is to make a table cloth and bench cushion from the oilcloth I purchased. The rest of the fabric will be used for outdoor cushions.

I'll show you when it's done.

Thanks for stopping by.

Note: first image from afabricoutlet