Thursday, July 26, 2012

LEGO Vaughn: The Mural

I never thought that I'd spend so much time staring at a wall.  

With my face only three inches away from it.  And the subtle acrylic paint pigment aroma waltzing into my lungs with every inhale.

And I never thought that I'd enjoy it.    

But, I did.  My mental health barometer most assuredly moved from content towards bliss.

Fulfillment during the journey?  That's a sign.

Like the headboard, the mural project was born from Vaughn's vision.

A vision of a LEGO guy crashing through his wall.

When I sent him some drafts I included one with LEGO Batman and another with a Star Wars light saber fight.  He was so logical in his selection process.

Um, I just want the regular LEGO guy, because I feel like I might outgrow Batman and Star Wars.

Vaughn was so helpful in the painting process too.  But, as the opportunities dwindled down to detail work I tried to think of other contributions he could make.

Um, Vaughn, how about you go check on Anthony and see if he needs your help painting the headboard?

No, that's OK.  I'm really more of a decorative painter.

When the end of LEGO week fell into our lap, everyone that could paint a straight line was helping.  I turned it into a paint by number.

R = red
LR = light red
DR = dark red

And I premixed all the colors and labeled them.

And prayed quietly at bedtime that tiny bearded paint gnomes would come out of the wall sockets and finish the red LEGOs per my labels.  Because the red took about 8 coats.

The last night at about 5 PM, 11 hours before our 4 AM quitting time, Vaughn told us that it looked perfect.

That's better than I ever imagined.  You guys have been working really hard and should take a break.  I mean it.  
So, will you come play XBox with me?

I love him.  And pretty much every word that comes out of his mouth.

Here is a recap of the photos I posted on my facebook page.

Need your a mural on your wall? let me know!

Update: Links to all the LEGO projects:
Upholstered Box Spring
Name Art
Headboard and Cornice

Monday, July 23, 2012

DIViji: Office

Come with me to Viji's second floor.

Past the bird art and the railing of tears.  

Don't touch the railing though.  I'm serious.  I need that to last for 100 years.  For my sanity.

And head over here to Viji's office.

Office BEFORE:

Office AFTER:

A vibrant space for learning, working and crafting.

Viji and her kids made the art hanging behind the desk one laid back home weekend.  I love it.

We rearranged the furniture so that it makes better use of the space.  You know, fought our human tendency to shove everything up against the wall.

And added a chalk board and white board.

"Think before you ink."  I'd do well to remember that one.

A Billy bookcase is the new craft and school supply storage recpticle.  Viji found some baskets that she liked and labeled them for supreme organization.

I asked about adding the mini kid's table to the garage sale since her kids were older now, but Viji said, No.

Because that is where SHE creates.

Where I see an instant rump ache from a toddler chair, Viji sees her tiny table of inspiration.  

Craft on my friend with a small, tight tush.  Craft on.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

LEGO Vaughn: Headboard & Cornice

A matching LEGO headboard and cornice. It is every little kid's dream.

They just might not know it.

Vaughn knew it.  He talked about a headboard with LEGO bricks painted on a piece of wood similar to the mock up I did for him here:

But during planning, I saw this Italian designed wall radiator and completely lusted after its silhouette.

Lusted with drool.

And I'm totally serious that it is a radiator.  Check out the other brick models that Scirocco offers.

Thankfully Vaughn was down with the concept.

It was back to Google SketchUp.

Headboard sized for Vaughn's queen bed:

Cornice plan for Vaughn's window.

We ordered the wood discs online and purchased the plywood sheets from Home Depot.

The guy at Home Depot was kind enough to cut the large sheets down to size. He said he was jealous and wanted a LEGO room of his own.

I'm pretty sure he was telling the truth.

Sherri and Anthony were working on the headboard while I was upstairs working on the mural.  Suddenly, I got really nervous and walked to the garage working up a speech about how important it is to get the discs positioned neatly and evenly to accurately reflect the integrity of a real LEGO.  

Then I remembered the first-born team that I was working with.

And walked out to find them using a little cardboard spacer that Anthony had made.

They glued the wood discs on with Titebond wood glue. I'd put their accuracy up against any machine.

Next was the gray primer.

And the final coats of paint in the basement.

So that the pieces actually had a chance against the humidity.

Sherri and Jimmy hung the pieces while we were at an intense baseball game in Jackson, MN.  

For the headboard, they mounted it to the wall with screws and we painted over the screw heads.

For the cornice, the sides were attached and also hung using corner brackets.

It was a joyous sight to behold when we walked in and saw them on the walls.

And I may have lusted with drool.


Wood Discs: Woodworks Ltd
Blue Curtains: Target

Update: Links to all the LEGO projects:
Upholstered Box Spring
Name Art

Monday, July 16, 2012

DIViji: Guest Room & Laundry

Viji's Guest Room and Laundry Room were more about color and shopping.

And less about creating.

But maybe a little about hanging too.

The guest room is right off of the kitchen and laundry room garage entrance on the first floor. So, while yes, the main purpose is to host family and friends while they visit, during the school year it acts as the first place to drop off school effects.

Guest Room BEFORE:

Guest Room AFTER:

Updates included:

~ Paint: She chose the same green as her kitchen since it matched the bedding that she wanted to stick with.
~ A repaired curtain rod and new curtains from JCPenny
~ New above the bed art from Home Goods
~ A new bedside cabinet from IKEA large enough to hold the kid's back packs.

The adjacent laundry room is their main entry in and out of the house through the garage.  She couldn't handle walking through the path of sterility any longer.

Laundry Room BEFORE:

Laundry Room AFTER:

Updates Included:

~ Fresh paint
~ Canvas art from JoAnns
~ Wall hooks from Home Goods

The wall hooks are glass knobs that Viji fell in with at the store.  To make them solid we used drywall anchors and then twisted the knobs in where the screws would normally go.

Great for kid's coats.

Or purses.

Mostly just purses.

Oh, and I loved it when we were shopping for the art next to the door.  I was grabbing out everything that matched the wall color and she stopped me and grabbed the two that she wanted.

We've got to use these.  This is what I want my kid's to see before they walk out the door each morning.

"See your course and Soar"

"Stand a little taller.  Make each day a little better than the one before."

Best choice yet, Viji.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

LEGO Vaughn: Name Art

I've never given a second thought to the names that were chosen for my nephews and nieces.

Until last month.

When for a couple of minutes I wished that Vaughn would have been a Tom.  

Or Ed.
Or Bo.

That's right.  I longed for him to share a moniker with one of the Duke boys from Hazzard county. 

It was only for a few minutes while planning out his LEGO name art.

LEGO has a Digital Designer feature on their website that you can use to build models.  My hope was to use that to plan everything out, but Anthony and I couldn't get it to work on either of our computers.

So, I went to Photoshop, my ol' reliable and ever faithful standby, and started building it from the bottom up.

Starting with the eight gray base plates and their 48 rows of tiny connector dots.

Next I sought out a blocky font that would translate well into LEGO bricks.

I went with Courier.  And manipulated and stretched each letter so that it lined up with the dots on the gray plates below it.

Sherri wanted to keep it clean and tied in with the bedspread, so she chose red letters with a white outline and a beige border.

Here is where I secretly wished for the name change.  At the point when I had to sit and figure out exactly how many and what size of LEGO bricks Sherri needed to order.

First I figured out the most cost effective LEGO by calculating the 'price per dot'.  It is the 2x8 brick coming in at 1.875¢.  Followed by the 1x10 for 2.5¢.

You're welcome.

I tried to fill it in first with the LEGOs she had already ordered and had on hand and then put in the 2x8s wherever I could.  2x8s are the big green squares if you are curious.

And then I counted them all.  Multiple times because counting isn't my thing.  Likely because I didn't go to Preschool.

Which is also the reason that I say inappropriate things in social situations.  Because I didn't have that extra year of practice with my 4-year-old peers.

I'm just going to go ahead and blame all of my short comings on No Preschool Education.  I bet you anything that some Little Lambs education would have stopped me from driving Sherri's Suburban on top of the LEGO bases that they had lying out on the garage floor.

I am sure of it.

You might think that the cost per dot is high, but let me tell you, they are resilient little bastards.

After cleaning off my tire marks, Anthony and Sherri glued the gray plates to a flat plywood backing.  You can't just butt up two base plates against each other and still get the LEGOs to snap on, so the red LEGOs in the picture are keeping the plates perfectly spaced while the glue is drying.

When it came time to snap the bricks to the front, we started by placing the tops of the letters on the board just to double check that things were spaced evenly. 

And then finished with the outlines so that any miscalculations would flush themselves out before we had a bulk of the letter filled in.

I was off by a dot or two in a few places.

It was a simple fix, but still, I blame No Preschool.

Oh wait.  Back up.  If you are first-born then you are going to want to make sure that the gray LEGO plates are glued down in a way that the words "LEGO" that are on each dot are facing the same way.  Then place all the bricks in with their words correctly positioned as well.

Sherri's attention to detail is fierce.

Anthony put on those beige ones in disarray.  First-born FAIL.

We were sadly out of town already before the ceremonial name art hanging.  But it now hangs proudly above his dresser.

And at this very moment, I am so grateful that his name is Vaughn.  That art is big and bold and perfect for the LEGO lovin' cherub that he is.  My hugable, lovable Vaughn.

Besides, LEGOs don't seem like an interest for a Bo.  Neither does Preschool.

Just me and my friend Bo sittin by the barn trying to count clay bricks until the numbers get too high.

Tenty-eight, Tenty-nine, Tenty-Ten.


Update: Links to all the LEGO projects:
Upholstered Box Spring
Headboard and Cornice

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

DIViji: Kitchen

Viji's kitchen transformation is subtle.


But our exertion there was extensive.


We managed to come out alive from a late night drilling session when installing the cabinet hardware.

And the only things holding those stainless backsplash tiles to the wall are my tears and Anthony's bathroom frustration. (Well, also that hardcore glue that will keep them adhered for another millennia).

Yep.  That's what we've got there.

New green paint.
And part of our souls.

I can almost smell the delicious Indian spices emanating from her kitchen now.  What I wouldn't give to enjoy a bowl of gulab jamen with a nice long stare into the heart of the backsplash that just about killed me.

Monday, July 9, 2012

LEGO Vaughn: Upholstered Box Spring

The first in our LEGO room breakdown:  Vaughn's Upholstered Box Spring.

Sherri saw an upholstered box spring tutorial on Pinterest and wanted to add it to the project list for Vaughn's room.  

Perfect fit.
More masculine than a bed skirt.
Clean lines.
Polished look.

I loved.

Anthony and I used Google SketchUp to plan out a supported frame to attach to the bottom of the box spring for Vaughn's new queen bed.

Some tutorials say to just screw the legs right into the box spring frame, but we weren't sure how sturdy that would be.  Sherri wanted to err on the side of over-supported.
"Not that my little angels would ever jump on the bed, but just sayin."
So we beefed it up.

And evaluated our options for fabric color and feet paint.

When it was go time, Anthony and Sherri made a few minor changes to the frame, then made quick work of assembling it.

Powering through the humidity in Sioux Falls, SD.

Anthony drilled all the holes for the feet after double checking the feet fit on some scrap wood.

When he unscrewed, the foot came and the bolt stayed.

Those feet were a one screw deal.  

Sherri turned in the feet a few twists to hold them in place while she primed them.

That was after we tried unsuccessfully to stain them and then found out from the nice man at Ace that they were plastic on the inside.

No wonder they were a great deal.

So instead she painted on brown paint to match the dresser.

The red fabric she chose came in a 60 inch width, so we got 2.5 yards and broke down the cutting into the sections shown.

Enough length in all the panels to fold over the end edges nicely before stapling.

We stapled on the corner pieces first and then Anthony went around and hammered the protruding staples in the rest of the way. 

Dear Santa,
I want an air compressor that I can use for a staple and nail gun.  I also want staple and nail guns that are powerful enough to shoot and kill a pigeon from 20 yards away.  Anthony probably wants me to have safety equipment for these things, but he can put that on his own list.
Heidi  (I've been the same amount of naughty as previous years. That's good, right?!)

After covering all of the corners and sides, they trimmed the tiny frays off the edge of the fabric and twisted in the feet.

There may have been a conversation between the first-borns about pulling out some staples and lining them up more symmetrically, but I didn't hear it first hand.

The finished product is rockin.

Off da Heezie.
Whatever the kids are saying these days.

Tutorial We Followed: Momma Rake
Plastic Woodish Feet: Tempe Sales

Update: Links to all the LEGO projects:
Name Art
Headboard and Cornice