Thursday, May 14, 2015

Other Little Free Library Projects

There were a few other fun projects I did to add a bit of charm to our new Little Free Library. Both projects I found ideas on pinterest and they involved working with cement. One was cement letters that would spell out the word books. The DIY instructions I followed are written out here.

I think they turned out pretty neat. Though I don't think I mixed the cement all too well. The letters had far more small rocks and weren't as wet as the stuff in glass bowl. 

The next project was to make a cement ball using a glass ball. The instructions are here. Pretty simple: find a glass bowl (My sister had a huge 12" glass bowl from her wedding center pieces that she let me buy from her.), fill it with concrete, wait for it to dry and then break the glass bowl. Super fun breaking the glass and seeing the end result!


The reason for the cement ball? I used it for the leg of a reading stool. That big wooden circle is from my other sisters kitchen remodel a few years ago. They took out their corner cabinets lazy susan thing. Somehow it made its way to my parents house and lucky for me, I got to put it to good use in their front tree.

There were two circle pieces of that cabinet and I put the other one higher in the tree as another spot to sit. My boys and all my parents grandchildren should have years of fun in this big tree at their grandparents house. 

And now with the Little Free Library out front they make terrific spots to sit and read a good book.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

a Little Free Library (continued)...

If you missed the first part of this story- it's right here.

Once the weather got nice enough, work continued. Of course, our spring was warm one day and super chilly the next so this process of installation of our Little Free Library took almost three weeks. First I dug the post hole 24 inches deep, then measured to make sure we had the post & boxes at the right height.

Once we had the heights right, we filled the hole with some cement and waited for it to dry. 

Next step was to attach the circle boxes to the post. Again, a lot of measuring, drilling, and screws. But after that I had one ready to receive the metal. (Oh, I forgot to mention before I put the metal on I screwed down a few book ends to keep the books from falling over and denting the metal).

I've never worked with metal before. I found this heavy flashing at the hardware store and thought it would work just fine. My sister happened to have nice tin snips to cut it to the right length which worked pretty slick. I had planned for the circles to be 13 inches deep from outside to outside, which meant there would be a half inch over hang of metal on both the front and back sides. 

I wrapped the metal around the box, measured and cut around the post, and screwed the metal to the wood with self tapping short screws. I think it worked out great. Once it was assemble all I needed to do was coat it with a ton of spray paint. A couple coats of white primer, three or four coats of the main color and then a few coats of clear to keep it looking pretty for years to come. 

And then do that same process to two more circle boxes. This was a lot of waiting, waiting and more waiting. Paint drying is not the most exciting. I did add clear sealant to fill any gaps between the wood and metal making it watertight. That also took some time to dry.

I used my exact-o knife cutting skills to cut out some sticker letters out of sticker paper to make a "Little Free Library" sign on the side of one of the boxes. I hope as people walk down the street that can then see what this thing is before they get to it.


During the three weeks of installation and assembly we sure had quite a few neighbors stop by to ask what we were building! It was fun to get to tell them about it and they all seemed very excited. They wondered when it would be open to use. I wasn't certain when all the little pieces would be done, so we made a sign:

It took a few days to get the clear edging we ordered. It would cover the exposed edge of the metal to protect people from getting scraped. Eventually we had all the pieces and we were able to complete our Library. Hooray!

To celebrate I hosted a little Story-time Grand opening with a few friends. It had been raining off and on that day, but the rain cleared as they people came. Right away we filled our Library with books that everyone had brought. There's a box for kids picture books, another for young reader chapter books, and the tallest one for adult books. It'll be exciting to see them change out as the books come and go. We even got our official charter sign in the mail that very afternoon- how exciting.

At our Grand Opening I read two of my favorite picture books about BOOKS. The first one is "My Pet Book" by Bob Staake, the second is "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore" by William Joyce.

**how I made the stool I'm sitting on (that's me with the big blue rain boots) will be another post**

Monday, May 11, 2015

a Little Free Library

If you haven't heard of a Little Free Library, I'll let you know that they are popping up everywhere around the world. Their official website is here. We first started seeing them a couple of years ago around our city. The boys and I would ride our bikes to a couple that were within a few miles of us. We'd bring a few books from our house that hadn't been read in a while, put them in the Library and then take a few "new" books home with us. Always a fun adventure on nice summer days.

Well last year my Mom started talking about how many books she had, and what a fun idea it would be to have her own Little Free Library in her front yard. I heard it and saved the information for later. Fast forward to this year, early February when I contacted my sisters and started discussing Mom's birthday present. I knew of the perfect gift, but wanted to run it past them first. We all agreed a Little Free Library would be fun and the plans began.

I started a pinterest board of some Little Free Library ideas. I found this SUPER AWESOME design. Then it was time to draw my own. I wanted it to look like an abstract tree.

I showed it to my sisters and father. They liked the design and so it was off to the store to buy a few items we didn't have. Two of my sisters joined me on one such outing. We were pushing three carts and had 6 kids in tow. It was quite the adventure, but nothing we couldn't handle. (my sister thought to take this photo. You just can't see all the little heads in the carts)

Early March I started drawing circles, measuring, cutting, gluing and assembly of what would become the three circle boxes that housed all the books. It was a lot of finicky work, so it was slower than I expected, but I wanted to get it just right. I made a 19" circle, 17 1/2" circle and a 16" circle for the three different "boxes".



I bought magnets to help hold the plexiglass doors shut. They were a bit of a challenge because I wanted to drill them in from the back side of the wood but had already put the boxes together. It worked but was a bit frustrating (should have made those holes before assembly). I used a wood drill bit which cut the perfect sized hole for the magnets to sit in on the back but left a smaller hole on the front side for the magnet to pull the screws of the handle in the plexiglass. The holes were filled with clear sealant to keep the magnets in place.

At the end of March- which is when my mother had her birthday, I had three boxes done. We surprised her with it at that point, but couldn't dig the hole for our post because the ground was still frozen. We had to wait awhile till it was warmer. 

To Be Continued... (cause I have far too many photos)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Gnome Door

I've been wanted to make a Gnome door for our front tree for a long time. I finally made the time to start the project. I worked on it in short bursts while the boys were distracted or asleep. I didn't want them to know I made it. I grabbed a piece of 1x3 pine scrap wood and used a hand saw to cut grooves to look like wood planks. I painted it yellow one day, adding the blue "hinges" when the yellow was dry.

Then one Friday afternoon while both boys were at school I started installation. I screwed it into the tree and glued some bark to the top and sides to make it look more finished.

I had more paint some I painted blue dots on the wood around the tree- just cause it looked cool.

I figured the Gnomes wouldn't move into the neighborhood without bringing a gift of the neighborhood kids. I bought a few suckers to place near the door and then waited for the Little Misters to come home. They were pretty excited to find the suckers and then tried to open the door. I told them it was probably locked. I love adding a little magic to my kids childhoods. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Viking pants

I bought this viking material shortly after Christmas. I thought I'd bought enough for two pairs of boys PJ pants, but it turns out the Little Misters are growing too fast. I had to make a size 8 which required more width of the fabric. My 7 year old is pretty skinny, so I could have probably made it work with less fabric but I like following the pattern.

I had 1 1/4 yard of each so I used one fabric for each leg, switching the fabric for the opposite legs knee pad.

I think my older son is pretty excited about new pants and even wants to wear them to school. I genuinely love making stuff that they actually LOVE wearing. Makes me smile.

*I used this pattern (the parsley pant pattern by Rae) that I got for Christmas a few years ago. It's so easy to follow and have made several pairs of pants with it.

I had enough left over material to make some rather large fabric gift bags. It's not the best photo, the gift bags are folded in half.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bed wetting mat

We have our fair share on night time accidents with two young growing boys. I feel like we could never have enough waterproof mattress protectors. While going though my fabric stash, I found some terrycloth backed with waterproofing material. It was just enough for a small bed mat. I backed it with some leftover flannel from my fox PJ pants.

It's not one of the bigger mattress protectors we have, but it makes a great backup.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gift Bags

I really liked making all those Christmas gift bags and love not having to keep wrapping paper around the house. I received a gift card to my favorite fabric store as a Christmas gift. When I went to spend it, I found their holiday fabrics were 50% off. So I grabbed one half yard of this fun stuff.

Yup I turned it into a larger gift bag. It got used for a gift and then I put it away in my holiday storage box till next year. I think it's going to be exciting to forget that it's in there and find it again next year just waiting to be used year after year! I might have to pick up holiday fabric each year when it goes on sale to make a nice collection of holiday gift bags for our family. Maybe a stack of fabric gift bags would be a great gift for someone else as well!

Since this is my year to use up fabric that's been sitting in my stash far too long, I decided I could just keep making more...

AND more... of all shapes and sizes.

Don't they look so pretty? I can't wait for birthdays and celebrations to give them away with the gift inside.