Category Archives: Kids

A table for two

I’m excited to show you this latest project! I hinted at another laminated timber project in my post about our kitchen shelves last week, and I also mentioned some more Mocka products coming to our house when I showed you the coat hanger in the kids room.

So, this is what we’ve been up to. (And this is where I warn you that not only are there rather a lot of photos, but I got carried away with words a bit too. I did say I was excited…)

1118_8532My parents bought the Mocka stools for Master W’s recent birthday, and I initially planned to cut the legs down so they could be used under our coffee table. But because that sits on our precious rug, I knew it wasn’t the smartest idea.

I’ve been reluctant about bringing in an unnecessary piece of furniture like a table and chair set for the kids, because while our less than 100 sqm house is huge by some standards, the first world way we live in NZ does mean I’m constantly culling things to keep clutter free.  But… with kids slowly becoming interested in drawing and art projects, a broken chair which made my brain go “hmmm… what can I do with this?” and the arrival of the stools… I nudged our dining table over a little and made room!

1118_8531A few months ago, one of our dining chairs gave way completely (happens when you buy the cheapest replica Eames chairs you’ve ever come across) and the seat detached right off of the base. It sat miserably in the corner for a while before I gave up on it and banished it to waste away next to the rubbish bins outside.

Some weeks later Andre managed to actually cram it into the bin, and out it went.

Or so we thought.

One Wednesday morning a few weeks ago I rung Andre in a slight panic… “what did you do with that broken chair base??!” “Oh I chucked it in the rubbish, that’s what you wanted?” “Which rubbish? Is it still there? Did you put it in the rubbish at work? Can you check if it’s still there?” “I put it in our rubbish bin”.

Picture me dropping the phone and running right out the back door. It was rubbish day.

Andre’s dad turned up to work on the deck just as I was ferretting through the bin out by the road, but he’s getting used to my ideas, and probably wasn’t even surprised to see my grin as I rescued the chair base from the depths of the bin.

4 minutes later… repeat… F O U R minutes later and the kids are racing to the window to watch the rubbish truck come by and empty the very bin that had this chair base in.

This project very nearly didn’t happen!

But it did. And here’s how:

1118_8432The way the brackets sat on the chair base meant it wasn’t level (a slight backwards slope is good for comfy seats, but not so good for a table to be) so I started with disassembling it. Meanwhile, Andre glued (laminated if you want to be fancy) a couple of pieces of old oak headboards together, which we already had in the garage.

1118_8425Because I wasn’t sure how we were going to put the base all back together at this point, I saved all my nuts and bolts.

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This is how the brackets sat on top of the legs in its first life as a chair.1118_8437But thankfully I have a husband who is both a handyman and happy to go along with his wife’s ideas (mostly!). So he refashioned those brackets into something more simple, that we could attach a level table top to.

1118_8441And then I repainted them with some matt black spray paint that we already had.

1118_8442While the glue was curing on the table top, and the paint drying on the brackets, we mocked up a couple of sizes of top using some cardboard, and swapped them back and forth while we decided whether 600mm diameter or 700mm was best.

1118_84621118_8456This photo is here for no other reason than it’s cute factor… chubby legs and hands that still have dimples – aww!

1118_8458Back to the table. We decided to cut it at 650mm, because sometimes right in the middle is best. I’m not sure why there are multiple circle lines here, but it didn’t bode well for what happened next…

1118_8470On the advice of his dad Andre first cut out the top with the jigsaw, leaving a couple of millimetres (you can just see this in the photo above). Then he set up the router attached to a jig, and with me holding tightly to the table top, he ran the router around to evenly trim off those extra millimetres. However, it was one of those days… and as I tried to turn the top as Andre worked his way around with the router, I lost my grip and the router went mad.

This is the damage, trimmed off by a second go with the jigsaw.

1118_8469Because I was sulking inside, and because clamps were a better bet anyway, Andre gave the router another go without me.

1118_8477I got over the fact that we were back to nearer 600mm diameter (luckily without any injuries) and got to sanding. There’s something pleasant about sanding nice timber (picture me stroking it smooth!), despite the dust.

1118_1974Then the kids helped with wiping down the dusty top with damp cloths when I’d finished. But that seemed to roughen up the grain a little, so I gave it another sanding with a very fine grit, and then just brushed it down rather than wiping with a cloth.

1118_19781118_8507A few coats top and bottom with Cabot’s Cabothane Clear varnish (leftover from the kitchen shelves) and then I handed back to Andre to attach the top to the legs.

1118_8524We needed the top to sit a bit higher than the base allowed for, so it gets a little ugly with a small slab of leftover timber from the deck. Thankfully it’s hidden from view to all but crawling babies so it’s fine. Sorry crawling babies.

1118_8527Flipped over the right way we soon saw it wasn’t quite level, so a couple of well placed washers sorted it out…

1118_8540 …And we called it done!

We are not entirely sure about three different types of timber all in such close quarters, so a suggestion box is currently open. So far it holds “paint the table legs white?” and “crochet some seat covers?” but for now the box remains open, while we have other priorities.

1118_85301118_8535This is the crawling baby view.1118_8538But adults and bigger small people get to see the wider view…1118_8536…including that awesome deck that we’re already enjoying when kids are safely in bed and unable to fall over the edge. Screens and balustrades are coming…!

But this table is excitement enough for now. It was free! Entirely made from things we already had, and already it’s the kids favourite place for morning teas and drawing. A perfect project!

Small spaces: The sweetest nursery

This is not what I had in mind to share this morning but in my search for what I did have in mind, I came across this cutest little nursery yet again. So this is it folks. Mega inspiration for a little one’s space, if you have the need, or there is loads of ideas that would work equally well in a grown ups space.

I’ve seen this a few times around the blog world, a few weeks ago over at Fancy, and this morning, at Apartment Therapy. But The Beetleshack is where it originates from.

This little space is proof that you can just fill a room with the loveliest of things and even though they don’t “match” they come together to create a cohesive look that just feels so homely.

Having both my boy and girl sharing a bedroom I also appreciate seeing kids spaces that are neither bland nor super-girly or made just for a boy. This Beetleshack nursery could quite happily accommodate either – and rightly so, because as far as I can tell, baby Beetleshack’s gender was unknown at the time.

My favourite things in the room are the vintage mirror (surprise, surprise!) and the little yellow painted cane stool/side table. If you’re up for some shopping to get the look, there’s a source list over at the Beetleshack (just had to write it one more time – awesome name!).

Picture hanging by Lego Duplo level

0813_0991The most finished room in our home got a little more finished on the rainy Monday that was yesterday. So thankful for the sunshine and warmer temperatures which are back again today!

A couple of months ago I had a truly enjoyable couple of hours at the Auckland Art Fair with my most like-minded friend, Miss Browne.

I came home with a good selection of prints and a gorgeous little ceramic bowl.

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Late last week I finally got to Briscoes and was lucky enough to time my shopping with a 30% discount on picture frames. I managed to get three frames on my list, so three prints got lucky. The others are still waiting for another rainy day…

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My selection of frames was based on what I thought would go best with the Ella Quaint prints, and I picked deep honey coloured wood. For the Bron Alexander print I got a little more modern with a crisp white mat, which I’ll tone in with some other white framed art around the room when I get to it.

Once I had the frames, this was a super simple 10 minute job, requiring no special tools…

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…as long as you have some Lego Duplo handy! Call this ultimate DIY, call it too lazy to run and grab the level, or just call it whatever works!

Here’s a photo I shared on Instagram (@duckeggblueblog) yesterday:

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Miss E is delighted with her new “ebra” and “raaff”, and she loves clocks!

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One more photo for the record… which has a sneak peek of what happened at the weekend when rain put paid to outdoor plans. Hopefully I can get some photos now the sun has come out again, and share the details on Thursday!

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Until then… I’ll leave you guessing!

Pin of the day: Wishy washi dishes

I may have mentioned making a play kitchen for the kids for Christmas? Well… this idea just made it a bit easier:

washi tape dolls house by Frida Ramstedt

Take some simple shelves and add washi tape to fancy it up. Done!

As soon as I can find some replacements for our master bedroom bedside cabinets, they’ll be hacked a little to accommodate a play oven, fridge and kitchen storage.

I’m not one for big investment (money or otherwise) into kids toys so I plan to keep it super simple and go crazy with washi tape for the fancy bits. Then, if it’s a hit I can turn the fancy bits more permanent perhaps?!

Image from my Kids Room Pinterest board.

A washi skyline

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Did anyone guess? A washi project on the horizon… a skyline is a horizon of sorts yes?

I started with a very. blank. wall. For the only room in the house that I consider almost done, this view is as undone as you can get. If this scares you like it does me, go take some comfort with a scroll through this.

I did give this wall a wipe down yesterday. But that was it for preparation.

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I had my washi tape. Let’s be honest – I had a choice of washi tape. These four were my narrowed down choice.0614_7179

I put some pieces on the wall to help me make a decision. Being the boy corner of the bedroom blue was the colour of the day. The boy has pink and flowers on his quilt (although I’ve made him a manned up duvet cover for when it gets cooold), so I’m doing my best to even things out for him! I quickly ruled out #1 and #2… just because I have never liked them a lot. #4 is my favourite but I wondered if it might be too pale to make an impact, and so #3 it was. I also like the twinkly lights thing going on with #3… a twinkly night skyline? Oooh yes!0614_7180

Tools of the trade: washi tape of choice, scissors (tidy cuts make the corner joins a little tidier), and a picture on my phone for inspiration0614_7181

And then I got sidetracked. No more photos until we’re done…

One sweet washi taped skyline for Master W to gaze at until the twinkly lights lull him off to sleep. (After 3 1/2 years I still kid myself he’s that perfect, well-behaved child who won’t protest madly all the way to bed and then demand more kisses and water and toilet visits at the top of his voice before suddenly crashing to sleep and silence reigns once more…)0614_7182 0614_7184

If it doesn’t charm him at bedtime then perhaps it’ll give him another little corner to play during the day! Who doesn’t need a city skyline for fire engines to roar by or tow trucks to rescue broken cars alongside? 0614_7187

Or cuddly friends to have chats with? 0614_7188

I know already that this will be one of those little projects that take so little time and effort, but are so rewarding. Every time I walk in that door (a million times a day!) I will turn my head and smile at the little twinkling city in the corner.

And me being me, my next thought will be what else I can fill the blank space above with!

0614_7189In a life of so many projects that take weeks and months to finish, it helps to have these kind of 15 minute ones that make you feel like you’ve done something. You’ve started something, and you’ve finished something. All in one day! I won’t tell you what I’m avoiding so I could complete and share this with you. But I promised (next time I won’t be so foolish – and then my house might get vacuumed… oops I gave it away!) so I hope you love it!

 

And brown is the new green

0412_6943 Grass weeds be gone! Three days after spraying (we chose Kiwicare Organic Weedfree Rapid), and a patch of heavy rain on two of those days, things are very slowly dying off. Looks like we will have to reapply – there are some tough weeds in our front patch of dirt, which are showing no signs of wilting!

Here’s how we’re keeping the kids out of harms way. It doesn’t look good but it’s working!0412_69420412_6946

Apart from a second dose of spray there’s not much we can do here for a few days. This time next week we’ll be thinking about hiring a rotary hoe and picking up a load of new topsoil.

So tomorrow, if the rain stays away, that gate just might get some attention from a paintbrush.

Stripes for winter

Since Master W moved out of his cot, I’ve been searching for a simple striped duvet cover that costs a whole lot less than this one.

It was a fruitless search. But a rack of table cloths at Spotlight caught my eye a few weeks ago. My brain said “Ah hah!”. And then it said “Oooh! Lookie here – one blue and one red! Perfect because I can make up my mind which to use later… and then change it!” And then it said “Oh 150x300cm – plenty big enough…” And then it said “Yes, marked down – $10 each! That’s a perfect duvet cover for $20 give or take!” As for how to turn two table cloths into one duvet cover, well I had a vague idea, and a foolproof back up in the name of my mother-in-law.

But first, plan A. A single duvet cover size (in NZ) is 140 x 210cm. At 150 x 300cm these table cloths were just fine. I opted to leave the width at 150cm, and took 80cm off the end of each one – allowing myself a forgiving 10cm each way.

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Once cut, I remembered I should have washed them first… having no idea if they were prewashed. So my cut edge got a bit messy… hmmmm.

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A quick trim lost me another 5mm, but no matter – we’re still 95mm up in theory! Because I’m not good with straight lines, and I wanted to give hem tape a go, I took the easy way out. This Heat n Bond tape was about $9 from Spotlight. It worked a charm, but I did find I had to double the time it said for pressing to ensure a good bond.0409_6907

Then it was to this trusty vintage Pfaff which came to us via Andre’s Oma… complete with an instruction booklet in Dutch. Thank goodness for pictures!  0409_6911

Brrmmm! Brrrrrmmm! 0409_6912 0409_6915

Hmmm… here’s why I should have measured 220cm from one end rather than 80cm from the other. The tablecloths were not both 300cm as stated. A second trim and another go at hem tape and I’m minus another 5cm. Starting to cut it a little fine…0409_6917

At this point I was feeling a bit embarrassed actually, and annoyed with myself. So I went full steam ahead to get it finished and “THEN I will see if it’s going to fit!” So there are no photos of me sewing up the end or adding a zip (you can be thankful… it was my first zip since the first one I ever did at intermediate school sewing class). The end of the story goes well… zip works, duvet fits (just) and I’m pretty proud of my efforts! I had about 30 seconds to give it a trial run before the kids came back from a walk with Dad…0409_6921 0409_6924 0409_6925 0409_6926 0409_6927 0409_6928 0409_6929

At less than $35 plus a couple of hours work, I have just the duvet cover I was looking for. Plus a bit more because I have a navy or a red option. I’m not sure yet which side will get the most use – it depends entirely what I come up with for Miss E’s big girl bed I guess. But the multicoloured way things are looking right now, either one works just as well.

Note 1: The pillow and cushions make an appearance for the purposes of these photos only – Master W sleeps right on the bed. Until he asks for a pillow I’m not giving him one. It’s simpler that way!

Note 2: Yes, the yarn wrapped W got mauled by a certain small boy. He might have to wait a few birthdays for another one.