Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rotating bookshelves

Yesterday was awful. Like, everything that could have gone wrong pretty much did. So I was in the mood for a GOOD day.

Here was the highlight:

Planting succulents together

I also really wanted to make progress on moving in to our new place, and on some Pinterest projects. So, I (mostly) finished building her rotating bookcase. This was a highlight in the personal productivity department.

Here was my inspiration (from here, found via Pinterest):

Needless to say, I was not going to spend $600 on this. I liked the spinning aspect so that all four sides could be used. But it didn't quite fit my needs. My version is Ellie-sized, extra-wide on the sides (I added chalkboard vinyl to one side; I am going to add cork, felt, mirrors and/or magnetic boards to the other side -- I haven't decided yet), and moves as well as spins. 

  • Two 3-shelf Closetmaid organizers (I got mine for $20 each at Lowe's)
  • 6 6-hole metal plates (about $3 for a pack of 6)
  • 3 9-hole metal plates (about $4 for a pack of 6)
  • 4 casters. I wanted mine to rotate, roll and lock, so I got 2" swivel casters with locks (about $3 each)
  • Screws. I used 36 screws -- 8x7/16" pan-head sheet metal screws (about $1 per bag of 16)
Total cost: $42

How to make it:
  1. Assemble Closetmaid shelves per packaged instructions. 
  2. Flip both units over (take shelves out first). Line up cardboard backs so both shelf sides face out. 
  3. Center a 9-hole plate in the middle of the units, to connect them. I used 4 screws for this plate. FYI, I have an aversion to drilling pilot holes for some reason, so I used Ryan's Makita, because it is freaking amazing and you don't have to predrill.
  4. Repeat with two more plates, one on each side, so there are three plates spread across the bottoms of the units to connect them. 
  5. Repeat, using two 6-hole plates to connect on each side. I used two screws in each of these plates (so this step is a total of four plates and eight screws).
  6. Attach your casters to the corners of the entire unit.
  7. Flip the whole thing over. Use two more 6-hole plate on the top. 
The whole thing took around an hour. I was expecting it to take much longer, but it went quite quickly with the Makita. Here's a view of the top. The bottom (which I forgot to get a picture of before I loaded up the shelves) has one additional plate in the middle, and they are the 9-hole plates.

I think I may add molding to finish it a bit, like the inspiration shelf. Otherwise, done and DONE!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tin foil river

This was an idea we had found on Pinterest. Verdict: eh. We tried with six kids, ages 15 months, 16 months, 2 years, 4 years and two 5 year olds. It kept them entertained for about 20 minutes, much of which was playing with the hose. I'm not sure it was any better than general water play. It would probably work better with something sturdier -- any little bump in the ground pushed the foil up and kept the boats and toys from floating. Maybe I'll try pool noodles cut in half later this summer.

Here are some photos of the fun:

Trying to get the boats to float

All the kids playing in the river

This is what really ended up happening

Much more fun than the river!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April sensory bin

Ellie is 16 months old

This has been a slower month projects and activity-wise because we're getting ready to move! This is great news but means I've had less time to plan things for Ellie.

March's bin may have been Ellie's favorite yet. The pasta was perfect for all the in-and-out in the different containers. 

Here's April's bin:

It contains: dried beans, wooden truck, six bouncy balls (two each with an airplane, car and train), two plastic submarines (these are from Dollar Tree and with baking soda in them, bubble and float), two cars (also from Dollar Tree -- you blow up the balloons and it propels the car), a set of tongs, one of the orange silicone cups (like an orange traffic cone maybe?), a small plastic box with a red lid, and some assorted scoopers.