Thursday, October 10, 2013

Build Something! You can do it!

Toddler Daybed

I have a very special son who adds sparkle to our family.  He is sweet, determined, funny, a little mean, and always always always a blessing.  I usually keep babies in my bed until they are anywhere from 9 months to 11 months old, but this little guy is different.  He has many medical issues that complicate my typical sleeping arrangements, so he will be beside my bed until I feel it is safe for him to sleep in his own room.  He was in an Arms Reach co-sleeper, and couldn't fit if he stretched out - the top of his head touched one end and his knees would touch the other leaving no room for anything below the knees!  I spent months looking for a beautiful antique daybed - something to keep him beside me but not have him in the bed (he's wiggly).  While listening to the BBC I heard an interview with a woman who began building furniture out of necessity and ended up building an entire house!  Talk about inspiring!  Her name is Ana White and as soon as I got home I Googled her and found a daybed plan I really loved.  In all honesty, I didn't think there was a chance I could build this bed on my own.  I thought I would start it, show my good intention and have my Dad finish it for me when he saw how miserably I was failing.  Well that didn't happen and I happily completed the bed on my own.  My Dad DID do the cuts for me, he has a large table saw and has seen me trip on thin air and smash into my tv (totally broke it).  Since this project, however, I have done all my own cuts - this project gave me the confidence to make that step and I'm so happy I can do it on my own now.  

The bed is called the Lydia Bed, and here's the link to build it from Ana White's website:

The bed plan is for a twin, so I measured the crib mattress I had and adjusted the plan accordingly.  I also wanted the back of the bed to be high (instead of open so it looks more like a daybed) so I adjusted that as well.  I assembled the pieces and painted it before bringing it inside.  I kind of goofed on the length of the legs.  I went by the measurements on the site, but I needed them a bit taller so it would meet my bed right at the mattress.  I had to add a few inches, and you can see I chose some pre made deck finials and painted them to match.  I plan on taking them off when this doesn't need to be next to my bed anymore.  Here it is on my back deck:

After a few months of using the daybed, my little guy decided to shock everyone by crawling and then walking shortly thereafter.  An active baby needs a bed rail!  With my new confidence, I took some measurements and headed out to the lumber store.  I used 1/2" pine and 1/4" wooden dowels to create a bed rail that can be easily placed in or out of the bed when needed.  If you make something like this and want detailed instructions on how to do it, just email me and I'll walk you through it or post it to the blog.  The finished product looks like this:

The last tip is to keep paint from projects like this handy so if you have to repair dings, or paint an addition to it (like the bed rail) you don't have to remember the colour and get another can.  If there is room near the project, keep the paint in a safe place near the item.  The paint for this is in the far corner under the bed, and each of my bedrooms has the paint hiding in the closet.  It's nicer than digging through cans hoping to find the right one.

You can build the things you'd like to see in your house!  Don't wait for a partner, hubby or Dad to do it for you.  Take your time, be safe and enjoy exploring your creative side by getting friendly with a drill or saw or even just a hammer.  If you do create something, send it to me - I'll post it!

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