Boys loft space.

I have a friend.
She has 4 boys.
They are the kind of boys that are sweet, well- behaved and liked by everyone.
In their spare time they go around the state winning chess championships.  When they aren’t doing that, they’re out winning tennis, baseball and basketball trophies.
I have no doubt they’ll probably run the country in a few short years.
They’re like the modern day version of the Kennedy’s…living right down the street.
She’ll laugh, but it’s true.

They live in this house that was made for a family with boys.
Two of the bedrooms have tall ladders that go straight up to their own private loft.
Can you imagine? It’s like Narnia except the closet is a loft.
For Christmas she was thinking of surprising them by giving the lofts a mini-makeover.

The space is going to be used for the boys and their friends who will coming in to their teenage years shortly.  Video games, Kendama-ing, talking about girls (?).  Of course the first thought was to deck it out like a man cave and do sports memorabilia everywhere.  While that’s fun, I’ve found that kids outgrow that look rather quickly even though they may still love sports.   I’m envisioning the space to be centered around things they’re interested in yet still be able to grow with them.

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1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

All furniture that will go in the loft needs to be carried up a ladder.  A plumbing pipe bookcase is perfect because it can be carried up in several pieces then put together on site.  In addition, it’s also perfectly customizable to the space.  You can make space for the the tv, video games and the hundreds of trophies they have.  The ceilings are really tall.  These chord pendants are great because they can give light off at any height plus they are a fun pop of color.

loft collage 26, 7, 8, 9.

When it comes to seating, bean bags are perfect for tweens.  They’re great for lounging and they can be easily transported up that huge ladder.  $200.  might be a bit pricey for 3 or 4 bags so I’ve offered a DIY version as well.

When it comes to kids (especially boys) carpet tiles are a no-brainer.  They offer the cushion for wrestling boys and they can also be removed and cleaned right in the sink if there’s a spill.  Flor offers fantastic options.  For an inexpensive option, I was at Dollar Tree the other day and found a whole box of gray striped ones for $1.00!  They say sold out on their site but I’ve seen tons of them in store.  Mix them up and you can make an awesome pattern.

loft collage 310, 11, 12, 13.

Huge prints of the boys is a great way to personalize a space.  Staples will do Engineered Prints for less than $10.00 and they are BIG!  Magnetic boards are also a great solution for tweens as well because they can arrange whatever they want on the wall and it’s not permanent.

So “A”…are you ready to get to work?

Making it a White Christmas with Cricut Explore.

We did something very un-Hinckley-like last Sunday…we set up the Christmas tree.
The Christmas spirit doesn’t usually hit our house until well in to December. However, thanks to retailers pushing Christmas down our throats in October my little men have been begging to get the Christmas ball rolling around here.
When in Rome…

I’ve found that my tastes change from year to year when it comes to holiday decorating.  Last year I did touches of gold everywhere…this year not so much.  I’ve been enlisting the help of my Cricut machine to create some personalized holiday decor.  Plus, since I’m participating in Cricut’s Design Star (Team #7 in da hooouuussseee) I thought this would be a great opportunity to get my holiday craft on.

This first project I tackled,  I simply cut out images out of plain old card stock using my Cricut Explore.

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Check out that precision! This machine cuts like a dream.  I can remember having to put together presentations in college and using a die cut machine that you had to hand crank blocks through.  That seems so ancient now.  The Cricut not only has thousands of objects you can use but you can also upload your own images. Plus it will cut and/draw most anything.

I’ve always loved the classic image of hauling a tree on top of a car.  I found the perfect car hauling a surf board but I cut off the board and replaced it with a tree.  You may remember I did another version here.  I simply put my cut-outs in a white frame to make my own customized art.

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I also cut out a snowflake out of cardstock, sandwiched it between two panes of glass and put it in a frame.  Cheapest art I’ve ever made.

The next art piece I tackled was using my Cricut to cut out some images on vinyl.

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Then I transfered them on to a gigantic mirror we have above our fireplace mantle.

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A personalized holiday greeting that I can remove with damaging my mirror after the holidays.

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For my next project, I wanted to add some holiday decor that didn’t scream “holiday decor”.  One of the great things about Christmas is that pretty much anything goes.  People will put anything on Christmas trees these days.  I love a tree decked out with all the classic trimmings but it’s also fun to decorate a tree that reflects a “year in review” so to speak.  Tribal prints, desert motifs, arrows, feathers…they’re big right now and I love them all.  So why not put them on the tree?

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I also go fancy and made some feather garland.

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Looks great on my tree but would also look fab for a party or room decor also.

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(Read more about my DIY arrows ornaments I made from paint stir sticks).

It’s a White Christmas!

Want to get a Cricut Explore machine of your own?

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Refer Santa’s elves here.

Be sure and check out some of my other team member’s projects:

White Christmas Cricut Design Space

Feather Ornaments, Mirror Art, Holiday Art  |  4 Men 1 Lady
Vintage Truck Christmas Pillow  |  The Crafted Sparrow
White Christmas Decor  |  Love the Day

Here are some other projects I’ve made with my Cricut Explore…

PicMonkey Collage

1. Personalized cookie favor bags.
2. Etched plates
3. Personalized iron-on vinyl canvas bags
4. Cookie box

I am part of Cricut’s blogger network.  I am not being directly compensated for these posts however, I may receive winnings if my project(s) are selected to win in any contests.  I am also apart of Cricut’s affiliate network and I use affiliate links.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

DIY Upholstered Wing Bed.

You’ve been asking and asking for our Upholstered wing bed “tutorial” for over a month.

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There’s a good explanation why we waited so long to post the “tutorial”.  Notice every time I mention “tutorial” I’ve put it in quotations? I’m pretty darn sure a professional bed maker would read our “tutorial” and call our bluff on knowing what we were doing.  So I have to preface this whole “tutorial” by saying this was a learn-as-you-go project for us.  There are probably 10 much better ways to correctly make a bed but hey, ours hasn’t broken yet.  This is a project that is somewhat involved but you CAN do it.  And, if you improve upon our instructions I won’t be offended.  We also had a lot of help from the world’s most talented mom.  She has creativity and drive pouring out of her as well as being fiercely entertaining.  She was the real captain of this project and I was the first mate.  Thanks Mom.

Getting Started.
Probably the most difficult thing about this whole bed was designing it.  I was practically in tears out of frustration after 2 hours at Home Depot and the design not coming together with materials available.  (That sounds insane typing it outloud…hey, I get passionate when it comes to design).  I wanted to completely hide the box spring…figuring that out was tricky.  Figuring out the wings was a stumper.  Making sure the middle didn’t sag was an engineering feat. To begin, here’s what you’ll need for a king sized bed (all beds vary a bit so measure your bed first):

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From Home Depot I picked up:

-3 boards measuring: 2″X10″x80″ (These will be the foot board and two rails).
-2 boards measuring: 2″X10″X35″ (These will be your wings).
-1 board measuring 47″ (tall) X 80″ (wide) (This will be your headboard.  We used MDF but use any board you like).  Note: Because the headboard was quite thin we used some scrap boards we had laying around and attached it to the edges of the back of the headboard to make it appear more substantial.   I think it only added barely an inch but that inch goes a long way in the look of the headboard.

Once all said and done our king sized bed fit perfectly with these measurements.  However, if you want a little more space on the sides of your box spring and mattress to be able to tuck your bedding in or under, add an inch or two to the 80″ measurement.

Next step: Apply foam and batting.

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Spray your board with spray glue and apply a layer of foam.  Cut off excess. Repeat this process with quilters batting (I bought glue, foam and batting from JoAnne’s).  We used two layers of batting.  Mom used a staple gun (that attaches to an air compressor) to secure all the layers down at the edges. (You can use a hand staple gun but in my experience, they don’t put the staples all the way down in to the board plus your hand will be numb after about 25 staples).  Now you’re ready to upholster.

Upholstery.
We upholstered each board individually then put everything together like a puzzle afterwards.

Upholstering isn’t rocket science.  The easiest and most common method is start in the middle and work your way out by pulling the fabric taut then stapling it to the side or edge that doesn’t show.  If not done well it can look “DIY” so my mom used cording wrapped in fabric to pipe the edges.

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It takes a ton of time but is well worth the effort.  I’ve finished my boys headboards like that before but I’m not going to attempt to give you a sewing “tutorial” on that here.  Google it if you want to go that route.

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Putting the bed together.

Butt the side rails to the inside of the foot board and inside of headboard as shown:

Diagram

Use corner brackets in each corner to attach frame together.

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We then applied “L” brackets to the inside side rails every 6-10 inches or so they were even with the floor.  Remember, my goal was have the box spring be completely hidden so we had to make sure those brackets were level with the floor.

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At this point you’ll want to attach the feet.  I picked up 4 triangle plates and furniture feet (which I stained) from the Home Depot.

PicMonkey CollageAttach the plates to the corners of your bed frame then simply twist the feet in.

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Once the feet are securely attached you can now attach the support boards to the “L” brackets that will run the width of the bed.  I was originally going to get the cheap-o boards in the Lumber Department but they were all pretty twisted and warped.  The pre-primed boards were much straighter so for a few bucks more we went that route (plus they look nicer).  Lay the boards on the top of the L bracket and attach with wood screws underneath.

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Once all the boards were installed we then needed a support to run under the length of the boards so they wouldn’t sag.  We found that a 1 x 2 stood on it’s side was almost perfect.  We ran two of them under “his” and “her’s” side. This is where we had to do some finagling.

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In some spots it was a perfect fit, in others there was a gap.  When we picked out boards we had to hand pick the straightest ones…finding perfection was tricky though which is why some boards needed a little adjustment with a shim.  I found that if I cut a paint stir stick down and shimmed it between the boards then shot a nail in them it worked out great.  That’s what we call, “making do”.

That last piece of the puzzle was attaching the wings.

attaching the wings

At first we rested the wing on the top of the side rail and drilled several screws in from the back of the headboard in to the back of the wing as pictured.  That would have worked fine if our bed was only used for peaceful nocturnal slumbering.  During the day our bed is transformed in to a WWF  ring where our three boys wrestle.  One body slam and it’s bye-bye wing bed.  So the Mr. took the wing off and re-inforced them by putting two wood dowels in the top of the side rail and drilling out a space for them to fit underneath the wing.  Now that wing was double secured and ready to take a hit.

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There you have it!  Next up…we need a new mattress.  Too bad we can’t DIY that.

Check out our full bedroom reveal here.