Saturday, November 29, 2014

DIY Ikea Hack Lego Table

So anyone who knows my kids, knows how much they love Legos. It started with just one set and before we knew it at every birthday, holiday, or special reward we were amassing more and more Lego sets until we had reached a point where we must have easily over a thousand Legos... no joke. At first with each new set we didn't really notice all the new pieces because we would immediately build whatever it was... however as days would go by the "Creation" would be broken apart, rebuilt, repurposed, etc and before I knew it we literally had Legos everywhere and they were in complete chaos.... And of course whenever we would feel the need to make a new creation, we would have to dump all the Legos out in order to have a hope of finding just the right piece.

For a while now I've been trying to figure out how to better organize the Legos and give the boys a better space to play then their small play table or on the floor where pieces get lost in the carpet or inevitably end up being chewed on in baby's mouth even though he's not allowed in the room with the Legos (they have a way of traveling all over the house). So after watching the Lego Movie I was inspired to make an organized Lego space where the boys would have a large workspace and organization system... just like a Master Builder... So what does any inspired Mom do? She consults Pinterest. I found a ton of different ideas... but most were just converted train tables or were tables that had a large work space but didn't offer any organization. I finally found a few ideas that used these Ikea organizers and the ideas just started flowing.

The hubs and I went that very day to get the organizers and tubs and then went to Home Depot and got the materials we would need to build the table top. Some of the ideas I found just had the two cabinets backed up to each other, but I really wanted to give them an even larger table top. We got a large piece of particle board and had it cut to 48" by 44" and then also purchased some 1"x2" trim pieces. I consulted with the paint guy and got Gripper Primer and Behr Ultra paint. We built the trim around the cabinets and then attached it to the bottom of the particle board. I didn't want to attach table top directly to the cabinets in case we ever want to repurpose them for something else. This way the tabletop fits snugly to the cabinets and won't shift or tilt if the boys lean to hard on it. After we built the tabletop we sanded down the top and sides to make sure that the surface was smooth. I painted two to three coats of primer to really seal in all the pores and make the surface smooth. Then I painted about 3 coats using the Behr Ultra. I used a foam roller so that I wouldn't leave any fabric/lint strings in the paint. Eventually we will probably add a trim around the edge of the table to keep Legos from falling off the table.

To be honest building and painting the table was the easy part... the real "fun" came when it was time to organize all the Legos. This was after Day 1 of organizing. You can still see we have a large mountain of Legos. (And this didn't include already made creations or the pile the boys kept siphoning away to play with.)

The biggest challenge was keeping this little guy occupied while we were working. He'd only handle being in the exersaucer so long, so mostly we tried to work during his naps.
After 5 days we finally had all the Legos into designated bins. We basically sorted out all the bazillion teeny tiny pieces into the small trays that fit in our pre-existing lego organizer (that we outgrew at least a year ago). This shelf system is now designated just for the little pieces, minifigures, and all the minifigure accessories. Then in the new bins we sorted by size and function. We deliberately left some bins empty so that the boys could use them to store their "creations" or if they want to further organize by theme... ie Ninjago, Legends of Chima, Star Wars, etc.

Here's the final project! I did not label the bins yet. I want to make sure I have the boys input in naming each bin so that they can recognize what's written on the labels and can tell what's in each bin. I may add pictures to make it easier for Thing 2 to find what he needs.
 Right side bins
 Left side bins
 The table top is 48"x44" so plenty of room for building to occur.
Their play table chairs even fit in case they want to sit down.

The boys love working at their new table and I love that everything's not all over the floor. They are really excited that everything has a place (and therefor is much easier to find) so hopefully they'll keep it somewhat organized. I am however the mom of three boys and not my hopes aren't too high with that.
My two master builders in the making

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving I am so very thankful for my family. I am thankful that despite all the madness going on in the world we are healthy, happy, and safe. Last night our photographer, Kellie, sent over a few pictures from our family holiday photo shoot we did last weekend, and I just loves how she always just captures the essence of us. She's been photographing us since before the boys were born and she has been there to see our family evolve. She just gets us and all our personalities and always finds a way to make them shine in the photographs she takes. Hope you enjoy these little teasers as much as I did. (It definitely made having to get up in the middle of the night with a fussy baby easier to tolerate when I found these waiting on my phone!)

(If you need a great photographer, Kellie Gillis of View the Big Picture is wonderful!!