Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Go big or go home

My husband and I seem to suffer from the same malady: we can't do anything small to start with. Most people, when they want to try something new, they start small. Baby steps. Knit a few potholders before you move on to a sweater. Build a little spice rack before you frame a house. That sort of thing. 

We just can't do it. 

The first time my husband attempted any real woodworking, he built my dad a cigar humidor out of fancy wood with fairly complicated inlays. I wish I had a picture of that thing. It was so...smooth.

When I first started knitting, I knit about four inches of a scarf before I was bored, and then I made this.

Not the kid. The sweater. Although I made the kid, too. Ahem. 

After a good month of watching me and my dad painting obsessively when we were staying up in North Carolina, Art decided he wanted to try painting, too. The only thing I'd ever seen him do artistically was drawing a really lame cartoon bunny, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Then he busts out this:

A few years ago, when we had just moved back to Florida, I somehow stumbled across Denyse Schmidt's website, and saw her Drunk Love in a Log Cabin quilt. I have never really liked quilts, and it had been years since I'd really sewn anything but this one really got my attention. As did the pricetag. I wondered: could I make a quilt? Did I have to take a class or something? I printed out a picture of the drunk love quilt, bought some JoAnn fat quarters (I know, try not to cringe) and made my first quilt.

And yeah, I free motion quilted my first quilt. I didn't know any better. Now I actually prefer it. 

My husband hand-wove a hammock for my dad one year for Christmas. I reupholstered a wing back chair last year. Art built me a vintage-style guitar amp out of Brazilian rosewood. You can seen the trend here, I'm sure.

Well I've been thinking about building things lately. I have all these ideas of things to build, but not a great deal of experience. I mean I know how to use *most* power tools. I understand the basics. But the only thing I ever really built myself was a really ugly side table out of a giant empty cable spool from Home Depot. All I really did there was screw a table top onto the spool and cover the sides. Whoopdeedoo. 

Anyway, my youngest has practically torn his crib to shreds, and is in need of a new bed. I don't have money for a real, twin sized bed (and he still seems way too small for that) and the cheapest toddler beds I could find (Ikea) were still upwards of a hundred bucks and not very cool looking. So I went to Home Depot, bought some cheap pine lumber, some screws, and made this:

Mal's new bed, unfinished

How stinking cool is THAT?! It took me probably six hours from start to finish, and cost less than 40 bucks to build. I quite literally jumped up and down and clapped my hands when I was done, I was so excited.

Mal's new bed, with sunflowers!

I still need to fill the nail holes, sand, and finish it, and I still can't quite decide if I should paint it or stain it or just do a matte varnish so it keeps that Ikea-esque light wood look. All I know is...it rules! I'm so excited about this can you tell!!! I want to build more! More! MORE!!!

To help me in my new addiction, this site is quite possibly my favorite thing ever.


felicity said...

Go big or go home - you weren't kidding! Holy crap that's amaaaaaazing! Actually, your whole post is amazing (that painting - whoa).

Jenn Grigoryev (jenn of all trades) said...

I know right?? (about the painting)

I totally cried when he showed it to me, I was so surprised and proud.

Elizabeth D. said...

OMG, Jenn, you are seriously my hero. You MADE that???? Art's painting is absolutely breathtaking, I remember you telling that story. It seems you two are truly made for each other with this "go big" mentality in common. I cannot believe you made that bed. It is absolutely amazing. Wow. :)

Jennifer R said...

I second felicity's comment! WOW!!! Making another bed....ummmm for a friend....yes? That is just AWESOME!!!

SewAmy said...

Jenn, this is amazing. You rock. And you do do things in a big way. I wish I had what ever it is that makes you do that. There are so many things I want to make and build ( even out of wood) and I am to scared to.

Rachel Hauser said...

O.M.G. First of all, the PAINTING. Goodness, really, wow. I'd love one for myself! And you did totally kick butte on that bed. It looks awesome. I love the current color.

B.A.L.|5iveArts said...

at this point, you guys should be millionaires. just sayin. if you need a marketing agent, you know my digits. word.

Jenny said...

Okay the painting doesn't look like a painting it looks like a photo. The quilt is gorgeous as well as the sweater. Go big or go home. I live by that motto myself.

I'm an Ana White fan, too. Furniture building is bonding time for me and Sasquatch. We've so far made two fancy high arched beds in size queen and full for our 2 and 4 year old daughters respectfully. Plus some art rails and book ledges for each side. Total love. blogged

VeronicaMade said...

OMG! This is amazing! I used to think that I was a Jill of all trades, but you clearly are the master. We're not worthy! We're not worthy! Seriously, you rock. I also agree with you about going big. I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well (and big). I guess it's part of my competitive nature.

jennifer smith said...

JEEEEZ, jenn!! i'm really not surprised at all - but i still want to come over and put my hands on it and look closely at the joints...because i KNOW they're perfect!
as always, you guys are so impressive.
ps. i almost stopped by today - i should have, i know!

Lynz said...

See what I mean about the cleverness? You could have some envy over peeps like you, y'know!

P.S. I fmq-ed my first quilt, too! I'm glad I did, if I'd waited and started reading others' fears on the subject I may never have done it!

Susan said...


First you make sweaters and funny hats and kooky but cool stockings. Not to mention painting science journal worthy paintings (that I am fortunate enough to have hanging in my homeschool work zone). And beyond marvelous quilts. But now you've done it.

You made a BED. And this has pushed me over the edge.

I cannot even begin to tell you how envious I am of your work and creativity right now - working on the envy part and trying to just love you and be inspired by you - ha ha ha.

So I will simply say, AGAIN, that I think you are so awesome and that I am thankful that God has blessed you with all that he has. Clearly he has put all of this wonderful creativity and talent in good hands.

Love you!

Kelly Irene said...

I am totally new to your blog, and I *love* that you just went and bought some lumber and screws and made your son a bed! lol! Way to go! It looks fantastic. You're welcome over to my house any time; I'll even pay for the trip to Home Depot :)