Craft Room Project: Materials Planning Headache

This last week has been one long, drawn out headache.

I have had to make so many tweaks and adjustments to my plans to make everything work and then have to turn around and do something different again, because I realize I either did it wrong or that I was doing my damnedest to make something that should be easy, excruciatingly hard. All just to get the designs on paper so I could work up a materials list.

After several more days of putting together the impossible puzzle of each single piece of cabinet into a layout that could tell me how much of each type of material I needed, I managed to put together a materials list. It was MASSIVE.

I was so stressed and discouraged because I had zero clue how I was going to get all of it home. After talking with Hubby and doing even more shifting of plans and measuring vehicles, researching delivery options or renting another truck, we finally had a plan that would work.

We head out to get the first round (because of course there was no way all I needed was at a single store or was able to get in a single trip), and the very first item on my list crumbled all my plans to dust.

This is an example of plans on paper vs. reality are very different. The idea of a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of 3/4 inch plywood isn’t all that daunting. Reality is that it is massive and heavy and unwieldy in the extreme. Especially if you aren’t a body builder. Even with plans to have the store do some initial cuts to make it possible for me to get it all home didn’t seem very realistic and I immediately dreaded the thought of having to work with it all on my own or even with a little help from Hubby was too much.

We got a handful of other things on my list, but abandoned those pieces so I could go home and try and rework my plans. Again.

We’d seen some smaller “project panel” sheets of the same material and thought I’d be able to go that route. By the time I finished replanning all the pieces, I realized that was yet another impossible option. I’d need more than what was available in the entire city and it would cost more than double what I’d spend if I’d just gotten the bigger sheets. Considering this is already expensive, I really wasn’t willing to go there.

I’m now back to the original plan, but still not sure how I’m going to be able to pull it all off. Those sheets are crazy heavy and I need 15 of those suckers.

The current plan is to go back on Monday when it isn’t crazy busy so I don’t feel bad about monopolizing an employee’s time to cut all those sheets down and either rent a truck or arrange to have them delivered. I haven’t a clue where I’m going to put it all when it gets here or how exactly I’m going to manage to get them all cut down to the sizes and pieces I need.

I’m so frustrated that all of this has taken so long and that I’m STILL not starting on these cabinets. Especially because the bulk of this will still have to be painted before I can do anything.

Orderly And Logical… Yeah Right!

I think it is completely typical of me that I can’t do things in any kind of “normal way” and my craft room project looks to be right in line with MY normal.

A project like this should really have a nice linear kind of a process. Come up with a design plan. Research your resources like contractors or materials. Get any needed quotes and schedule work or start buying materials if you are doing it yourself. Begin working. Simple, right?

Yeah, that isn’t exactly how I’ve done things.

I have struggled so hard with the design for starters. I have SO many things that I do and I needed to take all of them into consideration when laying out my workspace that it was nearly overwhelming. That was just for a basic layout. I also had to figure out good lighting for all those different types of work.

If I do any silversmithing, I need the right kind of direct light for the little details, but I also need to make it dark enough for when I’m firing something to see the color changes in the metal. While that direct lighting would also be perfect for sewing, I’m not getting any fabric even close to my nasty jewelry bench. Not happening! They need to be very different spaces. But I also needed really good general lighting for the whole space.

In an effort to try and solve that problem, I bought a really nice main light fixture and installed it in my completely unfinished space just to see if it is going to work (it is, thank goodness). This alone has already messed up that linear process as I’m buying and installing stuff well before other needed things have been done.

I couldn’t plan out the rest of the lighting, which is needed to be able to get a quote from a contractor, until I figured out exactly how I was going to lay out the rest of the space. That meant I had to figure out how I was going to tie that nasty jeweler’s bench and firing station (two separate pieces) into the rest of the space. Both pieces are kind of just pieced together. My workbench is really just a top that I’ve got sitting on an old desk. It’s functional, but not even close to decent looking.

That made part of my decision making even harder. I really wanted to try and make use of what I had and keep my overall cost down to reasonable, but what I had wasn’t great for different reasons depending on what it is. The jeweler’s bench top, firing station, random cabinet that was designed as a microwave stand, a crappy folding table, an industrial looking but also crappy storage cabinet that originally lived in my garage, an old dresser, and a very nice, but not practical antique dining table that is in need of refinishing. None of which gave me any kind of real storage I desperately needed.

I’ve kind of just been sitting on a lot of this for a while now. Ever since I got the light fixture a couple of weeks ago, I hit a “no progress” wall that I couldn’t get past.

Then I saw a photo of a room, no clue what it was actually for, but it gave me the base inspiration for the finished look I really wanted for my space, something I hadn’t been able to come up with until then. And a look that is SO very different from anything else in my house, which is odd for me.

It gave me a real direction to go and I was able to start working on some real design plans. It helped to funnel me into a direction, but I was still scattered. I still had to work out how much I’m doing myself and how much I’m having done. I did manage to settle on doing all the cabinet, flooring and finish work myself (after hours researching tools and material costs), and having all ventilation, wiring, framing and drywall done for me.

Deciding that, I told Hubby to let me know when we got coupons from our home improvement store, so I could start buying the tools and get them at a discount. We got a coupon like two days later, so I already have tools on the way (even though I’m SO not ready for them yet!)

When looking into options to get my bench top to tie into the rest without being ugly, I was forced to consider a full on rebuild. I was already planning on building a base, but I was struggling to get it to work with my existing top. My options were, leave it as is and have it stand out like an ugly sore thumb, attempt to add a surface that would tie into any other surfaces I’d use in the space, or I could completely rebuild.

The first option was already out for me because I really need this to be a calm, cohesive space or I’m always going to feel out of sorts in it like I do now. That and the look I’ve settled on is awesome and I didn’t want to mess that up. The second option is the less expensive option, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same because I have to have a surface that can tolerate the heat of a torch, which limits my options. Those aren’t options I want for my other surfaces giving the space too may colors and textures even if they were similar. The final option would be so much better aesthetically, but would cost more and go against the whole trying to use what I had.

I spent the last week doing research on materials so I could decide on which option I was going to choose. I wasn’t liking my options for resurfacing my bench top, but I had a couple that might work. In the process of looking at full rebuild options, I ran across some butcher block kitchen counters that had an incredible deal going on right now. After spending the day attempting to work with the available sizing to see if I could even get it to work and then figure out how expensive it was going to be, I now have a basic counter/table/workbench layout set and counters on order because I’m going with the rebuild option.

So I am going to have tools and surfaces purchased and here, but I haven’t even begun to play with the actual electrical layout or the rest of the cabinet designs, let alone researched and gotten quotes from contractors. I have some vague ideas of finishing the design, but I’m nowhere near ready to even think about starting to build.

I’m so backwards sometimes!

As crazy and chaotic as I’m making this, I’m absolutely in love with how it is unfolding so far. I’m going to be able to stain and finish those counters to match want I want to do on the floor. I don’t have flooring picked out yet, but I have the general color and look I want.

I also discovered that my existing bench top will work perfectly in our garage for a true tool workbench. I need to modify it and my firing station a bit, but the materials will be used. Right now I have plans for nearly all of the stuff in my current space, even if it isn’t in that space, so that is also a huge bonus.

I’m giddy that I’m finally making progress.

Let the Cake Marathon Begin

Since timing and events aren’t working out this year, we have to push BG’s birthday celebration with family to later in the week instead of doing it all on the day.  We will still do birthday stuff with her on her birthday, so that means 2x the cake.  She requested cupcakes for on the day and the big, decorated cake for the family event.  Continue reading “Let the Cake Marathon Begin”

Brainstorming: BGs Birthday Cake Concept 2016

BG, ie Baby Girl, gave me her initial theme or idea for her birthday cake this year so I’m now beginning my brainstorming mode.  Thankfully I have around a month to come up with a complete concept that I have to actually turn into reality.  Continue reading “Brainstorming: BGs Birthday Cake Concept 2016”