Monday, February 23, 2015

Homemade Toddler Bed Ideas

The freedom of independence!!!
    The transition from an Infant to a Toddler has been an amazing experience in our household. Our little one is learning how to communicate with words, smiles, hugs, kisses, identifying flowers, trees and animals. Yes, it has been very special. To coincide with these wonderful things, I will tell you a short story.  

    Most recently, we visited some friends who have a child a little older than our own. While we were there, our daughter, Kestrel, was super excited about crawling in and out of the toddler bed. Poor Kestrel only had a crib at home, and this limited her freedom to gather her blankets, and lay down whenever she felt the need. It was fun to see her excitement and curiosity as she explored a different type of bed.

I don't know daddy?
      Later in the evening, Christine and I discussed the possibilities of getting Kestrel her own bed, and when would be the best time. Oddly enough, a few days later, Kestrel went to spend the afternoon at another friend’s house. YEAH! Mommy and Daddy were able to go on an actual date! We went to coffee, and then to see a movie. Those few hours were relaxing and wonderful. Afterwards, we met up with family for dinner.

    Upon dropping Kestrel off at her friend’s house for our date night, the first thing she did was climb right into her friend’s bed! I made a mental note. Later that evening, while families enjoyed some tasty pizza and a couple of beers, we chatted about the benefit of children having access to their own beds. The freedom of choice, personal playtime, and the ability to grab their favorite blanket at any time for their own comfort were some of the big topics. A child with this additional independence, in theory, will grow mentally independent as well. I decided it was time to start thinking about a unique bed for our little girl.

     I had a general idea of an inviting bed with a whimsical and colorful theme. So, like the rest of us, I did some research on the good ol’ internet to see what ideas I could come up with. There are some beautifully crafted toddler beds out there. I wanted a classic style bed with a headboard and a footboard. Since Kestrel is still so young, I also wanted a way for her not to roll out of bed. Naturally, I focused my attention on the beds that already fit my design ideas. There are so many beds for sale, choosing just one can truly be overwhelming. After hours of searching, there were only a couple of beds that remotely matched what I had in mind, so I decide my little girl will have her own style! 
Introduction to life size art!

            So in January of 2015 I set out to make a custom bed for my little girl. First came my general idea: 1) A fun whimsical bed theme with a unique and interesting headboard with matching footboard 2) Bed runners that will allow a small 14-15 month old child to crawl, or climb in and out of the bed 3) Supports from the side to prevent a sleepy and wiggly child from rolling out of bed and 4) A bed filled with color, children (and most adults) love color! Our family shares a love of nature, so a natural theme blossomed. With the added thoughts of an arching headboard and footboard, a tree and a mushroom design began to form. I set out to bring my imagination to reality and to drew out my plans.
Grandpa shows her the bed
    I first sketched out a bed that was quite nice. The second phase was to draw it to scale. I made some adjustment, and drew it at 1/30 scale.  This way, I could be certain all of my dimensions had the right function and aesthetic. The final stage in the planning was to increase the size for the actual construction size, or model size. This was a fun stage that even Kestrel was able to enjoy. She enjoyed coloring on the large cardboard cutouts and helping create a colorful creation while Daddy drew in his dimensions!  Lastly, my father and I constructed the bed together over the course of 3-4 days. Kestrel’s grandpa, is a fun character who absolutely adores his grandchild. During the construction, grandpa received his first kiss from his granddaughter. Naturally, he was elated! The end result . .  . . .  . an amazing bed that is functional, classical, and most importantly, well loved!
This bed can be purchased on my ‘for sale’ page or through my Yosemite Goat's Etsy Store,
                              Price: $485-painted       $415-unpainted.

Almost done!
Ready for a mattress!

Yeah, mommy can read with me too!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Watching Little Birds

     It has been a while since I have posted. Needless to say my life has been forever changed! On November 4th of 2013 Christine gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Her name is Kestrel Raey Cereghino. Kestrel is name after a small falcon that lives in North America and has another relative in Europe. It is the smallest bird of prey in North American and they are beautiful, just like my daughter. Ever since she came into my life, things are definitely not the same. Yes I sleep less, yes I do more laundry, yes I sleep in a 1/4 of the bed, yes I have acquired many new items in the house, but it is all worth the little smiles I get.

    Since I now have a beautiful young one in the house I have begun to fathom the idea of making toys. I have always been interested in a few small toys, esp if there are some intricacies. Now I have a renewed sense of motivation and will be making a few to keep me busy. Hopefully keeping the little one busy as well.
    I have been making a few rattles, a changing table, a shelf, and put on paper a few toy ideas. I actually made a series of proto types for my great toy idea that I have been carrying around the last few years. The goals is to figure out all the small items and bring them to market in the following weeks or months. My goals is to sell them both here on the web page, at the local stores, the Farmer's Market and in Yosemite National Park. If all goes according to plan, I may have a full scale game the following year. We shall see. . .  The best part: the game is great for ages three to adults, and even two year old's can play with the pieces!. I will be posting my new toy idea as soon as I have the final steps figured out. I will say though, they are fun, cool, and natural!!

     Lastly, I am sure many of you know, the Sierra Nevada has received barely any precipitation for this winter. The annual snow pack is horribly low and the ski resort are all suffering. Our local ski resort where I manage the Children's Ski School Program has yet to open. Needless to say I have been relying on my woodworking to get through these lean times. Hopefully in the coming weeks the snow will fly and our entire staff can return to our normal lives!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Benton, Babies and a Wedding

I like the 1/2!!
      Recently Christine and I headed over the great Sierra Nevada Mountains and headed to Benton Hot Springs. Over the years we have driven past Benton Hot Springs without much thought as to what was there and why hot springs would flow in that exact location. This time, Benton Hot Springs was our destination. We went to meet our wonderful friends and celebrate the mother of the house and her 34th glorious trip around the sun. It was a wonderful time to go back and explore geology for a few days!
        My formal education in geology and working in the geologic field for a number of years gave me a good idea as to why the water was warm. Magma is close to the surface based upon the proximity of Mammoth and the Long Valley Caldera. But the more precise question was, why there? I knew there was a notch in the granite above the hot spring and a fair amount of ground water must percolate through there based upon the surrounding water bodies and the rock types. But why the heat? From the  looks of the surrounding landscape and rock types, the granite has been very stable for being located adjacent to the massive Long Valley Caldera. Secondly all along the contact of the granite heading north was a deposition of hot spring materials. The material was not quite as solid as your typical travertine, but definitely a solid and solidified deposition. Furthermore, there was none of the deposition to the south. It was obvious that these hot springs have flowed in this proximity for many many years. With the adjoining granite along the contact between the two it made completely sense. Plus the hardened deposition has continued to push the springs further and further to the south. These are at least my theories, regardless of how and why the springs are there, the nice wooden baths for soaking were awesome!

      I par took each day and enjoyed the relaxing spring (which were not sulfery in the slightest). Christine only let the water come up to her thighs because she was worried about cooking our little unknown inside her. As you can see by the photos, and by the commentary, we are quite pregnant!! In fact, tonight is Nov 2nd, and tomorrow is our due date. We still do not know if we are having a boy or a girl. We wanted to have "life's" greatest surprise, surprise us!!
Christine and I at her Mother's Wedding
    Life has been filled to the max with prepping for the arrival. But in the interim, we had to head South for a wedding. It was a grand trip to Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach and San Diego for Terry and Carl's wedding. Terry is Christine's mother and Terry and Carl have been together for 26 years. They sure took their time getting married. I guess I can get away with waiting a little longer. Christine and I had a blast. Here she is 36weeks, at a wedding, 9 hours from home.........well... 13 hours since bathrooms breaks were often!! Plus we broke up the trip and stayed with friends and family on the way down and back. Still, very close to the due date. Although, being on the eve of the due date tonight, we are on the very brink of heading to the hospital!

         When we go on these wonderful trips, I go to the antique stores, art galleries, children's stores and anywhere else I might be able to find designs and ideas. You never know what you will come across, or even find. Many times I compare if I could build them or replicate them. Do I like the style? What the asking price is? Often I make a rough estimate on the time it would take me to make the item. Would I make it from scratch? All good questions for days out and about. I love my hobby!
             On these trips I love collecting wood. Down in San Diego there are interesting trees that I wish we had closer to home. The dry desert and the moist coastal climate produces some wonderfully stunted gnarly trees, many of which  have amazing burls! Although I love seeing and drooling over these semi exotic woods, I still love my mountain trees and the items they offer. 

        One of our favorite woods is Black Oak. The black oak changing table in the photos I made a couple months ago. The tree fell near my fathers home during a big storm a few years ago. We actually milled the tree where it fell with the alaskan mill. Afterward we let the wood cure for about two years. We planned and cut the wood down to size. I (my father thought this could be my personal enjoyment into fatherhood) shaped, carved, sanded and put the pieces together. It was a super fun project and hopefully be rewarded with a nice healthy baby to change those little diapers! I was so excited to complete the project I found myself bummed waiting for the glue to dry.  Now obviously two years ago when I milled the wood I had no idea that we would be pregnant. To be  honest, I originally planned to make a rustic kitchen table. I find it funny that I am happier with it as a it is. We know how plans change when you get pregnant!!

Christine and my little sis


Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Excursion brings a Bargain!

         My influences that come from the mountains are endless. Excursions in the woods and seeing mother natures creations are infinite. Mother nature is filled with influential sights, even insights and ideas!! My recent excursion has given me the idea of a Bargain Day. My lady and I hiked into Powell Lake just inside the Emigrant Wilderness border this past weekend. We did a simple overnight for her annual birthday backpacking trip and enjoyed some mountain sun. We relaxed along the waters edge and had some wonderfully inspiring views. Often these trips are filled with our many friends and family, but it was nice to spend a short trip with just my preggo sweetheart, myself, kakao the dog and the wonderful world in which we live. The time spent around the water edge gave way to a great business idea. How wonderful would it be to have a special bargain for my woodwork. A bargain day for item that have not sold over the last year, and let folks pick something up at a discounted price!!
     I was contemplating this idea yesterday at the Farmer's Market in Sonora. There were many, many wonderful folks around town yesterday, all of whom I enjoy spending time with. As a result I have decided the weekend after Strawberry Music Festival would be perfect. Many of my customers attend the Farmer's Market almost every weekend and they would truly appreciate that opportunity. So....I will have a Bargain Day discount on  September 7th, the weekend following Labor Day. The bargain will likely be just one table, with a discount of 25% or 50% off the tagged price ( I do have some red stickers, how funny would that be!).  The table will may include: items that are odd; time invested does not match our expected price; great ideas that we did not fully sell or advertise correctly; items that need new homes, other than inside of my boxes; and just to be nice and give someone a great deal!!!
         The actual goal of this sale will not necessarily be to make money (although it is a perk), but to show us which items are actually good ideas and have potential. If a product does not sell at a discounted price, then the product is poorly designed, not actually as great as we thought or completely priced wrong. For example- the photo above shows 9 bottle stoppers with a corkscrew within each one. I have sold a few, but are all the designs good enough. The ones that sell are obviously the most liked and have a nice form. Next, the ones that only sell at a discount are obviously nice but, but do not have great form. Now if none of them were to sell, then the product itself is a poor idea and I should concentrate my efforts elsewhere. I have already sold four, so I know they are enjoyed!