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Nov 22, 2015

Here's a story of a labor of love and teamwork! 

With Christmas coming, we were having a crisis trying to figure out how to handle my ever expanding craft area and still put up the tree.  The inadequacy of my crafting area, sprawl, and unavoidable disarray when working became a discussion.  I've long dreamed of a 'real crafting table' instead of the 2 card tables and stacks of tubs and boxes and totes and containers underneath I work with now.  I mentioned to him that I knew that folks were building their own, having seen them on the internet before, so we decided to research Dr Google and found lots of ideas for a DIY Craft table.  

After discussing what i wanted/needed, Hubby decided he could build a customized version of the 'door on the bookcases' craft center.  The customization would be primarily because my craft table is going to be against a wall, and framed on one side by tall bookcases and a door on the other.  

We started with shopping the bookcases, settling on the stock 2X3 bookcases, and found a deal on the darker color - so got 3 of them - one for each side and one for the back.  They delivered, and although there were a couple of dents in the edges and corners, were easy enough to put together.  He disliked the lack of full backing boards, so went out and got a cheap piece of luane panel and stained to come really close to the color of the bookcase.   

Here's one of the side cases, and how he's got it backed. 

Here's a shot from the front showing the 2 side and 1 back bookcase (sorry for the color).    

Now that he could see what he was working with for a base, he went on the mission to find what he could work with to make the tabletop, and in fact had started working on it before I knew.  Dear hubby found white melanin covered plywood at the local big-box Men's Adult Toy Store - and used that as the base for the tabletop, instead of the solid core door that most of the DIY craft table instructions we found favored.   I got home late from work exhausted and frustrated, and there in the middle of the living room floor was the beginning of my white tabletop - which drew the first smile I'd had all day!  The tabletop was upside down, with the framing facing up and bookcases placed, and he was marking off where the bookcases sat for adding guides.  

Little did he know that after the bookcases had come in and been built up, I decided to not burden him with trying to build shelving for the top, and went on a shopping spree for shelves. I bought all 5 shelves in white figuring that even if i had a wood-grained tabletop the white shelves wouldn't be too bad as long as they all matched.  The shelves showed up a cupla days later and the boxes were pushed to the side until needed.  So now my purchase of the white shelves was especially perfect!! 

As he built up the top piece, with a small lift for tabletop heights, internal support and guides for placement, I expressed concern for the flexibility of that much unsupported tabletop/plywood, where there was the 36" across the front between bookshelves.  He'd built a top that was 6 running feet long by 37 inches deep - to which he now added a drop lip around the whole thing to stabilize, using some of the left over wood cut off the original sheet.  Now he wanted to finish the edge somehow, breaking up the white and bringing up the color of the bookcases.  He decided to router out around the edge and finish with end cap trim. So yesterday we hauled the top outside and he router-ed around the top edge, sanded around the bottom of the lip, and did some cutting on the trim to match up the edges.  He put a quick layer of stain on the trim, and i helped him bring it all back inside, managing to beat the rain by about 5 minutes.  

For the first time the top was on top of the shelves, instead of the other way around!  He'd been building the whole thing upside down up to this point.  And it looked great - if lacking the edge trim at this point!!! I laid down for a nap, and when I awoke, the shelves were all assembled and placed on top of the table! The edge trim was attached last night after the staining dried.  

We rearranged the shelves this morning, and started discussing options to back the shelves so nothing pushes through and falls through behind the bookcases! We decided to re-purpose the unused backer boards from the bookcases for the two 3X1 shelf units.  Hubby's going to spray paint the boards white, trim them slightly, and use them for the 3X1 shelf units.  They're currently being pressed flat under the unit with the 9 compartments.  And for the longer shelves, he's got some luane left from the piece bought to back the bookshelves, as soon as he determines if it will take the white paint. 

My mission now is to tear down my existing craft area so we can pull out the tables and tubs and totes and boxes and containers, so we can move my new craft table in to it's permanent home.  It's amazing how much consolidation I've been able to do already - and how I'm already back at one of the Big Box Crafter's Toy Stores looking for stuff for desktop organization!  

I showed hubby pictures this morning of those cute little ATG Stands that can be found in a few places online, and he's going to build one for me!  He agreed with me - there's no need to spend nearly $40 on something he can build with scrap lumber for a cupla hours worth of time.  We're also looking at options for my desk lamp, and how/where to mount it.  He wants the table in it's final resting place and somewhat setup before he makes a final decision. 

We're hoping to get the table moved into place no later than the end of Thanksgiving weekend... which will be just in time to start putting up the tree - since the tree has to go where it's at right now!! That way too, i can get a chance to play at my table and see if it needs lifted more - that's the only concern right now...and he's got a plan to lift if needed.  

I'll take more pictures once it's in place - even if it's not completely set up...

All told the spend has been about $160 (estimated high) - which is easily 1/4 of what it would have cost to buy a stock craft table - not counting extras.  The fact that this is customized the way I want it - and has been a collaborative effort between the two of us - my ideas his labor - makes it that much more precious to me.  

And I want to make it perfectly clear - I love my hubby!!!  
And I know He loves me!  And that's why this is a story of love. 
His tolerance of my mess, created while I'm in my 'crafting' world, headsets in my ears, audio-book playing and no real sense of what's going on around me,  has been noteworthy.  His eagerness to take on this project, solely for making me happier is why I always call him a Near-Saint.  

Yes - he's hoping it will lead to less sprawl and mess in an area just off the living room - but really - he's doing this to make one of my dreams come true.  
We've been together almost 30 years - 25 married - and I love him more today than I did the day we got married.  And whenever we take on a project - like building a crafting table - we work well together, our ideas compliment each others, we listen, we share, and each brings their A-Game to making the project a success, and share in the celebration at the end.  

I love my hubby! 
And I think the first thing I'm going to do when my new table is set up is make a card for him telling him just how much I appreciate my table - and love him!