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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

a Girl’s Gotta BUILD…

Since our favorite Diva with a Glue Gun is under House Arrest, nothing seemed more fitting to me last weekend than to join Her! Temps in the ginormous zone reduced me to a sticky frizzy mess anytime I stuck my head out the condo door so it only made sense to stay inside bathed in cool air-conditioned jetstreams and BUILD something!

A trip to the neighborhood Super Kmart for a thermos yielded this discovery: the new Matha Stewart/Everyday Furniture line! Cursed by being an early adopter, I was magnetized by a glass-doored bookcase and a store manager helped me load ‘er up in the back of my little Jeep. I unloaded it piece by piece (still in the back of the car because I couldn’t lift that heavy box by myself) and took it upstairs to my house (2.5 floors above street level).

Now even though I’m a veteran of a couple of IKEA romps, nothing prepares you for the sheer weight of your purchase. I learned early on that, like most things in life, small bites, one mouthful at a time, carefully chewed, was going to do the trick here as well.

VOILA! THAT is the essence of Chick Engineering…

Here is what I’ve found to be the second most important factor in building solo: a rug! You need something slippery that will let you move that heavy sucker wherever it’s going to finally land without tearing up your floor.

The base of the Bookcase was HEAVY and seemed to be solid wood. It’s on the rug, ready for its ride…

Now the FUN starts! MS’s instructions recommend “2 people for easier assembly and safety.” And, as always, SHE’s RIGHT! But Here I AM, a woman for the afternoon without a HandyMan! So how to carry on without HIM? Grab a couple of supports from elsewhere in your house, that’s how. Here you see enlisted for duty my weight-lifting bench and a dining room chair. The first side wall (made from what appears to be composite wood with a veneer) of the Bookcase is up, attached to the base with wood glue (included), dowels and a lock-down screw assembly. Damn Solid.

More Girl Engineering ensues as the Bookcase takes shape and its back support and another side piece are added. Not wanting to break the new bonds of the structure, I call other special tools into play.

Using a stack of books that is the EXACT HEIGHT needed, I support the cross bar of the bookcase. Here you see my other score of the weekend (from hitting an apartment sale down the street) – Starkey’s book on Elizabeth R; Nicole Mones – “Lost in Translation”; Stendahl – ” the Charterhouse of Parma”; Tracy Chevalier – “Falling Angels”; and that all time favorite – “the Oxford History of Medieval Europe”. $5.00 bucks for these reusable shims and more…

One must step back and be SUDDENLY Amazed at just how LARGE this thing is – 47″ wide and 16″ deep and 52″ high!

One hour and 15 minutes later, I’ve already started to fill the gap! The doors were the most impressive thing about this Bookcase – they are on wheels that fit into a track while snapping locks secure them to the top of the opening. Most difficult moment? Using 40 wood screws to attach the cheap (but well-stained) matching facing to the back of the piece. Why didn’t I cheat and only screw in, uh, maybe 20 screws?

Please, what would Martha do…

23 responses to “Wednesday, July 20, 2005”

  1. Donna says:

    That is a gorgeous cabinet!

  2. Vicki says:

    Oh, it’s GORGEOUS! I can see a shopping excursion coming up!!

  3. Donna says:

    I’m always impressed that your apartment is filled with tableaux of vontage-y stuff, yet clutter-free :) The cabinet was a great addition – nice choice!

  4. Betsey says:

    I love that cabinet. I may have to get one of those.

    btw… I just finished “Falling Angels”. It was a good quick read. Enjoy.

  5. Lisa says:

    Super K here I come! This is EXACTLY what I want for my stash! How do I transport 10 of them?

  6. Gina says:

    Martha would never cheat…

  7. Laurie says:

    Dang! and I just vowed never to go back to that K store again! Curse you Bonne Marie! I feel my will crumbling…

  8. sequinK says:

    Nice! The doors, definitely, make the piece.

  9. Gina Macris says:

    Hmmm. Great looking cabinet! I have to check out what ole Martha has at K-Mart, especially since babyboy will start his sophomore year at SAIC and faces three years of off-campus housing.

  10. Mary P says:

    It’s exactly what I’ve been craving for yarn storage. I don’t see it on their web page. Is it limited availability? I must have one. Help!

  11. freecia says:

    Martha has professional assistants and set designers. You’ve done better than martha.

    That bookcase looks like a quality piece! Didn’t expect to get that rich looking slightly antiqued look from Kmart.

  12. Bonne Marie says:

    I couldn’t find all the pieces on the website either – maybe my Kmart was a test location? They have dining room, living room, kitchen and bedroom!

    I’m thinkin’ about getting a piece from the kitchen selection too –

  13. Sally says:

    Really nice looking! I use those “sliders” that you can find to move furniture… er… and other things.

  14. Loren says:

    That piece of furniture is gorgeous. Just what I need for my ‘knittingstudio/bedroom’. Good work putting it together

  15. elisabeth says:

    I Love It. Can you come here and help us build stuff too! AND, btw, love the bisect shell.

    All I can say now that you have been designing away is MOMMY CHIC!! Mommy CHIC!!

  16. Kathy in San Jose says:

    Of course girls can BUILD! Excellent use of available resources, too. How many people would have thought of books as portable shims of the right height!?

  17. Jennifer says:

    Nice cabinet! From KMart? Wow, I’ll have to check out their furniture.

  18. Kaetchen says:

    Hi Bonne Marie,

    I’m not sure if you have Tuesday Morning stores in the Chicago area, but yesterday on one of my sweeps through there, I saw (gasp!) the beloved Cotton-Ease, bundled for clearance! Each bundle is $6.99 (or it was at my store) and contained three matching skeins of one color. There was also some Wool-Ease in the DK weight.

    Just thought you might want to know!


  19. Gaile says:

    Definitely a find – and the doors do make it. I like your ingenuity when it came to putting it all together. Nicely done!

  20. Laurie says:

    Sometimes K-Mart surprises ya.

    Good old Martha learned a new craft making furniture? Who knew?

    That’s a beautiful looking case. It makes me re-think the designing of my craft room.

  21. Miranda says:

    That unfortunately doesn’t look like any of my other furniture (I go for white shelving), but my mom or bf might like it. I’ll have to check out the price. You did a good job!

    It reminds me of when Tom and I first started seeing each other and he came over to help me assemble two small things. Well, he didn’t bother to read the instructions very closely, and now I have a printercart/filecabinet that has one stuck and mangled drawer. In the future he’ll be unpacking things and holding them upright and I’ll be doing every little bit of the assembly. Amazingly enough, I’m still marrying him. ;)

  22. Teresa C says:

    I love the “went for a thermous came back with a major piece of furniture and an afternoon project” trips to K-Mart. Looks great!

  23. Annette says:

    Nice work : ) Martha would use all 40 screws! Get yourself some sliders… found at Shopko or KMart. Insert under the 4 corners and remove when furniture is in place. They look like little Frisbies with foam pads on the top sides.

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