Maybe you are crafty because you got in a little bit of trouble with your parents and they took away your free access to electronics, and like, “What else is there to do?”. Or maybe you are crafty because your wife has always wished she had a mantel for stockings at Christmas. Or maybe you aren’t all that crafty, so you compile the pictures of the stuff your crafty family makes for the blog. Whatever the case, here are a few things the more creative 2/3 of us have recently made.

Let’s start with Rolo. I told her if she keeps destroying our house in the name of art, I’m at least going to make a recurring post called “Rolo Makes” so that I have free content for you all. She seemed okay with that. First, she went on a whole Among Us kick which was cute until we found she had spray painted our yard again.

I don’t have any pictures of it, but after drawing this scene, she went on to make some characters on cardboard, cut them out and spray painted them. After she got in trouble for that, she asked if she could paint her bike helmet. This can all be attributed to one of our favorite crafty youtubers who routinely paints ALL THE ITEMS!

Maybe I could hire her out for Christmas gifts?

Another way I know my kid doesn’t have problems with attention span is that she can spend hours making stop motion after stop motion. Here’s just one. This is 1,494 frames long.

She’s got scores of other art projects in the works, but since some of them actually might become Christmas presents, I’ll refrain. Of course, she’s learning quickly that when you have an aim plus a deadline for a craft, it tends to not come together the way you envisioned, so maybe nobody will ever see those crafts.

Sergio and I also tackled the big blank wall in our living room over the last several weeks. We went back and forth for a long time about how best to approach this area before deciding that we needed a focal point and tv station more than we needed someone to come in and tear down our wall to install a gas fireplace. Now, it’s not completely finished yet. We still need to trim out the corners and edges and touch up the paint on the walls around it. I’m showing it now because as soon as the mantel and hearth seat went on, I plopped Christmas decor on top and halted our progress. I’ll show you again when it is all complete. To further illustrate that I am no design blogger, I can’t be bothered to turn the tv off to stage photos.

We built out a tiered fireplace that would allow us to mount our television and run the wires inside. It also allows access to our gaming systems and wires through the hearth seat. An electric fireplace may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was the right call for this space and budget. We got a large one to match the scope of the tv and overall size of the mantel build. The wall is really quite big, so we had to go pretty big.

As I am not a home blogger, I’m not going to be able to tell you all that much about the build itself. First, Sergio boxed out the three parts, mounted them to the wall and each other, and cased it in. This part went quite quickly. It is also incredibly sturdy. We tested this by all three climbing on top of the structure, often two at a time. I would show you pictures, but they aren’t flattering for 2/3 of us.

Things slowed down a bit at this point because we had to start figuring out the wiring stuff, and because we opted for shiplap for the finish. This step could probably go faster if you had a finishing nail gun, but we did all the nails by hand, filled the holes with putty, and primed and painted. Not to mention how meticulous Sergio was about keeping each individual piece level EVERY SINGLE TIME! Ugh with his attention to detail. This is the tedious work I always get to help with. Frown.

We mounted the fireplace and tv, running the wires through a tunnel thing in the top tier down to the middle tier where they meet the mounted power strip. Sergio then made and sanded the mantel box. I stained and polyurethaned it three times. Once that was in place, we did the same to the hearth seat except that we opted to add hinges to the seat for even easier access to our router, PS4 and tv cords.

I think it adds so much to the big room, and I think there were a lot of clever things that went into the design. We adapted it from this design, but Sergio ran with a lot of different choices. I can’t tell you how much I love having something to decorate for Christmas, nor how much we both LOVE hiding all those pesky cords and blinking boxes. Seriously, how did we live so long seeing cords?

I guess I can try to redeem myself as a home blogger by providing a before/after. I think the best I can do is when we moved into the house and exactly ONE picture with the tv turned off.

*Remember, I said at the beginning that we still had to trim out the corners and edges and touch up the wall paint, so don’t judge that stuff. You are allowed to judge that piece of paper under the chair though. How do I not see those things before I take pictures? Anyway, we’ve vacuumed.

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