Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm Back......and Playing Legos

I disappeared after only a few blog posts and I'm sorry for that.  I really let myself down because my goal, once I got this blog up and going,  was to be consistent and keep the posts to no less than once a week.  Time just seems to be slipping through my fingers at a pace I never imagined.  Maybe this is because, for the first time since my pregnancy with Chase, I feel pretty decent most days, knock on wood, glass, plastic, formica, fabric...  I won't say my pain is gone but I seem to have gotten rid of the overwhelming fatigue that was keeping me on the couch for days on end as I watched life go by.  Now that I feel more normal I have been working on my art and trying to get stuff up on my Etsy shop.  So while I really have planned all lots of clever and witty blog posts,  somehow they never get past the planning stages.  I take do the projects or take the pictures but the posts get stuck somewhere between my brain and my finger tips.  Maybe I am suffering from some sort of finger constipation?

So what in the hell have I been doing if I haven't been blogging?  Do I need to remind you that "Project Runway" Season 639 is running AND "Top Chef" Season 435 just ended, and just when I thought I could get away from my obsession with Top Chef for another season they threw in "Top Chef Just Desserts".  I must have been a pastry chef in another life because I love baking.  The more complex, the more levels, the more ingredients- especially chocolate, cream, and alcohol- the better.  Remember I made my own wedding cake after only making ZERO wedding cakes before that.  Yes- it was my first wedding and my first wedding cake.  Martha Stewart's recipe, Wilton's pans, Ghiradelli's chocolate, and my mom's raspberries on top- Fabulous!

What was my point?  Oh, yeah, TV...In reality, I don't watch much TV these days.  One reason is  Martha moved to Hallmark Channel and unfortunately (for oh so many reasons), we have AT&T U-verse.  AT&T warned us all summer that they were in a pissing match with several channels, including Hallmark.  It seems to me they are once again being the big-bully on the block just like they were in the 80's and early 90's and they tried to get these channels to give AT&T their lunch money.  Apparently Hallmark wasn't willing to give up their lunch money so AT&T dropped them.  I keep hearing them say "No Martha for you!!!!"

The second reason I no longer watch much TV is because of my family.  For every 30 minutes of TV viewing, I have to listen to 29 minutes of whining about my show choice.  And if the kids are around the whining just gets worse, in stereo.  This baffles me because I am clearly the only member of this Kaplan family who watches anything interesting; if I am not watching Project Runway, Top Chef Just Desserts, or Parenthood (another favorite of mine) than I am stuck with their choices- either The Weather Channel, a documentary about war or even worse, any episode of  Ryann's favorite show"The Suite Life of iHannah the Wizard with a Chance in LA" or Chase's choice "Phineas Backyardigan Rides the Dinosaur Train to the Jungle Junction with Caillou."   

Time has just been flying by.  I can't believe it is already fall, Ryann has her first cell phone and Chase can not only build his Lego kits as well as I can but he can finally fly the Lego X-Wing through the Battle of Corsucant without any help.  It is time once again to get the pink daisy wreath down and replace it with the Halloween wreath.  This year I am completely making a new wreath with a decidedly Halloween theme.  Some years I put up a fall wreath with a few Halloween items that I can pull out Nov. 1st, but this year I am committing to Halloween and then replacing the wreath entirely Nov. 1st.  It is also time to pull all the ratty flowers and plants and clean the flower beds.  I get so tired of watering flowers that I usually give up about Sept 1st.  I just did a quick check around to see what needed to be done and the Lantana that I put in late this year it flourishing and GORGEOUS.  I think I need to put in a few more of the plants next year, early enough that they can sit front and center.  I just love the yellow and pink flowers- they remind me of lemonade.

Speaking of Legos.....Were we speaking of Legos?  Oh yes... Chase and the Legos.  Chase is a Legoholic, Legomaniac, Legobsessed, Legoboy.  He has amassed a large collection of red, blue, black, and grey bricks with a variety of pegs, studs, and connector pieces.  Storage has become a huge issue.

I probably wouldn't care so much but until recently- I was the Chief  Contractor responsible for procurement of materials and Chief Lego Builder.  Even if Chase builds the vehicle, I have to pull all the pieces for him.  ****Hint:  The back two pages of the Lego instruction booklets list by picture all of the pieces needed for that set.  I photocopy those two pages and use a pen to cross off the pieces as I find them.  ****Hint: if you lose the instruction booklets you can access them from the Lego website Customer Service click building instructions.  Originally I bought a quaint little 2 gallon container for the Lego pieces.  So cute and tiny... it lasted a few months before that container became home only his mini-figure collection.

After the original system became obsolete,  I bought a big shallow Rubbermaid container and sat down with a box of Ziploc bags and a black Sharpie and separated the Lego's by color.  This color-sorting solution worked until I decided to build all Chase's Indiana Jones sets to use as decoration/play things for his 4th birthday party.  I quickly realized that finding specific bricks out of a sea of all black pieces is at best very difficult and most likely nearly impossible.  It took forever to build the sets and I was just about nuts by the time I completed the project.  I know that some children, ok- most children, can make General Grievious' ship or Indiana Jones' boat using any color brick that fits.  Sadly,  I can't stand it if the bricks don't match the directions.  This is just something I cannot tolerate and yes I realize it is completely ridiculous that i live a messy life, I get it that my kitchen table is unusable because my craft supplies are all over it and the floor and the walls and spilling over onto the rabbit cage.   I may live a messy live but I draw the line at messy Lego projects.  My pathetic OCD meant I had to devise a better storage solution or I had to only let Chase build new sets, and that just seemed a little to close to the thinking of most of the people I see on AE's "Hoarders".

A solution did not come quickly and I spent a few months trying to 
come up with the perfect storage system.  I found a few made-for-Lego containers but each system only hold a few Lego sets and most don't have enough smaller compartments for the variety of small bricks and pieces that come with any Lego set.  I found the "Box4Blocks" system which separates the blocks by size, sifting them through 4 different grids with large pieces staying on the top yellow container and the tiny pieces ending up in the bottom green container.  This would be great if you had a few sets but no way would this be enough and at $39 for one set of Box4Blocks, it is somewhat expensive.

Iris Lego Project Case
Amazon sells the Iris Lego Project Case Chest for $54.99.  It is cetainly cute and Lego-y colored but again doesn't really allow for me to really sort the pieces.  I want to be able to grab the pieces I need without a lot of hunting.  

The  Cadillac of storage systems was also widely available and is a Lego product, Lego Storage Tray Unit available on Amazon.  This little beauty can be yours for the low low price of.... Are you sitting down?  $399.  Yes I double checked it... $399.   Seriously, that is three hundred and ninety nine dollars.  

Protect N Store 12x12
So obviously, I was not finding anything that was up to snuff or priced low enough that I didn't need a second mortgage to pay for it.  I need to figure something out.  
Protect N Store Inserts 12x12

I stumbled upon the answer while shopping at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft in Portage one day last winter.  On the end cap they had a stack of clear plastic boxes with hinged lids called Protect-N-Store.  

The 12x12 boxes were on sale for 50% off at $4.50 each.  At the time I wasn't thinking Lego so I figured I would use them for paper or fabric supplies and grabbed a few.  After I got them hope I realized this might be my answer but I didn't have enough.  I found some on clearance on a website that unfortunately no longer exists (hence the "clearance").  I also bought a few of the 8.5x11 size boxes.  I began the to put some of the Legos into the 12x12 boxes.  This job was not as hard as it could have been because I had already separated the bricks and pieces into Ziploc bags several months prior but not having enough boxes and not having the inserts to further separate the smaller pieces still made it a time consuming project.  In May, I went to the annual scrapbooking convention known as the Mega Meet, in Novi.  Here I stumbled on a booth selling hundreds of the 12x12 boxes and 12x12 inserts that provided 10 smaller compartments.  Que the crescendo!  I had the answer.  I bought several more 12x12 boxes and 6 inserts and ran home gleefully awaiting the great Lego Organization Project.  It wasn't as much fun as I hoped it would be- it still required a lot of work but at least I had a place to just toss the smaller pieces.  I soon realized that I needed more inserts and now I have all the pieces loose in either a 12x12 with an insert or a single type of brick alone in an 8.5x11 box.  

When I needed to buy a few more inserts I decided to just order them online and I found that Create for Less sells the 12x12 inserts for the lowest price I could find $2.89 each but you have to purchase in multiples of 3.  They have the 8.5x11 boxes $4.39 each and the 12x12 for $4.59.  
These are the cheapest I was able to find the boxes but other places that sell them include: First Choice Packaging and has them on sale at $2.99 each but I don't think they have the inserts.  

Happy sorting.

Laters Baby, 

1 comment:

  1. When my older daughter was a year old (she's now 23), we took her to LegoLand in Denmark and I have a great photo of her sitting in a working train made
    out of legos.


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