Friday, October 24, 2014

Lego!

Lego is a part of life in this family.  I grew up with Legos, as my brother was a big Lego builder.  I had a small set of my own that I liked, but once my brother outgrew them, I definitely enjoyed building with his.  My creativity was limited, but I still enjoyed it.  Craig loved Legos as a kid, and he started sharing his huge collection with Jacob pretty early on.  They spend a lot of time building and dreaming up things to build.  We have some Duplos waiting for Carter to be ready for them, too.

Jacob has gotten many sets over the years for Christmas and birthdays, and I've done my fair share of assembly.  For a while now I've been looking for a set for me.  I'm not sure why, exactly, but I guess I wanted one that was more my style, possibly one that I could use to play with Jacob or at least connect with him a little more on his level--you know, that Mommy has something cool.  My main concern with that scenario was that my set would most likely be a pretty pricey set and I couldn't really risk letting Jacob actually keep mine with his.  He'd steal pieces without even thinking about it, and they'd disappear into the abyss of Legos in our basement...meaning I'd never be able to build my fancy set again.  Even my cute free Lego store set that we got when we went to the Lego store opening here got gutted and I can't find the pieces I need to rebuild it.  Maybe someday if we organize the Legos better. 

I was mostly looking at the various Creator sets, which provide instructions for three different builds.  Last Christmas I was eyeing up a cool house that even included a light brick!  It was a neat modern house with a couple other options.  I never found it as cheap as I wanted it, though, and decided to just give it time.  Earlier this year I happened to see a new set, and it was exactly what I had been looking for.  It was a Creator set that could become a variety of different business/apartment combos.  When I was a little girl I played with Barbies and dollhouses, so this set seemed more up my alley than any other (well, aside from the $150+ super-fancy sets like the department store or the Parisian restaurant).  It was still more than I thought it was prudent to spend on Legos, though, but when my birthday came back in August, guess what the boys had waiting for me when I got home?

  
I almost made them take it back!  But I appreciated the sentiment, so it stayed.  And I started building.  Each building option in the set is hinged, so they can be a full building when closed up, or be open for playing inside.  First up was the flower shop.
Flower shop downstairs, apartment upstairs

The florist shop register.  Hard to see, but there's a couple flowers behind the glass.

This is the flower arranging station, complete with a spray bottle of water.

Upstairs is a fancy armchair and a table, plus two doors...one out to the stairs, and another to the balcony.  And yes, that guy is holding a chicken leg.

The exterior stairs...notice the cool planter and lighting...

The back entrance to the flower shop and the apartment balcony

The front of the flower shop is so cute...so many flowers and a cute canopy.  And how fancy is the work around the upstairs windows?
Next up was the mechanic shop with an office upstairs.  I love the corner placement of this one!
The wrench sign over the car bay is so cute!

Lots of cute little details in this one, including the cute picture window, key drop box, balcony, and cool stuff above the window

Inside to the left is the tool area, and the car and customer entrances are to the right.  Upstairs is an office with roof access, a coffee maker, and a flat screen monitor computer.

Back outside you can get a better view of the balcony and the view of the tools through the picture window, along with the key drop.
It broke my heart to take apart each of those creations, but it's all about progress!  Once I had tried out both of those smaller builds, I needed to move on to the big one!  This one had two buildings instead of just one, and it ended up taking me parts of a few evenings to get it all done.  Of course, when I took these pictures I forgot to add in the cool yellow car that was also part of this group!

This shows the two separate buildings placed together to look like a street, bike shop on the left and cafe on the right.

Front window of bike shop

Front window and patio of cafe...note the curtains!

Back of both buildings...bike shop loading dock on the right, stairs to apartment on left.

Balcony on bike shop includes a BBQ grill!

Inside of bike shop building...note the loading ramp from the loading dock and the double ladders to access the upstairs and the roof

Close-up of the apartment - bed on the left, and kitchen on the right.  The sink even has a basin and there's a frying pan on the stove!

Inside the café...I love the pendant light and the tiny table in the window.  The curtains are fantastic!

Downstairs in the café there are cupcakes on the counter and an adorable beverage machine!  Note the coffee cup hanging on the wall!  Upstairs is a side table with a cute lamp.  I didn't post one of the other side upstairs, but there was just a chair.  You also get a glimpse of the mini-garden on the roof.

The whole thing, opened up!  So charming, no?

The little arch was really cute with the sign comprised of the cup and the cupcake!

With that building closed up, the arch disappears and morphs into a two-sided sign.  And the ATM was awesome, complete with the dollar sign above the screen.
It's been a really fun experience putting these together.  The architecture is so pretty and so creative.  The fact that they can take a set of pieces and make three distinctly different builds is so amazing.  The concepts are all pretty similar, but they manage to tweak them just enough to keep each one unique.  I just love the little details, like the random stripes through the brick walls, the columns, the cute roof edging, and the sweet little window boxes.

I also earned some major cool points with Jacob, who said that I was a great Lego builder.  It stinks that I can't let him play with it, but he is totally the type to randomly steal pieces and I will never recover them enough to recreate this very expensive model.  But if he needs a neighborhood outside his baseball stadium, I might lend it out. 

Anyway, I know it's random, but this was a sweet gift from my boys and I wanted to share.  It was a lot of work and though it seems silly, I'm proud of it.

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