This is Emma’s 4th trip around the sun and what a trip that has been. We have watched her develop into such a kind, compassionate and smart little girl all year.
Here are some photos from Emma’s birthday party.
Building the Kitchen
I received an old TV cabinet from mum and dad, which I thought would make a great project for me and, a great birthday present for a 4 year old girl (after the completed project of course). So, I decided to turn this old TV cabinet into a mini kitchen for Emma for her birthday. I had 6 months to complete it. Plenty of time right.
I started out by cleaning it up and sanding everything back. I wanted the kitchen to not only look good, but be interactive for her as well. So I decided to incorporate a “few” electronics. And of course I painted it her favourite colour – pink.
Now we all know that every good kitchen needs a working oven, however due to power constraints, I could only make the oven “look and sound” like it was a working oven. So I installed some red LED lights and a 12v fan with switches to toggle them on or off.
Next, any modern kitchen must have an electric hotplate. I created dimmable hotplates using a series of red LEDs and some dimmer switches. Each hotplate was wired up independently and could have different heat (brightness) settings.
I installed a tap and a sink, using one of Belinda’s good mixing bowls. She didn’t mind, cause it was going to a good cause. I didn’t connect running water at the request of Belinda. In hindsight I now know this was a very good idea not to go with the running water. I made the space below the sink into a dishwasher and left it rather simple with just a pull out dish rack.
I made the fridge face metallic and magnetic so that she could place magnets on it just like a real fridge. I wanted to have an ice maker in the fridge too. I bought some plastic ice cubes for the job and developed a reasonably well, working, ice dispenser. However, I wasn’t completely happy with it so I decided to leave it out. Partly too because I was running out of time. I cut down about 60% of what I wanted to do with this project because I knew it was better to give it to her at 4 years old with less features, than at 25 years old fully finished.
My favourite part of the whole kitchen is the window, where I installed a rainbow led lighting behind a custom made sheet of acrylic, with Emma’s Kitchen etched out. It is remote controlled to allow emma to change the colour of her window to any colour she wants. I put in some down lighting to illuminate the main kitchen area and tied it all into a main timed pressure switch, that turns everything off after an hour of no use.
Because of the vast amount of lights and fans, I wanted to be able to monitor the battery usage. I created the microwave as a kind of double feature. The microwave display not only gives the feel of a working microwave but it display real time battery voltage, current draw and play time. The start button on the microwave plays a random melody each time it is pressed. I then created a false wall in behind the microwave to store most of the wiring connections and battery. I installed a solar regulator and detachable solar panels so the whole kitchen could be powered completely (and safely) off grid.
Finally, I tiled the backsplash with some colourful 100mm tiles in a rainbow pattern and put the final touches on, like a tea towel rack and somewhere to hang her pots and pans. I topped it off with some wooden letters saying “Princess”.
I hope that Emma will have lots of fun with her kitchen, making lots of yummy recipes and most importantly plenty of happy memories..