Aug 6, 2015

Because Adding a Creative Project During a Move-In Is the Best Ever...

**First, some background info. My friend Elizabeth is in the middle of an ongoing project this year called Unfinished, where she is setting a goal to finish at least one project per month. This can be any size or type of project, and she has also been including interviews with people she knows, covering how they go about projects, keep them in view, if and when they ever cut ties on a project, and so on. It's been really inspiring to me, even with a Big Move thrown in like a wrench. Which is really no excuse, because Elizabeth's family just had their third Big Move in TWO years (that's a move every summer for three summers running now. Yikes!), and yet she is still keeping the dream alive of finishing things. You should go see her site for a minute before you come back here. She documents all sorts of family and creative pursuits, and you will love her photos. They're the really good kind.

My "Unfinished" goal for this year was to finish some things, although I stopped short of setting any sort of quota (e.g. one per month, etc), and I'm mostly glad about that.  I mean, I'd probably have finished more if I'd aimed a little higher, but then again maybe I'd just have a bigger pile of to-do's making me sad. Ain't nobody got time for making themselves sadder.  

Anyway, I've found myself a little more intentional when deciding to take on a project (or not), which is a good thing. I think to myself, "Come on Skerrib, can you realistically see this through? Or will it remain on your to-do list and make you sad?" And I think consequently, I've checked more items than usual off my list, precisely because I'm dealing with them more deliberately. What's more, as we get settled in I'm gradually making room for new projects, like the one I'm about to share. 

It's a major motivational help to follow a friend who is working on similar goals, so I recommend to try and find some positive peer pressure if you want to pursue progress in this area.

Background info: done. Onward...**

By this point in their sports careers, the boys are starting to accumulate their share of medals. Some are better deserved than others, but debates on merit aside, I LOVE that more often than not they are getting medals instead of trophies. Medals are more durable, take up much less space than trophies, and are slightly easier to view simply as a memento of their time on the team. And I can get behind simple mementos.

The thing about medals, though, is that sometimes the boys lose their heads a little and start swinging them around as weapons, or leave them lying around the house, or some such thing I would never think to use a medal for, so I decided it was time to contain the medals somehow (or get rid of them, but you can easily guess how that discussion would have gone. Even I don't want to get rid of my medals).

So we nosed around Amazon a little, and they picked these. I thought they were good choices: inspirational without being overly cheesy, and fairly classic in design: 
His Highness's choice here

The Littler One's choice here (medals not included--he was disappointed about that)
Each came with materials for mounting them to the wall, which got me thinking. We move a lot, so we'll be putting them up and taking them down a lot. And while yes, walls are generally pretty easy to fix most of the time, it makes my eye twitch just a little every time I pound in a nail or screw or bolt, especially if there are anchors involved.

The answer, of course, is Command products, which I've mentioned in passing, but perhaps not expressed the scope of the difference they've made in my life. I use them whenever I can now, instead of nails. They take a little work and patience up front, but they make hanging things soooooooo much easier, and really do minimize the wall damage. Plus you can very easily hang stuff on tile backsplashes and other places which would be otherwise a pain in the tuchus. 

The bummer of Command products is that they look terrible on see-through metal medal hangers, so I hit upon a solution of mounting the wall hangers to some wood plaques, and then Commanding the wood plaques to the walls (As a sidenote, The Littler One could have gotten away without a wood plaque, but once he saw something happening, he wanted in on it. This is how he rolls). 

After some searching and mild indecision, I decided on unfinished innkeeper signs. And after some negotiating and reasoning, The Littler One and I decided we would finish the signs with red, white, & blue acrylic paint and Mod Podge. I forgot to take pics of each step, but our procedure was as follows:
  1. Mom sands the signs ("too boring," said the kids).
  2. Mom primes the signs while the kids are out of the house because she's afraid of the mess.
  3. Discuss design, then tape and paint accordingly. By this time Mom has a handle on herself and the kids happily paint.
  4. Tape-and-paint-and-tape-and-paint until desired designs are achieved.
  5. Let The Littler One do the stars his way because, why not.
  6. Mod Podge until things seem sturdy and shiny-but-not-too-shiny.
How did I make it 37.9 years without this miracle substance??

     7.   Mount hangers on finished plaques.
     8.   Command plaques to the walls.

His Highness's finished product
His Highness's hanger mount was pretty straightforward. It came with spacers which hold it slightly away from the surface, so adding medals is easy-peasy. The plaques are soft pine, so just a screwdriver did the trick; no drill (that would've been fun though).

The Littler One's was slightly more challenging. First, I lost the screws that came with the package. I didn't want to make a Home Depot trip so I got out our little box of extra hardware and picked out a  workable solution.

The way his hanger works is you put the medals on and then fasten the bar to hold everything steady. But again, I didn't want to make it too permanent, so I decided to put a very thin screw just below the bar to support it.

Then, because I'm super clever, I sanded one edge of the screw head so that it's just that much easier to move the bar and add/subtract medals as needed. This step probably wasn't totally necessary, but I did it anyway because I like coming up with clever bits.

The right edge is veeerrrrry slightly flatter

It's not anchored; just resting securely.

The Littler One's finished product
While I was at it, I thought about a couple of really cool bottle-opener we've had lying around for years. I'd actually thought about the plaque idea for it before, but like so many "I could..." ideas, hadn't gotten around to it. It so happened Michael's had these little square plaques next to the innkeeper signs, so badda boom, badda bing, adorable bottle opener in the kitchen. 

The Cat Daddy bought bottled barley pop to test it out, but forgot my fancy root beer. 
It turns out, though, that the motion of opening the bottle is pretty much the same motion as that of undoing Command Products, so in the end I put up with the eye twitch and fastened the opener directly. True, I could have drilled holes in the plaque and fastened it that way, but since I'm still in Transition Fatigue, I went with quick and done to be safe.

More functional. :)  Less red. :(

Done! Now to find the scattered medals and hang them.
The thing you have to be really cognizant of with Command strips is the object weight. They make a big deal of saying they don't guarantee structural integrity, and since we have textured walls in this house we have to make sure we stick enough strips on whatever it is we are hanging, especially with heavier things, so that they will stay securely in place. Otherwise we risk ending up with, say, souvenir spoon cases which might or might not fall off the wall and break the display door glass and spill souvenir spoons everywhere. Or so I've heard.

In conclusion, my favorite thing about this project is that we made something that looks nice, but for a really practical purpose. I greatly enjoy all the things having a "home," and this breaks up the bright white walls a little. And hopefully, it'll cut back on medal-related injuries a little at the Skerrib house...


LEGraham937 said...

I love that! I may have to steal if my boys ever get any medals. :-/

Elizabeth said...

OH MY. I need to do THIS. Because, gymnastics medals up to our eyeballs.