Maps, ModPodge, and more paint

It’s no fun being stuck inside for almost 48 hours straight with the boys, but we did pretty well yesterday and managed to stay entertained and sane while Sandy blew over. Because of the storm, E had yesterday and today off work, so it felt like an extended weekend where my usual daily schedule is absent and it’s just chaos and bananas and flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants family time.

However (thankfully), it also means I had an extra set of hands to help with both the boring bits like cooking lunch and the fun bits like playing and reading to the boys. It also meant that while they took their nap, I truly had two hours free to work on a project I’ve wanted to do for a while, since I’d have help when they woke up.

See, it all started with these pins on Pinterest:

1. pin, via 2. pin, via

They were the perfect pinsperation (hardy har) to work on for the Fall Pinterest Challenge (set up by Sherry and Katie to help us all get creative instead of being pin-fiends only).

I started by brainstorming exactly what I wanted to do. I really liked the idea of having both where E and I are from and how we’ve ended up here. So… I found our birthplaces, the city we met in, place we married, and our current hometown in our road atlas and pulled the pages. I actually didn’t need to buy anything for this project, since I had an atlas, ModPodge, paint, and a small canvas in the house. Love projects that are FREE, though I imagine if I had to buy everything new again, I wouldn’t spend over $20.

I took blank paper and free-handed a girl-doll and guy-doll, a plus sign, heart and house and cut them out to trace on the maps. Please excuse the ridiculous color cast and slight blurriness in many of these photos. I only had their nap to get it done and forgot to a) white balance and b) use a friggin tripod. My next blog will be named Confessions Of A Writer and Photographer Who Turned Mom and Forgot How To Write and Take Photographs. Too long?

After that it was as easy as cutting out the maps and placing them in my desired location on the canvas. I decided that I wanted to have the paper dolls represent where we were born (Tampa, FL for E and Big Bear, CA for me), then the plus sign for where we met (Savannah, GA), the heart is where we married (Snowshoe, WV) and it all adds up to where we are now (DC… technically Alexandria, VA).

I couldn’t decide how to do the “equals” line originally, but thought that a bold black line would be perfect. A bit of painter’s tape, a small brush, and black acrylic paint I had on hand did the trick.

I used a bit of ModPodge and a sponge brush to both glue the map cutouts down and seal the entire canvas and then it was just deciding where I wanted to display it!

I chose the boys’ book ledges since they’re the perfect place for a small canvas. I also have this fun idea for a much larger map project to hang above their cribs, so maybe I’m starting a bit of a theme in their room…

I like it the way it is, but I feel like the black line draws too much attention, so I might outline the maps in black to help them stand out as well. Or maybe do a light wash of color or texture on the canvas itself, we’ll see. If I change it, I’ll post an update. But really, who doesn’t love some good ‘ole map and nerdy/romantic math geek art.

During the past couple days, I also painted the little bench I bought for them at our NVPOM consignment sale. It was only $27 for the bench and took nothing more than a bit of sandpaper, wood filler (we already had both in the house), and a $15 quart of Behr paint-and-primer-in-one in the color Mermaid Treasure.

I used 60 to take off the finish a bit and then 150 to smooth everything down.

Somehow I couldn’t find any of our putty knives, so I used a pumpkin scoop… It totally made sense to me and it worked just fine.

I used tinted wood filler we had leftover from another project; figured it didn’t matter the color since I was painting anyway. Oh, and the sanding and filler happened before the hurricane hit us, so I did it outside.

Yes, I painted it indoors because by then we had gale force winds and torrential rain (#thanksSandy), but I opened windows to ventilate. Needless to say, I also did this after the boys were in bed, so they didn’t get the fumes.

This was after the first coat. I ended up doing two to get complete coverage.

I’m not completely finished with it… I think I’d like to stencil numbers or maybe even their names somewhere. E suggested painting the seat with chalkboard paint, but to me that seems weird since it’s a seat… and they should sit on… and if it’s a chalkboard then they will kneel in front of it instead to draw on it.

Either way, I’m happy I finished both projects and I’m looking forward to my other little map/canvas idea for their room.

Anyone else love simple projects like this that take few supplies and just a little time? I’m always in awe of the amazing projects people do for Pinterest (originals and spin-offs) and love being a part of the (unofficial) Pinterest Challenge. Definitely go check out the real players in this game and their awesome projects. You have Sherry, Katie and their guest challengers Carmel and Sarah. Now I just have to kick my own butt into this more often.

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