Monday, May 14, 2012

Project: Mother's Day

Mother's Day is a big deal around our house.

It's something Jennifer is really proud of, and rightfully so -- she's an amazing mom.

Lately, she's been juggling a lot. In addition to making sure B and I are taken care of and working a normal schedule, she's been training nearly every day (sometimes 4 or more hours a day!), planning parties, planning a huge yard sale... the list really does go on and on!

So this year I wanted to make sure B and I really took some time to show her how much we appreciate everything she does for us, and how proud of her we are.

A while back, I got her a gift card for an hour-long massage. I figured that could come in handy with all the training she's doing, or it could be a nice post-race reward.

But I wanted something a little more sentimental, too.

After some searching, I finally found the perfect gift on -- a race medal hanger.

If you click on the link, you'll see all different kinds. I like too many of them to show them all here, but here's one example:

I figured this would be really good motivation. She has accomplished some amazing things, and I know she's only just begun. She deserves to show off her achievements, and seeing what she's done so far every day will encourage her to keep challenging herself.

And being the crafty person that I am, I knew we could make her one instead of buying it.

So after a trip to the craft store and hardware store, B and I got to work.

We ended up getting a two-foot piece of red pine (I think that's what it is), but it was kinda rough, so the first step was to get it sanded smooth.

I can't tell you how long it took to pick out the paint colors.

I knew I wanted the main color to be purple, but the purple paint was too bright. I found a nice plum, but they only had one left and I was worried that might not be enough. So after looking up and down the aisle, I finally found "Wild Iris." It looked good in the bottle, but I wasn't sure how it would look on the wood.

It was perfect!

The next hurdle was the words.

How would I do those??

Could I get a stencil? Stickers?

I was lost.

Thankfully, Google and pinterest came to the rescue by leading me to this blog showing how to paint perfect letters in any font.

I printed out some phrases using fonts I found on Google web fonts, and B and I picked our favorite.

Hands down, we both liked "Euphoria Script" the best.

At first, we had a little trouble lining it up straight. That was until I had the great idea of underlining the words, and using that line as a guide.

With the words taped in place, it was time to trace them with a ballpoint pen.


It took a while, but it worked perfectly!

With the words in place, we laid out where the hooks would go.

Most of the hangers we saw on etsy just had hooks for medals, but I liked the idea of hanging bibs, too, so we made sure to incorporate that into our design.

Measuring everything out so it's all nice and even...

To get the right spacing for the bibs, I grabbed a stack to see how far apart the holes were. All but a couple were right around the same size, so that's what we used.

With everything marked, it was time to drill.

Next up came the paint.

It was at this point I realized we messed up on the order of things. I had painted the first letter before we had done the purple behind it. Basically, this meant that I'd be doing the letters twice -- once for the letter itself, and again to fill in the purple around the letter.

No bueno.

So we cut our losses and painted over the letters we had traced.

And after sanding down the "M," it covered up pretty easily.

A few coats of paint later, and it was time to line up and trace the letters again.

This time took just as long as it did the first time, but it was worth it in the long run.

See how much easier it is to see this time, too?

Time for paint!

I picked up a brush at the craft store, but it was way too big for this kind of detail. I didn't really have time to return it and get a smaller brush, so I found a brush we had around the house and made it work.

I love how it turned out, but if I could do it again I would definitely use a smaller brush!

The last step before putting the hardware on was to clear coat everything so it doesn't chip.

A few coats of that, and it's looking pretty professional if I do say so myself.

Here it is fully assembled:

(Note that this was before the clear coat. Silly me forgot to get a completely finished picture!)

After giving it to her yesterday, we had to pick out a good spot to hang it.

She wanted to show it off, 'cause she was amazed that B and I actually made it, but she didn't want to show it off too much because she didn't want it to seem like she was egotistical or anything.

We decided the little hallway by the downstairs bathroom was just right.

Just ignore the streamers... those were leftover decorations from a going away party we had for some friends.

The picture that was already there would fit nicely in the bathroom, too -- we've been wanting to put something there for a long time anyway.

Here it is, hanging quietly in its own little corner. Not being boastful, but definitely something you notice anytime you go to the closet or bathroom.

And the picture looks right at home in its new spot, too!

So there you have it -- our little Mother's Day project that scored us some major brownie points.

This was such a fun little project, and I can't wait to use that painting technique to personalize other things!

I hope you had a great Mother's Day, babe. You do so much for us, and we really do appreciate it.

We're very proud of everything you've accomplished so far, and we'll definitely stand by and support you through whatever you want to take on next!


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