Ever After


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The Finish Line

Posted in: Bryan, Lori, Tad

With a nice array of photography equipment and my love of preserving memories, you’d think that our home would be decorated with lots of family pictures. But it’s not. Other than a few 4×6 prints of my kids displayed on the mantle and in my craft room, I have never printed any pictures of our family. Never. Sick and sad.

With Bryan’s love of family history and my adoration of vintage, you’d think that we would at least have some nostalgic photos of ancestors displayed somewhere in our home. Nope. None of those either.

I’ve always wanted to do a collage of photos past and present, and I’ve bought (and returned) frames several times. I’ve seen several beautiful collage walls and a lot of mediocre ones; I knew that I lacked the skills and confidence to pull together anything more than mediocre. I also love the “collected” look, and I wanted something that could easily evolve and adapt over time. As such, art ledges seemed to be the perfect answer, and the wall at the bottom of our stairs, the perfect place.

After seeing some ideas online, BT and I knew what we liked, but we also knew that we’d have to build them ourselves; the commercially available art ledges that caught our eye were not long enough and would have been cost prohibitive even if they were. Excited about the prospect of doing this project together, we purchased mahogany the day before Mother’s Day and completed construction of five, 7-foot long floating shelves a few weeks ago, but they still needed to be finished–stained, distressed, and sealed.

This week with the girls back in school, I felt compelled to get our project across the finish line, but I was a little hesitant to let Tad help. Yes, I was afraid of what harm he might do to the ledges, but I was more afraid of what harm I might do to him if he flipped stain all over the place, tipped over the paint can, or if the finished project looked like the work of a four-year-old.

Nonetheless, I recognized that this might be a good opportunity to make memories with my little guy, so I prayed for an extra dose of patience, and then we changed into grubbies and went to work in the hot Texas August sun. We got the shelves stained on Tuesday without mishap, and on Thursday we tackled the task 0f distressing and sealing. Tad was exceptionally good at distressing the shelves, but I cautioned him more than once that he couldn’t just start sanding the finish off of all our furniture.

Early on Day 1 of our labors as Tad helped me lift one of the shelves, he observed that he was like Jean Valjean from Les Miserables. (Tad is a bit obsessed with Les Mis, and although I have exercised my parental censorship rights and removed a few inappropriate songs from his MP3 player, he has memorized much of the remaining score.)

Jean Valjean

From that point on, I affectionately called him “24601” (Jean Valjean’s prisoner number) whenever I needed his assistance. At one point I gave him the option to go back inside to relax, cool off, and watch a movie, but he decided to stick it out and stay with me. It was hard, hot work, and he was a huge help. Only once when the project was finished did I lose my temper. Although I was exceedingly le miserable (HOT, stinky, sweaty, and sore), I wanted to get a picture of us to remember our project by. Repeatedly, I’d set up the camera, activate the timer, run to get in the photo, and then he’d stick out his tongue or make a goofy face. Aagh! It brought out the Javert (merciless antagonist) in me. Sometimes I amaze myself at just how bad a mom I can be. Thankfully, 24601 accepted my apology, and we quickly made peace.

25601 and mom art ledges 25601 art ledges

The ledges are hung on the wall, and we’ve started the process of putting photos on them. Although I haven’t arranged the frames or anything, I did want to snap some pictures to document our accomplishment of the week .Tad Art Ledges_blog

art ledges finished 2 art ledges finished 1

I hope that the art ledges and photos will serve their intended purpose: to beautify our home and to help our family remember who we are, where we came from, and where we hope to go from here. I also hope that Tad will remember that he can do hard things, that he is a “finisher” in all senses of the word, and that his mother loves him (even though she acts like a beast more often than she should).

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