Everyday is an Adventure. Embrace it

Posts tagged ‘mistakes’

A sticky situation

The last few posts have been about DIY projects and this is not a DIY website, I promise! If you can bare with me through one more post, I will get back on track soon! I guess this one could be seen as an adventure…nah!

My insomnia was still an ever growing issue and my late-night compulsive googling was filling my mind with all these crafty little ideas. I knew I was not a crafty person and it had actually resulted in many personal injuries but for some reason I thought one day I would get at least one project right! Besides, I assumed there must be at least one project out  there on Pinterest that was accurately detailed enough that I could follow foolproof instructions. Late one night, when the world was asleep, I found an amazing product online: Mod Podge

Mod Podge

Mod Podge

I found women everywhere (and a few guys) that proclaimed the wonder and amazement of this fabulous product. It was hailed as the greatest crafting invention ever and had accumulated several million loyal customers, followers, and advocates. It was so infamous that there were knock off products on the market to mimic it and people freely share “recipes” for cooking up your own batch at home to save money. With so many rave reviews and obsessed consumers, I decided I had to find out what this incredible product was and give it a whirl.

In my searches, I found that this life-changing product comes in multiple formulas!

Mod Podge

Mod Podge

How exciting…I thought. I ran out the next day to a local craft store an purchased the biggest bottle they had. Oh glory! I had the coveted product of all products that millions of people raved about. Once I brought it home, I realized I didn’t know what to do with it 😦 The googling resumed. After locating some projects online, I decided on a photo transfer project.

I followed the directions I found online and the project wasn’t too bad…I thought.

Us - Mod Podged onto a piece of wood

Us – Mod Podged onto a piece of wood

You see, it was simple. I printed off a color photo to use with our printer. I selected a piece of wood – Cut the photo to fit – Slathered a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wood – Layed the photo face down on the wood – Trimmed off the edges – smoothed out air bubble pockets and allowed it to dry.    See? Simple! The entire process took maybe 20 minutes (as a beginner) and was not difficult at all.

This Mod Podge product has a glue consistency and reminded me of elementary school. It said on the label that even though it goes on white, it dries clear AND it cleans up easily with basic soap and water. The dry time is about 24 hours though, so some patience would be required.

I was excited! I was going to accomplish a craft with no personal injuries and it was going to turn out nicely!! Yay me…for an hour…

After cleaning up my work area and washing my hands, I came back to the office, took off my shoes and began working on some paperwork. I happily made my way through a lot of internet work and then moved to filing within 25 minutes or so. When I stood up, a customer invoice was stuck to my elbow. Not thinking much of it, I pulled it off and moved to the filing cabinet and put away some files. As I moved away from the filing cabinet, my foot stuck on the wood floor. I stumbled, almost tripped, and regained my composure. I can be so clumsy sometimes. So, I put my shoes back on.

In the restroom, the toilet paper stuck to my hand. At this point, I realized something wasn’t right. On the way back to the office area, I picked up a dryer sheet from the laundry room…on the bottom of my shoe. As I leaned down to peel it off, I lost my balance and leaned back against the wall for support. My shirt peeled off the wall as I attempted to reach down and remove the dryer sheet. My mistake was lazily leaning back up against the wall when I had the dryer sheet in my hand. That’s when my hair stuck to the wall…

I was loosing patience with myself and my surroundings. I didn’t feel sticky, so why was everything sticking to me?  MOD PODGE!

Oh NO, that wonderfully fabulous, incredible invention that went on white and dried clear was all over me!! It’s glue. How do you not know that you have glue on you? Well, I’ll tell you… this thoughtfully incredulous material goes on smooth, thin, and sleek. It is only during the seemingly forever drying process that the tackyness appears. I went to the place where I had placed my photo transfer project to dry (on the dryer in the laundry room) to check it also. The cat was stuck to it 😦 There he stood shaking it as roughly as he could to get it off his back paw. When he saw me, he bolted off the dryer, down the hallway and into the living room dragging my project with him! He was not happy. I was not happy. My house was slowly becoming covered in glue.

The kids would be home from school in under an hour and then my husband would be home. I had to get the house cleaned up! My problem was that I had no way to see what I was cleaning! This miracle product of the ages turns clear as it dries, not after it is completely dry. I grabbed my shoes and cleaned them. Then I started cleaning the house. I cleaned the floors, door knobs, washing machine top, dryer, and anything that I thought I may have touched. I thought I did rather well covering up my goof.  🙂

After supper, everyone usually retires to their rooms or does their own thing. I showed my husband the nice little picture on wood thing I had created and he thought it was awesome 🙂 I was happy once more.   Then, my youngest son yells “ouch” from the livingroom as he tried to get up from the recliner. His arm and his head had stuck to the recliner as he tried to move. “Mom!” he called out to complain. “Oh you kids,” I said embarrassingly, “Y’all clearly need to eat in the kitchen. I bet there’s something sticky on it. Just wipe it down.”

I got away with it… or at least I did until they read this 😉

Insomniac DIY Mishap Lessons with Pallets

Insomnia is a terrible thief that steals one’s ability to think clearly the following day. What’s worse is that the body does not physically coordinate with you the way you think you are telling it to perform. Combine these things together for a wonderful crafty result coupled with physical injury for the safest of household objects. In other words, I seriously should stop trying to do DIY projects the day after no sleep!! Insomniacs beware.

During the course of the year, I continued to struggle with what seemed to be a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation. These late nights or early mornings laying in bed awake led to browsing the internet for hours on end. After reading millions of articles, books, and shopping online at 3am, I would end on Pinterest browsing the DIY category. I would find so many things that I just knew I could do! I would make lists of supplies needed and the next day would sneak out to the store and purchase them. Some of these projects turned out nicely, others were just a huge disappointment 😦

Lesson 1: I discovered that many of the DIY links on Pinterest were just plain junk! Most of them were just pictures that had been circulated several thousand times as many well-meaning would be crafters have pinned them in great hopes that 1 day they’d get around to trying them. Many didn’t have enough instruction to complete a task or seriously important details were missing from the processes, so I’ve had several mishaps. Here are a few things I’ve tried. Some were a giant FAIL and others turned out nicely 🙂

I promise to write as many of these as I can remember, but for today, here is one of the more famous “pallet” adventures!

I decided that since I had access to more pallets than the average person, I would create something out of them. I announced to my husband that I wanted him to start bringing them home to me. He dutifully complied and after bringing 5 or 6 home asked what I was going to do with them. I answered, “I’m not sure, but it’s going to be GREAT!” He would give me a strange look and then ask me again after 5 or 6 more pallets. My answer, always the same, was no longer good enough after we had over 25 pallets stacked in our back yard.  (Insert cheesy grin here)

My first thought was outdoor seating. I would go outside and stare at the pallet stack and try to visualize how to physically go about constructing my creation. After about an hour of gathering the tools and supplies I needed and all this thinking, I would be mentally exhausted and defeated. Everything I saw online looked so simple, but I couldn’t figure out how to get the pallets into the shapes I needed. Lesson 2: Nothing seen online is as easy as it looks! I knew I could take them completely apart, but the point of using the pallets is to lessen the workload, not add more to it!

I began by using a hand saw to cut the pallets down to size keeping 2 slats connected on front and 3 on the back. (Note: I used a hand saw because I am just the average housewife here, not the host of a lady’s only DIY show with a production crew and unlimited access to large power tools and emergency personnel ….should I cut off a digit.) [It is true that my husband is a contractor and I could have access to a ton of tools, but this was my project and I didn’t want his help!.] Once the 2 pallets were in sections, I leaned them against one another trying to visualize how to make them fit into a bench. Lesson 3: Pallets are made of wood. Wood Rots.  Nothing looked right and the fact that the wood the pallets are made out of would need to be treated or they would rot quickly in the weather concerned me. I have no “patio” to sit them on. They would sit directly on the ground. Hmm… I changed my mind. No outdoor furniture. It sure looked cool on Pinterest though, even though in reality it wouldn’t work for me!

I stopped working for the day and resumed my nightly insomniac googling. Then decided to make a swing! Ah yes, I love to swing outdoors. A swing would be perfect! The next day I went outside and started placing the pieces together. Before I screwed anything together, I sat on one pallet piece while it was on the ground. It bowed beneath my tush even with the ground beneath me supporting it. I’m not a “large” lady, yet the piece that would be the seat would not really support me well. There would be no way that my rather large boys would ever be able to sit on it with me 😦 This is when I learned a very important lesson – Lesson 4: Not all pallets are created equal! Pallets that hold large amounts of ceramic tile are great. Pallets that hold shingles are not as strong – believe it or not.

Back to square one again, the day passed and I waited for sleep once more. Sleep did not come, so I had plenty of time to do more nightly research. I found several project idea types to use the pallets to make a raised garden bed. BINGO! The soil in our yard is mostly clay and growing a garden has always been a challenge. So, this was perfect. My husband had mentioned how he longed to have a garden and I thought it would make us both happy.

The next day was much better. After finishing my work for the office, I began gathering my hand tools again and started off by cutting the pallets as described above. I left 2 slats connected on front and 3 slats connected on the back of most sections. Other sections had 1 slat on front and 2 on back. Our yard is not exactly level, so I had to compensate a little. Once I had 4 sections, I leaned them against one another to make a rectangle. It looked fine, so I grabbed my hammer & nails. After trying several ways to nail them together, I realized this wouldn’t work. I couldn’t hammer the nails into the sections because the overlapping slats prevented me from doing so. In short, my hand, nail, & hammer wouldn’t fit into one spot to do the job. I thought about it for a while and then decided to tie them together with the left over jute twine I had from earlier projects. It was strong, natural, biodegradable and well – it was the only thing I could think of! 🙂

After all 4 sections were connected, my day was done. My husband saw my little creation, but didn’t say much about it. I guess he was letting me do my own thing happily 🙂 He was probably glad that I was finally using the pallets for something. He agreed to bring me more.

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

The next day, I decided I needed to line the inside of the garden box so my dirt wouldn’t fall out of the slats. I used a tarp cut to size. After placing the tarp inside, I ran to the local hardware store. I bought some garden soil with several coupons and gift cards I had collected from rebates. With some muscle help from the boys, we got all four of the 25lb bags of dirt from the car to the new garden box. Excited, I cut a hole in the top of the bag and declared, “Pour!”. My son lifted the bag high and dumped the soil onto the tarp inside the box. Guess what happened…  the tarp sunk in on all 4 sides and the dirt went everywhere! It went inside the box, outside the box, onto the tarp, over the tarp, and all over the ground too! Lesson 5: Think things through all the way before beginning. For some reason, I never learn this lesson. 😦

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

Lining inside pallet raised garden box

I couldn’t think of any way to keep the tarp edges up, so I used binder clips from the office supply store to clip the tarp up on all 4 sides. Then I scooped massive amounts of dirt off the ground and put it in the box 😦 I decided that I had learned so many lessons from this little project, I should build more boxes! 🙂 Cutting commenced with the hand saw and my children thought I had lost my mind. (This is normal around here.) My youngest son said, “uh, Mom? You need help?”  I declined and then went on my business …sawing away. I took my weak little arms a whole day to saw 2 pallets for the next box. Each box I made went much faster in the creation process. I was doing better (avoiding all my previous mistakes) and I was working faster.

Completed pallet raised garden bed

Completed pallet raised garden bed

By the time the second box was completed and I was working on the third box, my husband noticed. He was amazed. He kept saying, “Wow! You built these? …by yourself?”  🙂 I smiled and kept on building. When I was ready to start the 3rd & 4th box, it was a weekend and my husband offered to help. This 4th (and last) box would be the largest one. He whipped out his drill, power saw and some other tools and took to building. Needless to say, he created that box in a smidgen of the time it took me (which was all day long). Actually, he was completely finished in under an hour! After he was finished, he sured up my other boxes with screws so the jute twine became decoration instead of structural.

Hubby came to help :)

Hubby came to help 🙂

After all boxes were completed, I started planting. After planting was completed, my husband was staining our deck and stoop. He moved over towards the raised garden beds and started the process of staining them. In the picture below, the staining wasn’t completed yet. But, you get the idea 🙂 We also added a few stakes around the tomato area in preparation for their growth.

Staining the pallets was a great idea!

Staining the pallets was a great idea!

Do’s & Don’ts of Being Crafty

Do prepare all needed materials before beginning any project.
Don’t start a project at midnight to help you sleep. It’ll just keep you up.
Do put your glasses on your face before you begin.
Don’t put them on the top of your head. You’ll simply look for them for hours!
Do prepare a safe & easy to clean place to create.
Don’t use the livingroom or common room! The kids, or grand-babies will trip over, bump into, or step on your project 🙂 Also, the cat will decide your supplies are his new toys.
Do use the right tool for the job.
Don’t use the right tool at the wrong time. Such as late at night when you can’t sleep.
Do buy quality products (like glues).
Don’t use high quality products (like glues) when sleep deprived. If you do, you may be Googling search terms like: “How to remove hot glue from pet fur”, or “quick pain relief for burns”, or “Can a glue gun start a fire” or ‘Blister relief” or…well you get the picture.

Do preplan or at least think through your project before beginning.
Don’t rush into a project on a “that should or might work” idea.
Do honestly evaluate your personal skill level before beginning.

That’s about it…I’ve gotta run now, shave the cat, bandage some blisters, and figure out how to get the hot glue out of my hair 😦  😉

Cheers!

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