Friday, September 16, 2011

from Roadside Roadkill to the Classroom

I started homeschooling my son a few months ago. And at the same time, for obvious reasons, I started redecorating the family room into his playroom/our classroom. I haven't posted any pics yet (partly because I am an all-or-nothing type of person who can't for absolutely any reason show you an unfinished project. It has to be gleamy shiny, have the new car smell, all t's crossed and i's other words, it has to be perfect. Just ask my husband. I have been in the middle of writing something, say a blog post, and he will come into the room, look over my shoulder and I will literally try to cover the screen with my hands, asking him to not start reading).

Yes, I have some personal work to do. And yes, I have digressed.
Back to the roadkill :)

And by the way, the last part of Eliel's playroom that I need to finish is the chair. It's a great "mommy & me" reading chair, but the golden baroque-y/paisely print just doesn't work in the room. So it's in need of a makeover --- it's just a matter of time.

Digression #2. *sigh*

Since the room is part classroom, I wanted a chalkboard in there. One that my son could use freely and we can also use it during our "lessons" (he's 2.5, y'all. The curriculum is more full of songs, movement and creative discovery than rote learning). But a chalkboard was needed, was important, was paramount, nonetheless. It makes the room a classroom, right?

I should write something like The Chalkboard Diaries or something for I've had the hardest time finding a chalkboard, well, that WORKS! We were given one of those Fisher Price ones.....but the chalkboard part was either really cheap or really used for the chalk did not work.

Me thinks this could possibly be a frustrating experience for a little one. So then at the Dollar Store, I thought I lucked out on finding this chalkboard material Whale Wall Decal.
*This is not the actual one nor is this my house, people. Even if the writing is in French and I live in Canada....*
It worked, but was a little small AND my son kept ripping it off the wall, thus it losing its stickiness at some point. Returning to the Dollar Store, again, I thought I lucked out on finding a small chalkboard -- about 16 x 12...but for the life of $3 chalk, it wouldn't take the chalk.
I didn't want to start giving my son educational, intellectual or integrity complexes so I stopped being cheap frugal, and looking at the Dollar Store, and start looking into a slightly more expensive store (aka, Walmart, Target or the like). That idea was nixed pretty quickly when I saw the prices and my DIY hat was fervently pulled out. I can definitely make this.

Now here is where my husband has cringe potential. Why? Because I always say "I can make this....." and then there's another project on the plate and because I have too many projects, our basement has somehow (SOMEHOW!) turned into a wanna-be warehouse of deadbeat furniture, crafting supplies, items "drying" and projects waiting. Like the waiting room of the Department of Motor Vehicles. On a Friday afternoon.

AND because I am pregnant AND a lot of the projects require paint, this means a lot of the projects, at this time, get pushed suggested for my husband to complete. AND this is usually the night before some "big" event -- like someone stopping by to pick up a book ("well, honey, they will come through the front door and of course, see the strategically placed new lampshade we, um, YOU, painted for of course, it's important"). Wait till I start nesting again y'all --- only have 4 more weeks :)

So I asked my husband if there were any random wood pieces down in the "warehouse" or garage because I was going to stop spending HIS hard-earned money on Dollar Store rejects and buy Chalkboard paint.....which um, for a little quart, yeah it was about $20..(it's Canada, y'all). And oh yeah, I think we have a gift card or something around here that we can use towards it....(totally trying to soften the blow).

"Find wood for chalkboard" went on the "honey-do" list and I happily bought the paint. And then one day, it happened.

My husband crossed the DIY mentality line.

After helping a friend of his during a move, my husband excitedly came home with some "scrap" piece of wood. He asked, "Do you know what this is for?" And I don't think he actually even let me finish and he continued "it's for the chalkboard".

But it''s......well, it looks like the bottom of a bed that part of a crib?

My husband had a DIY vision --- he repurposed! He actually saw something in the garbage, PULLED over and PULLED it from off the side of the road and placed a new mission on the piece.
As my mother in law said, "I've taught him well". :)

So our chalkboard-to-be was cleaned, sanded, primed and got two coats of blackboard paint (one layer going vertically and the other horizontally -- thanks internet!). Then us three wiped chalk all over it (as another "priming" method) and then hoisted it in its new position in the "classroom".

I guess I could have just said "hey look, here's my repurposed project.
It was a crib, now it's a chalkboard.

But what fun would that be? :)

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  1. hi ellen,
    love your "mission" that you are live off grid. very cool.
    this chalkboard came out great. kuddos to the mr. for having "vision"!
    wish you well with homeschooling. we schooled for ten years and so glad we did.

  2. Hi Judi - Thanks so much for visiting my blog! Yes, def on the mission -- we are still looking around for "THE LAND" as we are selling our house....
    yeah seriously -- I was very surprised my husband came home with that chalkboard to be!
    Ellen :)


Thank you so much for sharing your heart!