My parent's recently had to have a redwood tree cut down in their backyard. It had grown too large for the space and was a risk if a big storm came through. (Don't worry, they planted a new one in it's place.) When I heard about it, I asked them to have the tree guy cut some "cookies" or rings from the trunk and save them for me.
I went through a few different ideas for this wood. Originally, I wanted to paint "welcome" on the flat surface and hang it in our entry area. Then I changed my mind and decided I would just paint a big "C" - our last initial - on it and hang it somewhere else in the house.
But when I actually saw the tree cookies in real life, I realized they were thick and very heavy. The hanging plan went out the window and I started thinking that because of the weight it would be better to rest it against a wall (like the ampersand). Considering that the downstairs is pretty much complete, I knew it would be going upstairs and most likely into the loft area which we are hoping to turn into Paul's office in the next month.
The "C" would work well in Paul's office. So that was still the plan. I had a bunch of ideas - at first I was going to paint the whole thing and leave the "C" blank so the woodgrain would show through. But I realized that would mean covering up a lot of the beautiful wood. Instead, I decided to paint just the letter and leave the background alone. Anticipating an error and not sure I would like the results, I worked on the backside of the piece first (it had a sap stain which made it the backside).
Ugh - it was no good. The wood absorbed the paint before I could really even get it on there and it was all wrong anyway. I (obviously) stopped right in the middle of working and left it alone to think about it. Around this time, Paul came home for lunch and saw what I had so far. "You're working on the wood." he said. "Yeah, I know, terrible," I groaned. "I'm going to figure out something else." "Hmm" he said.
Paul clearly agreed that my first attempt was tragic.
I had a few options: I could buy different paint. I could get more technical with the "font" of the letter. I could do something less "block" and more "script." But instead, I decided to think about the wood. Why had I wanted it saved? Why had I gone through the trouble of carting it all the way from my parent's house? Why was I struggling with painting on it?
AH-HA! It was because it was beautiful. The woodgrain on it's own was stunning. The color already perfect. I wanted the wood in my house because it was from my old backyard and already awesome.
So I decided to keep it simple. I hammered in a tiny nail and added a 5x5 photo (my new favorite of the two of us) and hung it from the nail with a circle paper clip. I can change the photo when the mood strikes. I can add more nails and photos if I want to. I can remove them all and just have a stunning piece of wood - art in it's own right - on display.
When Paul got home from work for the day, I had the wood with the photo leaning against the door. "Hey! Love the photo on it, babe" he said as soon as he walked in and without me even having to ask. That usually means a project deserves a check plus.
I can't help but grin at the simplicity of this project. I can't help but grin at how much of my process on this project relates to Tuesday's post about making it work. That was not intentional - but it's a wonderful example. ;)
This is project 3 of 27. I am attempting to complete 27 craft projects using 27 different materials before I turn 28 on 02.22.13. You can follow my progress here on the blog or on pinterest. Birthday challenges are my favorite. You can see the 26 Projects I completed while 26 here and the 27 materials I have used so far here.
And some fun news : I am honored to have an article about minibooks in Everyday Storyteller, a digital memory-keeping idea book that will be released in early May.