late-night inspiration for a delightful idea

Funny story - back in December, while I was cleaning out a box of craft supplies, I came across a wooden frame that I had, at some fuzzy point in the far-gone past, painted with one thin coat of cream paint.  I say "fuzzy" because I genuinely don't remember what this frame was for, or why I only painted the one coat before setting it aside.  However, after "rediscovering" it, I had an idea...a delightful idea of what to make with this partially-painted frame.

But being in the midst of a lot of cleaning and organizing, I stayed focused and set the frame aside to work on later.  (And yes, I realize the irony of finding a past craft project that I obviously meant to finish "later," only to set it aside for "later" once again.)

Fast forward almost six months to last night, when that delightful idea from December went from "a craft to do one of these days" to "a craft that must be undertaken right. this. moment."  Never mind that it was 11:30 pm, or that, until that moment, I was on track to be in bed at a lovely early-for-me time.  Inspiration had arrived, and with it, it brought motivation.  So I joined them for a late-night crafty threesome.

Now, to be honest, I had briefly considered the appealing possibility that I might be able to delay this craft project for lack of the right supplies.  I never thought I'd hear myself say this about a craft project, but no such luck.

It turns out that, because I was going to paint the frame to coordinate with one I'd painted previously, I already had all the paint colors I needed.  So with no other excuse, I dove in.

These seashells were what had prompted my delightful idea.  They are from a small assortment of shells that Wildcat Guy and I have collected when we go to the beach, and I'd thought, "wouldn't it be neat to collect one shell from each beach visit on a picture frame?"

To begin creating this delightful idea, I did a couple coats of cream paint, to create a nice, thick foundation on the frame's front.

 On the wide edge of the frame, I painted a chocolate brown stripe.

As I began working, I was happy to remember how quickly the craft paints dry.  (With it getting later by the minute, waiting for paint to dry so I could apply a second coat was not too appealing.)

Then, since I couldn't hold the frame without getting wet paint from the front or outer edge on my hands, I propped it on some paint bottles in order to paint the inside edge a warm tan color (appropriately named Teddy Bear...honestly!).

The lighting wasn't the best, but here's a look from the side - at the brown outer edge, the cream front and the tan inside edge.  By this point, my motivation was fading, so I left the frame on the counter, propped on the paint bottles to finish drying, and went to bed.

This afternoon, my motivation returned (thankfully!) and I proceeded to put a coat of varnish on the frame.  I have used it on many projects, and this matte texture is the perfect finishing touch.

Then it was time for the really fun stuff - my hot glue gun.  Okay, maybe fun is an exaggeration - but nothing says "crafty" like a glue gun, right?

And since I had the glue gun out, I went ahead and reaffixed a shell that had come loose on another picture frame.  (What, you thought me attaching shells to frames was a new thing?  Pft.)

Then I moved on to the real project at hand.  Sure, they're only two small shells on a really wide frame...but we have a whole lifetime of shell-collecting ahead of us!

My intention is to update the picture in the frame after each beach visit (because of course we take a new picture every time!); but until I get around to printing a copy of the picture from our most recent beach visit (and by recent, I mean 2011), I used an extra print from our first-time-together visit to the beach back in 2010.

(Side note - why is it that, when I want a picture to upload vertically, it sometimes doesn't...but then, when it doesn't matter whether it's vertial or horizontal, it goes vertical?  Silly computer.)

Lovely!!  I had wavered on whether the cream front would be too plain, to the point where I considered adding some teal accents...but then I remembered that, decades from now, when the front is getting full with shells, the accents won't be visible anyways. This way, it documents a wonderful little piece of our life together while also showing the promise of all the years and experiences ahead of us.  (Corny, yes...but true!)

And for a final little touch on the back of the frame (which I left unfinished), I began a list of the places and years in which each shell was collected.  Granted, once we've collected a lot of shells, there won't be a way to match each shell to its listing on the back - but I still like the idea of turning the frame over to see the shells' history.

So there it is - in its new home on the bookshelf in the living room.  The projectless picture frame turned into a special memento.  I like it.

Where I am: home
What I'm reading: just finished The Soloist by Steve Lopez, and Eco-Chic Weddings by Emily Elizabeth Anderson


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