Girls, have you seen the Pinterest fails? You know, the professional Pinterest photo somebody saw of a perfect crafting experience and its lovely outcome . . . and then photographic evidence of their own botched operation? The first time somebody sent me a link to one of those sites I did the snort-laugh. (I believe it was to one of you, O readers, that I am indebted. Accept my public thanks!) Some of you will now go and view it and fail to get the joke because these attempts, my friends, are not actually at all funny. They are sad. They are only funny if you look at them with an immediate, guilty sense of self-recognition.
I am crafty. The quandary of being born a craftish-type person (and you know who you are) is that such heritage does not guarantee talent. If it comes with talent, you’re “Artistic”. If it comes without, you’re a Time-Wasting Idiot.
It is for my fellow time-wasting idiots that I describe today’s efforts. (That is me, above, conveniently wearing my “I’m blogging this” shirt. All unplanned, people.) This week I managed at last to get a can of chalkboard paint. Alex purchased it for me and the man mysteriously insisted he also buy a bottle of thinner. If I were running this errand in an English-speaking country or an air-conditioned store I may have pressed for instructions. Alas.
I’ve seen the clever things people do with chalkboard paint and today was my day to join them. I ignored the Indonesian words on the can and pried it open. My initial plan was to paint a big square of the wall in our courtyard at kid-height. If successful my children could rapidly become chalk-covered little people wearing dirty little clothes at any hour of the day in a very short space of time. I pried the can open, found to my surprise it was only half-full of a very thick wet-cement like substance, dipped in my best paintbrush, and advanced it toward the wall of the house. Half an inch from contact I remembered that we are renters. The brush shook spastically in my hand as I wrestled with temptation, causing the goop to drip perilously near my best jeans. My conscience won, and was confirmed immediately by Alex who felt that glopping it on the house was probably not an excellent plan.
But we had a cheap mirror from the street market that fell off of our dresser and shattered (right before our guests arrived on Christmas Day, actually) and I repaired the frame and saved the plywood backing . . . I decided that this should become a chalkboard. I began glooping and smearing the stuff onto it. When it wouldn’t spread and the brush began to make deep unsmooth-able tracks in it I began to think perhaps there was some purpose in the bottle of greasy thinner. It was too late to mix it into the paint (is that even what you do?) so I poured some on top. Then I kicked it over by accident and it spilled and soaked into my jeans and all over my ankles. At this point I think the fumes began to go to my head (or maybe sooner?). I tried to paint the stuff on some Mason jar lids, getting at least as much on my hands in the process. (I could hear Alex calling from the house, “The Benjamin Moore website says don’t get it on yourself but that’s for the American kind . . . “) When I had maximized the damage, I brought everything to the kitchen sink for cleanup. A rag soaked with the thinner was not removing the black from my hands, but optimistically I poured some into a plastic container to put the brush in. The chemical fumes were intense (lunch was in the oven, Alex said it smelled like meatloaf with paint thinner sauce). Two minutes later I tried to lift the plastic container out of the sink and learned that the thinner had eaten through the plastic and black-painty-oily-thinner splashed all over the kitchen sink. And wouldn’t come off.
(“What are you doing, Mommy?”)(“Oh, just . . . nothing. “)
Forty-five minutes with steel wool, folks. And to remind me of (one of) today’s crafting adventures my best jeans, the stones in the courtyard, my left heel, and, of course, the new chalkboard–remain deeply black.