Friday, June 7, 2013

My First Gig

Yep, it's true.  I made something... FOR SOMEONE ELSE!  My very first client project!  And I almost turned it down!  Yes, I have issues.

A month ago, a friend from my local moms' group messaged me with a link to a framed cork board on Etsy and, preferring to shop local, asked if I might be able to do something similar.

by Nikki Castiglione of geaugaroots

And I will admit, my first thought was, "no way do I have time for that."  I still haven't managed to fully quit my day job; the kids aren't done with school yet; early June is an event-filled nightmare of commitment for me.  There was no way I could make time for something like this... and besides, I've never made a cork board.  I do furniture.  You know, big stuff.  Wasn't this too crafty for me?  

And then I pulled my head out of my ass.

First of all, who am I kidding?  Crafts are awesome.  No, I'd never made a cork board before, but how hard could it be?  And let's be serious--if I ever plan to make some kind of living out of doing work for other people, I need to stop this knee-jerk "I can't" reaction and just MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.  Here was a situation where someone had seen my work, liked it, and had enough confidence in me to solicit my help with a custom project.  It doesn't get much better than that, does it?  So I said, "Yes," and then promptly began inserting my opinionated self. 

As it happens, the board was intended for a 7-year old girl who is quite the little swimmer and needed a place to display her many ribbons.  The knobs on the Etsy cork board, or something like them, were an essential component because she also needed a way to hang and display her medals.

Now I love barn board as much as the next guy (I had a custom framed barn board mirror made for my powder room, and there's the chunky barn board shelf in my kids' bathroom), but for a 7-year old girl's room?  I wasn't sold on the idea.  I also know this mom and I "know" her daughter via all the Facebook pictures I see of her, and they are two of the most joy-filled colorful people you could possibly ever meet.

I asked for pictures of the room and bedding.

And then I described what I thought the board should look like, and happily the idea was a hit.  I planned on doing the frequently-Pinned painted vintage frame thing with fabric-covered cork, but after a couple weeks of searching, it became painfully clear that I was never going to find anything big or interesting enough for an even vaguely reasonable price (I'm looking at you, St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store).

Then I remembered that I had a massive 36x24 inch Staples-style office cork board stashed in an upstairs closet.  I paid $5 for it at a garage sale and had intended to hang it in my office, but I never did.  That could work, but it was so plain.  And what about the medals?  The frame was far too thin to mount any hooks or knobs on...  So I searched Pinterest, and wouldn't you know?  Tons of inspiration for medal hanging and display, including this curtain rod set-up:

Forget knobs or hooks, a rod could hold so many more medals, and quite beautifully I might add.  So I was off to Michaels and Home Depot for supplies. 

I actually can't believe how well this all came together given how haphazardly I picked everything out.  First I picked the paint color for the frame (Martha Stewart's pearl craft paint in Hummingbird), based on nothing other than the room's wall color and the fact that I wanted something with shimmer.  Then, I rather accidentally stumbled upon the mini decorative wood trim at Michaels and figured that was just the ticket to dress up the boring office frame.  Not wanting to spend any extra time or money finding fabric online, I took a chance and visited a local quilting shop for the first time, hoping for some Joel Dewberry prints.  Instead, I found something even better--Riley Blake's Little Matryoshka Sprout in aqua.

The colors were perfect and the print just small enough to not compete too much with the ribbons that would eventually be pinned on top.   But costs were adding up and I still had a curtain rod to obtain.  

Did you know that 48-inch long 3/4" dowel rods are less than three bucks at the Big Orange?  Cheapest curtain rod you'll ever find.  Throw in a pair of $4 brushed nickel rod brackets and a pair of faux crystal cabinet knobs as finials, and you're all set.  Note: the hardware that comes with the knobs won't work if you need to sink one end into wood.  Instead, head to your local hardware store with the knob in hand, and find yourself some hanger bolts whose thread works with what you've got.  Pre-drill your dowel rod on both ends and you're in business. 

As for the frame, I simply measured and cut the trim using a hand saw and miter box.  I attached using wood glue and finally found a good use for all of those clinical coding books I've been hoarding from my former life in healthcare.

Add two coats of paint and a few coats of satin poly.  I used spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the cork, and then a cheese knife to push the fabric under the frame... which sounds easy enough, except that it took more than hour, made me sweat and swear profusely, and left me with a numb thumb and forefinger for TWO DAYS!!!  

Meh.  Done, but definitely missing something.  Then I remembered I had some leftover orange ribbon from Thing 2's lampshade alternation, and some upholstery tacks from who-knows-what-project that I never finished.  I sprayed the dowel magenta, used some wipe-on poly to protect, and there you have it.

No, the rod is not attached or anything.  I just stacked it here for the photo.  It's the exact same length as the cork board and would look good hung immediately below it, or anywhere else they choose to put it.

According to her mother, my 7-year old client, "seriously FREAKED out," so I'm calling this a raging success.  Looking forward to seeing it smothered in evidence of wild swimming success!

1 comment:

  1. That is GORGEOUS!! So happy for you and your first "paid" project!! And, no better response than having a client FREAK OUT (in a good way) about your work!