D-I-Why Me??

BBRRRR!! It’s still too chilly to work at the school house! So I decided to take on a few decorative DIY projects with some of the materials we salvaged. I’ve been particularly intrigued by the slate. I’ll start by saying I am not one for “crafting” and have rarely used a power tool. Since Ben was on vacation and pitched in with childcare I thought I’d give it a go. I learned pretty quickly that I am not a patient person (okay I guess I already knew that), and I like to see instant results. This doesn’t necessarily match up with “crafting.”

wood, slate, and bricks salvaged from Gramp’s Old School

Photo Transfer
The lovely Sarah Tefft started me down this path by gifting me a photo transfer on wood of Philip, Ben, and myself. Light bulbs went off in my head and I thought, “Wow I just went through all of our family photos, they would be great to use for photo transfers.” I spent a lot of time picking up pieces of slate that fell off the roof so I had a pretty good collection to start doing some tests.  This seemed to be a match made in heaven, or at least like peanut butter and jelly. Well to make a long story short, I realized wood is porous and can absorb ink….slate not so much. Here’s how it went:

photos printed on laser printer, Sarah showing me the steps, first transfer drying

painted slate tile with a transfer of Original Gramp, slate with school house wall hanging

This blog explains much better than I can how to do the photo transfer, click here to check it out. I ran into trouble when I started to pick off paper, I kept taking the ink off with it. Finally I found the best method was to do two rounds of picking off the paper fibers, letting the slate dry in between. I’ve since tried a few tests with wood and they are working much better. So maybe I will make the photo transfers on this pieces of wood and then glue them to the slate…the possibilities are endless! I also learned how to break the slate with the back of a hammer to make them into more regular shapes. To hang the one piece I used a nail to tap two holes through the slate. I practiced this technique a couple of times and actually got it on the first try. I was really impressed that I didn’t break the slate. You can click here to see the tutorial I watched before attempting this.

clockwise from top: photo transfer on wood, working with slate, finished transfers

Map Framing 
Ben spearheaded this project. The map isn’t from the school house, we bought it last spring at the antique fair at the fair grounds. It did come from a school, just not ours. The “frame” we made is from trim pieces we salvaged at the school house. Here’s the instructions we used to make this piece. This was actually really easy (once we figured out how to load the staple gun haha) and I would totally frame more art this way! Gramp jumped in to help us and tied bowline knots (I’m still working on this technique) in the twine.

trim from the school house, we used alligator clamps while glue dried, bowline knot


We hung the map in our house, Philip seems to like it

Projects in the Works
I think I have gone a bit stir crazy being inside so much with all the cold weather. I want to make another prototype of the photo transfer on slate (the first time we forgot to reverse the images). Gramp and I are sanding down some of the loose wood and are dreaming up school house shaped smaller decor items like book ends and floating shelves.  I’m also thinking about making decorative wall pieces out of some of the window frames and the attic door. Don’t worry we are planning on re-using a lot of the materials in the school house itself, all the original doors and several of the chalk boards are staying for example.

Window frames and attic door

From the Desk of Em
Em found these calendars in a pile of our salvaged materials and wanted to share them. Who from Greenwich remembers Powell’s Corner Store? Check out the phone number! The second photo is a Red Cross calendar from 1941. Happy New Year!




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