It all started with this:
My little man has had this stool since his aviation themed nursery. He needed it to climb into his first Big Boy bed. The nursery is long gone, but we still needed the stool. Well, we needed A stool. I thought it might be helpful to see his sweet little face in the bathroom mirror.
This stool wasn't working for me anymore. Yep, this problem was all centered around me. The kids didn't mind the airplane stool. Of course not. Why would an airplane stool bother them? But it bothered me, everyday.
Do you have little ones? Have you looked for stools lately? It isn't an easy task, and they aren't cheap. I searched every possible resource and just wasn't happy with what I was finding. So I decided to redo this one. The decision of HOW to redo it was now my new problem...until we went on vacation.
This summer we went on an AMAZING trip to Alaska. One of the days we went panning for gold. My kids were THRILLED by the sound of it. Panning for gold...really? I think they had visions of great riches dancing through their little minds.
The reality was not quite what they had envisioned. We didn't find much. I discovered that their attention spans can be quite short when they don't find the task worthwhile. They were captivated for quite some time though with making driftwood boats. These boats were one of the highlights of the whole trip.
I am the one who discovered gold that day! Ok, maybe not REAL gold...but to me it was gold. I found the solution to my footstool problem! While I crouched by the bank of the river I was captivated by the stones around us. It wasn't sandy like we have at home, but black stones. Beautiful, flat, black stones! I too gave up on panning for gold, and began collecting my precious stones. My brain was spinning! These flat rocks would be the perfect new topper to our stool!
Now, here's where I need to put in a warning for anyone who has ever tiled before. I know I didn't do this "correctly." I have tiled and I know what I should have done. I will remind you again about my lack of patience, and I just needed to jump into the project. I didn't want to do it correctly. I wanted to do it now. And yes, that got me into a big pile of trouble later where I just about threw the stool out. So bear with me and my crazy way of getting this stool to its current wonderful condition.
I grabbed my collected bag of stones and a tube of E-6000. I didn't lay the stones out in a precise pattern. I just grabbed a stone, squirted on a dab of glue and stuck it on.
You should have seen how happy I was to watch that airplane begin to disappear!
Not to bad for not having planned the stones out ahead of time. I definitely would have put some of the stones in different places if I had laid it out. However, I think this way gave it more of a natural look instead of a symmetrical look that I would have inevitably laid out.
I allowed the glue to dry overnight and took a trip to the hardware store. I purchased a tub of pre-mixed sandy grout. I thought the sandy grout would be a salute to our area of the country...we are ALWAYS dragging sand into the house.
I used a very technical grouting tool to spread the grout...a plastic spoon. I had one on hand, and I figured I could just toss it out when I was done. Perfect.
The directions on the grout said I had to let it sit until the surface was "cloudy." I know what that looks like with tile, but with stones it was a bit different. Next I was supposed to wipe off the surface with a damp sponge. It just wasn't set enough at this point since my rocks did not have a smooth, flat surface. So I waited longer. And well, here is where I got distracted and forgot about my project for a few days. Oops! I think maybe that goes hand in hand with needing a footstool. You need the stool for your little ones...and well, there is A LOT that needs to be done with and for those little ones. Lots of distractions!
I knew I was in trouble at this point. I took a sponge with an abrasive side and really scrubbed the top of those rocks. But after working for awhile, I knew this just wasn't going to do it. I thought my stool was going to be ruined.
I wasn't ready to give up completely. I didn't want to throw it out, but I did need a break from this project. So I moved on to another one...I have a tendency to do that when I get bored or frustrated. Hmmm...why was I surprised when my kids gave up so easily on panning for gold?? It was while sanding another project that a light bulb went off...why not try sanding the stones? I was pretty sure I had ruined the project. What did I have to lose? Pretty much nothing!
I used a fine grit sandpaper...and it worked like a charm! It was perfect! Just what I had originally hoped it would look like! I did miss the look of those stones on the riverbank though. They had been so glossy and beautiful. So, I decided to seal the whole top with a coat of Rust-Oleum Clear Gloss. I figured it would give a protective coat to the piece...and it was back to the beautiful riverbed look!
Just look at it! I don't think I have ever come home with a better souvenir! It is a great daily reminder of our AMAZING trip.
And I think it looks MUCH better in our bathroom than its airplane predecessor!