When I started MarthaAndMe, I was doing Martha’s crafts. For the first year, I did quite a few crafts. Once the year was over though, I stopped doing as many. I’m not very crafty at all and I learned that forcing myself to be something I wasn’t just made me cranky. I may not be crafty, but I am creative, and every once in a while I have a fit of creativity. It usually isn’t neat and it often doesn’t turn out as I’d hoped, but it’s almost always fun when it’s something I really want to do.
I’ve had this one in my head for quite a while. Several years ago I caught some unknown show on HGTV and one thing they did was wallpaper a basement staircase with maps. Well, that got me thinking. I have a fascination with maps. It all started in my grandparents’ basement. Gai and Papa traveled to every continent except Antartica and tracked their journeys on a map in their basement, next to the pool table. They did these journeys before I was born, or at least before I can remember, although Gai often talked about them. She’s the one who gave me the travel bug.
I used to spend special time in that basement, playing pool with Papa and gazing at that map. When Gai passed away (several years after Papa) last year, one of the many things I inherited was that map. It now hangs on our basement staircase, and it inspired me to frame my own map, which Mr. MarthaAndMe and I put thumbtacks in to mark where we’ve gone on our trips.
I love that map, but I still am map crazy and I’ve never been able to get that HGTV episode out of my head. Some of the doors in our house have these huge combination locks in them. The previous owner was worried about his own son stealing things, so he installed them on three doors in the house. One of them is the basement door. Now these locks are quite old and operate with numbers you push. One day one of the kids was horsing around with the one on the basement door and got it locked shut (said child was fortunately not in the basement, but on the upstairs side of the door) and it became stuck with the deadbolt in the frame and the combination part just frozen. Mr. MarthaAndMe tried everything, but finally decided the best solution was just to get the lock out of the door. This left two round holes – one about a 3 inch diameter and the other a one inch.
I considered patching the holes, but we’ve never been able to adequately match the paint color on our interior doors, so that was a whole ball of wax I didn’t want to get into. Then it hit me – I could cover the door with maps!
I never let go of this idea and finally, this past weekend, I did it! Mr. MarthaAndMe shoved some wood in the holes to fill them pretty much. Then I went to work. I went to AAA and got free maps of all the places we’ve been. I also had some maps around here and I printed some small maps online. I attached the maps with Mod Podge. Now, it didn’t go perfectly. There are some lumps, creases and bumps, but early in the process I decided I just didn’t care. I layered and collaged the maps and covered one side of the door (I’ll do the other side after we’ve traveled some more!). Then I did another coat of Mod Podge on top. Once this is all completely dry, I’m going to put a coat of polyurethane over it all to completely seal it.
I’m actually pretty proud of this. It’s in an out of the way place in the house (in the laundry room and you can’t see it unless you stand right in front of it), so it’s not a huge glaring thing, but is instead kind of a quirky little surprise I think. I am really happy with how it turned out. It’s right by the door to the dog yard, so while we are standing there waiting for our slow poke dogs, we have something to look at. I’ll probably kick myself in 30 years when we try to sell the house, but for now I’m thrilled with it!