My family used to refer to me as “the caboose.” I was totally into model trains at the time so I thought that was cool. Only later did I realize that “caboose” was just a polite way of saying “total accident.”
However, my end-of-the-train, perspective has given me an appreciation of my family’s history. I loved stories about my mom’s life growing up on a farm inKansas. And I was seriously jealous of my sister’s tales of sledding in the backyard of the house they lived in before I was born.
I wanted to create a handmade gift I could give eveone and thought I could combine my love of making coasters and my family’s history.
The original idea was just that I’d make a coaster depicting the floor plan of the Cheltenham Road house. But then I thought it would be fun to do all of our former homes – and for that I realized I needed to call in backup.
So my parents were roped into the idea and spent months diligently arguing racking their brains to re-create buildings that I had never set foot in and they hadn’t seen for years.
Eventually they sent me some sketches like this:
And I got busy in Photoshop (but you could do the exact same thing in MSWord or any drawing program you have handy – you could even draw them by hand and then scan them into your computer).
I used Mod Podge to attach the floor plans to shower tiles from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore (a terrific resource for pretty much everything). I sealed them with multiple coats of polycrylic to make them waterproof, added some cork to the back and viola – gifts for all!
Working on these brought up terrific memories for me (and my folks).
And they were a hit!
When the gifts were opened my sister cried! As a little brother you know you’ve done well when you make your sister cry and you haven’t kicked her or read her diary.