I have issues.
As of today Gabe has attended approximately 111 days of school. As of today, I have thrown away exactly zero pieces of work he has brought home.
Every day Gabe brings home papers – gobs and gobs of papers. On the first day of school, I had a genius idea that I’d get a binder, punch holes in each of his papers, and insert them into his binder so that at the end of the year I’d have a chronological record of all his work.
That lasted about two months until the first binder was full and I had to find a second.
Then there was the work that didn’t fit into the binder – the art projects that were too large.
Or the projects that were too special to have holes punched into them.
Or the ones that were really cute and I wanted to display.
So I got myself some rope and made a little artwork display line a la Land of Nod.
Which worked well for about 2 weeks until I became irritated with the fact that the clothespins didn’t always grip the artwork and I didn’t have enough space on the line to grow our collection of displayed art.
Since then, I’ve been looking for another way to display Gabe’s school work, a way that fits into our house’s decor and fits into my approach to memory-keeping (aka hoarding). I’m still working on the hoarding issue, but in the meantime I think I’ve found a great solution.
Enter chicken wire.
About a week ago I ran across this post about how a blogger used chicken wire to create a focal wall. I stumbled onto these two sentences from her post
I plan on changing out what is hanging on the wire pretty regularly.
The whole point of doing the wire was to give me a “canvas” that I change as much as I want.
and knew I had hit on something that could change my life, or at least my ability to deal with Gabe’s papers from school. ;)
In our house we have a back entryway that has a giant wall. To illustrate how giant, let me terrify your poor motherly souls with this picture…
I swear to you he loved this – would laugh and laugh. In spite of the fact that he looks completely shocked and terrified in this photo.
Anyway, see the wall? The tall wall behind my shocked child? It’s this big, blank wall that just begs for something exciting. For the last few years I’ve had two measly 11×14 picture frames on it, frames which look like hardly more than specks on a wall so tall. But I couldn’t come up with anything else until last week.
When I saw the chicken wire post, it occurred to me that my tall wall would be the perfect place to display copious amounts of work created by Gabe at school and chicken wire would make it really convenient. We had an issue, however. Thanks to our fantasmical plaster walls, stapling things into our walls presents some challenges. Namely crumbling plaster, which ends up being a pretty big problem in this sort of application.
Tahd informed me that he didn’t think it would work due to our walls, but I was determined to make it work. It occurred to me that we might be able to attach each end of the chicken wire to a piece of wood and then screw the piece of wood into the wall. Plan in hand, I presented my idea, and he (perhaps grudgingly?) said it would work. I say “perhaps grudgingly” because I told him I would do it. And I think he knew I totally wouldn’t. And he was right.
See? Here’s Tahd working on the wire. Doesn’t he look super thrilled?
So I sent Tahd to the store – Farm & Fleet, to be exact – where he found a glorious sale on chicken wire… $7 for 25 feet! Score!
At home, Tahd found 2 ugly scraps of wood and cut the chicken wire to length. Actually, he cut the chicken wire about a foot and a half short, but we decided to make it work.
Note: it takes a little maneuvering to straighten out chicken wire. We rolled it backwards and forwards a few times to straighten it out as much as possible. Definitely a two-person job.
Once the wire was straight we opted to hang it without painting it. Tahd stapled the top and bottom edges of the wire to a white board and then took the wire-and-board contraption to the wall. Using screws, he attached the top edge to the wall…
and then stretched the wire taught and attached the bottom edge also.
It was done!
Because our wire is attached to boards it doesn’t rest flush against the wall. I’m not sure it would anyway – the wire is a little finicky and seemed to have a really hard time getting completely flat. I actually like that there’s a little space because it makes it easier to clip things to the wire.
I had wanted the wire to cover the entire wall, top to bottom. But when we realized Tahd cut it too short we just decided to center it on the wall and figured by the time I got all the artwork hung on it I could camouflage the fact that it was a bit short.
I’m still working on filling it up with artwork. And other miscellany that makes us smile. I expect it’ll be an ever-changing and probably overfilled display of the things we love most. I see all sorts of photos and artwork and momentos in its future.
So there you have it. A super fun way to reinforce your hoarding habit AND display fun artwork. It’s a win-win, don’t you think?