Updated: May 6, 2021
This is what happens when you are creative minded and have time on your hands. Sometimes you get a little frustrated when you have a lot of urgent things to accomplish and have to wait on either someone else's time-frame or lack the money to finish it right away.
In this case, it was a little of both. It was the spring of 2019 and, I had been needing to replace the roof on the house for too long already, and it was taking forever. I had to figure out a way to fund it and try to find the right company. Then when the right company was found, it was an endless waiting game until their schedule opened up to get started. I'm talking a two-year process, at least.
In the meantime
What's one to do in the meantime? Well, there was a whole lot of old barn wood just lying around that was about to be thrown out. Most of it was in fairly good shape annnnnd I was wanting something decorative to go in the firepit area. I have a lot of ideas for that area but some of being on hold, what could I make with what I have (or mostly have) on hand? M*A*S*H has always been my favorite TV show and I have always loved the directional signpost featured on the show. I decided I would make one myself.
"Which way to Patmos?"
At first, I was going to make the directional planks of people I knew but I quickly realized that first; I don't know that many people, and second, most of the planks would be headed in two directions. LoL I then figured I would choose locations from around the globe. I don't do hardly any traveling so this took on a wanderlust theme of places that intrigue me. This was going to be an 8' tall post (4"x4"x8') so I figured out how many planks I would need for each side then chose the number of locations for each direction. I made a list on paper and Googled the mileage to each location from my driveway. Slope Point was the furthest one away from me.
To the garage, I went
I picked out a couple of boards and sanded them down with my DeWalt hand sander then I sawed them into planks with a small, electric, hand saw by Black & Decker. I found a post but I saw it had a crack in it so I needed to purchase one when the time came. Several visitors arrived to see what all the commotion was about. One we call 'Muddy' because she likes to roll her face around in the mud. Cows do this to keep the flies away and to cool off, probably. She probably just favors a good mud facial.
I put all these planks in a box and headed to the house. Now I had to come up with designs for these signs. As much as I love the M*A*S*H signpost, I didn't want that one exactly. It was plain brown and I wanted something colorful. Except for a few that I designed myself, I researched each location and picked out familiar sign designs related to that particular location. Next, I had to freehand each design onto the planks. I used a pencil and went over it with a sharpie so I could see it well when I started carving. I considered simply painting them all but decided that over time, the paint would fade and crumble, so I decided to carve them with a Dremel tool. That way, if I wanted to re-finish it when the time came, the image would mostly still be there. I added my own little designs related to some of the locations like a crab, moose, or a bat. One of my own designs is the one from Tyler Texas. My nephew's name is Tyler so that one is for him. His favorite team is the Longhorns so I added one and made a cowboy hat.
"That's a LOT of carving"
"Is your hand tired yet?"
All carved out, time to paint
Time for the fun part! I love to paint! I used outdoor acrylic paint from Arteza. Each one is painted with colors and in the style of signs from their location, some famous, like Penny Lane in Liverpool. I made that one because my boyfriend and I are major Beatles fans. The Manhattan one was a brainchild of my own. Blondie is my favorite band and while the members may not be from NY, the band is. I painted it in the theme of one of their albums, 'Parallel Lines'. As much fun as this was, it seemed like I would never finish but once you get started, you soon see the end in sight. Working on them most evenings after work for a few hours and on weekends, I finally got them done. I used several coats and cans of sealant spray.
Now for the post
"I need something to go on top"
I picked up a post at the Home Depot, a bag of white rocks, some hardware brackets, screws, and some concrete. I also ordered two top caps from Amazon. I asked several family members and friends what I should add to the top and I got plenty of suggestions including a cow skull. I put a lot of thought into it and came up with a grotesque statue of a panther with wings. I found one on Amazon for $14.99 made out of resin and some JD Weld. I free-handed the directions (N, S, E, & W) at the top of the post after sorting it out where I was planting the post and which way the directions go using a compass. I wasn't sure if I wanted to sign my work or how I wanted to go about it. I opted to free-hand my name and wanted it to be viewable from the front of the post, it went on the Eastside. I added 2019 to the Westside, opposite the Eastside. White outdoor, fast-drying paint, which I had on hand from other projects, covered the signpost and top caps.
Let's plant this thing
A top cap protects the post from the weather. The reason I got two top caps is that the resin statue would need to be stored away for the winter (after the first frost) because freezing and thawing will cause cracking. Now I had to figure out how to attach it to a top cap and make it removable. That's where the JD Weld comes into play and the brackets. I attached four, one on the top of each side of the post. That way I can unscrew the top cap with the statue and replace it with the plain one. After figuring out where it would go exactly, I had to determine how deep to make a whole for an 8' post which came to be 18". To do this I used a Black & Decker hand drill with an 18" auger attached and my Root Slayer shovel. My younger cousin Jaydun was eager to help with this, which pleased me as digging holes is not my idea of a good time. LoL I set the post and got it adjusted straight, mixed the concrete, and let it set. Then I added the white pebbles around the base.
"Coming together nicely"
Finish it off
Finally, time to add the planks! My cousin Hilary graciously helped me screw them in, I was so grateful too. That's a LOT of planks and a LOT of screwing! We sorted them out on the ground according to direction, started at the top, and went one by one all the way around. Then we sat back on the picnic and took in how awesome it turned out. Beautiful and colorful, it's the first thing you see when you come up the driveway and viewable from the fire pit. I couldn't be happier.
Let your mind fly sometimes. Sometimes you can't do anything about all the things you need to be doing. Life's too short to worry about all that. Take the time and do the thing if for no other reason except for that you can, it's possible. Just do it. You never know what you'll come up with until you set your mind to it.
Thanks for reading.