Labor of Love

Labor Day was initiated to celebrate the laborer, to give the hard-working person a day off. I wonder how many of us use the long weekend that is a result to catch up on the work that we don’t have time for because of other work (work, in the non-scientific, cultural definition being something most people would say is doing something for monetary payment)? And then there are times when the work done is not paid in dollars, may not be noticed at all, and may not be defined by some as work, but is time spent to help someone or some group and is noticed only by the angels – a labor of love.

The project I’m sharing with you today is certainly not a paid project. However, it is time spent to make life a little more interesting for those around me. Some years ago, I painted a checkerboard on our picnic table. Years passed, rain and snow fell, little animals scampered, and it grew in obvious need of a little facelift. Ha. I’d forgotten the math involved, which makes this work even more a matter of love than it was originally. So here is my little labor of love from last week. I hope you find one to do, too; even if the only witnesses are the angels.

001002I’m loving you right now because you’re reading this post written by a person I will generously describe as a non-crafter. My art teacher made sounds like exploding bombs when he looked at my drawing using perspective. I was in 7th grade. I haven’t changed that much. We all have our own aptitudes, but, you know, it’s good to stretch horizons, isn’t it? Let my weaknesses be your inspiration!

I bought a sander. I know, I can’t believe it either; but it was so helpful in sanding the original paint from the picnic table! I then measured the length and width of the table to get an idea of how big to make the checkerboard since I wasn’t sure I trusted the notes I’d taken before I began the project, and I’d sanded the other one off. *Welcome to my world.

I concluded I’d make a twenty-five inch square. Ta da!

003Okay, this is where it gets tricky, and to make it even trickier, I inadvertently threw away my notes before I wrote this blog entry *, so if you actually want to try this, you’ll have to do the math yourself. However, maybe this will help: I marked every 3 1/8 inches. Then I taped with masking tape in order to make a checkerboard. In other words, along your border tape, mark every 3 1/8 inch.


I measured for 3 inch squares, 8 across and eight down. I decided to just leave the squares that would be black on an original checkerboard unpainted. This is a picture after I moved the tape to accommodate the painting of squares the row down from the ones painted. The width of the tape must be taken into consideration when marking for painting. No, I can’t explain what I just said any better. You’re on your own. We’re supposed to be sitting by a fire talking here (see “welcome” page), so let’s leave specific project details to crafters, shall we? I’m not a visual arts genius (see “about me” page), so none of us should be surprised here. (Sing Kum Ba Ya and then continue.) The first time I did this years ago, I used a brush. This time I used a sponge. It looks better this way.




Here it is: my labor of love, otherwise known as a checkerboard painted on our picnic table.









011I painted twelve rocks red and twelve brown, turned them over and painted a cross on the other side to use as the king. Make your own religious conclusions here.










There you go. A labor of love to enjoy on warm summer evenings and cool autumn days. King me!


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