I’m not quite sure how “bucket lists” became so popular. Blame it on Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Or maybe it’s that I’m older, and I’m more interested in such things. In my 20s, the idea of a bucket list would have been laughable to me.
I don’t have a bucket list of my own; my to-do lists keep me busy enough.
Then, I saw this ugly wooden strawberry sign for $4 at Goodwill. I think it had once been a perpetual calendar, but the number and month plaques were missing.
Almost immediately, I had the idea to turn this into a family bucket list, combining it with some little metal buckets I’d bought for 3 for $1 in the wedding favors section at Dollar Tree. This isn’t quite a $5 craft, given the cost of the paint, vinyl and the buckets But it was definitely inexpensive. I spent less than $10 on it, I’m sure.
My first step was to clean up this relic. I also removed the nasty old rope. Next, I painted the whole thing in a coat of Duck Egg Blue, one of my favorite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colors.
I knew I’d be going over this again with another color — Aubusson Blue — so I wasn’t too concerned about getting perfect coverage. Though the original sign had a thick coat of polyurethane, I didn’t bother sanding or priming it. I just painted right over the shiny finish and the decoupaged strawberries and letters. I knew you wouldn’t be able to see them when I was finished with the project, so I didn’t worry all that much about the uneven surface or camouflaging them.
After the first coat of Duck Egg Blue was dry, I applied a coat of Aubusson Blue, then lightly sanded the sign to smooth the paint and allow the Duck Egg Blue to show through. If I had been smart, I could have saved myself a step and applied my vinyl Family Bucket List letters before I painted the Aubusson Blue. Then, I could have peeled off the vinyl mask to reveal the letters beneath. But I didn’t think to do that until it was too late. So, what I did was this: I cut a vinyl stencil/mask with my Silhouette Cameo, and filled in the letters in Duck Egg Blue. (The font I used was Lettering Delights‘ Red Hatter’s Hand.) When the paint was almost dry, I removed the vinyl to reveal my lettering. Next time, I will use the shortcut. Live and learn.
These next steps weren’t very exciting, so I didn’t take any photos. I’m much more of a finished project photographer, anyway.
I purchased some small gold cup hooks from the hardware store, I primed them with spray paint, then painted them white. I screwed three of the hooks on every other row of my sign, ensuring there would be proper clearance for my buckets. Actually, I had my husband do this part because those little hooks hurt my fingers!
While he was doing that, I was making vinyl labels for our buckets. I decided we should have different categories on our family bucket list — no-cost things we could do at home to make memories together (planting a garden or having a family photo taken, for instance); adventures we could go on together (going on a dinosaur dig or having a picnic); trips we could take as a family (a vacation to Hawaii and a trip to the Smithsonian) ; and ticketed events (like going to the zoo or seeing the new Avengers movie.)
I used the airplane ticket stub shape, the adventure thought bubble, the memories life card and the retro luggage sleeping bag set from the Silhouette online store to represent our different categories. I also used the ticket list shape from the Silhouette store. I sized the tickets to fit in my buckets, printed them out and then cut the shapes with my Silhouette.
The next part was the fun part. My husband, son and I sat down and made a list of things we wanted to do together as a family. We made sure to include big dreams — like that family trip to Hawaii — but also things we could do at home together on those “I’m bored!” days. We’re still in the process of embellishing our bucket list with tokens to represent each item on our list. A snippet of a lei went in our Hawaii bucket, and my son added two small dinosaurs to the dino dig and Smithsonian buckets. I plan to put a seed packet in the garden one. These little tokens will give us an at-a-glance reference of each bucket’s activity.
I love that our family bucket list is three dimensional and doesn’t just exist on paper. As we check things off our list, I think I’ll create a three-dimensional shadowbox of our family adventures and memories. I’m thinking of using a divided shadowbox, like this one, to make our bucket list scrapbook. We’ll put a bucket in each cubby, along with a few souvenirs of our experiences. I bought lots of the little metal buckets from the Dollar Store, so as we complete items on our list, we can add others.
While you may not be able to find an ugly strawberry perpetual calendar like I did, you could easily make your own family bucket list using this technique. You could use a divided shadowbox to hold your buckets or hang them from a piece of decorated plywood or a repurposed cabinet door. Our local Habitat Restore sells these for $1, and they always have a huge supply.
If you make your own bucket list, I’d love to see it. And I’d love to hear what is on your family’s bucket list. You might inspire us.
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