Okay, where were we?

Right… I was itching to do more work and being foiled by the humidity and the rain.

I did my best to be patient, but: I am not patient. I finished the quote one night under plastic.


I also used the rainy days to pull apart the lock mechanism. I wanted a spring and I thought it would be kind of cool to use the vending machine’s own bits as much as possible to keep the project kind of organic (so to speak). A before-and-after:

wpid-20130614_214519_wm.jpg wpid-20130614_222159_wm.jpg

But then I really had to wait, because in addition to rain I also had Life Things to do. So I stayed itchy — literally and figuratively, thanks to the mosquitoes — for a few more days.

Then came Saturday. After a full day elsewhere I found myself with a few precious hours of sunlight and got back to work. I glued on the official Little Free Library sign I received and I tried out the shelves my husband had kindly made for me. Good thing, too, because the door wouldn’t actually close with the lower shelf in place, so modifications were required.


Then I invited my sister and her family over to add a bit of a personal touch to the project. We all traced our hands around the top.


While the tracing was going on, I had this conversation with my niece.

MG: What’s that?

Me: It’s a stencil. I use it to make the shapes look prettier. Want to try one?

MG: Yes. I want to try a PINK one.

Me: Well, the color of the stencil doesn’t matter as much as the color of the paint. Here, let’s use this blue stencil and do a flower.

MG: Okay, but I want to do a PINK flower.

Anybody want to guess what color MG’s handprint is?


Her mother did a fantastic job decorating her own handprint (blue) and my nephew’s. Incidentally, having his hand traced was apparently the scariest thing that has ever happened to my nephew, and involved a lot of screaming. So that was fun for everybody!


I finally managed to tear myself away Saturday night only because I knew I had nothing to do yesterday and could spend the day working on FINALLY FINISHING. So I got up bright and early and got to work blacklining. I caulked the random holes all over the inside (they were obviously deliberate, so I don’t know: maybe newspapers need air?). I also played around with a bunch of options to make the coin-return button ring a bell. This is why I wanted the spring.

wpid-20130615_200658_wm.jpg   wpid-20130615_200635_wm.jpg

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make it work right. I tried a variety of ways to extend the bells away from the wall of the box, but I think it needs more engineering than I wanted to spend on it yesterday. That shall be Project Part 2. (And if I have any readers at this point and any of them are engineers and can think of a simple fix, I’d be super-grateful!)

After caulking, outlining, plexiglassing, and shelving, I sprayed the whole thing with clear sealant. I should mention that I’m new to spray painting and I seem to overdo it. The clear is, obviously, invisible, so it’s even harder to see what you’re doing, and… some colors ran. I frantically tried to clean up the streaky parts and it just got worse. It was a rough hour or two.

In the end, I reminded myself that this is an exercise in creativity and having fun, not a competition. So I took a deep breath and declared the thing Done. (For now.)

Oh, also, I decided at the last minute to add the English translation of my quote on the inside. So you have to open the box to see it.


Next came the very funnest part! This puppy hasn’t moved since I dragged it to its current position on Memorial Day. Nobody was looking forward to moving it. But this is where my need for immediate gratification comes in handy. While others might have brainstormed and planned the best way to move 300+ lbs of metal and concrete around a house and down an embankment, I just grabbed the dolly and the husband and we JUST DID IT.

Husband also kindly provided balloons.



Yes, we came DOWN that slope, because it was going to be literally, physically impossible to lift this thing the two feet required if we’d tried going UP. I’m not kidding, y’all: it’s really heavy! I was a little worried that we would drop it and whoever was on the downhill side would be crushed to death. Fortunately, no death-crushage occurred.

Oh yes… a closeup of the tentacle. It’s glued to the plexiglass I used to close up that coin-return opening. It’s just the tiniest bit of randomness and I love it. 🙂


Now I am going to have to control my urge to check outside six times a day to see if anybody’s come and left books!!


3 thoughts on “Enfin!

  1. Oh gosh! It is fab! One day I am going to nip over and swap a book, I promise! I love it!!

  2. You are always welcome, Mildred. I hope you let me know you’re around and don’t just lurk outside my house. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Thoughts Redacted | The Shadow Box

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