Monthly Archives: March 2014

From the (Archived) Land of Half-finished Projects…The Trunk.


Many, many years ago as a teenager I had this solid wood “hope chest” a family friend gave to me. I call it “the trunk”. I decided to turn it into a mosaic project. At the time, 15 or so year old me had a red and grey bedroom, was obsessed with Nightmare Before Christmas, and was just starting to flex my crafting muscles. I chose red and black as the primary tile colors, and made big swirl shapes that still remind me of Nightmare Before Christmas. I painted the outside a flat gray.

I really enjoyed smashing tiles for this project, too.  Breaking things is therapeutic. Especially breaking them with a hammer. Especially during some angsty teen years.

I worked on it for quite some time, slowly and not super steadily. When the time to move off to college came about 2 years later, it was 75% of the way complete. I had added casters to the bottom so it was easier to move and could be used as a coffee table in my college life (hah! Like there was room for a coffee table in any of my dorms!). I have lugged this trunk up and down all kinds of stairs.

In college I didn’t work on it much at all. A year after graduation I decided to move across the country for a position and a new experience… and the trunk wound up in my artsy coworker’s basement, because I didn’t have room to bring it along on the drive. She owned a house and as an artist understood why I didn’t want to part with my (unfinished) project. Bless her.

Three years later, I was back in my college town for my best friend’s wedding. My coworker asked if I could you know, get my unfinished trunk out of her garage while I was in town. (I can’t believe she waited 3 years before saying anything?!) Of course, I had flown in, so I couldn’t really bring it with me- I decided it was time to donate it or otherwise part with the trunk for good. An AmeriCorps friend of mine, Stephanie, decided she would not only take it for me, but finish it! I was so happy knowing it was going to a good home and not the trash heap.

And the best part is, she actually followed through. Here’s The Trunk, finished more than 10 years after I first started it!

My original color scheme.

My original color scheme, just red and black.

Grouting it was probably one of the hardest parts, though I can't claim firsthand knowledge.

Grouting it was probably one of the hardest parts, though I can’t claim firsthand knowledge.

Stephanie, “the finisher” as I shall call her, decided to add another color to brighten it up a bit. I can’t blame her…. my style now would be a lot less dark.

Can't believe it's completed!

Can’t believe it’s completed!

Tada, finished product.

Tada, finished product.

It’s satisfying to know that this isn’t still in a state of half-completion after all these years. Thanks Steph!

It’s interesting to look at this project now because more than a decade later, if I were to start this project now in 2014 my design ideas would be totally different.