Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Magnetic Mayhem and Creative Crises

Good Morning Pinstrosity land! Are you ready for an uber productive day? Me neither...but I'm bound and determined to make it happen. Roughly every 5 to 7 months the mice of the world decide to hold Woodstock under my house and, regardless of the level of cleanliness or filthiness of the house,  for 7-10 days my house smells like animal pee and filth. The smell comes up through the vents and the walls and it just reeks. We're about half way into the week of stench and I'm just done. So today I'm hitting the house hard: cleaning every room really well (I know it doesn't help the smell...but there's just something in my brain that says "You're house smells like pee, you have to clean."), throwing poison pellets under the house, and then coming up with some sort of cover I can attach to all the vents to keep the stench from coming in as much. So...there's my plan for the day. If I have time afterward, I want to create and craft and do something fun, and today's post gives me just the idea of what I want to do. 

The Original Pin:
It's a message center made out of a dollar store cookie sheet, magnets, a tin can, and scrapbook materials. I think it's a super fun idea that could be tweaked to fit a number of different needs. I've been wanting to make a station for our weekly planning night (we call it Family Night) that has a calendar, memo pad, and a mini menu area. This could be adapted to that so easily. I've also decided I want to make me a writing station with stationary, pens, stamps, envelopes, stickers, etc. for my letter writing. This would be a great way to organize that. I don't have an extra cookie sheet lying around, but I have more empty fabric bolts and I'm sure I can adapt this message center idea to the supplies on hand. Maybe. We'll see. Famous last words: "Oh, I'm sure I can substitute this for that and it'll turn out just the same!". Haha, oh well. If I get enough cleaning done, this'll be my fun project reward for the day. I'll report later.

Leslie saw this message center idea and wanted to make one for her, so she gathered her materials and started crafting away. She went with a sea shell and copper beach theme and when she put it all together on the table, it looked awesome!

Everything seemed great until she hung it up, and the Pinstrosity happened.

The Pinstrosity

"The magnets weren't strong enough to hold on top of the scrapbook paper. I now wasted 5 hours (yes, I know!!!) yes, 5 hours of my precious "me time" making a pretty, well, pretty useless cookie sheet that won't cook cookies or hold my messages."

Sad sad day. I'm sorry Leslie! That is frustrating. I got curious about the cookie sheets I have in my cupboard and how magnets would work on them, so I grabbed an average strength magnet from my fridge and pulled out the cookie sheets. The cheap pan I bought my 2nd year of college (nearly a decade ago now! yikes!) works fantastic. The magnet holds super strong. The nice big cookie sheets we got at our wedding do not work at all. The magnet doesn't hold in the slightest. So Leslie may have run into trouble a few different ways. First, it may be that her pan is just not made of a magnetic metal (iron, nickel, cobalt, gadolinium, neodymium and samarium are the magnetic metals according to ask.com). If your cookie sheets are aluminum (as many are it seems), magnets won't stick in the slightest. If your cookie sheet is a weird alloy of various metals, the magnets may sort of stick, but not great. So there's the first technical issue that may have happened here. Second, it may be that the magnets themselves were the issues. I have some magnets on my fridge that are only strong enough to hold up a receipt or two while other magnets will hold up a wet dishtowel. 

When you are gathering your supplies for this project, be sure to test out your pan and your magnets before you put in the time, effort, and emotion. You'll need a pan that is magnetic, and magnets strong enough to hold through a few layers of thick paper. 

But...now what to do with a magnetic message board that doesn't work? 
Here are my untried and untested ideas:

  • Peel all the paper and glue off and scrub it down back into a cookie pan (lots of work and not so much fun)
  • Morph it into a cute serving tray for fun dinners, picnic lunches, or parties
  • Glue more containers on (like the pencil holder), to hold papers, stickers, or whatever items you want to use with your message center. 
  • If the pan is magnetic and it's the magnets that are messing things up, just hold out until you can find you some of those super strong magnets (many craft stores have them)
  • Turn it into a menu board. My sister made one and the magnets wouldn't hold, so she glued mini clothespins on the board for each day and had three compartments at the bottom to hold the meal ideas, and then she just used the clothespins to hold the meals in place for each day. It was really cute! 
Whatever you do, don't despair and give up on your creativity when a project doesn't work out. I know in my life sometimes I feel like I have streaks where none of my projects turn out the way I want them to, and having failed or disappointing projects one after the other can really test your sanity and self-confidence. I've had this "genius" idea for a while now on how to turn our graduation tassels into Christmas ornaments (not the clear glass ball one you see on Pinterest...but that's what inspired me). The other day I gathered my supplies, put them together, and they look stupid. Really stupid. I wasted time, supplies, and excited energy and it was really frustrating. But, I've learned with my failed projects not to throw them away immediately. I take them and the leftover supplies, and put them away (sometimes that means in my nice unfinished project drawer, sometimes it means in the top of the closet where I can't see them, or just chucked on the desk in the spare room). Later I'll eventually come back to them and find they weren't so disastrous and I'll be able to salvage them somehow, or I'll find I can deconstruct the failed project and use the supplies for something else. But I definitely don't have the patience for either of those right after the initial project fail. 

The yearn to create is within each of us, but we each express this creativity differently. Some craft, some write,  some keep kids happy and entertained, some build houses, some come up with great business improving ideas, some are able to just look in a pantry and create an awesome meal out of three mystery cans of food, some come up with great cleaning ideas. We all have a creative drive within us, but unfortunately Pinterest is flooded with more crafting, food, and decorative pins than with any other type and it can really make it hard to feel like you're doing okay if those aren't your strengths. Don't let what you see on Pinterest give you the wrong idea. You are creative. Every person is creative. I have a great book for you about this. My aunt introduced it to me years ago (4 or 5 years now, way before I heard of Pinterest), and it has really helped me change my perspective on creativity and my abilities. It's a fantastic read and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those that feel like they truly aren't creative in any way, shape, or form. The book is A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle (the same lady that wrote the "A Wrinkle in Time" series). 

It's easy to get down on yourself. Trust me, I do it all the time. But that's a rough way to live from day to day. Give yourself a break, just breathe, and remember that things don't have to be perfect (my family is probably laughing at that last line...me say something doesn't have to be perfect? I know). 



  1. There is a pin on pintrest about sprinkling vanilla extract on your air conditioner filter to help the house smell nice....you could probably do that with the essential oil of your choice...and maybe some small pieces of felt across your floor vents sprinkled with the oil? Just a thought!

    1. That is an excellent idea! I'll give that a try to see if it helps the smell in the house.

    2. Scented dryer sheets over the floor vents is supposed to help make a nice smell and catch dust too. I've never used the idea, but was told about it on facebook =)

  2. I've encountered problems with magnets too. For one, don't bother wasting money on the strips that come in rolls. They don't work at all. Not even a little bit. I've had better luck with the thick discs, the larger of the two sizes works best.

  3. More cats. More. Cats.

    1. We tried that route, but the big owl that lives in the tree outside our house takes care of the cats (as do the coyotes). We were going through more cats than mice I think and so we quit that method, lol. Inside cats aren't so much of an option right now (allergies).

  4. You can buy different strengths of magnets at Michael's (probably other craft/hobby stores, too). I made a message board for my mom a few years back and I wanted heavier things (cards, pictures, etc) to be able to stay up without any problems. You can even get them in different sizes! I can't remember the cost, but I know they are a bit more expensive than regular magnets. IMO, they are worth it.

  5. There is an enzyme spray to help the decomposition of the poisened mice speed up.you spray it in the enclosed places. Also coffee is one of the strongest sir fresheners there is. They used it to deodorize the milk truck when they came back in after milk spilled. Buy the cheapest coffee you can and just spread it around.

  6. "Failure is ALWAYS an option!" Adam Savage, Mythbuster :)


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