Ava Jane's Paint Project

Ok, so here’s a fun story.

We had an old desk that had been stuffed into the attic for years.Not even a real desk, more like a small computer desk with one drawer that had gone missing some time ago.In the course of a massive clean-out, the desk was set out at the curb to hopefully be adopted by any one of those mysterious folks who do that sort of thing.

But three days later that same old, beat-down desk was still laying face-down at the curb in front of our home.It was then that my daughter Ava Jane asked if she could have it.“What on earth could you want that old desk for?” I asked.She replied in her beyond-her-years, matter-of-fact manner “Daddy, I could use it in my room for all my science and art projects!”I immediately went to the street and recovered said dilapidated piece of discarded furniture and made a place of honor for it in my daughters previously well-decorated room.Ava then turns to me and proclaims that she wants to paint it, and that’s when a plan was hatched.We would go to Lowes that weekend and pick out and buy the paints needed for the desk.

And then comes the curve ball.In the interim, betwixt the desk recovery and the impending weekend, my daughter also proclaims that she wants to build a boat for her American Girl dolls.


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, if you have a daughter that’s not quite five or six then please prepare yourselves for the American Girl phenomenon.While you might think it’s just another doll trust me, it’s not just another doll.And I suppose when you have one, or two, they will then require aquatic transportation of grand measure and supreme style.That’s where dad comes in, but you better have your dad A-game rolling full steam.

So now we have a trip planned to Lowes on a random Sunday to acquire the paints needed to redo the orphaned desk and the materials needed to make a suitable water-craft for two American Girl dolls that go by the names Lea and Matilda.And yes, I’m a Lowes guy.Not to disregard Home Depot, but Lowes is my store, so then it is written that it will be the store of my progeny.

First stop, the paint department.Ava picks three perfect paint colors (Show stopper, Cadence, and Laffy Taffy) and delivers her selections to the counter, where four rough-looking men and one young lady were diligently working to deliver various shades of latex to a demanding crowd of do-it-yourselfers.When they saw Ava, and realized what the paints were for, they surprised us both by inviting her behind the counter to make the paints herself.Afraid of nothing, Ava dawned her own Lowes vest, used a five-gallon bucket as a step-ladder, and took over at the paint department.What was supposed to be another ordinary paint purchase turned into a memorable experience thanks to a staff that obviously took their jobs to a whole new level of unexpected awesomeness.A few minutes, and one paint-mixing education later, we left that department with fresh paints in hand, along with a few brushes and other necessities.




Now, how in the heck do you build a boat for a doll?First, we found a storage bin for a hull, one that would allow room for both Lea and Matilda to sit comfortably.Next, we needed a clear top, both to round out the look and provide some relief from the summer sun.Back in the paint department we found a small, clear paint tray that did the trick.Now, the trick was how to connect the inverted paint tray to the storage bin – so I bought a cheap mini-blind (work with me here).A few other items found, one last thank-you to the coolest paint department people ever, and off we went with our new-found treasure.

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Back home we took inventory of our stock and got straight to work on the doll boat.It was then that I was told (by my seven-year-old supervisor) that Lea and Matilda would need a seat in the boat, and luckily for us the box from the mini-blinds worked perfectly once it was cut to fit.We took the blind apart and used the thin pieces as vertical supports for the boat cover, securing everything with tape.In less than an hour the boat was ready for its paint job and you better believe Ava was standing ready with three ludicrous hues that would soon be applied with wild abandon.Later that evening the USS Lowes set sail on its maiden voyage with two passengers, both female, who remained dry for the duration and returned safely to shore after a relaxing cruise on the bay at Chez Linnemann.IMG_2070

The following day Ava set out to paint the desk, and that paint job is still underway as I write this.With no fear, and even less understanding of the potential disastrous consequences, my daughter throws open the cans of paint with enthusiastic fervor.While I cringe, I allow nature to take its course.A little paint spilled here and there is all part of the learning process.I would hate to stymie the budding artist.After all, what if Jackson Pollock’s parents had told him not to drip paint?That being said, we are using a drop cloth…IMG_1216

So in one afternoon my daughter and I created a cruise ship that seats two and rescued a discarded piece of furniture that I imagine will now never leave our home again.She learned how to make paint (thank you again Lowes) and subsequently how to apply it.And most of all we got time together that seems more and more at a premium nowadays, so what if there’s a little paint on the curtains.Small price to pay, eh?