“Doubt can only be removed by action.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Take a gander at what I found at TJ Maxx. I wasn’t even shopping for it but it caught my eye because I’ve longed to have a vintage card catalog in my world as a reminder of all the good memories of precious time spent in libraries during my youth. This $32 replica had my attention.
I looked at the clothing in my shopping cart and considered which would be the better purchase. The leggings and fluffy sweater would hide the inevitable wintertime weight gain for a season, however a card catalog full of creamers, sugar, teas, and coffee would serve daily indefinitely. And just like that, decision made.
I brought it home, made room on the counter and stashed some supplies within to see if it looked okay. It fit and I liked it, but it was missing something. Look at the faces of those boxes. Blank canvas, each and every one. It needed color.
I rushed to the studio and grabbed my supply of Unicorn Spit gel stains. I knew instantly this would dress up the drab and plain drawer faces. The colors are great and I’ve practiced with this product. I can do this, I told myself.
And just like that, Fear & Doubt, long-time frenemies who like to visit when I embark on a new project showed up. They brought up some salient points. No one else uses these colors in their kitchen—it’s plain for a reason—if you paint, it might be ruined—what if you mess up—you can’t take it back.
I started to engage in that worn-out conversation because it’s comfortable and familiar and easy, you know what I mean? It’s a very bad, no good habit. Sometimes when I participate in that dialogue, I end up with what I call Perfection Paralysis. Having Fear & Doubt at the party is a real buzz kill. And I. Am. Done. With. It.
So I bounced them out the door, picked up a paintbrush, squirted some colorful Unicorn Spit in a bowl, and began. As I took action, the magic happened. All fear, doubt, and uncertainty flew out the window. Just like that. The colors transformed each little drawer and I was pleased with the outcome.
Outside, I sealed them with Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane spray, let them dry, and reattached the handles. Six little metal handles with six little empty slots. What if I filled each empty slot with a card that identified the contents of each drawer, I pondered.
Or better yet, what if I put the Dewey Decimal number* for a book on the subject that corresponded to the drawer’s contents? This thing is a replica of a card catalog, right? The drawer the honey is in could have the number 641.681. Because that’s where you would find books about honey. I’m a fan of quirky and offbeat so I deemed this idea worthy of further pursuit.
I devoted some time online hanging with Melvil Dewey and the system he invented in 1876 for cataloging and classifying books.
While I didn’t find any books about hazelnut flavored non-dairy creamer (my favorite coffee-related indulgence), I did find a book about hazelnuts in general, so the classification number of 634.5 for that drawer would suffice.
Remember, this is symbolism and I have a creative license to make this stuff up as I go. Fun and whimsical results happen when belief and faith in the process is honored.
I put the numbers in Word, printed them on plain white paper and shook my head at the result. Not very pretty. It needed to be on something vintage, something meaningful. Which I found at Joann’s in the paper crafting section. An entire book of Maps, Text & Ledgers. One hundred and eighty pages of glorious maps, text, and ledgers, vintage-style. I knew this would fit the bill the minute it was in my hands. Just like that.
I flipped through the stack and found a replica of the screenplay for one of my all-time favorite books, Little Women, in sienna brown text. Perfect. I could have coffee with Beth, Jo, Amy, and Meg every morning while raising my mug to salute Louisa May Alcott’s genius talent and mad writing skills.
I printed the numbers in brown, cut them out and inserted in their holders and was satisfied with how it came together.
As an added bonus, the space between the top of the box and the bottom of the cabinets is enough to allow the display of the colorful, positive and inspirational mugs I collect.
Project done. Doubts banished. Faith in the process honored. Creativity exercised. Joy summoned.
Just like that.
*The numbers I used for the cards are actually based on the MDS or Melvil Decimal System and is part of LibraryThing dot com’s classification work of libraries around the world whose assignments are not copyrightable.