January 2013

January-2013: Happy New Year everyone!  My husband and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on January 2nd.  There are years for paper, wood, diamonds, etc.  I had no idea what 35 was supposed to be but I decided I wanted to make my husband a “keepsake” type gift.  He always writes me such beautiful letters on our anniversary and I wanted this year’s gift to him to be something unique.

I enjoy playing Scrabble and Words with Friends so I got the idea of making a crossword puzzle using Scrabble tiles to spell out the names of our family members.  The first thing I did was write the letters of the alphabet to see how many tiles I needed to spell out all the names.  Then I wrote down my name, my husband’s name, our two children, their spouses, and all four grandchildren. (Even though one is 2 months away from being born, he has been named).  Then I made a tally mark as each letter was used to spell a name, then marked through that name.  After all the names were done, I counted each letter to see how many I needed of each.  Here is my worksheet:


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I came to the realization that I would probable need to buy 2 sets of Scrabble tiles since each set comes with one letter J and one letter K and I would need two of each, unless I could somehow cross both names to use only one.  But, with Jake needing both, I doubted I could figure that out and it would probably make my head hurt trying.  Somebody needs to create a software program for that!  So, I went on Ebay and found several sellers selling Scrabble tiles.  You can even buy the “Deluxe” mahogany tiles if you want to really splurge!  I decided on the standard wood tiles with black letters and bought two sets so I would have all the letters I needed.

Then comes the “crossword” part.  I only had 10 names to crisscross but it was harder than I thought it would be.  My goal was to keep everything within a 11 X 14 space for the mat and frame that I planned to use.  I used a checked fabric as a guideline to make sure I lined the tiles up straight.  I didn’t take a picture of all the attempts but sometimes I would have everything spelled out and then a name that wouldn’t fit in anywhere.  Then, I would start over and try again.  I finally decided I should use the longest name and try to build off that.  Here is one attempt that worked out where all the names fit.

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Afraid it would take me forever to figure this out, I took a picture and then made another attempt.  I really preferred to have the picture turned the other way, 14 inches across and 11 inches down.  Finally, I came up with this one where I was able to spell out all the names  wider than tall and also could fit “Family” across the top.

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Next I decided on a green and tan plaid for my background fabric.  I cut out a piece that would cover the back cardboard piece and lined it up as straight as possible.  I glued it to the cardboard and let it dry.  Then I positioned the tiles and tried to keep the entire crossword puzzle centered.  Once I played around with moving them over and up until the entire design appeared to be centered on my board, I added the word “Family” and got it centered also.  Then, one by one, I pulled up each tile and placed a drop of glue on the back and pressed it down into the fabric.  I used something called Liquid Fusion which dries fast and clear.  Once all the tiles were in place and lined up with the plaid lines, I let it dry for about 30 minutes.  When I tilted the board up and saw that everything was secure, I placed the frame on top to see how it all looked from the front with the mat.  Here is that picture.

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After turning it over, I bent all the metal prongs down on the back of the frame to hold the cardboard in place and then took this final picture.  I showed it first to my kids and they thought it was neat and that dad would like it.  He did.  Now I have to find space on my wall to hang it in just the right spot.  I have lots of leftover tiles so I need to think of the next project to use them in some way.  I’ll let you know what I come up with.

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