Once upon a time–about a month ago–I spied this notice on my Facebook feed:
I fell hard and fast for that sweet little horse! It bore the markings of a child’s love–memories etched into the wood by its former owner. I suspected that my little friend Sara would love it, too.
Really quick, before Susie could change her mind, we hopped in my roadster and headed up to Once Upon A Storybook. We browsed the bookshelves, paid for our selections, and then ferried the horse toward greener pastures.
We stopped for frozen yogurt and allowed our imaginations free rein. And that’s how we eventually decided we’d transform the humble little horse into a fanciful pony, beribboned and bedazzled and rarin’ to go.
I should probably mention here that Sara and I knew nothing about repurposing wooden toys, much less the finer points of rocking horses.
But we’re resourceful!
We asked questions at Michaels and called upon our craftier friends. I also collected tips from the Internet, all of which I pinned to a special Rocking Horse Pinterest board.
And then we got to work.
First we scuffed the yellowed varnish with sandpaper. Two shiny-white layers of spray paint later, I realized I’d made a mistake.
We wanted to suggest a textured history, infused with special memories. Glossy paint just wouldn’t do! So I roughed it up again, and then slicked on some random patches of acrylic, willy-nilly. When I sanded the horse one final time (using fine-grade sandpaper and a feathery light touch), the original wood stain came peeking through. It looks like it’s had a storied past, now…just as we’d imagined.
Sara chose a Palomino-colored yarn for the mane and tail. It’s soft and twisty, like loosened braids.
While those marble eyes were cute, they had definitely seen their heyday. So we searched high and low for something different–something that suggested a wide-eyed sense of wonderment. To the rescue: my friend Donna, who shipped us some google eyes and false lashes.
I bought rope-like trim for the bridle, and retrieved a pair of earrings from the dark recesses of my jewelry box. I affixed both with E6000 glue, held in place with gardening tape.
While the glue was drying, we clipped images from discarded picture books and decoupaged them to the seat.
Once upon a storybook…Come, take a magical ride!
Next we stapled the mane and tail into place, and beautified everything with ribbons and bows. (Many thanks to my friend Sheri, who showed me how to stitch the yarn into place. I pinned her diagram to my Pinterest page.)
Voilà, bigger, brighter eyes! And more bedazzling, just because.
Finis, once we’ve tame the mane and clip a few threads!
We buckled our pony into my roadster this morning…
ferried it up to Once Upon a Storybook, and put it through its paces. Pictured here: that happy reunion, the stuff of lasting memories.
This horse will enjoy a happily-ever-after life at Chez Shore, where kids of all ages can enjoy it. Perhaps it’ll also make an occasional appearance at Susie’s bookstore. So you know: We’re now scouring Craigslist and yard sales, in search of a rocking horse for Sara’s stable. She tells me she wants a dappled pony, purple and pink, and plans to decorate it with hearts and flowers. She also mentioned butterflies in passing, and fairies. But who knows, she’ll likely change her mind a million times, before all is said and done. That’s the cool thing about my adventures with Sara: The possibilities are endless, same as our friendship.