My first stepping stone was made in 1999. I can’t remember what prompted me to make it. Had I seen a decorative stepping stone in a neighbor’s yard? Did I see the kit in the craft store or in a Family Fun magazine? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. What I do remember is having two toddlers and wanting them to somehow be involved in their daddy’s Father’s Day gift.
The stepping stone kit was purchased at Michaels, the arts and craft store. I had a choice between a gray stone and terracotta colored stone, which was made with the regular cement and an added pouch of the terracotta mix. I chose the terracotta. Also in the kit was a plastic round mold, beige rocks, a craft stick (when I was growing up, it was a Popsicle stick), and a mixing stick.
The process of making it went well, considering it was my first time. I found a plastic bucket, poured in the dusty cement (cough, cough), added the water as instructed (which was not enough to get the right consistency), mixed, added more water – a tablespoon at a time – mixed, and poured and scraped it into the mold. Somehow I got it just right; it was solid enough to do the lettering with the craft stick and to place the girls’ hands on it for the imprint. Hayley and Kelly, then three and a half and fifteen months old, placed the rocks and pressed, with a little guidance from their meticulous mother.
- adding too much water causes our letters and imprints to disappear; that we have to use paper towels to sop up excess water on the stone, or that we have to come back to the process later after some of the water in the stone has evaporated,
- buying a plastic container at the dollar store and reusing it year after year, is better that using a good mopping bucket that has to be cleaned afterwards,
- cement from a hardware store that is typically used for sidewalks or whatever, contains all sorts of pebbles and stuff, and is difficult to work with…never again,
- using photographs under glass to decorate the stone is tedious, and that the sun eventually fades the pictures,
- breaking tiles to use as lettering is also tedious.
I don’t know what happened to the 2001 stone. Is it buried in the yard somewhere? I thought we made one that year. With three children 5 years old and under, maybe I was a little delusional. I can almost swear we made that stone, despite the lack on evidence, i.e. a stone.
2005 - The faces of the girls, under the "flowers" have faded.
2006 - The petals are thumbprints.
2007 - a new shape; rotation of a square
2008 - flipflops, and the addition of Layla, our dog
As you can see, all the stones were made for my husband as a Father’s Day gift. He says it’s his favorite gift each year and tells us not to worry about getting anything else for him other than cards. He was especially adamant this year when he made that statement, but when the iPod touch showed up on the gift table, he didn’t tell us to return it.
Have you made a stepping stone lately, or are you willing to make your first?