|Beauty is where you find . . . or create it.|
I confess I spend too much time reading the news and getting updates on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. What is needed is a more positive activity, and tiny trailer owner Kelly McGinnis found the perfect at-home activity with his wife and daughter--painting rocks. I haven't written an article for the Arts and Crafts category for my blog in a while, so it was with great appreciation that Kelly responded to my query and provided the following story and information. I hope inspiration hits and that we all find time for quality activities wherever we are--in addition to whatever essential routines we maintain.
|New Wave Teardrop|
Kelly is a tiny trailer owner, having bought a New Wave Teardrop trailer back in November. "I love it," he says. "I did buy it with the intention of using it for my kayaking/rafting trips year round. I have been a hammock camper for years."
A high school teacher/coach, Kelly lives in Mississippi, "but for the past seventeen years, I have spent my summers in Ocoee, Tennessee, as a river guide on the Ocoee River. It was the Whitewater venue for the '96 Olympics."
|Kelly McGinnis, expertly negotiating white water.|
"I work for Nantahala Outdoor Center and am a Master Guide and Head Guide on the Ocoee River, one of seven rivers the NOC operates on. I do train new guides, and I am a certified EMT and Wilderness EMT along with being a Swiftwater Rescue Professional. Summers I live in staff housing but my weekends (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) I am planning on paddling other southeastern rivers and staying in my camper. The Ocoee River is dam controlled and runs Thursday through Monday. I compete in whitewater events along with flatwater racing year round."
|Glass, tile, and Quikcrete|
Working for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality as an environmental scientist, Kelly's daughter Sarah-Kelly had been a river guide also until graduating from college two years ago. His wife and daughter are both very "crafty" and have made stepping stones and mosaics before. "The rocks we painted were not gathered in 'the wild.' We get them from a landscaper so as to follow the 'Leave No Trace' philosophy."
The paint for the stones was acrylic art paint, and then the pieces were clear-coated when finished. The McGinnises use whatever they can find for molds for the stepping stones, such as tupperware, fastfood go containers and the like. They use Quikcrete for the stepping stones and use broken glass or tiles for the designs.
"We have done this a few times during quarantine for a few hours each session. Just get outside and let your imagination run as far as designs and what to paint. It really is fun and relaxing. We have spent more quality time together on the front porch talking, playing cornhole, sitting around the firepit in the backyard and cooking outside. It really has been much better than I would have imagined."Backyard artwork has not been their only activity, though. Their other quarantine projects have mostly been landscape updates, house repair projects, and organizing their "overflowing" outdoor gear collection. Kelly's wife Leslie also has been nailing Crocs to their fence and planting in them. "At first we were paddling every day until the shelter-at-home decree statewide. I had just returned from teaching Raft Guide School on the Nantahala River in North Carolina during our spring break when they closed school. During spring break I had stayed seven days riverside in my squaredrop."
|Creative recycling of Crocs|
As soon as the quarantine lifts, Kelly plans on returning to Tennessee to guide, and he'll be taking his camper. "My wife says my ten weeks on the river each year make me much more easy to live with the other forty-two weeks!"
We all have camping plans for when it's safe enough to camp again. I'm hoping to attend a Rustic Trail Teardrop Campers gathering in early October in Tennessee at Harrison Bay State Park, which, funnily enough, is only thirty-one miles away from the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Ocoee River. Small world!