The Basement Child of Willoughby

The Basement Child of Willoughby

By: Stephanie L. Robertson

mixed media house

Listen here—don’t you feel sorry for me. What happened was a long time ago, and I don’t appreciate pity. I git purty tired of them long looks Willoughby folks give me. It happened over twenty-five years ago, and let’s leave it at that.

I suspect you ain’t heard the story—being new to Willoughby and all that. I reckon I’ll tell ya, since ya’ll seem so nice.

Just don’t blame me, alright? As long as ya don’t blame me, I’ll tell ya what happened.

Well, like I say, it happened over twenty-five years ago—naw, I need to go back further than that. Hmmm. Maybe thirty years ago…

I was hurting somethin’ fierce.

“Stop pushin, Mayline,” said Doc Quimby, wiping sweat from his forehead. “This baby is breached.”

It finally got born.

“Oh!” gasped the nurse, her eyes round as gourds.

Doc Quimby’s wordlessly laid it across my chest.

I took it home, grieving it and my husband who just died in the war. I let nobody see it, and before long, time came for it to go to school. I couldn’t let that truant woman have a look at it. She came along, knocking at my door.

“My sister in Mobile has it,” I lied.

“Your child needs to come back home and get in school,” said that truant woman.

I said alright.

I had to think of somethin’.

Y’all want to know my secret?

Y’all will be the only one who knows, other than my sister. She kept it the during the whole “kidnapping” ruckus in Willoughby, twenty-five years ago. When I took it down to Mobile—that was the first time since its birth that it seen daylight.

Our no-good sheriff came and investigated. I knew I didn’t have much to worry about with him on the case. Pretty soon, the whole thing blew over and went to cold case.

I brought it back from Mobile, and it’s lived here ever since.

Now, if y’all will ‘scuse me, I gotta go take a plate of dinner down to the basement. Like I’ve done for thirty years.

mixed media house

Basement Child art by Stephanie.

Mixed media materials:
acrylic paint, upcycled fence piece, fabric, magazine clippings, Modge Podge, and Titebond 2 Premium Wood Glue.

Pin or Pitch — Harrison Brothers Wall Art


The wood.

So I bought these pieces of wood from Harrison Brothers a few weeks back.

Wood glue didn’t hold the wood to an old piece of laminate flooring that I found in my Dad-in-Law’s junk pile.

Instead, I nailed each piece to the laminate with some trim nails that I had on hand.


Old laminate is not the easiest thing to hammer into. At least it was upcycled, though. (I.e., Free!)

One piece split (boooo!) and I nailed them in a little crooked.


Oh, come on, nail! Really?!!!


I’m such an impatient crafter. To hide that, I stuck pieces of sticks in the crevaces and hot-glued the raw edges to hide the laminate.

My Dad-in-Law had these awesome steampunk-looking pieces of rusted wire that I bent to make some pretty lines for the hanger.

I made a patch-work quilt of sorts out of decorative contact paper and duct tape. I wanted the back to look pretty, and I also wanted to protect my drywall from the protruding nail heads.


Alas, the wood was too heavy, so I nailed these Hillman sawtooth hangers on the back and hung them on my drywall with monkey hangers.


It turned out crooked on my wall, but I’ve got to scram and didn’t have time to hang it straight.

I’ve got about 3 tiny holes in the wall, but the artwork hides them.

Since I got the wood pieces at the Harrison Brothers basement, who knows what part of a great old southern home now hangs in my house!
So what do you guys think?

Is it Pin-worthy or should I pitch it?


Done! (Sorta.)

Creative Christmas Crafts

Have you finished your Christmas shopping?

I haven’t but am determined to do so within the next three crazy shopping days!

I want to re-post a picture from last year of good, heavy-duty wrapping paper from T.J. Maxx. This year, I went there straightaway to get mine.


Here are the teacher gifts that I made for Princess Buttercup’s fabulous teachers who work so hard to educate our kids. Mom is a retired teacher, and I gave it about two years before I moved toward a technical writing career. So I know how hard they all work.

I love to upcycle things for gifts, and I got my ideas from here, here,
and here.


    • Plyers (if needed)
    • clean tin can
    • scrap paper
    • hot glue gun
    • fabric scraps


      1. Thoroughly clean a used tin.
      2. Use plyers to clamp down on sharp edge(s) of tin so no one can get cut. If necessary, place hot glue over sharp edges or use scrap paper to cover it.
      3. Measure a piece of scrap paper and wrap around tin, using hot glue as you go. (You may be able to use other glue; I haven’t experimented with it, though.)
      4. Add embellishments to cover up scrap paper edges or any flaws. (Here’s where your creativity really comes into place! After creating so many, I ran out of time and energy started simply tying the cans with ribbon.)

Ribbon looks cute, too!

Well, gotta go do mom Christmas prep! I’m going to try to order my cooking ingredients from the Walmart pickup so I’m not wasting time running up and down the aisles looking for stuff. I’ll let you know how it works!

Merry (early) Christmas, dear Readers!