CLARENVILLE, N.L. - After one of the most painful times of her life, a Clarenville woman with a newly discovered knack for creativity knew exactly what to do to cap off such a bad year.
Gina James decided to make a beer bottle cap floor, transforming the wooden surface of her family’s 16x14 shed into an impressive design using beer bottle tops.
“I thought it would be cool,” she said. “Once I got into it, I couldn’t stop.”
The 53-year-old — who moved to Clarenville from St. John’s in 2015 — first came up with the idea a few years while relaxing in the shed with her husband Danny and son Cody. She noticed the pot-belly stove in the corner was filling with beer caps over the months from family and friends tossing them in there during get-togethers.
She didn’t do anything about bringing her idea into reality until March, five months after her mother died.
“I was going through some tough times. It was a horrible year. Mom passed away and there were a bunch of other things going on that was really getting to me,” said James, a mother of four.
“I was in a bad funk and one day when I was in the shed alone, I was looking over at the stove and said to myself I’m going to do that damn floor.”
She searched the internet for inspiration, but couldn’t find anything involving a beer cap floor. Videos of people creating floors from coins told her enough to know she had to lay contact cement first.
Starting at one of the walls, she began laying the beer caps in rows.
“It took me all day to separate them. I’d do a row of each brand,” she said. “When I saw it coming together, I stepped back and thought, ‘Man, this is really cool.’
“When my husband came home from working offshore one day, I said to him, ‘Look what I’ve started.’ He shook his head, but he knew I needed something to keep my mind off things.”
But before she knew it, she ran out of caps after completing just a few rows around the floor.
“That’s when I realized this was going to take more caps that I thought,” James said. “I needed caps for about 50 more rows.”
That’s when she put out the call to family, friends and acquaintances to help her collect more. People were more than willing to help out.
“One guy who works offshore with Danny gave me a full garbage bag of them,” she said, laughing. “And the lady at the post office in Hillview, Sophie, God love her, she’d leave me some in the mail box for me almost every day.
“It was just like Christmas when I’d get more caps.”
After laying about 20,000 beer caps, the floor is now finally all covered. But James still needs to grout before applying a clear coat, which she hopes her husband will do.
“My husband wouldn’t help me while I was doing it. He’d say, ‘No, this is your project. I want you to finish it because I want to tell my friends about what you did,’” said James, who said it was worth the many aches and pains she experienced while working on the floor.
“And I do feel proud. It turned out pretty good. It was just a project to distract me from stuff and it turned out to be something really great.”
Once it’s complete, James plans to turn the rest of the shed into the beer theme, adding her matt that says, ‘Welcome. I hope you brought beer,’ neon beer signs and making curtains from banners found in cases of Molson.
“I figure why not go all out, right?” she said. “Then after it’s all done, I’ll sit back and enjoy it.”