Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Be Awesome Today DIY Sign

I have a mantra for my kids:  Be Awesome Today.  I mean, I think it says it all.  It's a great reminder, not just for them, but for anyone in the house (that includes the cockapoo).  So I put it into a sign.

The idea I had for this sign was inspired by The Handmade Home and their DIY sign.  (NOTE:  their method is different than mine, so check both out to see what works for you). 

It's a pretty fabulous blog I follow and I recommend it to you as well.  This sign is made in reverse:  meaning, the background is painted and the words are stained.  And I knew I could make it on the "cheaps". (Sorry for the lack of photos for this tutorial.  I was super-excited to get it done that I forgot the damned camera).

Here's how I did it:  First I decided how long and tall I wanted the sign to be. Then I opened a Word document and typed in "Be Awesome Today" and tested many different fonts before settling down with Travel Diary, free from the Dafont website.

I enlarged it until it fit the area on which I want the sign (about 6').  **Before printing your finished font onto paper, change your font to "outline".  This will save you LOADS of ink/toner.**  Of course, if you have a Silhouette or Cricut machine, your method will be different and easier.  This is for the lot of us who are too cheap to buy them like to use the old-fashioned way.  My font size was 450, so obviously I couldn't get the whole saying on one sheet of paper.  I got "Be" on one, and "aw" on another, etc . . . I actually used 7 pieces of printed paper to make my sign.

After you have your paper printed, you need a sign to put it on.  I love to use strapping or furring strips when I can and this is the perfect project.  Each piece is about $1.50, so I made my sign for about $8.  This kind of wood is very rough and perfect for a sign when trying to achieve that "beat up" or "aged" look.

I cut the wood to the proper length then simply placed the strips side-by-side until I achieved the correct width.  Then I took smaller pieces of furring strips and glued and nails them into the boards to brace the sign.  I sanded down the rough parts and now it's ready for stain.

(Here's where I forget the rest of the photos, ack!!)
I grabbed some stain and covered the whole front and even around the edges including my braces (just in case you see them when it is mounted on the wall.  After the stain is dry, I took my Be Awesome Today sheets, and centered them on my sign.  After liking the placement, I held each one in place while I took a pen and traced over each letter with a heavy hand.  This method should produce an indentation in the wood.  It will work on these furring strips because they are made of pine and pine is generally a soft wood.  I kept peeking under the paper to make sure there was indeed indentations (oh, I made an alliteration).

I decided on a bright color for the sign as I wanted a little *pop* in our living room.  I had one of Martha Stewart's sample bottles called Sultana (purchased at Home Depot), and it fit the bill.  I poured a little in a 3oz Dixie cup and grabbed my flat shader artist paint brush.  I then traced around the letter indentations with the paint.  Of course this took a lot of time, but it's the kind of work I find soothing (I know, weird).  I had the sign on my lap, watched listened to the TV and went to work on the sign.  By the time I finished the "y" in "today", it was ready for a second outlining coat.  When I was finished, I just coated the rest of the negative space in paint (regular paint brush), using a second coat where needed.  When it was dry, I sanded the edges to give it a worn look and let some of the stain peek through, then screwed in the hangers on the back and we were ready to go!

Loving the look of the wood grain
Holy clutter in the kitchen Batman!
So, that's our Be Awesome Today reminder.  Although my husband finds it kind of silly, I just think he needs to think out of the box and be a little bit more awesome today.

Monday, June 25, 2012

You Gotta Go: Red Sky Trading in Glover, Vt

I am so excited to share this little jewel of a find with you.  Away on a girl's weekend (boy, I need more of these), just down the street from our camp on the beautiful Shadow Lake in Glover, Vermont, me and my lady friends come across Red Sky Trading.  The bright welcoming sign should be enough to make anybody stop.

It's actually a small, open barn right next to a brick home, presumably the owners of this magical place.  If it wasn't for the vibrant colors of the Adirondack chairs, I think you could blink and miss it.  And boy, would you be missing a lot.

Scattered across the yard in the front of the barn are these beautiful chairs, welcoming all to rest their weary feet.  Joining them is an eclectic collection of fabulous flea market finds.  I can only imagine the selection changes on a weekly basis.

After perusing the furniture, you make your way to the open entrance of the barn to find this sign: 

I mean, come on!!!  My heart goes pitter patter to know they are using the honor system.  I immediately sink to a place in time that I have never lived, one where you can depend on your neighbor for paying you an honest wage for your goods.  (**heart melting**)

As you step into the barn, you can see what a labor of love this place is for the owners. All sorts of homemade jams & jellies fill the cabinets.  Nostalgic signs litter the walls.  Flea market pottery is color-coordinated on shelves (**swooning**).  Bags of bottle caps made into magnets are for sale in perfect little packaging.  Antique tea cups sit atop stakes to serve as mini bird baths.

Can't get enough of these pastels.

So friggin adorable!

And don't forget the donuts.  I can pass by a donut easily, with the ginormous amount of calories in each bite, but I couldn't pass by these.  Oh no.  These are a treat, and everyone deserves a treat.  Homemade, hand-cut donuts dipped in sugar.  I took one for myself, stuffed it into the paper sack, put my money in the wooden box (on my honor), and would soon enjoy it sitting by the babbling brook (yes, there is a babbling brook).  

This donut deserves the extra large photo.  ;)

 Just behind the barn, the owners have some amazing gardens and animal friends.  I took special interest in the "found" art decorating their garden shed.

Red Sky Trading is a place that pulls at your heart strings and invites you to stay for a spell.  You can take a stroll through their barn, pay for your wares, then relax by the river eating your hand-cut donuts, perhaps slathered in homemade jam.

And that's exactly what we did.  

Check out Red Sky Trading here or their Facebook page.

(Note:  all photos taken using my iPhone and transformed using Instagram filters).

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Chair Planter

My wonderful mother-in-law gave my husband and I a set of fabulous dining room chairs that had been collecting dust in her attic.  To me these are special because A:  they were from my husband's parents, and B:  they are so individually unique.

But, alas, they can no longer do the job they were intended to do.  Well, I guess I could have them re-caned, but I decided not to go down that road.  I actually replaced some of the broken seats with wood inserts and used chair pads over them.  But the chairs themselves were started to get a little too wobbly, so they've been taking up space in my garage until I could figure out what to do with them.  

Not so good for seating.
I had a pretty good helper to take out the caning.
And now I have.  One of them has found a new role in welcoming guests to our home.  I took out the seat altogether, painted it with some DIY chalk paint and of course, had to distress her.  Now she sits at our side entry door, encased with a pot of petunias, my favorite summer annual.  

LOVING the details of these chairs.
I already have an order for another chair and another three waiting to be claimed.  You can check it out in my store.  This is a great way to keep a chair you love that has been showing it's age.  :)

Sharing with:

Miss Mustard Seed

Primitive and Proper

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Meet Franklin, the side table

This was a Craigslist find and after seeing the knobby legs and wavy-cut panels, I had to have him. 

The Before
I recently purchased Annie Sloan paint and I was chomping at the bit to use it.  This was the perfect piece; although the construction is wood, the top is laminate.  This paint is supposed to coat virtually any surface and stick.  So here goes it. 

I used Annie Sloan Old White on the outside and for the drawer I used Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue.  I wanted that "peek-a-boo" affect when you opened the drawer.  Franklin is not afraid to show his feminine side that he keeps under drawers, if you know what I mean (**snicker, snicker**).  After painting, I distressed a bit and then added Annie's clear wax.  It's like butta!  (butta = butter;  I am originally from Massachusetts).  With the addition of clear glass knobs, I think he's looking kind of fancy!

Hello Duck Egg Blue!

He is 21" tall, 21" wide and 28" deep and looking to fill a space in someone's home.  You can check him out in my shop here.

Have a great day!

Linking to: 
Too Much Time On My Hands

Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Conquering your fear and enjoying the beauty

I had planned on just writing about the beautiful trip we took up Mt. Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. But this day trip had more in store for me. We were fortunate enough to spend Memorial Day weekend with a family we are very close with, thanks to both our sons having Down syndrome. It's nice to spend time with people who "get" you. Anyhow, we decided to take our respective minivans up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. What the heck, I'd never been and it seemed like a holiday weekend thing to do.

As we pulled up to the start of the road, we were handed this folder. I should have been worried when the envelope talked about cooling your brakes and in bold telling you to drive all the way up and down in lowest gear. I just remember thinking let's get this show on the road! Did I mention that my husband asked me if I wanted him to drive and I said no?

We popped in the CD given to us and listened to the history of the road as we slowly made our way to the summit. . . . I was listening until the tree line stopped. Then I think my heart stopped beating. Holy ca ca. I was scared. The road was narrow, shared by traffic both ways, and we were just a few feet from careening off the side of the mountain. Holy ca ca!! Just writing this now brings shakes to my typing (or maybe that is 4 cups of coffee). My husband had the audacity to stick his head out the sun roof and take pictures, while yelling to me, "Check this out!!" I don't remember exactly what I screamed back, but expletives were involved. I was driving, leaning into the mountain, thinking this would help balance the car. Seriously?

Oh yea, I was scared
When we finally got to the top, parked on an expansive lot, I could get out of the car and feel my feet squarely on the ground. And I felt safe.

Well, this was all new to me. Being scared. Sure, I'm not wild about heights, like the top of a Ferris wheel, but many people don't like too. I looked around at the summit and didn't see the fear in other's faces like I felt in mine. And I didn't like it. Didn't like feeling the fear. And knew I couldn't gaze up at Mt. Washington from below and not remember how I was scared and didn't do anything about it. So I did. I was scared, but I stuck my head out the window. And it was worth it.

Beautiful, just beautiful
  I hope my kids learn to stick their heads out the window when they are scared (not literally, unless it is safe, just figuratively). I didn't want to regret being afraid and not doing anything about it. So go ahead, stick your head out of your proverbial window. You'll be glad you did.

Head out the window, wind blowing in hair, bugs in teeth, and I felt fine.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

My Fancy Dancy Curtain Rods

How many of you actually pull your curtains closed?  Of course, that may have been their original intention way back when windows didn't keep the cold out and shades had not yet been invented, but I'm guessing that most of us use them for decoration and the much needed sound absorption of our screaming 3 year olds.

Think Debbie, how can you find a creative way to hang your curtains and not spend a gazillion dollars on an unnecessary, super-long curtain rod?  ***DING*** (That's the sound of the lightbulb going off in my head).  The answer:  a towel holder, or bar, depending on your lingo.

For under $5 each, I purchased the wooden honey oak towel holders at Home Depot.  The beauty of this baby is you can cut the dowel to the size you need AND you can paint, distress, and glaze them. And I did just that.

After pulling them out of the package, I got out my handy dandy (fancy dancy) can of black spray paint.  I gave them a coat or two, not forgetting the little plastic covers that fill the screw holes.  After the paint was dry, I took some fine sandpaper and distressed the edges.

Top one is distressed, bottom is not

Next, I grabbed some turquoise paint I had laying around and rubbed it all over the wood.  I let it dry for maybe 15 seconds and then used a cloth to pull off the paint.  If you don't like the look you achieved, you can do it again and wait longer.  After my "glaze" was dry, I coated the towel bars in wax.

Now it was time to hang the babies.  I wanted as much light to come in the room as possible, so I decided to hang the curtains just over the outside seam of the window.  I hung all four panels for around $19 and got a custom look too.  I guess you can't beat that with a stick.  :)

You can see where the "glaze" stayed in the seams

Creating a frame around the new TV console