Tuesday, March 24, 2015


It's time for another project post. Alex and I totally nailed this one (unlike this project).

I have been in love with these types of signs forever:

Joanna's Home | The Magnolia Mom

There are so many great elements to get behind - The black and white contrast, the letters (I love letters and all kinds of fonts), the patina of a well-worn, cherished antique and the simpleness of such a statement. 

I just love it, love it, love it.

As charming as I think they are, lots of other people think the same thing. So, they can be pricey and hard to come by. But Alex and I finally decided to do something about getting one of these in our homes.

Of course, now we had to decide what they heck to put on the sign. This can put a lot of pressure on a girl.

Then I found this photo:

Sage Grocery No. 2 ghost sign and Dr. Pepper sign in North Topeka.

And I knew what I wanted my sign to say.

Did you know this is called a ghost sign? Old hand-painted advertising signs (painted by "wall dogs") on buildings are just so cool - What a great preservation of a different time. This building is in Topeka Kansas, but you can find them all over the country.

I just love the name of this store - SAGE GROCERY CO No 2. It's cool to think there was a No 1. I bet they were both super charming. I bet the grocer knew all his customers by name. What a neat thought.

Alex loved the simpleness of SUPERMARKET, so she went with that classic.

We found our boards at Lowe's and had them cut to the size we wanted. Did you know they will do that for you? No charge - such a great service.

We started by painting the boards with a sample of a really terrific blue. We didn't want blue signs, but we wanted the effect of lots of layers painted over time. And since I knew we were going to be distressing these, this color would peek through without being too crazy different.

Not there is anything wrong with crazy different.

I love crazy different sometimes. Just not this time.

Once the blue was dry, we used a crackle medium before we painted the white. This stuff does some unpredictable things, but that is exactly what we wanted. 

Ceramcoat Painters Helper Crackle Medium, 8 oz

We wanted our new signs to look old, like they have some history, memories and been loved. Crackle helps give that look in a non-contrived way.

Can you see the blue under that white?

I love the way it makes the paint look older. 

Although it still looks pretty new. We will take care of that soon.

Alex is a master at multitasking. Sweet baby Daxx needed some loving so he kept her company while she painted. She will have that memory every time she looks at her sign. How fun that a new sign to look like an old sign already has some good vibes and memories attached to it. 

Good thing everything we used is water based and nontoxic.

Alex chose a much more modern font for her sign - it feels more like the 60s than some of the examples we looked at. That's one of the great things about a project like this - You can totally make it your own! Change the wording, change the color, change the font and you have a whole different result.

Oh, I used a color called "soft black", which is a brownish black color and Alex used "zinc", which is zinc color ;)

By the way, in case you are thinking, "Man, those girls are champs at drawing letters by hand on those boards. I could never do that", you should know that there is a super easy way to transfer letters onto wood, which we totally did. We just printed the letters from the computer (after we chose the font and size), laid the paper on the board and traced the letters with a firm hand. The indent that remains is what we colored in. 

Piece of cake - Anyone can do it.

Here you can see mine with the freshly painted letters. Looks good, but not old enough.

The next steps can be hard for those who might be worried that they will ruin their sign. You can go overboard with this, but it's hard to. We just went slow, a little at a time, stepped back and looked at it to see where else we needed a little more character.

So we took some sandpaper to the surface. And then we painted with a white dry brush (a regular paint brush with most of the paint wiped off so it feels almost dry - it gives a very light, airy look to the finish) over the letters and the color of the letters dry brushed over the sign. The trick is to not do it perfectly - just here and there, with less pressure in some areas, more pressure in others.

You can see on the "2" how the white dry brush picked up the texture of the paint strokes and really just helped it to overall look like it's been around for a while.

I also took a saw to my sign.


A sign that has been around for a while is going to be beat up, so I beat it up.

After I cut and scratched it up, I wiped a dark paint all around to fill in the spots so they weren't all fresh looking. 

This is the only photo I have of Alex's finished sign - She has not put it up yet. But it is so cool looking!

See what I mean about a different color and font and you have a whole different look? Love it!

And here is mine up and bringing all kinds of charmness to our kitchen.

This was a great project and we are both super happy with the results. 

What would you put on a sign? 
Would you go modern or more vintage? 
Where would you put it?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015



I thought I would share with you this super quick little project I did around the holidays - I know - A little late. 

Okay, a lot late. Really, Christmas decorations in March?

 But it was super cute, and I think maybe this could jump start some clever ideas of your own.

I am not doing a photo tutorial here - anyone can figure this one out.

I used a star paper punch (these stars are about 1 inch) on vellum paper, which you can totally get both at Hobby Lobby or Michael's or wherever. 

All these stars came off one sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 paper.

Once they were punched out, I used clear thread to string them up. I just used a little tiny piece of tape to hold them in place. Super easy.

And taped them to the ceiling around the light. 

One thing to be careful about - those stings may want to tangle with each other. You just have to keep an eye on them.

I chose to use vellum so they would be a little lighter and airier, but you could totally do something bold, or with a pattern.

And speaking of being creative, how about hearts? Or butterflies? Or shamrocks! (Dang - just a day late for that holiday, too.)

There are fun punches in all kinds of shapes - swirls, bunnies, flowers, star bursts, pumpkins, trees - even circles could be cute in some great colors. You could make these for just about any event.

Birthday party? Multi-color and multi-pattern circles. Or flowers. Or swirls.

Fourth of July? Stars and or star bursts in red, white and blue.

Thanksgiving? Warm autumn color pumpkins. Or circles.

Hot date at home? Hearts, of course. Any color works for that.

And who says they have to hang straight down? You could for sure make a bunting like this:

Wedding Photo Booth Ideas

How cute is that?

Bring on the creativity! This is a super easy but effective project that doesn't take a ton of time, and anyone can do it. It would be great for a family activity, too, if you want a bunch of it.

And did I mention how neat it was when the heat came on? Just a little flutter going on.

Here's how they looked at night. So fun!

If you make your own, send me a photo - I would love to see what you come up with!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Alex and I worked on a Pinterest project recently. We have been challenging ourselves to create something - anything! - we have pinned but never really got back to. 

We both have hundreds of them. 

She had these pinned and was really, really wanting to get on this:

So cute, right?

I totally wanted to make some, too, but I just didn't have a need or place for them. 


So I helped Alex with hers. (We worked on two projects that night. I'll show you the other one next time.)

Alex found her perfect jars at Target and we picked up these sticky foam letters from Hobby Lobby.

The instructions are pretty straight forward - five easy steps - stick the letters on, tape off what you don't want painted (we used painter's tape and plastic wrap), spray (using paint with primer), let it dry, pull off the tape, plastic and the letters, and bam - You have adorable jars.

Let's see how that worked out.

1. Stick the letters on - Super easy. It helps to not be too perfect with these, otherwise it will make you crazy.

Embrace the charming look.

2. Tape. So easy. Didn't even take a photo. 

3. And spray using paint with primer. 

Alex wanted black, so that was easy to find. She is a champ at getting nice, light even coats.

4. And letting them dry in between coats.

They look kind of cool like this, too, don't you think?

5. This is where the magic seems to happen. Nice straight lines - So lovely.

And pop off the letters. Surprisingly enough, they came off pretty darn easy. We thought for sure they were going to leave a sticky gooey mess.

Look at that!

So dang cute.

A great collection of fun, charming jars for the essentials. Alex is going to just love using these - She'll smile every time she bakes and sees her handy, creative work.

And she did.

For about 1 day.

And then this happened:

Hey, um, what the heck?

So, apparently, this didn't work out so well for something that gets used. 

The paint just flaked right off. It also rubbed off when it got touched or looked at. 

So, what next?

Scrape all the paint off.


Fortunately, un-painting is just about as easy as painting, with less prep work.

If you ever need to scrape paint off glass, use a razor. Trust me when I tell you steel wool and plastic scrapers don't work nearly as well. Razors took that paint off like nobody's business.

And then Alex ended up with these super cute jars:

With no idea what is in them.

Fortunately, Pinterest has lots of genius ideas to offer up for other labeling options. I'll let you know what we try next.
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