Old metal signs light up my world…

SIGNSI’m always on the lookout for vintage metal signs and letters, but unless you’re lucky enough to find them deep in someone’s barn or your the only one to brave a bad weather auction your likely going to empty your pockets to purchase one. I’ve even seen replicas for as much as $159 each for small letters, and up to hundreds for large ones on popular shopping sites.

So, as always I hit the web surfing, in search of templates, tutorials, or any insights as to how I could make my own. I stumbled on to a YouTube “how-to” video, and another, and so on.

Eureka! I was hooked. These signs are made out of cardboard letters, available at most supply stores. We chose to do our own spin on the videos we found. First off, we found using a silver metallic semi-gloss, actually gave more to the vintage look and feel.  In fact, the roughness of the cardboard, once painted resembles old metal quite a bit. We also used, Christmas lights; it was hard finding globe lighting locally and the cost for most globe lights online blew our cost-saving budget. Christmas lights and ping-pong balls are a great look-alike combo and are easy to make.

Lastly, we’ve been creating two variations of the lighted signs. The “BAZINGA” one has inset lights, a throw back to old marquee signs and looks more like old metal and the “LOVE” one has the lights on top, reminiscent of a vintage dressing room. Make your decision before you start cutting, the top letters are cut out from the front and the bottom ones are cut out from the back.

Quick How-To: Cut out your letters according to style, paint, drill holes for lights, places lights, hot glue balls over the lights, glue finished letters to a piece of painted wood or yard stick to stand, plug-in, light up your world!

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Time to knock the winter off my haggling skills…

fleamarketHoly mother of “flea-market-goers,” this is what the first event of the season looked like for me just 45 mins. after they opened the doors this past Saturday morning.

I would expect this and more from a large outdoor flea market or swap meet, but this is generally a small indoor event in an over-sized building. This market is held at the Kansas Coliseum in Wichita, KS; it’s easy for me to attend, less than an hour from home and is held once a month during the mild time of the year, when it get’s too hot they skip a few.

I had a lot of fun, but I’m definitely going to have to knock the winter off my haggling skills. First off I was 45 mins. late (you should never be late, if you want the good stuff) so every single thing I wanted had already been swooped up by dealers and marked, “SOLD.” Second, twice I caught myself patiently waiting on another only to lose an item I really wanted, but didn’t get the favor in return. In fact, once I was looking at an item and a man walked up and paid for it while I still had it in my hand… Grrr!

Maybe I should of acted a little quicker or with more determination, and I wouldn’t have came home with only 2 old burlap gunny sacks ($1.00 each). That being said, never leave your kindness at the door, there is a certain etiquette to shopping at a flea market, wait your turn, let someone else finish their deal, if they walk away you’re up!  If they don’t, then kudos to them for getting something great… You’ll get the next one!

Chalk it up to my love of typography…

ChalkboardI’ve always been drawn (no pun intended) to old signs and letters. A fascination that goes back for many of us to elementary school, probably because as children, after the carefree scribble days we start actually honing our artistic skills with letters. And, don’t even get me started on the smell of the “supply store.” A whiff of old paper and led, always takes me right back to “Big Chief” tablets and No. 2 pencils, and Mr. Otipoby, my favorite art teacher of all time, also the one that used to cut our erasers off our pencils… Something about going with our instincts.

Those inspirations and some newly engaged friends led me to create this faux chalkboard. If you’re an avid Pinner, and I am. You’ve probably seen similar prints. The one’s I ran across were more contemporary, solid block backgrounds, colors and fonts; I chose to make mine in Photoshop with a chalkboard layer and fonts that lent themselves to the chalk feel and color. I also chose to alphabetize mine, just a little picky thing, but I like the way it turned out.

Creating it digitally also makes it nice, just in case I ever want to recreate, gift or share.

A few of the fonts I used:
Appleberry, A Song for Jennifer, Clementine, Grutch Shaded, Handy George, Kraft Nine, My Girl is Retro & More

One man’s trash…

deskOne man’s trash can indeed be another man’s treasure, just as they say, and this time around it couldn’t be closer to the truth.

My family and I spotted this sad piece of furniture discarded to the curb. I couldn’t take it, I put my vehicle in reverse to see if I could find a sign, and sure enough a piece of paper was next to it on the ground, that read, “FREE.” It took a little maneuvering to fit the thing in the back of my SUV, but 5 minutes later… it was ours!

It was quite the choir removing the multiple layers of veneer (UGH), but it had to be done. We sanded and painted with some homemade chalk paint. It was our first try with chalk paint and we loved it; then we distressed and finished with some old fashioned paste wax. Last, but not least we added cast-iron pulls and a vintage lock.

I was really happy with the way the chalk paint turned out and will definitely use it again.

My mom and sister should appreciate the end result, as they helped rescue this heavy son-of-gun.

Our Homemade Chalk Paint Recipe:
3 Cups of Paint
1 Cup of Plaster of Paris
1/4 Cup of Water

Valentine stockings and airmail love letters…

IMG_8633Oh, yes we did make Valentine stockings!

I did some research; I don’t just willy-nilly do these things, lol, and although not very common,Valentine stockings do date back to the 1800’s.

The ones I found researching online were a little creepy. So, I chose to just make mine traditional stockings with Valentine inspired patterns. Right now they are filled with one of my favorite things old Airmail love letters complete with lipstick prints from my mom, they were sent by a military love in the 60’s, and vintage Valentines from the 50’s-60’s that were sent to my Grandma from her nephews when they were just wee people.

Now go make you some Valentines!

Write a blog they say, people will read it they say…

Well, I’m not entirely sure that’s the truth or if they were getting tired of my mile-long Facebook posts.

Either way here it goes, I’m “obsessed with junk” and everything that phrase entails. I have a weak spot for the vintage and the worn and if at all possible I try to save the discarded. There is rarely a roadside Flea Market or garage sale that I don’t flip-a-uy and return to, always with the highest hopes of finding something magical. Even a piece of furniture banished to the curbside gets my repurposing wheels to churning.

I read an article once where a designer said, even as a child she would rearrange her bedroom over and over. This reminded me, when I was just a child my grandma lived next door to a Salvation Army (or something of that type) and I often found myself fascinated by the mounds of items thrown away, even at a young age I rummaged through it and brought back old books, purses and broken jewelry.  And, both my grandmas would let me go through and cleanout their knick knack cabinets, luggage chests and junk drawers. To them it was probably a chore, but to me it was like searching through treasure chests.  I guess, like the designer, it’s just always been in me. I love the way old things look and feel and I always wonder of the story those pieces could tell.  I was junking when junking wasn’t cool and before there ever was a hit song about a Thrift Shop.

So, I plan on sharing my finds, my occasional repurposing and/or reclaiming projects (more often than not, a collaborative effort with my children), ideas and a little bit of life here.

Everything inspires me, YOU inspire me… I hope I can inspire you!