Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sign Making 101

I've been asked for more details
about how to letter a sign 
like the one from the previous posting.

 I'm glad to share some ideas with you,
so you can enjoy making signs, too.

Making signs can be addicting.
causing you to become a Font Junkie,
to scrutinize advertising signs everywhere.

The hardest part of the project is deciding what to say 
 --and then choosing which font to use!

Looking for some interesting fonts?
Here are two sites that offer
FREE downloads.
Getting the lettering onto your sign
 can be done in a few ways.
I happen to use an overhead projector, like this one.

Where do you find an overhead projector?

Look for one on Craigs List.
I saw one today for $40 - and suspect it will sell for less.
Our library will rent one for $5 per day,
maybe your's does, too.

From the computer, I print the words 
onto Transparency Film.

Turn on the overhead, and the words can be projected
directly onto the sign
(yes, I often hang the wood on the wall),
or onto tracing paper,
then transfer it to your sufrace.

The Cowgirl sign was easy and quick,
because the painting didn't need to be precise.

Rustic is very good!

No projector?
No problem.

Use your computer to print off the words.
Make it large!

Rub the BACK of the paper with

Turn it over and trace.
A piece of tape will keep you in line.

Re-trace the letters if needed,
now you're ready to paint!


Give it a try and next time we'll look
at ways of embellishing your lettering
with highlights and shadows.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cowgirl Chic

This week was overflowing with fun projects. 

 My favorite was helping create a bedroom
 for a friend's daughter,
who loves her cowboy boots, country music
and all things Western.
her daughter is quite "girly"
so her room needed to be sophisticated, too.

Maria started her daughter's bedroom
by purchasing all the accessories and accents
from Hobby Lobby!

With these as inspiration, she planned the bedroom,
and we put it together in one afternoon!

First up, the furniture.

By the time I arrived at her home,
Maria had already installed the rusty hardware
on the furniture (thank you Hobby Lobby!).


I rubbed dark brown glaze over the bleached oak
furniture to make it look weathered.

Then painted the mirror to
look like cowhide.

From Contemporary to Country!

The bedside tables were next,
first washed and sanded with blue paint
to match the accent wall.

....and more cowhide.

But instead of placing one table on each side of the bed,
we decided to stack them like this.

Yes, draw pulls are needed, so it's back to Hobby Lobby!
Together, we assembled the room in an afternoon,
so that when her daughter came home from work,
she could enjoy her own mini Extreme Makeover.

And she was was thrilled!

But one last detail was needed.
A sign.

Back in the workshop, I lettered a rustic sign,
using a piece of salvaged board.

It looked a little plain -- hmmm
something extra was needed.

Nailhead trim and a few painted stars helped.

And we were all set.
Two women.
One afternoon.
Mission accomplished!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Backhoes in the Bedroom


My client bemoaned the lack of unique design ideas for little boy's rooms.
She'd scoured the internet looking for inspiration, and came up with nothing.
But together we set out to change that.

She wanted something bold.
Something big.
Something graphic.

And she had an idea - -
 paint a large backhoe on the wall.

Two years old, her son is captivated by heavy construction equipment. 

Perhaps that's because his Daddy is a builder, or perhaps it's just an inborn "guy thing,"
because these behemoths hold allure for  the big guys, too.

Yes! A backhoe it will be!

The new color scheme for the room--  GREY and YELLOW.
The walls were painted Cityscape, by Sherwin Williams. 
The ceiling is Argos.

And I was ready to begin.
But how to draw a 15 foot backhoe?

In the studio, I used a projector to transfer a drawing of a backhoe onto craft paper so that I could take it to the client's home and work without too much fuss.  

I used a pounce wheel to transfer the design onto the wall. 
If you don't know what a pounce wheel is, watch Michael Cooper's video here.
It's a great tool that saves so much time when you're painting a mural. 

......and so the fun begins!

By the end of the day, the backhoe was in place, neatly parked along the chair molding.

But wait! 
My client's husband had an idea --paint a skyline in the background.

 The hint of buildings behind the backhoe adds so much interest to the design.
I'm so glad he thought of it!

Best of all was the reaction of my client's son who ran into into his room and squealed
"I like it!"

...and his Daddy did, too.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

Doris Salcedo installation 2003, Istanbul (

This weekend I had the occasion
 to wander through the last day of an estate sale
 when everything is fairly picked over
 and marked down 50% or more. 
But this is the day for bargains!  

 I wasn't looking for anything in particular,
just being a good sport by joining my husband
who loves the "happy hunt.'  

He was looking for another drill press.
But I came away with the treasure...

This chair $15. 

"Treasure?" you say.  "You must be joking."
Let me explain.

In time, this chair will be painted white,
 reupholstered and take its place in Mom's sunroom. 
Once upon a time,
 Mom had a pair of these chairs 
 and recently bemoaned the fact
that she ever got rid of them
 because today, 40 years later,
they would the perfect for her sun room.  

Which again proves
 that as soon as you get rid of something
 -- you will need it! 

That said, I was pleased to find this chair.
And I know that when it gets its face lift,
it will be charming.

But there was only one chair,
 and two were required. 

Ah, the internet.
It took us to Fred's

Our metro area has a furniture liquidation store
 that is filled to the brim with more that you can imagine. 
True, it's all jammed and stacked to the ceiling,
 but the website showed
 that the store had a caned tub chair in stock. 

And it had a name: 
 Vintage Hollywood Regency Tub Chair! 

Who knew. 

We found it in the back of the upper floor
 nestled hidden among other chairs 
 and buried under well-worn throw pillows. 

Satisfied that I'd cornered the market on Hollywood Regency,
 I drove home.

And I discovered that the two chairs didn't quite match.

Paint to the rescue!
(Paint tip:) 
Odd styles of furniture can be successfully united
by painting them the same color.
And since these chairs were the same general style,
color will easily hide any minor variation between them.

Now it's off to the fabric store.
I have my work (ahem) cut out for me!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

I thought you might enjoy this message
written by Diane Markins.
My childhood Easters were a lot like hers --
awash in colored eggs and chocolate.
Perhaps your's were the same.

Now as adults, we realize the profound impact of the day,
knowing that the gift of Easter far surpasses any basket of treats.

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith -- and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God
-- not by works so that no one can boast."

Blessings to all.


As a little girl I loved Easter. What’s not to love? My sister and I always got a new “Easter outfit” which included a frilly dress of our choosing, lacy socks, shiny new patent leather mary janes, a hat and even little white gloves.  No, I’m not nearing 80, that’s just the way my mom wanted to do things.

Coloring enough eggs to exhaust a barnyard of chickens, we were artistic geniuses. The night before the big day we’d be filled with butterflies of anticipation for the beautiful, loaded basket that giant rabbit would drop off in exchange for the large carrot left as an offering of gratitude…and yes, we believed!

Up at dawn, we’d marvel at the lovely loot bestowed upon us and eat a few pieces of candy before breakfast. Church was fun because we got to show off our new clothes and find out how much the Big Bunny liked other kids.

Off to Grandma’s house for Easter egg hunts until the last adult finally said no more. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents sat down to a table laden with what we now call comfort food. Throughout the day we were depleting our stash as the marshmallow peeps, chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and malted milk eggs were consumed.

Um…and there was something about Jesus. Any of this sounding familiar?

I’m not one to condemn any tradition that results in family togetherness and forming sweet memories, but perhaps there’s a better way. I realize now that the Easter celebration I grew up with was all about me: my appearance, my stash of goodies, my fun day.

Honestly, it’s still all about me…at least that’s what Jesus would say. He lived in our challenging, abusive, hurt-filled world for me. He died a brutal death, at the hands of hateful people for me. He defeated death and lives on, for me. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

For those who love the fun family traditions like I grew up with, maybe there could be two days of Easter celebrations. Perhaps Good Friday or even on Saturday, we could spend a little time remembering our Lord who brought each of us so much more than a wicker basketful of colored sugar. We could deliberately try to relate to Jesus by recalling our own (comparably shallow) experiences of pain and sacrifice for others. We could spend some time being still, soaking in God’s eternal expression of love that encompassed the very first Easter.

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! ...” Psalm 105:1. We could write Him a sincere letter of thanks. We could teach our kids to draw a picture or use other artistic methods to create a gift expressing grateful hearts.

Our wonderful God doesn’t want us to throw away fun times or eliminate lasting traditions or replace them with a stiff, obligatory religious ritual. He loves to see us smile, hug and enjoy treats. But I believe He’d delight even more in the way our spirits would respond to an intentional interlude basking in His presence. Not for His sake because Easter is all about us.


Diane Markins writes and speaks in a "high def, life-transforming style" about issues that impact daily living.She is the host of Women in High Def radio show, but is also a speaker and writer. She enjoys travel and has been from Mexico to Zimbabwe but always loves coming home to roost in Arizona near her family. See more of her writing at


Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Friend Paints

My friend, Deb, has created a soothing retreat for herself.
Her pale yellow and blue color scheme
 is decidedly feminine and very welcoming.

I love to sit in her kitchen and enjoy a cup of tea!

The house came with stained wood trim
 on the windows and baseboards,
but this was too heavy for her pastel decor.
So inch by inch, window by window,
Deb painted all the trim in her home with white paint.

What a tedious job!
But the change was dramatic and
everything looks so fresh and bright.

Next up, the yuck-y, builder-grade oak cabinets.
They were transformed with a soft shade of blue grey.
Now the hunt for the right knobs begins. 

With paint brush in hand, Deb tackled her TV cabinet.
Originally it was light wood.
But painted, it will be nicer in her pretty living room. 

Benjamin Moore #920, Honey Harbour,
a creamy vanilla color, was the base.

I mixed a silver and blue glaze that echoed
the color of the kitchen cabinets
harmonized with with her toile sofas.

Together we glazed the cabinet...
just enough to give it some dimension.

.....gotcha Deb!

And later this week,
 I'll paint some arabesques and scrolls on the cabinet doors.

But right now, Deb's taking a well deserved break
from all her hard work.


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