Conquering The Northeast

One of the items on my Bucket List is to visit all 50 states.  I’m so close to finishing this goal (I only have 15 states to go!) and last month I was able to knock three off my list in just a weekend!

I was visiting my good friend, Patella, who lives in New York, but is from Vermont.  Because of frequent flyer miles (thank you Southwest!) I was able to fly up to visit her for a four day weekend for free during the best time of the year – while the fall leaves were changing to their infamous golds, reds, and oranges!

Now, at the moment I am between computers (I have an old laptop from college that is on its last leg and a work computer) so all of my Vermont and New York photos are on my personal laptop. HOWEVER, I thought I was doing good by uploading all of them to Flickr in case my trust computer died suddenly. (I have an intense fear of this happening and I lose all of my photos).

So for your viewing pleasure I have linked to my Vermont and New York set in Flickr (I hope this works!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/my_wildhood/sets/72157636909579333/

And because I simply CAN’T have a blog post with no photos directly in it, here is a little taste of the trip. Enjoy!

Vermont Dairy Farm
Vermont Dairy Farm
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Rustic Sign DIY

I always see these great crafts in stores, but my problem (and the reason for the solution) is that I’m cheap. Usually when I see something, my first thought is, ‘I would buy that if it was half the price.’ And my second thought is, ‘I can make that.’

For Example:

I see signs like this everywhere, but they never have the perfect phrase on them.
I see signs like this everywhere, but they never have the perfect phrase on them.

Now, usually it ends there. I don’t think anything of it, I never actually make the thing that I said I could make, and I’m ok with it. However, I see signs like the above one at craft shops and flea markets, and they always seemed cute, but never worth spending money on. Aside from the whole I can make that thing, they never had the right phrase. Usually they are cute or romantic or something, but I read it once and then I think about how I could never look at that everyday, because I’m already sick of it, and it’s still in the store!

Until Hubby said something that was perfect. One day, I think when we were at The Salt Lick, I was taking pictures with my phone and uploading them to Instagram (What, My Wildhood is on Instagram!? Follow me here: @ my_wildhood) what I asked Hubby what I should hash-tag a photo. He suggested #OnEarthAsItIsInTexas and I thought that was so perfect, that I had to do more than just use it as a hash-tag. Of course, being a Texan, I had heard the phrase before, but it was logged away in my memory bank…Not really at the tip of my tongue.

So I decided THAT was going to be the perfect phrase to go onto the rustic wooden sign that I was going to make.

So there is the back story, and here is how I did it:

Free Pallet
Free Pallet

Step 1: Get a pallet. They are free everywhere. Tractor Supply has a giant stack outside that they HOPE people take. They are such a waste, really. They can be used multiple times, but when stores get them, it’s not like they are also shipping things out, so they have no use for them. Instead, they put them out by the dumpster free for the taking.

Pallet art/crafts have gotten pretty popular lately, and I can’t decide if I think everything made out of pallets looks good or crappy. Maybe it just depends on the construction. However, pallet wood is not meant to look pretty, so if you want it to look really good, you actually have to do a lot of work to them so they don’t look awful.

Step 2: Take it apart. This is A LOT harder than it sounds if you don’t want to damage the wood. The one I had was not actually nailed together. It had these interesting nail/screws holding it together so it wouldn’t come apart very easily on purpose. Good thing I have a big strong Hubby to help me out! I ended up cutting one end so that the edge was free of scrails and then he took a rubber mallet (so as to not put giant dents into the wood) to break the rest of it apart. Then I ripped out all of the scrails as soon as possible to avoid any injuries. (I have had nails go through my foot before – not a pretty sight!)

Step 3: Sand the boards. Like I mentioned, pallets are not made to be pretty. They are made out of the cheapest wood possible, so you want to sand it down to make it look and feel better. I used a medium sand paper, and it could have been coarser, but that was all I had and I already didn’t have a dime in this project, so I was not about to go BUY more sand paper!

Step 4: Measure Twice, Cut Once.  Figure out the dimensions you want the sign and how you want your boards arranged.

Step 5: This is the only thing you need true technology for. See, like I said: I’m cheap. So I was not about to have a stencil professionally made, or buy stencil letters, or anything like that, because they cost way too much for someone who doesn’t use that sort of thing all the time. So I went onto Pinterest and found a way to make your own letters, in whatever font you want!

Go into your word processor, and type out what you want it to say in the font and size you want. Now, on Pinterest, the chick that provided this info had one fatal flaw in her description. She suggested that you actually hold up a piece of paper to your computer screen, and trace the letters onto paper. I have no idea why she would think that is a good idea, because you aren’t even supposed to put finger pressure on the screens that people have these days, so the fact that she thought it was a good idea to press a pen or pencil into the screen BLOWS MY MIND. INSTEAD, all you have to do is this (and this is only for Microsoft, sorry Mac peeps) Go into the Font Section (Edit Font, or whatever it’s called) and go to the bottom of the window that says Text Effects. Another window will pop up, that has Text Fill and Text Outline. Click on Text Fill, and Select No Fill. Click on Text Outline, and select Solid Line. You can pick the color and thickness of the line. I suggest Black since that’s easiest to see, and pick at least a 1 pt. line so that it’s thick enough. Then print it out. It doesn’t waste ink, and you have all that you need.

Once you get the lettering home and cut the letters out in a general shape (not perfectly cut out, see below) then you color the back of the letters with chalk.  This works great on a black background, but if you are doing this on a lighter background you can use pencil instead of chalk.

Stencils in Place
Stencils in Place (see how I didn’t cut the words out perfectly?)

Step 6: Arrange the letters/words how you want them and tape them down. (I guess I kind of missed the step of painting your background color before you do this. Oops…Anyway, I guess that’s really step 4 1/2. I also took the sander and sanded the edges after it dried so they weren’t so harsh-looking).  Don’t use a very strong tape or it will pull up your background color.

Step 7: Time to act like a 10 year old and color inside the lines! You can use a pencil, pen, or even just a dull pointy object to transfer the chalk to the wood.

Step 8: Marvel at my your genius.

Chalk transferred onto wood
Chalk transferred onto wood

Step 9: Paint over the chalk letters.

Step 10: Wipe down the wood with a damp towel, and again marvel at my your genius!

Finished Product!
Finished Product!

So go forth, and make your own perfect phrase for your home! It’s easy, it’s a relatively quick project, and it’s super cheap to do!