Saturday, July 13, 2013

A cute sign project, step by step

During my recent vacation, I was hanging out at my sister's place in New Jersey for a few days and the weather had turned overcast and stormy -- meaning we were pretty much stuck inside. So, we decided to work on an art project together.

Mimi had bought a wooden sign last summer in Vermont and had hung it over a doorway in her kitchen. The sign reads "Bromley," the name of the mountain community where we have spent several great family vacations, not to mention of her 3-year-old long-haired dachshund.

Here is a photo of the sign at the beginning (sitting on a beige rug):

Upon first seeing it, I had remarked that it might be fun to paint it in a colorful, fun way.  Since Mimi had already mentioned that she was thinking about painting her kitchen to liven up the boring beige walls, we decided to go to a local hardware store to pick up some paint samples.  In addition to picking out strips of possible colors, we also bought several sample bottles of the paint colors and some small brushes, to use for putting paint swatches on the wall as well as to create the sign. We also bought white and black paint to use for background/ accents/mixing. 

I had an idea in my head, but needed some inspiration for particulars, so I did an image search online and found a series of cute wall art "words" by the pop artist Romero Britto. These served both as a guideline for the general design as well as providing ideas for decorative details.

I started by drawing out the letter separations and curved sectioning in pencil, so each letter would be outlined and also contain two basic background colors. Like so:

The sign was then painted with white as a primer, and allowed to dry. Luckily, the pencil marks showed through the white so we could use these as a guide when painting the letters the various colors, which we had chosen based on their potential as the new kitchen wall color.

We used several colors as is, and created a couple of other colors by mixing shades with white and/or black, to create 14 basic "sections":

Then, the challenging part began! It took a few hours to decorate all the sections (including a couple of "oops" -- where we had to repaint a section and start over). 

When the sign was dry enough, I painted the black outline and curved lines demarcating the letters, which made the sign "pop" and also created a 3-D effect. That took another hour or so of painstaking work! 

Here is the final version, and I must say I'm pretty pleased with the results. (Mimi was thrilled!)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Six goals for 2013

Now that the holidays are officially behind me (the Christmas tree finally went out the front door yesterday), it's time to concentrate on the year ahead. And, even though we are already 11 days into the new year of 2013, I thought I'd share my list of goals for this year.

Notice I didn't say "resolutions" -- a word that is just so daunting in its absoluteness. My sister actually gave me the idea to, instead, identify a set of "goals" for myself. 

So, on Dec. 31, 2012, I wrote up a document titled "Six Goals for 2013," and taped this document to my closet door where I can see it every day. 

This document begins: "I aim to work on getting myself to a better place:" and then lists the six areas, with detailed action steps.

They are, in particular order:

Physically. I want to lose about 10-15 pounds and increase my strength and stamina. I've started on this goal by going back on my tried-and-true method of counting my food "points" via the Weight Watchers plan. I've also acquired more at-home workout equipment -- and have been using it!

Financially. My goal is to increase my roster of long-term, well-paying freelance gigs.

Emotionally. I will consciously work on those areas of my personality that could use improvement (my patience level, for instance) and also on my communication skills when it comes to expressing my needs, feelings, and boundaries (which can always be improved upon!).

Sprititually. I want to re-connect with my "higher power." 

Socially. I aim to re-energize my existing friendships, open myself to new friendships, and become a better friend to all.  I have already reached out to old friends and signed up for activities that will introduce me to new people.

Romantically. Because my current relationship is in its ending stages, I am going to open myself up again. Although I won't make it a focus of my efforts, I will be open to whatever might come along in the course of my journey toward my five other goals!

Here's to 2013 -- may it be a great year for all of us.

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