Thursday, October 4, 2012


A few weeks ago I went to The Windmill in Penn Yan, NY for the first time.  My husband, daughter and I met my brother, sister in law, nephew, youngest sister, dad, and step-mom there on a cool, crisp, quintessential  fall day.

The ride from Fairport to Penn Yan seemed to take forever!  I was second-guessing the wisdom of making the trek out there with every mile that passed.  However, the company and the scenery were really beautiful, so I did my best to focus on that, and not be too whiny about the length of the drive.  (Ha.)

When we (FINALLY! GAH!) got to The Windmill, I was shocked at how much there was to see.  The Instagram opportunities were astounding (as I have illustrated beautifully, below).  There were hundreds of vendors  [Ok, I looked on the website after I wrote that, and it says "roughly 100 vendors", but it sure as snot seemed like more. Harumph.] of all types, including: food, arts & crafts, clothing, jewelry, tools, furniture, home decor, antiques, collectibles.  And some kick-a** old fashioned pierogies.  I actually can't wait to go back.  And take Instagram pictures.  And eat pierogies.  I may even Instagram the pierogies.

Windtamer.  Righteous!  Google it!
This pendant was at a jewelry vendor which lets you pick an oyster out of a tank (for $20) and you get to keep the pearl inside.  Turns out my kid is amazing at picking oysters with rare and valuable pearls.  Huh.  Go figure.

There were a LOT (not committing to a number this time - I learned THAT lesson) of vendors selling signs of various sizes and styles, for hanging in your home (or wherever you might want to hang a sign).

A helpful suggestion for sign placement, from
Some of the types of signs:
  • Hand-painted & unique
  • Hand-painted, but mass produced
  • Factory made & mass produced
  • Antique / vintage
  • Vintage reproduction 
My sister in law and I were in one of the vendor booths, looking at some very simple, mass produced signs that had different sayings on them: funny, goofy, sweet, inspirational.  She spotted one sign in particular which had the saying, "Snakes & snails & puppy dog tails / That's what little boys are made of".  It also had a simple silhouette of a truck on it.  Her son (my nephew) - 2 years old - LOVES all types of vehicles. She was saying to my sister and me how cute she thought that sign would be in her son's room.  I immediately said, "I can make you a sign like that!" and got all excited and stuff.  Painting wall hangings (of various types) has been high on my list of projects at which I would like to try my hand.  (<~That sentence made for some awkward English.)  (<~ So did that one.)

I have been struggling with getting started on projects: doubting myself, making excuses, putting it off, comparing myself to artists I admire, blah blah blah.  This was the perfect opportunity to force myself to make something.  I do my best work under pressure.  At least that is what I tell myself to excuse my procrastinational tendencies. 

Once I said those words to my sister in law, the pressure was on.  Yeehaw!  The project was in my head from that moment on.
I thought about how I would do it.
I bought some acrylic craft paint in the colors I wanted to use.
I found a simple silhouette of a truck and a cute font to use as a guidelines.
My husband, Michael, helped me find a scrap piece of pine which was just the right size in the basement.
One night I even dreamed about making it and presenting it to my sister in law, brother, and nephew.   

My haul from the trip to Michaels for supplies.  I could spend all day there.  It is physically painful to leave.

My man found me some wood in the basement.
I was anxious to start (and finish) it.  I kicked myself (metaphorically, of course, because, uh, yeah, I'm not that limber) at the end of every day that went by that I didn't at least start putting paint to wood.  I got hung up on the fact that I wanted to cut the board into two pieces.  Which meant I had to use the circular saw that we bought a few months ago.  Scary!!!  Of course, all I had to do was mention it to Michael, and he jumped up, grabbed the circular saw, put the blade in, handed the saw over to me.  (He was also anxious for me to get into a project, and quit belly-aching about being afraid to try and fail.)

My first attempt was crooked. Hesitation makes for wonky cuts.  :o/

Michael helped me get one piece straightened out, and I managed(-ish) the other one, following his example.  I sanded them both, smoothing the surface on the front, and also softened the corners and edges a bit.  Palm sanders: I can handle those.

And one became two (decidedly NOT square-cornered) pieces.
Now for the fun part:  Painting!  This was a bit daunting because it had been so long since I painted anything.  I wasn't sure how to go about it, but paint is much less scary than the potentially maiming saw, so I dove in.  I got into it pretty quickly, and relished the feel of the brush in my hand.  Aaaahhhh...  Heaven!

I winged it on the background color and border, stepping back occasionally to check for (relative) symmetry.
The hardest part was roughing in the lettering.  I wanted it to look evenly spaced and balanced, both horizontally and vertically.  The example I was looking at as a guideline used the other version of the saying, which says "Snips" instead of "Snakes", and in my intense concentration on the layout, I "Snip"ped when I wanted to "Snake".  Oops!

Trying to get the all of the letters to fit! 
It didn't come out perfectly, but I am really happy with the results, and SO relieved to finally have this under my belt.  I can't wait to give it to my nephew!!! 
Done!  (Hey!  Why is this photo out of focus?!?  Maybe I should actually READ one of the articles that I re-Pinned on Pinterest which tell one how to take good photos for one's blog.  But then I might feel pressured to use punctuation and grammar in "less creative" ways, too.  Oh, well.  You get the idea.)
Closer view of the bottom panel.  I love this truck.  :)

Getting this done has given me some confidence and momentum.  I have so many ideas and mediums which I have been wanting to play around with.  Crap, what should I do next?!?!