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Saturday, November 27, 2021


 As a Christmas present for my daughter and her fiance', I created a "spa sign".  They had recently purchased a hot tub and wanted a place indoors to hang their towels.  She wanted a sign that would hang above the hooks themselves.  So,  I took the idea and ran with it.  

I did share some of my "design concept" with them to ensure I was on the right track, but after I got that approval, the color scheme and additional artwork were a surprise.  I ran several fonts by them, as well as several "names".  They chose the Martin Resort & Spa.

 There were several steps to accomplish the finished product, so I literally had to write down all the steps to make sure it turned out as I had planned.  

The picture to the right is how it all began.  The printout has the four prototypes on it.  I then started sketching the design on the printout and then listed the steps I needed to take.  

I also had some kraft paper that I cut into the finished size of the board and then started placing bits and pieces of the design, (that I printed from my Silhouette machine) to ensure the size of the wording was the right proportions.  

I failed miserably at taking pictures along the way, but here are the steps I (my husband is the expert sander and spray painter, so he just took my directions and painted as I needed) took:

1. Sand and prep the board
2.  Paint the back and sides of the board tan
3.  Print and cut all of the vinyl lettering from the Silhouette machine 
4.  Paint the board Espresso
5. Transfer the "Martin Resort & Spa" to the board
6.  Place the "soak", "relax" , and "unwind" onto the board leaving room to decoupage the palm leaves
7.  Paint the board tan
8.  Remove the "Martin Resort & Spa" lettering
9.  Tape off the top 2/3 of the board and paint the bottom 1/3 white
10.  Remove the vinyl lettering to reveal the tan (soak, relax, and unwind)
11.  Print the palm tree clip art and cut around most of the palm leaves
12.  Secure the palm tree cut outs to the board with Mod Podge (back side only) 
13.  Add additional colors of green paint to the palm leaves to enhance 
14.  Add a piece of gold washi tape over the dividing line of tan and white paint
15.  Mod Podge the entire board (matte) 

I just gifted it to them over the Thanksgiving holiday, and they loved it!  They had just purchased the hooks and will be able to get it up in the designated area and start using it now versus having to wait until Christmas.  As it turns out, the palm leaf theme is something they've already started incorporating in the hot tub area, so my final design fits in perfectly.  How's that for some telepathy?

Thursday, November 11, 2021


While I've seen a number of really cool projects using gold leaf, I've never actually used it myself.  However, since I'm lending my creative hand to some upcoming family wedding projects, gold foil was now in my line of sight!  Yay!  I love trying/learning new things.

This is a very intimate family wedding coming up early next year, with a beautiful meal to follow, so place cards were definitely on the project list.  

The first part of the project was working in my Silhouette program.  I played around with card sizes, and fonts until I landed on something I thought might work. Then I sent them to my printer.  Obviously, the beauty of the machine is it will do the cutting for me; including the perforation line.  Sweet!

Name cards (or escort cards) are generally about the size of a business card, but I chose to make mine a little bigger.....I just thought they were too pretty to be that little.  

I realize now, that I probably should have taken a few more pictures along the way, but it truly was hard to stop to do that once I got started.  I did a lot of reading on what medium to use to adhere the foil and there were lots of opinions, but bottom line since you just need something that is going to dry clear, I chose what I always have on hand and that's ModPodge.  It worked like a charm!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
I found I needed to work fairly quickly.  First I "painted" a glue line where I wanted the foil to go.  I chose to do one line at a time.  So, paint the bottom line, place the foil down, then set it aside and do the same thing on the next card, and so on.  After I had finished 3-4, I went back to my first card and brushed the excess foil away and then "painted" the top glue line and pressed the foil in place.  

The foil sheets are super thin, which makes them a little tricky to work with.  It took me a good 4-5 of the thirteen I was creating to truly start to get the hang of it.   You can see in the picture below a bit of how I was staging the cards during that process. 

I wanted them to be a little abstract, with no two being exactly alike which actually was really easy to do.  Frankly, I'm not certain I could have made them all the same if I wanted to.....the foil kind of has a mind of its own. 

I really do love how they turned out!  I put them on a black backdrop since the linens will be black with china that is white with a gold rim and gold flatware.  Lots of candles and beautiful's going to be lovely!                                

Wednesday, November 3, 2021


 I'm choosing to share my recent Mother/Daughter trip to the Outer Banks, in the event that my experiences and recommendations may be able to help someone who may be considering this for a vacation.

First, as with most of us who had to re-schedule our 2020 vacation plans, this was not the first, and actually not the second choice.....but given the ongoing issues due to the pandemic, the original Europe trip just didn't seem very feasible.    

When I looked at destinations in the U.S., North Carolina was on my list, actually both Carolinas were.  But, once I started to put together an 8 day trip, it was just too much to try to take them both in.  Then, as I continued to do further research on North Carolina, I realized it's huge and has lots to offer all across the, I decided to focus on just one area.  The OBX weather in October would still be in the 60's/70's and there was history, plenty to see and some outdoor activities too.

I chose to rent a vacation condo in Kill Devil Hills, which is pretty much in the middle.  I felt that would allow for some easy day trips to see all the other cities from the Northern tip to the Southern tip and it did just that.  It was a great location!    We literally saw all the towns from Currituck to Hatteras and everywhere in between.  It was so much fun.  

Something to be prepared for is there is no real easy way to get there.  From Denver I could fly into Raleigh/Durham and drive 3+ hours, or I could fly into Virginia and have a 2+ hour drive.  I chose Raleigh even though it was more time driving through rural North Carolina.    The flight options were more favorable in/out of that airport.               
                                                                              Some "must do's" in my opinion is a four wheel drive tour in Corolla to see the wild horses.   It was so much fun driving on the beach and we were able to see about 20 of the horses.    Another one, is a kayak trip.....there are lots, so just pick one that sounds interesting.  You've got to take in a sunset or two....they're absolutely free and spectactular.  One of our favorite spots for viewing was Jockey's Ridge.    Manteo has a ton of history.  The lost colony, among other things, so check it out!  The Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk has to be a stop.  It's very well done and loaded with a great series of displays both inside and outside.      
                                                                                                                                          I always look up regional foods when we travel, so we enjoyed lots of seafood (obviously)....but, also "apple uglies", Duck donuts, and some fun cocktails.     Be prepared for many things to be closed on Sundays and you'll never have a good hair day in the OBX, so I gave up on that about the third day.  

It really was a special trip.  There's a whole other NC trip that's now on my list.  That includes Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway and mountain area.  But first.......I am so hoping that our Europe trip can happen in 2022!