My cousin Yasmin is getting married in a few days - in Israel, where she grew up and has lived most of her life. She's my only girl cousin (out of 10 grandkids) and so we've always shared a special bond - even though we only see each other one in a blue moon.
Since I couldn't be there for the wedding, I'm having to live vicariously through my mom's photos on Facebook, which though it isn't at ALL the same, will have to suffice.
I wanted to send Yasmin a special gift though to let her know I was thinking about her and to celebrate her new married life. So of course I decided to send her a handmade personalized sign for her and her new husband. Obviously, an English version wouldn't be quite right for their home in Israel, so with the help of my aunt (to get the spelling just right), I designed a Hebrew version of my "First Names w/Wedding Date" sign for them:
1ft x 6in - Black - Custom Personalized Sign Design
The large font is their new last name and beneath it reads their first names. Remember, Hebrew is read from right to left!
While I was out of town for the month of July, traveling with the kids, Ben enjoyed 3 1/2 weeks of solitude at home. That's a lot of time for itty bitty handyman projects!
Among many nice little surprises, I came home to shiny new doorknobs on all our outside doors (yes, he changed the locks while I was gone!), new shelves in the pantry, and a brand new mailbox. And, if you have seen our old mailbox, you know that this was a WAY overdue project - as in we probably should have done it the day we moved in 4 years ago.
So, since he very nicely waited for me to get home to add numbers (because he knew I'd want to paint my own street number sign like the one by our front door), I figured it was time I got on that project before another 4 years passed. We were looking for a make-it-better, but it-doesn't-need-to-be-perfect look, so within a 5-minute conversation we made a quick design decision and I got to work.
Here's a look at our old mailbox, the new mailbox I came home to, and then new mailbox w/a snazzy new paint job on the post & a brand new street number sign.
Though I certainly wouldn't be opposed to some color at the street (I do love these colorful mailboxes), Ben is a little more conservative in his outdoor decor choices, so we opted for a make-it-blend, not too fancy monochromatic look. So all I did was make two beveled 1ft street number signs, give the post a new coat of paint, and slapped that baby back together. I started at noon, and was done with the whole shebang by dinner (didn't want to miss any mail!)
Yes, some flowers would look nice at the bottom of the post. Maybe someday! One project at a time...
Here's some more mailbox curb appeal for your day!
- turquoise & red mailbox
- unusual mailboxes (some silly stuff here!)
- mailbox makeover (I won't lie...she did it better than me!)
Except now I really want one of these:
How's your mailbox looking these days?
I love how Heather used the format of my Dated Wall Art poster, but then added her own twist, featuring her & her fiance's birthdays, their wedding date, first date, and engagement anniversary. What a great idea! And let's not forget that fabulous white painted frame around her gallery wall...it grounds it perfectly! Well done. Thanks for sharing how you used your (de)Signs by Andrea poster in-action.
She's not the only one either! Check out these great ways others have used this design & idea:
ixoye307 on flickr
I know my dad would have no trouble agreeing with this "Dad is always right." sign. And darn it, it's usually true, too. He *is* always right!
Wouldn't this make a great gift for your Dad's office, man-cave or hanging right next to his "throne" in the house? You know the one -- that big ol' recliner in the den that everyone wants to sit in, but jumps out as soon as he walks into the room because it's "his" chair. Then again, I could totally see my dad carrying this baby around with him so he could whip it out as "proof" at a moment's notice!
Dads are hard to shop for at Father's Day, but I guarantee this will make him smile!
$20 Father's Day Sign Design
1ft x 6in. Available in black or brown background with or without beveled edges.
Place your Father's Day sign order by Friday, June 10th to ensure delivery by the big day.
To order: Choose the 1ft Monogram sign option and add "Father's Day Sign" in the comments section of your order. Shipping is only $5 for this special design!
Our front porch is sorely lacking in style. Mostly because I like to spend my crafty time inside, not outside (like my green thumb neighbors) and ALWAYS forget to water plants, which means the nice flower-filled pots my mom added a couple of years ago have sat there very lonely filled with dirt, not flowers for the past two years. Yes, I know that's sad.
However, after Ben spent last weekend power washing our all-brick front porch (and removing the empty flower pots completely), I was so impressed by it's "sparkle" I decided to contribute one tiny little addition -- our street numbers:
Yes, the porch would be much prettier with pots and flowers and a cute little painted wooden chair or a bucket or something...but I'm not sure I have "outdoor decorating" in my talents.
Anyone want to come and makeover my front steps? I need low-maintenance, weather-able decor. Help me out, would you? :)
Here's some inspiration (each picture links to some great tips):
What does your front porch look like?
Spring brings all kinds of celebrations and parties. In our family, from Easter through Father's Day in brings a long string of birthday parties, family celebrations, school milestones and wedding events. And each celebration is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for the people you love -- and if you're like me, you're never *quite* sure what to buy!
Let me offer to help you shop with a few personalized and hand-made gift-giving ideas that are sure to leave a lasting impression:
Custom Painted Personalized Signs - $20 & up
My personalized signs are great ideas for Mother's Day gifts, Father's Day presents, wedding gifts, bridal showers, and housewarming gifts. Customize them with family names, favorite quotes or special phrases.
Dated Wall Art - $19.95
Use your family members' birthdates & wedding date to make this one-of-a-kind frameable print. Perfect for mom or dad! They would also make a great housewarming gift or anniversary gift. You can make your own fully customizeable version of this Dated Wall Art at Zazzle!
Inspirational Pebble Magnets - $10 / set
These 6-set magnet collections make an adorable (and useful) teacher gift, Mother's Day or even birthday gift for a girlfriend. Colors & words can be customized! To order, just email me at mrs(at)bensteed(dot)com.
Go small with a greeting card, or big with a poster print. Either way, these You Are My Sunshine posters & greeting cards are so cute for a baby shower gift or dear friend birthday card.
This makes a great one-of-a-kind birthday card, Mother's Day card or Father's Day card. Just customize it to add their name! It can be made as a poster too! We made a card for my mom's birthday from the kids:
And, you can visit some of my very talented friends' web sites for even more great gift-giving ideas:
Feast your eyes upon my new gallery wall:
Remember this wall in our kitchen? About a year after we moved into this house, I added these four frames and "temporarily" filled them to look like this:
I liked it. It worked. And it stayed. Until one of those frames fell down and broke. Then it didn't work anymore, for obvious reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, I was beyond inspired by this post at a really cool home decor blog called YoungHouseLove.com.
"I can DO that!!!" (and it didn't hurt that there are about 100 frames floating around my house, so I didn't have to buy a single thing!
So, for the past several weeks, I've been semi-obsessed with getting this project done. Here's the process I took step-by-step:
First, I collected a ton of frames from around the house. Some were displayed, some were in the garage, but no frame was safe!
Next, I arranged them into a design on the floor in our kitchen, to get a general idea of how I wanted them to be layed out:
Since I couldn't pick up this whole grouping and eye-ball it against the wall, I decided to make a to-scale digital mockup of the whole collage so I could see how it would fit on the wall. I ended up with this:
And decided it needed SO much more!!! So I scooted this grouping up to the top right corner and went searching for even more frames around the house, until I came up with this design, which I was much happier with:
Next, I cut newspapers to size to match up with each frame and taped it to the wall where I wanted the frame to hang. I even numbered them (and the frames themselves) to be sure I didn't confuse myself. Once those were up, I did a little more tweaking (especially in that lower left corner, which you can see is quite different than my digital mockup) until I was left with this:
I left that up a few days to try and decide whether I was going to like this new design in actuality or not. Until Ben said "Oh,just hang them up already. Commit." So I did.
HUGE tip -- With a paper template for each frame, I pulled each template down (one at a time), layed it across the back of the frame, marked where the hole in the wall should go, taped the paper back to the wall, and hammered in the nail. WORKS PERFECTLY every time! Then we had this lovely mis-match of frames on the wall:
The night we left this up, it caught me off-guard every time I rounded the corner into the kitchen. I think maybe I was having some gallery-wall remorse. It reminded me a little more of a crowded old lady's house than the sleek and modern gallery wall I had envisioned.
During this whole process I flip-flopped back and forth trying to decide whether to paint all the frames black, keep them their natural color, or do a combination of silver, wood, black and white. After seeing them on the wall...we quickly decided all-black was a must! Good thing I have lots of black spray paint on hand at all times!
Ahh...much better, eh?
Then it was time to fill the frames with pictures & memorabilia and fill in the gaps with a few handmade projects. I started with these fun projects:
Then searched the house for a few meaningful memorabilia items:
- wedding announcement newspaper article
- decorative wedding certificate
- our wedding invitation (perhaps I should replace some of these with NON-wedding things..hmm)
And finally, I filled in with photos. Some of the kids, some of us, some of family and friends. I tried to pick photos that have special memories attached to them, rather than just picking my favorite portraits or photographs that I love (though a few of those creeped in too). Some of the special pictures included are:
- a picture of Ben & I at our high school graduation
- a photo of our sponsored Compassion International child from Ecuador
- newborn hospital photos of each of our kids
- Ben & I in our "Scrapjazz" shirts on a business trip (pre-children!)
- our home in Rochester, MN which was the first house we owned
I may change a few of these out occasionally, but I tried hard to pick timeless and sentimental pieces to tell the story of our family.
So here's the finished product (for now...I just can't call anything complete...I'm sure I'll find some fun knick-nacks to add to those empty spaces!):
And here you can see some context with the rest of the kitchen/dining room:
Ahh...I love a finished project.
I dare you not to smile (or at least sing the song) while you look at these photos. On this rainy, dark day, I think it's a perfect project to share:
Painted on a 16" x 20" canvas for a client.
I am no longer handpainting this design, but printed versions of it are available for purchase in my SignsByAndrea Zazzle.com store as a wrapped canvas, poster print & greeting card!
I believe they've all been delivered, shipped, and opened, so I can share this year's handmade holiday gifts:
First -- What else, but Holiday Signs!
These 1ft x 4in signs hung with twine made fantastic gifts for teachers, nursery workers, and friends.
Next, bags of Aunt Dora Cookies for our neighbors:
We put these tiny cookies into sandwich-sized ziplock bags and folded a piece of Christmassy patterned paper over and stapled it together over the zipper. Easy--and tasty!
And finally, Picture Pebble Magnets:
These were wonderful grandparent and aunt & uncle gifts since they featured all the grandkids/cousins, each on a magnet of their own. We made them for both sides of the family. Ayla was a great helper when it came to putting the patterned paper and magnets onto the metal plates.
Some tips for making these:
- Use flat, crystal clear pebbles. Iridescent ones don't look very good.
- E-6000 glue is perfect for gluing the photos to the pebbles & the pebbles to the magnets. Just beware of the fumes!
- Get strong magnets. Otherwise, why bother? :)
- Check the hardware store for metal plates with holes already drilled. I found these 4 1/2" x 2" metal plates at Home Depot for only $0.53 each and used the holes already drilled to thread ribbon through.
Photos worked great for these, but patterned paper and my Bic Mark-It markers made cut little sets too that a few of my friends received:
All this year's handmade presents seemed to be well-received...or else everyone we give presents to is really good at faking how much they love a gift!