working on hand lettering

working on hand lettering

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, then you know I have a thing for chalkboards. I love writing new words and phrases on my chalkboards to decorate for the seasons. But I often would “cheat” on my handwriting by cutting out a stencil using my Silhouette and using that to create pretty letters.

Well, recently, I stumbled upon a blog that gave some great tips for improving your handwriting on a chalkboard. I’ve always loved to try to mimic different fonts in my handwriting, so I decided it was about time that I paid attention to an expert’s advice. Here are a couple of tips that I learned for becoming a better chalkboard artist.

  1. Sharpen your chalk.

Ugh. I didn’t think I would be able to do it. My worst nightmare is the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. I couldn’t imagine sticking a piece of chalk in a pencil sharpener. I was so scared to do it. Guess what? It was absolutely not a big deal. It didn’t bother me one bit.

2. Write an outline of your word in your regular handwriting.

I had to do this a few times to get the word to fit the space in which I wanted it to go. That’s the great thing about chalk. Just wipe it off and start over until you like it.

3. Thicken your lines, only on the downstrokes.

4. Then, color in the lines. This gives your writing more of a “faux calligraphy” look.

5. I added the rest of the words in lower case block letters and did the same thing: Thicken the downstrokes and color it in. I also added some serifs to the words. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’m making progress!

I tried the same technique on another chalkboard, but I ran into trouble because my chalkboard paint is starting to peel off. To get around that problem, I dipped my chalk in water before writing with it. My lettering still needs a lot of work on this one, but I did like the effect the wet chalk gave to my writing.

It was much more difficult to get all of my letters uniform in size on this one. But, oh well! It’s a chalkboard, right?!

You might remember a few years ago that I decorated for Valentine’s Day for the first time ever. That was actually the first time I really decorated for any holiday other than Christmas! So, here are a few shots of the rest of my Valentine’s Day decor. It’s not up for long, but it makes me feel like spring is on the way!

I wrapped these oversized letters in yarn a few years ago. I love them with the milk glass dishes that my grandmother gave me.

I’m still crazy about this six panel window frame that I bought last year. I need a Valentine’s wreath to go on it, but I can’t find one that I like. (You might know how I feel about red!)

I did allow this tiny bit of red in the house. Plus, it was fun for my daughter to hang the hearts on our branches.

The snow globe is one little hold over from Christmas. And yes, the truck is red. I skipped completely over my winter decorating from last year.

And finally, this “love never fails” sign was my first ever painting project using my Silhouette! I’m ready to update this sign now that I know a little more about what I’m doing with the Silhouette and painting projects!

I’m going to keep working on my hand lettering skills so you will probably read more about that in the future. I actually found a 31-day challenge to improve my hand lettering that I’m planning to try. Let me know if you want to do it with me!

So, what about you? Does anyone else love chalkboards like I do?

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changing with the seasons

changing with the seasons

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When my husband and I first started dating, one of the things he liked most about me was my slightly tomboyish attitude. I didn’t mind to ride mountain bikes on a tough trail through the woods or ride a four wheeler through a muddy farm field. For the first five years of our marriage, I was very comfortable living in a house full of boys — my husband and then our two sons.

But something happened when I gave birth to our third child, a girl. We both joke that bringing a girl into the world unleashed my inner girly girl. Suddenly, I was dying to paint walls pink and purchase headbands with huge flowers. Even my own wardrobe changed to reflect my more feminine side.

Something similar seemed to happen when we moved a few years ago. For the first 14 years we owned a home, I never bothered to decorate for the seasons. Sure, we would put up a fake Christmas tree and unpack a few boxes of holiday decor in December. But the rest of the year, our home pretty much always looked the same.

I had a good friend who loved to decorate for every holiday. She would come to visit and ask about the lack of festivity inside my house. “How can anyone even LIVE like this?!” I’m sure she was thinking. “Who has time for such ridiculousness!” I KNOW I was thinking!

Then, we moved into our current home with its large stone fireplace and wood mantel. Suddenly, a flip switched, unleashing my inner home decorator.

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Sadly, I barely knew where to start when it came to bringing in what I had always referred to as “sit arounds.”

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But during the past 2.5 years that we’ve lived here, I’ve been growing more confident in my ability to decorate for the seasons. Not only do I change up our decor at Christmas, but at least the mantel gets a facelift for each season and even holidays like Valentine’s Day, Indepedence Day and Thanksgiving. I’ve found that celebrating holidays with a change of decor somehow makes the change of seasons feel richer to me. I look forward to what’s next and the opportunity to transform our living space to reflect what’s happening outdoors.

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Since I didn’t really have a decorating style before, I’ve been working on developing one. I love the whole rustic feel that’s trending right now, and I hope it stays popular for a while. We are so blessed to live near a prairie and all the lifestyle opportunities that brings, from going on walks to taking nature photos to just sitting outside and listening to the birds and frogs. I love bringing that feeling indoors through our decor.

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I have been wanting an old window for a while now, and I was so excited to find one at a market a few weeks ago.

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I’ve mentioned before that I also love, love, love the chalkboard trend. It gives me a chance to practice my hand lettering and change out my chalkboards with different sayings to reflect the mood of the season.

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I seem to have fallen in love with wood slices this summer, and I’ve also been using them like crazy in my decorating. I added these wood slice ornaments to the tree this year. I used my Sihouette to cut out a template for the words, and then painted them.

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I’ve always struggled with the cold weather half of the year, but honestly, I do love the change of seasons. Changing the decor inside my house is just one more way I’ve been enjoying the variety of what’s happening outside. Instead of dreading winter, decorating helps me embrace it!

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So, what about you? Do you like to decorate for different seasons? Do you have a decorating style? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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for the love of chalkboards

for the love of chalkboards

When I was a kid, our house had a large chalkboard in the family room. I remember spending hours writing and drawing on that dark green slate as we played games of school or house. I didn’t know any other kids who their very own chalkboard, so I thought our house must be cutting edge.

I have no idea where my parents found that chalkboard or what inspired them to hang it on the lower third of the wall so it was the perfect height for their children. I like to think they were on the forefront of interior design trends.

These days, I love decorating with chalkboards. I have so many of them that I’m going to be in big trouble when they are no longer a thing.

Like my other artistic passions — doodling, rock painting and using my Silhouette — I think I love chalk art because the expectation is that it won’t be perfect. It’s just a chalkboard! Plus, you can always erase and start over if you don’t like your first attempt.

I love chalkboards because it’s fun to update your artwork with the seasons. You aren’t stuck with one boring piece that never changes. You can get lots of ideas for chalkboard art on Pinterest. (That’s where I got this one!)

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You can write out whatever message is on your heart…

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Or leave someone a note or reminder…

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If I want my handwriting to look really perfect, I will cut out a quick template on card stock using my Silhouette and trace the letters that I want to write…

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There’s just something about a message neatly scripted that makes me happy every time I see it. I keep thinking that one day I will paint an entire wall in my house in chalkboard paint… Of course, that’s about the time it will go out of style. Or maybe I’ll just be ready for the next time it comes around.

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What about you? Do you love creating chalkboard art?

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