Thursday, July 9, 2009

One Man's Trash Part 2: It Came From The Garage...Sale!

A few weeks ago I walked down the block to check out a garage sale a neighbor was having. There was nothing of particular interest or value, but I did pick up a very country kitsch-like sign, about two feet long by four inches high, that read 'Nothing But Net' (I assume it had to do with fishing, this is Minnesota after all...)

Always seeing the potential in the most mundane pieces of junk, I snapped up the sign for a measly twenty-five cents and stowed it away for a rainy day. Well, that rainy day came sooner rather than later and I pulled down the sign to give it a makeover. But what to have for the quote? I couldn't think of any Halloween related quotations off the top of my head, so I perused my dvd collection, and then my bookcase, looking for inspiration.

'Double double toil and trouble' from Shakespeare's Macbeth seemed okay, but not exactly what I had in mind. I needed something else, something like... Poe. Ah, yes - Edgar Allan Poe! How could I have overlooked the master of the macabre? But what to pick? He has so many classic poems, so many great verses, so many excellent lines to choose from. Take 'The Raven' for instance - his most famous poem. That starts out "Once upon a midnight dreary..."

YES! With the quote in hand, I set out to paint over 'Nothing But Net' with a little acrylic paint. I couldn't match the faded reddish-orange of the original, so I dabbed a little pumpkin orange on the wood and smeared it around with my finger just to see what it would look like. The result was perfect! What I got was this wispy, ethereal vapor that looked like the flames of hell itself. I dabbed a little more, and then more still - the result being quite a happy accident indeed.

While I let that dry I went to work on the quote. Not having access to a design program like Quark anymore, I had to resort to Word (ughhh...) to do the job. After several attempts, mis-fires, and trials and errors, I cobbled together a template that would suffice. I then scribbled on the back of the paper with a large soft-leaded pencil from my toolbox and taped the paper to the sign. Once I traced the letters on the reverse side, I had a perfect imprint of the quote on the wood.

The last step was to fill in the words with a black permanent marker and then give it just a hint of highlight with a yellow-ish orange color. The whole process took a little over an hour (stupid Word!) but the end result is well worth the effort - particularly when guests say "Where did you get that?" and I say with a smile...

"I made it!"

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