Grocery Sign Tutorial


Sunday, October 28, 2012


Oh hi. Here is that tutorial I promised on how to make a grocery sign. (You can find the original sign post here as well as my sign inspiration post here.) 

Here's how the sign-making business went down.


- Pine board, cut to size (I used a 5' piece of 1x8 pine)
- Mitre saw
- Foam brushes (I used three)
- Stain or paint for the base colour (I used Varathane Gel Stain - Special Walnut)
- Paint for the letters (I used Benjamin Moore - Cloud White)
- Microsoft Word, paper, scissors
- Scotch tape
- Painter's tape
- Yardstick
- Measuring tape
- Permanent marker
- Sander (I used a Craftsman orbital sander)
- Sandpaper (I used 100 grit)
- Sharp objects to ding/dent wood
- Glaze (I used Behr - Faux Glaze)
- Tint for glaze (I used a sample pot of Behr - Expresso Beans)
- Mounting hardware, nails or screws


First, I purchased a five foot piece of 1x8 pine from Home Depot. I measured my window (and window trim) and decided that I wanted my sign to be the exact same width. I got Alex to cut the board down to size using a mitre saw:

Pine board from Home Depot cut to length.

Once my board was ready, I chose my base colour. Instead of paint, I decided to use wood stain to add a bit of contrast in my all-white and light gray kitchen. I really like medium or chocolate brown stain so I used Special Walnut by Varathane which I already had on hand from a different project. Using an inexpensive foam brush from Home Depot, I brushed the stain onto the front, back, and edges of my board. I left it to dry overnight and then added a second coat of stain the next day:

Two coats of Special Walnut stain.

For me, the hardest part of this project was deciding on a font style and size. I typed the word "grocery" onto a Microsoft Word document and then changed the font a hundred times until I decided on Century Gothic in all capital letters. I liked how the letters were really simple and round, it reminded me of how a real grocery sign would look. I played around with the font sizes and finally decided on using font size 600. I printed each letter onto a plain white piece of paper and then cut them out. Once I had my paper letters cut out I laid them out on top of my board to make sure the size and spacing looked right:

Paper letters laid out on board.

Since I'm terrible at free handing letters and didn't have plastic stencil material or a Cricut / Silhouette machine, I decided to try a new way of stenciling. I took out a roll of painters tape and used four long strips to fully cover my board.

Painter's tape covering board.

I placed my letters back on the board over top of the painter's tape. I used a yardstick to draw a line along the bottom of my board so that the letters would be straight:

Letters aligned and spaced out on board.

Once my letters were in the right places, I used two tiny bits of Scotch tape per letter to keep them in place. Using a permanent marker, I carefully traced around each letter. Then, I removed the bits of tape and paper letters so I was left with an outline of my letters:

Letters outlined with permanent marker.

Next, I used a sharp craft knife to slowly and carefully cut along my marker lines. Once I finished cutting around each letter, I carefully peeled up the tape inside of each letter:

Letters cut out using a craft knife.

Once my letters were all cut out, I made sure to rub down all of the remaining tape so that paint wouldn't bleed underneath. I used a tiny foam brush and gently dabbed on my contrasting paint colour. In this case, I chose white lettering and used some leftover white paint from a previous project. I made sure to dab the paint on for the first coat so that again, it wouldn't bleed under the tape. For the second coat of paint, I was able to just brush it on:
Two coats of paint.

After a few minutes, I started peeling the tape off, strip by strip. I made sure to do this once the paint was still slightly wet.

Tape peeled off.

The strips of tape came off really easily and left beautifully crisp paint lines:

Nice crisp letters.

Once the paint was dry I used an orbital sander with 100 grit sand paper to give the sign a distressed appearance. I also used a hammer and screwdriver to bang a few dings and dents into it:

Distressed with an orbital sander.

After hanging the sign up in the kitchen and sharing some photos of it in this post, I decided to add one final step. I decided to add a bit of brown glaze over top of the sign to darken the wood back up (lots of stain came off with sanding) as well as to tone down the bright white letters. I mixed some of Behr's Faux Glaze with Behr's Expresso Beans paint with a ratio of roughly 3 parts glaze to 1 part paint. Once mixed, I spread the glaze over each letter with a foam brush and let sit for a minute. After the minute I wiped off the glaze with a damp paper towel:


I knew that the glaze wouldn't make a drastic difference because it was brown glaze on brown stain. However, it did the trick of settling in some of the dings and dents, darkening the wood a bit, and toning down the bright white letters. A subtle difference but a step that I'm glad I did.
I also raised the sign up about an inch from it's previous spot. Here it is again above the kitchen window:

P.S. I did a project, start to finish. It's a miracle!

P.S.S. Who thinks our main floor floors need to get refinished ASAP? Me! Me! Me! Me!

P.S.S.S. It's the last day to enter my Shabby Apple giveaway if you haven't already. ;)

P.S.S.S.S. I like the new sign but I still hate our needs-to-be-gutted-so-badly kitchen.

Sharing Here:

Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest

Cooper Says Hi


Monday, October 22, 2012

This post is sponsored by Cooper. He says hi at the end of this post. In a little video. That you must watch or else.
He also wanted to update you on a few most important things:
a) He can roll over both ways now. Call the Baby Olympics.
b) We had to buy him 9 month pajamas because he is so long. And they just fit.
c) He loves solid food almost as much as milk. So far he has tried bananas, pears, apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, rice cereal, and oat cereal. He squeals and kicks his feet like crazy when he sees it coming.
d) He can say Mamamamamamamama and we all know that he is totally calling me by name.
e) His favourite book is 'Here We Go' by Eric Carle, possibly because it has buttons that make engine noises 'n stuff.
f) He already outgrew his infant car seat and we are currently shopping for one of those stay-in-the-car monstrosities. Recommendations anyone?
g) He thinks his feet are the best invention ever.

h) His fascination with the dogs is growing daily. He's already scored two fistfuls of fur.

i) He's got a bit of fuzz on his previously baldy-bald head.

j) He is almost 6 months old!!!!

Okay, here is the video. {Anyone else think their own voice sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard?)


P.S. This is my second post of the day (say whaaaaaat?!?!) and if you missed my other giveaway post you can check it out here.
P.S.S. Almost done writing up my DIY sign tutorial.
P.S.S.S. Also working on a post about The Fixer Upper's new front and side porches!

Shabby Apple Giveaway, Yo!


How about we start off this sleepy Monday morning with a giveaway?
{I won a giveaway once. It was a decorating book. It was pretty. I did the Carleton dance.}
The folks over at Shabby Apple have generously offered to give one cute blog reader a $50 giftcard to purchase whatever their little retro heart desires.
Since I'm all fancy now and wear necklaces, I went straight to the jewelry section. Here are my three favourite ones. I am fully aware that I picked all of the "cutesy" necklaces. Well of course I did, they're so cute!

Necklaces - Shabby Apple

Shabby Apple has dresses, too. Casual ones that you can wear in the snow, like this:

And if I had know about these cute maternity dresses maybe I would have worn one instead of wearing extra-large track pants from Wal-Mart my whole pregnancy. Did I just say that out loud? Let me distract you with a cute maternity dress with polka dots:

Here are the giveaway guidelines in case you want to win and buy me that cupcake necklace:

Shabby Apple Giveaway Guidelines
♥ Two chances to win
♥ Must have a US shipping address to enter
♥ Giveaway will be open until Sunday, October 28th at 5:00 p.m.
Chance #1
Like Shabby Apple's Facebook page. Leave a comment here letting me know that you did.
Chance #2
Take a look around Shabby Apple's website, then come back here and let me know which item is your favourite.
While I wasn't able to extend the giveaway to my adorbs Canadian readers, I was able to snag a 10% off coupon code for everyone. The code is cozycottagecute10off and will be valid for a full month.
Whoop-did-eee-dooo! Sorry, that was a little too hyper for a Monday morning. ;)

Grown-Up-Wardrobe Update


Friday, October 19, 2012

Justsoyouknow this post is going to be tres weird. That's french for very weird and completely out of the ordinary for me.
It felt so strange taking pictures of clothes this morning but I thought that I would shock you by actually following up on one of my previous posts.
You know, the post where I admitted that I live in graphic tees, skate shoes, hoodies, and pigtails.
That post was called My Wardrobe Needs a Grown-Uppity Update and it's true. It does.
If you've signed on to read this blog for decorating and DIY tips and inspiration (that has been lacking lately, yes I've noticed), and don't really care about my new purse, please skip this post but come back later, m'kay? M'kay.
So, awhile back I pinned a trillion few pictures on one of my Pinterest boards called Ca-ute Outfits:
Oooooh, scarves. Ooooooh purses.
I was psyching myself up to go shopping for a few items to ease into the whole dressing like a grown up thing.
What ended up working for me (so that I didn't run home crying) was going to all the same stores, but choosing items that I wouldn't normally pick. I couldn't have done it without my friend Jeni-Beni. She is so patient and hasn't even made fun of the fact that I haven't worn the skinny jeans yet.
Yup, you heard right, skinny jeans
I didn't go super crazy or anything ('member how I'm on mat leave trying to save money so I never have to work again???) but I did get a few items.
I totally feel like an over-sharer but here are a few things that I got:
Skinny Jeans - American Eagle
Girls, those jeans are skinny. S-k-i-n-n-y. I haven't worn them yet. I'm practicing in my mind first.
Flats - Spring Shoes
Grey flats with a bow. Because I can still look cute, right? I am all about the grey lately.
Flats - Winners
Brown flats with buckles. Whoa Nelly I'm on a whole new playing field with those buckles.
Boots - Boathouse
Boots. They're grey. They're fluffy. They have buttons. And they can be worn over those skinny jeans. Maybe distract from them a little bit, too. ;)
Scarves - American Eagle (left), Winners (right)
Some grown-up scarves that aren't for winter and aren't made of wool.
Necklaces - American Eagle
Five, yes FIVE new necklaces. As mentioned before, I had been wearing the same heart necklace for the past five years. No word of a lie.
Jacket - Old Navy
A military-style jacket with a cinched waist. Is "cinched waist" a thing? I think it's a thing.
Purse - Winners
A charcoal purse with pockets and buckles. I had to force myself to buy it but now I love it.
A few other things I picked up (but aren't pictured) were a few plain coloured tees (white, pink, navy blue), a grey cardigan, and a grey sweater.
I will totally understand if you are suddenly intimidated by my new fashionista-ness. Bahahaha. Kidding of course.
Cooper and I went on our first movie date yesterday (that stars and strollers thing is awesome, right?) and I totally rocked the flats, the sweater, the purse, and the scarf.
(I did wear pigtails though. Some things you can never change.)
(And by "rocked it" I really mean "felt awkward".)
P.S. We saw this movie and LOVED it:
So that's the update about the clothes stuff. How is your wardrobe looking these days? Sweats? Spandex? Heels? Fishing boots? Evening gowns? Hey, I won't judge.

Top Ten Posts of All Time


Monday, October 15, 2012

Well hi there.
This post is going to highlight the top ten posts of all time over here at Cozy.Cottage.Cute. These are the posts that have received and continue to receive lots and lots of lovin'. While a few of the posts are recent, some of the older ones have kinda gotten lost in the shuffle. Here they are, bad lighting and all for my new(er) readers. ;)

#1: Tutorial - Fabric Tie-Up Shade

Click here to read the original post.

#2: Burlap Stocking Tutorial - Just For You

Click here to read the original post.

#3: DIY Growth Chart Tutorial

Click here to read the original post.

#4: Heart Punch Valentine's Day Art - Version I

Click here to read the original post.

#5: How to Make Board and Batten Shutters
Click here to read the original post.
#6: Before and After - An Old Window Turns Into Something Cute

Click here to read the original post.
#7: Sugar-Topped Blueberry Muffins
Click here to read the original post.
#8: DIY Butterfly Collage Wall Art
Click here to read the original post.
#9: Hello, Yellow!
Click here to read the original post.
#10: Little Ninja's Nursery
Click here to read the original post.
Thanks for popping by today. You're my favourite.

You Ask, I Answer - Part Five


Friday, October 12, 2012

Impromtu photo shoot with a pumpkin.
{I'll be inserting random pictures from Thanksgiving weekend into this post... just because.}

What are your professions outside of the home?

Right now I am employed with our local public school board as an elementary teacher (but currently on maternity leave). I've had the most experience teaching grades two and three, although last year I had my first experience with junior / senior kindergarten.
I was frightened to death to teach JK/SK and literally spent the whole summer with a pit of anxiety in my stomach thinking that I didn't have the patience and/or stamina to do it. However, I was quite surprised at how fun it was. Play cars with you? Sure. Help you make a flower at the craft table? You got it. Bubbles at the water table? Oh yeaaaaaaaah. It does take a million hundred ounces of patience to get through each day, but the kiddos are pretty darn cute (when they're not having tantrums or peeing their pants).
While hanging out with and entertaining kids comes pretty naturally to me, the planning ahead part of the teaching profession clashes big time with my personality type. During the school year I am in a constant state of stress due to always having to be ten steps ahead with planned lessons and activities. 
As y'all know already, I dream of doing something a bit more creative for a living. Waaaay back in the day, I originally wanted to take Graphic Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. But, I was intimidated by the big city and the application required a portfolio of my work. Back then I had no idea what a portfolio even was. Everyone in my town went to university for things like: engineering, psychology, biology. No-one I knew took anything artsy. Being the fraidy cat that I am, I went to teacher's college instead. What would I love to do? Hmmmm.... own my own cottage furniture decor shop...... photography...... etsy shop with vintage goodies....... interior decorating...... organizing...... painting furniture...... blogging..... flipping houses....... all of it appeals to me but all of it scares me at the same time.  
Alex works for a global mining company at one of their biggest mining locations in Canada. He originally worked in the local IT department developing/fixing software (computer geek, cough cough) but now he is a project manager type-person. He's described his job to me a zillion times but it's complicated. Apparently he gets to run meetings and sit in meetings and schedule meetings. Snore. Oops, did I say that out loud?!?! He wears tucked in collared shirts and pleated pants so he must be important over there. Sometimes I ask him if he would like a pocket protector for his fancy shirts but then he gets mad at me.   
Roary doing what he does best. Chomping on a stick.
Will you be going back to work, or will you get to hang out with that ADORABLE Cooper? Are you a teacher? Somewhere it seems I remember you talking about school????
Yes, teacher (see above).
Up here in Canada we get twelve beautiful months of maternity leave. So lucky, yes I know. Technically I should be returning to work for May and June of this school year but I have the option of extending my leave without pay. It's not definite but I will likely take advantage of that and return to work next September (allowing me to stay home with Coops for an extra four months)(16 months total).
We've also been having some discussions about me possibly going back to work half-time (half days). Obviously I never want to leave the Coopster ever, ever, ever, ever, ever and would gladly and willingly stay home with him full-time forever and ever and ever and ever. Not sure if I can convince the hubs of that yet though. I keep telling him that I'll start couponing if I have to. Hahaha.  
The view at our cottage. 'Nuff said.
What is your husband's job & how does he find time to renovate The Fixer-Upper?!
Alex works as a Project Manager for a mining company (see above). As for the renovations, Alex does all of his renos (at our place and at The Fixer Upper) in his spare time. He'll work on projects at night, on the weekends, and even on his holidays. I am very lucky to have such a talented handyman for a hubs. He is completely self-taught and can now do all kinds of crazy reno stuff including the hard stuff like tiling, plumbing, and electrical.  
We had to make a bit of a sacrifice in that when we bought The Fixer Upper I looked after Cooper pretty much solo (could that be why he is such a mama's boy?) while Alex worked his regular job and then did renos over there after work and on weekends. Now that Alex's parents have moved in, they have taken on most of the work themselves so now things have gotten a bit more balanced at home.
(Note: We do have awesome family and friends that will often come over to drink beer help Alex with his renos.) 
Roary again. He follows me around a lot.
Oh, you wanted to see one more picture of Coopaloops? Okay, I'll oblige but just this once.
Coopster with a pumpkin AND a block of wood.

P.S. Feel free to leave convincing arguments for Alex on why me staying home with Cooper is the best idea ever. :)

For more answers to your questions you can check out these previous posts:

Kitchen Quick Fix: DIY Grocery Sign


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was hoping to craft up a little sign for the kitchen. Our poor kitchen got no lovin' for the longest time. It's in desperate need of a major overhaul but we're waiting patiently so that I can pick the most expensive finishes and appliances for the right time. Ahem.
I originally wrote about our ugly kitchen here. Then I followed up with a few quick fixes that have included paintopen shelving, a pendant light over the sink, and some kitchen carts for extra counterspace and storage.
After rounding up some sign inspiration from the magical-land-of-internets, I finally decided that I wanted my sign to say "grocery". After all, I do need frequent reminders to go grocery shopping when we're out of food and I start making Kraft Dinner for every meal. Heh heh heh. No, seriously. I do that.
Here is the spot over the window where I wanted to put the sign:
Empty space above window.

Empty space above window.

Well, here is how the sign turned out and how it looks over the kitchen window and sink:
I really like how it turned out, however I haven't decided if I'm going to try and add a little something something to make it look a bit older.
The letters are fairly distressed (although it's hard to tell from this photo):

I have most of the pictures ready for a step-by-step tutorial but it will take me a few more days (or weeks, sigh) to get that done for ya.
This is BY FAR the best stenciling job I've done so far, so come on back if you're curious how I got the letters so crisp (well, they were nice and crisp before I sanded the heck out of them).
Here is a little before and after comparison of the little spot with and without my little DIY sign:
Obviously the kitchen still needs a lot of work. But hey, at least there's a cute sign in there now. ;)

Update: I think I will move the sign up an inch thanks to a friendly suggestion from a reader. (Readers are cool.)

P.S. The wooden valence at the top is kind of in the way to hang it centered between the ceiling and the window.

Okaybyeeeee for realz.
Sharing Here:
Link Up With Me, Liz Marie @ Liz Marie Blog
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage
Flaunt it Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
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