Not all typography, mind you. I am a firm believer that the world would be a better place without Brush Script or Cooper Black or a lot of those weird gimmicky fonts. (I’m looking at you, Hobo and Papyrus.)
But, for the most part, I can (and do) stare at type all day. Call it an occupational hazard: I work in the newspaper industry.
Off duty I spend a lot of quality time with type, too.
Here’s a (before) photo of a little letter opener I found at a thrift store a couple weeks ago:
I wasn’t a fan of the grey plastic or the promotional advertising on it, but I needed a letter opener and I liked the shape.
I spray painted it black when I got it home. It works like a charm and looks nice sitting on my desk when it’s not in use.
Also by my desk is a shadow box that I have a few blocks of wood type displayed in. I buy type blocks at antique stores here and there whenever I find some that I like.
This letter holder hangs in my kitchen, next to the back door. I bought it years ago at a thrift store, painted it black and stenciled the numbers onto it.
Faux metal letters that spell out “EAT” hang on another wall in my kitchen.
The letters were cheap paper mache ones that I bought at a craft store, basecoated in black paint, then drybrushed some silver over, letting the black peek through so they’d (hopefully) have a vintage industrial vibe (without the vintage industrial price).
And speaking of vintage…
A few old glass canisters with words or letters on them sit on my kitchen counter. All were thrift store finds. (And, yes, I know the “P” jar is supposed to have pepper in it. I swapped it for some sea salt so the contents would contrast with the black letter for the photo.)
On the far wall of my kitchen is this ampersand that I showed off in a previous post.
Before I stenciled the type onto it, the wood bore an image of John Wayne. My husband still doesn’t understand why I painted over the Duke.
I have a gallery wall on the stairwell going up to our second floor, where this “etc.” sign hangs.
It was originally a stained knotty pine piece with lots of straw flowers and bunches of wheat attached to it (somebody’s craft project from 1985, I’d guess). I bought it from a thrift store, ripped off all the embellishments, sanded copious amounts of glue off of it, painted it black and then Mod Podged houndstooth-patterned paper onto it.
This C monogram sits on a table in my living room:
I bought it from a vendor at Cranberry Fest in Warrens a couple years ago. (If you’re ever in western Wisconsin the last full weekend in September, check it out; the whole town turns into one giant flea market/craft sale.) The letter is cut out of a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book, which I thought was very clever.
Also in my living room: a group of pillows bearing the date of my wedding anniversary.
I made them last summer. (Tune in tomorrow for a post detailing how.)
In my den, you’ll find more numbers, including these that I printed out on cardstock and inserted into the spines of some scrapbooks.
This typewriter key picture also hangs in my den. It’s a Pottery Barn knockoff that I made a few years back after seeing different versions of it floating around the Blogosphere. Holy bananas, was it a lot of work. I spent weeks planning/painting/finishing the beast.
A few of the letters are noticeably crooked (Exhibit A: the letter B). It drives me a little crazy every time I look at it, but it was such a time-sucking project, I decided I’d rather live with its imperfections than go back and redo any of it.
And the sign pictured below might be my absolute favorite example of typography at my house — more for the sentiment than for the font.
When we added on to our deck a few years ago, my husband cut a hole in the lattice that hangs underneath it to allow Calvin (the cat) and Steve (the dog) access to the area. Then Jim (the husband) asked me to make a sign to hang over the top of the hole, so people would know it was intentional, not the result of some shoddy carpentry work on his part.
This was my birthday present from my husband last year:
No, not the cat. The wall.
We’ve actually owned the wall (and the house that it’s attached to) for 20 years. But the planks — and the installation of them — were my husband’s gift.
There’s a reason I’ve been married to the man for 25 years, and it’s not (entirely) because of his DIY skills. It’s because he knows the way to my heart is through a beautiful planked wall.
While I absolutely loved my new wall, I thought it looked a little naked. And I started getting twitchy at the sight of all that empty space.
I had a couple things that I wanted to hang there, starting with this vintage Wisconsin plate that my sister had given me…
… and our son’s senior picture (taken by a friend and former co-worker of mine, the talented Cory Schaefer).
I also had a few treasured black-and-white photos that were in a box under my bed. So I decided to use those items as the starting point and put together a black-and-white gallery-style wall.
I scoured thrift stores for frames, mats and anything else that I could hang there.
Among the things I found were a chalkboard…
… that I drew this on:
A large wooden key…
… that I painted black and stenciled a Greek key pattern onto.
A wooden kids puzzle…
…that I took out of the frame, glued together and painted black.
And this framed picture…
… which I painted black and stenciled an ampersand onto. (Sorry, Duke.)
I also found a frame and mat for this photo of my dad, taken in about 1978:
The photo was taken by an insurance adjuster the day after Dad had been in a farm accident. He’d been hauling a load of corn from the field to the barn, and when he crossed the railroad tracks between the two, he didn’t notice the freight train barreling down on him. Dad and the tractor (barely) made it across the tracks; the gravity box didn’t. It was smashed into a million pieces. In the photo, Dad’s sitting on the tractor he was driving during the crash, but the gravity box is, obviously, a different one.
I also found a frame for this photo that my son took when we were vacationing on Galveston Island in 2008:
And one last frame that I found went for an old postcard I had of our City Hall. The card has a 1-cent stamp on the back and a postmark from Sept. 2, 1905. The City Hall remains the signature building of our downtown today and still houses our local government offices.
The one thing that I bought for the wall that didn’t come from a thrift store was this license plate. I wish I could say it was a family heirloom, but it came from Ebay, by way of a seller in Michigan. (I’m sure it’s glad to be back home.)
When I was done rounding up all the pieces for the wall, I laid everything out on the floor and just kept moving things around (and subbing things out — I had overbought, it turns out) until I was happy with the arrangement.
Once I decided on a final layout, everything went up on the wall (except for the cat).
I love how the art balances out the window next to it.
I have a small collection of little log cabins. Or a little collection of small log cabins.
Two of the buildings are incense burners, and the third is a Christmas ornament. They’re not particularly old or valuable, which makes them very easy to find and collect.
I see cabins like these at thrift stores all the time, but I was able to resist the temptation to own one until last fall. In a weak moment, I gave in and bought one. And then another. And before I knew it, I had three.
Of course, three of anything is a collection and all but begs to be displayed together, preferably under glass. The closest thing I had to a glass museum case was this tabletop greenhouse.
The greenhouse’s frame had been stained a delightful (and by “delightful” I mean “hideous”) orange color when I bought it years ago. A few months back, I finally decided to paint it white. Unfortunately midway through the painting process I realized that I couldn’t get at the inside of the frame where it pressed up against the glass (and by “glass” I mean “clear plastic”). So now the greenhouse is white on the outside and orange on the inside. Sigh.
To create a miniature forest inside the orange/white greenhouse, I stacked some styrofoam pieces on the bottom, varying the height of the “terrain.” Then I added the cabins and some trees…
… and blanketed the landscape with faux snow.
After the blizzard, I went hunting for my stash of miniature deer.
I love them all, but I decided I’d have to cull the herd a bit …
Because some were too Christmas-y:
Others were too tall:
These guys were just wrong:
I almost used these two:
But I liked this little group a bit more:
I burrowed the chosen ones down into the snowdrifts.
And then I stepped back to admire the scene.
Here’s an aerial view:
I decided the cabins needed a little Terry Redlinesque glow inside them at night, so I added some battery-operated tea lights.
Ahh. Much better.
I have a feeling that this is a collection that will continue to grow.