Gone Fishing…

Where have I been, you ask? Long time no hear, you say. Whelp, no excuses! I’ve been trying to relax and have some fun this summer, but basically that means I’ve been incredible busy with furniture sanding and staining and painting and stenciling and lifting and hauling and hammering and oh, yeah, selling it all at the Barn at Todd Farm! The only fishing I have actually done is for some cute whale patterns for my hand-crafted Tin Whale Signs. So much for a summer of R & R…which for me means Re-Cycle & Re-Love.

Today’s DIY post features some super cute whales I’ve created from tin, copper, wood and some paints. Typically, this is what happens: Coach says “I have these boards, can you do something with them?” He paints or stains them a background color while I search for some inspiration- nothing a pile of tin can’t provide! Where this stuff comes from, I do not know or care to ask- it just magically appears in the workshop…or on the porch…or in the yard…or under the work tent. But, somehow it all comes together and we go from this:

Tin Whale Outdoor Panelsto this: Tin Whales Country Design HomeHere’s the how-I-did-it:

Get a piece of wood (we have tons in the barn if you need some…) Have Coach paint or stain the wood with whatever back ground color you’d like to showcase your designs. Get some old tin sheets (good luck with that one) I needed enough tin to create a whale pattern the length of the wood-it did not have to be one large piece because I was planning on slicing it anyway.

Tin Whale SheetsLay down your whale pattern (hey, if you don’t like whales, you can pretty much take your pick of fish or animals or anything else. Then again, who doesn’t like whales?? Trace the pattern onto the tin panels.

Tin Whale Tracing PatternCut the pattern out with scissors. Now, I am not sure where to actually find aged tin this thin-once my stash is gone, I am not sure what I will do! But I am sure Coach will figure it out. Evenly slice the pieces into as many as you would like to create your design.

Tin Whale Pattern StencilI chose two different paint colors to create the stripes. So many colors, so many choices…

Tin Whale Paint ColorsI painted it on…

Tin Whale Painted Tail Before…then sanded it off to expose the tin texture.

Tin Whale Sanded PaintSometimes I don’t paint it at all- just leaving the aged tin…which has the appearance of an old whale (well, at least from what I can see in old photographs…)

Tin Whale Natural SurfaceOnce all the pieces were painted, I laid them back down, evenly spacing them with a ruler. (I used to just eyeball stuff, but I guess these old eyes don’t quite measure like they used to…)

Tin Whale SpacingI glued the pieces to the wood…I’ve tried all sorts of glues, but this one works really well and its clear and doesn’t smell too bad. Painted it on the back of the pieces, then laid it down on the wood panel-once I had them positioned correctly- thenI weighted them down with paint cans until they dried.

Tin Whale Tacky GlueNow, here’s the fun part. Well, I guess you could call it fun if you enjoy individually punching dozens of teeny, tiny copper tacks into tin and wood using jewelry pliers and a small hammer…

Tin Whale Copper Tacks with PliersThese tiny copper tacks are from a company in Ohio- they are specifically made for shaker boxes…but I think they are perfect for my whales!

Tin Whale Copper TacksEach whale is unique in both the finishes and the finishing decorations. Depending on the color choices, sometimes I will use black carpet tacks instead of the copper tacks…those are available at your local hardware store.

Tin Whales 2 by 2As for the whales, well, sometimes I paint them, sometimes I leave them natural (after all, whales are not typically blue striped) Sometimes I use vintage hooks, sometimes I glue jute rope around the edges to finish them off…whatever strikes my artistic fancy while I am in my create mode. So, here are the whales hanging on the wall at the barn, along with many other pieces that I have created.

Tin Whales Barn Vignette Country Design Home.jpgDon’t they look totally at home there?? If I ever have coastal cottage (working on it!) they will be making waves there : ) Have a whale of a Monday, everyone! xoxo Susan









It’s A Sign

There is a scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Meg Ryan and Bill Pullman are celebrating Valentine’s Day in a New York skyscraper- remember the “Dom Deloise” champagne scene? As “Annie” is pondering their future together, she gazes out the window and is taken aback when she spots the Empire State Building slowly blinking into a thousand red lights creating a 15 story valentine heart. She breathlessly states “It’s a sign”, hands over the engagement ring and takes off to meet Sam and Jonah (and Howard ) on the top of the Empire State Building. Happily Ever After.

Signs are everywhere. Sometimes confusing. Sometimes amusing. 

They inform us, guide us to our destination and welcome us safely home.

Signs are also a harbinger of things to come: the first budding crocuses are a sure sign of spring, and the anger of a dark green sky warns of a threatening storm, a valentine’s heart the sure sign of a budding romance.

Trending right now in design, decorating with signs is a creative way to tell your story. Any home catalog or magazine you browse through, any Pinterest Board you find, any decorating websites you drool over all feature signs as a way to add colorful art to your walls while sharing something about yourself.  Signs can be artistic, nostalgic, funny or sarcastic- the possibilites are endless-but in your space, they should tell the story of you.

The signs I have scattered around my home tell my story, and trigger memories of people and places in my life. This montage is at our back door, so arriving guests can be welcomed into the chaos, enjoying the humor in our home.

The Red Sox have broken my heart for countless summers, but this sign evokes images of hot summer nights at the ballpark with a hotdog and beer, rooting on the home town team.

You can’t look anywhere without catching a glimpse of this Keep Calm and Carry On sign that was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion. Now adapted into hundreds of humorous designs, Keep Calm is one of my favorites (click on the cupcake sign for some of my other favorites on Pinterest), and serves as a daily reminder that when my crazy life gets a bit out of control to just stop, take a deep breath, then keep moving forward.  I think its a sign.

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