Saturday, September 12, 2009

Crafty Nonsense Signs

So I was looking through my brother's wife's blog Poppies at Play last night. It's pretty amazing, all the craftiness she does (and her blog followers too). One thing that seems to be really popular all around, and to be honest has been popular for years, is the idea of putting vinyl lettering on a painted slab of wood. I call these nonsense signs. Well, I thought I'd get in on the action. So I've analyzed the concepts and would like to offer some better ideas to all those crafty folks out there.

The biggest thing I've noticed is that the words you put on the boards don't have to mean anything - hence the name nonsense sign. I don't mean use gibberish, I mean use any words you like.
Here's an example I found on the internet. It's a pretty cool idea. Make a bunch of oversize scrabble tiles and lay them out on your wall. The only problem with this one is that the words have no connection to one another (other than the physical cross-word connection).

Here's my update to the idea. All of the words have a meaningful connection to one another. In fact the placement to the names relative to each other may have profound meaning and should cause you to ponder.

The next idea is to choose a quote from somewhere. Here's one from the internet.

Duh! Apparently you should find a quote that states the obvious. To make it better, choose a useful quote, like this one from Yogi Berra.

The next idea is to take 2 unrelated words or phrases, put one in big bold letters and the other in small, skinny script, of contrasting color, directly on top of the other. The most common usage of this is a last name in bold and the phrase "families are forever" as the subscript. This is great, but be more creative! Pick words that are interesting to you like this.

Next we have this - and it's really fun. It's simply the last few words from a book. This is a poor example because the ellipses should be in front of the phrase indicating it is the end fragment of a sentence. But the idea is to not use a full sentence, but instead the last half or so. The best part is that the ambiguity of it's meaning is it's appeal.

Here's my version. I took the last words directly from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

Three more Ideas to go.

Choose a few random, alliterative nouns, and place a cute symbol between them. Here's one from the internet.

And here's my better version.

Next we have this.

It's a gerund with it's descriptor (the adjective). What the heck is "Country Living" supposed o mean? It doesn't matter! Here's mine.

The last one is the most minimalist. Simply use a single word. The best kind is is an imperative verb - like you are commanding someone. Andy made a big sign that said "Gather". Here is mine.

I hope I've inspired you to go out and buy a vinyl cutter and some wood and start making nonsense signs of your own!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


One of the fun things about being a parent is when you see how much of yourself (or your family) gets inherited by your kids. Valerie spent the last four days in Michigan, with Zoey, visiting her family. That left me home alone with the other three kids. I was able to observe a couple of cool inheritances in my kids.

First, do you remember back when I was about 13 or 14, Joe was a year younger, and Sarah was about 10? If you are a member of my family, you probably do - unless you are Caleb (who wasn't born yet) or probably Abby (who was really little). If your are not a member of my family, it's ok, remembering it isn't all that important because I'm going to tell you about it anyway - so calm down. Anyway, Mom and Dad would head off on an adventurous weekend where they would save the world in the wilds of Borneo, leaving us kids to fend for ourselves. They knew we would be safe because Sarah would babysit everyone. Well not everyone, me and Joe didn't need babysitting, but we had more important things to do than watch a bunch of kids (like play Super Mario Brothers), so we were there just in case there was an emergency. Sarah took care of everyone else. She fed them, changed diapers, bossed them arround, mediated their arguments, put them to bed, gave them baths, etc.

Well it turns out that CJ has inherited that! I was obviously a carrier of the '10 year old taking care of everyone' gene (which was deactivated in me by the presence of a Y chromosome). These past four days CJ has cooked, cleaned, fed, bathed, played with, taught, mediated, and altogether mothered Mia and Xander while Val has been gone. Me? I had better things to do (like play Playstation and XBox) . She is awesome and I really couldn't have done it (by 'it' I mean get 150 head shots with my AK-47 in Call of Duty 4) without her. All kidding aside, she gets so excited to be the mom and reminds me a ton of Sarah that way.

The next thing I observed is something inherited not from me, but from Valerie.

It was very hot on Friday. It got up to 82 degrees. Hah! you may scoff - you who live in the middle of a desert! Well, you have to understand that becasue the average temperature (with the cool breeze coming off the Bay) is about 65- 70 degrees, no one here has an air conditioner. All you need to do is open the windows and you get a wonderful natural air conditioner. That's great until the temperature reaches 80 degrees. At that point, the wind stops. Now you are in an un-airconditioned house with no breeze at all. To make things worse, we live upstairs, so all the hot air accumulates in our house. While it's 82 degrees outside, its more like 89 degrees inside. Sure we have fans blowing nonstop, but it really is unbearable.

I tell you all this so that you will have some sympathy for us. Also, I tell you this so you understand why I left Mia's bedroom window open overnight Friday night. While she slept, a swarm of twenty million mosquitos came into her room and ate her, leaving a dry husk behind. Ok, so that is an exaggeration, there was really probably just one mosqito, and rather than a dry husk, it left a plump, oozing, puss filled princess behind. You see, Mia has inherited Val's alergy to Mosqitos. I didn't even know people could be alergic to mosquitos! Of course, I have inherited my mother's mosquitophobic aura which repels mosquitos. On the rare occasion that I get bit, the mosquito either combusts spontaneously, or imediately flies off in a panic, seconds before exploding with a loud POP! (CJ has inherited this from me). Afterward, there is hardly a mark of their attack.

Poor Mia (and Val) , draws mosquitos to her. They fly from the other side of the world just to taste her blood! After they bite her, rather than the little pimple-like itchy spot most people know, she gets a huge welt or hive that is frighteningly huge. On Friday night, she got bit a total of 10 times; One on her forearm, one on her triceps, one on the tip of her finger, and 7 times across her face, giving her a black eye.

I know! I know! they look like spider bites, but they're not. As miserable as she looks, she is actually still very cheerful - she gets that from Val too. I did, however get scolded by her about leaving her window open overnight. She told me I need to remember to shut it so the mosquitos (she cant say it, so pronounces it either "skamitos" or "posquitos") don't "eat her guts".

Oh, one last thing, we're talking about genetics - we get some of our genes from an egg - i have a picture of eggs at the top of the post! Ha! I tied it in! I really just wanted to show off the smiley that my eggs made by themselves - right before we turned them into lemon bars. The mouth was actually even cooler, but by the time I grabbed the camera to take the picture, it has started to slide to the side.

One more "one last thing":
I got mutton chops!

Also known as the kissable beard, (Val won't kiss me when I have facial hair) or inverted goatee. Check out how much red hair I have!