Pallet Signs; How I Create My Artwork

One of the most popular questions I get asked is “How do you create your artwork on your signs?” Well today I am going to share with you just that. My way isn’t exactly a beginner way of doing things, but I like my signs to have a hand done quality that I believe gives them more of a personal touch. I have really enjoyed making these signs. It combines my love for graphic design and home decor!

I first create my artwork on the computer. My favorite piece of technology I use is a Wacom tablet. It allows me to create flowing type and helps me illustrate art a little faster. I do all of my illustrating in Adobe Illustrator. This is a custom sign that I did for a wedding. She wanted something that incorporated the fall leaves from her invite, some love birds in a tree and a flowing script font for their last name. Here is the digital artwork I created to show her before I began painting.

Design from Computer

Next I usually take a pallet apart and use the boards to give a rustic worn look. I connect my boards with mending or bracing brackets. I usually get my brackets at Wal Mart or Home Depot. Basically any hardware store would probably have them.

For this specific sign I ended up purchasing the wood at Home Depot (BTW they will cut it there for you too!) It is difficult to find actual pallets that have wood nice enough to stain. I bought pine boards that I distressed with a hammer and other heavy tools. This part was way too fun!

After my boards are all put together, I transferred my artwork by chalking it out on the board. This gave me the freedom to mess up a little and still be able to erase it. If you saw my handwriting, you would understand why this step is necessary. My handwriting is somewhere along the level of a 2nd grader. Maybe even younger. HA!

The artwork that ends up on the board isn’t an exact replicate of the digital version, but I like the line quality it gives drawing it out by hand.

Chalked pallet sign

Finally, I paint over my chalked out lines with paint.

painting over the chalk

Here is the final piece! This sign is probably one of my favorites. Okay, my absolute favorite!! The warm, rich background along with the delicate type is a beautiful combination. I can’t wait for the couple to see it.


I am leaving a little gallery of some of the signs I have done. I have several more that I didn’t get photographed. I am trying to do a better job of photographing them to share. Thank you to all of my supporters! If your interested in your own custom sign, please feel to contact me in the comments below or at

Back Roads Vintage Market This Weekend

Good Morning Moxies! The Back Roads Vintage Market is this weekend! I have been working to create some fresh new items for this market. I will be bringing some new styles in pallet signs, new pillow fabrics and a few new unique furniture pieces too. I will also be offering the $5 dollar prints and $10 pillow covers. Please come out and say hi! I would love to see you!

Check out The Back Roads Vintage Market Facebook page for more info. and a peek at other vendors that will be there. You don’t want to miss it!

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FEATURE FRIDAY | Gray Matters | With Rachel

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Happy Friday! Today I am excited to feature a guest blogger, Rachel Serene. She is an artist, designer, wife and mama of two, soon to be three, littles living in the Iowa countryside (but not too far from Target or she wouldn’t survive out there!).  She has an Esty shop (The Burlap Bungalow) where she specializes in hand drawn and hand lettered designs.  She also has a home décor blog over at Home Serene Home.  You can find her THIS weekend (June 7th and 8th) at the Vintage and Made Fair in West Des Moines selling prints and paper goods. You don’t want to miss it!

She is one busy lady and a very talented one at that. Here is Rachel, with her post that I think most of us can relate to. Plus she has some great tips for you that you might want to pin to remember later.

By now, most people have tried painting a room in their house gray. A lot of times it doesn’t turn out the first time, or even the second or third. Gray is such a tricky color. You would think it would be pretty straightforward but it can look purple, blue and even green once in gets up on a wall. Have you had this happen to you? It’s so strange because the paint swatch by itself looks GRAY but when you start comparing it to other types of gray, you can see that it becomes a little greener, or a little bluer. Gray is confusing!

I am pregnant with my third child and for the first time we decided not to figure out the gender. This is how planning-type people surprise themselves. We have a son and daughter already and so figured we had everything we needed that this time we could throw caution to the wind, get crazy, and WAIT until the baby is born to find out the gender. I know–we are living on the wild side!

I quickly knew I wanted to do gray walls in the soon-to-be-son-or-daughter’s new room with pops of Kelly green throughout that would easily accommodate a boy or a girl. Honestly a lot of wanting to know the gender of our babies before they were born was because I wanted to decorate a room accordingly. I was NOT about to a have a frilly little girl in a stark, unisex baby room. Some women plan their weddings their whole lives; I planned my baby rooms. Now that I’ve done a baby girl room and a boy room however, I was up for a new challenge. I settled on a style– a little modern/industrial/vintage— (basically the story of my life) and then threw together an Olioboard.


The walls will be a medium gray with darker velvet curtains. The crib that we have (a curvy Jenny Lind-style one, not as modern as the one pictured) will be painted Kelly green, and I will incorporate a mix of white, wood tones, metals and, maybe if I get really crazy, some cute little Narwhals.

This brings me back to gray, the first step to transforming this room in my head to a room in real life. I went to Home Depot and picked up a million swatches of gray. I was super-leery of any that looked blue-ish or green-ish. This would be the third time I have painted a room gray and I really wanted it to be the best gray room yet.

I compared swatches, brought them home, taped them to the wall to see how they caught the light, compared swatches again, decided what gray I wanted, consulted my husband, changed my mind on what gray I would use, talked about it more, prayed about it and then finally headed back to Big Orange to get my gallon of paint. I settled on a Martha Stewart color—Bedford Gray—and was pretty confident it would be the one. I bought it in the Glidden Duo brand with the paint and primer together.


So let me just say, THIS GRAY IS AMAZING. It’s the gray of my dreams. For me, in this room (‘cause ya know, gray can change depending on the light) it was exactly what I was envisioning. AND, I would also like to add that the Valspar paint with primer is so smooth and so worth it. I barely did a second coat—just a few touch ups. I LOVE THIS GRAY PAINT!!!


I realized the key to picking the perfect gray (IMHO) is finding one with a little brown/taupe in it. The brown tones down any strange blues and greens but won’t look brown once the color is on the wall. The Bedford Gray that I chose went on light and more taupe at first and then dried the most beautiful shade of medium gray. I seriously want every room in my house AND my exterior to be painted this color. We are re-siding our house soon so the exterior part MIGHT just happen :-)

Just to wrap it all up, here’s a little check-list when going to the store for gray:

  • Go a few days before you plan to paint the walls so you have time to compare paints chips and decide.
  • Pick tons of swatches, from all different brands, tints and shades. They are free so get them all!
  • Come home and tape some favorites against the trim in your room in an area that gets decent natural lighting. Let them hang out for awhile as you get used to your options.
  • Come back when the lighting has darkened some in the room and assess your choices. Star your favorites.
  • Come back when the lighting is bright again and move the swatches to another part of the room to see if your favorites still make the cut.
  • Remember to try to avoid ones with purple or green undertones, and when compared side-by-side, find one with a little more brown than the next.
  • Ask advice from someone you live with.
  • Take a deep breath and go buy your paint.

Or scratch all that and just choose Bedford Gray by Martha Stewart ;) Maybe get a sample first—but really—if you’re room gets decent lighting (the room I used it in has two windows and is on the north east side of the house) it should be a pretty decent choice. I am in no way affiliated with Martha herself, but shoot, I just LOVE this color and am so happy how it turned out. Bedford Gray FTW!


One last tip I learned from a friend: if you feel the small swatches are hard to compare, buy a couple samples in the paint colors you think you may choose and paint a square of poster board as a large “swatch”. Once they dry, use those instead of the little chips from the store to get a better feel for the color against the wall. This is a more expensive option and could result in going back to the store a few more times to try different samples but may be worth it to you. I almost NEVER pick the top three choices I like at the store, and this time ended up picking one I was hardly eyeing at first, so this method would have been tricky for me this time but I still think it’s a great tip.

There you have it. Gray is gorgeous; it warms up any room and matches all colors. You cannot go wrong with the concept of gray, but when gray becomes a reality in a room it can often be a disaster if your eye isn’t trained to pick the right color. I hope this little guide gives you some confidence next time you set out to choose the perfect gray!

Good luck and happy swatching!


Thanks, Rachel for sharing. I know exactly what you mean about finding the right gray. I have ended up with purply looking walls that were intended to be gray. Great tips I will have to hold on to. And I have to mention that kelly green is my fav color this summer. I must find a way to bring it into my house somewhere. LOVE!

Have a good weekend, Moxies! Remember if you are needing to get out of the house this weekend, stop by and say hi to Rachel at the Vintage Made Fair in West Des Moines.

Sunroom Revamp

Before and AFter Good Morning, Moxies! It has been a long time coming for a new post, but my own house was in need of a little TLC, okay a lot of TLC. I have several half started projects that I haven’t had time to get finished or projects that just seem to lack priority in comparison to other things on my to do list.

I decided to tackle my sunroom first. It was probably the most noticeable unfinished project. I started sewing new cushion covers for my sunroom  back in February and it was left with half old green cushions and new grey cushions ever since. I wish I would have snapped a picture of it, because it was interesting looking for awhile.

My inspiration for the sunroom started with this chest that I transformed here. I removed the wicker tables and decided to add some character to what I call a very wickertastic sunroom. Yes, wickertastic. Everything in the sunroom was wicker, there wan’t much character and the green cushions have bothered me pretty much ever since I bought them. I had to dig for these pictures, but I found one of my son at Easter time in front of all the wicker and a picture showing the ugly pattern on the cushions so you can truly get what I mean. Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 3.28.21 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.52.49 AM Staging this picture together for the chest transformation below, made me realize that I wanted to bring in more pink, orange and turquoise into the room with pillows and other accessories. I loved the way the turquoise of the book and the pink and orange in the decorative balls looked with the mint green. Chest_view 1 For my fabric choices, I looked at fabrics by Joel Dewberry on I really love his floral prints. And in a sunroom, I felt it would be nice to bring in some bright florals. Pillows To bring some character into the sunroom, I repurposed an old typewriting table that my mom had in her attic and used it as a side table. I thought the color turquoise would be perfect for it. As the color turquoise is perfect on just about everything, right! Turq table chair_turq table If you attended the Lucky Star Market you may recognize the super adorable coaster. I just had to have one for myself. turq table and wood coaster Another piece I repurposed was this old side table from my grandma. I love the geometric detail on the side. It looks lovely all creamy and distressed. And it makes a perfect TV stand! white table_tv stand My good friend Megan over at 421 Design got me addicted to this copper spray paint. Seriously addicting, I mean it! I could not stop finding things to paint copper. I found my can at hobby lobby. And don’t forget to bring your 40% coupon with you! Chair_vase Don’t mind the sparse yellow flowers. My boys won’t leave them alone. They keep picking the flowers off and giggling. I may or not replace them until they figure out to leave them alone! vase I love the feeling of finishing up a project. My sunroom is ready just in time for beautiful sunny weather. I can sip my coffee in the morning and kick my feet up and enjoy! Sunroom wide view 1 sunroom wide view3 And here is one of my little princess dog Siena, who refused to leave the sunroom for my photo shoot. HA! I don’t blame her, the sun does feel good. Have a good week and enjoy the sunshine! Siena   signature

Lucky Star Market Is This Weekend!

Is everyone ready for the Lucky Star Market this weekend? It is down to just a few days away. I just about have everything ready! I have a few more sneak peek pictures  along with some special discounts that I want to share with you.

Here is a peek at a new pallet sign I created. I had a lot of fun exploring a more sketchy style of art. There is also a print of the same flower.

New Pallet Sign

I have been working on some new prints. Be sure to bring $5 with you! Ya heard me. I am selling my prints for $5 including tax. There are several different prints to choose from.


I am selling a lot of the pillow covers for $10 a piece including tax. All the pillow covers pictured in this drawer will be $10.

Pillows ten dollars

I hope to see you at the Lucky Star Market this weekend. Please stop by and say hi. Below is a coupon that you can use on any one item with an exception of furniture pieces. You can either print it or show me it on your phone. One coupon per person please. Have a great weekend, Moxies!

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Sneak Peek for the Lucky Star Market

The Lucky Star Market is almost here! Keep the 26th of April open, you don’t want to miss it. Here is the link again in case you didn’t see the last post Lucky Star Market.  I have been working to come up with some new items for you and I am bringing back some popular items from previous markets as well. You ready to have a peek? I have the display sort of mocked up in my living room. People give me funny looks when they stop by, well maybe just the UPS man. Everyone else I know already knows how crazy I am, HA!

Painted wood tree slivers are a new item I am bringing this year. I have a large size that you can use as a trivet, or hang on the wall with a collage. I also have a small size that works nicely as a coaster. How cute would one of these be next to your desk at work? I also just finished up the marble top dresser by adding some crystal knobs. It would make the perfect bathroom vanity. Can’t you just picture a white vessel sink on top? (if you are a regular follower, yes that is the one that didn’t fit in my bathroom!)


I am bringing back some pallet signs too. I have a couple of new signs made and I also have recreated some that were popular from the last market.


Of course there are pillows! I have created some new gold striped pillows, Ampersand pillows along with many other new fabrics.

Lucky Start Market_Sneak Peek2

I have gotten attached to this cute little orange chair, but I have decided to sell it!Image

I have a few more unique items I am working on that I hope to bring to the market. Stay tuned for more peeks and a printable coupon that I will be sharing the week before the market.


Mark Your Calendars for the Lucky Star Market, April 26th

Yay it is Friday! Thank goodness, right! I decided that I would wait and share some fun news for today. I am going to be a vendor at the Lucky Start Market, April 26th! It is held at the Prairie Moon Winery & Vineyards in Ames.

I am working on some new pallet signs, painted tree slivers and other art along with some small furniture pieces and of course, new pillows! There are several talented business that are going to be there. The other vendors are listed on their web site here. Wine and shopping, a perfect combo for a fabulous weekend. Don’t miss it!

In the up coming weeks I will be giving you some sneak peeks at some of the stuff I am bringing. In addition, I will be releasing a special discount for all my followers. So stay tuned. Have a great weekend, Moxies!



The Perfect Project For Scrap Fabric

Ottoman Pouf update

For those of you that know me, It is probably not a surprise that I have A LOT of scrap fabric. I have been trying to come up with a good project to utilize some of it, but I just could not come up with anything outstanding. A photographer approached me about making a patchwork ottoman pouf and I instantly thought of all the fabric I had. What a perfect project for me!

Disclaimer: As I have mentioned in other posts. I don’t claim to be a professional seamstress. My hope in sharing my sewing projects is that they are easy to understand for a beginner. If you are a professional seamstress feel free to share some tips you have! Please!

What you will need:
Scrap fabric in several patterns and colors, freezer paper or wrapping paper (to use as a pattern), thread, scissors, pins and batting or something to fill your poof with.

The first thing thing I did was cut out a bunch of 4×4 inch squares out of various fabrics. I created a pattern using grid wrapping paper (you could use freezer paper too) My fabric is all odd sizes since they are scrap pieces, so I found a pattern extra helpful. Next I laid out the squares to get a visual of how big I wanted to make the poof and exactly how many different fabric patterns I wanted to use. Most commonly they are made as a cube, but the one I am creating is more rectangular. Or from what I just learned on Wikipedia, a cuboid. Two sides are squares and four sides are rectangles, so the opposite sides are equal. From all the Team Umizoomi I watch, I really should have known this.

I ended up doing 8 4×4 inch squares for the length and width. For the height I decided to do 3 4×4 inch squares high. (keep in mind that the size will be a little smaller once you sew it together when you add in your seam allowance)

Now that you have your size figured out and how many different fabric patterns you want to use, it is time to start sewing. I started by sewing 8 squares in a row, creating one row at a time. Then as shown in picture 3, I sewed each line together.

Ottoman Poof_steps

When you are finished sewing each line together you should have a square for your top piece and 4 rectangles for your side pieces. My top piece is 8 squares by 8 squares. My side pieces are 8 squares by 3 squares. I used a solidish fabric for my bottom since you won’t see it anyway.

Next take your side pieces and sew them together making one large line. Mine will have 32 squares sewn together. (The picture below will be sewn together one more time)

Ottoman Poof_pieces

You should have all your pieces at this point, top bottom and sides. Now it is time to pin it into shape. I used a handsome model to help show how this is done. No bribes necessary!

Boy showing  pieces pinned Boy showing pinning

At this point you should have it all inside out and you should be able to tell what it will look like when it is finished. Mine is sort of a deflated looking cuboid. I unfortunately don’t have any pictures showing anymore steps. I will blame it on Iowa State for taking my interest away from my pouf. Can I get a shout out for the CYCLONES! Big Twelve Tournament Champs! GO STATE! Anyway….I will do my best to explain the rest. It should really be easy from here.

Sew along your seams that are pinned and leave an opening (for stuffing your batting in). Pull your fabric through your opening and bring it all right side out. Stuff it with your batting. Finally just pin up the small opening and sew it up. I sewed mine by hand, but if you can get it under your sewing machine go for it!

And that is it! Can’t you just picture an adorable picture with a naked baby all curled up on it. I am anxious to see how it works out for the photographer I made this for.

Poof1 Poof

And here is one more handsome model for you. I did actually have to bribe this one with a sucker. STINKER… but a cute one.

Boy on poof

Let me know what you think. Comments always make my day, don’t be shy! Have a great rest of the week, Moxies.

FEATURE FRIDAY|Bedroom Revamp! FINALLY!| With Holly

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 9.27.51 PMIt is Feature Friday again! Today I asked Holly to come back and share her master bedroom update. I love Holly’s creativeness, and she always has simple inexpensive ideas on how to add some style to a room. Wait until you see what she did to her floor!


Hey Moxie readers! Anyone out there have a room in their home where if you can’t find a place to put something it gets thrown in this room? You know, the one whose door gets shut when company comes over. The one who shall not be named. The one you avoid at all cost. That is what my poor bedroom turned into:( FOR ALMOST 4 YEARS!!!! How depressing, right? This last fall I was finally able to get the ball rolling!

It all started with the moving of our home, yes, we actually picked up our home and moved it. We added an attached garage with a bonus room up above which connected to my sons room upstairs. We took out one of his windows and put a door there so you could get out to the bonus room, which we weren’t exactly sure what we wanted to do with. Fast forward a year and a half, we decide to switch rooms with our son so that with the arrival of our 3rd child they could share a room and they were going to need the room that was a little larger. Then a light bulb went off and I say “let’s extend our room out to the bonus room part way and the other part can be storage”. Did I mention our home is an old two story with tiny bedrooms upstairs and no closets. In the back of my head I am thinking Yay, we can finally have a closet. Fast forward four years, no extended bedroom or closet and the room is now a dumping ground of stuff and folded piles of laundry everywhere with a narrow path to the bed. After years of pleading I finally gave him a few ultimatums, one being no hunting this year until the room is done and the other he may not be happy with me discussing with you;) I know it may not be right but it HAD to be done and to my surprise in a few short weeks we got it done. Yay! Here are a few photos of the process .


This is just after starting, he widened the doorway (I wanted it a little wider, but something about blah! blah! blah! load bearing wall blah! blah! blah!) and painting trim.


Finishing up some drywall.


Some friends came to visit:)


Putting in the carpet.






The old part of the room with horrible blue carpet.


Good bye blue carpet!


removing staples, which somehow turned into my job and after I removed about a fourth of them and then asked him for help he decided to just hammer them in:/ that would have been good information 500 staples ago! I planned on painting the floor and didn’t want a bunch of hammer dents all over but it actually didn’t damage the floor as bad as I thought it would so that’s what we did. I like doing things as nice as I can but also as easy as I can.


I painted it a light grey and wanted to get a stencil to put over it and for some reason we couldn’t get to town that day but I couldn’t wait so I decided to make my own. I wanted a simple design and figured I probably won’t find anything I like at the store anyway. I found an old tote lid and made my own.


This is the design I came up with.



The stencil is not white but a really light grey.



Found some new dressers on craigslist, love! love! love!



Still doing some decorating, just trying to grab a couple things each time I go into town.


View from the old room down to the new room. Hard to tell but there is a step that goes down to the new part. I was also thinking about putting some barn style sliding doors here.


Don’t mind my husbands clothes, after almost 10 years of marriage he’s still not sure how to get them in the dresser:) This spot goes back into the closet.


Again, don’t mind the totes. Also, I am trying to figure out a way to get the gun cabinet moved somewhere else.


The closet, no place to hang clothes yet, but I am just so excited to have a bedroom that I am not complaining to much!


View from the new part to the old part.

Their are a few more things I need to do, a little more decorating, new light fixtures and I want to paint the doors a dark walnut color. Thanks for checking out my new bedroom, hope you enjoyed it as much as I do!!!


Thanks, Holly for sharing your revamp. It turned out really lovely! I can’t get over the floor, LOVE! If you need some more stenciling floor ideas, Holly shared them back in a post here. Have a good weekend, Moxies!

Bathroom Update

You may remember I shared my bathroom plans in a post. Or maybe you don’t because it has been a LONG time since I posted it. I was really hoping there would be a perfect week where we (when I say we I really mean my husband) would make a lot of progress and I would then give an update that would be exciting with gorgeous pictures, but that is just not the case.

I am sure many of you that have attempted a renovation like this can relate. When you are doing everything on your own, it takes time. And working on the bathroom is often the last thing my husband feels like doing after a busy day of working. I don’t blame him. I really don’t. What, I don’t! It just doesn’t make me any less anxious about the finished project. Okay, I may have threatened to hire someone else once or twice, but I really do appreciate everything my hubs has done and he is really doing a good job. If only things worked like they do on HGTV, and like magic in 30 minutes you get to see the finished project. It would also be helpful if I had a clue what I was doing and could offer any sort of help with this stage of the bathroom.

So, here is what it looks like today. My husband just completed the tub deck and it is starting to feel a little more put together. I am starting to feel this renovation could get completed within in a month or two months or at least within the year.


The tile came in a few days ago and made me even more excited about making progress.  How amazing is that marble tile! Let’s all close our eyes for a second and imagine that it is attached to the wall. Ah! So beautiful!

The tile

Since we are getting close to where I can paint the walls, I picked out the color. I went with a really soft color called Cool Elegance by Valspar. I want everything to feel light and airy, but I want to add in bright pops of color with accents.

The color swatch

I had to call the queen of craigslist, Megan at 421 Designs to help me find this dresser/vanity. She found this marble top dresser for me that I swear was singing when I saw it. The dimensions were perfect, the marble was beyond perfect. Everything about it was perfect. Just perfect, right!


Wrong! Megan definitely found the perfect dresser for me, but I didn’t double check the measurements the seller gave me. Lesson learned! The dresser ended up being 32 inches wide and I really needed it to be no more then 30 inches. And actually come to find out, 30 inches is not enough space for my husband, who apparently needs to flap his arms out while he goes to the bathroom. Needless to say this super amazing dresser will not be appearing in my bathroom.

I will keep you all posted with more updates. Hopefully the next time we talk about this bathroom there will be plenty of gorgeousness to share. Stay tuned.

I did at least hire an assistant (pictured below). HA! If only those plastic power tools worked. He probably won’t make the reno go any faster, but he does bring the cuteness of the bathroom up a few notches.

Thanks for stopping by, Moxies!

The Assistant