Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Make a Basic Chalkboard Sign


   Become a subscriber at Fonts CafĂ© – download the free chalkboard fonts and the chalkboard backgrounds.

o  Chalk Hand Lettering Shaded Font
o  Handwriting Draft Font (doesn’t look chalkboard)
o  Free Chalkboard Textures Pack 04

·      Open PhotoShop Elements
o  Create a new thingy (CANVAS?) with dimensions of 24x36 or less. Whatever the right size is though! It is the easiest to make the canvas the same size as your final product.
o  In the photo bin, open the chalkboard background (hunt and search high and low to find where it downloaded…). You could try different backgrounds – the set includes 10 backgrounds. I picked #4 and just stretched and moved the chalkiest parts off the board.
o  Open the canvas and drag the chalkboard background onto the canvas.
o  Resize the chalkboard background (Image>resize>24x36 or whatever the size of your frame). Clip to the background layer.
o  Create a text box for each word or phrase. Change the font to whatever you choose & the color to white. Before finalizing the box, shrink the handles closer to the size of the writing. Even if the font is the same for every single item, individual text boxes make it much easier to manipulate the words.
o  Move and rearrange and resize to make everything fit nicely together.

·      Save the image – flatten it to make everything go together?

·      Export to USB drive. Save with a 00thingy or whatever so the file is at the top of the list.

·      Take USB drive to Staples. Be nice to the guy. If he doesn’t like you, you’re in trouble.  Ask for an engineering print. You can have 24x36 or gigantic 32x48.

·      Spray mount to a background – I used a 20x30 piece of black foam core but I have also done something on a thin wooden box frame. If you are crazy, modge podge over the top. Be warned that it will buckle and warp and wrinkle and you might cry or curse!!! (See my March 2013 blog post for more information about the finishing/modge podge process.)

I I am obviously not a Photoshop whiz although I did manage to do this in just a few hours. I just wanted to get the basic process down before I forget.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Trip Teaser

We were able to spend two weeks in Idaho & Utah last week. I am going to tell you why I fell in love again with Idaho & Utah & then some things I appreciate about SC.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hiking Entertainment

We have family less than two hours away!! My nephew & his wife live not too far away from us for the summer & we were able to spend Memorial Day weekend with them. We ate lots of food & went hiking at Whitewater Falls. While they waited for me to come around the bend, they thought up creative poses. The hike was beautiful, shady most of the time, but seriously uphill for the last half mile. I think I was voted off the island as the weakest link.



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Special K and the Smoke Alarm

We try to feed the missionaries about once a month. We appreciate the fact that they've left home & taken two years away from school & life to share the gospel. Also, with three sons we can foresee the day when our three boys will be able to serve as missionaries & hopefully be fed occasionally.

Chris served for a while as a ward missionary and worked with Elder Mauer.

Ryan perfecting his double Windsor knot.

When we were living in Maple Valley, Washington, we invited the missionaries over & I cooked something that sounded wonderful from Cooking Light magazine. I wasn't paying attention (hello, two little boys running all over!) and the kitchen filled up with smoke. Our smoke detector was connected to the whole house alarm system so when it went off, the entire neighborhood knew that I was having a rough day in the kitchen!! The alarm started sounding just as the missionaries arrived. We opened the front door & the back sliding glass door for some cross-ventilation & then I looked for something to fan the smoke away from the smoke detector in the hallway. I spied a box of Special K cereal & started fanning the box to clear the smoke. The top of the box was closed, but soon opened with the weight of the entire box of cereal pounding against it. Special K flew down the hallway & back into the kitchen.

A few weeks ago I was trying to fill out a survey for Relief Society when I read the question, "What is your funniest story?" My kids told me that I'm just not that funny. :) I was happy to remember this story & tell them that I can do some pretty ridiculous things.

I like the following video about young men preparing for missions. If you have 5:08, it's worth a watch.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I have been working on my degree since 1984. That's a lot of years even without the math. I started as a junior in high school, took AP courses & exams, attended the U before chasing my boyfriend to the Y after two full years. I became very sick & had to transfer yet again to the UW and still didn't finish before I had Chris. Chris had to submit a semester by semester graduation plan during the first month of his first semester of college. I think I might have attacked college differently with a graduation plan!!

Clayton children, SLC
Now, and for the past five years, I am working on completing my degree through the Y's independent study program. I started in Family Life - I love my family, right? How hard could it be? Well, it turned out to be very difficult for me. My brain is wired for problem-solving - follow a certain pattern & find a solution. Math & physics are not well-suited for independent study so I have landed at genealogy. I take the given information, known formulas for finding solutions (census records, obituaries, cemeteries, birth records, etc.), and arrive at a conclusion. I check and recheck my work and hopefully it all works out.

And here's the point...

I love my coursework! I am happy & look forward to working on the classes that I am taking. Last semester I wrote my autobiography (seventy-pages or so). This semester I am writing a narrative biography (think "Who Do You Think You Are?") about one of my ancestral lines. I get excited when I start explaining the coursework to people. Excited!!! Usually their eyes glaze over and I think one of two things. First, I have landed in the right spot for me. I like researching families and history and trying to put stories together. Second, if the stories were about their people and their past, they would probably be fascinated. In each of us is a desire to know. Who am I? Where did we come from?
Lawrence & Ella Madoche family

Including my current class I have about twenty-two credits to go until graduation. The best part? I only have to take one non-genealogy class - persuasive writing.

Also, I have another blog. I have only written two entries. My plan is to share family stories and genealogy tidbits. The website is:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Falls Park

Falls Park in downtown Greenville is a beautiful green space in the middle of the city. The bridge is cantilevered out over the waterfall. Miles of trails link the zoo, the YMCA, and downtown to the Swamp Rabbit Trail that goes all the way to Traveler's Rest. During the summer you can people watch and see Shakespeare.

Scott had training downtown last week & I needed the car during the day. Chris dropped me off & I walked around taking pictures & enjoying the beautiful park. I am looking forward to warmer weather & riding my bike. Hooray for spring!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - The Flu Take 2

Warning: Cast Perfectionism Aside!

Subway Art

This was not the best moment of my crafting life!

I have admired various interpretations of subway art for the last year or so. While wandering semi-aimlessly around Pinterest, I found several links that helped me clarify what I wanted my art to say. At first I was thought about locations that our families lived, but then I expanded my vision to favorite sayings, dates, and activities we love. One "pin" captured what I wanted & I found a tutorial or two to help me learn what to do.

1. Make a list of the words you want to use.

2. Use PicMonkey or other software to make the subway art. PicMonkey is a free website that will allow you to make word and photo art. Use "edit a photo" and change the background to solid black. Set the size to be proportionate to your finished project. (4x6 image can be 24x36, 5x7 can be 20x28)

  1. Leave a margin around the edge. 
  2. Make each category a different font. All the same is nice too.
  3. Shrink the box to the edges of the word. Now you can drag the corners to make the word whatever size you want.
  4. Place the words evenly spaced.
  5. Save finished project to a thumb drive.
3. Take thumb drive to Staples for printing. Engineering blueprints are less than $5.00 for 24x36. They are only available in black and white (and grey). Staples charged me a small fee to resize the image from 4x6 to 24x36.

4. Easy way out: Frame in a 24x36 frame. Smile & relax.

Hanging up at last!
5. More difficult: Cut MDF to 24x36 or build a frame - 24x36 with 1x2s attached to the sides to look like canvas. Sand & dust. Paint with two coats of black paint. Mod Podge artwork to board. Or spray mount the artwork to board. If you make the wood slightly smaller than the print, the Mod Podge process will be easier because you won't be trying to match the edges.

See the wrinkles? They add character.
Learn from my mistakes Mod Podge instructions:

I will give general directions because I am a Mod Podge amateur & struggled greatly with this step -- as in tear the stupid thing apart two times, make friends with the Staples chick because I had to have it printed 4-5 times, and practice alternate cuss words frustrated!! Scott finally helped me the most by standing beside me & saying, "It just won't matter. You can antique it. Wrinkles give it character."

Matte Finish Mod Podge
Sponge Roller & Tray
Xacto knife
Spray sealer

Lightly seal the front of the print & allow to dry. Repeat on the back. Pour a bunch of Mod Podge in the tray & spread a thin coat on the board. I did one time all over & then refreshed it when I was done. Gently roll the print from one end to the other, pressing down gently as you go. If you need to lift, work quickly! Use the brayer and fingers to smooth out the wrinkles. The paper tends to stretch A LOT as soon as it gets wet. This is normal & unavoidable in my experience. Keep working on bubbles & wrinkles. If there are a few edges that are bubbled up, use a paint brush to help sneak a little Mod Podge into the gap & press down. Once everything is good enough, spread a coat of Mod Podge over the top. Repeat when the first layer is dry.

The two things that I struggled with were lining up the edges with the board (because I had no margin) and the wrinkles/bubbles dilemma. In the end, the edges are not very noticeable because of the black paint on the board. The wet paper shrunk back down to normal when it dried leaving a few wrinkles but not as many as I feared. The fonts that I chose were not crisp to begin with so the wrinkles weren't super obvious.

Although my blog does not show it, I really am an experienced crafter. Mod Podge on a large surface with thin paper was difficult. I am so happy with the results but it was crazy hard for me!

If you haven't looked at this link, check it out. She used spray adhesive & had a much easier time!!!