Archives for August 2013

Announcing the new pARTner program

This past spring, I sat down for a strategic planning session with my business coach Jean. We talked about where I wanted to take my business this year and in the coming years, and how I was going to reach the goals I was setting. One of the subjects that we approached was whether or not to set up some sort of sales program that would allow other people to sell my artwork and earn commission on it. Part of me saw the value in letting other people hit the pavement and tackle the task of selling for me. After all, I am only one person! But another part of me questioned what that would do to the value and artistic quality of my art and my business. Would I be a sell-out? Ultimately, we wrapped up the planning session with the notion to address the topic of sales people/consultants/whatever you want to call them in another year or two. I simply wasn’t ready to make that leap.

Fast forward a few months and I am researching my competition while working on this new website. I found myself highly discouraged by the number of similar word art products available today. When I started designing TYPOGRFXs back in 2008, there was nothing like it at all. I just kept telling myself over and over again, “I AM THE ORIGINAL. 5 years and nearly 1000 designs later, I am more successful now than ever!” And that’s what got me to thinking about what I could do next with my business to continue to be ahead of the trends, so I decided to readdress the idea of having a sales program. I started asking around my networking groups looking for advice and guidance, and everyone I talked to mentioned that I needed to meet Shelly with Charmsations. She herself had just launched an associates program with over 100 associates selling her personalized charm bracelets and accessories. I got in contact with her and we met for a couple of hours. It was like a flash of inspiration went off! Suddenly, I realized how easy it could be for me to start a program similar to hers and to take my business to the next level. Don’t get me wrong here, there’s a ton of work involved, but it was easier than I imagined.

So began my research, numbers crunching and advice seeking. After several weeks of figuring everything out, I am so pleased to announce the new TYPOGRFX pARTner program! Anyone who wants to earn extra income promoting TYPOGRFX artwork can do so by marketing via social media, your own personal blog or website, in person networking and more. Everything is easily tracked through the TYPOGRFX website. Plus, the commission rate is structured so that the more you sell, the more you earn. I really look forward to putting together a strong team of pARTners to promote TYPOGRFX, just in time for the holiday season! To learn more about the new program and to register to be a pARTner, click here. And if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me and ask. As an added bonus, the first 5 pARTners to sign up and reach $100 in sales will get a special Charmsations gift from me!

I want to work with you!


Vintage Farm-Themed Room

As part of Typography Appreciation Month, I’ve shared with you two tutorials on how to make a vintage ruler growth chart and an advertising-inspired sign. This week, I’ll reveal all of Ryker’s room, which features typography in numerous ways. It’s been nearly 4 years in the making, and I’m always adding, changing and rearranging things, but overall the vintage farm theme has been my inspiration.

When you first walk in you’ll probably notice the signs, every where, on all 4 walls. Galt is where my husband and I grew up and his dad got the sign from working a railroad job. The Jackson St. sign is one I picked up at a flea market years ago for $12. The Route 66 sign is from swap shop for $3. The Country Raised “BOY” sign is one I hand painted (tutorial here). And the license plates have been collected over the years, either from my husband’s old cars/trucks or flea market finds. Other vintage farm items include an antique saw, random iron tools and a John Deere thermometer.


Vintage farm themed bedroom

Vintage farm themed bedroom



Ryker's RoomThe cow and the pig were helium balloons from our baby shower that we kept for decoration. The small bench and Lego table were both mine as a child.
Ryker's RoomThis bookcase was handed down to my husband from a relative, while the John Deere corn planter container was his grandfather’s. Jackson made the wooden base for it. The rocking chair was made by a close friend’s grandfather. He makes one for all of his grandkids, and Ryker was lucky enough to be included in that bunch!

Ryker's RoomOf course, Ryker has to have his own TYPOGRFX. I actually waited to create this until he was about a year and a half, because we wanted to capture some of the nicknames and fun things we liked to do with him as a baby. My favorite – Mr. Babypants. (There’s a whole song that goes along with this nickname we made up. I can still sing it word for word.)



And Ryker’s truly impressive bunk bed. Let me explain. In our old house, we were so crammed for space, that we had to make use of vertical space as much as possible. Jackson had this bunk bed from his childhood and he added a “lift kit” of sorts to make it tall enough to put his weight bench under (this was before I came along). When we moved here, we figured with our tall ceilings, we might as well keep it as is. So when Ryker graduated from a crib to a big boy bed, we started out with the mattress on the floor underneath and used the bunks for storage (our house does not have any closets – more on that some other time). Eventually, we built stairs and a removable side rail and moved the mattress up to the bottom bunk (which is a good 3 feet off the floor) so Ryker could have the additional play space underneath the bed.

Ryker's bed

Ryker’s bed

And if you’re going to have a bed 3-feet off the floor, you have to have stairs to it. My husband built these (trust me I tried and was going to fail). But I painted, lettered and distressed them for that vintage look. This is my second favorite thing in the room (besides the “BOY” sign). It reads “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep” which is a line I found from a song. My husband, always being a comedian, took one look at it and read it aloud from bottom to top (go ahead and do it) and has joked about it ever since.



An under-bed hideaway would not be complete without a “parking garage” as Ryker calls it (my husband calls it the “ratty shelf” because it’s another burn pile save.. I screwed salvaged bead board to the back and painted/distressed it. Hey, it was FREE!). I picked up the “corral” for the animals at a flea market for $8. There’s also Christmas lights for added ambience!



And lastly, we have to keep track of how fast this “BOY” is growing, so I made my own version of a ruler growth chart – again using a board from our neighbor’s burn pile (tutorial here). It was  painted white and on a whim, I applied stain over top of the paint resulting in a unique but perfectly aged look.

Growth Chart

Growth Chart

And there you have it! A vintage farm-themed bedroom fit for any country “BOY” complete with tons of examples of using typography in decor.


Tutorial: Vintage “BOY” Hand Painted Sign

Last week I showed you the Pinterest-inspired ruler growth chart I made. But this week, I want to show off one of my favorite DIY projects I’ve ever done, and this one is my original design. I had been working on my son’s room for quite some time which is vintage farm themed, and I wanted to create an old looking advertisement-style sign to hang on his wall. After some research, I decided I wanted it to read ‘Genuine, 100% All American, Country Raised “BOY”.

I started by digging through my stash of boards that I pulled out of my neighbor’s burn pile (seriously, I cannot even begin to list the things I have “reclaimed” from this man’s burn pile. He can’t say anything since HIS burn pile burned OUR entire back field and nearly a trailer and tractor two summers back). Anyways, I found the perfect sized board – a 1×12 approximately 3 feet long.

Salvaged board

Salvaged board

Using a container of craft paint that I mixed up a few years ago, I painted the majority of the board. I left some of the bare board showing through on around the edges. (I did not prime the board for this reason. Plus, I’m lazy – er, efficient – like that.)

Painted green (dark spots are just where it's still wet)

Painted green (dark spots are just where it’s still wet)

Then I added black to the green paint and used a stiff dry brush (aka a brush I didn’t clean properly the last time I used it) to add some aging to the edges of the board. I also painted the sides of the board with the darker green, again leaving some bare board showing.


For the wording, I designed the layout in InDesign, converted it to outlines (to save on ink) and printed it out on the back side of scrap paper. Then I cut, taped and arranged it on the board like so.

No fancy stencils here!

No fancy stencils here!

I traced over the printouts with an ink pen using a lot of pressure. It’s hard to make it out in this photo, but I was left with a very easy to see outline of the design.


Outline of text visible

Outline of text visible

All of the words were painted white. I purposely left the paint thick and somewhat uneven so when I sanded it, the high spots would rub off making it look worn and aged.


I wanted more detail and depth to the design, so I outline “Genuine” and did a drop shadow on “BOY” in a John Deere Green color, then did a drop shadow on “Country Raised” in a warm brown color. I also added a little corner decoration.


After some light and random sanding on the whole surface and lots around the edges, I very lightly covered the whole sign in a walnut stain using a couple of old socks. I would barely apply it using one sock, then use a clean sock to wipe it off right away.  I had to work very quickly and use a very light touch so it didn’t get too dark. More sanding and heavier staining around the edges left it done as show here:


Of course, no vintage sign is complete without a vintage-esque way to hang it. I wanted it to look like an old sign that hung on a general store, so I searched and searched for the right type of bracket. I ended up with a pair of plant hangers from Westlake Hardware and a little length of chain. The brackets and chain were the only thing I had to purchase for this project, so I spent around $8. It’s not quite as rustic as I was going for, but standing 7 feet below it, you don’t notice the hanging hardware. You just see the one-of-a-kind sign!

Completed sign hung

Completed sign in my son’s bedroom


Be sure to check back in next week when I reveal my son’s room in it’s entirety. You’ll see how I’ve managed to create a vintage farm-themed bedroom with more examples of typography than I can count!




Typography Appreciation Month – Weekend Challenge – Monograms

Monogram Weekend Challenge

Welcome to the second Weekend Challenge for Typography Appreciation Month. This weekend, your challenge is to design something monogram-related. This is a pretty broad subject, so be creative! The only rule is that it has to include typography in some form, although if you could figure out how to do a monogram without using typography, I’d like to see that too! Follow along on facebook for some inspirational ideas all weekend long! When you’ve completed your project, simply post a photo and brief description of your creation to the TYPOGRFX facebook page. You’ll have until 9pm Sunday, August 11th to add your project. I’m looking forward to seeing your creations and working on something myself!

Tutorial: Ruler Growth Chart

Ok, so I’m sure by now you’ve seen the ruler-inspired growth charts on Pinterest, on facebook, in magazines, just about everywhere you look! I usually try to avoid such overdone trends, but as I was working on my son’s vintage farm-themed bedroom, I knew I wanted a way to mark his growth. I did a lot of research (ok, so I was just killing time on Pinterest!) trying to find inspiration for a growth chart that would fit his room’s theme, but not be too childish. One of the things I was drawn to the most was vintage advertisement rulers (I know it’s real shocking that I would like advertisement designs). My husband’s grandparents owned a hardware and general store for decades in our hometown, so I thought I might try to create something that said “Ryker’s Hardware Store” or “Jackson Hardware.” After looking through my pile of salvaged boards, I decided to use a 1×4 painted trim board which turned out to be too narrow for much of a design. I gave in and decided to go with something very similar to all of the ones on Pinterest.

Here’s the board I started out with. It was painted white and the paint itself was crackling (or is it cracking? I can’t decide). Anyways, it was dirty, dented and full of imperfections.


But not quite enough imperfections for my taste. So I set it out in the grass and Ryker and I beat on it with a hammer, screwdriver and whatever other tools we could find. Then came the experimentation. Like I said, the board was painted, but I wanted something that looked more like wood. Not being one to do any extra work, I decided to see what would happen if I simply applied stain on top of the paint. Bring out the old sock rags! I rubbed and rubbed the stain into the board, making sure to get into all of the little nooks and crannies left by the beating. (Poor board!) The effect was exactly what I was going for!


After letting it dry a few days, I used my tried and true method of tracing the numbers onto the board, filling them in with a sharpie marker. (More detailed instructions coming next week when I post another sign tutorial!)


Couple of really IMPORTANT NOTES: I placed the 1-foot mark six inches from the bottom of the board, because I had already determined that the board would hang six inches off of the floor. I didn’t want it to hang in front of the baseboard trim. I also made the mistake of marking the sections between the 1-foot marks into eighths, just like a standard ruler. In hindsight, I would have marked twelfths instead so it would have represented inches, instead of eights of a foot. Make sense?

Despite spending a few more days in the shed drying, the entire board was still somewhat tacky. I’m guessing it’s because you aren’t supposed to stain paint? So I let it sit another week or so, then took it out in the yard and coated it (I mean really coated it!) with a matte finish spray sealer. Another few days of drying and it was ready to hang! I used a rusty wire and a couple of short screws to make a hanger along the top. Then I put a screw into a stud making sure that when it hung down it would be exactly six inches off of the floor. And just to make sure it didn’t go anywhere, I applied a couple velcro-type picture hangers to the middle and bottom of it and pressed it firmly onto the wall. Since Ryker was almost 2 when I made the growth chart, I used his baby well-check records to go back and mark his height from birth up. So there you have it, one bonafide ruler growth chart – straight from Pinterest!