A Joint Mother’s Day/Father’s Day Gift for the Ages

I usually buy my mother some plants and garden with Mom for Mother’s Day and go fishing or golfing with Dad for Father’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, those are awesome ways to spend quality time with your parents. But, this year, I decided to give them a simple joint present that absolutely knocked their socks off.

My parent’s are currently in the midst of a back yard revamp and are partially done replacing our 30 year old fence. They offered me the old fence pickets to make some signs with. And then they took off to Nashville to see Bonnie Raitt play. BAM… Idea. I would make them mile marker signs of their favorite places, including their newest love, Nashville.


Want your own customized signs? Head over to etsy and let me know what you’re looking for: Custom Set of Directional Signs

I had to make a few for myself too:



Paint your own custom album art sign


My awesome co-worker Beth asked me if I could make her a sign for her father’s birthday. “Call Me the Breeze” is his ultimate jam (in fact, “BREEZE” is apparently his license plate) and she loves the album art on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helping. “I’m totally open to whatever you draw up. I trust you completely.”

Those two pieces of inspiration, a song title and album art, helped me quickly generate a relatively simple design that wasn’t too hard to make. I took a few pictures along the way to show you how I got from inception to finished sign.

Read on if you want to learn how I made this particular sign. Or, if you prefer, visit my shop and I’ll do the dirty work for you!

Materials you should use:

  • Any sanded wood will work (I used scrap finished pine from a renovation project)
  • Any acrylic craft paint will do (though, use the pricier $2.99 black paint for lettering)
  • Invest in new acrylic/craft brushes for fine detail work. I threw down a whopping $5.98 at Michael’s for a new 0 round and 1/8″ angular, made all the difference
  • Finish with some sort of sealer. I use one thin coat of Minwax Clear Satin Polyurethane (I would use an exterior varnish if sign was going outside)


In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s the Second Helping album cover:


Using a ruler, an old drafting stencil, and a pencil, I sketched out a simple design to mimic the basic look of the artwork on the album cover:


At this point, I didn’t have any real plan in place apart from the rainbow border…  I didn’t figure out what to do with the honey comb center until the very. I think projects like this are way more fun and rewarding if you just roll with it.

Next I applied some paint, here’s how that progressed:




After getting the basic colors and outline in, I made an acrylic wash to get the watercolor effect. To do this I just used a big round fine hair brush, soaked in water, and barley touched the paint. Then applied:


Now, the lettering. This can be intimidating. Here’s a good way to keep your cool and create some really unique hand lettering. Search google for a font that you want. I noticed that this album cover used some groovy letters of the album title that looked somewhat Victorian. I searched “Victorian Font” and found one that resembled the album font and just rolled with that. I kept the font guide on my tablet and practiced drawing a few of the letters I would need. Here’s the font guide:


Sketch out a basic outline when you’re trying to fit words or phrases into a space. I just make a very basic pencil sketch to do this. Then, start filling in the letters from the bones outward:




If you create a different color outline for your letters, it gives you some wiggle room to perfect the font details. After touching up the black, I realized I wanted the letters to pop a bit more so outlined the honeycomb pencil marks with black paint, let dry, then dabbed the exposed wood with some Minwax stain. Boom:



The Elli Buk Auction – Concord, NH 11/30/2013

Elli Buk Auction
Jim Saturley at the Elli Buk Auction – Concord Auction Center – Concord, NH

My mom and I went went over to the Concord Auction Center (Concord, NH) two weeks ago to scope out the Elli Buk auction happening the next day. What we saw there was amazing. And what I walked out with was just unbelievable.

The lots were all from the estate of the late Mr. Elli Buk. The auction that I attended was for the stuff left over from a previous, high roller auction in which a toilet from the HMS Queen Victoria sold for $20,000. Even though we only saw the bottom of the barrel, I wish I had read up on this man more than a night before the auction. I easily would have thrown down a few grand instead of the measly $150 I spent. All in all though, I would consider this particular auction a whopping success for my very, very small business.

“The massive collection of over 2,000 items is going up for auction in late April, and is something one is not likely to see in a lifetime. Steampunk aficionados will find hundreds of curiosities to satisfy their need for Jules Verne-like objects from the industrial revolution — including, but not limited to, microscopes and telescopes; medical devices and quackery; patent models and salesman’s samples; early projectors, still and motion cameras; motors, archaic electrical devices and machinery; globes and surveying instruments; telegraphy and telephones; televisions and radios; as well as objects from our industrial past and household items such as typewriters and sewing machines.” – John Foster, Design Observer

Here are a few links on the first auction and Elli Buk if you’re interested:

Here are some pictures I took of the lots I liked:

Jim Saturley at the Elli Buk Auction – Concord Auction Center – Concord, NH
Apothecary Glass Bottles
Antique 1880s Apothecary / Chemist Glass Bottles
Vintage Industrial Stools
Antique Royal Remington Typewriter
Antique Royal & Remington Typewriters
Vintage Pulleys Industrial Wood Metal
Lot of 14 Vintage Pulleys

I ended up winning the lot of Apothecary bottles and typewriters… and several other lots. Woops!

Some of the products are still available on my store:


Antique Apothecary Bottle with Hand Written Label

Pottery Marks – Hotta Yu Shoten & Co.

It took me quite a while to figure this one out so I thought it best to write my first post about this lovely peach teacup & saucer, part of a set that I found at a community barn sale in Canterbury, NH a few weeks ago. Here’s a snapshot of the mark on the bottom of the saucer:

After a bit of sleuthing I came across a post on figurines-sculpture.com. In the post (http://www.figurines-sculpture.com/pottery-mark-h-inside-a-flower-hand-painted-japan.html), Admin Peter is able to tell us quite a bit about this tea cup based solely on the description of the mark:

  • Tentative date: 1920-40
  • Manufacturer: Hotta Yu Shoten & Co.
  • Company was in operation from 1920 to 1947
  • The flower depicted is a cherry blossom

Peters words here:

“The shop selling the wares was the Hotta Yu Co. The use of the word “Shoten” means “shop which sells wares fired from its own kilns“. The pottery mark is likely to be from the 1920-30’s. The use of NIPPON was generally discontinued after 1921.If the backstamp were to say “Hand Painted, Made in Occupied Japan”, the date would be 1945-52.

“This firm made an array of tableware and kitchen ware, as well as very cute animals. Just about every design I have seen from this company is a peach. Very nice design values, yet I suspect the wares were not expensive at the time and were possibly considered ‘cheap’ mass production even though they flagged up ‘hand painted’. Fact is, all ceramic of this type would be hand-painted unless it calls for transfer printing on certain bits.”