Maybe Matilda

Saturday, November 22, 2014

6 Favorite Free Apps for Preschoolers

Tracking Pixel

Forrest is a tablet addict, no question about it. He’s been around for 4 years now, and I think it’s safe to say he’s been tablet obsessed for, oh, probably 3 of those years. At a minimum. When he gets up every morning, the tablet is the first ‘toy’ he goes for, and extra tablet time has become his reward for good behavior or trying a new food at dinnertime (and it might go without saying that losing tablet time is his most feared punishment). So I’m excited to share some of his favorite apps today in this sponsored post for Microsoft.

This tablet passion is a love I am happy to encourage. I love that he can play on the tablet by himself and feel so independent, that it keeps him entertained for such a long time (I can only build Legos with him for so long, I tell you), I love that they are easy to transport, and that there are so many fantastic apps out there to help him learn and develop. Downloading a new free app or game is almost always his preferred reward for good behavior, so we cycle through apps pretty regularly. I thought today I’d share 6 free apps that he’s been enjoying lately, that I think are awesome for a preschooler. Of course, he also loves silly and totally mindless games, but I’m trying to impress you here, of course, so I’m sticking with the ones that, as a parent, I think are the best and am eager to have him play.

Our 6 favorite free apps for preschoolers.

Wonster Words This cute app covers phonics, letters, and everyday vocabulary, as well as a short silly monster video for each word. I think the monsters are adorable, and Forrest thinks they’re hilarious. I love that he drags and drops each letter into place for each word—I’m sure that practice will help him with spelling when he gets to that point.

Funbrain Jr. is one of our more recent downloads, but I’ve been impressed with it so far. Five cute monster-themed games teach counting, matching, letters, and shapes. The games are fun and attention-grabbing for young players, and the graphics are really cute, too.

Bitsboard Preschool isn’t the least bit flashy or cute like a lot of other apps out there, but it has so much great content—and I mean tons of content. A lot of ‘free’ apps have such a limited selection of activities if you aren’t willing to pay up for more, but this awesome app has puzzles, tracing, flashcards, matching, spelling, bingo, memory games, and more for tons of different categories (like animals, colors, letters, and even emotions and concepts like ‘across’ and ‘below’). It’s not very eye-catching, but it’s a really impressive learning app with so much content.

Music Matching with Lisa Loeb has the cutest graphics, if you ask me. It’s a simple matching/memory game featuring tiles of cartoon animals playing instruments, so kids are matching the image on the tiles as well as the little sound/tune that plays when the image appears. I love the musical component in this app.

Paint Sparkles For longevity, you sure can’t beat a painting/drawing app. We’ve had this one on various phones/tablets for years now. Darcy enjoys it at 1 year old (it’s just about the only app that catches her attention, other than staring at herself in the front-facing camera—humility, thy name is Darcy), and at 4 years old, Forrest still plays with it fairly regularly. A favorite feature is snapping a picture of himself with the tablet’s camera, then coloring on top of it.

Puzzingo I certainly can’t write about Forrest’s favorite apps without including this one, which has been his long-time favorite for months now. Truth be told, I think it’s obnoxious . . . but maybe I only think that because I’ve been hearing the theme music day in and day out for months. This app comes with quite a few fun puzzles, but also has a new free puzzle download every day. And as tired as I am of this app, I have to give it some credit—he’s learned lots of new words from the puzzles. His most recent vocab acquisition: villain, from a superhero puzzle.

awesome deal on the HP Stream tablet!

If you don’t have a tablet yet, want to get an additional one specifically for the kids to use, or think a tablet would be an awesome gift for someone you love this season, you certainly don’t have to break the bank when tablet shopping. The HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet is available right NOW, pre-Black Friday, for only $99! And it even comes with Office 365 personal (with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and 1TB of OneDrive online storage, which is a $69.99 value, all for FREE.

You can find the HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet in the Microsoft Store at this awesome price before Black Friday. Hello, that sounds wonderful to me, because I am not one of those enthusiastic shoppers who hops out of bed at 3AM to snag Black Friday deals. No and thanks. Go ahead and purchase it at this awesome price before the holiday shopping madness sets in, and scratch one awesome present off your Christmas list!

 awesome deal on the hp stream tablet!



This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Microsoft. Thank you for supporting Maybe Matilda sponsors!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Snapshots

Happy Friday to one and all! Just a few quick snapshots for you today.

1. Don’t forget that Monday (11/24) is our first Dare to DIY linkup! Katja (Shift Ctrl Art) will be hosting, so get busy on a project that fits the Dare to be Thankful theme, and be ready to share it on Monday. Visit these previous posts if you need some inspiration. Here’s a sneak peek of what I made.

dare to diy sneak peek

2. Speaking of projects, my mom and I tackled an exciting one this week. Our family room (or living room? is there an actual difference or can the names be used interchangeably?) has a huge, dark, ugly orange stone fireplace, and it has been the bane of my existence for these past 2.5 years in our house. It’s nearly impossible to decorate, I’ve never been able to make it look like it fits in the room, and I’ve certainly never liked it, but also have never had any ideas of how to change it. My mom said it ought to go white. And when my mom tells me to do something in my house, I have learned to shut up and do it, because as I’ve mentioned before, she is always right. I can’t wait to get some better pictures of it all finished up—it came out amazing.

painting stone fireplace white

3. I don’t really know what’s going on here lately, but Forrest is being so nice to Darcy. For the longest time, he more or less ignored her. He was never mean to her, but he wasn’t really nice, either—he’d just kind of pretend she wasn’t there, and only acknowledged her existence if she was bothering him in some way. He seems to have just started realizing, though, that she might actually be playmate potential. He loves making her laugh, plays endless games of peekaboo with her, constantly brings her toys to play with (maybe this hand-and-foot servitude is part of the reason she is still barely crawling--why learn to move when you have a faithful servant at your beck and call, bringing you toys whenever you show even the tiniest amount of boredom?).

In the bath last night, they were both facing away from me (and I don’t think they realized I was watching) when Forrest reached out, put his arm around Darcy, and pulled her over to him. They just sat there, snuggling quietly in the tub with their heads together, for a minute or two before she scooted away to grab a toy and splash. It was one of the sweetest, most precious moments I’ve ever seen them share. Totally makes up for her furious bellowing earlier in the day when she was determined to steal his toy and he couldn’t distract her quickly enough.

4. And, related to point 3, I think I have a tub photo addiction. At what age am I no longer allowed to take naked bath pictures of my kids?

5. I’ve been wading through a sad little book slump this week. I’ve started 3 separate books, all of which were okay enough for me to spend an evening with, but not great enough for me to want to pick them up again the next day. Book slumps are my nemesis. Are you reading anything great lately you’d like to recommend? I’m all ears.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Build Your Own Apple & Reese’s Spreads Snack Bar

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. Delicious peanut butter chocolate spread on crisp apples to make #AnySnackPerfect #CollectiveBias

Build Your Own Apple Snack Bar with apple rings, Reese's Spreads, and toppings. Kids can top however they like for a fun, unique snack.I think preschool is raising Forrest’s expectations for home life a hair too high. When I read to him, he now expects all sorts of voices and accents and sound effects. When he colors, he is no longer satisfied with a blank sheet of paper and a stack of markers—he now expects letter-themed coloring pages and watercolor. And when it’s snack time, he acts like I’m being such a bore when I hand him an apple or a handful of crackers. Because of course, at preschool, they eat adorable snacks (the other day, he brought home a clear plastic glove filled with colorful crackers and popcorn to look like a turkey—it was absurdly cute).

Just imagine the surprise when I presented him with a fun!! snack the other day. I ought to be more careful—I could give him a heart attack with a shock like this. It was easy and quick and fun to put together, but a lot more exciting than our typical snacks.

Build Your Own Apple Snack Bar with apple rings, Reese's Spreads, and toppings. Kids can top however they like for a fun, unique snack

We were at Walmart the other day when they were handing out samples of brand new (and super delicious!) Reese’s Spreads with delicious Jazz apples, and it took all of one bite to sell us on it. Less than one bite—I would have bought it without a sample, in all likelihood (but I’ll never say no to a friendly sample hander-outer). And it gave me the shocking idea you see here today—a snack that was actually fun and cute and preschool-worthy, if I may say so myself.

Build Your Own Apple Snack Bar

Reese’s Spreads (1 tablespoon per apple slice)
apples (I liked Granny Smith apples best—the tartness balanced out the sweet spread and toppings), core removed and cut into rings

Optional toppings:
chocolate chips
sweetened coconut flakes
pecans (or other nuts)
dried fruit

Build Your Own Apple Snack Bar with apple rings, Reese's Spreads, and toppings. Kids can top however they like for a fun, unique snack

Spread 1 tablespoon of Reese’s Spreads over each apple slice, and let the kids decorate and top their slice however they’d like. Forrest liked the one with just granola best, and my favorite was topped with coconut and chocolate chips.

Build Your Own Apple Snack Bar with apple rings, Reese's Spreads, and toppings. Kids can top however they like for a fun, unique snack

If you are a fan of Reese’s and that perfect, heavenly combo of peanut butter and chocolate, get thee  hence to Walmart and try out new Reese’s Spreads! You can find them in the peanut butter aisle, and it will take all your willpower not to open that jar up in the car on the way home and just scoop it out with your finger. I am really excited at the thought of spreading it on homemade waffles, or warming it up and drizzling it over vanilla ice cream. Holy snack time perfection.

Reese's Spreads

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It’s Dare to DIY Time Baby.

For the third year in a row, I’m joining Kim (Newly Woodwards ) and Michelle (Décor and the Dog) for the Dare to DIY challenge, and we are welcoming Katja from Shift Ctrl Art to the fold this year, too!

If you’re new to Dare to DIY, let me fill you in. It’s Kim’s pet project (6 years running—that’s pretty amazing), meant to brighten and enrich the holiday season. Every week from now through Christmas, we’ll be working together and encouraging each other to get creative, have fun, and do-it-ourselves this season. I know this is often a stressful time of year for people. But if you’re the sort of person who is energized and excited by creating something unique, who loves to give handmade gifts and design your own holiday décor for your home and spend your holidays making and sharing, this is the perfect way for you to be inspired and share your hard work.

You know what I love most about Dare to DIY? It’s the connection and community. There are lots of link parties out there . . . and I gave up participating in most of them years ago, because so many of them felt like nothing more than meaningless, empty attempts0 to lure people to my blog. Dare to DIY feels so different. I’ve met so many fantastic blog friends through Dare to DIY, because it isn’t a ‘drop your link and run’ sorta party. People meet each other here, and chat, and share encouragement and ideas, and make friends. I mean, I don’t want to get sappy or anything but there’s something special about Dare to DIY and the people who join in on it.

Are you in?

Dare to DIY 2014!

Here's the plan:
Each Monday, the link party goes live for that week's Dare to DIY challenge. You can link up as many projects as you wish, as long as the posts correspond with the theme of the week. You can link up on any of the four hosts’ blogs.

The linky will stay live through Wednesday. Later in the week, each of us will spotlight at least 3 projects we loved from the week on our blogs. We'll also pin those projects on our shared Pinterest board.

The only rules:
1. Please follow the Dare to DIY theme of the week (see below).
2. Please link back to Dare to DIY on the host's blog.
3. Please go to at least two other blogs and comment. This is a party. So get to know a few other bloggers.

And here are the themes:

Dare to . . . be thankful!
Party Date: Monday, Nov. 24
DIY a thanksgiving project to remind you to be grateful during this season. Ideas include a Thanksgiving advent calendar, artwork and banners.

Dare to . . . entertain!
Party Date: Monday, Dec. 1
DIY something for your table. This could be something from last week's Thanksgiving table or a new Christmas look. Get creative and use things in new ways. Or go true DIY and make something totally new. Ideas include place mats, table runners, place cards or centerpieces.

Dare to . . . give handmade!
Party Date: Monday, Dec. 8
DIY a gift made by you. Nothing is more special to give than something you created, so share projects that will be go in brown paper packages this holiday season. Ideas include bath and body items, kitchen gifts, hand-sewn clothing or home decor.

Dare to . . . deck the halls!
Party Date: Monday, Dec. 15
DIY something new to deck your halls. Did you find something in a catalog that you wish you had? Wreaths, stockings, pillows or advent calendars? Make it! Inspire us all to do the same.

So, who’s with us? Will you dare to DIY?

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table

Bread and Wine Review //

image via Lane Baldwin Photography

Jeff has always said half-jokingly that in his family, love is expressed through food. Good food, and lots of it—the more food you’re presented with, the more you can be sure you’re loved. Whenever we visit his family in Pennsylvania, his dad asks for our menu requests weeks in advance, and regardless of our arrival time—even if our plane touches down in the middle of the night—an entire meal is always waiting for us on the table. There is always a cheesecake (Jeff’s favorite) waiting in the fridge when we show up. His mom has always stocked the pantry with her homemade bread (the likes of which I have never, and I mean never, tasted anywhere else or been able to recreate myself).

When the kids and I flew to New York last spring for my grandpa’s funeral, we didn’t have time to swing down to Pennsylvania but did have a 2-hour layover in Philadelphia where Jeff’s parents met us for a quick picnic lunch. And the ‘quick picnic lunch’ they brought was so extensive that they needed a full-sized rolling suitcase to transport it.

Like Jeff says: in the Brown family, food is love and love is food.

And they’ve more than brought me around. My family certainly enjoys plenty of delicious food too (my mom’s pumpkin bread nearly moves me to tears, and the family cookbook is an absolute treasure trove—my copy is so splattered and worn that I think the pages would crack in two if I bent them), but I don’t think food was as big of a focus for us, or as much of a personal expression as it was in Jeff’s family. I’ve come to appreciate the way his family looks at meals—yes, they are time together as a family, but the meal in itself is a show of love. Dishes are planned and shopped for and prepared, all while thinking of the family and friends who will be enjoying them together.

I’ve heard great things about Bread and Wine (from both Modern Mrs. Darcy and Everyday Reading, and I’ve learned to trust their book recommendations), so when it was on sale for Kindle a few weeks ago, I grabbed it. And then I put off reading it for weeks, because I had built up such high hopes and was nervous about having them dashed.

I shouldn’t have worried.

Bread and Wine is a collection of essays about food and faith and family and friends and relationships and the meals that keep them going. Non-fiction usually makes me nervous, but I think I’m starting to realize it doesn’t need to. Niequist’s writing is simple and beautiful and thoughtful—reading this book made me want to hug my family and invite friends into my home and share my table and my life with people I love. She made me want to grow and change (both things I generally resist as strongly as possible), and to appreciate things like a dish cooked with love and time spent with a great friend and the memories a favorite meal brings back.

Jeff walked by at one point while I was reading, and looked over my shoulder at my kindle screen and asked what was the point of highlighting anything when I was just going to highlight everything? But it’s hard to resist when nearly every paragraph either makes me laugh out loud at Niequist’s spot-on humor (on the idea that skinny people must always be happy: “I know, I know, this or that has got you down, but find a three-way mirror and look at your butt. Don't you feel better now? I know I would.”), or cry with her over the struggles we share as women (“After all these years, the heaviest thing isn’t the number on the scale but the weight of the shame I’ve carried all these years—too big, too big, too big.”), or make sure I’m creating opportunities for the relationships I care about most to develop (on eating together: “It’s not, actually, strictly, about food for me. It’s about what happens when we come together, slow down, open our homes, look into one another’s faces, listen to one another’s stories. . . . and while it’s not strictly about food, it doesn’t happen without it.”)

I guess at this point in the post, it goes without saying that I loved this book. I loved it from start to finish, because it made me excited about the things I want to always feel excited about: my family, my friendships, the time we spend together, and the food that brings us together. And the whole time I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been stopping every few minutes to flip through my  highlights to try and find a favorite quote to finish with. I’m willing to admit defeat—I might never find one favorite quote to share—so I’ll give up on the search and just go with one of the many:

It’s no accident that when a loved one dies, the family is deluged with food. The impulse to feed is innate. Food is a language of care, the thing we do when traditional language fails us, when we don’t know what to say, when there are no words to say. And food is what we offer in celebration—at weddings, at anniversaries, at happy events of every kind. It’s the thing that connects us, that bears our traditions, our sense of home and family, our deepest memories, and, on a practical level, our ability to live and breathe each day. Food matters.

And no one’s been complaining, of course, that I’ve been so excited about cooking rather killer dinners since I finished reading it (if I may say so myself).

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Puffed Flower Square

Today’s my second go at sharing a granny square for the Blog Hop Crochet Along! It’s been so fun to see all the bloggers’ unique designs, and I’ve loved following along in the facebook group to see all the participants’ take on the patterns. Thanks to all who are joining in—it’s so fun to see everyone’s work!

I’m calling today’s pattern the Puffed Flower Square. I love the smooshy puffy flower in the center of all that traditional granny square goodness.

Puffed Flower Granny Square Pattern //

But before we get to the pattern, here’s the recap on the crochet along so far:

Today I am excited to be joining The Blog Hop Crochet Along! Nine other bloggers and I are teaming up to a new afghan square pattern every day for a month. Crochet along with us and you will have a gorgeous new afghan just in time for the holiday season!

Here's how it is going to work:

  • Every day (M-F) a new square pattern will be posted on one of our ten blogs. 
  • You can join in the fun by crocheting each day's square on that day whenever you have time.
  • Share your progress and post photos of your squares in our facebook group.
  • By the end of the Crochet Along you will have twenty 12" squares all ready to be pieced together into a beautiful afghan just in time for the holiday season.
  • Finally, we will be hosting some fabulous giveaways! You could win Lion Brand yarn to make your own afghan, $100 CASH money, OR our COMPLETED AFGHAN! That's right, we are going to be piecing all of our squares together and shipping an afghan out to one very lucky winner.

Hopeful Honey - Persia Lou - Little Monkeys Crochet 

Fiber Flux - Loopsan One Dog Woof - Maybe Matilda

Dream a Little Bigger - Whistle & Ivy  - Gleeful Things 

We would love if you crocheted along with us. If you'd like to add a button to your blog or website you can grab this one here:
The Blog Hop Crochet Along

Today I am sharing the Puffed Flower Square. You can find links to all the other patterns at the end of this post. The links will be updated daily!

{Pattern Goes Here}

[Blogger InLinkz script]

[Wordpress InLinkz script]

Puffed Flower Granny Square Pattern //

For my square today, I used an I hook, but feel free to use another size if you prefer, and just add or eliminate rows to end up with a 12” square.

Puffed Flower Square

Beg puff st: (yo, insert hook in st, draw up a loop) 2 times, yo, pull through all loops on hook.

Puff st: (yo, insert hook in st, draw up a loop) 3 times, yo, pull through all loops on hook.

1: Start with a magic ring; work 12 sc into ring. Join with sl st to first sc and pull yarn tail to close center. Change colors if desired.

2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), beg puff st, ch 1, *puff st, ch 1*, repeat from * to * around, sl st to starting ch to join. Fasten off, join new color in any ch 1 space. (12 puffs, 12 ch 1 spaces)

3: Ch 3, beg puff st in ch space from previous round, ch 2, *puff st, ch 2* around in each ch space from previous round, sl st to starting ch to join. Fasten off, join new color in any ch space. (12 puffs, 12 ch 2 spaces)

4: Ch 3, beg puff st in ch space from previous round, ch 3, *puff st, ch 3* around in each ch space from previous round, sl st to starting ch to join. Fasten off, join new color in any ch space.

5: (Ch 3, dc 2, ch 3, dc 3) all in same space; this creates the first corner. *Sk puff st, dc 3 in ch sp, sk puff st, dc 3 in ch sp, sk puff st, (dc 3, ch 3, dc 3) in ch sp.* Repeat around, sl st to starting ch to join.

6-11: Sl st to ch 3 in corner of previous round, then (ch 3, dc 2, ch 3, dc 3) in corner of previous round. Work 3 dc in spaces between each (dc 3) of previous round, and (dc 3, ch 3, dc 3) in each corner space of previous round. Change colors whenever desired, and if necessary, add or eliminate rows to reach 12”.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Our 2014 Perfectly Personal™ Holiday Cards

2014 Shutterfly Holiday Cards! //

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly. All opinions are mine. #ShutterflyHoliday

I’d like to go ahead and give myself a hearty and drawn-out pat on the back for having my holiday cards sitting right  here, ready to be addressed and mailed, all before Thanksgiving. I love planning and sending out Christmas cards, but it’s one of those details that I sometimes forget about in the holiday bustle—you’re putting up decorations, going to events, shopping for presents, then the first Christmas cards start trickling into your mailbox and you suddenly remember you haven’t gotten yours ready yet and is it too late to order some last minute? Are you with me here? Yeah. One day, when I’m a mature and organized adult, I’d like to be the sort who has all these details planned in advance, and it is pure luck that I have them ready this year. It feels good. So consider this post my humble brag that mine are ready to go (yay!!!) and a gentle push to get started on yours, too—why not get them done early and have a little more time and energy to enjoy the holidays with your family this year? Plus they make me feel all cheery and cozy and Christmasy, just looking at them. *happy emojis*

Our Christmas cards this year came from Shutterfly (we used Shutterfly cards last year too! you can see our 2013 cards HERE), and I love how they turned out (you can see the card design I chose and all the personalization options HERE). I used some of our most recent family pictures on them, and I love how the foil-stamped gold accents look with our photo colors. So shiny and glitzy and gorgeous. And it’s always so fun to play around with the little details to personalize the cards—I’m always a sucker for a scalloped edge, and although I didn’t want to change any of the colors on the card, that’s an option for most card designs, too. It really is fun to make little changes to make them feel mine.

Shutterfly Holiday Card sets

My favorite feature of our holiday cards this year? Hands down, the matchy-matchy stationery accessories. I mean, an adorable holiday card is certainly enough to make me smile, but golly, if you’re going to make a full matching stations suite with personalized address labels and even personalized postage with our family picture on them to coordinate with our cards?! Done. Sold. Period. (And I will whisper a secret in your ear: I discovered an awesome perk of the personalized postage that perhaps even Shutterfly hasn’t realized—since the picture is small, it’s the perfect opportunity to use a family photo I really liked that wasn’t totally in focus. Sadly, this shot was just a bit too blurry to hang on our wall, or even use on the card itself, but for a little postage stamp? No one’s the wiser, it looks clear and sharp, and I got to use a picture I might not get to use elsewhere. It’s the small things, right?)

Shutterfly Holiday cards

I love all the gold details. Of course I couldn’t resist slapping a picture of the kids on the back of our cards along with our personalized message, and the matching stickers with our name on them go perfectly with the cards. Aren’t we glad gold has come back in style? I admit, I was skeptical at first, but as with 99% of the trends I start out hating, I’ve stopped kicking against the pricks and joined the fold. The gold fold.

Truth be told, I hadn’t even considered throwing a Christmas party until I fell hard for these pretty party invitations. And now it appears I am throwing a Christmas party. Heaven help me.

Shutterfly Holiday Christmas Party invitations

Just admire with me. Look at how beautifully everything matches. It makes me happy.

Shutterfly Perfectly Personal Holiday Cards and stationery set

Shutterfly Holiday Cards

And now I’m feeling a strong urge to bake some Christmas cookies. Can we skip past Thanksgiving and fast forward to Christmas please?

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How I Made My Vintage-Style Groceries Sign

Last week, I showed off my new farmhouse kitchen table (if you missed it, you can see it HERE). The love burns on—I’m crazy about it and think it’s perfect in our kitchen. Big purchases are scary for me. This one worked out; no regrets. (So far.)

Tutorial to make a vintage-style 'Groceries' sign for your kitchen //

Seeing the new table in our dining space gave me a push to take on a project I’ve been thinking about for months and months. And since I love the modern farmhouse look ( <—is that a thing?), I thought a banged up, vintage-style sign could be perfect above the window. I waffled for months and months, wondering how it should look and what vaguely food-related word or phrase could go up there, then wondered how on earth to make the dang thing. But with the dual arrival or my new kitchen table and new Silhouette, it seemed like the time had finally come to go for it. I loved the look of this sign I found on Pinterest, and used it as a model for my own. So here’s how I made mine.

Tutorial to make a vintage-style groceries sign //

I started with a piece of scrap wood that’s been sitting in our garage for at least a year. Who knows where it came from. I bet it’s happy to finally have a purpose (other than having me occasionally run over it by accident with my car). It’s about 12.5” tall, and it was quite long—I had Jeff cut it down to about 54”. I gave it a very light coat of white paint and left it to dry while I set up my design for the Silhouette.

I planned to use vinyl to create a stencil, and I wanted to cut the stencil all in one big piece, but the Silhouette cut mat is definitely nowhere near the size of the wood I was using for my very long sign. A little googling revealed much coolness: you can tell the Silhouette that you aren’t using the cutting mat, and just feed the vinyl straight into it. You can adjust the height to anything you’d like and cut a gigantic design. Super cool.

Tutorial to make a vintage-style groceries sign //

In page settings, I set the height to 67” (which was way longer than I needed, as you can see——I scaled it back after I finished designing). I also selected ‘none’ for the cutting mat, and just inserted the vinyl right into the machine, straight from the roll.

I downloaded a new font that I thought had a great vintage look (I got it from and it is called Market Deco), and set up my letters just how I wanted them to look, then cut them from the vinyl.

My original plan was to lay the entire vinyl piece over my board, all in one go. This turned out to be way more difficult than I had anticipated. I believe Silhouette makes a transfer material so you can easily move vinyl pieces where you want them to be—I don’t have any of it. My solution was to cut my letters apart, then place them on my board one at a time, lining up the cut edges like puzzle pieces. I still think this worked better than cutting the letters individually—even though I laid them one at a time, they were spaced exactly how I’d designed them, so I could line up the cut edges perfectly. It worked great, although some letters were a bit finicky (I screwed up royally trying to save time by doing the C and E together, and ended up having to recut those two letters and do them again). I applied them all to my board and ran my finger over all the edges one final time before painting, just to be sure they were pressed down tightly. Then I used a sponge brush to lightly sponge black craft paint over the letters.

Tutorial to make a vintage-style groceries sign //

I wanted this sign to look old and worn and battered, so I didn’t worry about getting it perfect. My paint job was thicker in some areas and thinner than others, and I liked it that way. I didn’t go back over for a second coat or try and make sure everything was evenly coated. After painting all the letters, I peeled the vinyl off. A little tip: a seam ripper works beautifully to get into tight areas or to pull up smaller pieces.

At this point it was almost midnight, so I went to bed and let everything sit overnight. In the morning, I gave the whole thing a go-over with some sandpaper. I considered dry brushing some watered-down black paint around the edges to give it more ‘wear’—I still may. Our walls are technically gray, but they came out so much lighter than I’d planned and basically look white. And the sign is white, so maybe a little extra wear/color around the edges would help it stand out more. Maybe I’ll go back and change that someday, but I’m not sure if I care enough to re-start a finished project. Either way, here are the sanded-down letters up close:


I attached some photo-hanging hardware to the back of the board, and Jeff helped me hang it up above the window. I sure like it.

Tutorial to make a vintage-style groceries sign //

Tutorial to make a vintage-style groceries sign //

If you wanna see more of our kitchen renovation:

‘Before’ house tour
Initial kitchen changes
Adding color
DIY farmhouse table

read more "How I Made My Vintage-Style Groceries Sign"
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