Found: Vintage Signs

I love vintage signs. Not the fake knock-off ones you can find at home furnishing stores — the real ones. Weathered, rustic, and little imperfect, hand painted, bright vibrant colors, and seeping with history.

They’re hard to find. When we drive through small towns, I see them all the time, and I imagine myself walking into the store, telling the shop owner how much I love the sign, and he will say, “Really? I was thinking of putting that back in the burn pile, but, if you want it, I’ll let you have it for nothing.” But then, the fantasy gets messed up, because the shop owner gets an idea that because I want it, it must be pretty valuable — and then he keeps it.

In 6th grade art class, the boys have had to pick a candy wrapper, and “extract the exact design on a piece of graph paper,” and paint it. All by hand. It was tough work… I remember that both boys had to bring their projects home to work on them because they couldn’t get them done during class time. 

I had them hanging in the kitchen for a couple of years, before the curtains.

After they were gone, I forgot about them. Then, I couldn’t find those candy wrappers. 

In their absence, they turned into masterpieces. I longed for them — and they were no where to be found. I think about the younger two boys, and when they get into art class, they can make me some candy wrapper signs. But then, everytime I see their art, I’ll get sad, because I lost the older boy’s art. 

Where could it be?! I certainly wouldn’t have thrown them out.

They are huge — four feet long. How could I miss them?

And then, I found them, right in the mudroom, carefully folded, sitting right out in the open for anyone, like me, to see. Just like The Purloined Letter


And here they are: weathered, rustic, a little imperfect, hand-painted, bright vibrant colors, seeping with history.



Next step: Decoupage, plywood, varnish.

Hanging in the lake house.


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