our l.i.f.e. in words

Here it is.  My little memory board of life.

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You first saw this bare plywood board way back in December when I had it hung above our tv trying to find some inspiration in the piece.

What, you don’t hang dirty, unimproved plywood above your tv and live with it there for months?!?  And take pictures with all kinds of cords lying around?  Sigh.

It’s literally a piece I saw in our wood pile one day and thought “that’s a nice size, it would make a good piece of wall art of some kind”.  I had obviously imagined it going vertically above the tv.  It already had a little piece of wood screwed into it that worked perfectly as a hanger on an already existing screw in the wall.  Easy peasy.

But, then I decided to switch up our tvs and that plan no longer worked.  Bummer.

Then I had another idea.  I’ve actually had the idea for a few months.  I needed to get a few paint pens to make it work.  I found them at Michael’s when we were in Florida in March.

So, why I didn’t do anything with it until this past weekend I have no idea. #happytoprocrastinateonadailybasis

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I made a list of a bunch of things that reminded me of my life with my husband.  Where we met, things we did, places we’ve lived, favorite vacation spots, sayings that make us chuckle, just all around randomness that is only meaningful to us.  Smile.

I took a regular ol’ sheet of 8.5 x 11 lined paper, measured 3 inches wide and made block style letters to spell the word LIFE.
I used a black pen to outline the letters on my plywood, that has been painted black for a few months now.  Sigh.  #notsurewhyI’msuchaprocrastinatorsometimes

This is the same “tracing” technique I used here.

Then, using the paint pen, I just wrote all of my words in the lines.

I was actually really worried that the paint pen would wear down and fray (can a paint pen fray?) really quick because of the roughness of the wood.  But it didn’t at all. I had never used a paint pen before but I was really impressed.  I do have a little ombre effect going on in the F.  I thought the pen was running out, but I just need to refill the tip with paint by pressing it onto a scrap piece of paper a few times.  (I only ended up needing one pen for this project.)

Yep, TOTALLY coincidental that the first super bright white word is Chad.  Coincidental yet serendipitous I say.  :)

I think she could use a frame, but I don’t have any spare molding lying around so she’ll go frame less for now.

And the lettering isn’t perfect.

And my penmanship is hideous in some spots.  As per usual.

And where I meant to write Ois – one of our favorite towns in the Greek Islands – I put Oil instead.  Oh oil…what a fond memory.  😉

And the plywood is a bit chippy and doesn’t even really have straight edges.  But I love her.
Rough around the edges, imperfect, a little messy, a bit misinterpreted in spots yet entirely meaningful.

Sounds about right.  :)

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And I have a fun idea for updating it a few years down the road when we’ve accumulated new words, thoughts and memories to add.  And when I say “we”, I totally mean ME.  When asked, the husband’s only contribution was to say that he’s sure I’ve thought of everything.  Thanks bunches for your help, honey.  😉

I was also thinking of writing somewhere on it “the first 12 years” … but once I hung her I didn’t want to take her down. #hiimlazynicetomeetyou

So, tell me.  Have you taken any random pieces of wood from your scrap pile and made anything you love?  Made any similar kind of meaningful word art of your own?  (I just typed “owl” instead of “own” … apparently it’s the words starting with “o” that give me trouble.)

And…just a friendly reminder that the next party in our little every other month series is this month.  The last Tuesday of this month to be exact.  May 29th at 7am eastern time to be specifically exact. MISSION: Possible … The Great Outdoors.  So, get out there (literally!) and do something awesome!  We can’t wait to see it.  And by we I, of course, mean Kelly, Kari, Andrea and Linda.  :)

the space between

I am sharing this here and at: BNOTP, DIY Show Off, Addicted 2 DecoratingHome Stories A to Z, Savvy Southern Style, Remodelaholic, Today’s Creative and Sugar Bee Crafts and My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.


  1. says

    This rocks! I love paint pens – I have a whole collection somewhere (yes, I need to get organized)!

    Ah, I do have grand memories of oil – doesn’t everyone! And hanging chads (remember them)!

    Now I am going to search out some words which I am sure you included: margarita, mojito, mai tai …

  2. says

    Such a sweet idea for a meaningful piece of custom art :-) All the little flaws are what make it so charming – and really, LIFE is never perfect, so all the imperfections perfectly reflect life :-)

  3. says

    This project is so neat and sweet! I see nothing wrong with mounting a bare piece of wood to the wall and waiting for inspiration to come. You did a fabulous job!


  4. says

    Fantastic idea! I’m pinning it to my Home Projects to Try folder, that should probably be called Home Projects that I Mostly Won’t Ever Get Around to Doing file (It’s not the projects, it’s me)… But this one has a good chance of rising to the top! Also, I posted the Outdoor Challenge Button on my blog. Just when I decided to cross a lot of yard and gardening off my list for this year… But I’ll think of/force myself into something to share. :-)

  5. Karen says

    Wonderful project. Looks great especially with chippy paint and a few imperfections (like life really is). I love those paint pens, my 14 year old son uses them for graffiti type are labels he trades. They work great!

  6. Sue Reincke says

    So very cool! And I did notice the entire line about the 48 team was super-bright. Love paint pens. Great idea!

  7. says

    Super idea. Great keepsake. Did your hand hurt after writing all that? I’d love to try this on a smaller scale {my hand wouldn’t cramp! and maybe I’d have enough to say to fill a single letter} like a monogram of our last name. Pinned it :) Have a great weekend.

    Robin @ happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com

  8. says

    It looks great, and I love that it is so personal and meaningful! I totally live with rescued unimproved junk for scandalously long periods of time before doing something with it. You are not alone!

  9. says

    Karah, you make me smile reading this, and yes, I get hanging dirty plywood on the wall while you decide and all your disclaimers about each thing that wasn’t perfect. Ha! I can relate as I love a good disclaimer (or more!). This is so meaningful and it’s sentimental and incorporates lettering so it’s got to be top notch. Thanks for sharing. I found this post through Twigg Studios Sunday Show Off!


  10. says

    I LOVE love LOVE this. Everything about it. Even the imperfections. Pinning, doing. Thanks for sharing at Shine on Fridays!

  11. says

    I love it! Personalized is one of my favorite reasons for DIY and this is such a sweet idea, Karah! I’m going to include a link in this week’s highlights. 😉

    Enjoy the weekend!

  12. says

    I love this so much. I don’t think I would have the patience to make one, my husband would actually be the one making it, but his penmanship is worse! I was getting that “watching a really good hallmark commercial and almost welling up with tears” feeling reading this post. It was that good.


Let me know what you think!