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Four Letter Words + a Mini Blog Contest Giveaway...

Ah Friday again... the week has gone by very quickly. It's hard to believe that August has almost come and gone!

Do you like typefaces? I do! I have always had a weakness for funky alphabet letters and vintage typefaces! When I was a kid, I would sit and cut out the letters in magazines... usually the ones that had the recipe my mother wanted on the other side... and make beautiful posters with letters! Had I been born in the early 1900’s I might well have become a typesetter. I absolutely adore the big, old wooden letters, stained with ink from years of use. The grungier, the better as far as I am concerned.

Old, antique typewriters are another favourite. My friend Karen, whose father was a journalist, has a wonderful collection of old typewriters that I just covet!! Unfortunately, we moved around so much (read: keep your stuff to a minimum) that I never did get a collection started. Now they are getting more and more difficult to find or are too expensive for my collection budget! Sigh....

So, that said, it’s not at all surprising that my entry into this year’s Sooke Fine Art Show called “Just My Type” SOLD! A four letter word that was music to my ears! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had completely forgotten to take a photo of it before I entered it. DUH! However, I received permission to go to the show and take a photo for posterity’s sake! Unfortunately the lighting wasn’t that great for photography and we had to shoot upwards to get it. You can see a photo of it, along with some of the process in creating it, later on in this missive.

Speaking of four letter words…

leads me to my latest project called “Four Letter Words”. No, no, not the obnoxious ones (you know which ones I mean)… the good ones… like LOVE, GRIN, WINK, HUGS and everyone’s favourite XOXO! But I am getting ahead of myself.

FLASHBACK… A couple of months ago

The day I came home with a BIG box of blocks that I found at the thrift store for a whole two bucks, my husband wondered if I was … uhhh…off my block… or, at the very least, about to enter my second childhood. Of course, what he has perhaps failed to realize, even after all these years is that I never really left my first childhood! SURPRISE!

When I saw the aforementioned box of blocks, forlornly tucked away on the bottom shelf of the bookcase in the kid’s section of the thrift shop, I knew I had to have them. I had no clue as to what I would do with them but I just knew they had to come home with me. I snatched the box off the shelf and tucked it under my arm. Protectively clutching my prize, I made a beeline for the cashier.

“Oh, are you buying these for your grandchildren?” asked the sweet young thing at the cash.

“No, they are for me.” I secretly wanted to see the look on her face at that remark. I wasn’t about to explain.

The look was priceless! Her jaw dropped as she made a herculean attempt to not burst into roaring laughter. She politely rang up my purchase. She was having a hard time trying to keep a straight face as she handed me my change..

Yep…it was obvious. She too thought I was off my block. I’m bettin’ she had a rip roaring good time at coffee break telling all her fellow work buddies about that “ditzy blonde” who came into the store and bought some blocks for herself. Hey, it made her smile and was probably the highlight of her day!

More on the blocks in a bit….

Fast Forward

Some of my best ideas come when I am doing water aerobics at the pool. Sounds nuts I know but when you are bored to tears with the same old routine time and time again, a gal has to do something to save her sanity. So I think about ART. I take a mental inventory of my “stuff”, think about what I can do with it and go looking for “the story”. How's that for multi-tasking???

While I was at the pool doing my thing yesterday (trying to keep my mind off my one arthritic hip that was creaking and groaning), I eavesdropped on the conversation going on in the “chatty club”. One of the women remarked that she was just thoroughly disgusted with some of the language she hears from young people on the bus every day.

“I just wish they could find some other four letter words instead of THAT ONE!” says the spry and spunky 80 year old sweetheart member of the “chatty club”!

DING! DING! DING! The bells went off in my head as I made a connection to “a story”. When I was working full time in my practice, I used to challenge some of my clients to my list of forty, four letter words. The object of the game was to see how many of them they could use in their daily life between appointments. It was a “game” they really enjoyed with terrific results.

WHACK! BANG! Those blocks… remember those blocks? They popped into my head. EUREKA… I had my next project.

I started “Four Letter Words” yesterday morning after I got back from the pool. Here’s what they look like so far… OOPS, you can even see some of the glue that hasn't dried yet!

My plan is to make 25 of them. They will be covered in vintage paper, then inked. I have some very old book pages in old German type, some nice pages in Dutch, some French and English dictionary pages. The finished blocks will all fit nicely into a cigar box that I have. Once they are done, I will alter the box. The box will be able to stand on its own and display a different “four letter word” on top of the box (imagine that the blocks they are on right now is the cigar box just much taller and "decorated"). The unused letter blocks will be stored in the box.


Want to win a copy of my list of forty, four letter words PLUS the file of the vintage type letters I’ll be using to create them? Just leave me a comment about this posting IN THE COMMENT BOX and check back next Friday. I will draw three names and announce them on Friday. If you are a lucky winner, you will have to send me your email address so I can send the package to you in a zip file. So make sure you check back to see if you have won and then get in touch with me.

Lastly, as promised… “Just My Type”

“Just My Type” came to me, fully formed in a “pool” vision. I could hardly wait to get home to start working on it.

Mind you, it didn’t turn out to be exactly the way I originally envisioned it. I ran into a few little glitches… I couldn’t find some of the “stuff” I wanted for it. In my vision were some old wood letters. When I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided to heck with it. I did some research, then made my own. Couldn’t find an old typewriter tin either… so I grabbed a block of wood and an image I had had on my computer for literally years and made my own. The paper in the background is authentic antique paper. It’s the editorial page from the Ladies Home Journal, April 1907 edition. The calligraphy pen and nibs have been kicking around “my stash” for the better part of darn near 30 years! It was a fun piece to do. It came together almost effortlessly. I was pleased as punch with the results. I am sure that it is hanging in a special place on the wall of someone who loves and appreciates it as much as I did in bringing it to life!

Well this posting sure made up for the short one last week! Thanks for your patience in reading this far…CHUCKLE!

Thanks AGAIN to all those who have submitted tips for Thrifty Tuesday Art Tips next Tuesday. I have been so busy “arting” that I have barely looked at my email. So if you have emailed me you may not hear back from me until next week. The weekend is upon us and my husband and I will be away. But rest assured, once your tip is published, you will receive an email from me with a scan of four old photographs. So please make sure when you send in a tip that you also give me your email address.

Tootles for now… see you Tuesday. And if you think you really shouldn’t go messing around with your art stuff right now because…..because…. because….you are hereby given permission to goof off for a bit and go make some art…LOL Blame the unwashed dishes in the sink on me!



  1. I love type too! And I recently bought large blocks that spelled out the word SODA at a goodwill store. I don't even drink soda, but I just had to have them.

    I have 3 grandgirls (I know that is not a word, but it is at my house) and they have several block sets at my house. I am frequently borrowing them for one thing or another. (GRIN)

    I'd love to win a prize *-)

  2. Good morning Sharon - I was at one of my local vintage stores and found a large box filled to the brim with old blocks as well as some colored wood blocks with no letters - All for $10. I was thinking of selling them in my etsy shop, but NOW . . . well, after seeing your project . . .

    Yes! please enter my name for a copy of your forty letters and file of vintage type letters!

    thnx, xoxo, love - sherry

  3. Dear Sharon,
    I love your idea of the "Hi Life"
    I recently went to Bouckville, in Upstate NY ~ annual flea market...over 1,000 vendors...A woman was selling lead letters...I found all but one to make my last name.After seeing your project, Now I know where I am going to put those lead letters. I have some old blocks..too! Thank you for the great idea!

  4. Sharon - I love your stories! I love your art, too! I am so glad you put up a blog. - Nicki

  5. Sharon-Your collage is absolutely amazing! I have a large collection of vintage handstamps as well as some of the first rubber stamp sets in their boxes. I love type of all kinds but the older the better!

  6. I would like to be entered in your contest. I love vintage things.
    I too look for blocks but never know what to do with them but turn thm into a name for a child's dresser. Thanks for the "pool" stories. I do that while waiting someplace I always have paper and pencil to doddle my ideas. Enjoyed reading your thougths and looking at your art. Carol B. Florida

  7. my husband's grandmother started a printshop in their basement, and it's still going strong (but they had to build a shop!)

    ANYWAY your post, idea, and art are all great, thank you for the opportunity to play along!

  8. I really do LOVE old typewriters too...why? because that is what I learned to type on! ;=) I am looking for some to make some quirky jewelry out of..wish me luck! Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea with us!

    Hope I win!

  9. I love this idea! It's really interesting. I used to have blocks from my childhood that i spelled out my name with. I just bought a whole box of dominoes...any ideas for those? LOL. Hope i win. HUGS

  10. Sharon, I love the block story. It's kind of like when I buy baby wipes to use for the paints, inks, etc. in my work. I see cashiers looling at the pile of stuff on the conveyer belt thinking "Ok . . . baby wipes, Ben and Jerry's, Diet Coke, pasta, frozen pizza . . . um, where's the other baby stuff. Where's the kid?" It's too fun to play with their minds. I love Just My Type!! It is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Susan

  11. Oh you lucky lady! I have been checking the thrifty's around here for months and no blocks! My father in law (God rest his soul) was a printer and when he passed at age 97 someone tossed out all of his old print blocks and other cool stuff. I didn't speak up fast enough, well water over the damm now. Anywho I love your writting and art as always... oh and have fun in your upcomming travels be on the lookout for cool stuff.

  12. Just My Type is just too fabulous! I do enjoy dropping by your blog, it is always fun. Say, do you kno0w the story about how to catch a dragon? If not, let me know and I will write it down for you.

  13. I love your story, and also love your giveaway - please enter me in the contest! Your vision of your project sounds intriguing, and your sample is wonderful. I'm often thinking of art projects in the middle of the night, or in the bathtub!

  14. Love Your Blog (3 four letter words) Your work is pure inspiration. What a wonderful idea on how to use the blocks. Keep going to the pool!

  15. I too bought some blocks a while ago to alter. When asked I just say I plan to alter them. Yep get a funny look but they never ask any more question. So I too need to win LOL.

  16. Your piece is absolutely wonderful. I also love the old typesets. Very good use of the "rule of threes."

  17. I just LOVE (4-letter word!) reading your blog! You are such an excellent writer. I hope I win your excellent give-away!


  18. Hi,
    Thank you very much for your story. I am an impulse buyer thinking that I will do something w/it and then I do not do anything w/it.
    Your story is an inspiration.

  19. Classic piece that you did, wonderful!! I learned to set type waaay back in high school, wish I has that old stuff now!!


  20. needless to say i LOVE "Just My Type"
    AwESOme piece
    but I, like so many others, LOVE fonts
    i enjoy your stories too!!
    hi life reminds me of scrabble
    can't wait until you are finished
    i will be claim my prize

  21. Sharon, what a COOL idea for your blocks! I've got blocks... lots of them in different sizes and colors. I can't bear to get rid of them. Thanks for sharing :-)
    Lisa C


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a wise, witty or wonderful comment. I truly appreciate it. Unfortunately, a marked increase in spam has made it necessary to turn on word verification again. Hope you understand!