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shadowing, veggie burgers & surrendering to curls


This post is a little bit all over the place. A tip about hand painting lettering on antique-looking signs, a little peek at the kind of food I’ve been eating as a vegetarian and some info on how I’m wearing my hair lately.  Some bloggers have a schedule (and I really admire those people), but I just write about whatever comes to mind on that particular day.  Today, it’s a mish-mash.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to paint a sign to hang in my living room.  I had a blank space on my wall and a piece of old wood the perfect size to fill it.  I started out painting it in MMSMP Shutter Gray.  I LOVE using Milk Paint for “old” signs.  It has this soft matte finish that is beautiful.  I used a graphic I found on The Graphics Fairy blog and projected it onto the piece of wood.  I outlined the letters with chalk and then painted them in with MMSMP Ironstone.  I could have stopped at this point, but the sign looked a little flat.


So, I pulled out my 1.0 liner brush and ASCP Graphite…


…and drew a shadow around each letter.  When shadowing, you want to determine where your light source is (mine was high and to the left), so all of the shadows fall in the same direction (low and to the right.)  Use a thin brush, so you have lots of control and use a color that’s in high contrast with the lettering.


This technique is very simple, but makes the lettering pop and gives the sign dimension.


(You can still see the chalk outlines on some of the letters in this photo.  I wipe them off with a damp cloth before distressing.)


I then distressed the sign with a palm sander to bring out the character of the old wood and show the layers of paint.


See how all of the shadows are low and to the right?  It’s a very cool effect you should try next time you’re painting some lettering.

I’ve been a vegetarian for about three weeks now and I have to say that I love it.  I don’t miss meat at all and I’m enjoying so many foods I didn’t eat a lot of (or ever) before.  Kale is pretty tasty and I am totally in love with avocado.  My family was grilling out tonight and I was actually craving a black bean veggie burger.  With kale and avocado.  Yummy.  Who knew?


And lastly, I’ve been getting a lot of nice comments about my hair in the pictures of me at Lucketts.  If you’ve been following my blog for a few years, you may have picked up on the fact that I like change when it comes to my hair.  I’m a little scared of getting stuck in one style, so I like to change it up.  I’m also just a person who likes change.  I like moving.  I like rearranging my furniture.  I like new wall colors, new outfits, and new play lists.  So, of course I like new hair styles.

I’ve been smoothing my hair out for years.  Mainly because it has been pretty short.  Short hair + curly hair = afro.  And my afro was not a cute, stylish afro, but a scary, frizzy, out-of-control afro.  Now that it’s longer, I am tucking away my flattening iron, surrendering to the humidity and wearing my hair curly.  It’s a little crazy-curly at times, but it’s a way I can wear my hair that only involves a spritz, some scrunching and a bobby pin in the front.  This beats the 30 minutes of flattening or throwing it in a bandanna every day.


So, there you go.  A bit of randomness and probably more about my hair than you really cared about.  I’m off to finish out the remainder of the long weekend with a good book.

The winners of the Decor Steals giveaway are…

Emily (emsydaisy) wins the cow bust


Jessica B (jbrim2254) is the winner of the wine holder.

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  1. Love you and your blog MMS! Check out for tips on unleashing your beautiful curls. I love mine now thanks to Ouidad!

  2. It is so so cute on you. I am like you and need the change everywhere in life!!!! Make’s life much more interesting to have change. I like the curls sweet and cute on you.

  3. I love reading your blog! Where do I go to buy an overhead projector? Thank you!

    • Jan,

      I found overhead projectors (the old school type) on Craigslist for free. You can set up a feed on Craigslist to alert you that your search has turned up a find for you. I have a couple from a school that was going all digital. There was a big clean out the day I went to the school (August, before school was in session). I saw familiar faces of thrift store owners loading up their trucks. The woman in charge of the clean out was so happy that she was helping an artist (I don’t think I am an artist, but I’ll take it).

      Hope this helps!

  4. Love the sign also love the curls, let them go, they are very cute, very you!

  5. I want the recipe for a black bean veggie burger, please!!! And, I love your curls…’cause they are God-given!!! 😉

  6. Janet Lawson says:

    Great sign and I had my first black bean burger a few years ago and was amazed at how good it was..Have a great week..

  7. I love curls! As a curly girl myself, I’ve fought my hair for periods of time over the years. Have you ever heard of Lorraine Massey of Divachan? She’s a stylist with a whole process of caring for curly hair. Anyway, I don’t use her products, but since using her methods (she has YouTube videos), I have fallen in love with my curls again.
    Also, have you tried making Kale chips? We just made them for the first time last week, and they were super easy and a hit with my kids even!

  8. Cheryl says:

    Yay for you going vegetarian!!! You will never regret it. I haven’t after 17 1/2 years. While there are a few dishes that I miss because there are just no substitutions, overall, at 56, I feel great! When your body doesn’t have to spend so much energy digesting meat, it can work much harder at keeping the rest of your body healthy. Hang in there!

  9. I love how comfortable you are in your own skin, it is absolutely inspiring!! I think you would be a great person to speak to girls to show them they have the inner power to become what they dream. You may not be told that every day but you are truly an inspiration.

  10. You need to try kale chips…so good!!

  11. I did not realize you’re a fellow curly-haired-girl! I could never get my hair to straighten like you’ve been wearing yours. How did you ever find the time with everything else you’ve had going?!?!?

  12. I love the shadowing on your sign! I will have to try this next time, and I have a lot I want to make. I too go back & forth between straightening my hair & letting it go. Curly is easier, but I do like the straight look too. But, I’ve now gone short and it’s even easier, straight or curly!
    Have a great day
    Debbie :)

  13. aimee says:

    Your randomness make me feel like your business hasn’t gone to your head. To someone like me, who can barely afford garage sale prices right now, you almost seem reachable! :)

  14. Thanks for the random article. Tips on the shadowing of the sign is quite useful. I have just started using Graphics Fairy and I really like her. Your fro looks excellent. Black bean burger, I now have to make ’em. With all of the moving of furniture, painting, and climbing on ladders I need a good source of low fat and high protein.

    Keep writing about random. It makes me feel sane that I am not alone.

  15. Marian,
    I too noticed your curly hair in your photo.I looks fab! My daughter has curly hair too.We were straightening her hair and she decided she wanted soft curls.I am a hairdresser by trade I knew I could find something good to use on her hair.I found Bed Head Hi-def curls shampoo and conditioner works great on her hair.She just started using it and her hair is soft,shiny and bouncy full of soft curls!
    We don’t miss eating meat either.We ate out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant on Saturday and we all had a vegetarian dish.I would love to try veggie burgers but my husband is not keen on trying them.He does not get the veggie /burger thing LOL.
    That sign looks so cool! Yes that black really adds detail! Can’t wait to try your paint.It is on order right now :-)

  16. I am loving your sign and while I thought I liked the first photo, it just got better and better. If you haven’t already, check out Oh She Glows for gazillions of really tasty vegetarian recipes. I find even the carnivores in the family often enjoy her recipes.

  17. Diana freeman says:

    I wanna know what the whole sign says! I’d love to make one for my great room and can’t decid what it should say. I want mine to be personalized to our family. I love the MMSMP Ironstone on Shutter Gray and love love the distressed old wood peeking through!

  18. O my, how would you ever find time to fuss with your hair now? This is the best hair do for you, it’s really cute!
    And what does the sign say?

  19. Sometimes you have to embrace what God gave you and make it work for you. 😀

    I used to have straight hair when I was younger, but with each pregnancy, it got curlier & curlier. I fought it for quite some time, but it gets old after a while, trying to keep it straight, & the humidity would do me in. Finally, I did what you have done and have just let it be. I used to pay big bucks to get the look I have naturally now & I love it too!

    And some day, I just may try hand painting a sign. I remember the shadowing technique from high school art class. I don’t know that I have a steady enough hand to make it look as good as yours though. It may look like I tried painting in the back of a old pick up truck going down a bumpy road! hee hee

  20. I JUST painted a sign last weekend…wish I would have read this post first! :) I’ll have to make another one to practice this technique!

  21. Love your hair! and the sign…but what made you to decide on becoming a vegetarian??

  22. Suzanne says:

    To a fellow curly-hair girl: try CatWalk Curls Rock when your hair is still wet (you can get it at WalMart). Only need a tiny dollop, but it seals the cuticle of your hair and keeps it from frizzing. Also, don’t use a regular terry-cloth towel when you are drying it. Use an old cotton shirt–I use an old sleep shirt. This doesn’t extract so much moisture from your hair like a regular towel does. After 50 years, I am a curly-hair expert! :)

  23. Tasha says:

    I second the Curly Girl hair care routine developed by Lorraine Massey (she also has a book about how to care for different kinds of curly hair). I also second not drying your hair with a regular towel (old t-shirts are the best). I have a ton of very fine, very curly hair, and I battled with frizz for most of my life until I read Lorraine Massey’s book. I no longer straighten my hair every day, I wear my curls with pride, and they look beautiful!

  24. I’m in love with your sign you painted. Do you mind sharing where you found it on Graphics Fairy?


  1. […] This helpful tutorial by Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed teaches how to add shadowing to lettering. I love the fact that Marian does the lettering by hand […]

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