A Well Crafted Retirement

"Retire from work, but not from life." -M.K. Soni

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Garden Gate Sign

Many years ago when we were visiting family in the Toronto area, I noticed many homes had named their properties and gardens. These names were displayed on neat signs posted on fences and garden gates.  When we got home I named our property Gladville Gardens with a wooden hand lettered sign.

Gladville GardensAfter 15 plus years of Chicago weather, last year I replaced the original sign with a new one.  This time I used adhesive backed vinyl, spray paint and my Cricut.  I liked the crisp edges of the lettering and the fresh white and green colors.  This spring a wooden planter box next to the other garden gate had clearly seen better days so I decided to replace it with a sign rather than another flower box.


  • Walnut Hollow Sign 8.25 x 18.5 inches
  • Self adhesive vinyl
  • Masking tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Old news papers
  • Sanding block


  • Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover Satin Moss Green
  • Rustoleum 2x Ultra Cover Satin Straw Flower
  • Rustoeum 2x Ultra Cover Satin Blossom White
  • Folk Art  Autumn Leaves

Cricut Cartridges:

  • Cricut Alphabet
  • Walk in my Garden
  • Winter Wonderland

Cut Sizes in Inches:

  • “Time” @ 2.0 (Cricut Alphabet)
  • “began in a ” @ 1.5
  • “Garden” @ 2.75 (Winter Wonderland)
  • Cone flower @ 3.0 (Walk in my Garden)
  • Daisy 2 @ 3.0 and 1.75
  • Leaf 3 @ 1.o

I started by lightly sanding the rough spots on the wood and gave both sides two coats of white spray paint.  I waited two days before applying any vinyl to the sign to be sure the paint was very dry and the vinyl wouldn’t pull off any paint as I peeled it away.  I have the Expression 2 machine and I have had good luck cutting vinyl with the “kiss cut” setting.   The sharp hook that came with one of my tool kits works very well to remove the actual letters from the backing sheet.  I use regular masking tape to help transfer the vinyl.   Pressing it on the carpet to pick up some fibers prevents it from being too sticky.

Once the letters are in place the rest of the sign’s surface has to be covered.  For this I use masking tape or scrap vinyl.  An exact0  knife trims the vinyl from the routed edges so that the sign is “framed” in the same color as the letters.

With flowersFor the flowers I positioned the cut vinyl being careful not to to expose any lettering in the openings.  Again I used scrap vinyl and masking to cover the rest of the sign.  Since I do not want to spray paint the edges I tape newspaper to the edges of the wood and tuck it under to protect the green frame as I spray the yellow flowers. At this point I thought I should have some green leaves.  It would have been easier to have done them at the same time as the lettering since I wanted to use the same green.  To achieve the look that some of the leaves were behind the flowers, I had to carefully mask part of the yellow petals to avoid them being covered in green.  Again I taped,vinyl and tucked newspaper around the edges.


Rather than go to the Cricut layers to add details to the flowers and buy another can of spray paint to cover just a few square inches of sign I used my acrylic paints and brushes to add the final touches to the flowers.  In the past I had trouble using the vinyl as a stencil for the acrylic.  When I removed the vinyl it pulled some of the acrylic paint away. Now when we repair the fence behind the old flower box we can hang the new sign!

Gaden Gate Sign


3-D Easter Egg Centerpiece

I was looking at some old photos of family parties and dinners and noticed the honeycomb centerpieces on the table. You could buy these at any card shop in the 70’s.  They are the inspiration for this 3-D Easter project.

photo1aCricut Cartridges Used:

  • Walk in My Garden
  • Create a Critter 2

Cut Sized in Inches:

  • Flower pot @ 4.75 (Walk in My Garden)
  • Layered Easter eggs @ 3 (Create a Critter 2)
  • Solid Easter eggs @ 2.5 and 1.75 (Create a Critter 2)
  • Bunny @ 4 (Create a Critter 2)

Cuttlebug Folders:

  • Birds and Swirls
  • Swiss Dots
  • Simple Flowers
  • Give a Hoot Companion
  • Darice’s Swirl Background
  • Darice’s Butterfly
  • Darcie’s  Dandylion
  • Darice’s Simple Border

Other Materials:

  • green florist wire or 12 inch bamboo skewers
  • a tape runner
  • craft glue like Aleene’s Max Tacky Adhesive

I began with a print from the All Seasons II paper stack by the paper studio and then chose solid colors to coordinate with the print. The green is a print on one side and solid on the other from the Life’s Little Occasions by K&C Company.  To make the flower pot I cut 8 flower pot shadows from page 91 of Walk in My Garden in a eggplant color. I used the Simple Border folder that reminded me of rick rack to emboss the top edge of each pot. I folded each pot in half  with a bone folder and used a tape runner to apply adhesive along the white lines of the first pot. Then I attached the folded second pot to the first and applied the adhesive again. I worked through all 8 cuts and then attached the last to the first to make the standing pot. It’s important to leave a break in the adhesive at the top of each pot otherwise I couldn’t insert the stem for each egg.

2014-03-04 14.53.08-1For the decorated eggs I went to Create a Critter 2 page 40 and set up this cut. I used it twice for the green, the pink, the yellow and the purple. Then I carefully set out all the pieces and mixed and mingled the colors to create the 4 striped and 4 dotted eggs. But since this is a 3-D project each egg needed a back side. For this I used the icon on page 40 of Create a Critter 2 to cut 8 eggs again at 3 inches from the printed paper. Since I planned on adding my own layers, marking cuts didn’t matter.  I used the egg shadow layer at 2.5 to cut two purple, green, pink and yellow eggs and then went down to 1.75 and cut the four colors again.  The large eggs I embossed with the all over patterns and the smaller eggs I positioned carefully on the folders to get just a single butterfly or dandelion.  I arranged them and glued the layers down. All parts of the bunny had to be cut twice except for the shadow. Since my paper was the same on both sides I didn’t have to flip half the cuts right to left, I just turned them over before I glued them down.

Then it was time to make the Easter egg flowers. I cut 8 inch pieces of green floral wire for each of the eight eggs and a 12 inch piece for the bunny. I tried the bamboo skewers and they worked fine for the bunny, but didn’t let me adjust the angle of the eggs, so floral wire was the choice for them. I turned the decorated eggs over, spread Aleene’s max tacky adhesive around the edges of each and up the center, placed the wire into the glue in the center and them backed them up with the embossed eggs.  I used mini binder clips around the edges to keep the together until they dried. I did the same with the bunny only used the wooden skewer.  To find the “open” spot in the top of flower pot I found it helped to pry the edges open with my smallest spatula. I slipped each of the 8 eggs into the 8 slots and the bunny down the middle.

I had cut a few extra  2.5 egg shadows, so I embossed them and glued them randomly around the bottom of the flower pot between the “pages”. Taking the left over printed green paper I cut eight 12 inch strips 1/4 wide with the paper cutter.  I wrapped them tightly around a wooden chop stick to give them a curl and folded them in half.  I applied a dab of glue at the fold and inserted one in the slot at the base of each egg.  Now it looked finished!