Give Thanks – A little bit of DIY, and a whole lot of Faith

[original post October 3, 2015]

Today has been a trying day. Stella is cutting some top teeth which makes for an ornery baby, and a tired momma. I knew when I finally got her down for an afternoon nap that what I needed most was some therapeutic DIY. But it’s a lazy Saturday and my ambitions are running low, so today’s project is small. I apologize in advance for no progression or step-by-step pictures. I wasn’t planning on this project being anything special or blog worthy, but when I saw the final product of my perfectly imperfect sign, I changed my mind :-).

I started with a small piece of barn wood scrap I’ve been saving for a rainy day. Today I decided it would make a great little sign for autumn. I painted both sides with white acrylic paint, edges too.

Tip: If you’re impatient like I am and don’t want to wait for one side to dry, to paint the other, use thumb tacks! I grabbed four thumb tacks, put one on each corner, and pushed them in only slightly. Since the look is distressed, the holes won’t bother me. I was able to the flip my piece of wood over and continue painting without smudging all the fresh paint!

While my paint was drying I headed to Pinterest. I searched “fall wood sign” to seek inspiration. The phrase “Give Thanks” was the winner. Short and Sweet.

I needed a template, because I’m not about to freehand anything! I Google image searched “Give Thanks” and found this great sign here.

I really liked the lines that frame out “THANKS” and the emphasis it places on the word. I placed a piece of loose leaf paper on top of my computer screen and lightly traced the image (I like to use loose leaf because I reference it’s lines for guides when aligning my text).

I grabbed a piece of burlap scrap and placed it on top of my loose leaf paper, making sure to hold it as flat as possible, I taped the burlap down to the paper with painters tape to avoid any sliding it may do; this also helped to keep the burlap flat as sometimes scrap fabric can have a mind of its own!

Using a very large Sharpie, I traced the image out. I went back and filled in the letters to try my best at making it look nice. This is where I gave up on perfection. The “T” was too tall and the “g” looked somewhat like “q” instead. Or maybe the whole word “give” looks more like “glue.” But I was halfway done and I wasn’t about to waste a piece of burlap!

Now that my paint was dry on my barn wood, I took those thumb tacks out. I plugged in my hot glue gun and used it to outline the back of my burlap sign. I centered it as best as I could (we eye ball things here!) and stuck it on my barn wood. The key here is to lay the burlap as tight as you can.

The hot glue is what really holds the burlap down. But to give it a more rustic and finished look I hammered in upholstery decorative nails. You can buy them really cheap at Wal-Mart. I got a pack of 30 recently for $0.97!

Take some sand paper to the edges of the sign to rough up your paint and give the sign a more worn, rustic, aged look.

And Viola! You are done!

Now I know this sign isn’t perfect. The burlap is fraying. The script could be better. The lines could be straighter. I know.

But through this DIY project I was able to remember, what is actually important here. As a momma I have had amazing days where everything went perfect and I felt like the best parent on the freaking planet!

And I’ve also had days like today. Where any time I drop eye contact with my daughter she starts to cry. As if everything in the world and every ounce of me is not enough to make her happy. I felt today like I was failing her as her mother.

I stumbled upon the phrase “give thanks,” and when I started the project I was thinking, “Oh this will be a cute Thanksgiving season sign to place on a shelf and post to Instagram.” But by the time I was finished, and I researched the phrase some more, I found this scripture.

And while I am a Christian and I have been all my life, I’m recently entering a new season where I’m kind of rediscovering my faith. Maybe I should have known of this scripture before. Maybe I did know it once and I’ve since forgotten it. But I found it today and it was new to me. It was completely new and fresh. And it was like a pitcher of cold water dumped over my head.


You’ve been struggling all day to survive motherhood. And here you are, forgetting the number one thing. Forgetting you weren’t alone in this house all day while your husband was at work. You had Him with you. He was right there, ready to catch you when you fell.  But you forgot about Him.

It’s not over yet.

I then log in to Instagram to share my latest creation with the world, my silly little sign. And what does my sweet dear friend have posted but this:

And then I cried.

We’d been texting earlier in the day as she’d been having the #momstruggles too today. But her words were like an extra dose of Divine Intervention.

Even when I get distracted with my own selfishness and trials, God not only throws signs right in my face (literally), but he’s also placed the perfect people in my life, with their perfect words, to nudge me back toward the right path.

It was then I realized this DIY project wasn’t a simple mommy nap time therapy session.

It was all part of His plan after all.

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