amigas4all feature flipping the bird saloon sign

How to Make a Sign with Scrap Wood

Hi All,

It has been a busy summer and I am still trying to catch up with everything after my upstairs remodel but here is an easy project for the Summer…or year round when you need a cute sign or something cool for you house, pool, man-cave, you name it.

As you know, I am still posting all the little projects I did to decorate my home bar on a budget and still give it some character. The goal in these posts is not to reinvent the wheel but a compilation of things we can find online and that can be adapted to your everyday projects or designs. So after completing a few projects like redoing the chairs (here and here), making a cool menu with an old picture frame (here) and a corner shelf (here), my next project was to make a sign for the bar.

Before anyone gets offended with the name of the bar I have to explain the background for the name. If you read my bio you will see that I rescue birds on the side. So we get them in, rehab them and find them good homes. We call it “bird flipping” just like “house flipping” that you see on tv. Also, we have a couple of African Greys that love to hang upside down anytime they can and they swing on their feet and make these funny noises like someone is killing them. No one is. It’s just play (This is Grayby on the photo below).

Amigas4all African grey flipping the bird saloon

Anyway, so because of the birds and because, admit it, it’s funny, we named the bar the “Flipping the Bird Saloon”. I wanted a sign to have a cool factor to it and be rustic at the same time. So when I went to buy the boards to make the corner shelf (here) I went to the local hardware store and they have a session in their lumber department for rejected boards. I call it my “dream pile”: knots, dings, croocked boards! Oh, my heart beats faster just talking about it!!!.

I was juamigas4all split board flipping the bird saloonst checking to see if they had anything I could use for the sign and lo and behold I found these two boards with a split in the middle and one of the splits had a curve to it. Oh, my head!! Angels started singing! OHHHHHHH!

What?! Don’t tell me, DIYers, you never had that feeling. I KNOW you did!!

I took them home and went to work. I already decided I was going to use the transfer technique I used for my menu (here) to make the sign. I also decided I wanted the sign to pop on the wall so I stained the boards with a dark stain.


amigas4all flipping the bird saloon dark stain board





Once dry I secured them together with a wood strip on the back of the boards. It would serve as a joiner piece and a place to put the hanger clips. I used liquid nail but it came off so I just used a very small screw to ensure it wouldn’t fall apart. Also the boards were very fragile and I could not apply too much force for anything. I had to be careful.

amigas4ll flipping the bird saloon wood strip back






Using the same technique from the menu (here) I chose a nice looking lettering and I also found this perfect parrot with the eyes popping that was soo freaking cool! I painted it upside down but the best part is the eye popping because it’s almost like it’s reacting to the name. Hilarious!

amigas4all transfer lettering flipping the bird saloon





amigas4all lettering flipping the bird saloon dark contour

I painted the letters white for contrast but decided give it a countour in black. it made the letter look a little more defined. Then I painted the bird (same transfer technique). Isn’t the bird hilarious?!!


amigas4all flipping the bird saloon red parrot

Finally, once dried I screwed hanging picture hooks in the back. Because the whole sign was light I was able to just use steel cable so I would not have to worry about leveling when drilling holes (sorry, no photos)





Here it is! The lettering:

amigas4all flipping the bird saloon final product wood sign





The final product:





(lighting not great here)

amigas4all wood sign flipping the bird saloon




What do you think? Let me know if you have any questions too. I would like to hear from you.


Things To Do in Arizona....When you Want to Go Vintage Shopping fair AZ flag wood

Things To Do in Arizona….Go Vintage Shopping!

Vintage shopping is not always in a tourist’s mind when traveling unless you are me (hopefully I’m not the only one). Every place I travel to I like to see what local goodies I can find. And when I say local goodies, I’m not talking about the local foods and yummy drinks (well, I check those too!) but historical local goodies. For example, if you visit states in the East coast you are more likely to find older furniture (British, French, Primitives) and smalls from the Civil War (forks, cans, bags, buttons, etc). Go to Missouri or Louisiana you will find lots of French goodies (furniture, lace, etc).

But what about the West? Compared to the rest of the country the West is relatively young or so we think.

amigas4all things to do AZ old wood heartsWe know that the Spanish visited some areas of Arizona between the 1500 and 1700s with their forts and missions but this was a long, long time ago and we wonder how much of it survived. And what history can we gather since, say the late 1850s, when things became a little more official (the United States bought Arizona from Mexico in 1853)? We also know that Arizona was a territory until 1912. If you think about it, it’s not that long ago. Sorry, I must have lost you by now with the history lesson but this background is important when looking for certain antiques or vintage items. Which brings us to the question above: What kinds of antiques can one find in Arizona?

Well, most people think Cowboys and Native Americans when they think of Arizona. Sure they are a great part of Arizona’s history. Trailblazers, inhospitable heat, dryness, creatures Things To Do in Arizona....When you Want to Go Vintage Shopping fair AZ wagon wheeltrying to kill you (rattlesnakes, scorpions, Gila monsters! Yaiks!). It took these pioneers a lot of courage and it took a lot of tools to build this State! And you can count on one thing from Arizona’s vintage shops: spurs, primitive tools, cowboy hats (oldish and new), dried wood boards-the kind you can make signs with! (Heart palpitations and itchy hands just talking about it!) and lots of Native American goodies (moccasins, dream catchers, headdresses (old and new), arrowheads, turquoise and more.

But Arizona is not all about cowboys. People have been living here for a while and one thing Arizona is big with: New residents! That’s right! People who come from all over the country and the world to live in Arizona and with them: Stuff!! French furniture, British desks, the works! It’s like having the world at your feet, right in your back yard (I mean, not literally your backyard but close enough).

So with that in mind and knowing I can find all sorts of goodies from all over, what is a girl to do? Where do I go to find those things?

amigas4all things to do AZ pipe lamp

Arizona is filled with vintage/antique stores everywhere. Some of the places I like to go are not too far from me in Phoenix. But cities nearby also have great stores and some are pretty close to the “old west”. I mean, they are new cities but still growing and you still see the same buildings from the early days of the West full of vintage goodies. It’s like traveling through time!

Please note that I am not making any money telling you about these places. In fact, they don’t even know I’m talking about them but I will tell you because these are my favorites in Phoenix. I will give you names and if you Google them you will find the addresses very easily.

Brass Armadillo: They have two stores in Arizona but my favorite is the one in Phoenix.

Imagine a store the size of a giant supermarket (big box type) full, I mean FULL of goodies. Vintage, old, rusty, rustic, used, beat up goodies. Furniture of all kinds, from primitive to mid century to mid 80s. Old books, clothing (vintage and old), hats and purses (imagine finding hats from the 30s-so adorbs!).

The store is divided in stalls where each vendor displays their goodies and the aisles are given street names. Why streets? Because this place is huuuge!! If you find something you like and you can’t carry it around, you’ll need to be able to find it somehow to pay for it. Street names are an easy way to do that. They even give you a map of the store when you first come in. The map has lines for each street so you can write the vendor number, the item number and the street name so the store assistants can locate the piece and save it for you, especially large pieces. I have “lost” what I wanted many times because I forgot to write the street name. The place has so many “streets” and “stalls” that you can easily spend 4 hours there and not even see the time go by. They even have a resting area with tables and chairs by the bathrooms so you can take a break during your shopping. The only drawback is not having a coffee shop (it closed recently-sniff!).

Some of my best furniture I found at that store. Including these babies

amigas4all things to do AZ daybed

Amigas4all things to do in AZ low daybed fireplace

These were super well made 1960’s twin beds. I paid $120 for both beds and while the varnish was chipped, the wood was in excellent condition. I sanded and painted them and since I needed a day bed and a couch for two different rooms I used the two head boards to make my ultra fancy “daybed” in the “inside porch” I created in the parlor (yes, a parlor! Cute!-Left Pic) and the “couch” went to the fireplace area in my living room (Right pic). For that one, I used the foot boards so it would have lower sides.

Amigas4all things to do in AZ candle holder antique 1820Other goodies I found there were this 1820’s candle holder for $100 bucks!!

Amigas4all things to do in AZ white side table

This cute table

These salvaged doors from the 1910’s

Amigas4all things to do in AZ door mexican primitive

Amigas4all things to do in AZ valance old door

One became a Mexican primitive art project (I will soon post this step by step project) and the other became frame/valance in my bedroom.

This is the kind of place that you walk around and feel the good times come back: “Oh look! My mom had those plates when I grew up!” Or “I had that very lamp in my bedroom!”, “Grandma had that collection of pictures in her house!” It’s like walking on memory lane.

The best part is that it’s not just old or vintage. It’s re-purposed, recycled, renewed and/or ready for your own talented hands to do that same. It’s worth checking that place out.

Amigas4all things to do in AZ Vintage art

Melrose on 7th Ave”: This is not a store but several stores in one street! 7th Avenue in Phoenix (between Camelback Rd and Indian School) is a street that used to be a run down area with tire shops and miscellaneous office buildings. It was slowly revitalized and it is now a great spot for vintage, antique and all sorts of stuff to recycle and reuse.

If you like walking you can park your car in one spot and go up and down the street (bring comfy Amigas4all things to do in AZ Vintage art trunk deskshoes, it’s a long street!). The problem is you’re gonna want your car nearby because it’s impossible to leave those stores without a lot of stuff! You will find places selling just clothes, mid-century furniture (Mids are a big deal in AZ-Frank Lloyd Wright built and inspired a lot of building designs in Arizona). You will also find “Goodwill type stores” where you can buy good quality dressers and other furniture you can refurbish to give it that vintage look. I am sure you will find a lot of inspiration pieces too and lots of materials to create new “old” things.

One of the stores I like to shop in that area is Home Again. It’s not a large store but it is PACKED with stuff.                                                                                                                   

I found this screen door from the 1810’s there. Amigas4all things to do in AZ 1810 doorI use it as a display piece for my babies’ feather wreath (I have a lot of birds who shed feathers every 6 months! I can smell another tutorial right now) and I also use it as a frame for my favorite wedding photo (notice the same pic in the salvaged door above?)

Zinnia’s at Melrose: This is another store I like to shop for vintage and unusual stuff. This is a two-storey warehouse type building with soooo much stuff your wallet will be shaking in its boots (do wallets have feet? Wow, that’s deep, man!). 

There are also vintage fairs here and there, especially when the weather is not ridiculously hot in Arizona. Just two weeks ago I went to this lovely fair at the Cardinal’s Stadium where lots of vendors were showing their creations. From upcycling to recycling, from shabby “chic-ing” to plain old rusty stuff, there was something for everybody.

Amigas4all vintage fair things to do plate flowersAmigas4all vintage fair things to do vintage things Amigas4all vintage fair things to do buckets                                                                                    

I got great new connections for future blogs and inspiration for my future projects and posts. I had to really control myself not to buy everything (well, I wanted this wagonwheel for my bar decorating project-here). In the end it was a little too heavy for my ceiling (sniff).

amigas4all things to do AZ old wagon wheel metal

Well, this is just a sample of things you can do in Phoenix when vintage shopping. Believe me, I didn’t even scratch the surface.

Happy Shopping!

Decorate a Bar With Primitive Mexican Painting DIY and Save a Bundle!

I love Primitive Mexican Painting. But they cost a lot of money. Even in non-touristy areas, it is hard to find a Primitive Mexican Painting that will not break the bank. At least in my book.

So I decided I was going to DIY my Primitive Mexican Painting! Or Paintings, since I can’t just have one!

But before we get into that I will tell you a little bit about the research that went into finding the art I wanted to make.

The research (ahem, “shopping”)

Amigas4all primitive mexican painting diy do it yourself diy living thrifty angelThe Primitive Mexican Painting you see in the pictures are not mine but inspirational pieces! Each would have cost over $150 per picture on the average.

Way too much since I wanted to add several in the bar I’m decorating with a Mexican/Day-of-the-Dead theme. I sure didn’t want to pay that much.

So I decided to use some of these ideas to create my own art. And you can certainly get inspired and try your own style.

You may even free hand it if you have the skills I sure don’t have! While I can do a little bit of everything in life I was never a painter. But this one is actually is easy even for the paint-challenged like me.

The Materials for a primitive MExican painting

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission from any purchases you make through these links without any extra cost to you. This is how I make sure my foster birds have a home until they find their forever family.

All you need is a photo of the art you like. PAmigas4all primitive mexican painting diy do it yourself diy living thrifty katrinarovided you are not selling copyrighted material you can certainly copy and modify it so it does not violate any laws or rights. Personal use only!

You will also need an old board, log, tray or rustic surface to create this art. Old windows or doors can also be used for a statement piece in a room or entryway!

These are so cool it will look like you traveled the world and brought some pieces with you.

Finally, you will need a good qualify acrylic paint (here’s where to get a kit) and a printer (black and white is just fine 

So first, start your research on the images you like to try. If you have traveled somewhere exotic you can also use those images. We will talk about the transfer process in the next post (but here is the link if you want to start now).

In the meantime, you can check what I have done so far with my bar decorating part 1decorating with bar stools part 2 and finalizing the bar stools part 3.

See you soon!