Friday, February 3, 2012

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Is it legal in Blogland to post about something I did so many years ago?  It was 1990 when I first picked up a stenciling brush and attacked my living room walls.  By the end of the year, every room in my house had been stenciled.  When I ran out of walls, my obsession turned to stenciling furniture, lots of furniture.  I was a crazy woman with a brush as my weapon and realized I needed another outlet for my addiction.  I joined a stenciling club, participated in stenciling conventions, started making my own stencils, designed stencils that were sold in stencil shops, and finally decided to start my own custom stenciling business and charge for what I loved to do.

Meet Wally.  I designed Wally for a client who wanted a little something extra peeking through her indoor window box.  Wally was stenciled several times in different colors and sometimes with little kitty footprints up the wall.  

There's a simple explanation for why I took a trip back in time. It was all brought on by the new toy I received for Christmas and just took out of the box a couple of days ago.  It's been staring at me and driving me crazy because I haven't had any time to start playing with it.  I finally got some supplies ordered with the Silhouette gift card, but now I'm afraid I'll never be seen or heard from again once I start using it. 
My new Silhouette Cameo prompted me to dig out my old portfolio and revisit some of the stencils I used to make.  All the pictures from my portfolio were taken with a good old point and shoot film camera.  

This was my youngest son's room when he got his first big boy bed.  I think he was about two years old at the time; now he's twenty two.
What a labor of love this desk project was.  I remember buying the little school desk at a garage sale for $3.00; such a deal even though it was bright pink.  I have no idea why I went through all the trouble to strip it and then paint it red with oil based enamel paint. I'd just spray paint it if I had to do it all over again.  I removed the wood top and seat, painted them white and made a stencil to match the geometric designs on his bedspread.  

I was hired to stencil this train three or four times, but the stencil was always one of my best sellers at The Stencil House.  

Pay no attention to the lovely mauve bed linens.  Circa 1992.
Another outlet for my obsession was to teach stenciling classes.  In the early 90's I taught at House of Fabrics and used this picture in my advertisement.  In one of my classes, the ladies told me that they signed up because they wanted to learn how to stencil this flower arrangement.  They were real surprised when I told them that the flowers were real and the headboard was stenciled.  It's hard to see any of the detail in this old picture, but the white rails and posts were shadowed to make it look three-dimensional.  What a lot of work, but I sure had fun with this design.  This one was designed for a queen size bed....I never got around to adjusting it for a larger or smaller bed.  

I still have a roll of Mylar around here somewhere along with the full size samples from my portfolio.  I came across the electric stencil cutter a few months ago and decided to keep it just in case. The stencil cutter always reminded me of one of those wood burning tools most of us had as a child.  

Stencils have come a long, long way in the last few years.  I love all the designs that can be used over an entire wall for a wallpapered look, all the interesting motifs, and especially the fun use of letters and numbers.    I'm excited about getting to know my Silhouette but concerned that the obsession will repeat itself.  Everything in moderation, right?  


  1. OMG, me too, stencil-olic! I still have some of them. I didn't stencil in this house, only two bathrooms which have now been painted over, but in my other house I had cow stencils in the kitchen, crows and sunflowers in the bathroom. And those swags, ha ha, I had those too, still have one in the guest room along with two pillows that would go perfect on your bed!!

    Do you still have that desk?!?!

    What a fun Christmas present!!! If we don't see you blogging, we know what you're doing, ha ha ha


  2. What a great post! I love your stenciling. You are very talented and I certainly hope you continue on with your passion.
    Can't wait to see your first project with your new tool.
    Have a great weekend!
    Ladybug Creek

  3. Love love this post! I, too, use to dabble a bit with stencils...I loved it! I know you will soon start showing us some really cool work! Bring it on! lol. Luv

  4. Oh I love knowing more about you! How exciting to be able to do what you love like that. Your stencils are adorable. I know you will enjoy your new toy. Come up for air now and then and come see us! Hugs, Linda

  5. Wow! You do a great job on stencils!
    That is something I never attempted - fear of the unknown I guess. :D
    I remember mauve and country blue well. :-D
    Have a great weekend!

  6. Love stencils. Nice to see some of your past projects. I have a bunch I've been playing with lately for some new designs.

  7. I am still chuckling and wonder how I ever missed your stencil line? I started stenciling in 1995 and haven't stopped! Years of SALI conventions, a career painting and faux finishing has led me to where I am today! I just spent the better part of today trying to get setting right on my Silhouette to cut some stencils as well!

  8. Love this post. You are so talented but I know what you mean by being obsessed. If we don't here from you again at least we will know what happen to you. ;)

  9. I love learning new facts about you Miss Betsy, how fun!!!
    I didn't get into the stenciling as much as I got into the Donna Dewberry tole painting and the faux painting. OMGosh did you ever try the Tatouage wall art? You can still find the stuff on Ebay. lol
    Anything that stood still long enough got a makeover.
    Since then I've learned the meaning of subtlety. Thank God!
    My daughter had a vintage school desk too. I stenciled her name on the back of the seat. It was so perfect since I home school. It broke my heart to get rid of it when she outgrew it.
    And, yes, I also had the dry flowers with the paper bow. Did we not think they were just beautiful back then? lol
    What a great post, I really enjoyed it!

    Big Hug,

  10. Loved the trip down memory lane! Have fun with your new toy. I got one too and haven't had much time to use it yet. We have a big snow storm now so I might have to get it out.


  11. I love that you are finding a way to reconnect with the art you made in the past. I have a past, myself, that involed a LOT of tole painting and think from time to time that I should find some way to update that and incorporate it into what I like to do now.

  12. Ah, memories, especially the good ones. I too remember the mad crazy stencil phase. I never was able to perfect the technique. Your new toy looks like it will be a lot fun! Don't forget to come up for air once in a while and let us know what you've done. Lisa

  13. Hello Betsy

    It is fun to think back about the things you used to do. I also stenciled my sons room with ricking horses all the way around the room. Since I had 4 boys I just kept moving the younger one in that room because of all the work it was :)
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your sweet comment.
    Enjoy your day!
    Suzann ~xoxo~

  14. I gave my daughter money to buy a Silhouette for her birthday last year and she didn't get it. This year she wants money towards it again. I said I'd split it with her. Sounds like you love yours. I want to use it for applique projects. I love your jewelry! Especially the piece with the S&H Green stamp! Ah, what memories! I'm following you via Linky Followers. I hope you have a chance to enter my first ever Choose Joy Giveaway. Have a great rest of the weekend :)

  15. I see myself in this too! The stencils and mauve! So true and funny! You're right, stencils have come a long way! Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane! I'm following on Linky Follower now. Thanks for following me too!

  16. Oh, that was sooo fun! A previous life! Funny about the lady wanting to stencil the flowers. I want to hear all about your new toy, walk us through it, I have seen them, but don't quite know what they an do. Love to hear about past work


  17. Thanks for sharing some of the photos from your portfolio. I too was fooled by your headboard photo.

    Enjoy your new toy and keep us posted on your projects. I'm anxious to hear about how you use it.

  18. We had 2 desks just like that growing up and a blackboard.

    My older sister always played the teacher and yes, I was always one of the students.

    love those lift top desks.




  19. What a fun post, Betsy...I loved reading about your business...and that headboard is amazing!

  20. When I first bought the 1929 Charmer I used stencils a lot. back in the late 80's stencils are what they are today. But I really do love them, so have to get back in to using them. Love the cat in the window, headboard is amazing, you do really great work/art. Love the child's chairs just bought two for my new booth. I'm embarrassed to say I still have some mauve upstairs in a bedroom, need to change that out soon! Thanks for sharing your creative inspirations at Sunday's Best!

  21. Loved the trip down memory lane! Excited to see your next projects

  22. I am your newest follower. I adore stenciling...always have, ever since I became a wife and homeowner....dare I tell....almost 43 years ago...oh my....Anyway...I said years ago I would never wall paper again (except for grass cloth) because of the awful times I went thru of removing a badly applied wall paper. Stenciling is so much fun and easy to remove. Our master bedroom has what looks like wallpaper uncurling in one corner with the wall falling down and clouds and birds showing through. But it's actually painted on. I love it! In one guest room there are palm fronds painted in one corner of the room and so many people have actually thought they were real (like your bed) And I love that stenciled head board. What a fabulous idea. .... okay. I have yammmered on enough. I just got so excited when you told us about your stenciling past.

  23. Love seeing your 'vintage' Betsy projects!!! Now why isn't there a stenciling club in my neighborhood?

  24. oh my, i'm sure you'll have a lot of fun with your silhouette cameo. i had my eye on a digital cutting tool for ages! thank you for sharing!
    peggy aplSEEDS


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