By this point, you’ve all heard about Friscovania, right?! While we here at Model Behaviors and in the Frisco community are all looking forward to this event, I dare say that there may be no one more excited than I am! As I mentioned last year in my Yarn Ghost DIY Tutorial, Halloween holds a very special place in my heart as both my wedding anniversary in 2009 and the day I became a mother with the birth of Trent Fox on October 31, 2012.
I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Kelly as long as many of our other Behaviorists and friends, but I remember so vividly the first time I met her. I was the newbie of the group, having just joined Model Behaviors a few months before that day’s revamp photo shoot, and I’d never met any of the other girls apart from Toni. My ill-chosen strappy sandals were caked in wet mud, and I lost my voice the night before, but Kelly answered the door at the ranch with open arms and helped me just laugh it off.
I was still finding my feet and looking for my place, and Kelly made me feel so at ease. Not even knowing me, she still reassured me that I belonged there and that I could “rock it out”…and what was even better was that I know she really believed and meant it. Her confidence lifted me up and helped me relax. She let me hang out near the makeup chair and opened conversations between me and the other girls to help me get my groove, and I was so thankful for that. After reading Toni’s “Kelly Story” and hearing countless other friends’ tales of her kindness and positive energy, it sounds like our ranch photo shoot was just a typical day with Kelly!
When it was my turn for the Kelly treatment, her first topic of conversation was about her son, Gunner, and she was equally interested in my family and children. We hit it off over our mutual love for Halloween, and she told me all about the crazy costumes she’d made for herself and Gunner, about their favorite Halloween decorations and traditions, and so much more.
When the next shoot rolled around in October, I couldn’t wait to get into Kelly’s chair and talk about her plans for Halloween 2015, which was just a few weeks away. Of course she had it all planned out, and we laughed about Gunner’s request to dress up as a haunted tree. Yes, a tree. But she wasn’t worried, didn’t even consider trying to sway him in another direction, and already had a plan for constructing an elaborate costume. I remember thinking she must be the coolest mom on the planet.
So when Toni approached me about coming on board as the décor and design chair for what was then only known as “Kelly’s Halloween Bash,” I was all in. For so many reasons. For Kelly. For Gunner. For City House. For Frisco. For Halloween!
Because we’re hoping to give as much as possible to City House, my décor and design committee, made up of myself and two of my closest and most trusted friends who also happen to love events as much as I do, is reaching out for donated items and salvaging as much material as possible. Each morning we all go out with our little wagons and see what treasures we can find hiding in alleyways, construction dumpsters, and wooded areas. Making something out of “nothing” is such a great feeling! We have our work cut out for us with such a huge space to fill, limited time, and 90% donated, borrowed, or salvaged product, but I think all three of us work best with a challenge on our shoulders.
I knew I wanted to have a big “Friscovania” sign for the entrance, and I thought that would be a good first piece to create as a kick-off to our production schedule. We have divided up the remaining weeks leading up to the event into “areas” of décor on which we will focus. For example, Week 1 will be spent creating items for the main entrance and main bar, during Week 2 we’ll move on to the carnival concourse, by Week 3 we’ll be tackling the VIP lounge, and so on. So making the main entrance sign was a logical first choice!
Let me just take a moment (as I usually do!) to stop and say how amazing it is…the things you can find in the “trash.” Wow. I’ve always tried to be resourceful and use unwanted/inexpensive materials in unexpected ways—like when I gave those dumpy old jeans a new life—but the Friscovania décor project has forced me to dig even deeper and think even bigger. I hope to keep this mindset for the future and encourage you all to start looking at materials and projects in a new way as well!
For the sign, I started with this three-panel hinged fence board (like a science project board for all of us 90s kids) that was in the trash pile. I didn’t want the wings of the board to move and had planned for the sign to be shorter in height anyway, so I reconfigured the existing horizontal boards on the back to secure everything in place. Then I cut the piece down very roughly to the size I wanted. The great thing about Halloween décor is that so much of it is meant to be rustic and imperfect!
I used some of the scrap wood from that cut to add even more security on the back of the sign. The bottom hinges were obviously lost with the first cut and I had planned to remove the top pair as well but decided to leave them in place for more of a unique and vintage feel.
Next I mixed leftover red paint from our son’s room with water and brushed a light coat onto the sign. After it dried, I sanded a few random areas just to rough it up and give it some uneven character.
I hate to admit it, but I did spend some money on this project. Six bucks. I know, I know…way to break the bank, Holly! On an unrelated trip to a local craft store, I happened upon a giant clearance section stuffed full of every kind of letter you could imagine, priced from $0.49 to $1.49, down from prices of $20+. I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was a huge score! I dropped my bag and set up shop right in the middle of the aisle, laying out all sorts of phrases I would need. With my $6 worth of Friscovania letters and a few other surprises I’ll save for later, I was out the door! I was thrilled to find a few letters that even had working marquee style lights to use on the sign.
I was determined not to purchase anything else for this project beyond the six dollars in lettering, so I rummaged through the garage and found a few cans of leftover spray paint. I chose the white and a bronze metallic because I wanted the sign to kind of feel like a vintage/carnival version of our City of Frisco logo sign which is red and white. I sprayed the letters haphazardly and put some random drips, drops, and smudges on them as well.
Once they dried I secured them to the signboard using a combination of liquid nails, screws, and various adhesives. For the marquee letters, they’re hanging with picture hangers so they can be removed easily to access the on/off switch for the lights.
For the final touches, I stretched some faux cobwebs across the board and added a giant spider and skeleton, all of which were donated through a post I put on NextDoor. Just like the miracle of finding things in the garbage, it’s also incredible what people are willing to give you if you just find the courage to ask.
I absolutely love this sign and hope it will be a staple for many Friscovanias to come! I had a blast working on it during a rainy Friday afternoon, which made things quite interesting, and as I look back I think it’s so much more than just a sign. It really solidified my choice to start looking at things in a new way. Whether it’s a pile of trash, a person, or a difficult situation in life, I’m going to make a more conscious effort to see past the surface and dig deeper.
As for the sign, you can use this same concept to make any sign you can dream up! I can see this in a little girl’s shabby chic room, at a rustic barn wedding, or even over the door of a sweet vintage boutique. We hope to see your creations and spin on this sign, and of course we hope to see you at Friscovania next month!
For more information about the event, visit Friscovania online!