Welcome to our cottage on the lake–sorry no synchronized flushes

Welcome to our cottage on the lake–sorry no synchronized flushes


Next year will be the 75th anniversary of our family’s cottage and I thought it was high time to acknowledge our family’s long history with this humble yet special place on “da lake”.

Humble is not some half-hearted attempt at being polite. I literally mean humble. Our little log cabin has been flanked in recent years by McMansions haughtily looking down from climate-controlled alfresco kitchens and his and her en suites complete with synchronized flushing.

Betsy Skagen of Paper Calliope

That’s Me! On the back steps of The Cottage.

While I might not object to a few upgrades to our cottage–like being able to take a shower some place other than in the basement with chipmunks dashing in to sneak peeks at my lady parts, I cannot imagine replacing it with some giant lake home.

Our cottage has too much character, heart and history–from the open loft guaranteed to cause concussions in any adult over five feet tall, to the six-foot wide longhorn steer horns above the table that my grandfather acquired somewhere in Texas, to the 1960s retro motel towels that my uncle “borrowed” when he traveled the state with his construction crews.

Bobber-girl by Betsy Skagen

I bet people in alfresco kitchens don’t let their kids stick fishing lures in their swimsuits.

Tutorial to make the ‘Welcome to the Lake’ sign

Step 1 Use a hot knife to cut four pieces of 12″ X 3-7/8″ foam board.

Step 2 Cut a 12″ x 5″  paper or paper or fabric section from the new Nautical Mixed Media Collage Pad now available at Michaels stores. Apply Beacon 3-in-1 Adhesive to the back of the material and adhere to the front of the foam board.


Step 3 Adhere the paper or material to the edges of the foam board and then secure to the back of the foam board with more adhesive.


Step 4 Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the other three boards and then ink the edges of the four boards with Vintage Photo Distress Ink. Adhere the four boards side by side to a 12″ x 16″ canvas board using Beacon Fabri-Tac.

Step 5 Scan a family photo and apply the Crosshatch filter in Adobe Photoshop.  Print onto matte white cardstock. Fussy cut around the image, ink the edges with Vintage Photo Ink and adhere to your boards. Cover the image with a coat of matte Mod Podge.

Step 6 Cut a rectangle of tan burlap from the Recollections packet and fray the edges. Adhere between the two bottom boards.

Step 7 Lightly sand red and blue cardstock.


Step 8 Type, shape and print out the name of the lake and the “welcome” message in  Adobe Illustrator using two retro fonts. Scan into the Brother Scan n Cut  and cut one welcome message from the red cardstock and both a lake name from both the red and blue cardstocks.

Step 9 Also use the waves pattern to produce blue waves on the Scan n Cut.  Adhere the waves and messages to the boards and cover with matte Mod Podge.

Step 10 Create an ink jet rub-on transfer using a retro font for the “Est. by” information. Also create a rub-on transfer of a sailboat. Adhere both to your board.

Step 11 Paint the edges of your sign with brown acrylic paint. Let dry.

Step 12 Paint a sand dollar with Tattered Angels Glitter Glam Camel. Lightly trace the pattern on the sand dollar with a brown watercolor pencil.Adhere it and the other shells to your sign.

Step 13 Cover your entire sign with several coats of matte polyurethane protective coating. Once it’s dry, your sign is ready for display on a wall or mantel.

Grandpa Joe by Paper Calliope

This is my grandfather and sister at the cottage in the 1950s. I think I might display my new sign on the mantel that’s in the background.


Great Stuff

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