Word play can add whimsy to your dé­cor

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - DEB­BIE TRAVIS

IHAVE the most cher­ished mem­o­ries of my Granny. She was a great lady, full of worldly wis­dom, an ad­ven­tur­ous spirit and a flair for liv­ing life to the fullest. Al­though she was not fab­u­lously rich, I al­ways thought she was. It was the lit­tle things. Her bath­room had a shelf be­side the sink where she laid out three per­fectly pressed, mono­grammed linen hand tow­els. They weren’t meant for kids’ grubby paws, but I sim­ply could not re­sist touch­ing them as soon as I was tall enough to reach that shelf.

Mono­grams say some­thing spe­cial. Em­broi­dered letters with swirly tails pro­duce a per­sonal stamp of qual­ity and thought­ful­ness wher­ever they ap­pear. There was a time when it was cus­tom­ary to have mono­grammed bed linens, bath tow­els and nap­kins. To­day, per­haps be­cause we are less for­mal, these sym­bols are no longer com­mon­place. But the al­lure is there, and when the oc­ca­sion is right, per­son­al­iz­ing a gift with a mono­gram makes it a trea­sure.

Mono­grams pro­vide a sense of pride of own­er­ship and place. A sin­gle ini­tial, or a com­bi­na­tion of two or three letters, is used to em­bel­lish more than linens and cloth­ing. Sur­name letters are par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar in rus­tic and out­door set­tings, etched or painted onto chair backs, stools and benches, wa­ter­ing cans, pad­dles and knap­sacks. They are seen proudly dis­played at the en­trance of cabins and cot­tages over the front door or on the wel­come mat.

The joy felt by the par­ents who dec­o­rated the charm­ing nurs­ery shown here is ev­i­dent in the rosy wall colour, but mainly the M for Molly em­bla­zoned over the crib. The let­ter sits within a painted wooden frame. The soft green back­ground builds up sec­ondary con­trast against the pink wall and white let­ter, pro­duc­ing a cap­ti­vat­ing pic­ture.

I dis­cov­ered a com­pany on the In­ter­net called Trad­ing Phrases that is brim­ming with imag­i­na­tive ways to in­cor­po­rate mono­grams into your dé­cor. Molly’s mono­gram is from their prod­uct line. How­ever, they spe­cial­ize in more than letters. Writ­ing words of wis­dom and fun on wall sur­faces is a time-hon­oured tra­di­tion, and they have taken it up a notch. Trad­ing Phrases delivers your favourite say­ings cut out in sticky-back vinyl ready for you to po­si­tion wher­ever you choose. They have an al­most end­less list of fonts and colours and they will help you with the de­sign. A happy cus­tomer sent in a pho­to­graph of their newly built wine cel­lar fea­tur­ing the fol­low­ing phrase at the en­trance; “Wine is sun­light held to­gether by wa­ter — Galileo” The let­ter­ing is not so big that it in­trudes on the set­ting, but the words are pow­er­ful and truly en­hance the space.

Ex­plore the many meth­ods of putting letters and words on sur­faces in­side and out. Mono­grams and phrases can be em­broi­dered, hand­painted, sten­cilled, stamped, printed or stuck onto any sur­face. Do you have some­thing you would like to say that would add a touch of class, a moment of con­tem­pla­tion, or a happy thought to your home?

Above: An exquisitely framed let­ter M from Trad­ing Phrases wel­comes Baby

Molly into her new world.

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