Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another Milestone


You just never know what the future holds. In early 1979, the last thing on my mind was to get involved in another somewhat lengthy relationship. One might could say that I wasted a lot of time twice with two different relationships that each lasted at least 2 1/2 years each.........infatuation.......companionship.......lack of focus and vision.......priorities awack............what was I ever thinking? I was a temp and didn't know it each time.

But then I met this one. My first thoughts were.........here I go again.......I do NOT need this........not so soon........I need to think about this................but this time it was different. Something deep inside told me that this was the one and that I cannot walk away from her. This was a special one. Meant to be. Something told me that she was meant for me. I remember thinking.........nope.......ain't gonna happen......no way......no how.........don't bother with her...........go away.........my life at that time was a shambles for many various reasons. I had no money, wrecked my car, earned minimum wage, and had to live in my sister's attic for a while. My future was not bright at all. It was a rough time for me.

On July 18th, 1979 I found myself in the chapel at Baltimore's City Hall marrying the love of my life.

It was meant to be.

Four children and four grandchildren later.......here I am telling everyone how I am the "luckiest man alive".
I honestly could never have imagined how things turned out. I seriously do not think I would have made it this far without her.......in fact, I know I wouldn't have. 

Thank God for 35 years!

Happy 35th Anniversary Supernurse!


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Painted Crab Shells and Time



Yeah..........I know.........it has been a while since my last entry here on the ole blogosphere. Needless to say, putting stuff on the blog has not been a priority of mine. I suppose I will have to get around to making a more concerted effort at keeping pace here. I have been busy and time...... as time goes by........goes by quickly..........sometimes too quick.......the days blur together.......no real
differentiation of days. Lately, I seem to get into a funk easily......perhaps I am burning out......tired.

Having said all of that, I certainly have not given up the ship yet.....there is a long way to go hopefully. Many things have changed in my world recently.......things that occur that shut you down mentally and spiritually. Sometimes it is hard to focus and some of those things that you ordinarily think have importance and relevance in your world .....become just trivial and pointless.........at least in those moments.....ugh......even days or weeks where reality enters your world. Pretty deep eh?

My guess is that I do not need to elaborate on the above commentary........you can imagine and you will be correct at least on half of whatever you might be thinking I meant. Time marches on......precious as it is......and I need more time. There is never enough time. There are things to do.......lots of things.....and it requires time. Nobody ever told me about the frustration I would eventually have over time. Hah.....even that frustrates me.

There is much going on in the world around us and for the most part those things need our attention. It is also very frustrating knowing that your attention to such things may well never make any difference. We have to try. Nothing ventured...nothing gained.....right?

For the past several weeks, I have been hearing "You haven't updated your blog in a long time."
For the record. it has not been because there was nothing to say or share with everyone or anyone..
For the folks who come visit to look at the pictures of crab shells........all of the pictures are still here. You can just check all of the posts that pertain to crab shells. I promise to put up some photos of some of my recent work very soon........once again..........its a "time" issue.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Crabmas!

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Crabmas Everyone!

Let me fill you in about some things..........uh..........those crabby things............

Lots of people visited the "crabby Santa" to purchase some painted crab shells for their Crabmas trees and to give as gifts. I cannot even describe how exhausted I am. Needless to say, as tiring as it was, I enjoyed painting the shells for people. I had more custom orders this year and most folks did not wait until the last minute to request stuff. Oh there were a few though.......and I did my darndest to get the work done for them. To know that one's work and efforts are appreciated is very gratifying, The people who come and look at the shells always have great things to say about my work...........well........of course there are those few who, for some reason, have the word "stencil" embedded in their brains. And no.....I do not use any "stencils". Anywho.......the shells make perfect gifts and most of the shells are one of a kind and not done anywhere else on the planet as far as I know. So if you didn't come down to the Plaza Flea Market in Dundalk, MD., or find your way to Hunter's Sale Barn out in Cecil County, MD........you are gonna have to plan ahead for next year so you can decorate your crabmas tree.

Here are a few of the special crab shells that sold for Christmas.......er uh.......Crabmas!
















Oh, and I forgot to mention my right-hand man..........crabby Santa's super-elf........my eldest son.........he helps me do what I do.......he makes just about all of this possible........and yes, he sometimes paints them too.




Little brushes......little paint.......a little talent......and lots of happiness:)

At this point I am taking a small break.......uh.........oh well.........a day or two.......from painting shells. Beginning Friday I am at it again.........did I mention that these shells are not just for Christmas?.......that's right..........year 'round baby! Hang them everywhere........well........just about anywhere.  

Until next time.......stay tuned........I put up some more pictures soon.



Merry Christmas Everybody and God Bless !

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Painted Crab Shells in Display Boxes


 I have so much to say that I will just have to store it all under my hat for a while. If you happened to have browsed through this blog's older entries, you surely know that I can be very opinionated..........and that has not changed. The reason that I spout off less these days is that I have been extremely busy painting..........YES!..........PAINTING.......crab shells.............and YES!..........WITH MY HANDS!  
I get asked the question "Do you paint these by hand?"..........and the other gem of a question "You do these by yourself?"............needless to say, my response has been to simply say "I tried using my feet byt they won't cooperate." and after I look around under my table "Yep,.........there are no midgets or little Mexicans under the table painting away."

Yes........I paint on crab shells........and I use real paint and real brushes, too :)
Oh yeah.......another big question I get is "How long does it take you to paint one?"  Well, I suppose this is a fair question to ask and I think it is a fair response to say "As long as it takes."  You see, not all shells have the same thing painted on them. Some are simple and some are complex. Some are downright difficult and some I tend to take longer to do because I might not enjoy doing that particular one. Actually, it is rare that I ever just sit down and paint just one at a time. I work in batches and paint them according to the method to my madness. If I am using red paint.......then I line up all of the various assorted shells that needs red paint. Then I move on to the next color, and so on. If I have music in my ears, I work faster and can pump out about 100 shells in a weeks time if I push myself. But normally I average about 35 to 40 shells per week. So there you have it..........its a huge amount of work and yes, I get tired of it and need to take breaks here and then.

Lately, I have been taking lots of special requests for custom painted shells and shells in display boxed. It is the start of that time of year when smart people plan ahead and place orders now for Christmas. Of course, some people place orders for birthday gifts, etc. Recently as last week, one repeat customer of mine requested a display box with two crab shells inside. They wanted one shell to have the Baltimore City flag and the other shell to have the Maryland flag,  They told me that it was a gift for the Mayor of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Flag shell.
The Maryland Flag shell.


The finished product.

Another customer had ordered a display box with his family name on a Scotland flag on a crab shell. Two weeks later he came back and requested another display box with five crab shells inside. This time I had to paint each crab with the first names of each member of his family.

The finished product.

If you would like a painted crab shell, or a painted crab shell in a display box.......or would like to order one for a gift this Christmas...........time is of the essence..........get on down to the North Point Plaza Flea Market and look over my wide selection of crab shells on display and put in your request for custom orders. You can even watch me paint :)  Without a doubt, Signtopia's Painted Crab Shells has the largest amount of painted shells available on any given day..........anywhere.


Also.....come see us at Hunter's Sale Barn on Mondays in Port Deposit, MD.

Triple shell box.

The Maryland Flag display box.

One of a kind and only one available,





















Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's getting to be that time of year again................oh yeah.........as if I hadn't already had enough to do regarding the crab shells. Yep, time passes by quickly.........maybe too quickly. Every waking moment of my time has been consumed with painting and crafting the crab shell ornaments. I always try to create and add new artwork on the shells and so far, the reaction and responses have been positive. It is a great honor for me that there are people that like my work enough that they are willing to part with their hard earned money in order to take it home with them or give as a gift to someone. It is very gratifying for me.

Lately, I have been adding some Christmas crab shell dioramas to the mix. 

I can also report that special requests and custom orders have increased. I love challenges and some folks have asked for some unusual things on their shells. Needless to say, I give them what they want and they have been happy with the results. 

Since we are approaching the Christmas shopping season, I recommend that folks that come to see me for some painted crab shells and request custom shells or boxes, do so sooner rather than wait until the last minute. I am not planning on staying awake all night on any given date in the two weeks before Christmas.
Order ahead!


For the most part, I have encountered many very nice and wonderful people. Some have been customers and some simply like to stop by at the flea market and have a chat. On the other hand, I have also encountered critics of my work. I do not mind constructive criticism or suggestions........however, I get a bit irritated by some people who try to somehow attempt to negate or devalue my efforts. I can handle insults and the like.........but I haven't very much tolerance for total idiots with no appreciation or comprehension of the amount of work it takes to create these crab shell ornaments. For those people, all I can say is that if they can make these themselves.............."go do it!". There may be some that can and don't...........and some that should and won't.........and still some that did and nobody wanted them.............and then there is Signtopia :)






So stay tuned folks, I have more pictures coming and lots more to say. I promise not to take so long to put in on the blog.
.
Oh.........and by the way...........if you are in the Baltimore area and want a crab shell or two........stop on in at the Northpoint Plaza Flea Market in Dundalk. If you have special requests, please contact me via this blog by commenting, or contact me via email : signtopia@aol.com. Be sure to type "crab shells" in the subject line.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

 Busy.......busy.......busy. The crab shells have been taking up most of my time. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Here are a few of the latest painted crab shells. 

 Even number one son has taken up grabbing a brush and helping Ole Signtopia.

 Display cases. If you can find a better price and better quality........go for it.

 Baltimore, hon!

 This was another special request.

 If you like what you see here on the blog, come on down to the Northpoint Plaza Flea Market on Saturdays and Sundays. Also, come see us at Hunter's Sale Barn in Cecil County on Mondays from 3pm until dark.

 A small girl and her mother needed a gift for her schoolteacher........and here it is.

This shell on a plaque was made at the request of another girl and her mom. It was a Father's Day gift.

More photos and videos to come, so stay tuned!

Often copied......never equalled.

Signtopia