How do you feel about "Word Art?"
Emily Hurley
March 5, 2014 in Design Dilemma
Instead of more traditional art, I see a lot of paintings and prints with words or phrases on them. Personally, I love them - might be my inner writer twisting my arm - but I'm curious how other people feel about them.

What do you think? (Photos encouraged if you have some!)

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Terracegallery
For many years I was a traditional (albeit abstract mostly) artist....paintings....but in the last few years I have been more open to all sorts of art and have created some pieces with words myself. People buy them like crazy, so I assume many LOVE them. :) I have a Serenity Prayer that is just black lettering on white and that is one of my best sellers. Just words.
March 5, 2014 at 11:58am        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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bubblyjock
I find them cheesy, on the whole, I'm sorry to say, although I agree with Terrace - many people obviously love them, as I see them time and again on Houzz and in stores.

I think they must remind me of all the bossy signs on the school walls of my youth!

The only one I *might* be persuaded to have would be from Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and the way he depicted the words themselves shows his wry sense of humour:
http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk/cgi-bin/foxweb/huntsearch_Mackintosh/DetailedResults.fwx?searchTerm=41518

And I do have a soft spot for the "Keep Calm & Carry On" ones, but that's probably because the story behind it is so charming, and the shop in Alnwick, Northumberland, who rediscovered it, is charming, and I'm a sucker for handsome type-setting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keep_Calm_and_Carry_On

March 5, 2014 at 12:06pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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hanna1984
I'm not into word art. I use more art now - we used to use family photos only - but art is so personal that my husband and I very often differ about what to use. We have small areas that we claim for our own so that satisfies me.
March 5, 2014 at 12:07pm      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Jessica
Word art isn't exactly new in some cultures (think Japan) scrolls with fancy calligraphy have been hung in homes for centuries. In the USA young women learned to do embroidery with "samplers" that often had the alphabet or other sayings on them. The first time I came across word art other than something that was hanging on the wall was at the Win Schuler's restaurant in Michigan where their main dining room had heavy Tudor style beams with famous quotes written on them in gilded letters. It was fascinating to read some of the words of wisdom while waiting for our food, and generated great discussions around the table. I think some word art is overdone these days, but in the right place the right piece can be amazing.
March 5, 2014 at 12:08pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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Terri Deskins Contemporary & Abstract Art
As an abstract artist, I like to incorporate "letters" versus words as I'm always concerned that a certain word might not be liked. I tend to use Japanese or Chinese characters as i love an Asian influence.
March 25, 2014 at 11:04am        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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saratogaswizzlestick
I despise it, especially those little plaques with the cutesy sayings. It just looks like clutter to me.
March 25, 2014 at 12:03pm        Thanked by Emily Hurley
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karemore55
I agree with bubblyjock - I find it cheesy. I get that you are trying to express something about yourself, but maybe it's a little too direct? It is like hanging family photos in the public areas of your home. Too personal!
March 25, 2014 at 12:09pm      Thanked by Emily Hurley
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groveraxle
I don't think it's art.
March 25, 2014 at 12:13pm     
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indomom
I only like it in children's rooms.
March 25, 2014 at 12:18pm     
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Margo
OH BOY- I am cheesy and despised ;(
I still like it;)
March 25, 2014 at 12:22pm     
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bethbevington
I have two. Had them for a very long time.
Oh, and one is above the armoier, where the tv is hidden when I close the doors! The other above a door in the kitchen, Never Trust a Skinny Cook
March 25, 2014 at 12:26pm     
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Margo
At least I am trustworthy;))) thanks Beth
March 25, 2014 at 12:28pm     
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Mila Interiors
i personally think they are really cool and can sometimes be quite personal (in a good way) - I have my name, my fiancees name and my dogs name in a beautiful font going up our staircase, it adds a personal touch to our home, just like word art that means something to you, that you relate to. As long as it isn't too cheesy!
March 25, 2014 at 12:39pm   
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saratogaswizzlestick
Margo, you are not despised, your art? Is. :)
March 25, 2014 at 12:44pm     
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Margo
Watch it saratoga- I might just send an abstract artist your way;))))
March 25, 2014 at 12:45pm     
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saratogaswizzlestick
Oh no! I'll be quiet now.
March 25, 2014 at 12:47pm     
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artperson
So sick of words on walls. Initials in big block letters, writing, whatever. Sick of it.
March 25, 2014 at 12:47pm     
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Margo
OH BOY- now people are sickend;(
I still like it;)
March 25, 2014 at 12:54pm     
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Margo
artperson- might I offer you a Tumms?;)
March 25, 2014 at 12:56pm     
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Rhiannon Crain
Depends on the wall art. Something like the first image I like, but the second I would feel super silly having in my living room (or anywhere for that matter).
March 25, 2014 at 1:11pm     
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adivra
Looks OK if it's not contrived or overly sentimental. I used to have a hand made wrought iron piece spelling "Mangia" in my kitchen, no one knew what it meant. Of course, it means "Eat."
March 25, 2014 at 1:29pm     
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karemore55
Margo, you can get away with it because you're Margo lol!
March 25, 2014 at 1:34pm     
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karemore55
Adivra, Mangia is an Italian word and has something to do with eating, but I can't remember what. When we were in Mexico, we are at an Italian restaurant called Mangia Fuoco, and the owner told us what it meant but I'm too old to remember three months back.
March 25, 2014 at 1:37pm   
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karemore55
It sounds like it means "eat" since the French word for eat is mange.
March 25, 2014 at 1:37pm     
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Margo
Let's recap: Moosehead, leg lamp, word art, fruit on head... thank goodness I am PRO lol
March 25, 2014 at 1:37pm     
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saratogaswizzlestick
Moose head, leg lamp, fruit on head are all tasteful expressions but word art just goes too far.

I don't really like the pro label, makes me think of hookers.
March 25, 2014 at 1:44pm     
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Margo
PRO= word art;)
March 25, 2014 at 1:46pm     
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GN Builders L.L.C
It's in... See allot of it in the City
March 25, 2014 at 1:48pm     
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Brandi Nash Hicks
Just not abstract art,it has been suggested in every dilemma lately ,makes me hate it ..oh and this is not a yard sale for your friends art,sell it on Etsy
March 25, 2014 at 1:52pm     
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KShoa
As a fine artist, my views are probably subjective, but I see word art as cute and trendy, but not ART. Also reminds me of the 60s and 70s for some reason.
March 25, 2014 at 1:55pm     
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divinemrsm
Great topic. I like both traditional and word art. I've had both in my home for many years, so to me 'word art' isn't trendy but I use it in a more subtle way. I don't want it to come off as preachy. For me, traditional art sets the tone and I use word art for a touch of embellishment. My traditional art is much, much bigger; the word art is smaller and understated; I have a couple of small pieces that say "home is where you hang your heart" and "count your blessings" in the kitchen and one that says 'live, laugh, love' in the bathroom. There are a few other small ones here and there. I'm going to be adding a small (12" x 4") 'welcome' decal to a kitchen wall soon.
March 25, 2014 at 2:40pm     
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LB Interiors
I like them if not overdone and would probably make my own and quote my favorite phrase to make it personal. I would customize it with my own color backdrop with texture and colors in my home.
March 25, 2014 at 3:19pm   
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armygirl1987
I Google this but------
Art-the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
Art is a spiritual journey. It is not materialistic, or even rational.
in a generic sense, Art is a form of expressing yourself through your works .
It need not be through paintings ..
It can also be the way you present yourself and present your work...

We do not get to define art to fit into our mold.
March 25, 2014 at 3:27pm     
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LB Interiors
Adivra, I like Mangia, it sometimes provokes a question, besides it being Italian, word for 'eat'. Used quite often as a command to eat, sit and eat before it gets cold.
March 25, 2014 at 3:32pm   
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jhx1
Being a graphic designer, as well as an artist who used words and text in my work, the fad of it has dismayed me!

I love words and I love art!

But so much of it has become so trite, and so everywhere.

But at least this thread has shown a few examples where words really are essential to the art, and in my opinion, beautiful.
March 25, 2014 at 3:32pm     
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ashilleong
@karenmore 55 " It is like hanging family photos in the public areas of your home. Too personal!" WOAH! I disagree with you there - it's my home -where else do you display family photos?
March 25, 2014 at 3:40pm     
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lefty47
HI -- Over done now -- yuppy graffiti .
March 25, 2014 at 3:42pm     
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armygirl1987
@karemor55-Are you saying that we should not hang family photos in public areas?
March 25, 2014 at 3:43pm     
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cabingirl13
Some of it I like....some of it I hate. It all depends on the quote used-font style-colors used- and overall size of the piece too.
March 25, 2014 at 3:45pm   
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dfromthebdot
Interesting how we use the term "public areas" of the home. Who is this "public" that visits your home? I invite friends, family, neighbours, co-workers. They know I have a husband and children. Why wouldn't I have photos in the house for visitors to see?
March 25, 2014 at 3:54pm     
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karemore55
OK I take it back. Hang your family photos wherever you want, folks!
March 25, 2014 at 5:41pm     
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Margo
Karemore- are you going to take calling my word art * cheesy* back ?lol
March 25, 2014 at 5:42pm     
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armygirl1987
Design on a Lime-you are cheesy. LOL
March 25, 2014 at 5:43pm     
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Margo
I am not a fan of hanging family photo's in the *public area* either. This is one of those you love it or leave it things. No disrespect to the family photo people but this goes hand in hand with the refrigerator magnet people;) "All Preference";)))))
March 25, 2014 at 5:45pm     
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Margo
Armygirl- I WILL be sending the abstract art pusher to your door!!!!!!!!
March 25, 2014 at 5:46pm     
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armygirl1987
Send them Margo send them. I have magnets on my refrigerator. LOL
March 25, 2014 at 5:48pm     
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KShoa
I could have sworn that said "pubic area" instead of "public area". All I'm thinking is who hangs family photos there?

OK I'm getting away from the computer. My eyes are going crossed!
March 25, 2014 at 5:53pm     
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armygirl1987
KShoa-oh my.
March 25, 2014 at 5:56pm     
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Margo
I just checked lol- nope- no family photo's there either lol lol lol
March 25, 2014 at 6:01pm     
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karemore55
Well, that would certainly be a private area!
March 25, 2014 at 6:18pm     
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studio10001
.
March 25, 2014 at 6:20pm     
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inpdx
People who use the term "wall art" like "word art." Enough said.
March 25, 2014 at 6:22pm     
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karemore55
OK, If you are doing something like this, you will probably make your guests ask for a second, and possibly third, martini:
March 25, 2014 at 6:38pm     
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karemore55
If you are doing something like this, you might be forgiven:
March 25, 2014 at 6:38pm     
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Cyndy
Jessica, I was Larry Schuler's assistant at Schuler's in Marshall, Michigan, about 20 years ago, and loved going downstairs into the dining areas to read all the words of wisdom on the beams! And my mother needlepointed many samplers that I still love today.

As for the cutesy sayings that are trendy these days, I personally don't care for them, but to each his own!
March 25, 2014 at 6:40pm     
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letusb4nine
I have signs and quotes in the great room in my river house. Never at home.
March 28, 2014 at 5:53pm   
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Murals and more by Patrice
I recently did 2 little boys rooms for a client on the Upper East Side. I loved the idea. Their Mom was inspired by an inspirational wall she saw at Soulcycle. These are custom designed hand-painted Modellos. (Not decals) The quotes were chosen by their Mom, which really personalized the project.
March 28, 2014 at 6:12pm   
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patatas
Great discussion! I like some of the first few comments with examples of calligraphy, etc.

Not too enamored of commands - EAT! KEEP CALM! DANCE! It reminds me of the paradox of people who, to get you to relax, bark "BREATHE!"
March 28, 2014 at 6:23pm     
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moogers
Hate it.
March 28, 2014 at 7:54pm   
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Margo
^ Hate is such a strong word- perhaps you could put it on the wall;)
March 28, 2014 at 7:56pm     
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pattikee
I like some.
March 28, 2014 at 8:17pm     
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rondafaye
"Word" art annoys me, and I'm not a fan of family photo displays, either. They often end up looking kind of ... not visually pleasing. I'm not talking about the subjects, just the way the photos look on the walls. I like things a bit streamlined.
March 28, 2014 at 8:28pm     
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Kevin
Here is a "Word Art" piece I did for my wife a couple years ago. (personalized from a wall decal I saw online)...
March 29, 2014 at 12:40am     
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gracey999
I like word art in the right places....I like what Kevin did (above my comment). Very nice. I don't have a lot of it but I have a welcome sign in my bathroom :)
March 29, 2014 at 4:35am   
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karen038
I don't care for it. I make allowances for vintage signage though.
March 29, 2014 at 6:25am     
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rondafaye
Yes, I should have clarified. I also like vintage signs. It's "message" art that doesn't appeal to me.
March 29, 2014 at 6:32am     
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rredpenn
I have a vintage sign in one bathroom above the toilet that says "Take a Whiz!" (orange soda) I couldn't help it....it makes me laugh!
March 29, 2014 at 6:39am     
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Jessica
Cyndy I just saw your comment. When I went to college in Berrien Springs, Schuler's was one of the "fancy date" places to go. I still order the beer cheeze online to serve as an appetizer for special occasions, and I have the recipe book! They have a list of the quotes from the beams on their website that I printed off and have at my desk at work because it is so inspiring. http://www.schulersrestaurant.com/
March 29, 2014 at 6:44am     
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Jo Scott
I have out family's favorite scripture, other quotes, song lyrics all framed and enjoyed.
March 29, 2014 at 10:21am     
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edithsmom
My DIL just hung several framed vintage flash cards in their home (the three cards in each frame form a silly phrase...e.g. "not" "that" "hat" in the entry hall next to the coat hooks and shelf with hats...she is so clever!)
March 29, 2014 at 10:39am     
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hayleydaniels
I have to agree that there is a difference between a sign, favorite Scriptures and other quotes and the wood letters and punctuation signs. Those communicate something whereas a "&" sign is meaningless without words in front and behind it to give it meaning.

I don't get having a single word on a shelf......
March 29, 2014 at 10:45am   
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sooper_mom
I don't like word art. It's so overdone these days. The one that really bothers me is "Kitchen" posted in....you guessed it...the kitchen! Wow...thanks for that. I would never have figured out it was a kitchen. Same for the "Bathroom" signs posted over the door frame to the bathroom.
March 29, 2014 at 10:47am     
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erinandvictor
Well, then cheese me up. I am all for it. I am a huge fan of sugarboo and between the signs company. I am also for putting family pictures up. Someone above didn't believe in doing it. Well, I am proud of my kids and they are my art. your house is your domain, who cares what anyone else thinks. ;) I'm with you Design on a Lime!!!!
March 29, 2014 at 10:56am     
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doctornancy
If you walk into your home, see words on the wall, and it gives you a desired feeling, then it is a wonderful thing. Your home, your "art", your feeling.
March 29, 2014 at 11:04am     
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putzyputnams
I collect vintage flash cards and have a blast tucking wry, witty 2 or 3-word phrases here or there among other decorative objects... (run down house; Father takes drink; stop go look, bird nest love).
March 29, 2014 at 11:24am     
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eightpondfarm
not a fan of word art, to me it smacks of instruction or command. don't tell me what i need to do or how i should feel. and not a fan of family photos front and center. if you're going to make me look at all your family at least give me great GREAT frames and artistic display and people doing something exceptionally interesting.
March 29, 2014 at 11:40am   
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PirateFoxy
I actually kind of like tasteful 'bathroom' word art outside the bathroom in some houses - depends on the layout but some places having that door labeled prevents guests from getting confused about which closed door is which. (I'm not talking about huge houses, either - it's just something about the placement of the bathroom relative to bedrooms and possibly the number of doors in the hallway that can make it visually confusing, particularly at night? I dunno.)

I'm also going to put something in the main family bathroom, at least for now, because I've seen some not-awful looking word art of bathroom 'rules' and I think at the moment it would be helpful for the kid in the house to have a reminder of stuff like putting the toothbrush away, hanging up towels, etc. It isn't my aesthetic choice for that spot, but word art is way less annoying than mess when people forget to clean up and put things away. :)

So I guess I don't love it, but it makes sense to me if it serves a purpose? (I also like the idea of quotes on the wall in more private spaces like bedrooms or an office, if the quote is inspirational for the person using that space. But I don't like the big full wall things for that - I prefer if it's more subtle so when you're in the room and using the space, if you WANT to be inspired you can look to it but it's not in your face all the time.)
March 29, 2014 at 12:35pm   
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shal1217
I don't mind it but I find it a but juvenile so would likely use it in a kids' area...
March 29, 2014 at 4:06pm     
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padupont
I LOVE the script on the wall at Schuler's!! I had my first lobster there, Exactly 53 years ago Today! (It was Easter Sunday.. I was born the next day). :D

My daughter has several "phrases" in her apartment -- she's graduating next month -- Journalism Major. She's a wordy girl.
April 2, 2014 at 5:38pm     
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duffy2009
It's not that there is anything inherently wrong with word art - it's just that it is so relentlessly overused. And some perfectly nice words & phrases have become euphemistic buzz words. Once Is clever & witty - 100 times becomes a cliche. I've seen a few I like but overall not a fan anymore.
April 21, 2014 at 12:39pm   
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duffy2009
Oh and Schuler's - a legend in this neck of the woods.
April 21, 2014 at 12:42pm   
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Kevin Strader
Word art leaves me . . . wait for it . . . SPEECHLESS! LOL!
April 21, 2014 at 1:13pm   
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jdingles
I'm not a fan of block letters. I do have one word "faith" in my room, personal to me as my twin sister gave to me while I was going through chemo.
April 21, 2014 at 3:17pm     
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grobby
I don't have any in my home, but some of those words carry a beautiful message and sometimes we need inspiration. I do, and sometimes all day long. The one I do like and have considered getting to put on the wall in front of my bed says, " always kiss me goodnight." Nice reminder, if needed!!
April 21, 2014 at 3:28pm   
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