What Inspires Terri Nelms - Wood Sign Maker

Posted by Marcea

(Photos courtesy of Terri Nelms)

With a full-time job during the day, creating and selling signs for the Oconee Sign Shack at night and a family to take care of, Terri Nelms is a busy lady who loves what she does.  Find out what inspires Terri when she’s making her signs, how she decided to start her own business and why her OttLite lamp makes a difference while she’s working.  

How did you get started in woodworking? We moved into our forever home last April and my husband built me a wood shack.  We have a wood burning stove in the house and we needed a place to store all the wood.  I wanted a cool sign that said ‘The Wood Shack’ on it and when I started researching how to get one, it was really expensive to have one made so I decided I was going to do it myself!  It ended up coming out really cool so I just kept making them. 

What inspires you to create your signs? Everything! There's a lady I follow on Facebook who has a big farm house.  She has all these flowers on her land and she posts pictures every day.  One day she had a picture that was so colorful.  Those colors inspired me to get funky with the colors in my signs.  I’m kind of easily inspired (laughs).

Do you have a favorite sign of the ones you’ve made? My favorite sign is going to be my original Wood Shack sign so that one will always be kind of special to me.  I have one with a Calamity Jane quote that I like a lot.  It’s hanging in my shop.

Why do you love making signs so much? With a husband and child you must be really busy.  When I’m making my signs it’s kind of my ‘me’ time.  When you’re a wife and a mom you get caught up in taking care of other people.  Somewhere along the way you lose sight of your own hobbies and the sign making kind of brought that all back to me. 

Do you have suggestions to people who don’t think they have time to be creative? It’s a lot of work but you have to make time for yourself.  I definitely work my butt off – sometimes I wake up at 3:30am or 4am to finish sign orders.  But you have to make time for yourself.  I know in today’s world that can be really hard, but I think if you don’t take time to dedicate to do something you love, you’re not going to be able to take care of your family the way you should.  It’s definitely worth it. 

You recently started using an OttLite – how has it made it difference in your crafting? It’s really amazing.  I have two different workspaces.  One is in my garage and it has shop lights, my saw and where I do my sanding.  I also have a workspace inside my home. That’s only about a couple hundred square feet and the lighting is awful in there.  I work at nighttime primarily or early in the mornings.  When it’s dark like that and I’m trying to do my lettering, it’s really hard to see.  The OttLite made a world of different.  I used to have to get on the floor where the light was coming down, sitting Indian style to work.  Now with the OttLite I can work on the table and not be all hunched over. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?  We like going out for boat rides – we’re a lake family.  I also like gardening and cooking.  I’m kind of a homebody!

To learn more about Terri visit her website or follow Oconee Sign Shack on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy or Ebay.

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