W ell, I feel like I’ve been through a war, but Bobby and I have officially made it through another move. We packed up absolutely everything from the cute little cottage we were renting in Connecticut and made our way down South. We towed the Prius behind our Land Rover and both cars were STUFFED to the brim with, well, stuff. Thankfully, Bobby is a road warrior and handled the driving like a champ. This marks our 6th move since we left New Orleans 3 years ago. (For those of you who are new here and thinking, “What in the world?!? Are you running from the law?” I have three words of explanation for you: the golf industry. Until Bobby gets a head pro job at a course, we’ll be chasing the sun to wherever people are having a golf season. There are honestly a lot of great things about this set up so you needn’t feel totally sorry for us, though the moving part is never ever fun. Never.)

Thankfully, memory is a funny thing and I usually forget how painfully arduous the moving process is until we’re back in the thick of things. Once my wits return and I remember what a massive task/pain in the butt it is, my brain is like, “WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN?!?!?!?!? ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY INSANE?!?!?!” But we always push through, somehow. Bobby and I are both sick with colds and coughs, our bodies are sore from hauling box after box, and we want to be useless blobs for at least the next couple weeks…but we’re spending time with our families for the next stretch and feel like we’re getting handsomely rewarded for a job well done.

Given this whole moving saga, hopefully it’s understandable as to why this November blog post was neglected. I’m going to make it up to you, though. Are you ready for a DIY project to make your romantic heart go pitter patter? Just take a look at these plates I made. BOOM.

You can make them, too! I think these could make the coolest wedding gift. I already know they make a good Valentine’s gift and anniversary gift because I’ve used them as both. (I initially made my first set of poetry plates as a Valentine’s gift for Bobby. I gifted him a picnic backpack that had square, white plates. They were plastic and I took four of my favorite love poems and wrote each on a plate with permanent marker. It was an awesome idea…until I realized that plates need to be washed after you use them unless you want to venture into new realms of the disgusting and sordid. Even with the gentlest of scrubbing, the permanent marker started to smudge and erase. Whump whaaaa. I had spent SO MUCH TIME on those plates. I didn’t have the heart to re-do them for quite some time but I knew that I would tackle the project at some point. It only took me about 3 years but I finally undertook the task – and I’m really happy with how they turned out. Now, I shall bequeath my hard-won knowledge upon you.)

First, I found some salad plates that were porcelain, not plastic. Important first step. These plates from World Market did the trick. Make sure your plates are microwave safe because you’ll be putting them in the oven in order to make the paint pen set permanently.

Next, you’ll need a porcelain paint pen that is a BIG step above the staying-power of permanent marker. I discovered Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Fine Tip Markers that work like a charm. These also come in colors other than black if you want to get wild and crazy. (Oooo, this could be such a fun party activity for kids! They could each decorate their own plate and then take it home…) These markers are pretty amazing. They glide on the plate quite nicely and the color is a satisfying black. There were points during the process where the ink had some grit-type particles, which wasn’t ideal. However, I did have the paint pens sitting around for awhile before I used them so perhaps the blame can’t be placed on the product? Basically, maybe you shouldn’t expect absolute perfection with these pens – but they’re still pretty darn great.

I came up with my layouts for each poem and went for it! The paint dried after a few minutes but each plate needed to air-dry for 24 hours before going into a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes.

After the plates cooled down, the ink was set and I was good to go.

I wrapped them up and gifted them to Bobby for our 4th anniversary this summer. The porcelain is certainly heavier in our little picnic backpack but infinitely better when we clean up after a picnic.

These pens also work on mugs – I’ve made some great birthday gifts in that arena!

I still try to be gentle when I wash them. The official instructions on the paint pens say that once they’ve dried and have been heat-set that they’re dishwasher safe…but after you put such love and care into creating a piece (or several pieces), it’s hard to thrust them in a dishwasher and hope for the best. So I gently wash with soap and water by hand – but you could be daring and go the dishwasher route if you’re feeling feisty.

Now go forth and make some plates (or mugs or bowls or huge platters) that will be cherished for years to come!